Being Disturbed

Many of us have been in this situation (being disturbed, that is, and it’s, well, disturbing . . . )

Arab News (Article): Disturbing worshippers is sin, says Al-Obaikan

JEDDAH: Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Al-Obaikan, adviser to the royal court, has condemned women who bring their children to mosques for the nighttime taraweeh prayers during Ramadan.

Speaking to a local newspaper, Al-Obaikan said children disturb worshippers, run between prayer rows and damage mosque property.

“Children distract people performing prayers … women who can’t pray at mosques unless they take their children with them should pray at home. It’s better for them,” said Al-Obaikan.

He also stressed the responsibility of mothers to respect imams and worshippers by refraining from talking loudly or allowing their children to bother people.

“If a mother lets her children disturb people while praying she is a sinner,” said Al-Obaikan.

Taraweeh is a special evening prayer performed only during Ramadan in which long portions of the Qur’an are recited.

But what makes women leave the comfort of their homes with their children to disturb others at mosques?

Samiah Ahmad, 38-year-old Islamic studies teacher, believes that children must be trained to pray at an early age. “We should be encouraging young boys and girls to go to mosques instead of preventing them. I don’t believe they disturb people, especially since women’s section are separated from men’s sections,” she said.

On the contrary, Fatima Khalid does not approve of children going to mosques. “Why would I want my kids annoying people who are in a state of  holiness?” she said. “Some women are stubborn and they’re careless about being considerate to worshippers.” That is why the mosque she attends has two security women at the door directing women with children to a separate section.

Hani Yacqub, imam of Al-Imam Malik mosque in Jeddah, said women are not the only ones to be blamed for disturbing worshippers. “Even some men show up with children under the age of five. They leave them wandering aimlessly, depriving people of peace,” he said.

Imam Hani added that it is recommended for Muslim men and women to offer Taraweeh prayers in the mosque in congregation. “This is as long as everyone shows respect. However, one may also perform the prayers individually at home. These prayers are voluntary, but are strongly recommended and widely practiced,” he added.


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