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Children @ Taraweeh: Storm in a Teacup




Gateway to all Ramadan related posts on MM


“Please refrain from bringing little children to the mosque in order to maintain its sanctity,” reads a poster on the wall of the women’s section at a local mosque in Karachi nowadays, i.e. during Ramadan – the month during which women flock to the mosques for praying taraweeh. Although those young mothers, who nevertheless bring their wards along in complete disregard of the sign, are not denied entry, a stern eye is still kept on their children’s behavior. Any rowdiness is immediately curbed by the mosque’s female caretakers, who also intermittently issue reminders to the praying women to keep their rows straight.

Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy

I find this quite preposterous, and not just because I have young children. I remember how, when I would pray at Masjid Al-Nabawi during my Hajj journey a few years ago, as the imam would start obligatory prayer in congregation, the whole women’s section would start resounding with the collective bawl of infants as their mothers stood up and left them lying on the carpet. Toddlers would whine at their mothers’ feet, clinging to their abaya’s and crying in protest at seeing her loving attention turn into indifference, and her embrace suddenly disappear into thin air.

At the start of this Ramadan, I couldn’t wait to pray taraweeh in congregation again. That is because, for the last two years, my second born was initially just 2 months old and the following year, a sprinty 14-month-old  toddler prone to run off recklessly if left unsupervised. This year, however, when I asked my husband to keep one child with him at the local street mosque, intending to pray there in the women’s section while keeping the other child with me, he gave a shocking response.

“The mosque has denied entrance to children under the age of 7. They just announced this.”

I could not believe my ears! This was not just any mosque. It is one of the more reputed mosques of Karachi, with a solid foundation based on the Quran and Sunnah. It also runs an authentic program of Islamic education in its intrinsic madrassah (Islamic school). I decided to give them a call to make sure. The Imam who answered the phone confirmed the news.

“But both my children are under 7. I live nearby and it will cause me some difficulty to go farther away to pray taraweeh,” I protested.

“If it were up to me, I would never disallow children from coming,” he reassured, “It is on the repeated complaints and requests of the women in the women’s section that we have enforced this restriction.”

“I am sure you know that our Prophet [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] never stopped children from coming to his mosque. In fact, he led the prayer with his granddaughter Umaamah held up in his arms.”

“Yes, but have you heard of the narration in which he sternly reprimanded his grandsons from running in the mosque? If children are rowdy inside, they can be reprimanded.”

Since I had heard of no such narration, I kept silent. I also reminded myself that since its Ramadan, arguments should be avoided, particularly with custodians of mosques; he hung up.

What saddened me was the revelation that it was the repeated complaints of women in the mosque that children under 7 had been disallowed entry during taraweeh.

I was reminded of a similar incident during taraweeh a few years ago, at the congregation held in the lawn of a private home where Al-Huda classes are held, which I attended diligently every year. After the witr ended, as the women in the separate ladies’ section were still sitting in tashahhud and making dua, an elderly lady sitting on a chair suddenly started shouting to the crowd, turning her head from side to side, “Alright, that’s enough! Where are the mothers of these rowdy children that have disturbed my whole prayer? Please stand up. Why don’t you all control your children? Their running around and screaming has disturbed me throughout! Here….this boy, whose son is he?”

I, unmarried then, looked down in embarrassment and thought, “Oh boy. May Allah help the mothers of these children now.” I recognized an acquaintance of mine as she stood up, her eyes lowered with humiliation, admitting in a low voice, “He’s mine.” She walked calmly to her son, who was standing still, wide-eyed with embarrassment, and took him away, as the elderly lady went on:

“I will complain to the imam and ask him to stop these children from coming to the taraweeh. They are uncontrollable. Please don’t bring your children if they can not behave themselves.”

The next night, during break in taraweeh, the imam addressed this issue in an unexpected manner that took the women’s congregation by surprise. He said, “I have a point of view about children coming to prayer that is very different from others. I say: let them come and listen to the Quran, and watch everyone pray. The Quran will enter their hearts and they will have fond memories of Ramadan and taraweeh when they grow up. Please practice patience like our Prophet [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] did, who would not lift up his head from sujood if his grandson sat on it during prayer.”

This advice by the imam was very similar to that given by Sheikh Abdul Nasir Jangda in his recent post on taraweeh, in which he claimed how his regular yearly visits to the mosque for taraweeh during childhood, became the incentive behind his eventually wanting to memorize the entire Quran. Today, he leads taraweeh every year during Ramadan, alhamdulillah.

It Takes Two To Tango

Although I, by no means, endorse negative reactions towards having children at taraweeh (which, in my experience of observation, usually come from older women), I can see where they are coming from. An unruly, rowdy child that has not been trained on how to behave at the mosque, definitely becomes a nuisance for those praying there, making them lose out not just on their patience but also on their khushoo during salah.

The responsibility of children’s behavior at mosques rests totally on the parents’ shoulders. Parents of young children should train the latter on how to behave at a mosque or congregational prayer, if they want to bring them along. They should come amply prepared for any worse case scenarios that can occur wherever there are little kids. Such preparation can help prevent the extreme reactions of others, whose irritation with the antics of little children entices them to instigate banning their entry into mosques. Here are a few tips:

  • Train children to take off their shoes and place them properly at designated places in the mosque. It is very irritating for someone who is praying to have a child with shoes on, walk or run over their clean musallah (prayer rug).
  • Never let your child take up space in the rows designated for people to pray in. Instead, you can occupy the latter rows that are usually empty on either side, or the corners of the first rows, so that your child can sit or lie next to a wall or the end of the prayer hall, with you on his or her other side. This will ensure that your baby or child does not create gaps in the saf (prayer row), which affects the validity of congregational prayer.
  • Do not feed a child a large meal or lots of drink before coming to the mosque; this will inevitably make a trip to the toilet, or a diaper emergency, imminent, causing distractions during prayer. Check and put on a fresh diaper just before leaving for taraweeh.
  • Although basically I am not a big fan of making children snack at places designated for other activities, parents can bring along light snack-type finger food, which will not crumble or leave a stain e.g. diced carrots, nuts, stick cheese, or dates. This should be done as a contingency measure, in case hunger overcomes the child; as all parents know, a hungry child is a cranky child. Parents can also bring along water or milk in tightly sealed bottles or sippy-cups that are spill-proof, to deal with children’s thirst brought on by the heat.
  • If any wrappers are left after snacking, teach your children to place them back into their food box or bag. Note: if the mosque prohibits food, you should obey instructions and not bring any; rather, feed your child a light snack just before leaving; one that is enough to prevent hunger for an hour or two.
  • Teach your children, however young they may be, about “amanaat“: i.e. things which belong to others are ‘trusts’ that should not be touched, taken or used. This applies especially in the mosque, as people are praying, and hence they cannot immediately stop a child from handling their handbag, mushaf, cell phone or other personal belongings. An older sibling can be made in-charge of ensuring that the younger ones do not touch others’ things.
  • Bring along some crayons and a coloring book for older children to scribble on. Again, ensure that there is no clutter on the mosque floor as a result of their activities.
  • If your infant/toddler has a favorite toy, security blanket or pillow, bring it along so that s/he stays pacified, or even dozes off during prayer next to you.
  • If the mother’s infant starts crying, she should pick it up to stop the bawl, and if that doesn’t work, she should take a break from her prayer and nurse it. Do not wait until the imam’s tasleem to pick him or her up. This will cause chagrin to the others who are praying.
  • If your toddler comes crying to you during prayer for some reason, pick him up during prayer to pacify him.
  • Teach your children, as soon as they are able to understand it (which, in my experience, is after the age of two) that no one should speak when the Quran is being recited. The best way to do this is to not respond verbally to your child, no matter how much he or she prods you to, when the Quran audio is playing; if you need to speak, turn off the audio  first, when an ayah ends, then do so. Eventually, children will start to imitate this behavior of their parents i.e. they will automatically stop talking when they hear the Quran recitation commence. At the mosque during taraweeh, the same children will therefore, only speak when the imam and congregation is in tashahhud, rukoo or sujood. Shouting and talking during the recitation of the Quran is of course, something that should not be undermined or left unchecked. Again, as I said, if the parents never talk during Quran recitation, only then will the children also remain silent, likewise.

As for those of my sisters in Islam who,  for whatever reasons, can not attend taraweeh at the mosque or in other privately-held congregations, and who, after reading this article, might be feeling that they are missing out on the rewards of night prayer during Ramadan by praying supererogatory prayers at home on their own, I can leave them with no reassurance better than the one below:

Narrated by Ibn ‘Umar: Allah’s Messenger [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] said: “Do not prevent women from mosques, even though their prayer at home is better (for them).” [Abu Dawud]

And  the best advice for their menfolk:

Narrated Salim from his father, Abdullah Bin Umar, the Messenger of Allah [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] said: “When women ask permission for going to the mosque, do not prevent them.” [Sahih Muslim]

In the end, I’d just like to say that as a mother of two children, aged 4 and 2, I can testify that it is indeed possible for mothers to train their children to follow proper mosque etiquette, and to be strict with them regarding rules of behavior, and its do’s and don’ts. Believe me, you can make them behave well; all it needs is some wisdom and tact; some privileges which you can threaten to take away (“No more pineapples for you!”)….…..and a pair of eyes that can shoot daggers at the drop of a hat!  :)

Take a look:

Women Bringing Their Children To The Mosque For Taraweeh Prayer

Can Women With Children Be Prevented From The Mosque For Taraweeh?

Sadaf Farooqi is a postgraduate in Computer Science who has done the Taleem Al-Quran Course from Al-Huda International, Institute of Islamic Education for Women, in Karachi, Pakistan. 11 years on, she is now a homeschooling parent of three children, a blogger, published author and freelance writer. She has written articles regularly for Hiba Magazine, SISTERS Magazine and Saudi Gazette. Sadaf shares her life experiences and insights on her award-winning blog, Sadaf's Space, and intermittently teaches subjects such as Fiqh of Zakah, Aqeedah, Arabic Grammar, and Science of Hadith part-time at a local branch of Al-Huda. She has recently become a published author of a book titled 'Traversing the Highs and Lows of Muslim Marriage'. For most part, her Jihad bil Qalam involves juggling work around persistent power breakdowns and preventing six chubby little hands from her computer! Even though it may not seem so, most of her time is spent not in doing all this, but in what she loves most - reading.



