I’m really tired of the “only men should attend prayer at mosques” mentality. Just because women don’t have to go doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t, or that Muslims can discourage them from going. Women were given the privilege of being equally rewarded for going or not going to the mosque in order to empower their decision, so why would anyone want to take that away by shaming them from attending (especially with children)?
Prophet Muhammad, peace by upon him, said:
“(It happens that) I start the prayer intending to prolong it, but on hearing the cries of a child, I shorten the prayer because I know that the cries of the child will incite its mother’s passions.” (Al-Bukhari)
Not only was the woman’s attendance at mosque respected, but it was also given due consideration. The prophet made sure to accomodate the women, not make them feel like they were an accommodation for men. It pains me to see a sister, who goes out of her way to attend the mosque even if it means bringing and caring for her children throughout, squirm when her child starts crying for fear of being a burden to the men’s section or being admonished by the sheikh.
The mosque is God’s House. It should feel safe and welcoming for everyone, and not feel like an intimidating men’s space. We should be encouraging our sisters and our children to be going to the mosque, a safe haven from societal ills and a place where one can develop one’s relationship with God.
I hope that any woman that wants to attend the mosque will have the confidence and self-assurance to do so, and that the sound of her children in the congregation will only make her feel more proud of her commitment to her faith and her amazing judgment of raising her children within a mosque’s walls. And I hope that she will only be met with kindness and respect.