Of ping pong balls and pool tables


The recent report of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding on American Muslims was long, long overdue. It should forever silence and dismiss those voices in the wilderness of America that claim "80% of America's mosques are controlled by extremists." The report found that only a small fraction of American Muslims in the Detroit area, taken as a microcosm of the broader American Muslim community, prefer to follow a strictly conservative (labeled "extremist" by some) brand of Islam. In fact, radicalism and isolationism are not evident in Detroit mosques. I believe this to hold true for the rest of America's Muslims. 

One of the most intriguing findings of the report is how American Muslims view the mosque. The majority of mosque participants, 58%, see the mosque as a place of ritual and increasing faith, while 42% view the mosque as primarily a center of activities and learning. This is a very interesting dichotomy. I am of the minority position on this issue. The mosque is more than simply a place of prostration. It is part community center, town hall, voter registration center, banquet hall, and youth center. At least that is what it should be. 

This last function, youth center, should and must be the priority for American Muslims if we are to progress in the 21st Century. Too many of our brothers and sisters have made the mosque "youth-unfriendly" to say the least. I have lost count of the number of times congregants have loudly and publicly shown their distaste for small children running around in the mosque--inevitably making noise, as children often do--during the prayer. It is striking to me how seemingly little tolerance and patience there is for our children at the mosque. This is not our tradition. 

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) welcomed children in the mosque. Once, he even descended from his pulpit during a sermon, picked up his two grandsons, Hassan and Hussein, and carried them in his arms while he continued speaking to the faithful. Another time, the Prophet was prostrating in prayer and his two grandsons climbed upon his back to play. The Prophet stayed in prostration for a very long time so that he would not cut short his grandsons' play time. Yet another time, the Prophet was leading the Dawn prayer, and he suddenly hurried to finish praying with the faithful. When asked why, the Prophet responded that he heard a child crying, and thus he did not want to agitate the child's mother by prolonging the prayer. 

This mercy and tolerance, sadly, is long gone from our community. I have heard mosque leaders, to my utter shock and horror, tell the faithful that if their young children can not behave in the mosque, they should not bring them to the mosque. Not bring them to the mosque? If our children are not raised to love the mosque, they will grow up loving other institutions: the club, the bar, and other places. If our children do not love the mosque; if they do not feel welcome as they walk through the front door of the mosque, then they will walk out through the back door and leave the faith. 

Now, I agree that teenagers should not be allowed to lounge around outside of the prayer hall while the congregational prayer is being conducted: they should be among the ranks of the worshippers. Nevertheless, we must be patient if and when a small child makes a little noise in the mosque during the prayers. If the Prophet was willing to hasten one of the obligatory prayers out of mercy for a crying child's mother, then surely we can be tolerant of the laughter and play of small children in our mosques. 

Yet, our accommodation for the youth must go beyond small children. I believe every mosque should have several ping pong and pool tables. The crisp sounds of ping pong and billiard balls crashing on the floor should echo throughout the mosques of this country. If feasible, the mosque should have a few video games (non-violent ones, of course). Heck, it can help raise money for mosque activities. There should not be a Muslim house of worship without a basketball hoop, and a volleyball net, and a tennis court, and--which is my dream--a swimming pool. 

We should make the mosque a fun place for our youth to hang out. When the time for prayer comes, all basketballs, volleyballs, tennis balls, billiard cues, and ping pong paddles must be put down so that everyone can attend the congregational prayer. Faith and fun can mix homogeneously; it just has to be done right. 

Youth and adolescence is both an exciting and confusing time. It is exciting to be in a period of immense change, a welcome period of transition from childhood to adulthood. Yet, for Muslims growing up in America, that period of transition is rife with immense confusion. There is confusion over national identity. Throughout my adolescence, I asked myself, "Am I American or Egyptian?" There is confusion over which culturo-relgious identity should be pre-eminent: the Muslim identity or the American one? Unfortunately, sometimes these two identities are at odds with one another, and many non-Muslim Americans demand of their Muslim compatriots to choose. 

Adolescence is probably the most difficult period of a young Muslim's life growing up in America. Consequently, there should be a sanctuary, a place where they can feel at home. For me, that was my very large extended family. But many, if not most, are not that fortunate. The mosque--with its ping pong tables, basketball hoops, tennis courts, swimming pools, volleyball courts, pool tables, and prayer halls--should be that sanctuary. What better place to hang out than the house of God? The only thing is, we Muslims have to do a much better job at making the house of God home.

 

 

Hesham A. Hassaballa is a Chicago physician and writer. He is author of "Why I Love the Ten Commandments," published in the book Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith (Rodale Press), winner of the prestigious Wilbur Award for 2003 Best Religion Book of the Year by the Religion Communicators Council.


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  71 Comments   Comment

  1. Dr Sima Peer- Karani from south africa

    Yes we do need to encourage our youth to come to the mosques--but not to play a game of pool/ swim they should be coming to the mosque for the serenity and inner fullfilment of the place-activities at the mosque should stimulate a love for the place-do you think sahabahs played games at the mosque. We must ask ourselves when we introduce these games to the mosque what sort of element are you agreeing to- are you saying it is ok to be playing a game whilst you could be learning a story or merely listening to a lecture

    Reading a verse of the quran--what is it going to be. Is the excitement to come to mosque because i am going for a swim. Community centres that stimulate a grwth for islam are different to the area of the mosque- we should at all times stimulate a sense of comfort ease reward in our mosque the way the harems of mecca medina make us feel. We should strive for our local mosques to emulate these great places of worship.It is always a good example to go back to the times of the prophet to see and understand the way his people lived and how did they encouraage there youth. Allah says other nations have been on earth for us to learn from example and by not actually taking heed to this you are faultering greatly. it is not just ping pong balls - it is about the message you are imparting to your children they are absorbant sponges soaking up there surroundings and with this knowledge they will make choices of the future, that will affect generations of the future. Insha Allah we all are directed to make the correct choices from among the many ping pong balls.

    forgive me if i have offended any in this comment, allah guide us all.

  2. Salah Issa from USA

    The author has a point about how children should be treated at the mosque. However she overdoes it by saying we should have swiming pools, ping pong etc..... what we should have is a muslim youth Center that has all that she mentioned. In my belief the mosques should make different clubs for different ages. Each club will focus on an age group and will teach quran and sunni to it, also it will take trips and play together games at the same time. so that our youth will feel committed to their club, and every year the different clubs should compete together to inspire the youth to do their best. the sheiks or the people incharge of the groups sheould be changed every year. so that the youth will get a well rounded education in islam, not just the view point of one shiek

  3. Khadijah from USA

    I agree, at the beginning of your opinion; in regard to tolerance of the young children who cannot understand the discipline that is required of not only worship but also of regard and respect of adults who may be in different stages of Dhikr while in attendance at the mosque.