  1. Avatar


    September 6, 2009 at 11:11 PM

    jazaaki Allahu khayran Sadaf. I love your articles, I know I always say that :) I especially love your titles, they’re so creative! ‘storm in a teacup’ lol, awesome.

    I personally love seeing children and families come to the masjid.

    It doesn’t bother me when a child cries, because the mother doesn’t really have control over that.

    What gets me is when children misbehave and become rowdy while their parents sit back and watch. We should actively teach our children, younger siblings, nieces/nephews the etiquette of the House of Allah.

    I have a friend whose sons, 5 and 3, are the most well-behaved kids I’ve ever seen mashaAllah. The older one will even pray tahiyyatul masjid before he sits down quietly next to his mother, mashaAllah. May Allah bless their parents! I wish more parents would be stern with their children when they get rowdy in the masjid, or else they won’t understand how important it is to respect the House of Allah.

    Last week our masjid had a fundraiser in a nearby hotel, and the Imam of the masjid had to send out an email to the community afterward because of the children! Children were roaming around the hotel, going up and down the elevators, some even ended up in the bar/lounge area! SubhanAllah.

    I wonder if this is a new thing, because I remember being taught how to act in the masjid and man would we be grounded if we became rowdy there! Allahul Musta’aan!

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    September 7, 2009 at 12:06 AM

    MashaAllah if parents followed your tips Sr Sadaf there would be few problems with kids at taraweeh. The reality is that where the masjid is relaxed about kids at taraweeh there is inevitably some behaviors that completely spoil the taraweeh experience for almost everyone else – hence I fully endorse masjid decisions to put mothers with children who are (1) not praying, or (2) not completely silent, and (3) not sitting still next to the parent in a separate room or in childcare.

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    September 7, 2009 at 12:42 AM

    I could not believe my ears! This was not just any mosque. It is one of the more reputed mosques of Karachi, with a solid foundation based on the Quran and Sunnah. It also runs an authentic program of Islamic education in its intrinsic madrassah (Islamic school). I decided to give them a call to make sure. The Imam who answered the phone confirmed the news.

    Wow you’re making it sound like Pakistan is full of jaahils, and most mosques are apparently against Qur’an and Sunnah. Hummm…

    Anyway, there’s a visible answer to this dilemma: do what’s best , a woman’s prayer at home is far more rewarding. Oh wait I forget, this part of sunnah is apparently politically incorrect.


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      September 7, 2009 at 2:52 PM

      We can not stop women from coming to masjid, but I agree, sisters forget reward of praying at home, and also the factor of disturbance caused by children should also motivate to stay home

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      abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed

      September 7, 2009 at 2:57 PM

      Forbidding women from attending prayer in the masjid is against the sunnah. Nor is mocking them from the sunnah. Nor is it from the sunnah of how the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam taught anyone to improve his or her practice of Islam.

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      Ibn Masood

      September 8, 2009 at 3:11 AM

      Akhi what’s your point? Pakistan is like that :)

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    Ikram Kurdi

    September 7, 2009 at 1:04 AM

    There is no wisdom in taking young children to the mosque (other than not having to give them to a babysitter). It can even be considered abuse. The poor children have to spend over an hour being sporadically left alone in a strange place having no idea what is going. It is also abuse to the rest of those who are praying when the child starts crying.

    You’ll be doing yourself and your brothers and sisters a favor by just not going to taraweeh (for women). And for men, leave the babies at home.

    My father never made me pray, he never made me go to the mosque. I started praying when I was old enough to understand what it was all about and I start following my father to the mosque when I was old enough. From then it became second nature.

    You don’t need to associate a child’s worst memories with a mosque to make them want to go there when they grow up.

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      abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed

      September 7, 2009 at 2:32 PM

      I think it is only abuse to the extent (1) that the parents only visit the masjid during Ramadan (so the place is really strange), (2) that the parents only pray (subhanAllah) in front of the children during taraweeh (so the act is like a strange adult form of play), and (3) that other parents fly into a rage (which teaches children it’s okay to do that — assuming the child’s own parents are someone angelic themselves).

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        September 7, 2009 at 2:55 PM

        I know some parents that bring children through out the year, and since children are more aware of surroundings, they are more comfortable in causing chaos, once you see them, you would not like professional wrestling more, as the children wrestling is more genuine.

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          abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed

          September 7, 2009 at 3:06 PM

          LOL, I was speaking towards what might be abuse of a child, not about reducing the rambunctious nature of children.

          To keep a child ignorant of salat, ignorant of the love of the jamat, those are abuse to the child. On the other hand, one day I pray that I will someday forget, parents brought their child and their child’s favorite toy to the musallah. The toy, a soccer ball. The eventual goal post? Yes, the imam.

          The parents of the boy did not move a muscle. Nor did they so much as apologize to the imam afterwards. Was the parents inaction due to Khushoo in salat?

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            Ikram Kurdi

            September 7, 2009 at 3:53 PM

            The problem is that children of 2-5 are too young to understand they are not supposed to have the usual type of fun at the mosque.

            A crying child disrupts the prayers of 50 people around him or her. I wouldn’t be surprised if Allah prescribes punishment for the fathers and mothers who are so careless as to allow this to happen time and again.

            Nobody pointed out what the use of taking a child of 2 to the mosque is. You’d be exposing them to all types of germs and a very low-oxygen environment (as the musallah tends to become after all those vigorous prayers).

            I seriously question the manhood of any man whose kid causes chaos either by crying or by running around.

            Can anyone please mention the expected benefits of taking children to the mosque and the proper age for this benefit to be applicable?

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      Ibn Masood

      September 8, 2009 at 3:28 AM

      Ikram… seriously akhi… you either need knowledge, need to think, or a need a good chappayt… do you even have any kids?

      And please consider the ahadeeth of when children climbed on the back of RasulAllah (saw) when he was praying in the masjid… when he was leading the prayer!

      Did that make him forbid bringing children to the masjid? Nope… oh wait.. he actually prolonged his sujud so he wouldn’t disturb the poor tyke.

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    A Sister

    September 7, 2009 at 2:17 AM

    BarakAllahu Laki Sr. Sadaf, may Allah SWT reward you with the best. Ameen.

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    September 7, 2009 at 3:22 AM

    they have a similar rule at Faisal Masjid in Islamabad….one of the biggest masjids in the world: women with kids are banned from the main prayer area but are allowed to pray in the courtyard where they have not even provided any fans. It’s quite sad.

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    Faraz Omar

    September 7, 2009 at 3:39 AM

    masha Allah nice post….we are really failing in bringing up well-behaved and well-mannered children… illa masha Allah

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    September 7, 2009 at 5:12 AM

    JazakAllahkhairun for the timely and well-written article. Since you have enumerated the children-masjid prepration tips, then most likely you follow them, thus your kids must be well-behaved and well-controlled.

    But the reality is that the vast majority of children are NOT. 90% of women who bring young children to the masjids have not trained their wards to abide by the etiquettes of masjid. The kids run wild across and between the safs, chatter loudly, fight, wail, create gaps, etc once the prayer is in progress.

    While i dont agree on imposing an all-out ban on their entry, i do understand why the masjid authorities have done so. Rules are based on general and majority behavior and NOT exceptions (which is unfortunate for the 10% of moms who have well-trained kids).

    Peace and tranquility are sought to obtain khushu in salah. We just dont get that conducive atmosphere anymore as a result of the daily “storm” that ravages the women’s section in the masjid every taraweeh.

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    September 7, 2009 at 5:25 AM

    As-salamu ‘alaykum,

    I think I can sympathise with both sides here, but probably more with the women who are losing their Kushoo’.

    I can’t understand that if the Prayer is better to be performed for a woman at home, why would she want to seek what is inferior? I’m not going to prevent women from going to the Masjid, but why go when you get more reward at home??

    Similar question to the men: if the non-obligatory Prayers are better to be performed at home, why do the vast majority pray them in the Masjid??


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    September 7, 2009 at 6:46 AM

    Apparently a sunnah is only sunnah, when our warped understandings dictate so. Anyone other opinion is no opinion. Or just feign ignorance…I haven’t heard of that hadith, so it means doesn’t exist. Or, that hadith is weak…or even better ‘oh what an awful and misogynist hadith.’

    But with regard to women, their prayer offered at home is better, because of the marfoo’ hadeeth of Umm Salamah: “The best places of prayer for women are the innermost parts of their houses.” Narrated by Ahmad in al-Musnad, 6/297; classed as hasan by the editors of al-Musnad.

    Is this hadith oppressive? Or, in fact a rahma and concession by Allah ‘azza wa jall?

    Shaykh al-Munajjid:
    A woman’s prayer in her house, even if it is offered alone, is better and brings a greater reward than her prayer in the mosque, even if it is offered in congregation. This is indicated by many hadeeths from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him).


    Maybe, it’s just the misogynist shaykh strikes back! [ Instead of lamely negging those who don’t agree with your shoddy fiqh, can someone explain why anyone would leave more ajr for less ajr? Probably, empowerment of women by rejecting the patriarchal hierarchies, and insisting oh yeah we’ll go out…That about explains it.]

    As for the kids creating a nuisance, if daddy’s too busy attending all the possible halaqahs in town, and mommy is too busy with her khushoo in salaat in masjid- how’s the kid supposed to learn anything… The paradox of religious parenthood…(in all honesty religious parents tend to have messed up kids, atleast in my experience),

    • Avatar


      September 7, 2009 at 8:19 AM

      brother/sister, sisters know that salah in their house is more rewarding. But for ONE month out of the whole year, we’d like to enjoy praying in jama’ah behind an imam who recites nicely.

      Sisters may not know the Qur’an or do not want to read out of a mushaf, so they will go to the masjid to pray behind someone who did memorize the Qur’an.

      No need to get sarcastic and accusatory…No one said that hadeeth is oppressive, rather it is a great ni’mah from Allah azza wa jal.

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        September 7, 2009 at 10:09 AM

        Thank you! That’s really true as for some sisters truly feel a better eman rush when going to the masjid rather than staying home alone.

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        abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed

        September 7, 2009 at 2:38 PM

        Indeed, it is sad that most men do not practice the sunnah of praying the sunnah prayers at home. Among the sahabah it was regular for men to offer the sunnah at home and to lead their household’s women in salat at that time. The women make the niyat for the fard salat, and the men pray their sunnah or other nawaafil.

