Sharjah Mosque
Sharjah Mosque, located near the intersection of Maliha Road and the Emirates Road in the Tay area, Sharjah Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

He was apparently stopped from going into the Sharjah Mosque for Friday prayers because of the young children accompanying them. This Gulf News reader raised it with us and we investigated.

Mohammad Adil, a father of three young children, decided to drive from his home in Sharjah’s Al Qassimia area to the Sharjah Mosque that opened this year.

The 39-year-old, along with his brother’s and his family, thought that it would be an enjoyable road trip as it takes around 40 minutes form his house to the mosque and the group would reach there just in time for the Friday afternoon prayer. Adil has two daughters, 11 and six, as well as an infant boy.

To their surprise, the group was rejected entry, Adil told Gulf News. The security guard did not allow his children into the mosque.

“The prayer was about to start and to our shock the women were stopped at the entrance by the security. He [security guard] said that the women with children cannot be allowed into the mosque,” the Indian national said.

Adil claimed that even after talking to the security personnel, the situation did not change. “Even after arguing, we had to leave the mosque and missed our prayers simply because I could not leave my wife and children standing at the gates while I prayed in the comfort of air conditioning within.”

He believes that if such rules are in place, people should be informed prior to visiting or clear signs with these guidelines should be put up.

“There were no signs outside that said that children are not allowed. I would have not made the trip had I known about such rules,” he said.

Very young children might disturb

While there are those who struggle with the issue, there are some who believe young children might cause inconvenience to others at mosques.

Emaan Asad, a web developer based in Dubai thought that sometimes children can cause disruption at the mosque and attendees might be disturbed. Asad thought that children should be allowed after they reach a certain age.

“We should definitely encourage children to go to mosques, however, I think it should be done when they can understand their surroundings and adopt the habits to fulfil the purpose of going to the mosque rather than disturbing the environment,” the 23-year-old said.

For those who want to build the habit in children to attend prayers at the mosque, she said: “This habit can be developed from a young age but not when they are toddlers or at the age when they don’t understand their surroundings. They usually treat the area as a playground because of the large courtyard and that can cause inconvenience for people.”

Sharjah authority responds

Gulf News contacted the Department of Islamic Affairs in Sharjah about the incident with Adil and a representative said that children are allowed at Sharjah Mosque.

The representative added that sometimes families with children are stopped from entering if the mosque is full and the noise level is high. At Sharjah Mosque, the women’s section for prayer is situated in a way that it is connected with the main courtyard and the men’s section, if children are making too much noise in one section, the other areas are affected, he added.

The representative said that in the past, the mosque authorities have taken special measures to cater to those with children. During Ramadan, a designated tent for women with children was set up with a playground next to it, added the representative.