    For many of us the mosque is the only place of refuge from the cacaphony we have to deal with when we leave our homes and enter the world. To bring the instruments of challenge, (winner ownership) into the mosque, from my point of view, defeats the purpose of the mosque as a place of worship. It is true the young, 3 yrs and younger, cannot have a true preception of the mosque and its purpose. But, only when they see intentful adults in quiet prayer and remembrance will they grasp and carry with them that the mosque is not just another building but one that carries the significance of thoughtful contemplation and separation from all else but GOD. No one can come to GOD except by HIS leave. I say leave our mosques as they are. Already in America they have become lax in the respect and purpose for which they were intended. From my point of view, only....AS SALAAM ALAIKUM

  4. An-Najee from USA

    While I wouldn't go as far as the author by saying that we should put pool tables in the Masjid, I do agree that we should make it "youth-friendly" so that the next generation of Muslims grow up respecting the Masjid as well as loving to be there for all occasions. Al-Hamdu Lillah!

  5. Mohamed from Maldives

    I am sad read some word used our brother muslim in his/her comments, that is against the message rule.Well I beleive the most should be used any other purpose only to whorship Allah Alone. Children should not play their. All the childrens where ever in the world have some short of parents and parent should care them guide them proper channel.

    therefore the point is this CHILDREN SHOULD ACCOMPANIED WITH THEIR GUARDIAN. This can be corrected if we follow the right rules of Islam

  6. Abdul Jabbar from USA?

    Is the author trying to design Masjids or Country Clubs? This article shows how completely astray Muslims in the Western world-myself among them-- are in terms of understanding Islam. THE MASJID IS FOR THE PUROSE OF WORSHIPPING ALLAH SUBHANNA WA'TALA. It is not a social club for Muslims!!! These issues do not come up in the Muslim homeland because the isolation of being surrounded by Kaffirs that we as Muslims in the West feel does not exist in the Muslim Homeland. In other words, there are more entrenched social networks in the Muslim Nations and various social venues. But this reality does not mean that we should turn our sacred places of worship into Jillians Pool Hall. ASTAGHFIRALLAH!! Create Ismic centers close to but sperate from the MAsjid for this purpose. The Masjid is not a hang out spot. Worship, conduct Islamic realted business, then leave. Save the hanging out for the home or the Muslim Cultural Center, which is what I think the author is admitting we need as Western Muslims. That suggestion I agree with. But let the Masjid stand for the worship of Allah (swt) alone..

  7. Mariam from Belgium

    Assalamu alykum brothers and sisters

    It hurts me to see so many people are against making the masjid more attractive to young people. Saying they have been badly educated when they make noise, means our Prophet (salallaahu aleihi wassalam) did not educate his children well either. Astagfirullah!

    Children are GROWING up, LEARNING how to behave. They don't have to behave as adults until they ARE adults. There is nothing wrong with them playing...

    Of course the Masjid is a place of prayer and remembrance. But how do you show your children the beauty of it, except by bringing them there in a nice atmosphere? Let them play and have fun - and when prayer time is there, invite them to join. It will be easier to do, than when you make it a place of serious, sad and angry old men...

    Aren't Muslim to follow the Qur'an and the Sunnah, the example of our Prophet (salallahu aleihi wassalam)? Then the decision is easy!

    Of course nobody wants the pooltable in the same place where we pray. And a swimming pool will demand organisation for avoiding fitna. That is obvious. This article is about dreaming... and offering ideas to make the masjid a home for ALL Muslims. Even the youngsters who are still strugling to find out who they are and where they belong. "Cut them some slack" and they will come on their own ... Loving guidance is what our Prophet (salallaahu aleihi wassalaam) taught us, not force.

    As a new Muslim (since about 3,5 years) I feel much like a young Muslim: at the beginning you can't do EVERYTHING right. You have to learn step by step. First Shahada, then Salaat, then Zakaat, ... and slowly slowly then basical and more detailed rules. Don't expect a child, and not even a teenager to be a perfect Muslim ... when even adults never will be. Not even you. And certainly not me... May Allah have mercy on us and guide us all.

  8. zamri from Malaysia

    I believe they are being misled thru their ignorance of the true teachings of Islam

  9. Talib Abdul-Samad from usa

    as salaamu alaykum, I believe this article is on the mark, especially regarding our adolesents. Muslims communities have to intergrate programs wholistically, our youth feel restrained and oppressed. More seminars are necessary to develop and understand how we can best serve, support and make our youth feel appreciative and useful to the community.

  10. emad from canada

    salamualikum

    i totally agree, the children are the future of islam and getting them involved with the masjid from an early is crucial. so it is true that the enviroment has a great effect on the child's mind. hence we should encourage masjids to provide for such facilities.

  11. Zillur Rahim from Saudi Arabia

    Great article. When would our hard-line Mullahs learn to be patient and merciful? I find it extremely disturbing when people go crazy as a child moves or cries or laughs in the masjid during prayer. However these same people cite how the prophet (saw) was merciful to the bedu who urinated in the masjid - he (saw), let him finish and cleaned the masjid by his blessed hand, and very comassionately explained the person what is right and what is wrong so much so that he accepted Islam and asked for blessing to Allah for him and for the prophet, excluding the companions who were impatient with him. If that was the mercy for a non-muslim urinating the the masjid, how about for our muslim children. I also find very disturbing for our imams to ask women to stay at home. How can that bring education and sisterhood? When did Islam become male-dominated? When did majsid become for men only? When would we learn to accommodate our children and women? May Allah guide us to His path.

    Was'Salaamu Alaikum

  12. Abdulwakil Zazay from Canada

    Dear brothers and sisters in Islam Assalmu Alaikum.

    I am agree that most of our Mosques are children unfriendly. What can we do????

    Most of the children unfriendly Mosques Executive committee members are our seniors, they have no youth program or not too mony youth of the community been given any active role in the Masjid activieties. We MUST involve our youths, and our children and also we Must give the youth and children to run youth and children programms themselves under adult supervision. I am an actieve member of my Muslim Community, I have a group of 25 children and youth, we met once a week in the Mosque from 6 to 8pm which means we all pray Asar and Maghrib together, I am teaching our younger brothers not only how to beheave in the Mosque, but also how to beheave as a good Muslim at home, school, neighborhood, and how to face the problems and the chalanges of the daily life in school, in the street and how to choese a friend, finally how to beheave with non Muslim friends. I purchased 15 Islamic books in English, I also received some books from our community members. Every week each student takes a book home, he read the book and if he can he writes the sumery and read it to the group. Once in a month we order halal pizza and we all enjoy it very much. You will be amazed to see the number of youth and children in our Masjid(from 20 up to 50%).

    Yes we do have some seniors in our community who treat our youths and children very haresh and very unfriendly, but once you put a young(some one who grew up in this society) member of the community in charge to have programs for the kids and youths as well as to look after them, InshaAllah you will see the different.

    Let the younger generation to take more and more actieve parts in the Masjids activieties so they can encourage other youths and kids to come to the Masjid.

    If you need help, ideas I will be more then happy to help you.

    Our kids are our future, let this future to come to house of Allah SWT to

  13. Imtiaz from Pakistan

    its true that people in mosques should be more tolerant towards children but the concept of ping pong and tennis is a little too much. Next we might be asking for bars in mosques as well (naozobillah)

  14. Luqman Abdurrazaq from Nigeria

    I sincerely agree with all your comments on the attitude mosques leaders should adopt towards children coming to the mosques and their behaviour in it. I also agree that the mosques do and should play a more central role in the life of all muslims. I however, disagree on some of the games/relaxation activities you suggested should be provided in mosques courtyards.

  15. shirley thomas from usa

    i went to masjid finally first time, i was overjoyed to be considered part of the umma, and accepted as sister right away. this was a very good article and the ability to go and worship is a privelage,that should never be taken for granted from any muslim, i heard first time in person my muslim brothers with the call to prayer and heard first sermon and prayed first time together as muslim, so naturally, i cried the whole time. it had been year and half almost since my reversion to islam,and was my first time able to go to masjid, we should make these places easier to locate by phone books my brothers and sisters in islam,

    shukria

  16. Rana from USA

    This indeed true. I have experience it well in our community.

  17. Miss Ismail from malaysia

    At the moment we have not practice yet. May be later. I wish one day we'll do the same

  18. Hudd D'Alhamd from Canada

    I am entirely with Dr. Hesham A. Hassaballa. I do not recall who said that the mosque is not only a place of prayer offering, but a place of social gathering, education, communications and information.

    There are two interpretations of Islam. One is restricting, the other liberating. The former, is another form of religion, like Judaism, Christianity, etc. The second is a way of life. The Way of Life. Both are based on the fundamentals of Islam. The difference is rather in perspective and that is the motivator for our actions. As a religion, Muslims date Islam from Muhammad,pbuh, others from Abraham,pbuh, and others from Adam,pbuh. As the Way of life(decreted by God to mankind), Islam is from the Creation itself. When Allah created the Angels, He created them in Islam, the Universe, He created it in Islam, the solar system, He created it in Islam, mankind, He created it in Islam. Why mankind is not Muslim? Because God gave man free choice. Still, man, whatever he is, he is part of Islam(the will and ordinance of God). Considering this latter definition, everything is Islam. The whole earth with everything in it, is Muslim, except people that according to their free will chose differntly. So, science, art, sports, work, worship, life, death, all these things are Islam! Therefore, it cannot be separation of religion and state in an Islam that would be interpreted as the way of life! Simply because, the state would be Islam in itself, like any other aspect of human life or endeavour! My maternal grandparents(I am an orphan since 6 mo. of age) were medical doctors. They did not believe in religion(maybe because they were from USSR?), but they believed strongly in Islam as the Way of life for mankind! My grandfather was a famous surgeon, he used to say, "My awareness of Allah became perfected as my academic & practical knowledge was increasing." This perspective of Islam allowed me not only to adhere to Islam, but to be convinced that I was an inherent part of it!

  19. fizza hussain razvi from US

    MashAllah - What an excellent article, thank you Islamicity. InshAllah these are the kinds of issues we need to be dealing with because if this generation of Muslim youth is at risk of getting lost, then we can assume that the next one will be surely lost and we will be held responsible for their plight. I completly agree with Br. Hesham and inshAllah i hope this article will have more Muslims thinking like him!

    Well said brother, this is also my dream as a teacher and educator. IshAllah i hope more people will see the truth and ungency of providing a place for our youth under our safe haven of our Masajid.

    sincerely, in islam

  20. Adam Ibrahim Muhammad from Nigeria

    As I keep saying, lets allow the religion of ISLAM to shape us rather than us shaping the religion to suit us, cos' to do that amounts to disbelief.

    As the Prophet(SAW) said every one of us is a shepherd and is going to be ask about his folks by Allah. So please let us try and teach our children to understand the difference between mosques and playgrounds, difference between prayer and playing. This should be the bottomline, not letting our children to be the draided "fitnah" that Allah says they are for us. We have to shape their minds to think Allah first all of the time.

    I have some arithmetic to make here, lets say we use maximum of 10 minutes for each prayer, this give us 50 minutes for the obligatory prayers, combine this with say, two hours of ta'lim, one hour for other nafils. This total to four(4) hours of being in the mosque out of twenty four hours of the day. This means your children can have 20 hours to eat, play and swim as they like. So why must you provide these things again in, or even within the mosque? Somebody say to attract THEM to the church, like our bretheren that now play drums, violin, base guitar etc in the churches in order to attract the children/youth to the church. I say to such people that, WE(muslims) are supposed to be copied, IN EVERYTHING, not the other way round.

    Peace.

  21. Abu Sadek from UK

    Assalamu Alaikum

    Brother Hisham, i like the forward thinking and the way you express your concern for youngsters. however i found some of your views and ideas a bit too radical if missleading.

    For example when you made the point about the tollerance of the great prophet while praying has been missinterpretted, this dose not mean that you should take a child into a mosque for Salat, especially if they are uncontrollable and have not learnt Salat which would mean that a space for Salat is occupied for no reason(Especially in Jummah when it is normally packed).

    My point is that you should not take children during Salat as they are not mentally capable of taking care of themselves and may distract others from there Salat.

    As a consequence if somone is distracted and their Salat is not accepted by Allah the person who took the child their will be responsible.

    As for when the prophet "descended from his pulpit during a sermon, picked up his two grandsons", that type of thing is acceptable because it was during Salat, i see no reson to prohibit family gathering.

    Your ideas about turning the mosque into a youth hangout is also farfetched and not feasable for these reason:

    The mosque is a place of worship and religious activity only.

    Worldly activities should not take place in the mosque i.e business, liesure, gossip etc.

    The mosque is a charity organisation which is created from the peoples money(not state) therefore would costs bundels to implement all that.

    Your idea however is not bad and can be done in say in a community center intertwinned with the Mosque especially for muslims youths, anything that gets thets the youhths off the streets and into a safe evironment gods message can be herd should be persued.

    Salam

  22. Amara from U.S.

    What you are talking about is a youth center. A mosque should be warm and inviting and supportive but not a pool house. Isn't there a hadith that says that one of the signs of the last days is that the mosque will be used as a center for parties? You can have a youth center next to the mosque but I don't think it should be part of the mosque. The world is very noisey, I need a quite place to pray. Children crying is tolerable but I don't need to worry about my kids sneaking off during prayer to shoot some pool!

