Saturday, August 21, 2010

Praying At Home?

I get it now.

Alhamdulillah, a visit from family (my husband's parents, sister, and her two sons) taught me an important lesson. I knew that it was allowed, even recommended for women to pray at home instead of at the masjid, while men are strongly encouraged to pray in the congregation at the masjid.

Until the family visit, my understanding of this subject had been purely academic--sure, women can pray at home or can go to the mosque. But I didn't realize what a mercy and blessing that is. My understanding went from "Yeah, it's nice," to "SubhanAllaah, this deen is amazing."

When my sister-in-law was visiting, with her two sons, whom I love dearly, I realized just what it might be like for a mother watching children at home. Children demand attention all the time. They don't take breaks, and sometimes like to misbehave even though your schedule doesn't really have time for it. With just two boys, it was difficult to find time for us to pray--though there were three women in the house to watch the kids! I simply can't imagine how she handles them on her own. And it's not because they boys are just being bad or trying to cause trouble, they just require lots of attention and supervision. Neither of these can be had from a mother during prayer.

In addition, taking care of a household full of people (as a newlywed, my house is not so often full) requires time--a lot of it. Things require cleaning--not to be "spic-n-span" but just so they aren't dirty. Like what? Like bathrooms, so they don't stink; tubs, so the water drains; dishes, so you can eat off them; pots and pans, so you can cook in them. Cooking meals for several people daily means constantly cooking, or cleaning in the kitchen. Then there's laundry, and the rest of the house to maintain.

Without children around, I can find extra time around my prayers to go to the mosque--but with children, the 5-10 minutes each way (10-20 minutes each prayer) will add up, and would be a tremendously difficult burden on women, if they had to go to the mosque for each prayer.

If it's hard enough to find time to pray at home, how much harder to find the time to get children ready to go pray as well--especially young ones, who need to be diapered, dressed, and fed with the help of their mothers? I didn't realize, until this last visit, how much of a blessing it is for women that they are encouraged to pray at home, their minds at ease from the difficulty of praying at the masjid.

It also pretty much negates any concept that women have an easy life, or that their jobs (as mothers, and caretakers of the house) are less important than men's. It seems like the job of women is so important that while she does take a break for prayer, she has the benefit of being able to do it at home, so she can devote more of her time and energy to her responsibilities.



jana z. said...

being a wife is busy, but being a mother is a huge blessed job!! youve written often of the ladies who are praying in the mosque while their children run around. though it is a distraction for people who have no children, the mothers are used to it. the prophet himself used to pray with children running laughing and on his back. many of us relish the times we can pray at the mosque and we take our children with us. we are not to stop praying unless its an emergency, so we grow used to our children trying to talk to us, the cat meowing and pulling our hijabs off, a child on our back or looking upside down trying to see our faces while we bow. lol...when you have children, you will learn to balance it all and inshallah get to the mosque too. and yes your child will also walk and talk amongst the ones praying because we cant stop to make them shush!!

uthman said...

mashAllah a nice article....the feminist readership of your blog will not really like what you wrote :)

Umm Aaminah said...

Salaam sis; it takes understanding to a new level when you personally experience a thing. :-) I've been a mother for 17 years now and I can say it is indeed a blessing to not be REQUIRED to attend the masjid (although like many sisters, I enjoy it immensely).

Case in point: yesterday. I had a dr. appt before jumah and arrived home shortly before time to leave. My youngest (aged 2) still wasn't dressed, her bag wasn't packed, and she was hyped up and exhausted. Alhamdulillah I was able to forgo a trip to the masjid and simply prayed at home instead.

I missed being able to go but was sooo grateful it wasn't a requirement for me. My husband, on the other hand, had to rush to get out of the house. hehe

Like you, I love those "eureka" moments when I can say....Ohhhhh! NOW I get it!!! :-)

Saladin said...

That's one of the reasons I'm looking to move up to Northgate. I figure if the masjid is only a few minutes away by foot, I'll be able to participate in many more activities.

Downtown Seattle is death for Islamic practice, particularly for those of us without cars.

Great article!