Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Do I like the community?

I was talking to another staff member at school today (a revert like me) and she said that a lot of people ask her why they don't see her more for 'community events' at the masjid. She lowered her voice and said 'Jamilah, I don't like the community at this masjid'. She went on to say she felt bad about feeling that way but that every time she came to the masjid for anything she left frustrated or disgusted by what she saw. I thought about it for a moment and I said, you know... I totally agree with you.

I don't go to the masjid for much other than school, but if I happen to go there on a Saturday or Sunday for salat, I'm always completely frustrated by what I see. There are a few different groups of sisters that gather at the masjid every weekend. They all sit in the musallah and talk and eat and laugh.... oh and not watch their kids at all. Usually the kids are either running around like crazy in the musallah or they are downstairs destroying the school's property or in the bathroom flushing things down the toilet that don't fit. The sisters eat in the musallah and make a huge mess. Their kids also eat in there and make an even bigger mess.. PLUS they take the food with them downstairs and in the hall and even in the bathrooms and leave bits of it everywhere.


So imagine that you stop into the masjid for salat, and you want to do some sunnah prayers and dhikr before salat start in 10 minutes. So you walk in, take off your shoes, step over all of the shoes on the floor and not in the rack and put your shoes in the rack. As you are doing this at least 3 kids tear by you screaming about something. Next you open the women's entrance to the musallah and almost hit a baby sitting on the floor right inside the door. The baby is unattended and crying. You step in, pick up the baby, look around and notice that a woman has looked up and noticed you have her child. She motions you over. You hand her the baby, she calls to her 6 year old to come take the baby and goes back to chatting with her friends. You make your way past coats, food and toys on the floor to the front of the women's area so you can pray with the divider wall as a sutrah. As you make takbir and begin praying a ball flies in front of you followed by a child. You try to stop them from crossing in front of you but they are too fast. A bit shaken you carry on. Meanwhile there are 20-25 sisters 10 feet behind you having conversations is Arabic and Urdu at the top of their lungs. You try to focus and ignore the noise. While in sajood a child trips and falls over your feet landing on you. Again, you try to carry on. As you finish praying you look around to see if ANYONE noticed that their children just disturbed your salat twice. Of course not. So you spot the kids that ran in front of you and fell on you and you ask them who their mommy's are. They tell you and run off. So you go to introduce yourself and advise them of their children's behavior. As you finish speaking the sister's face is as blank as it was when you introduced yourself. She mutters a quick apology and goes back to her chatting. Sigh..... anyway, now its time for salat. We all line up, and the imam begins the prayer. The same kids that were running around before are still doing it. Some of them are old enough to pray but they don't. They scream, yell, fight, run, fall and laugh. Salat is over and you decide that doing sunnah prayers would be pointless, because you would have no concentration what so ever. You leave.

What emotion are you feeling right now?

So needless to say, my community is really difficult to deal with sometimes. The Imam tries to keep things under control but no one listens. Signs are posted, asking people not to make a mess, leave their children unattended or hold social gatherings in the musullah, but it never sinks in. I actually have met some very good sisters at the masjid (and my husband has met good brothers as well), but we as a group rarely go to the masjid because of what I described above. I used to have a tajweed class every Friday night at the masjid. We used on of the classrooms downstairs. About 15 minutes into class the kids would start coming downstairs and running around. They would yell in the hall, push the chairs over in the cafeteria. Rip things off the walls and cause havoc in the bathrooms. After a while we just decided to move the class to a sisters house and we never went back. Its sad but true. I wonder if its like this everywhere?

15 comments:

Sacrifice4Allah said...

As Salaamu 'alaikum Jamilah,

I sympathise with you regarding the disturbance of Salaat. I do believe that children playing in the masjid and left to run riot is a common theme. But how can children learn to respect the masjid when the adults are not leading by example?

As for the chatting, that i have seen many a time and it makes it very difficult to pray let alone think of Sunnah and Nawafil prayers.

Signs may be put up but we need action and not just words. May Allah help us!

Al-Ghariba - The Stranger said...

ARGH! Yep, same thing happens where I used to live. The future of the Ummah, desecrate the masjid. I stopped going near the masjid ages ago to avoid any acts of violent rage from me upon children or their parents.
I feel that in a lot of cases amongst the Muslim women, children are an inconvenience product of marriage rather than an amana from ALlah swt.

Umm Ismail said...

MAsha allah I would love to repost to My Masjid E- Group because This is so Common and Disrespectful the Masjid has a purpose Salaah, Dhikr, and Duross (I think I spelt that Right) an Madressa. Not A Boys and Girls Club or Women Social Club But the Masjid. The Masjid is the Center for Muslim but For Worship. its the Imam of the Masjid Fault , the Parents Fault He is the Leader and needs to remind the Sisters and brothers of the Purpose of the Musjid. Children who are not toddlers need to beat out the Frame and need to learn play is not in the masjid. and Destorying School Property Needs to taken from the Allowance if they get one. Mother who have a phone and home and the internet need to make use of it. Shameful

Ummismail

Lazeena Umm Yusuf said...