  23. Akbar Khan from canada

    Also let me remind those who say that kids should be encouraged to come to the Masjid to remember Allah (SWA)....well get this, we're supposed to remember Allah (SWA) not only in the masjid but outside of the masjid as well. It is not as if once you exit the masjid you can go and do whatever you feel like and be a different person, and think that you are not responsible for your actions, or that you can do bad things but not to worry, once u go to the masjid and pray again u'll be forgiven. The idea is to ask for repentance for committing a sin, and try your best not to do it again - that is when it gets blotted out, not by doing it repeatidly and asking for forgiveness repeatidly like a cycle all the while ignoring the fact that you're not learning from your actions.

    Also sister Maya to add to my response to when you asked me why I cannot understand the need for two separate swimming pools, as I already did say that I am not against it, in fact I encourage it and was only stating that you can do wihtout two because a previous poster was using the idea sarcastically, but also because even if you only have enough money to have one swimming pool, then YES u can have separate days for swimming, in fact post a BIG NOTICE ON THE DOOR OF THE ENTRANCE TO THE SWIMMING AREA, and sign up membership and tally the list of people who are eligible to use the facility. This is my point....Ikhwatul Islam, start to learn the value of organization and it's benefits, and also sister Maya, you can have an automatic electrical lock system installed onto the door with a supervisor card swipe system so that wrongful entry is prohibited, how is that then...I am sure many others can think of various other great innovative technological ideas. I hope no one accuses me of Bid'ah sheesh lol. Hence the words technological innovation, not an innovation in ibadah.....

    Wassalaam

  24. Akbar Khan from Canada

    Yes this article says nothing about making the Masjid a recreational centre, it syas to create a separate youth center close to the masjid, let me quote it for you:

    "This last function, *youth center*, should and must be the priority for American Muslims if we are to progress in the 21st Century. Too many of our brothers and sisters have made the mosque "youth-unfriendly" to say the least. I have lost count of the number of times congregants have loudly and publicly shown their distaste for small children running around in the mosque--inevitably making noise, as children often do--during the prayer. It is striking to me how seemingly little tolerance and patience there is for our children at the mosque. This is not our tradition."

    There is a basketball court, gymnasium in one Masjid I attend, and recreation room with a pool table in a basement room of anohter Masjid I attend. Guess what! it does not distract the attention of young kids who go to the masjid to spend their time in a wholesome way, because when the azaan is called, they all know they are supposed to rush out of there and get in line to pray or make wudu first. Or else, many of us know previously that the azaan is about to be called and leave our activities before hand.

    Sister Maya, I have no problem in having two separate swimming pools, you missed hte point of my statement. The other sister Fatima Alkali was stating to have two separate pools, but still it seemed as if she was against the idea. So I am not at all against having two separate swimming pools, just that many people declared it as something that should be far and away from the masjid. I simply ask why? If you use a little bit of rationale, and build a community centre connected to the masjid, but separate from the prayer area, what is the harm in that? This will do nothing but increase attendance to the masjid, and secondly people will spend more time there.

  25. Claire Alkouatli from USA

    Dear Hesham

    What an excellent article! Thoughtful, insightful, forward-

    thinking and backed up by hadith. I loved the hadith of the

    Prophet and children, and we should really spend time thinking

    of his attitudes toward young ones at a time when this culture in

    increasingly devaluing children by leaving them to be raised by

    nannies and excluding them from various public and even

    private spaces. Thank you so much for your enlightened

    contribution! May Allah's blessings be upon you.

    Claire Alkouatli

  26. Maya from Canada

    I have read the article & also all the comments. Akbar Khan, I don't understand why you don't see the need of having 2 swimming pools. One pool is for the boys/men while the other is for the girls/women. Children need to be supervise by their parents. We, women need to have privacy and by having 2 pools, at least, we know that the men won't "accidentally" walk in because "they forgot the day they are allow to use the pool". Human beings are used of making excuses!. And sisters, we need to use our common sense, if you want to go swimming, put on something appropriate for swimming. You simply don't have to wear 2 piece bikini!.

    I liked the whole idea of the writer. Maybe what he is trying to say is, we need to have all these near or in the masjid compound. This whole idea can be implemented if we, Muslims work together. Instead of building more masjids where you rarely see anyone walk in, might as well, you start to think of building a learning center/recreation center. So the next time, you guys went to the "MEN'S CLUB" (meetings), start to discuss this issue in the meeting!

  27. usman from KSA

    kids shud want to come to the masjid-but for remembering allah, not playing games etc.

    when the azan is called kids shud think about salah not pool.they must be taught the importance of the masjid,its purpose and how to respect it-the masjid is a place of worship not a club

  28. Shakir Ebrahim from India

    Brilliant! In the mosque I intend to open in Bombay, Inshallah, I shall heed this advise.

  29. Zeeshan from United States

    Why not just change the meaning of YMCA to Young Muslim Children's Association from Young Men's Christian Association and leave the mosque a place of worship, meeting, education, politics and gatherings. The author's qualm is with the treatment of young muslims and the focus should be on their behavior. Because the Adults have yet to realize the true pupose of the mosque they seldom teach their children the proper decorum necessary to participate in a muslim social setting; Which is exactly what a mosque IS; a muslim social setting. Our Neighborly Christian children attend mass regularly yet they are programmed from very early on the attitudes and actions required to attend church. I agree with the author that we should be tolerant and accomodating to our young audience however a pool table or ping pong will scarcely suffice. We need a more structured approach. Why not Set-up a day-care type facility where children are taught to play and have fun while at the same time instilling in them the islamic value system and ideology. Subtlety should be a paramount feature of this approach. Gimmicks and Marketing tactics are better left to those that need it. Islam sells itself. It just requires the right speaker as was the case with the Great prophets of Islam,.. Noah, Abraham, Mosses, Isa and Muhammed(pbuh). They all were great parents and grandparents and we all should take lessons from them on how to properly raise a child. Al-Gazali's treatise on Child psychology became the basis for the modern Field. Maybe revisiting the treatise might illuminate other areas of investigation and question. If the answer came to the author so simply as to do a comparitive analysis with the Jews and the Christians maybe the answers are irrelevant to the problem. We have to fight on two fronts to combat ignorance one with the parents and the other with the children.

    Salam.

  30. Akbar Khan from Canada

    This is a grand idea. Why is it rejected flatly by so many people? Do they not see that neglecting the needs of their children will only further isolate them from the society in which they are growing around in? Detroit is a crime infested area, in fact it tops the list of crime infested areas in the entire USA.

    Would you people prefer for your sons or daughters to be playing basketball in a dangerous neighbourhood basketball court, or on a basketball court inside the recreation area attached to the masjid? Or wouldn't you prefer to provide your children with the opportunity to go swimming, allocating certain days for boys, and others for the girls? You do not need two separate swimming pools for whoever said that silly comment before, use your common sense I beg you.

