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Making Our Children Familiar with Mosques at an Early Age

by Fethullah Gülen on . Posted in Religious Education of the Child

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In the time of happiness, children were free to go to the mosque at any time they wanted, no matter what age they were. It is a pity that nowadays we think that we will violate the sanctity of a mosque by taking children along. Likewise, it is such a pity that in many mosques we see elderly people shooing children away, frightening them.

Unfortunately, these narrow-minded people think that they are preserving the dignity of the mosque by frowning on the children's actions. In fact, what they are doing merely contradicts the tradition of Allah's Messenger (pbuh). He counseled Muslims that while standing in prayer in a mosque that the men should stand in front, then small boys, and then women and girls.

If this order of placement is followed, children will witness the pleasure and zeal of the adults at prayer; consequently, they will become more eager to practice their religion. Thus, rather than frigh¬tening them away, we should be trying to encourage them with small gifts, if possible, so that they warm towards prayer. We should make them love the mosques and the gardens of the mosques, yet always strive to keep the sanctity of the mosque alive in their attitudes. When Allah's Messenger (pbuh) prayed in the mosque, he would take his granddaughter, Umamah, on his back, leaving her on the ground when he prostrated, and he would then take her on his back again before he stood up. This act is very important, as it is an example presented by Allah's Messenger (pbuh), the ultimate guide. The glorious Prophet (pbuh) never used an expression or held an attitude that could be considered harsh concerning the matter of children being taken to mosques. Therefore, a beautiful corner of our neighborhood should be spared for a mosque and our homes should be places of prayer; children will see aspects of life that will remind them of Allah in everything that they see around them; they will look at life in pious wisdom, they will choose their path and walk that way by their free will and conscience. Let us consider the prescribed prayers. When a child is old enough to pray, the father should hold his child's hand, take his child up to the prayer rug of the mother, inspiring spiritual depth and hearty devotion to Islam. Obtaining the expected result will be a great achievement, for prayers are of essential importance in terms of turning to Allah.