        And if the man pray’s nawaafil at home, his wife can hear the qirat in salat and enjoy that aspect of salat which can increase her khushoo. Of course, the man should beautify his recitation in this case, too. ;)

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        September 7, 2009 at 3:02 PM

        In ramadan good deeds are further multiplied, so praying home plus ramadan would make great ajar, but again its choice of women what they want.

        The rules of children should apply to both men and women, dont bring kids unless they can stay calm, and if they cause distress among praying men and women, the parents should be intelligent enough to take them home or atleast discipline them.

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    September 7, 2009 at 7:46 AM

    I don’t mind kids in Salat but there is a limit to my patience sometimes. I know my mum took us to mosque when we were younger, but only when we were old enough to understand what was going on.

    Even when we went for Umrah, my little sister who was only 2 made the experience difficult.

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      abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed

      September 7, 2009 at 3:45 PM

      I think you touched on a point that most of us have glossed over, “…there is a limit to my patience sometimes.”

      It reminds me of one way Shaykh Muhammad Alshareef prepares his students for Hajj: whatever you least tolerate, whatever you fear most will overcome your patience, you will definitely find it as a test for you during Hajj. You have to realize that tests will come, and when they come focus on the good around you instead of on something negative that may be beyond your control anyway.

      Wherever you are, patience is also part of Ramadan.

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    September 7, 2009 at 8:15 AM

    Well, masajid should then have a separate room for moms with children so they can come to the masjid but not disturb others.

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      Holly Garza

      September 10, 2009 at 6:06 AM

      Salaam Alaikum very good point. However I have seen those rooms. They are very loud and the women who do have children in there get stuck with 12-26 other people unsupervised children interrupting Her prayer and that is not fair to the few who do the right thing. I know my child often goes into such rooms when I am praying. However I am very strict in teaching her manners and prayer etiquette so I don’t feel ashamed. Nor do I feel any shame in reminding people who remind me to be patient with her that patience does not not mean negligence of a child or not raising them in a loving yet strict & respectful manner. Truth be told Many people just Have their child(ren) they don’t Raise their child(ren)

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    September 7, 2009 at 9:50 AM

    Creative Solution: Sisters with young children should organize a babysitting cooperative so that they can rotate with the babysitting duties and still attend taraweeh for most of the month.

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    tabassum ahsan

    September 7, 2009 at 1:35 PM

    nice article mashaAllah:) very frankly when i started reading it, gave a sigh of releif that they re banning kids during the taraweh, as i once went to ‘qayaam ul lail’ and couldnt understand a word of the tafseer due to the constant disturbance the kids caused. but ur right simple and easy tips so that the kids behave in masjid .. never thought on those lines :) . i think most of us have just stopped disciplining our kids

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    September 7, 2009 at 1:40 PM

    Nice article and tips. If only every mother followed these. Personally having experienced lack of Khushoo with screaming/rowdy kids creating nuisance, I am totally for those ladies who request for certain regulations in the Masajid.
    An alternative arrangement would be to have childcare in a separate room within the building and pay a small amount to a few teenagers for childcare. At least that is what is done in out local Masjid.

    A request to the author of this article and to future authors, to please use respectful language for our elders…”old lady” can be replaced by “elderly lady” a better and respectful alternative. Translate these words into urdu “boodhi khatoon vs buzurg khatoon” where the former connotes verbal abuse while the latter, respect.

    JazaakAllahu khairan

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      Sadaf Farooqi

      September 7, 2009 at 9:21 PM

      Jazak Allahu khair for pointing this out. I have made the changes…although, “old lady” being verbal abuse? News to me! Perhaps I should see how it feels to be called that when I get old! :)

      But you are right, the word buzurg or the word “senior” is a good alternative to “old”, I suppose.

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    September 7, 2009 at 2:35 PM

    I enjoyed the article and the tips are practical, I don’t see much of a problem with babies and children at the masjid, they cry but thats expected and I think if I was a mother I would want to be able to come to the masjid and pray in Ramadan, the masjid has a totally different feel to it then staying at home.

    The issue at my masjid is moreso with the older kids ages 10-15 running around, shooting spit-balls and generally causing problems (boys) and the girls chattering. They’ve either been allowed by their parents since a young age to not be respectful in the mosque or their parents try to start bringing them to the masjid now that they are older and they havent had those habits throughout their lives.

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      Abu Rahman

      September 7, 2009 at 4:41 PM

      “The issue at my masjid is moreso with the older kids ages 10-15 running around, shooting spit-balls and generally causing problems (boys) and the girls chattering. They’ve either been allowed by their parents since a young age to not be respectful in the mosque or their parents try to start bringing them to the masjid now that they are older and they havent had those habits throughout their lives.”

      Spot on Sakina. This is the same problem we are facing here in a mosque in Massachusetts. I am not sure why their parents bring them to the mosque. Although prayer is Fard on them they will be no where to be found after the Fard prayer and they will come with handheld games and put gangstar rap as a ringtone in their cellphones and will play inside the mosque. The latest incident was playing soccer inside the mosque. It even happened that parents called 911 when rowdy behavior of a kid is pointed out by elders. In each and every ISNA and ICNA conferences there were multiple sessions on youth development, but if the training of prayer is not there then all being done for them is just going in vain. Some of the sisters here are pointing out about “aunties”, but know that Hadith where it is said that as our parents grow older they also become childish. So, the non-aunties have a bigger role to play in this case and have to find a middle ground. Think about the way we teach manners before sending our kids to school just so that other fellow Americans do not call us out as uncivilized. Why cant we do the same and teach them about mosque manners?

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    abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed

    September 7, 2009 at 2:54 PM

    May Allah bless our Shaykh, Waleed Basyouni, and his masjid, the Clear Lake Islamic Center. For a decade they contented themselves with a small musallah even while they organized the large annual Texas Dawah Convention. And Allah gave them tawfique to move into a facility with 30,000 square feet!

    And every sister reading this article will be glad for the women of his community when the masjid is complete inshaAllah — remember the hadith of Uthman radi Allaho anho who said that the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam said, “Whosoever builds a masjid for Allah’s sake, Allah will build for him a house in Paradise,” reported in Muslim; so be generous in your contributions and please send them to Clear Lake Islamic Center, 17511 El Camino Real, Houston, TX 77058.

    Why? More than 1/4 of all the space in the facility will be for sisters alone, and it will include TWO women’s musallahs. One for women with children and one for women without children.

    Well, maybe the sisters who bring their children will wish for their children to be among the whole jamat… And I sympathize with those of them who are such a good example to their children that their kids come to the masjid with some idea that salat is not play time.

    • Amad


      September 7, 2009 at 3:26 PM

      ^Agree & agree again :)

      If there is one thing I miss in Houston, it is being part of the clear lake community… if anyone has a chance to move there, they should strongly consider so!

      For donations:

  18. Avatar


    September 7, 2009 at 3:07 PM

    A pratical and creative suggestion: Sisters with young children can organize baby-sitting cooperatives in places where its difficult to go to the masjid with them. They can rotate watching each others’ children and thereby be able to attend most of the taraweeh prayers. Or even pool funds and hire a baby sitter.

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    Arif Kabir

    September 7, 2009 at 3:17 PM

    Some time ago, I had attended a parenting workshop at my local Masjid and the Imam was actually talking about this exact idea of bringing children to the Masjid. Basically, he was saying that it’s not a good idea to bring the children until they have the power to think for themselves logically and until they learn how to behave. One of the attendees asked, “but what about the Hadith of the Prophet when his grandchildren had come and they were playing around and on top of him?” He answered and said, “The reason that the incident was mentioned was because it was such a rare occurrence – this didn’t happen on a regular basis, and that is why it was specifically mentioned.” And Allah Knows Best.

    I think this statement draws a middle line in the sense that yes, children should be allowed to come to the Masjid, but doesn’t it make more sense to bring them regularly when they start to understand what is going on?

    On another note, when I was younger, it was basically set in stone that we would pray in the Masjid every day when we came home. One of my earliest recollections is once when my father took me to a Masjid in Toronto and said that this will be your future school and Masjid insha’Allah once they finish construction. I didn’t end up going there as we moved soonafter to the States, but I attended an Islamic school there. Whenever I would attend the prayers or Halaqaat, Alhamdulillah I was always encouraged by the elders to come and even speak up in the circles of knowledge, so from a young age, I really enjoyed studying Islamic knowledge because it was looked upon instead of frowned upon. A smile can make all the difference to a youngster, so everyone, keep that in mind insha’Allah :)

  20. Avatar


    September 7, 2009 at 3:28 PM

    Children are still children. No matter how “well behaved” they are. It’s not natural for them to sit for 2 hours as quiet as a mouse listening to Quran and khutbahs. And as many have mentioned 99% of kids are left to be WILD in the Masjid by parents who think it’s free babysitting.
    In many Muslim countries, bringing young children to Taraweeh is just not done. You’ll get yelled at very well by the old ladies. Alhamdulillah taraweeh is very peaceful there. IN the US/West Mosques need to start accommodating mothers and children.
    Every Masjid should have a designated room for mothers with children. It’s an absolute must. Do the brothers above really think that women should stay at home for all their child-bearing years? That’s ridiculous, women with kids are a growing part of the population and they need to pray at the mosques and learn as well. Taraweeh is a very important, very special experience and they need to be able to participate too. What does it say about us that the malls are more welcoming towards mothers with children than mosques. So please build and plan your mosques with these things in mind!!!

    • Avatar

      Sadaf Farooqi

      September 7, 2009 at 9:25 PM

      I totally agree with your mall argument.
      Those brothers who object to women and children coming to mosques don’t emit a single peep at the fact that these same women and children “hang out” without need at malls instead, even though our beloved Prophet [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] described the mall/market as the worst place, and the mosque as the best.

    • Avatar

      Umm Abdullah

      December 22, 2009 at 4:18 PM

      I really enjoyed reading this article and the comments….and have a few comments/questions of my own…
      If Allah’s and the Prophet’s (sallallahu alaihi wassalam) instruction and will was for the women to stay at home and pray because it was more rewarding:
      Why are there ahadith mentioning :
      1. how he would carry Umamah on his shoulders while praying,
      2. how he picked up Hassan and Hussain when they walked in during a sermon and kissed them,
      4. how he forbade men from forbidding women to go to the masjid
      5. how he made it necessary for women to participate in the Eid salah and dua (even if they don’t have to pray)
      Don’t you think all this is telling us something? Didn’t the women of that time know that salah at home was better? why did they go out in the dark for fajr and isha salah (perhaps because it has loud recitation which brings spirituality to an otherwise mundane day).
      Why did they pray in congregation at all? Why was the mother whose baby cried and caused the Prophet (pbuh) to shorten his salah, not be forbidden from coming to the masjid, or any mothers with babies? no woman has the time to go to a masjid 5 times a day…its sometimes that she wants to seek the spiritual comfort and strentgh that comes in such a place.

      Why are our children running away from masaajid, maybe because of some harsh experience they remember from childhood, why do the people become so harsh in deen, why not show them some love, lend a helping hand to the struggling mother? Its not just about women with kids too….the intolerance in masajid in pakistan is on every issue of insignificance, such as that kid should be wearing a cap for salah (it actually happened), why is he raising his hands too much, why is his finger moving in tashahhud, why is he saying ameen aloud. Hence we have forgotten what was really important for the sake of non-issues and killed the spirit of salah.
      I have seen fights and doors being slammed in the face of mothers and sreaming in masajid during the salah, in Ramadan , the month of mercy.
      If our mothers are forbidden from masajid, who will acclamatize the children to them? Who will teach them how to act in a masjid if they are not allowed inside.
      Yes mothers need to be taught how to handle kids in masajid…but this needs to be done in a planned civilized manner, maybe a few short talks after every salah in ramadan, maybe fliers…not this way….

  21. Avatar

    Umm Khadija

    September 7, 2009 at 4:09 PM

    Subhanallahi wa bihamdihi Subhanallahil adheem.
    I would like to narrate my own experience on this subject.
    When my first child was born, my husband and I didn’t really think twice about whether to take her for taraweeh or not (Alhamdulilah we have been taking her for 3 years now – regularly). Ofcourse we were going to take her. Alhamdulilah the first year she was too little to be any trouble. But I did begin to notice some “aunties” picking on some sisters (who usually did not come to the masjid all year long but wanted to come during Ramadhan)…some of them left in tears (literally).
    The second year she was a busy toddler and I knew the “aunties” would be on my case. (even though usually they quite like me). So a few of us asked our masjid shura to open a room for us (separate from the main prayer area) mothers to pray in with our kids. Alhamdulilah they agreed to do so but it was very ad-hoc and only 3 of us actually prayed there, none of the other sisters wanted to be separate from the actual prayer area (they took the risk of being “terrorized” by the aunties). The other problem was that we could barely hear the Qari…we ended up resorting to baby monitors!!! My husband would set one up near the Imam and we could hear atleast some of the prayers and follow along (till some child decided to switch it off).
    Finally, this year, on the first night of taraweeh, some aunties took it upon themselves to bar any sister with kids from the main prayer area, forcing them all to go to the room. Alhamdulilah this year we now have 2 rooms for mothers with kids to pray in + toys+ a TV screen which allows us to hear the salah and follow along. It is quite an improvement from where we started but there’s still some way to go.
    As a mother, there’s nothing more painful then someone telling of your child, or you on behalf of your child …what makes it worse is when the child is not actually being a “nuisance” but rather just being a child!!!
    I have seen the harassment (and it is harassment – no one ever says these things politely) take place, and I feel that only causes ill feeling and turns people away from masjids. When the Prophet (saw)’s grandsons were climbing onto his back during prayer, why didn’t anyone tell them to go sit silently with their mother? Werent they playing? Moving? Running? When the Prophet (saw) prayed holding his granddaughter, why didn’t anyone tell him to leave her with her mother at home?
    My 3 year old, now having been going to the masjid her whole life, (having been shouted at herself as well) now reads her fardh isha salah plus around 4 rakah taraweeh when we go. This would not have happened had I stopped taking her. She loves going for taraweeh.
    My plea on this is to bring about a shift in attitude…clearly announcing during taraweeh prayers “Parents please control your children!” is NOT working. Rather they should announce “Parents JZK for bringing your children to the masjids. May Allah make them to grow loving the masjid…and everyone else please try to have beautiful PATIENCE with these young muslims and make the masajids warm welcoming places for them”.
    If our children don’t love coming to the masjids…they WONT come. We have to make masjid places where they are welcome and comfortable – not shouted at. We should lobby out masjids shurahs/imams to make PROPER arrangements to cater for mothers with children. Please dont discourage children coming to the masjids.

    • Avatar

      Sadaf Farooqi

      September 7, 2009 at 9:32 PM

      Jazakillahu khairan for your positive contribution, Umm Khadija.
      My four year old daughter also loves taraweeh, willingly puts on a headscarf before going, prays/simulates the fard prayer next to me like she watches the adults do, and stands for four units of taraweeh prayer, all without my coercion or pushing. One day her shirt was a bit short, so she asked me to make her wear a longer shirt to taraweeh as she became self-conscious when she went into prostration and it went up. This is the effect of watching others pray on younger trained children.
      I ask Allah to bless you and your daughter; may your efforts bear the best fruition in both the Duniya and Akhirah. Ameen.

    • Avatar


      September 8, 2009 at 10:09 AM

      A dear friend of mine left the Mosque in tears on the first Taraweeh, as her four angelic, well behaved, well mannered children were not allowed to sit with her during the prayer IN the ladies with children section. I watched as some of the older sisters yelled at her, chastised her. It was absolutely crazy the first day, but Ramadan does preach patience, patience, and patience, and good akhlaq unto others.She vowed not to return to the Mosque, and as of yet, has not…

  22. Avatar

    abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed

    September 7, 2009 at 4:10 PM

    Allaho Akbar! I think it should be mandatory for everyone to read Shaykh AbdulNasir’s article before commenting on whether it is good for the kids to come to the masjid at a young age. Yes, we can quibble about how parents raise children, and about the ability of a very young child to benefit. But in the end, I would rather have my child (when I have one bi’idhnillah) be in the masjid in the first row, staring agape at the imam and his beautiful recitation, then have him be just about anywhere else.

  23. Avatar


    September 7, 2009 at 5:04 PM


    Women should judge the nature and age of their child. Is he or she able to sit through one hour of prayer? if not Allah Subhanawataala has given us the rukhsa to pray extra (taraweh) prayers at home, Alahamdollilah.

    it is unfair to bring a child who needs her sleep and food and maternal attention to the masjid and then torture her by not attending her while she “prays” extra prayers. what sort of sawaab is she getting by shirking her duty regarding the child. Of course if she is going to spend this time shirking her duty anyway and watching a movie at home while her child cries then it is better that she is at the mosque.

    Our behavior should never be so out of line in a masjed that we or our children be barred from it to restrain the bad behaviour.
    Jazaaik Allah Khair!

    Here is my thoughts on this issue on my blog:

    • Avatar

      Ikram Kurdi

      September 7, 2009 at 6:58 PM

      Well actually it is not better since the child will be bothering the rest of those people praying at the mosque. :)

  24. Avatar


    September 7, 2009 at 8:38 PM

    I pity the poor masjid volunteers who have to deal with the parents who blatantly disregard all pleas (and they are always polite pleas in our masjid) to take their kids to childcare or keep them next to them in salah. Regardless of your POV there is no excuse for defying what the leadership of the masjid decides on this issue.

  25. Avatar

    Siraaj Muhammad

    September 7, 2009 at 9:20 PM

    1. Designate an enclosed area for kids to play and wreak havoc, away from the worshipers.
    2. Pay quality babysitters to look after them from the start of ‘isha to the end of taraweeh, or even get volunteers, just as we do for coordinating masjid parking lot issue.
    3. Rinse and Repeat.


    • Avatar

      Sadaf Farooqi

      September 7, 2009 at 9:37 PM

      I agree – if malls and the likes of the famous ‘golden-arches’ restaurant chain can invest in play areas (away from the adults’ section) for children, in order to entice them to come and improve business, why can’t mosques invest in a separate room – away from the salaah and Quran recitation – where children can play under supervision of volunteers/paid babysitters?
      Insha’Allah it’ll be a good investment. One of those scrawny, naughty kids could be leading the congregation a couple of decades down the road!

  26. Avatar


    September 7, 2009 at 11:40 PM

    A great topic! Our masjid is very tight about disallowing mothers with children under seven from praying upstairs in the musallah, but they set up carpets in the basement (which is decent) for mothers and fathers with kids. However, because of overflow from the upstairs, older women come downstairs to pray and subhanAllah if the older women are down there, you’d think it was not set up for mothers in the first place!

    I’ve never been more embarrassed for these women (the older ones w/out kids) then I was when i saw them the other night shouting and clapping at the mothers (who were praying!) and the kids (who were not even on the prayer rugs) like they were trying to herd cattle. It was the most absurd behavior I have ever seen from someone who is old enough to be considered an adult (and during Ramadan!).

    Personally, I prefer to pray at home with my kids are asleep, because I find it difficult to have khushoo’ when I have to keep one eye on my small kids, but I understand the plight of mothers who have tried to pray taraweeh at the masjid and have run into condescending, demeaning behavior from elder women (who you’d hope would be sympathetic). It is very unfortunate.

    • Avatar

      Holly Garza

      September 10, 2009 at 6:42 AM

      Salaam Alaikum Yes I agree some of the older women are Very set in their ways and often more rude by the yelling and reprimanding than the children themselves

  27. Avatar


    September 7, 2009 at 11:51 PM

    Asalaam o alaikum, perhaps a happy medium would be to have babysitters at home, if the mother wants to come for taraweh.
    I feel to keep a toddler or an infant awake from 8 pm till midnight is unfair and perhaps even bordering on incompetent parenting.
    Sometimes we as mothers have to sacrifice our desires including going to the masjed to pray extra nafil in jamaat (taraveh). It is not for long for as soon as the child is three she can train the child to be still for salaat.

    In my humble opinion raising a good balanced child is far more important than any taraweh that was prayed with a baby screaming and unattended.
    Allah knows best!

    • Avatar


      September 8, 2009 at 2:08 AM

      If this was a option am sure the mothers would have looked into this.

    • Avatar

      Holly Garza

      September 10, 2009 at 6:40 AM

      Very Valid point! Stay home until they understand, don’t go, or only go for a few rakas. AllahuAlim

  28. Avatar


    September 8, 2009 at 2:39 AM

    I was doing security in the sisters prayer hall last year only to find out the obvious. yes women are very different then the brothers.

    JazakhiAllahu Kheiran Sr. Sadaf, your tips were helpful. InshaAllah I hope mothers everywhere can benefit from them. It has come to a point in our ummah that we either have no knowledge of anything, or we ignore the simple things like treating each other well or being considerate of others.

    Allah is ghafoorul rahim

  29. Avatar


    September 8, 2009 at 3:41 AM

    Jazaakillaahu Khayr Sr. Sadaf. Excellent tips. I truly hope others will benefit, bi idhnillaah.

    I’ve read all the comments, but I can not make myself comprehend how anyone could believe that a masjid is not a place for a child. Okay, if you’re just going to drop your kid off there and leave, and let them do whatever they want, with whomever they want, and however they want – then there might be a problem.

    My siblings and I practically grew up in the masjid. From a young age, my father would take us with him to every salah he was able to attend in the masjid, including and especially Fajr. Now I wouldn’t be surprised if some people balk at this statement, the horror of waking your child up at the crack of dawn and hauling them out of the house! But no. Being in the masjid, constantly surrounded by Muslims and reminders of Allaah has truly shaped the way I think. I remember nights when my older brother and sister and I would be sitting out on the masjid lawn after Salatul Maghrib, just talking, while my father was attending a small talk. Generally we would be inside, but if we ever got tired, we would simply go right outside and talk. You amy be wondering “Why bring your children if they won’t stay inside to learn?” Even if we aren’t inside the whole time, the fact that we were AT the masjid, the House of Allaah, a place where your heart is truly put to rest, was better for us than being at home. To this day I attend that same masjid. To this day, I want to go pray Fajr, Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Ishaa’ prayers there *because* of the amazing feeling I get when I’m in/around the masjid. At times I feel bad for wanting to go because, as many have mentioned, women get greater reward at home.

    Of course, this is just one story regarding this topic, one side. It does not have the same effect on all children. It depends on varying factors. I simply shared this story to show that there *is* much benefit for children being in and around the masjid.

    I also highly encourage everyone to read Imam AbdulNasir’s article . A 5 minute read AT MOST (unless you have children running around you. Kidding).

    • Avatar

      Holly Garza

      September 10, 2009 at 6:38 AM

      Alhamdulilah! :)

      Very good points and the fact that You STILL to this day are a Religious Practicing Muslim MashaAllah it shows the positive effect of your upbringing.

  30. Avatar


    September 8, 2009 at 6:30 AM

    Assalamu alaykum

    There seems to be some big problems in the way some people view children. I have seen some children misbehave in the masjid, and it used to bother me before I had kids. But I would never tell the mothers not to bring them. Instead, I would play with them. Sometimes the kids just need some attention, and very little attention at that, then they will behave.

    I see people telling the women to stay home to pray tarawih, but what about the men? the men get more reward from praying the sunnah at home as well, so why isn’t anyone telling them to stay home with the kids?! I would never advise men to miss jumah or a fard prayer at the masjid, but this is a sunnah so both men and women have the same right to go.

    I have some tips for the people who don’t want children in the masjid

    1. If you can’t get along with the other Muslims, then stay at home

    2. If you can’t have khushoo in your prayer with any little distraction, then stay at home

    3. Do not allow the shaytan to enter our masjid by allowing your anger to come out. Say ‘a-uthu-billah’ and make wudhu before you make an angry, hurtful comment

    4. Straighten the rows so the small children do not wander off behind their mothers view and get hurt

    5. Do not allow children to run in front of you during the prayer- if they run in front of you, they will run in front of everyone else, but if you stop them enough times, they will learn.

    6. Leave the sides of the rows for sisters with children, so they can easily leave the salat if need be.

    7. If a child is getting rowdy, instead of disciplining them, first distract them and take some time out to play with them. 90% of the time, the child that disturbs the ladies is not even the one causing the problems, often they are whining and crying because some other child hurt them- so don’t be hasty, let the child explain their side, and really listen to them.

    People should also understand that not all children are the same. I could not leave my children with a babysitter. I don’t have any family around, so they are not used to being in the care of anyone but me. People make these ‘facilities’ mandatory, and then it hurts my kids because they do not like to be away from me, and they cry more. There have been events where there was mandatory babysitting for the children. Me and my friends made a circle and kept our babies and children within it, and sat on the floor with them and i’m sure nobody even noticed our kids were there because of how well behaved they all were mashAllah. And the only reason I believe our kids behave better is because we are always there for them when they need us.

    Some more tips I have for the mothers with children, although I know they will not apply to everyone

    1. Ramadan is an excellent month. All our habits change. We sleep less, eat less, pray more. I let my kids get into the ‘bad’ habit of staying up late in ramadan. The whole family stays up to pray, and they are not fussy in the least at the masjid, because they are not tired.

    2. Tarawih is not obligatory. You don’t have to do EVERY rakah. If you see your children fussing during the 4th rakah for example, then when that rakah is over, sit out the next 2 rakahs and spend some time cuddling and playing with your child.

    3. Try to help your children make good friends in the masjid before the salat starts- not necessarily the same age as them either. If you can find a mature 5 yr old to mommy your toddler, then let them. It will keep both your toddler and that child busy- Children love responsibility.

    • Avatar

      Sadaf Farooqi

      September 8, 2009 at 8:01 AM

      Jazakillahu khair for your valuable contribution.
      I wish everyone had your positive attitude, problem-solving approach and tolerance/understanding of children’s behavior. I agree with all your points. May Allah instill the love of the masajid and the Quran in your children’s hearts. Ameen.

      • Avatar


        September 8, 2009 at 9:40 AM

        assalamu alaykum

        ameen, and the same for your children ameen. great article btw. :)

    • Avatar


      September 8, 2009 at 10:03 AM

      Excellent points Sister..

    • Avatar

      Holly Garza

      September 10, 2009 at 6:36 AM

      MashaAllah a logical, easy to implement, parent, and worship post by a parent :) Very good tips InshaAllah may the parent who don’t know how or where to start training their child benefit from this InshaAllah.

  31. Avatar


    September 8, 2009 at 10:01 AM


    I simply loved the above article, and can relate very well to it.

    We live in North Texas; the local mosque has such discipline problems during the month of Ramadan, that the BOD has resorted to hiring a private non Muslim security firm help out with OUR Muslim children. Come to the Taraweeh prayer and one will see children screaming, crying, throwing food on the Musalla area , running out into the parking lot, running into the bathrooms turning on the water.. etc etc etc. Young, gorgeous teenage girls, dressed in their latest fads, heavy eye makeup, brightest gloss, latest cell phone, will make the obligatory trip to the drinking fountain during each and every rakaat, and peek outside to see if any young Muslim guys are out there. After the 8 rakaats, prepare for the mad rush as most exit the building and sit outside for a bit of socialising and the latest gossip and the important discussion as to what to wear for Eid; whilst very blatantly discussing how cute that so and so is, and ohh, look at her what does she think SHE is. !!!!! The young teenage boys will be at one of the basketball courts at a nearby center; should you happen to enter one of the off site parking lots and you will see at least 10-15 young Muslim teenagers and students puffing away on their cigarettes!

    The above scenario has remained so for the past few years. Our Masjid is rightly frustrated as to what to do. As of yet the problem has not been dealt with effectively. At the beginning of each prayer, one will hear the standard announcement “please watch your children, children are running amok over the building, please control your teenage boys and girls’.

    Any suggestions??


  32. Avatar


    September 8, 2009 at 11:54 AM

    Jazakillah khair sadaf. I read the article without reading who the author was and as soon as I read it i figured it was yours, mashaallah! Love it.

    Like Olivia, I also prefer to pray at home while the kids were asleep. But this year I discovered the beauty of praying taraweeh at the masjid (never been able to before bec of my kids’ ages, logistics, my kids start fasting at a young age so i ned them to be able to wake up for suhoor so they had to go to bed early etc)
    Alhamdulillah though this year, the masjid we pray in don’t have many women attending during the weekdays so we don’t have rowdy kids problems. There’s only about 4-5 women during the weekdays. It’s a small town. During the weekends, we probably have about a few rows, but then again, I don’t go during the weekends lately bec my child has been sick and so I take turns with my girls. They stay home with the rest of the kids during the weekdays and I go, weekends, they go for taraweeh and I stay home with my toddler.

    and that is true too that many women probably forget about the reward of praying at home.

    I also do notice also that it’s the older women who tend to get very annoyed with young children being rowdy, and everytime I see that, I think about myself,

    Will I be like that when all my kids are grown up ?

    and it scares me. Logically, it’s the older women who should be more understanding bec they probably have gone through this when their kids were younger, but from some experience (from my mother) I also gather that the older you get, the more quiet you need, and so the less tolerant you are of kid noise. What I can say about this is,

    May Allah fill our hearts with mercy for as long as we live. Ameen.

    Anyway sadaf, I love your tips, especially the very last one. I need to implement that one. Jazakillah khair!

    • Avatar

      Sadaf Farooqi

      September 8, 2009 at 11:46 PM

      Masha’Allah you seem to have a great balance in your worship and parenting routine, Juli – praying at home as well as at the mosque; having the children come to the mosque too, but babysit too. And the fact that you are making them fast young, barak Allahu feeki! May Allah make your children pious and righteous. Ameen.

      I also think to myself, “Will I become less tolerant of little children at the mosque, too, as I get older, forgetting the initial chaotic years of motherhood?” I seek refuge with Allah from adopting any behavior that goes against the sunnah; old age, youth, or whatever, come what may.

  33. Avatar

    Abu Ayesha Al Emarati

    September 8, 2009 at 3:10 PM

    Accompanying parents to the masjid should be a privilege for the children, not a norm. And hence they should be made to earn that privilege by being on their best behaviour.

    If a child is naughty at home or if he/she has been noisy in the masjid, he/she should not be allowed to go to the masjid until behavioural issues are sorted out.

    I think babies are a no, no especially for Taraaweeh prayers.

    • Avatar


      September 8, 2009 at 4:50 PM

      so let me get this straight – your suggestion is for children to receive proper islamic tarbiyyah and character by *not* coming to the masjid?


      please tell me this is a joke

      • Avatar

        Abu Ayesha Al Emarati

        September 10, 2009 at 4:35 AM

        Fine, akhi. Bring them to the masjid. Its not like its a matter of Halaal and Haraam. I personally have never had my concentration disturbed by fighting, brawling, crying children, but I can empathise with those for whom this is a problem.