    Dr. Hassaballa raises key issues which must be addressed in a constructive example by building on the examples of the guidelines in the Qur'an, Sunnah, and the last 1400 years of Islamic civilizations. Either allow your children to be absorbed into the public school system and potentially be vulnerable to major sins such as acts of Zina, and drug abuse. OR...provide your children with a place of sanctuary, where they can create a routine for themselves, and have a social area where a supervisor can be appointed to oversee the behaviour of the kids. Is this not a suitable, and preferable option?

    Don't be so haste in running down this article, just because the writer believes that we should begin giving back to our youth and make the masjid like their own home. They should have the feeling of that they can't wait until they go to the masjid, only becaues they WANT to go there, not because their parents are taking them there or even because they "have to." It's just like making your salaat, you should pray your salaat on time and pray it period, not because you have to, but because you want to. That is because praying, making salaat is for your own benefit.

    Reflect.

  31. BNAK

    If mosques go by the author's suggestions then i think every mosque will have to appoint person/persons who can get the children back from their play to the praying arena and only hope against hope that the children would listen to them and come to pray while they are enjoying their games.

    Though the idea is novel, I don't think it can be implemented. If at all, only a few, countable number of mosques can have such a huge area as to accomodate place for such playful activities as well as for worship.

  32. Murtaza Sayeed from USA

    I think a pool table, ping pong table, arcade games and a swimming pool do not belong in a mosque, sorry. It was in my opinion insulting to just bring up the idea. And one more thing, I realized every point made by a muslim in these articles brings up the prophets pbuh examples. Can we please list the source of the Hadith we are reffering to? Not to say it isn't true, but to verify it because taking all these examples and arguments, and taking quran and sunnah out of context can legalize anything and everything. Some muslims drink and their argument is Quran promises rivers of wine in jannah....ridiculous things like this!

  33. mandi from United States

    I think that the author had good intentions in mind, but the masjid should not be a place for horseplay. parents should take extra time to teach their children manners while in the house of Allah. If we want to reach the youth of the community, then build a community center, or hold youth meetings or classes. you could even take turns inviting youth to different houses to play games and have fun, but not in the place of worship. we can learn and have fun in the masjid without things like pool tables, ping pong, and swimming pools.

  34. Naaz Farooqui from USA

    Assalamualaykum. Awesome Article! You put to words exactly how I feel about our mosques today. I have a 14 year old brother who I am extremely worried about. Even his 14/15 year old friends have girlfriends now, and he is left alone most of the time. We have a mosque close to home, and another a little further away, but neither provide any kind of community or youth center where a kid can just go to chill out and meet other kids his age who he can relate to. They do have a sunday school program, but its like going to school. I really wish something could be done.

    Anyway, would you know of any programs that woudl be good for my lil bro? and thanks for your article.

  35. Hida from Houston

    Masjid is a place for ibaadah. Yes, there can be games or sports organized in the masjid compound but not in the masjid itself. I'm sure we can build an Islamic Community Center beside the masjid. There, we can have all the games and sports for all ages. We can even have a seperate swimming pools for the brothers and sisters. When it's time to sholat, everyone can leave the center and walk to the masjid. That way, the parents, the youth and the small children do know that they do have a place to have fun and at the same time, they are close to a place for ibaadah.

    One very important fact that not many of us realised is that, the elderly men (Imaam) at the masjid should make way for the teenagers to lead the prayers. I have seen these teenage boys doing a very good job when you place them as an Imaam. What's the point of sending your teenage kids for Al-quran classes when there's always boundaries when they go to the masjid?. I do experience some old Imaan reciting poorly at one of the Houston masjid. The problem is, I completely doesn't understand what he's saying/reciting. The next night, when a teenage boy lead the prayer, my heart was completely at ease!. Masha allah, his recitation is so beautiful that it moves you!.

    Small children can always be seen at the masjid. We need to remember that they are our future. To scold them or telling the parents not to bring them is simply not fair. When these kids are noisy, you don't have to scream or shout at them. Walk up to them and tell them gently to stay quiet. If the brothers can discuss about politics in the masjid with their loud voices, why do they feel angry or disturbed when these innocent kids make noise?

  36. L. Alahem from USA

    Of Pool and Ping Pong.

    The author makes several points regarding children in the masjid. This is a running problem and must be addressed.

    The masjid should be made user friendly, but the users must be considerate of others, and this includes controlling unruly children during the worship service. I cannot tell you how many times I have been kicked, pushed, elbowed, tripped over and generally been treated with disrespect in our masjid by children, so much so that I stopped attending the hutbah, but now attend a haleka on Friday. A word to the parent is insufficient, as most often the mother or father is insulted and responds rudely as well. Mothers complain that they hate to punish their kids because this may be the only time the child gets a chance to mix with other muslim kids. Sometimes the mothers are just as bad as the kids, this being the only social time that they have.

    Our Christian neighbors have something to offer us in this area. The church is a place of worship, a place of education, a community center and they have programs of instruction geared to children by age group. They do not have children running wild during the service, as the children are engaged in age appropriate instruction at the same time.

    There are programs during the week for families, to socialize and educate, and thus all the needs of the community are met, and none are abused.

    We could use this model to our advantage in our own mosques, so that we could serve all members of our community, Men AND Women AND Children.

  37. Fatimah Alkali from Nigeria

    How do you justify a swimming pool in a mosque.Wouldn't it mean stripping down to swimsuits and exposing one's body infront of others beside family??? Does that comply with the Islamic laws for chastity especially for women....or do you envisage 2 pools, one for each sex???

    Your response would be highly appreciated. We learn everyday!!!

  38. Sofia Shums from USA

    I disagree with several statements made by the author.

    He mentions the need for ping-pong tables, basketball hoops, etc. in mosques for our youth. Western counries have failed to provide the young, particularly the adolescents, with meaningful and productive activities which they, in turn, have filled with gang-related activities, hanging out on street corners, and with loud music and louder conversations in public places. What they neeed are long-life, goal-setting, economically and socially meaningful activities that would teach them empathy for others, social concerns for the underpriviledged such as the elderly, the homeless, the disabled in their neighborhoods. Ping-pong tables, basketball hoops in mosques would continue further the meaningless, wasteful activities. Don't get me wrong. I am not saying tht all games should be banned from the lives of our youth or that all our children fill their days with empty activities. What I am saying hee is that our mosques should go beyond perpetuating empty, meaningless activities.

    (2) Young Muslim children in the school environment often display two stark realities, and they are: (a) A lack social skills. They need to be taught communication skills, such as persuasion, good humor, and the art of making friends across cultural and religious boundaries. These are vital survival skills in modern cultures. (b) The disruptive, disrespectful and un-social behavior that grown-ups suffer at the hands of children in mosques everywhere is precisely what gets them in trouble when they attend American schools. Our children become easy target for abuse, discrimination and negative attitude from teachers and people in authority.

    The author is suggesting that we should indulge our children's misbehavior in mosques. Instead parents must teach their children social norms, appropriate concerns for others around them and respectful attitudes when the Qur'an is being recited or when an invited guest is speaking.

  39. usman from KSA

    yes,children shud be brought to the mosques but not just for the sake of bringing them-instead to teach them the deen and put in them the spirit of islam

    when kids think about the masjid,they should remember salah,zikr,etc. not ping-pong scores or video games.the mosque is a sacred place and shopuld be treated as such-its good to bring kids to the mosque but respect 4 the mosque should also be taught.

    in short,pool and ping pong r activities that belong in clubs n youth centers-plz. let the mosque remain a mosque-a place of worship

  40. Mohammed Kareemullah from KSA

    Assalam Alaikum!

    I disagree with Brother Hesham A Hussaballa. Please read the quality of the comments posted against and neutral.A muslim also should be like the mirror of the other muslim - if a muslim is doing mistake the other one should correct him immediately.

    In my view,

    1.We should use the word Masjid instead of Mosque.

    2.The parents are responsible for their children's discipline in early childhood days.If they trained them and tought how to behave in the Masjid, the rules of discipline, He can bring his children to the Masjid.

    3.There is a great role for a muslim women, she is the first teacher of the kids, she is responsible for the entire home activities, she has to mold the early days of the child so that he can become an ideal muslim later on and perform his responsiblity towards Islam. For acheiving this, she was giving much ralaxation in her activities, like the prayer of a women at home is greater than the prayer of a women at Masjid, if she support the males of her family to go out for Jumah prayer, she will get the rewards of same of those attending Jumah at Masjid,etc.

    4.The current status of the muslim children shows us the status of our muslim brother - how far they are successful/failure in fulfilling the responsibilites of a father in Islam. It's a serious matter, and every family of muslim society is like a unit and all these units forms together to form a society. If each family is following Islam perfectly, the whole society will be benefitted and become the Image of Islam.

    5.The parents should teach our children the basic moral values which includes how to behave in homes as well as in the soceity and encourage them to become the ideal muslim icons.

    Finally the comments of Hany Ayesh, Rafi, Nadia, Aleem Khan, Suhayb are very much worthful and leading towards Islam how to make ourself perfect muslims instead of following what is suitable for us in Islam and change the conditions and ways of to suit our interest.

    Kareemull

  41. Yahya Bergum from USA

    I am not inclined to lobby N.A.I.T. for their endorsement of entertainment in mosques. Why not bingo - to raise even more money?

    Also, calling a center "Islamic" might imply to the newcomer that what goes on inside is traditionally considered submission to Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala). I think that a facility for Muslim youth sounds like a fine idea but I would suggest calling it something more like a "Muslim activity center" (where regular prayer times are observed) for the sake of clarity. Plus, our friends across the water might or might not be inclined to subsidize it.

    Salaam

  42. mebrocky from USA

    Excellent ideas. For today's kids who are bombarded with so much trash, having a real sanctuary and a place to feel at home, to explore all the things young people need answers to would be very beneficial. I have learned in Islam, the concept of community is very important, and having a place for all ages to worship, learn, and socialize, is a real help. It takes nothing away from the sacred prayers and worship, if there is a place to gather afterwards and enjoy the company of other people of faith. Growing up in my church, (I am a Christian), we had classes for the younger children while their parents attended services. The lessons were geared for the child's age and level of understanding, and included some time for singing or games under the supervision of a teacher. On special holy days, the young children spent the first part of the service in with the adults, and then went to their own classes. For the older children there was a youth services minister who arranged for outings, fund raising for youth and charitable activities, as well as a Sunday evening class to learn how to deal with the world while remaining faithful to our beliefs. There were many programs for youth and adults all year long. Teens could go to seminars to meet young people from all over and discuss our faith and how to live by it. Of course there were ping-pong tables, etc., but the emphasis was on our faith. The year we were able to join the church as an adult, our Pastor took us to a Catholic church and to a Synagogue, so we could hear about other faiths and how they were the same, and how they were different. Unfortunately at that time there were no Mosques in our area to visit. Blessings to you all.

  43. Muslimah from Singapore

    Assalamualaikum. I think there is general consensus that the idea raised by the writer is good. We just don't agree on the types of activities. But I guess, this is a good start because it brings the discussion one step forward. I'd be interested to see what kind of activities masjids around the world have for Muslim young children and the youths.

    Salaam.

  44. Indah from Indonesia

    Assalamu'alaikum wr. wb.

    I agree that we must take our children to the mosque and make mosque a place that enjoyable for children. But, mosque is house of Allah, where we make a pray for Allah and therefore we can't mix mosque with play area such as video games or pingpong tables. There's a place for it. In my country,Indonesia, especially in small town, mosque is still popular place for children. Every day at Maghrib, children go to the mosque to have jama'ah and then read and study Al Qur'an at mosque until Isya. But in big city, such as Jakarta, where we can find movies, TV's, video games and a lot of other games, there's not many children we can see in the mosque. Maybe we can make an activity in mosque that attrack children, like nasyid contest, telling islamic stories contest, reading islamic poetry's,etc. It's my opinion.

    Wassalamu'alaikum wr. wb

  45. saif khan from usa

    Assalamu alaikum

    We started a basketball game unfortunateley all of a sudden there were cheerleaders, fights and all the stuff you see on TV oh yes even some parents got involved in the fight now we have a coach and some parents responsible and a seperate time for sisters lets see what happens. I take my children to the masjid but I trained them at home first, salah is 5 minutes we should have peace at that time. We should do a serious study of other religions to see having all the activities in their place of worship helped them or harmed them seeing the morals of those places I am afraid we will loose our way like other religions did.

    saif khan

  46. Magdy Morsi from USA

    I agree with the author. We all have to remember that if our kids loved the mosque because it is such fun place to be that love will still be there when they all grown up and no longer want to play but to pray and they started to learn the true meaning of prayers. What does everyone think the kids did during the time of our Prophet they played of course. Keeping ourkids close to the mosque is keeping them away from other bad things in our enviroment. Having the kid stay at home and watch TV or play somewhere alse is not a good idea because that is not what Islam is about Isalm is about unity for the whole Uma kids and all. They are the next generation that going to take over when we are gone you want them to love the mosque not to hate it and using any means( providing it is not forbidden)should be our goal. I can not imagin kinds at the Prophet time been much differnet than our kids today the first and last important thing must been (for the majority of course) was to play may be not video games but never the less games. I can see our kids in the future taking their kids to the same Mosque to pray ,learn and play just as we did with them.

  47. Muneeb from USA

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    I commend the author for his intentions to bring youth to the masajid and prevent them from being driven away, but his suggestions seem to fail the purpose. There are some problems:

    1) The Masjid is a place of worship, a place for remembering Allah. It is also a place of learning and teaching about Islam. What the youth need is not pandering to their desires of fun and play, even to the extent of inside the Masjid, but rather solid education and proper tarbiyah. Establishing learning circles where scholars teach and inculcate the love of the Deen and help counter the effects of the poisonous popular culture is a pressing need.

