The Islamic commandments on presence of children in mosques

.  6/28/2014

What is the religion rule for presence of children in mosques?

الصبیان is the plural noun of الصبی which means child. But which age of childhood is assumed?

The present article has considered to the documents and religious rules about presence of children in mosques.  Obviously, the official website of the Centre of Supervision on Mosques Affairs is ready to receive your comments and critics on contents of this article.

Hujjatul Islam Sayyed Mustafa Beheshti from our religious studies centre in Qom:

Mosque as the most important religious base of the Muslims is the place of gathering all castes and ages of Muslim people. But there is question which has to be considered. Has the holy Islam limited the entrance of children to mosques? If the answer is yes, so which age of childhood includes these limitations?

According to some of Islamic jurists children coming to mosque, is abominable. They adduce on the narrations from the Grand Prophet of Islam and Imam Sadeq (greetings to him). But some of them believe that this abomination depends on some factors and an occasion group. So according to the second group of Shiite jurists, this is not a general principle and even some of them had introduced this affair beneficial or compulsory.

The views of present jurists:

Referring some of jurists, they have asserted that entrance of children to mosques is abominable without any exception. But some of them have conditioned this issue to an especial group of kids (like those who may pollute mosque or don’t respect to its dignity). Some jurists also believe that children entrance to mosques is beneficial or even compulsory.

Mostly, jurists had written in their essay that children and ravings entrance to mosques is abominable (Imam khomeini’s essay – Article no.915)

But some of jurists have added some points to this article:

Ayatollah Bahjat believes that prevention of children entrance to mosques is reserved for those kids who not enough are grown up to recognize rituals.

Ayatollah Sistani believes that children entrance to mosques is allowed unless those children who may pollute mosque or disturb worshippers (Article no.901)

Ayatollah Fazel Lankarani recognizes the entrance of kids to mosques praiseworthy and causes to attract them to mosques unless those kids who disturb the others.

Ayatollah Makarem also recognizes the entrance of children praiseworthy or even compulsory in such conditions which they don’t disturb or pollute mosques (Article no.839)

The views of past jurists:

مفتاح الکرامة فی شرح قواعد العلامة (ط-الحدیثة), Sixth volume, page no. 287


The first view: it is detestable

Many of the past jurists have voted to aversion of children entrance to mosques because of the narrations which were described before. For example we can refer to the votes of:

Sheikh tousi in Al-Nahayah Val Mabsout, Bin Edris Helli in Al-Saraer, Muhaqeq Helli in Al-Mutabar- Allameh Helli in Al muntahi va Nahayatul Ahkam Val Tazkerah, Shahidul Avval in Al-Dorous, Al-bayan, Al-Zekraa, Al-Nafliah, Feiz-e-Kashani in Mafatihul Sharaye’e and Sayyed-e-Yazdi in Urvatul Vosqa books.

The second view: it is allowed

Some of jurist hadn’t voted to abomination and didn’t prevented children to enter mosques. We can mention some of them like: Muhaqeq Helli in Al-Sharaye’e va Al-Mokhtasarul Naafe, Allameh Helli in Ershadul Azhaan and Mohaqeq Sabzevari in Kefayatul Ahkaam.

The third view: detestable presence of some children while the other kids entrance, is beneficial

Some of jurists vote to detestable presence of those children who may pollute mosque and the second group of children presence, who are reliable in this issue is beneficial because of practice of devotional works. Some of these grand jurists are:

 : Muhaqeq korki in Jameul Maqased, Shahid Saani in Masalekul Afham, Saheb madarek in Al-Madarek, Moqadas Ardabili in Majmaul Faedah va Al-Borhan books. Also the First Majlesi in Rozatul Motaqin and Allameh Majlesi in Beharul Anvaar books, have accepted this issue.


Third: The document of abomination verdict:

The provable documents of this verdict are two narrations which are written in some old sources of Shiite:


The first narration:

قَالَ أَبُو عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع‏ جَنِّبُوا مَسَاجِدَکُمُ‏ الْبَیْعَ وَ الشِّرَاءَ وَ الْمَجَانِینَ وَ الصِّبْیَانَ وَ الْأَحْکَامَ وَ الضَّالَّةَ وَ الْحُدُودَ وَ رَفْعَ الصَّوْتِ.

Imam Sadeq (greetings to him) said keep your mosques away from buy and sell, maniacs, children, judgement, seeking for lost, execution of penalties and shout.

This narration is available in these books:

Tahzibul Ahkaam – third volume, page no.249

Ilalul Sharaye, page no. 319

Al-Khesaal, page no.410

The second narration:

عَنْ أَبِی إِبْرَاهِیمَ ع قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ص‏ جَنِّبُوا مَسَاجِدَکُمْ‏ صِبْیَانَکُمْ وَ مَجَانِینَکُمْ (و رَفْعَ أَصْوَاتِکُمْ)و شِرَاءَکُمْ وَ بَیْعَکُمْ (وَ الضَّالَّةَ وَ الْحُدُودَ وَ الْأَحْکَامَ)اجْعَلُوا مَطَاهِرَکُمْ عَلَى أَبْوَابِ مَسَاجِدِکُمْ.

 Imam Kazem (greetings to him) had narrated from the grand Prophet of Islam: said keep your mosques away from buy and sell, maniacs, children, judgement, seeking for lost, execution of penalties and shout. Place the wash basin beside of the entrance of your mosques.

This narration also is available in these books:

Tahzibul Ahkaam, the tird volume, page no.254

Man Laa Yahzarul Faqih , first volume, page no.23

Navaderul Raavandi Val Jafariaat, page no.51


Fourth: Document review of the narration

Considering these two narrations none of the mentioned documents are reliable. We describe the cause of this weakness in brief:

A)     The document of the first narration:

As we said before, these two narrations are written in three books with a same weak document. (مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَلِیِّ بْنِ مَحْبُوبٍ عَنِ الْحَسَنِ بْنِ مُوسَى الْخَشَّابِ عَنْ عَلِیِّ بْنِ أَسْبَاطٍ عَنْ بَعْضِ رِجَالِهِ)

B)     The document of the second narration:

The given document by Sheikh Tousi which is available in Tahzibul Ahkaam book is weak because of weakness of Abdullah Al-Dehqan

(عَنْهُ عَنْ سَهْلِ بْنِ زِیَادٍ عَنْ جَعْفَرِ بْنِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ بَشَّارٍ عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ الدِّهْقَانِ عَنْ عَبْدِ الْحَمِیدِ عَنْ أَبِی إِبْرَاهِیمَ ع قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ص‏)

Sheikh Sadouq has given a document in ‘’man La Yahzarul FAqih’’ book for this narration which is quoted directly from the Imam.

Allameh Majlesi in ‘’Beharul Anvaar’’ had quoted this narration from Navaderul Ravandi book which its document is not clear. The mentioned book is available now and there is not such narration (النوادر لراوندی، بِإِسْنَادِهِ عَنْ مُوسَى بْنِ جَعْفَرٍ عَنْ آبَائِهِ ع قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ص)

The document of this narration is given in ‘’Jafariaat’’ book which is written by Mousa Bin Ismaeil. But its document is weak and is not reliable.

 (أخبرنا محمد حدثنی موسى حدثنا أبی عن أبیه عن جده جعفر بن محمد عن أبیه عن علی ع قال قال رسول الله ص)


Fifth: considering the rational reasons of the narration

A)     The meaning of Sebyaan (children)

Sebyaan is the plural form of Al-Seb’y and means child in Arabic language. But which age of childhood is assumed here? In literary studies, Al-Seb’y is defined for all ages of childhood and we cannot define an especial period for this word. Sometime this word is defined for infants:

الصَّبِیُ‏: من لَدُنْ یُولَد إِلى أَنْ یُفْطَم‏. (لسان العرب، ج‏١٤، ص ٤٤٩). صبی ... یدل علی صغر السن. (معجم مقائیس اللغة).

