With the arrival of the month of Ramadan, the house is abuzz with excitement, and as the last ten nights of Ramadan approach, every one hastens to increase their acts of worship, most specifically the taraweeh.
Taraweeh is technically the supererogatory prayers prayed at night, in Ramadan. Outside of Ramadan, it would be called Tahajjud, or alternatively, Qiyam al-Layl, The Night Prayer.
As Muslims, we aim to catch Taraweeh at the masjid. But what do we intend to achieve in the process?
Is it the communal belonging we get when we stand shoulder-to-shoulder, feet-to-feet?
Is it to seek the peace we yearn to feel?
Is it a ritual we were taught to attend since small?
Regardless of the reasons, the mosques end up filled with people of all race, color, ethnicity, profession, and more, just to get the Taraweeh-experience.
As mothers, it is a struggle to completely immerse ourselves in the Taraweeh-experience. Mothers of toddlers pack a do-not-disturb-others-and-keep-yourself-entertained bag that contains some of the child’s favorite masjid-friendly things from toys, and books, to color pencils, and gadgets. And some even pack snacks. Now the neighbouring child in your saff displays the epitome of a quiet kid who lets his mother pray with such khushoo that you can only dream of having when you take your child to the masjid. And if you take two or more children, your khushoo tumbles down just like your kids tumbling on each other. Your eyes widen in an attempt to quieten them. You purse your lips to make it known to your kids that you are ticked off. But all that happens is bring about silent fits of laughter and giggling from them. At this, some ladies tsk-tsk during the salah. And in the end, you are advised not to bring your children to the masjid as they disrupt everyone’s focus.
The Prophet ﷺ never stopped women and children from attending the masjid, even though he ﷺ advised that the prayer of a woman in her house is better than anywhere else.
Salim narrated it from his father (‘Abdullah b. Umar) that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: When women ask permission for going to the mosque, do not prevent them. (Sahih Muslim 442 a)
‘Abd Allah (b. Mas’ud) reported the Prophet (ﷺ) as saying; it is more excellent for a woman to pray in her house than in her courtyard, and more excellent for her to pray in her private chamber than in her house. (Sunan Abi Dawud 570)
Conversely, attaining the Taraweeh-experience at home is fairly achievable too. The perfect time would be when the children are put to bed, the husband is taken care of (if he is the need-to-be-taken-care-of sort of guy), and all the house chores are done. Stand on your prayer mat, perfume your prayer dress, pick up the Qur’an (if you would like to recite Surahs that you have not memorized), and pray long prayers. The peace that descends on you at that time when you connect with your Rabb is worth it when compared to the lack-of-khushoo salah at the masjid with your whole gang of kids.
Despite this, many mothers, do find comfort in the masjid than at home. And that is okay too. Their reasons may be different and only Allah knows their intention and situation.
That said, what is the Taraweeh-experience for you? What is it that you aim to achieve in your Taraweeh?
I pray you find the one you seek.
May Allah make it easy for us mothers. Aameen.