        Allow them in, allow them in! The sister posted a few pointers about controlling children in the masaajid and parents would do well to pay heed to them.

        Akhi, one question before I go, where did you first learn how to pray?


      • Avatar

        Abu Ayesha Al Emarati

        September 10, 2009 at 4:42 AM

        Your adaab are quite exemplary by the way, May Allah give you its jaza’

      • Avatar

        Muslim from Canada

        February 3, 2016 at 10:54 AM

        Why should this be a joke?? Honestly Muslim kids even teens who misbehave often and their Muslim parents who are irresponsible are my “pet peeve” so even if they can’t be shunned doesn’t mean that everyone has to associate with them. Can you understand why some Muslims are at ease with better behaved Muslim youths instead of ill mannered Muslim youths and can you understand why Muslims even Muslim youths who are annoying that even if I’m not confrontational with them I tend to keep my distance from them as much as possible.

  34. Avatar

    Umm Reem

    September 8, 2009 at 4:20 PM

    JazakiAllah khiar sr. sadaf…

    interestingly i’d been finding the masjids very “child-friendly” here in middle east, until today! I’d been praying taraweeh behind Sh. Muhammad Al-Arifi and the masjid is huge…they have a separate section for women without children…but today when i went there, they wouldn’t let me take my 3 yr. old because the admin. had issued a new rule of “NO Children”!!

    I was getting a bit irritated because my daughter doesn’t even make a sound, I begged and nagged the security lady but she kept saying no…I guess she didn’t have any other option…

    But my husband told me that after the taraweeh, Sh. Arifi announced not to stop the kids from coming to the masjid, alhamdullialh :)

    • Avatar

      Sadaf Farooqi

      September 9, 2009 at 3:10 AM

      I hope they let your daughter come from now on, insha’Allah!

    • Avatar

      Holly Garza

      September 10, 2009 at 6:31 AM

      Alhamdulilah. It’s always a few who ruin it for all. InshaAllah you don’t have any more problems.

  35. Avatar

    Abu Ayesha Al Emarati

    September 8, 2009 at 4:27 PM

    I asked Sheikh Khalid Al Anbari about this issue a few hours ago. He said it is better for mums with little children to pray at home.

    Allah knows best.

    • Avatar


      September 8, 2009 at 4:49 PM

      depends on how you asked the question.

      can you rephrase the question to him by stating “is it better for mothers to bring their children to the masjid for taraweeh in non-muslim lands where children may not have any exposure to islam (much less the masjid) otherwise?”

      these 1 line fatwas are dangerous, especially if they have no reasoning stated behind them and one sentence is treated as wahy such that anyone opposing it is wrong. not saying you’re doing that :) but a lot of ppl unfortunately do.

      • Avatar

        Danish Hasan

        September 9, 2009 at 3:27 PM

        Maybe you shoudl just ask should Muslims live in Non-Muslim lands? See what answer you get.

        • Avatar


          September 9, 2009 at 6:42 PM

          assalamu alaykum

          Send me some money, a job and a citizenship and i’ll gladly move inshaAllah :) Until then, we need to make the best of what we’ve got.

      • Avatar

        Abu Ayesha Al Emarati

        September 10, 2009 at 4:39 AM

        I asked the Sheikh again and he repeated his answer. He also said that this is not an issue of Haraam and Halaal so there is no need to be rigid about either view. Ultimately parents are the best judge of their kids.

        If your child is well-behaved take him. If he is naughty teach him!

  36. Avatar


    September 9, 2009 at 5:44 AM

    assalamu alaykum

    To the people who don’t want children in the masjid, just wait until the day where the imam is refused entry to the mosque. He will be told, “All elders over 60 are no longer allowed in the mosque during tarawih. We used to let them but we had too many problems. They misbehave in the masjid causing the others to lose their khushoo. They are always shouting about something or the other between prayers. Besides, the ones who are incontinent might get some najasah in our mosque, even if they wear diapers, there’s still that risk. We know that there are the few who are well behaved, whose children look after them properly and know how to control them so they don’t disturb others, but if we let one elder in, then all the elders will want to come and then we will have problems again. Besides, it better they do tarawih in their homes. “

    • Avatar


      September 10, 2009 at 4:58 AM

      assalamu alaykum

      i did not mean anything bad by this comment. in fact, the prophet peace be upon him encouraged us to have mercy towards our children and elders. i was using this as an analogy just to show how silly it is to ban someone from the masjid simply because of their age! at least elders have some say, but we really must protect our children who cannot speak for themselves.

  37. Avatar

    abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed

    September 9, 2009 at 1:29 PM

    SubhanAllah. It’s clear from the comments that this is one of those fault-line issues among the ummah. The more compassion we have for each other, and I do not mean the more compassion we expect others to give us, but the more compassion we show each other, the stronger the whole ummah will be.

    The Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam praised the one who withdraws from arguing with his brother even when the one who withdraws believes he is right. How far is that from the Western notion of having the last word? Let the one who laughs last laugh hardest — indeed the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam taught us that Allah hates the sound of the braying donkey.

    May Allah put barakat in your last nights of Ramadan, whether you worship Him alone or in groups. May Allah bless your children and make them and your spouses the coolness of your eyes. And may Allah be pleased with the ummah this Ramadan, accept it from us, and forgive us by it our sins. Ameen.

  38. Avatar


    September 9, 2009 at 6:32 PM

    As salaamu `aleykum,

    The Prophet (SAW) taught us that believers should have mercy for young children (esp. in this Month of Mercy) and that we should also have respect for our elders.

    Clearly this is one of those hot-button issues, esp. since it often aligns along generational (young parents vs. elder folk) and cultural (western vs. eastern) divides. I’m pretty sure that in practice, each masjid can have a policy which serves its members and does not violate established principles. The same goes for many other issues like moonsighting, partitions, elections, etc… Having different approaches helps give room for each of us to go where it helps us to most easily fulfill our deen, and makes us feel welcome without pandering.

    Most of the articles on the net (including this one) seem to omit the hadith that establishes the principle of restricting young/rowdy children from the masjid:

    Keep the insane and [small] children away from your masjids. [Ibn Maja]

    There’s obviously a lot of fiqh involved in actually implementing any policy, e.g. this SunniPath discussion. I just found it strange that I hadn’t seen a previous reference here to a basic fiqh discussion regarding this issue…

    May Allah(SWT) Give us Mercy and Elevate our Status because of our faith and deeds. Ramadan Kareem…

    • Avatar


      September 9, 2009 at 8:43 PM

      OMG a hadith which doesn’t agree with me!!!!!! *sarcasm intended*

      Keep the insane and [small] children away from your masjids. [Ibn Maja]

      As long as this hadith is not established as being ‘dhaeef’ it will be ignored, since it cannot be verified. And the only verification that we are looking for is that this hadith must be weak or rejected…oh and fiqh and adaab of salaat and masjid etc… fiqh?!!! Isn’t it like mostly against qur’an and sunnah.

      [/Again sarcasm intended]

  39. Avatar

    Holly Garza

    September 10, 2009 at 6:24 AM

    Salaam Alaikum aaaah the much debated, often argued with, and by me conversation and hadith……..

    I am so split on this. So many people assume I am inpatient and too strict. I think they are too lax.

    The Masjid should not bar women with children because
    one she may VERY Much need Allah’s love and the ummah that day and to be denied it would catastrophic.

    Two-Not all women are neglectful when they raise their children and a few do raise them correctly with manners, respect, and knowledge of what prayer is.

    Three-Not everyone whose child cries is always unruly, crying or misbehaving. Children are nothing but little people and they have their bad days just like us. Allahu Alim. They should not be banned for one day they were ill, moody, or colicky.

    Four-Children need to be in the Mosque to learn to feel Allah’s love and Rahma and see other families such as theirs however this should NOT be their only exposure to Islam, prayer, and or their parents “ignoring” them. This should not be the only time the parent prays in front of them or “looks Muslim” (hijab, Islamic attire) Of course the child will act up. If my parent suddenly acted/looked different I would act up too!

    That said I hate when people tell me about the hadith of the prophet praying just to excuse their rude and negligent behavior. Just because he was patient does not mean his grandson was unruly and interrupting others.

    A child pulling at their parent or on their parent is a lot different than that one running in the Masjid, running in front of other praying people, or crying, screaming and throwing a tantrum. Now by IGNORING that behavior YOU have allowed Many people to be annoyed, angry, or have a hard time concentrating, which all breaks prayer. You single handedly stopped a few prayers and peace of mind. I, as a Parent REFUSE to raise a child who would cause me this! Call me strict, yes I am. I pray AT HOME. My child learns at home. They will only learn this if you teach them at home. Praying at the Mosque is a privilege. It is NOT a vacation for us to assume someone else is or will watch our child. It is NOT a break from parenting.

    Very good subject. Very good article. JazakaAllah Khayer for sharing.

  40. Avatar

    Abu Rumaisa

    September 11, 2009 at 3:06 PM

    My siblings & used go to the mosques in Saudi since we were abt 3-4yrs old since we could comprehend most instructions & were able to comply fully. I was definitely more aware of the situation when my younger cousins were growing up.. children were told that they are going to the House of Allah & have to be respectful and quiet in there. If anyone misbehaved then either their dads or uncles (my father being one of them) would give them the stare and that was more enough to bring them back to good behavior. If parents failed or were unable to control, random uncle in the masjid would give the kid a piece of his mind & that always worked. Unlike parents of today who are overprotective of kids, they were ok when strangers disciplined their kids as it was their own good & for the good of the community. I hardly recall seeing toddlers younger than 3 in masjids (other than the two holy mosques).

    I am not against bringing children to the mosque but those younger than 3 don’t understand what’s going completely & r still getting used to behaving well. And if they see other kids running around, they will follow them. If u want to take them to masjid to pray salaah every now & then it’s ok but to bring them in for taraweeh when u know very well that the kid can’t be behaved for such long periods of time is being selfish.

