Q. Is there a hadeeth where the Rasul (sas) is quoted to have said that toddlers should not be brought because shaitan pinches these kids and makes them cry so that the salat of the adults is disturbed?
How does the hadeeth wherein the Rasul (sas) is reported to have carried young Hadrat Hassan (rah) on his shoulders and would put him down for ruku and sajda fit into this situation? Can this hadeeth be quoted as a daleel for the permissibility of bringing toddlers in the masjid?
A. There are traditions which show that young children (toddlers) were brought to the masjid during the time of the Prophet (S.A.S) and it is also evident (in a tradition) that the Prophet (S.A.S) ordered that children should not be brought to the masjid.
With respect to the allowance, it is evident (in a tradition recorded by Imam Nasai in his Sunan and Imam Ahmad in his Musnad) that Abu Qatada (R.A) said, ‘Once while we were sitting in the masjid, the Prophet (S.A.S) came to us carrying his grand daughter Umamah (the daughter of Abul Aas bin Rabee and Zainab) with him and she was a child. The Messenger of Allah then performed Salaah and she was on his shoulders. He will put her down when he made ruku and will lift her up, when he returned to the standing posture’. (Nasai Vol. 1 Pg. 116 – Arabic text)
Imam Nasai has mentioned this Hadith under the chapter ‘Entering (Bringing) children to the masjid’. By doing so, he wishes to show that it is permissible to bring children to the masjid.
However, while an allowance can be understood from the above tradition, a Hadith recorded by Imam Ibn Majah shows that a prohibition has also been mentioned. The Hadith is narrated by Wathilah bin Asqa (R.A) who says that the Prophet (S.A.S) said, ‘Protect your Masjid from children, from insane people, from trade, from disputes, from raising your voices’. (Sunan Ibn Majah Chapter of what is disliked in the Masjid Arabic text Pg. 54)
This hadith shows a clear prohibition of children being brought to the masjid.
In reconciling between the two positions, the scholars have stated that those children who have reached the age of discernment and would be well behaved in the masjid, and also those from whom there is no fear of disturbance and distraction, they can be brought with the parents to the masjid. It is with respect to these cases that the allowance is evident in the traditions.
However, as for those children who may disturb and distract the musalis (those offering salaah) due to their behavior and conduct, and may need continuous parental supervision, they should not be brought to the masjid. This is the ruling which has been adopted by the general body of jurists. In this regard, Shaikh Dr. Wahba Az Zuhaili has written, ‘It is Makrooh (disliked) to bring animals, insane people and children who have not reached the age of discernment to the masjid. This is so, since one is not safeguarded from the acts of these soiling the masjid (and the distraction that they may cause). However, it is not Haram since it is evident that the Prophet (S.A.S) carried Umamah bint Zainab to the masjid. But taking the possible harms into consideration, it will be makrooh (disliked).This ruling is an established one according to the scholars of the Mazhab of Imam Ahmad bin Hambal and the scholars of the mazhab of both Imam Malik and Imam Abu Hanifa have prohibited children of this nature from entering the masjid. They have stated that it is Makrooh (disliked)’. (Al Fiqhul Islami Wa Adilatihi Vol. 1 pg. 550).
In this regard, Sheik Ibn Uthaimin has also stated, ‘I think that bringing children to the masjid who will disturb those who are offering prayer is not permissible, because in that is a disturbance for the Muslims who are performing an obligation from the obligations of Allah. The Prophet (S.A.W) heard some of his companions praying and reciting aloud, so he said, ‘you all should not raise your voices over each other in recitation’. In another Hadith, he said, ‘you should not harm one another’. Thus, everything that contains something that bothers those who are offering pray, is not permissible for the person to do it. Hence, my advice to the parents of such children is that they do not bring them to the masjid’. (Fatawah Islamiyah Vol. 3 Pg. 27)
In view of these explanations, it is established that such children who may cause disturbance to the musalis (those offering salaah), should not be bought to the masjid. With respect to the action of the Prophet (S.A.W) lifting his granddaughter Umamah in salaah (as narrated in the traditions), some scholars have stated that this act was specific to the prophet (S.A.W) and some have stated that it was done out of necessity. Others have stated that it has been abrogated.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan