Though I haven't been a mother for too long, I can certainly say that anytime I'm out and my son does something he shouldn't, I'm not going to be one of those parents who just ignores what he's doing and puts a fake smile on and gives that nervous giggle. No way! I'm going to let him know what he did was wrong, even if I have to speak sternly. But for the sake of being in public, I will not raise my voice.
What do you think about reprimanding kids outside the home?
It wasn't until last week that I actually saw a parent really reprimanding their kid in public. Usually I see kids laying on the supermarket floor throwing a fit, in toy stores telling off their parents, or in the masjid running around like monkeys while their mothers sit in groups chatting and giggling. Well, Thursday I saw something completely different, but totally out of line.
Asr salah began and the students and teachers in the masjids afternoon class prayed upstairs, while most of the mothers who stay behind with their kids prayed downstairs with their babies and toddlers... so it was only myself and 2 other adults upstairs. The first raka'ah had just began and I heard a girl break out in loud, and very fake, coughing. Soon a boy on the other side of the curtain "responded back" coughing out of control. This "conversation" went on a few times and then I heard some girls bust out giggling. It was really distracting. These girls were still kids, but old enough to know that they shouldn't behave that way in salah.
What really confused me was that this girl was praying next to her mom and doing this. After salah the drama began.
"Come, sit here.." the mother told her daughter, pointing to the spot in front of her where she had made sujood in during salah. The girl obeyed and sat in front of her mother. The mother started going off in Urdu. I don't know exactly what she said, but I got the jist of it, she was asking her if that's how she's supposed to behave in salah and what person is so stupid as to behave that way in salah. The other kids sat there making dhikr upon the request of one of the elder teachers, and were peering over at their friend from the corner of their eyes. The mother started getting louder and louder.
A sister who teaches Qur'an and was sitting next to me, 2 people away from the mother, turned to me and said, "Lazeena, please.. ask her to stop.. this is not appropriate..." she begged me.
"Me? I'm a kid to her. You know people don't take it well when younger girls give them advice.."
As I leaned over to get the aunty's attention, everything went so fast it took me some time to realize what happened. I was just about to open my mouth when this woman's hand cocked back and went flying into her daughters face - Slap 1. My eye's bulged, everyone stopped breathing. Even the daughter looked stunned. Her milky white cheek turned blazing red. Her mother continued to scream at her. "Aunty.." I said cowardly. The arm swung back again - Slap 2. The girls glasses flew off and hit the floor a few feet away, and the lens popped out. The girl was sobbing. The mother took her finger and poked the girl in the chest repeatedly as she asked her rhetorical questions. "Aunty please, not now.."
The sister who'd asked me to speak up had her hand to her chest. She started to tear, "Lazeena stop her, I've never... I've never seen something like this.." she seriously couldn't speak.. this sister was like.. in a state of shock. The girls watched in fear, and some backed away and hid behind the curtain. The mother continued screaming and shoved the daughter by the shoulder over and over, she made a fist and pounded her arm continuously. "Aunty, please!! Please, stop it!" I asked her.
This time the sister next to me tried to talk to her, the mother snarled at us and gave us the hand. Finally the girl managed to get up and run downstairs. My head was spinning, I wanted to barf. Sure she misbehaved... but she's a kid. How can you do that RIGHT after making salah? ..In the masjid, in front of all these kids, in front of all your daughters friends?
She sat there looking strangely proud for how she handled her daughters disruptiveness. She made a 2 minute du'a and then stood up and went after the girl she THOUGHT was praying next to her daughter... "AND YOU!!" she pointed at the girl and scrunched her face. "DON'T YOU EVER PRAY NEXT TO HER AGAIN!!" she screamed. "THIS IS YOUR FAULT. YOU DIRTY, BAD GIRL YOU. DON'T BEHAVE LIKE THAT DURING NAMAZ EVER AGAIN, YOU HEAR ME? YOU GIRLS ARE ALL BATAMESE, BESHARAM GIRLS..." her finger was all up in this girls face and she cornered her into the wall. "IF YOU EVER.. EVER.. DO THIS AGAIN, YOU SEE.."
There was commotion all around, kids were switching to their 3rd period classes and it seems that no one noticed this poor girl being told off by an older woman. A student of mine popped out of no where and wouldn't stop talking about how he liked staplers (...? okay..?! lol!!)
I turned around and the woman was gone, so was the girl. I spoke to a sister who I love sooo much for the sake of Allah and told her that we should really speak to the Imam about what happened and that he should tell them not to behave this way with their kids in the masjid. Also, that if they have a problem with someone elses child, find their mom, get their home number, or tell the Imam... they have no right to speak to someone elses child in that manner. If my son was bigger and at the masjid I would be so mad if some woman I don't even know was having such a nasty attitude with Yusuf, and I would be upset to hear that he had to watch someone get a beatdown from their parent.
As I went downstairs to get my shoes on to leave, I heard someone sobbing in the closet. It was the girls friend sitting in there in tears. She could barely speak. "She.. she yelled at me.. and it wasn't me. I did not even pray next to her daughter," the girl sobbed. I hugged her, "It's okay. You know the truth. Don't worry about it, don't worry about what she said. You saw how psycho she went right? Don't cry okay?" The girl nodded and went to her mom to tell her what happened.
The whole incident was just so crazy to me. It happened so fast and unexpectedly. I know for sure if she were in the supermarket, the mall, the park, or her daughters school she would have never even yelled at her. What makes it okay to do in the masjid? How far is too far? Did her laughter learn anything from that punishment? Well.. actually she did. She learned to stop praying next to her mom and to pray far away from her, where she can giggle and chew gum and bump her friends arm without her mom knowing. Had her mother explained to her that in salah you are presenting yourself before Allah and worshiping him and should be on your best behavior, maybe she would have stopped. Had she told her that Kiramun Katibeen are on her shoulders writing her every action, thought, and intention down, which will be presented to everyone on the Day of Judgment.. maybe... just maybe... she would have grasped the importance of focus and behavior in salah.