    2) If the Masjid becomes associated with fun and play -- billiard balls, pool tables, ping pong, etc -- then what will become of the Masajid 20 years from now? 30 years from now? I completely concur with Br. John's comments regarding this. We must be very careful about the youth.

    Of course, recreation is good and necessary. However, we must be careful about when and how. Islamic camps, etc are a good option. Basketball courts, soccer fields, etc are fine and well -- if managed properly. Islamic behavior, manners, and etiquette must be observed.

    Yes, we must bring the youth to the masajid. But we must not do that by making them similar to the places we are trying to protect them from. There is no such thing as an "Islamic club/bar."

    Wassalam

    Muneeb

  48. Hany Ayesh from USA

    The author's intention is undoubtedly sincere in trying to make the mosque a more inviting place for everyone, especially the children. However, I would like that some burden be shared by the parents, who often times mistake the house of worship for a baby-sitting facility. There are times when children may be treated harshly but I don't observe a systematic pattern on the part of our brothers.

    The parents should make sure that they talk to their kids to make sure the kids feel that there are rules of conduct in the mosque and that while some playing is allowed, running and wrestling around the worshippers should be reprimanded later in a gentle way. Putting pool tables or ping pong in the mosque should not be considered unless the mosque is a "cultural center", which is not. It is for prayer mostly that should accomodate some fun. Not the other way around.

    Just my opinion.

  49. Rafi from USA

    Assalamalaikum,

    I agree with the author when he says children should be brought to the masjid. But I disagree with his reasoning. Children should be brought to the masjid to strengthen their imaan and faith. They should come to the masjid for the love of Allah. We should not make our masjids look like clubs by having pool tables and ping pong tables. Then our children will come to masjid for the love of the duniya, not for the love of the deen.

    ws

    Rafi

  50. Adam Kingston from Australia

    I believe this to be true. In Perth at our Canning Mosque we have a pool table. There is always a young group of Muslim men playing pool in between prayers. It is a social way of getting to know your fellow brothers, especially when you are a convert. I pray that Insha Allah this may become common place in all Mosques.

    Also I see no problem with young children in Mosques. I believe there is no sweeter site then a young Muslim child, boy or girl, praying with their Mother or Father. I eagerly await the day when I or my wife can take our son or daughter to the Mosque. I want my children to feel at home and at ease at the Mosque, no matter what their age. I pray this message reaches as many Muslim people as possible and these practices become common place.

  51. Jesse Khan from United Kingdom

    I think this Brother has hit the nail on the head.

    Children are our future, and we all Inshallah must do our best to encourage them towards the straight path instead of ignoring them.

  52. Showole J.B. from Nigeria

    I sincerely thank the writer for expressing his mind. However, I vehemently disgree with the issue of "PING PONG" as Islam is not only a religion but a complete way of life as divinely laid down by Allah. But I quite agree with him on the need to be tolerant when dealing with kids in Mosques.

  53. Mohamed Iqbal Alaoui from Germany

    Very good point hope Islamic Institutions in the West and everywhere apply these suggestions.

    We need this!

  54. Umme Aimen from Canada

    Very nice article and so true. I think if we want our youth to follow our path, we have to encourage what the writer says.

  55. Abdul Abdulbarr from United States

    As-salaamu-alakum,

    Al-Hamdulilah (All Praise is due to Allah). I think this is a wonderful article. It is time that we address some real issues as Muslims here in America. Our children (Insha-Allah) are the next generation of Muslims here in America. If they do not play at/with/near the Masjid, they will not come to the Masjid.

    The Masjid should be the center of ALL our activities. What is a childs activities? They pray, play, and learn. What better place for them to pray, play, and learn then the Masjid.

  56. Khalil Ahmed from Oman

    A very wise and progressive idea from my brother.

    We have often seen intolerance of faithfuls towards young children. I wonder why this behavior from people claiming to observe Sunnah of our dear prophet?!

    All Mosques should have a provision for women prayer area as it often that children like to be near their mothers.

    To me nothing is more beautiful than to see innocent children taking their first steps inside the house of Allah, we all must make their first steps memorable in their memories and ours.

  57. Nasr

    I remember a time when we were performing salah in the masjid and there was a child running back and forth through the ranks. Unfor. the childs father chose not to handle that ituation as our Prophet Muhammed(saws) would half. If he had, there would not have been a problem. I completely support this because in my opinion the masjid should be the center of our community life. We have to have something outside of music videos, drugs, and other sins that easliy attract our youth. As a youth ( 23 rys old), my wife and I discuss this matter often. May Allah (SWA) purify our intentions and guide us to what will be pleasing to Him and humanity.

    As-salaam-w'alaikum !

    I love what you all do for us! ALLAHU-AKBAR !!!!!

  58. Nadia from U S A

    Assalamu aliakum,

    The first six paragraphs the writer was doing very well,the rest of the artical gave me a shock ,it seems that the writer does not know about a muslim comunity ,in an ideal comunity their should be a place for all the activities that was mentioned,and a prayer hall as well, then thy will all awnser the call to prayer together ,The prophet of mercy taght ua that the whole earth is a Masjid (mosque).AS for the official Mosqe it has diffrent rules by Shariah (Islamic Law),children can be there ,butthe house of worshipis not mad for the the rest of activities that was mentioned ,Insha Allah this will clear some mis understanding.

    Also talking about the mosque is not to be in a playfull manner ,it has a higher respect ,the Mosque has the tital as The house of God.

  59. Samina Shafiq from India

    I very much agree with the author as many times I am pained to see my young son wanting to go to the mosque since a very young age but afraid to do so because of the the strict maulana with sticks who do not hesitate to use them on these little kids in the event of giggles or laughfter cominf from them more so during the month of Ramadaan when after opening their rosas the kids are full of energy and also love to come for Tarawih!!

    this is not peculiar only to America but also to other countries like India where they have not started worrying enough to get thier youth to the mosques

    Jazakallah khair

  60. suhayb from canada

    ok, it's kind of true and i get the point but...video games...pool tables..!! i don't think so. the mosque is the place of worship and also learning. i guess constructing a building next to the mosque for the "fun" purpose, why not... the Prophet (saws) took his grd sons with him but i don't recall hearing he promoted playing around during prayers though...i can imagine the father calling his son because dhur is starting and the son answering "wait just a minute guys, i'm at level 4 of whatever game" or "this ping pong game is too close to stop now...we'll be there in a second...".

  61. N Rasheed from Canada

    I agree that the mosque is considered just as a place for prayer and the isolation that I feel makes me shy away from it. It should be an inclusive place for people to "live" and Islam becoming a "way" of living as opposed to a "part" of life.

