Are children allowed to run around and play in the mosques or is this impermissible?
Shaikh al-Albani rahimahullah wrote:
“As for older children, then their influence [from the signs and environment of Islam] is clear and self-evident. However, if it is found among them one who is playing in the Masaajid and running, then it is upon the fathers and guardians to order them, discipline them, and nurture them. Or for the administer or custodian [of the masjid] to kick them out. This action was mentioned by Hafidh ibn Kathir (3/293):
If Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) saw children playing in the masjid, he would hit them with his stick. He would look in the masjid after Isha and not leave anyone inside of it”.
[Thamr al-Mustadaab pg. 762]
Hafidh Ibn Rajab rahimahullah said:
“It was reported from some of the Salaf that the first of the affairs that were disapproved, from the affairs of the religion, was the children playing in the Masaajid” [Fathul-Bari (3/277)]
Shaikh Ibn ul-‘Uthaymeen rahimahullah said:
“…If playing occurs from him [the child in the masjid] and it is not possible to discipline him, then here we say remove him from the masjid. However, there is a stage before removing him from the masjid and it is that we speak to his parents so that there is nothing inside them against us. If we have to remove them, we speak to their parents saying, ‘these are small children who do not respect the masjid and do not respect the congregation. So if you were to remove them until they have something of good behavior, then that would be better’ “.
[Liqaa Bab al-Maftooh no. 74]
Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan
Kicking children out of the masjid may sound harsh to many people (as many have experienced this growing up. Being kicked out of the masjid by elders made many people turn away from the masaajid and turn to bad company and never return to the masjid.
How do we understand this? Does this mean only in the place of prayer? Because many masaajid now have become community centres with outer play area or extensions of the prayer area.
Also, what about those children who may have mental illnesses or challenges, do we keep them away from the masaajid as well, because sometimes they make noises or don’t understand. But people bring them just to be around the masaajid and good environment.
The discussion is only about kids who are playing in the masjid and disrupting the prayer. As for bringing them to the masjid, this is fine as Hassan and Husayn radiallahu anhumma used to come to the masjid and jump on the Prophet’s back sallahu alayhi wa salam and they once came to the Jummah and the Prophet carried them. So we are not saying they cannot come, but if they do, they should be disciplined and they should be facilitated. However, as for them causing mischief and noise then that is not allowed. Unfortunately, we have a lot of that in some Masaajid. And the opposite is not good which is being unnecessarily strict with the kids and kicking them out for no reason. So we need to be balanced. However, the discussion above is when the kids are disturbing the prayer by playing or just playing and disrespecting the masjid.
As for the center, then Umar radiallahu anhu was the first to built a center next to the masjid as is found in Muwatta Malik with a Saheeh chain. So in a place like that, Umar said whoever wants to shout or recite poetry, then let him go there. So children can be loud and play in the center, but not the Mussalah or masjid. Likewise, children who have mental illnesses are obviously not in the above discussion. They need to be dealt with in a way that is just and kind. We cannot say they should be removed from the masjid unless there is a need to do so.
Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan