By Mumtaz Moosa-Saley
“Nana! Nana! Wake up!”
I hate being awakened for suhoor by Luqmaan. The rude awakening is like a lightning bolt through my brain, but I manage a smile. His youthful energy and wide eyes looked at me like Eid morning.
“Firecracker, what is it?” I asked.
“Oh, Nana, your mouth smells like a dead fish!” The candid view of a child, I think, as I fight the dizzy spell that hit me because I jumped out of bed rather than taking the usual slow approach.
“Brush your teeth, and we’ll talk about my needs,” said Luqmaan, sounding all grown up.
I lifted myself from my warm bed, rather painfully as my ageing bones creaked into action, made my way to the bathroom, and headed to the kitchen for suhoor.
Shuffling along, I was reminded of my childhood. Curry and rice was our suhoor staple. We were poor, and we made do with what we had. My mother would wake up and heat the food on the Primus stove; my dad would butter bread if we wanted some. Our home was small but filled with love and warmth.
I greeted as I entered the kitchen, which was filled with the aroma of coffee and the warmth of family. As we ate, I reminisced about my parents and my childhood. It wasn’t often that I did this, and the children lapped it up. Ayesha smiled at me and said she hoped her children would remember suhoor as fondly as I did.
Walking to the masjid, I felt the light breeze and calm settling over our neighbourhood. The walk was refreshing, and I enjoyed watching families prepare to attend the masjid or ready for the day.
As I pulled my prayer beads from my pocket, a hand grabbed mine, startling me. It was Luqmaan smiling at me. Smiling at him, I asked if he had informed his mother that he was joining me to attend masjid. He said he had, and we continued the journey together.
Entering the masjid, the musalees welcomed Luqmaan like a king, showering love and attention on him. He stood smiling like the cat that had just got the cream. Luqmaan was known for his antics, and my complaints never fell on deaf ears.
As we were about to leave, Luqmaan looked at me and asked if he could attend again as he loved the masjid. I smiled at him as I knew that if I allowed him to come with me during weekends and once or twice during school days, his love for the masjid would grow.
On our walk home, I told Luqmaan that growing up, my parents didn’t talk much about school or even madrassah, but they were strict about practising our deen. And that the masjid was a place where we would find peace and even friends. Luqmaan looked at me, wide-eyed, and smiled. “One day, I will be old like you, Nana, and have old friends who meet up in the masjid.”
“In sha Allah,” I said quietly.
I was glad that Luqmaan felt that way about the masjid and I prayed it would be a place he would always return to. It is very important to raise our children with a strong attachment and love for their religion, and community, and it is important for them to have a strong and positive attachment to the masjid from a young age, especially in non-Muslim environments.
As we walked, I shared with Luqmaan how my father would take us to the masjid and how he would shout at those who felt we shouldn’t be made to attend as we would be noisy and unruly.
Luqmaan laughed and said that he now knew that he too would grow up to be an “old and grumpy man” just like my father and me!
“The early Salaf, at the head of whom was our Prophet ﷺ, used to allow their children to enter his mosque.”
“…one of the Companions narrated, that one day he was praying” Asr behind the Prophet ﷺ, and the Messenger of Allah ﷺ prolonged the prostration during some of it, prolonging it to an extent which was not customary, so this Companion raises his head to make sure his Prophet ﷺ is okay, he feared that he may have passed away—when to his surprise he sees a strange sight, he sees him in prostration, and al-Hasan and al-Hussain … so the Companion feels at ease [that the Prophet ﷺ is okay] and falls back into prostration.
After he ﷺ gave salaam to end the prayer, they said to him, ‘O Messenger of Allah! You prostrated in the prayer and prolonged it …’ so he ﷺ said, ‘My son was riding on my back and I did not want to disturb him …’