We took Baby to the masjid again on Friday. I decided to try out the prayer for mothers with small children even though the idea had bothered me last time. I guess it kind of bothered me too, Baby being the only child at the prayer. I think also there is an encouragement in Islam of abiding by the decisions of people put in authority over you.
It turned out to be a small room with a lot of toys and fairly loud playing small children, 12 mothers, and about 20 infants and toddlers. There was a TV fixed to the wall, showing the imam. I’ve seen opinions about watching the jumu’ah on a TV screen that it doesn’t really count as attending the jumu’ah, but I have to admit that this was probably a better environment for me and Baby. We felt more accepted, didn’t have to worry about offending anyone, and overall it was just less overwhelming. The size of the gathering is more what I feel comfortable with as the masjids in this area are just so large!
I still don’t really agree with the ideology behind it, but I did feel it was better for Baby to be with other children, so we will probably go there from now on. I do kind of wonder though whether the rest of the community is depriving themselves of the presence of these children. I wonder whether women were actually asked what they wanted or whether the male leadership just made these decisions. In my childless days I used to enjoy seeing the children in the masjid even if they were a distraction, and when I took Baby to the prayer, there were definitely ladies who enjoyed seeing her. I also wonder what it says for the future of our ummah that the mothers of small children made up such a small group at such a large masjid.