Bringing minor children to the Musjid

Q: With the steady and frequent flow of people coming for Umrah and Ziyaarah, on account of general affluence, we notice that huge crowds are now coming to Makkah and Madinah. While it is applaudable to perform umrah and visit the haramain in this manner, it has unfortunately brought certain problems in its wake. Both the harams are becoming centres of entertainment in which small children are playing, making noise and running around. This problem has reached the point where even the Imaams, Imaam Subail in the past and Imaam Sudais, have complained on account of the small children spoiling the ambiance of the haram.

Is there any guidance in the Shari’ah as to how we should deal with this situation? Many a time, it is noticed that small children are running around, shouting, playing, etc, both at salaah times and even out of salaah times. On account of this, people performing their rituals and engaging in ibaadaat are disturbed.

In this era, it is a norm for every type of information to be available to every person. Each person can search the internet and within seconds, they have loads of information at their fingertips. Hence, every person, whether he is educated or uneducated, whether he understands Deen or not and whether he has taqwa or not, feels that he can directly deduce any mas’ala from any Hadith. Thus, the Hadith which mentions that Hazrat Hasan and Hazrat Husain (Radhiyallahu Anhuma) were present in the Musjid during their childhood, or that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was carrying his grandchild, Hazrat Umaamah (Radhiyallahu Anha), during salaah while she was an infant, is often quoted in support of minor children coming to the Musjid. Can you provide some guidance in this issue?

A: Deducing masaa’il directly from the Hadith is a great responsibility. There were great Imaams in the past, such as Imaam Abu Hanifah, Imaam Maalik, Imaam Shaafi’ee, Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal, Imaam Auzaa’ee (Rahimahumullah), etc who understood the science of ijtihaad. Sometimes, the dalaa’il of the Imaams are known to us, and in other instances, we are not aware of their dalaa’il. However, not being aware of their dalaa’il does not mean that the A’immah did not have dalaa’il. Rather, it may be that we simply did not come across it or we did not even realize that we had discovered it.

Often, the senior A’immah and Fuqahaa adopt the approach of viewing the situation holistically. Due to them viewing the situation holistically, it may seem to us as though they did not take certain factors and aspects into consideration. However, feeling that they had failed to take certain aspects into consideration is due to our lack of understanding. Consider the issue of women coming to the Musjid for congregational salaah. The leading Sahaabah (Radiyallahu Anhum), the likes of Hazrat Aa’isha (Radiyallahu Anha) and Hazrat Abdullah bin Masood (Radiyallahu Anhu) had prevented women from coming to the Musjid for the congregational salaah. Though they knew that Rasullallah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) had allowed women to come to the Musjid, they realized that with the passage of time, people’s caution and commitment to deen will decrease and will not be as expected. In the case where the Hadith has allowed them to come to the Musjid, the Hadith has placed certain strict conditions to which they need to adhere. Among these conditions is that they should come in an unattractive and untidy state (وهن تفلات - Abu Dawood #565). Similarly, they should not apply any perfume when leaving the home (يا أمة الجبار Abu Dawood #4174) and there should not be any fitnah in them coming out to attend the congregational salaah (حديث الفضل في حجة الوداع Tirmizi #885).

After studying all these Ahaadith, one will arrive at the conclusion that all these conditions can only be found through women performing their salaah at home, as it is practically impossible for any person to control and regulate the women who are coming out to the Musjid. If any effort is made to control them, it will result in a fight, dispute, court case and embarrassment for the community. Hence, when we do not have the ability to prevent the fitnah that will occur through women leaving their homes, the simple solution is that we should rather keep them at home. Furthermore, this is in keeping with the Hadith (وبيوتهن خير لهن Abu Dawood #567). Applying the same analogy to the case of children, we understand that through allowing minor children to come to the Musjid, the following problems will be experienced:

1. Minor children raising their voices and shouting in the Musjid. The Hadith has prohibited raising voices in the Musjid and this has been mentioned among the signs of Qiyaamah (Tirmizi #2210).

2. The Musjid could become soiled at times with urine, etc. The Fuqahaa had declared it impermissible to bring minor children to the Musjid when there is fear that the Musjid will become soiled with impurity and najaasat. Allaamah Haskafi (Rahimahullah) has written:

ويحرم إدخال صبيان ومجانين حيث غلب تنجيسهم وإلا فيكره (الدر المختار 1/656)

It is impermissible to allow insane people and minor children to enter the Musjid when there is a strong possibility that they will mess the Musjid. If there is no strong possibility of them messing the Musjid, it will be Makrooh to allow them to enter the Musjid.

3. Those musallees that are disturbed will initially express disapproval. Thereafter, at the second level, they will take matters into their own hands and physically discipline the children. Parents will take their children’s part and fight on their behalf. The outcome of this is that the Musjid will no longer have the ambiance of a Musjid wherein the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala, humility and silence is found.

On account of these abovementioned reasons, minor children should not be brought to the Musjid.

And Allah Ta'ala (الله تعالى) knows best.


Answered by:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)