I see this all the time as well. It's very disheartening... people come out to the masjid just to see their friends rather than to increase their knowledge or really listen to a lecture. I always try to sit with a sister when I see she's alone or if she's new in the area because I'm too familiar with the feeling of being the outcasted one.

أم ترافيس said...

Yup here too... more or less... but I dont really have a need to go, and cant stand everything in Arabic anyway... so alhumdullah it is better for the woman to pray at home. In your case however, it is "the" community (since you are living in the west) so somehow I think you should try to guide the others to proper etiquette-- with help of course :)

Big_loser said...

I've seen the same problem.
Either we should leave our children at home in the care of another adult when we go to pray at the Masjid, or they Masjid should try to get the funding for babysitting so the sisters can have prayers. Maybe sisters should even volunteer to take care of the kids while the other sisters pray-they can make up their prayer later, or if they aren't at a time when they can pray (which all women have at least once a month hint) then we can watch the kids while our sisters pray in quiet. Either way, we women have to keep out kids and our noise under control.

Random Muslima said...

Assalaamu alaykum,

yes sistee I see this happen all the time in non-Muslim countries. I have visited masjids in several Muslim countries too, and this behaviour would never take place there...

But to give excuse for our lovely sisters in Islam..
Masjid here (in non-Muslim countries) is not just a place of worship. It is a place of meeting and socializing with other Muslimahs and for many the only place for this.

I know it STINKS and I hate it too, but I try to understand. My ears are ringing when I come back home from the masjid and I hate it too. But on the other hand, I love the people on the masjid for being my sisters and even kids LOL!

And I am planning to ask a school nearby to make a new system for those multiple annoying shoes here and there ;)

InshaAllah we can enter the masjids and show good example and help others to get closer to Allah at these places.

shadow3dcaster said...

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Jamilah said...

Random Muslimah - Asalamu Alaikum I have to disagree about the masjid being a place for socializing. Just because this is a non muslim country we can't change the purpose of the Masjid. Especially the Musallah. I know that people have made it as such, but if you want to socialize there are plenty of other places to do it. Have the sisters to your house for a gathering... use other parts of the masjid but NOT the musallah!

Cecilia said...

that doesn´t sound good at all! I´M SO sorry about that! why can´t people have some respect?!!!

Asha said...

Salaam Sister jamilah,

Goodness! Sounds like a havoc in the mosque! I experience something like that here as well but not as bad as yours actually. I don't understand why those sisters with kids let their children run amok and create such a mess.. I mean, it is alright to bring your kid so as long as you can control him/her.

And doesn't she also know that the kid is not cute when he/she stunts on you when you pray? Lol...

I don't know when they will ever get the message.

Asha

Crazy Muslim said...

Salam, Have you been to my Masjid? It sure sounds like it.

Pixie said...

LOL, this happens here, but not the food thing, alhamdulilah. I'd hate to see us wind up with rats. Eeeeeewwwww! But some of us sisters have taken to disciplining the kids and giving them a mini salat class to stop the loud playing. And we all save our chatting for after the prayers.

Semra said...

Alhamdulillah in our masjid, they have a basement area especially for kids. The kids are not allowed to be on the top floor where the women are and none of these problems occur. Majority of the time that is. If the kids come upstairs and are being loud, the other women discipline them and tell them to play downstairs....so when the parents want them to come come up, the parents have to make sure they are quiet.

In Ramadan, we did get that problem about food...there were a few women who took the initiative to keep the area clean though and sometimes remind others to watch their kids. I think for the masjid to function the way it should, some people have to step up and speak out against treating the place badly.

And Alhamdulillah, no one talks loudly in the masjid. Our masjid is so very blessed MashAllah. May Allah SWT keep it that way.

Gabby Hijabi said...

Assalamu alaikum sister. Are you sure we dont attend the same masjid? Anyways i dont go often. I pray inside the home,for the most part. I read a book on hijab that said it was better for a woman to pray in her room (concealed) than her (equivelent to dining room), and better in her (equivelent to dining room than her courtyard. That is not to say it is not permissible to go the the masjid to pray.. as many women did in the time of Prophet Mohammed SAWS and also a companion of the Prophet SAWS who had a bad temper was asked with his temper as it is why did he allow his wife to go to the masjid, and he replied that he could not keep her from doing so.. i am not quoting word for word.. But Inshallah i will find the exact hadith and send it Inshallah. So anyways back to topic: I have many problems with the masjid. The women wearing very tight clothing in the area where we eat (though it is seperated dining.. the men can see us because it doubles as a cultural center) they sell avon inside the womens room (which is something forbidden because the womens room should be for prayer only not for selling anything.. which confused me because it is very disrespectful in my eyes and later found out that it wasnt just MY opinion.. but has been talked about before) also women who sit in the womens room on the carpet, and when asked by other women to come to salat they say "it's my time of the month" are you kidding? Your menstrating, came to have dinner, and sitting where we pray?? Which is forbidden.. (or at leas this is what majority say) running kids, teenage boys and girls mingling in the hallway and kitchen (with the door closed) so Astaghfirullah.. i have seen so much.. and i prefer to stay at home.. sometimes though i miss the sisters very much as most of them are very sweet, and i miss female company.. So i can totally relate.. Thanks for sharing Jazakallah Kheir. assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu