Q: The following appears in an article on the Website of the Jamiat. Is all of this correct?
Tolerating Natural Toddler Antics
Babies grow older to become active and energetic toddlers (known nowadays as ‘preschoolers’), who love climbing on to the laps and backs of adults and playing “rough house”. It is well known that the Prophet not just allowed children in this age-range inside his masjid during obligatory congregational prayers, but also patiently tolerated their antics during prayers, even if these antics caused noise or disturbance.
Reported by Abdullah ibn Shaddad from his father: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) came out to lead us in either maghrib or ‘isha’ one night, and he was carrying Hassan or Husain. The Messenger of Allah came forward and put (the child) down, then he said takbir and started to pray. During the prayer, he prostrated and made his prostration long. My father said: “I raised my head and I saw the child on the back of the Messenger of Allah whilst he was prostrating, so I returned to my prostration.” When the Messenger of Allah finished praying, the people said: “O Messenger of Allah, during your prayer you prostrated for so long that we thought something had happened or that you were receiving Revelation.” He said: Nothing at all happened, but my son was riding on my back and I did not want to disturb him until he had had enough. (An-Nisa’i)
This hadith is another great example of how tolerant the Prophet was regarding children’s naughtiness. Imagine a small child in the age-range 2-4 (who can be carried easily) climbing on to the back of a masjid’s imam during prostration nowadays. What do you think his reaction would be? Yet, Prophet Muhammad lengthened his prostration just to let the child continue his enjoyment and innocent play, hereby causing some concern and undoubtedly a bit of chagrin to the worshippers praying behind him in the congregation.
A: Will you allow your child to come and play on your desk while you are engaged in a very important business meeting or at a court proceeding. If not then why won’t you allow him whilst you are in the midst of a court proceeding.
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)