Sometimes it means a child who doesn’t drink milk but still is little:

یقال: رأیته فی‏ صِباه‏ أی فی صغره. (کتاب العین، ج ‏٧، ص ١٦٨)

And sometimes it is ascribed for the children who are in puberty:

 الصَّبِیُ‏: من لم یبلُغ الحلم (مفردات الفاظ القرآن، ص ٤٧٣)

Sometimes it is defined for younkers:

الصبی: الغلام. (لسان العرب، ج‏١٤، ص ٤٤٩)

This word is used in Quran in two different meanings:

A) «فَأَشارَتْ إِلَیْهِ قالُوا کَیْفَ نُکَلِّمُ مَنْ کانَ فِی الْمَهْدِ صَبِیًّا»

Translation: how can we talk to a child who is in cradle? (Marian Chapter – verse no.25)

B) «یا یَحْیى‏ خُذِ الْکِتابَ بِقُوَّةٍ وَ آتَیْناهُ الْحُکْمَ صَبِیًّا

Translation: john, take the God’s book powerfully! We have given the prophecy command (and enough reason) to him in childhood! (Marian chapter, Verse no.12)

Then, this word is common defined for all ages in childhood era.

Contradiction with the Grand Prophet of Islam’s attitudes:

Some parts of this narration are not basically acceptable for some of jurists. Because, according to the, it is not coincident with the attitudes of grand Prophet of Islam and Imams of Shiite. For example, Allameh Helli quoted from Sheikh Tousi about judgement in mosque:

‘’ Sheikh Tousi has different votes on judgment issue in mosque: Acceptance and Abomination. But we believe to acceptance. Because Amirul Momenin Imam Ali (greetings to him) judged between people in Koufah Mosque. The place of his judgement is famous as Dakkatul Qaza (the place of judgement) ‘’ – Source: Mukhtaliful Shi’ah fi Ahkamel Shariah, the Third Volume, Page no.9)

The original text:  (مسألة: للشیخ- رحمه اللّه- قولان فی الحکم فی المساجد،قال فی الخلاف:لا بأس به و هو اختیار ابن إدریس و کرهه فی النهایة و الأقرب الأوّل.لنا: انّ أمیر المؤمنین علیه السلام حکم فی جامع الکوفة و قضى فیه بین الناس و دکّة القضاء مشهورة إلى الآن) (مختلف الشیعة فی أحکام الشریعة، ج‏٣، ص ٩)

So, we can reject the abomination vote because it is not accorded with the attribution of the Grand Prophet of Islam and the Imams of Shiite Muslims but according to some narrations it could be even recommended. We can briefly say that the Grand Prophet of Islam never prohibited the entrance of children to mosques but even he finished his Salaat faster because of a child’s crying. In the other hand, according to quoted narrations of Sunni and Shiite narrations, presence of Imam Hassan and Imam Hussein (greetings to them) in mosque while they were less than 8 years old had been common.

Narrations are not reliable source to issue judicial verdict:

This narration is not generally proper source to consider a judicial case and there had not been pointed to the details and limits. For example while shouting is abominated but saying Azaan loudly is recommended according to this phrase:

. «عَنْ مُعَاوِیَةَ بْنِ وَهْبٍ أَنَّهُ‏سَأَلَ أَبَا عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع عَنِ الْأَذَانِ فَقَالَ اجْهَرْ بِهِ وَ ارْفَعْ بِهِ صَوْتَکَ» (وسائل الشیعة، ج‏٥، ص٤١٠)

(Vasaelul Shiah, fifth volume, page no.410)

Also about Salavaat and takbir, saying loudly is recommended: «ارفعوا اصواتکم»

Then this narration had issued a general verdict and in an occasion, we have to refer and compare this narration with the other ones. In the other hand, to understand the exact vote of religious lawgiver, it is necessary to refer to the other narrations and religious phrases.

Contradiction or congestion with the other religious teachings:

To achieve the correct verdict in this debate, we have to refer to the related religious teachings. There are many verses and chapters of holy Quran which had recommended parents responsibilities to teach and educate their children which are very important to understand the right verdict for this issue. The Grand Islam has recommended parents to teach monotheism and religious tasks to their children. Quran advises faithful people to keep their children away from the fire which is come up of men and stones burning.

«یا أَیُّهَا الَّذینَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنْفُسَکُمْ وَ أَهْلیکُمْ ناراً وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَ الْحِجارَةُ» (سوره تحریم، آیه ٦)

Imam Sadeq (greetings to him) describes this verse as below:

‘’ when this verse was descended to the Grand Prophet of islam, people asked him:

How can we protect us and our family?

The Grand Prophet Said: do the charity works and remind it to your families also and educate your children according to God’s will ‘’

«اعْمَلُوا الْخَیْرَ وَ ذَکِّرُوا بِهِ أَهْلِیکُمْ فَأَدِّبُوهُمْ عَلَى طَاعَةِ اللَّهِ»

Then, Imam Sadeq (greetings to him) said:

God commanded to his prophet that, command your family to pray and be patient to do it.

أَ لَا تَرَى أَنَّ اللَّهَ یَقُولُ لِنَبِیِّهِ: «وَ أْمُرْ أَهْلَکَ بِالصَّلاةِ وَ اصْطَبِرْ عَلَیْها» (سوره طه، آیه ١٣٢)

In continue, Imam Sadeq had given another evidence for his claim from Quran in Da’aemul Islam, First volume, Page  no.82

The verses no.54 and 55 from Marian Chapter say:

‘’Reminisce from Ishmael in this book that was honest in his promises and a great prophet. He always commanded to his family to pray and paying alms and his God was contended to him’’

«وَ اذْکُرْ فِی الْکِتابِ إِسْماعِیلَ إِنَّهُ کانَ صادِقَ الْوَعْدِ وَ کانَ رَسُولًا نَبِیًّا وَ کانَ یَأْمُرُ أَهْلَهُ بِالصَّلاةِ وَ الزَّکاةِ وَ کانَ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِ مَرْضِیًّا

These verses demonstrate the importance of parent’s task in educating their children. Mosques are introduced as the best place for education children in our scripture. According to the mentioned phrases and evidences, taking children to mosques is beneficial and not abominated.

In the other hand, some of narrations had recommended us to train our children in praying and worshipping.

According to Vahab Bin Muaviah, Imam Sadeq (greetings to him) had recommended to train children for praying and religious affairs between 6-7 years old (Al-Tahzib, second volume, page no.381)

Sheikh Hor A’ameli had written a separate chapter in Vasaelul Shiah Book (forth volume, page no.18) in the name of «بَابُ اسْتِحْبَابِ أَمْرِ الصِّبْیَانِ بِالصَّلَاةِ ....»  

He had given nine narrations in this chapter in this field. One of the important factors of praying is commutative parlaying in mosque as the most important base of Islam.

Thereupon, among the given narrations, just there are two the mentioned narrations as evidence which had recognized the entrance of children abominated. It is clear that there is only a small contradiction between these two groups of narrations which will be resolvable by the given solution by some of jurist based on appropriation of abomination to that group of children who cannot analyze good and bad from each other.

Which group of children is limited to enter the mosques?

According to the above words, entrance of many children is beneficial or even compulsory. Because they could not be able to learn the religious teachings correctly if they don’t learn know mosque and ritual tasks. But we have to design a plural solution and unanimity.

Firstly, we try to consider the concept of ‘’Sebyaan’’. The roots of contradiction between these two groups is laid in some issues which some of them are noticed by the jurists.

1)      We can find some common characteristics among these two groups and that is worshiper separation from prayer and religious rituals. Buy and sell, shout or judgment could keep worshiper away from praying and mental preparation. Then, entrance of those children who disturb the worshipers seriously, is the main aim of the narration. This is one of the reasons which some of jurists had voted to abomination of minor children entrance to mosques    (لمحافظته على التنزه من النجاسات و أداء الصلوات)

Obviously mosques are places of praying and any other work which is contradicted to this use, is forbidden to do in God’s houses unless in the case of some benefits such as educating the new generation and training them for praying.

2)      By attention to ‘’maniacs’’ word which is placed beside of children, we can realize that the meaning of children implies to those kids who cannot analyze good and bad and are not reliable in this field  (ربما یقید الصبی بمن لا یوثق به)

3)      According to the quoted words beside of some jurists who appropriate this narration to those children who are not still grown up and not enough wise to recognize the holiness and prestige of mosque, their vote can be issued because of two reasons:

a)      The first reason was described in the first assumption, means disturbance for the worshippers

b)      The second reason could be referred to keeping mosques clean and away from pollution or excrement. So bringing minors to mosques maybe because of probably polluting by this group of kids as Sheikh Tousi had pointed to this problem. This verdict is consented by some of the other jurists also:

  (الذین لا یؤمن من تلویثهم و لعبهم و أذیّة المصلّین و إلّا فیستحبّ تمرینهم على إتیانها أو تعلیمهم القرآن و العلوم فیها)

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