Letter to Muslim fathers about Taraweeh this Ramadan

Assalamu alaikum:

Ramadan Mubarak! I pray that Ramadan is full of blessings and productivity for you and your family. 

Picture the following Ramadan scene: Many years ago, I was attending Taraweeh at a makeshift Masjid on top of a restaurant. It was in the fall, and it was cold. The insulation in this mosque was not great. I was struggling to concentrate. And on top of that, there were kids everywhere, running around and playing. It was annoying. 

I was not the only brother upset with this. Some men complained to the Imam about it. 

This Imam, who was an older man, listened patiently. Then he said: You know brother, I live alone, in quiet, and I look forward to hearing the sounds of these children all day in Ramadan. They bring joy to the Masjid. The lonely Imam had a point. 

Along with that, I’ve been reminded and read myself over the years of how in the Masjid of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, children were around him all the time. They climbed on top of him and were held by him while he prayed. They were also never excluded from prayer, even when they were not required to pray. In one situation, the Prophet even shortened his congregational prayer because a child was crying.

Which brings us to Taraweeh this year. 

There’s a famous expression which says, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” When it comes to the struggle to benefit from Taraweeh, let’s be part of the solution. 

Given that: 

  • We cannot keep children out of the Masjid
  • Children do not sit still (unless while using a device for an unhealthy amount of time)
  • Kids need to see their parents and the Muslim community engaged in worship
  • We want to ensure as much concentration as possible during Taraweeh
  • Our wives have spiritual needs in Ramadan as much as anyone else…

Muslim dads can do the four following simple things:

  • Take turns with our wives going for Taraweeh, so they can go while we watch the kids at home. Remember that Taraweeh is not Fard. It is not required to perform these prayers every night. And we can also sometimes pray Taraweeh at home. 
  • We can do the above on the same night. If you attend a Masjid where 20 Rakahs of Taraweeh are offered, and you live close by, you can perform the first eight or 10 in the Masjid, then switch places with your wife so she can perform the next eight or 10 there. 
  • If the whole family is going and you have more than one child, split up the kids so you watch some while your wife watches the other group. If you have only one child, take care of him/her while praying in shifts: first four Rakahs you do it; second four Rakahs, she does it. 
  • If you are already doing this, more power to you! My only recommendation here is to advise other brothers with small kids to do the same. It’s a Sunnah to do this, as our Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, held and played with kids in his Masjid, even while praying. It will also strengthen our marriages, giving our wives a needed break. Taking care of small kids is exhausting, even as it’s rewarding. 

May Allah bless us and our families with a renewed and strengthened faith by the end of this blessed month, and may He help us set the best example for our children.

Sincerely,
A Muslim

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