    I learned my lesson the hard way… I have a daughter who is two yrs old, last year my wife was in Saudi & either my mother or her mother took care of my daughter when she went for taraweeh. So this year was the 1st year we took her to taraweeh, we would keep her by our side when the prayer started but half way through the 1st rakah she was gone..usually to the water cooler to make a mess. No matter what we were not able to get it rite that nite, the next day it was the same thing but the masjid officials decided to remove the cooler due to the mess being made by these kid, my daughter being one of them. With the cooler gone, we thought we were ok now. But that wasn’t the case, by now she was friends with other toddlers and this meant running, screaming around with them. I know that my daughter is too young to understand the importance of the mosque.. to her it’s just large open space to play. I can’t make a two yr old sit in one place for two hrs, I m being impractical if think I can do that. The masjid isn’t large enough to have a room for kids, it’s a section for men & another for women. We had to make the tough choice & my wife decided to stay home… disturbing the prayers of 50 ppl to get the pleasure of taraweeh in masjid was a selfish act according for her & rightly so.

    Prior to ramadan, I did take her to the masjid for maghrib or isha & still do so. But since the prayers are short, she’s well behaved during these prayers. If she can comprehend the importance of masjid & stay behaved for 2 hours by next ramadan then insha’Allah my wife will come with her for taraweeh but till then those who r praying taraweeh will not be disturbed by my child.

    • Avatar

      Abu Ayesha Al Emarati

      September 11, 2009 at 6:15 PM

      MashaAllah, always a pleasure to read what you have to say. A very well thought ot post and I agree entirely.

  41. Avatar


    April 28, 2010 at 8:39 AM

    This is an issue close to heart, and I do not understand why during nafl prayers people make such a big deal if a child does happen to step in front of them. i sit at teh back so i am not disturbing anyone and I am forced to join the rows in front where inevitably my kids (3 and 5) run to find me. Why can’t we respect another’s decesion and show a little understanding!!!

  42. Pingback: Bringing Kids to Masjid for Tarawikh « Alimkids Islamic Playgroup, Islamic Playschool, Islamic Bookshop for Kids, Malaysia

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Raising A Child Between Ages 2-7 | Dr Hatem Al Haj

Dr. Hatem El Haj M.D Ph.D



children drawing crayons

This is called a pre-operational period by Jean Piaget who was focused on cognitive development.

Children this age have difficulty reconciling between different dimensions or seemingly contradictory concepts. One dimension will dominate and the other will be ignored. This applies in the physical and abstract realms. For example, the water in the longer cup must be more than that in the shorter one, no matter how wide each cup is. Length dominates over width in his/her mind.

Throughout most of this stage, a child’s thinking is self-centered (egocentric). This is why preschool children have a problem with sharing.

In this stage, language develops very quickly, and by two years of age, kids should be combining words, and by three years, they should be speaking in sentences.

Erik Erikson, who looked at development from a social perspective, felt that the child finishes the period of autonomy vs. shame by 3 years of age and moves on to the period of initiative vs. guilt which will dominate the psycho-social development until age 6. In this period, children assert themselves as leaders and initiative takers. They plan and initiate activities with others. If encouraged, they will become leaders and initiative takers.

Based on the above, here are some recommendations:

In this stage, faith would be more caught than taught and felt than understood. The serene, compassionate home environment and the warm and welcoming masjid environment are vital.

Recognition through association: The best way of raising your kid’s love of Allah and His Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is by association. If you buy him ice cream, take the opportunity to tell them it is Allah who provided for you; the same applies to seeing a beautiful rose that s/he likes, tell them it is Allah who made it. Tell them stories about Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Statements like: “Prophet Muhammad was kinder to kids than all of us”; “Prophet Muhammad was kind to animals”; ” Prophet Muhammad loved sweets”; ” Prophet Muhammad helped the weak and old,” etc. will increase your child’s love for our most beloved ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

Faith through affiliation: The child will think, “This is what WE do, and how WE pray, and where WE go for worship.” In other words, it is a time of connecting with a religious fraternity, which is why the more positive the child’s interactions with that fraternity are, the more attached to it and its faith he/she will become.

Teach these 2-7 kids in simple terms. You may be able to firmly insert in them non-controversial concepts of right and wrong (categorical imperatives) in simple one-dimensional language. Smoking is ḥarâm. No opinions. NO NUANCES. No “even though.” They ate not ready yet for “in them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people.”

Promote their language development by speaking to them a lot and reading them books, particularly such books that provoke curiosity and open discussions to enhance their expressive language. Encourage them to be bilingual as learning two languages at once does not harm a child’s cognitive abilities, rather it enhances them.

This is despite an initial stage of confusion and mixing that will resolve by 24 to 30 months of age. By 36 months of age, they will be fluent bilingual speakers. Introduce Islamic vocabulary, such as Allah, Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), masjid, Muslim, brothers, salaat, in-sha’a-Allah, al-Hamdulillah, subhana-Allah, etc. (Don’t underestimate the effect of language; it does a lot more than simply denoting and identifying things.)

In this pre-operational period, their ability of understanding problem solving and analysis is limited. They can memorize though. However, the focus on memorization should still be moderate. The better age for finishing the memorization of the Quran is 10-15.

Use illustrated books and field trips.

Encourage creativity and initiative-taking but set reasonable limits for their safety. They should also realize that their freedom is not without limits.

Between 3-6 years, kids have a focus on their private parts, according to Freud. Don’t get frustrated; tell them gently it is not appropriate to touch them in public.

Don’t get frustrated with their selfishness; help them gently to overcome this tendency, which is part of this stage.

Parenting: Raising a Child from Age 0 to 2 | Dr. Hatem Al Haj

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Who Can We Trust?

Danish Qasim




Spiritual abusers are con-artists, and if they were easy to spot then they would be far less successful. That is why you must exercise vigilance and your own judgment above that of public opinion. Never let the person’s position make you trust them more than you would without it.

Spiritual abusers work covertly, present themselves well, and use their service as a cover beneath which to operate. The way to avoid them is to recognize their tactics and avoid being caught by them.

Blurring Lines

Spiritual abuse often begins with hard-to-spot precursors, with manipulators exploiting grey areas and blurring boundaries to confuse targets. For example, when setting someone up for illicit relations or secret marriage, teachers may begin with inappropriate jokes that lower boundaries.

They may touch others in ways that confuse the person touched as to permissibility, for example, men touching women on their hijabs rather than direct skin. They may inappropriately touch someone in ways that leave him/her wondering whether or not it was intentional.

There may be frivolous texting while the premise of engagement is ‘work only’. Boundaries may be blurred by adding flirtatious content, sending articles praising polygamy, or mentioning dreams about getting married. The recipient may struggle to pinpoint what’s wrong with any of this, but the bottom line is that they don’t have to.

While these tactics may be hard to prove, you don’t need to prove that you don’t want to be communicated with in this way and that you will not tolerate it. You can withdraw from the situation on the basis of your own boundaries.

One of the key challenges in standing up to spiritual abuse is the lack of confidence in calling out bad behavior or the need for validation for wrongs. We may be afraid to a question a teacher who is more knowledgeable than us when he is doing clear haram. However, halal and haram are defined by Allah and no human has the right to amend them. If a religious leader claims exemption to the rules for themselves or their students, that’s a big, bright, red flag.

Beware of Bullying

When you witness or experience bullying, understand that a Muslim’s dignity is sacred and don’t accept justifications of ‘tarbiyah’ (spiritual edification/character reformation) or breaking someone’s nafs (ego). If you didn’t sign up for spiritual edification, don’t accept any volunteer spiritual guides.

If you did sign up, pay attention as to whether these harsh rebukes are having a positive or negative effect. If they are having a negative emotional, mental, or physical effect on you, then this is clearly not tarbiyah, which is meant to build you up.

When abuse in the name of tarbiyah happens, it is the shaykh himself or the shaykha herself who needs character reformation. When such behavior goes unchecked, students become outlets of unchecked anger and are left with trauma and PTSD. This type of bullying is very common in women’s groups.

Trust Built and Trust Destroyed

There are different levels of trust, and as it relates to religious leaders, one does not need to investigate individuals or build trust for a perfunctory relationship. You do not need a high degree of trust if you are just attending someone’s general lectures and not establishing any personal relationship.

If you want to study something with an Islamic teacher, do so as you would with a school-teacher, understanding that their position does not make that person either exceptionally safe nor exceptionally harmful. Treat religious figures as religious consultants who are there to answer questions based on their knowledge. Give every teacher a clean slate, don’t have baseless suspicions, but if behavior becomes manipulative, exploitative, cultish, or otherwise abusive, don’t justify it either.

Personal accountability is a cornerstone of the Islamic faith and we have to take responsibility for our own faith and actions. There is no need to be suspicious without reason, but nor is there a justification for blind trust in someone you don’t know, just because they lead prayers or have a degree of religious education.

It is natural to ask ourselves whether people can be trusted after experiencing or learning about spiritual abuse. The answer is yes – you can trust yourself. You can also trust others in ways that are appropriate for the relationship. If you know someone well and they have proven over a long period of time to be trustworthy, keep secrets, and do not use you or take advantage of you, then it makes sense to trust that person more than a stranger or someone who has outward uprightness that you do not know well. That level of trust is earned through long-time demonstration of its characteristics.

Seeing someone on stage for years or relying on testimony of people impressed by someone should not convince you to lower your guard. Even if you do believe someone is pious, you still never drop your better judgment, because even saints are fallible.

Don’t Fall for Reputation

Never take other respected leaders praising or working alongside an individual as proof of his or her trustworthiness. It is possible that the teachers you trust are unaware of any wrongdoing. It’s not a reasonable expectation, nor is it a responsibility for them to boycott or disassociate themselves from another religious figure even if they are aware of them being abusive.

Furthermore, skilled manipulators often gain favor from respected teachers both overseas and domestically to gain credibility.

If one shaykh praises another shaykh, but you witness abusive behavior, don’t doubt yourself based on this praise. The praise may have been true at one time or may have been true in the experience of the one giving the praise, but no one knows another person’s current spiritual state as spiritual states can change.

Even if the abusive individual was previously recognized to be a great wali (saint), understand that there are saints who have lost their sainthood as they do not have isma (divine protection from sin or leaving Islam) like the prophets (upon them be peace) do. What was true yesterday, may not be true today.

Often praises of integrity, courage, and inclusiveness are heaped on men who support influential female figures. However, men who are praised as ‘allies,’ and thanked for ‘using their privilege’ to support female scholarship and the participation of women in religious organizations and events are no more trustworthy than those who don’t.

