Heading for Alhamdullilah we’re almost halfway to the completion of Ramadan. By this time, I am sure our bodies have somewhat adjusted to the new routine, and it has started to learn how to coup with food withdrawals as well as food comas after an iftar. And at the same time, because its Ramadan, I am sure many of us, in whatever capacity, are also praying more or are spending more time in zikr of Allah SWT in one way or another. This is so we can build better habits today when shaitan isn’t around to mock us or derail us. We are all striving hard to earn more Sawab (rewards) and for that, we should congratulate each other and send praises towards Allah SWT as he is the one who enabled it in the first place. I know many brothers, including myself, have been coming regularly, or at least trying to come regularly like myself, to this or any other masjid with more frequency than before Ramadan. But I notice that only few of us do like to bring families to masjid for reasons best known to Allah SWT.
Hence, in that spirit, today’s khutbah is going to be a discussion about Sunnahs of the prophet ( صلى الله عليه وسلم ( that relate to how he operated around families at the masjid and whether we should be bringing families to the masjid or not. One thing that you should know as a context, masjids at the time of prophet ( صلى الله عليه وسلم) were not just a religious institution, they were geared towards being a community center. As an immigrant to the US, to see masjids over here operating closer to the sunnah of prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم (made me very happy and I say that because over here, people are in the habit of bringing their families to the masjids/Islamic centers, masjids are generally expected to have a separate area to accommodate women in the community, masjids also roll out events and if Allah wills, people in the masjid are generally involved in social and humanitarian projects to aid the people around them, locally or internationally. This is how masjids were geared in the time of prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم (and whoever continues to do so is following his Sunnah closer than those who don’t. Having said all of that, should all the brothers here at the masjid be recommended to bring their families to the masjid? I, and many scholars, would sincerely encourage everyone and say yes, to bring their families, including the women and children of the household, here at the masjid. This recommendation is in line with several sunnah of the prophet
(صلى الله عليه وسلم (that I am going to speak about in a few moments.
I am well-aware that there are hadith from prophet ( صلى الله عليه وسلم (where he has suggested that a woman’s prayers are best when private versus a masjid, and I completely agree with it... a woman’s prayers are better if done at home or in a more private room, if possible, but know that context matters because in that hadith, prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم (is simply suggesting what is preferred... he is not suggesting that women should not come. If that was true, this would be in total contradiction of what Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم (has said at other occasions. E.g., it is narrated in Sahih al-Jaami ‘, hadith no. 7458, that prophet :said) صلى الله عليه وسلم) "Do not prevent your women from going to the mosque, even though their houses are better for them." In another hadith, reported by reported by Muslim, Hadith 667, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, is reported to have said: "I heard the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم (say: ‘Do not prevent your women from going to the mosque if they ask your permission.’" (to which) Bilal ibn ‘Abdullah replied, "By Allah, we will prevent them." (Ibn ‘Umar) turned to him and told him off in an unprecedented fashion, saying: "I tell you what the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم (said, and you say ‘By Allah, we will prevent them’!!"
Imagine, Abdullah ibn Umar almost scolding a fellow companion who suggested he’ll prohibit women from coming. This was because he knew that it was against the sunnah of prophet ( صلى الله عليه وسلم (who has specifically told us to not prevent our women from coming to the masjids, provided they ask their guardian(who can be husbands, fathers, brothers, sons). Other prerequisites to be in the masjid are the same as men... just be presentable like one would be when they are in a public place. Also, similar to bringing in your families, it was also prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم‘(s sunnah to better accommodate families at the masjid once they were here. This would be in several forms, e.g., prophet ( صلى الله عليه وسلم (was in habit of praying Isha early at the masjid because women and children used to come regularly at the
masjid, for whom praying early would mean that they get to pray and go home earlier as well... perhaps put kids to sleep too. Would you believe that prophet
(صلى الله عليهوسلم (is even known to shorten theprayers at the sound of a child’s cry? According to Sahih al-Bukhari 709, “The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم (said, "When I start the prayer, I intend to prolong it, but on hearing the cries of a child, I cut short the prayer because I know that the cries of the child will incite its mother's passions."
Meaning the prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم (didn’t want to distress the mother, so he reduced the prayer even thoughhis first intention was to keep it prolonged. His was because he wanted to make things easier on his Ummah and what better of a role model do we need to follow than our beloved prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم.( It is also a well-known fact that prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم (used to love kids. Hence, instead of scolding having kids around while he prayed, he would find ways to make sure kids felt that masjid was some place to look forward to and where they can be themselves e.g., Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم (was fine with the idea that kids bring toys with them at the masjid, so long as those toys don’t glorify another entity or deity. According to Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith 1960, Ar-Rubi' Bint Mu'awadh RA recalled fasting on the 10th of Muharram (aka Ashura), where she said: "The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم (sent a messenger to the village of the Ansar in the morning of the day of 'Ashura'
(10th of Muharram) to announce: 'Whoever has eaten something should not eat but complete the fast, and whoever is observing the fast should complete it.'
"She further said, "Since then we used to fast on that day regularly and also make our boys fast. We used to make toys of wool for the boys and if anyone of them cried for, he was given those toys till it was the time of the breaking of the fast." It is also known to us that prophet ( صلى الله عليه وسلم (was used to the idea of having kids around while praying, even when he was leading prayers, mashallah. According to Sahih al-Bukhari, hadith 5996, it is narrated The Prophet ( صلى الله عليه وسلم (came out towards us, while carrying Umamah, the daughter of Abi Al-As (his granddaughter) over his shoulder. He prayed, and when he wanted to bow, he put her down, and when he stood up, he lifted her up. There is also another similar account where, according to Sahih al-Nasaa’i, 1093, Abd-Allah ibn Shaddad that his father said: “The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم (came out to us for one of the evening prayers (Maghrib or ‘Isha’), carrying Hasan or Husayn. The Messenger of Allah
(صلى الله عليه وسلم (came forward, put the child down and said Takbir (“Allahu Akbar”) to start the prayer. Then he prostrated during the prayer and his prostration lasted for a long time. My father said: I raised my head and saw the child on the back of the Messenger of Allah (,)صلى الله عليه وسلم so I went back to my prostration. When the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم ( finished praying, the people said to him: ‘O Messenger of Allah (,)صلى الله عليه وسلم during your prayer you prostrated and it took a long time, until we thought that something had happened, or that you were receiving Revelation.’ He said, ‘Nothing happened, but my son was riding on my back, and I did not want to hurry him up until he had had enough.’” Mashallah if Rasul-Allah ( صلى الله عليه وسلم (can play horsey with his grandchildren or let them be on his back or laps, surely, we can be patient with few kids running around or being playful.
Dear Brothers and sisters,
To recap, today’s khutbah is not a jab on anyone to point out if they were of a different view. Today’s khutbah is simply to point out why we all are in love with prophet ( صلى الله عليه وسلم (and why we’re his fans. Among the many things he did or said, we all agree he had amazing sense of ethics and that his etiquette paralleled none other in his time. Based on several narrations, it is evident from his Sunnah that he was patient when need be; playful when need be; and stern when need be. And in matters of women and kids, he was particularly softer in approach to exhibit having higher emotional intelligence. Based on the discussion I have presented, I want to close out today’s khutbah with few recommendations and I hope they come across as welcomed and friendly:
• For everyone, please make an effort to come to masjid as much as you can. If you can’t do it regularly, at least do more than what is allowed comfortably so you stay in the habit of staying on top of it.
• Bring your families at the masjid. This is the month of Ramadan, and I am sure as much as us guys are enthusiastic about praying and increasing our rewards, so are the women. So please, make sure you bring them here if they ask and keep provisions for them at home for times when they are not here with you.
• Bring your kids to the masjid. They are a huge responsibility and especially for fathers, the burden of educating kids is on them. Bring them here so you can educate them about their identity as a Muslim, talk to them about stories in the Quran, teach them how to behave with other kids and adults because remember. A masjid is more than just a place to worship... a sense of community ingrained young in a child’s mind will inshallah benefit a lot in the future.
• Lastly, please appreciate all the good that you family members do. It doesn’t take a lot to say thank you to your loved ones. It is prophets sunnah to be kind to others and say Salaam. And more specifically, it is very important to be kind and gentle with words towards your wife as prophet ( صلى الله عليه وسلم (has said that the best among you are those who are best to their wives... not mothers, not daughters, but best to your wives.