Prayer for Women and Small Children?

We went to the masjid today, rather a big deal with Baby. As I entered the masjid, I saw a sign, off to my left, pointing off toward a classroom, that said: “Prayer for Women with Small Children.” I have a habit of talking to Baby, which probably comes across to other people as muttering to myself, so I read the sign aloud, and then said to Baby, “Mommy doesn’t think that’s right. It isn’t right at all.”

I proceeded to ignore the sign and took Baby to the women’s prayer hall, but I felt just the slightest touch of anger about it. Why should women with small children be segregated from the rest of the community? Why should the children for that matter? That isn’t how I want to raise my child. That isn’t the sunnah.

Children were present in the Prophet’s masjid. When they were fasting and the children cried from hunger, they made them toys to play with. The Prophet’s grandsons played on his back. He used to lift his granddaughter during the prayer. He shortened his recitation from what he had intended out of compassion for the child’s mother when he heard a child cry.

So I guess it disturbs me, this trend because it isn’t just this masjid. The others are doing the same sorts of things.What voice do I have, if I disagree? No one bothered me about bringing my baby into the prayer, but people are usually non-confrontational, so how many would have said anything? But, because I choose to ignore the sign and bring my baby into the prayer hall, she is the only small child there.

Not that long ago, I used to sit in prayers and watch the small children running around, and think someday one of them will be mine. Why did that change? I wanted that for my child.

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