Abusers are often very image-conscious and may be acting to improve their own image and brand strength. Influential male and female religious figures also help one another with mutual praising and social-proofing. That is how the misdoings of men who are supportive of women are ignored, as long as they support the right politicized causes such as inclusive spaces and diverse panels.

Don’t be tricked into trust through a person’s credentials. An ijazah (license) to be a shaykh of a tariqa is purportedly the highest credential. It’s a credential that allegedly has a chain that goes all the way back to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), but that does not impart any of the Prophet’s character or trustworthiness in and of itself. A shaykh has to continuously live up to the ijaza and position. The position does not justify behavior outside of the sharia or any form of abuse. Scholars are inheritors of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) only to the degree to which they embody his character.

When a teacher who hasn’t spent adequate time with righteous shayukh abuses, they are said to lack suhba (companionship of the pious), and that is why they are abusive.

The truth is many of the worst abusers in traditional circles are highly certified, have spent adequate time with shayukh, are valid representatives of them, and are able to abuse because the previously mentioned credentials lead to blind trust.

Don’t let certifications about spiritual abuse, ethical leadership, or the like mean anything to you. Skilled narcissists will be the first to get such certifications and take courses because they know this will make people trust them more. You will see courses on ‘healthy leadership’ and ‘spiritual abuse prevention’ being taught and designed by them. There is a false premise behind such certifications that if religious leaders knew how abuse occurs and the damage it causes victims they wouldn’t do it. The fact is they know how abuse works, know how damaging it is, and don’t care. In a way, it’s good to have lessons on spiritual abuse from purveyors of abuse, just as learning theft prevention from a thief might be the most beneficial.

Don’t judge by rhetoric

Don’t look at the rhetoric of groups or individuals to see how seriously they take abuse. Spiritual abuse occurs in all groups. It is common for members of one group to call out abuse that they see in another group while ignoring abuse occurring within their own group.

Sufis who will talk about the importance of sharia, label others as ‘goofy-Sufis,’ and insist that real Sufis follow sharia, will very often abuse in private and use the same justifications as the other Sufi groups they publicly deride.

Many imams and religious leaders will talk publicly about the importance of justice, having zero-tolerance for abuse, and the importance of building safe spaces, while they themselves are participating in the abuse.

Furthermore, female religious leaders will often cover up secret marriages, and other abuses for such men and help them to ostracize and destroy the credibility of their victims as long as their political views align. Muslim mental health providers often incorporate religious figures when they do programs, and in some cases they involve known abusers if it helps their cause.

In some cases, the organization does not know of any abuse. Abusive individuals use partnerships with Muslim mental health organizations to enhance their image as a “safe person.” This is especially dangerous due to the vulnerability of those struggling with mental illness and spiritual issues, who may then be exploited by the abuser. It is a community responsibility to ensure the safety of these vulnerable individuals and to ensure that they do have access to resources that can actually help them.

Don’t judge by fame

One false assumption is that the local-unknown teacher is sincere while the famous preacher is insincere and just wants to amass followers. This contrast is baseless although rhetorically catchy.

The fact is, many unknown teachers desire fame and work towards it more than those who are famous. Other times the unknown and famous teacher may have the same love of leadership, but one is more skilled than the other. They both may also be incredibly sincere.

Ultimately, we cannot judge what is in someone’s heart but must look at their actions, and if their actions are abusive, they are a danger to the community. Both famous and non-famous teachers are equally capable of spiritual abuse.

Look for a procedure

Before being involved in an organization, look for a code of conduct. There is no accountability without one in non-criminal matters. Never depend on people, look at the procedures and ensure that the procedure calls for transparency, such as the one we at In Shaykh’s Clothing published and made free for the public to use.

Procedure also applies to an organizations’ financials. Do not donate money to organizations based on personalities, instead demand financial transparency and accountability for the money spent. There is great incentive for spiritual abusers to win the trust of crowds when it means they can raise money without any financial accountability.

But what about Husne-Zann? Thinking well of others?

Allah tells us يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ

O You who believe, leave much suspicion, indeed some suspicions are sinful” (Quran 49:12).

From this verse, we see that some – not all negative opinions are sinful. The prohibition is partitive, meaning some bad opinions are permissible.

If someone punches you, it is not hunse-zann to assume that person just happened to stretch with a closed fist and did not see your face was in the way. This kind of delusion will lead to you getting punched more. To be wary of their fist isn’t a sinful level of suspicion.

Part of why spiritual abuse is difficult to detect is that its purveyors have a reputation for outward uprightness. They are thought well of in the community, and in many cases they are its pillars and have decades of positive service to their defense. Assuming that someone cannot be abusive simply because they have been a teacher or leader for a long time is not husne-zann. When facts are brought to light- like a fist to the face – it is delusional to assume they didn’t mean it that way.

If someone does something that warrants suspicion, then put your guard up and don’t make excuses for those actions. Start with a general guard and be procedural about things which require a procedure.  For example, if you are going to loan someone money, don’t just take their word that they will pay you back but insist on a written record. If they say they are offended, just say “it’s my standard procedure to avoid any confusion later on.” A reasonable person won’t have an issue with that. If someone mentions on the phone they will pay you $100 for your work, write an email to confirm what was said on the phone so there’s a record for it.

Lastly, and most importantly, never leave your child alone with a teacher where you or others cannot see them. Many cases of child sexual assault can be prevented if we never allow children to study alone with adults. There should never be an exception to this, and parents much uphold this as a matter of policy. Precaution is not an accusation, and this is a professional and standard no one should reject.

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Eid Lameness Syndrome: Diagnosis, Treatment, Cure




How many of you have gone to work on Eid because you felt there was no point in taking off? No Eid fun. Have you ever found Eid boring, no different from any other day?

If so, you may suffer from ELS (Eid Lameness Syndrome). Growing up, I did too.

My family would wake up, go to salah, go out to breakfast, come home, take a 4+ hour nap and then go out to dinner. I didn’t have friends to celebrate with and even if I did, I wouldn’t see them because we stuck to our own immediate family just as they did.

On the occasion that we went to a park or convention center, we would sort of have fun. Being with other people was certainly better than breakfast-nap-dinner in isolation, but calling that a memorable, satisfying, or genuinely fun Eid would be a stretch.

I don’t blame my parents for the ELS though. They came from a country where Eid celebration was the norm; everyone was celebrating with everyone and you didn’t have to exert any effort. When they moved to the US, where Muslims were a minority, it was uncharted territory. They did the best they could with the limited resources they had.

When I grew up, I did about the same too. When I hear friends or acquaintances tell me that they’re working, doing laundry or whatever other mundane things on Eid, I understand.  Eid has been lame for so long that some people have given up trying to see it any other way. Why take personal time off to sit at home and do nothing?

I stuck to whatever my parents did for Eid because “Eid was a time for family.” In doing so, I was honoring their cultural ideas of honoring family, but not Eid. It wasn’t until I moved away that I decided to rebel and spend Eid with convert friends (versus family) who didn’t have Muslim families to celebrate with on Eid, rather than drive for hours to get home for another lame salah-breakfast-nap-dinner.

That was a game-changing Eid for me. It was the first non-lame Eid I ever had, not because we did anything extraordinary or amazing, but because we made the day special by doing things that we wouldn’t normally do on a weekday together. It was then that I made a determination to never have a lame Eid ever again InshaAllah.

I’m not the only one fighting ELS. Mosques and organizations are creating events for people to attend and enjoy together, and families are opting to spend Eid with other families. There is still much more than can be done, as converts, students, single people, couples without children and couples with very small children, are hard-hit by the isolation and sadness that ELS brings. Here are a few suggestions for helping treat ELS in your community:

Host an open house

Opening up your home to a large group of people is a monumental task that takes a lot of planning and strength. But it comes with a lot of baraka and reward. Imagine the smiling faces of people who would have had nowhere to go on Eid, but suddenly find themselves in your home being hosted. If you have a big home, hosting an open house is an opportunity to express your gratitude to Allah for blessing you with it.

Expand your circle

Eid is about commUNITY. Many people spend Eid alone when potential hosts stick to their own race/class/social status. Invite and welcome others to spend Eid with you in whatever capacity you can.


You can enlist the help of close friends and family to help so it’s not all on you. Delegate food, setup, and clean-up across your family and social network so that no one person will be burdened by the effort InshaAllah.

Squeeze in

Don’t worry if you don’t have a big house, you’ll find out how much barakah your home has by how many people are able to fit in it. I’ve been to iftars in teeny tiny apartments where there’s little space but lots of love. If you manage to squeeze in even two or three extra guests, you’ve saved two or three people from ELS for that year.

Outsource Eid Fun

If you have the financial means or know enough friends who can pool together, rent a house. Some housing share sites have homes that can be rented specifically for events, giving you the space to consolidate many, smaller efforts into one larger, more streamlined party.

Flock together

It can be a challenge to find Eid buddies to spend the day with. Try looking for people in similar circumstances as you. I’m a single woman and have hosted a ladies game night for the last few Eids where both married and single women attend.  If you are a couple with young kids, find a few families with children of similar age groups. If you’re a student, start collecting classmates. Don’t wait for other people to invite you, make a list in advance and get working to fend off ELS together.

Give gifts

The Prophet ﷺ said: تَهَادُوا تَحَابُّوا‏ “Give gifts to increase love for each other”. One of my siblings started a tradition of getting a gift for each person in the family. If that’s too much, pick one friend or family member and give them a gift. If you can’t afford gifts, give something that doesn’t require much money like a card or just your time. You never know how much a card with kind, caring words can brighten a person’s Eid.

Get out of your comfort zone

If you have ELS, chances are there is someone else out there who has it too. The only way to find out if someone is sad and alone on Eid is by admitting that we are first, and asking if they are too.

Try, try, try again…

Maybe you’ve taken off work only to find that going would have been less of a waste of time. Maybe you tried giving gifts and it didn’t go well. Maybe you threw an open house and are still cleaning up/dealing with the aftermath until now. It’s understandable to want to quit and say never again, to relent and accept that you have ELS and always will but please, keep trying. The Ummah needs to believe that Eid can and should be fun and special for everyone.

While it is hard to be vulnerable and we may be afraid of rejection or judgment, the risk is worth it. As a survivor and recoverer of ELS, I know how hard it can be and also how rewarding it is to be free of it. May Allah bless us all with the best Eids and to make the most of the blessed days before and after, Ameen.

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