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.
Topics: Children, Prayers (Salah)
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.
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
therefore the point is this CHILDREN SHOULD ACCOMPANIED WITH THEIR GUARDIAN. This can be corrected if we follow the right rules of Islam
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.
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.
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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.....
"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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
Anyway, would you know of any programs that woudl be good for my lil bro? and thanks for your article.
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?
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.
Your response would be highly appreciated. We learn everyday!!!
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
Children are our future, and we all Inshallah must do our best to encourage them towards the straight path instead of ignoring them.
We need this!
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.
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.
I love what you all do for us! ALLAHU-AKBAR !!!!!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.