  62. Mansoor Nasir from USA

    I agree with the authors viewpoint about making the mosques more inviting to the young people. However I think that just integrating different activities with the mosque will not work by itself. Too many times have I heard of young people not praying in Jamaa because they are busy playing basketball. If the children are made used to the environment of the mosques then this may not be the case.

    Not being able to bring kids to the mosque is preposterous but kids do need to be taught, by parents, how to behave in the mosque.

  63. Suresh from USA

    A beautiful article. I am a Hindu from India. However, the stories of the Prophet's (pbuh) compassion and consideration to children brought tears to my eyes.We Hindus have very similar problems;the temples in the USA are not sufficiently responsive to children's needs.The emphasis on long and complicated (and to the children, meaningless)rituals makes the place of worship uninviting to most children. We should evolve a fine balance between tradition and modernity.

  64. Aleem Khan from America

    First of all, i am against the concept of having the pool table, basketball hoops and pin pong table in masjid. Because small children making noices is different thing and making masjid a play area is blows my mind. I am not an extremist Muslim all i am saying that the reason human came to existence is to worship Allah and masjid is the place where Muslim come to pray and remember Allah not to play pool, shoots baskets and play ping pong. I can tolerate the children but I can't tolerate the playing area in masjid. They can create the community center next to masjid and setup anything they want to but not in the masjid.

  65. Usman Ali Hannan from Bangladesh

    This is a nice article and addresses a very real issue. The bad behavior that our children gets in the mosque is a sad story. It is surprizing to think how our adults forget their childhood and adolescence when they treat children and teengagers in the mosque.

    Ill treatment of children is not only a problem in North Amreica, it is a world-wide mosque phenomenon to my knowldedge. Especially in Masjids of developing countries. In developing countries such as Bangladesh, India or Pakistan-- most of the mosques are barred even from the shadows of women, as if there foot-steps would pollute the mosque. Naturally, without their mother, fewer children attends the mosques, especially when they are on a journey or travel.

    It is painful to see children are thrown at the back-most row all hurdled together roughly and hurriedly just when the Iqamat is made. I see how a child's happy face changes into a sad one when they are dragged into the back row with rough words. I wonder what kind of treatment is this? If children are to stand behind, can't it be done more nicely, without hurting their soft hearts? Shouldn't the adults have at least this much common sense?

    And what's so wrong if children pray standing besides adaults? In big mosques, it is virtually impossible to separate children from adults. I wonder what strong Islamic evidences do we have for such separation of adult and children in the mosque? I would love to see some scholars shedding some more light on this issue.

  66. John Yezeguielian from USA

    Al salaamu alaikum.

    Firstly, jazak Allah khair, brother. I can tell that your intent is good, your concern real, and your suggestion seems like a very good one - at first glance.

    I have two major points to bring up: Firstly, while you quoted hadith to support the notion, you failed to note the circumstances of that hadith. The entirely of the Prophet's people were actively muslim, and there with the Prophet (peace be upon him) his very self. They were living in the most Islamic of groups ever - and in the desert. Thus, their children were already being reared in such a fashion, within a community that was entirely muslim, and appropriate for that geographical circumstance. The hadith about the woman's crying child is about mercy, and how the salat can allow for practical solutions to real-world problems into account (as we see in many other circumstances, and even in our Rabbe's instructions in Al Quran regarding salat.) But none of that suggested the leniency I've seen where children were kicking karate-style during their "play", etc. Children running through the rows of those praying distract all from their prayers, and another example of the Prophet is that he returned a shirt which distracted him from his prayer.

    Secondly, if we draw our youth towards such conventions, we draw them that much closer to gambling and drinking as well. As a US-born convert to Islam, I see this a bit more clearly than you might. One small endorsed step taken towards such things leads towards greater dangerous biddah. (If there is a pool, what will people wear?) In the overall, while I DO agree that children should be raised to embrace Islam and find wholesome activities (i.e. Saudi Club, etc.) Let other Islamic centers be formed for such recreations, and leave the mosque as a serene sanctuary - for those who want to pray & worship. It can be a community center, and other community spokes can help keep the children within the wheel of our community.

    Ma

  67. Kathy Cregger from USA

    I just want to thank you so very, very much for this article and for articulating in such an eloquent manner my sentiments for many, many years.

    I have 3 boys (2 teenagers and 1 pre-teen) and realize the importance of taking them to the mosque but have not done so for many years now, due in very large part to the treatment of them as small children there.

    One so-called "imam" of a small masjid in Central Florida at one point threatened to actually "kill" my son if he did not get up from a chair he was sitting in and "behave" himself. My son was around 6 years of age at the time.

    When I made complaint about this to others, none of them batted an eyelash. They seemingly agreed with the "imam," including my husband, the boy's father. This same "imam" would make his wife take their newborn infant out to the car and sit there with the baby for the rest of the evening when the infant cried while in the masjid so as to not interfere with this "imam's" activities in the mosque. I found this also deplorable as the wife could have been placing herself and her baby in harms way...and no one in the masjid would have heard anything (the masjid was in a small shopping strip in an area that wasn't the safest to be in and there was not any security in the parking lot).

    In the end, I decided to not take my children to the mosque any more and to teach them as best I could at home. I was not going to let them have a fear and disliking of Islam instilled into them by the misguided people who frequented the mosque.

    It is too important that our children grow up to love the mosque and Islam and see them as a refuge rather than a place they hate to go to because of threats by unenlightened selfish adults. After all if the children are taught to be afraid of the mosque,who will ever attend the mosque or worse still, carry on Islam in the future?

  68. Axel Mohammed Josef Cremer from Australia / Nation of the "Willing"

    I have no intention defending Islam to unbelievers or none Muslims.

    Whatever people believe they may in this country of USA and there is no point really to express your views in a controlled media invironment of crusaders and jews. Your CNN and New York Times networks say it all every day.

    I am a Muslim and know what a Mesjid stands for

    and I am willing to answer questions if I am asked out of interest but not to defend myself for what I am.

    Not only the world of Islam views your country as an agressor, an invador.

    The full front of brutality is seen in right now Iraq. The illegal occupation, the violation of human rights.

    I have every understanding for these poor people,

    forced into occupational submission.

    If a Mosque is seen as a place of collaboration against terror of occupation, domination, yes so be it. That's what a place like this is there for.

    It is a place of worship, it is a place where I can say it as it is, tell the truth.

    It would not be a Mesjid otherwise.

    It is a slap in the face of every Muslim to indulge in political correctness of a USA.

    It would not be a country of my choice to live.

    Regards,

    Axel

  69. Safieldin from Sudan

    One of the reasons and perhaps the major , whychildren are not contolled in the mosque is that adult worshipers drive them to the back rows .If children are allowed among adult worshipers they are less noisy if at all.

  70. Aslam Shaikh from Saudi Arabia

    I fully agree with the writer. In fact it is a very good suggestion.