To the horror of a few dozen boys and young men, before Taraweeh last night my seven year old daughter prayed Isha on the men’s side of the masjid. Having three older brothers and no one to go over to the women’s side with, of course this seemed perfectly natural to Z, who in her tiny rhinestone dotted abaya and jersey knit tie back khimar (my sport khimar she has somehow usurped) she lined her little foot up to the gunboat of her fourteen year old brother and salaamed in. The next man to join the line gave a noticeable double take at the mini-hijabi, then lined up next to her and also salaamed in. Though none of the men of the men’s side said anything to her or my son, several young males were impelled to break their own prayers to inform my son (who enjoys a little rabble rousing as much as his Mama) that his sister had to leave. “Did you tell them she won’t bleed on the carpets?” I asked. He snorted in response and then me and The Boys took a rofling journey down memory lane recounting all of the horrible stuff they have done in the masjid. In no particular order:
5. The Not Salutations
One of my kids climbed to the roof of a masjid under construction and threw rocks (pebblish sized) and flipped the bird at his passing by friends and acquaintances. We can blame this on hormone shifts causing lack of impulse control. It was kind of an elder brother to overlook my son’s horrid adab and simply suggest that the kid come down for safety reasons.
4. Bad Dawah
My kids don’t play ball much. Their parents aren’t ballers and apparently there isn’t a recessive gene for that. So allowing one of my kids to kick a ball at the amir’s door just across from the masjid was an especially bad idea. A few kicks in and SMASH went the ball into the window of an apartment building next-door. Possibly worse was that the parent who was (supposed to be) supervising this kicker thought that they could fix the window without the tenants ever having to know about it. Parent parked a delivery van in front of the window and began scraping the rubber sealing off, without heeding the fact that the police station is two blocks away and fairly attentive to the masjid’s comings and goings. Alhumdulillah, lacking proper tools led Parent to give up his DIY project. Son paid for the window and still doesn’t play ball of any sort.
3. Najas Nightmares
My kid says that he “really had to go. Like really bad” but who wants to break their taraweeh prayer and then do that all over again? So yep, he tried to hold it but finally released a torrent all over himself and the masjid prayer rugs right there in the front row of taraweeh prayers. That’s one of your worst fears about kids in the masjid right?
2. Najas Nightmares II
During itikaf one year my boys rotated staying overnight in the mosque with their dad. Of course one semi-uncharacteristically peed in his sleep. All over the rugs, again. Not the same kid though.
1. Biology Experiments
After a hearty community iftar yet another one of those well-meaning brothers warned my son not to run around the masjid as it could make him puke (vomit for those of you joining us outside of the US) if he exercised on a full stomach. This is the son that doesn’t run much, but is especially inquisitive, so of course he did. And he did. Fortunately he kept running through his nausea, saving the rugs this time by puking off a masjid balcony into the parking lot below. No he didn’t hit anyone or anything other than the pavement.
0. More Not Too Superficial Damage
There was also the time one son threw another son’s Arabic studies book down the masjid stairs. When the book owner went chasing after it he stumbled, rolling down the stairs to the bottom where he crashed into and broke the glass door. I would think those things would be strong enough to take the impact of a smallish child, but no.
*Let it be noted that I was never once in attendance with my children during any of these episodes, though I did receive phone calls about them. May Allah preserve the parents who make the effort to take their children to the masjid and raise their children high in the deen. And for all you afflicted bystanders, I still got no empathy.