I Pray, He Plays

So, my 3-year old Mohammed’s latest favorite activity is climbing. Not trees or hills, but me! Yes, me…and when I’m praying! It’s almost become automatic and habitual for him, now. His eyes see me praying and his brain says, “Must drop whatever cool toy that’s in my hand now and go climb all over her!”

Now, I wear one of those long one-piece prayer gowns while I pray and when he starts climbing all over me, he starts to pull it back. Now, THAT’S annoying.

Sujood is his all-time favorite. He climbs first onto the heels of my feet and then hoists himself up onto my back. From there, he may just hang out and then enjoy the ride back to the floor as I rise from sujood. Or he may lock his arms around my neck and come all the way up with me, back to standing position (yes, I’m near choking by that time). Or he may slide down the inclined plane my back makes while in prostrating position, landing at my head, of course. Sometimes, he slides down while lying on his belly and if he’s feeling especially adventurous, he’ll try to stand and balance himself right on my back.

Sometimes, I try to find a quiet place to pray and that sounds like it should be manageable in a 3-level home, but every parent knows that as soon as a mommy steps out of the room, the child’s internal mommy radar no longer detects her presence, and kids go crazy. “Mama!” (no answer). “MAMA!” (no answer) “MAAAAMAAAA!!!” (still no answer). At this point, Mohammed realizes I’m praying and the search begins (which takes no longer than a minute or two before he hits the jackpot). And of course the climbing begins…

On a serious note-I try to be patient because I read before that the Prophet Mohammed’s grandsons used to climb on his back while he was in sujood and our dear prophet would just remain in sujood until his grandchildren were done playing. In that way, I feel connected to our prophet-like I’ve shared this experience with him, and I could tell him about it and he would smile and understand and tell me to be patient (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him). Other times, though, I yearn for a quiet moment with my Creator. I am able to catch them sometimes-maybe at night when the kids are sleeping, or when they’re out with their father. Alhamdullillah for those little moments, but until those moments start to balance more and more with the less tranquil ones, I’ll try to patiently continue on as Mohammed’s makeshift tree, surfboard, and slide…

Hagar Emira

Hagar lives in Maryland with her husband and two young children. She enjoys attending Islamic halaqas, reading, learning new things, and spending time with her family.

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  • Hoda

    I love it!!! Made me laugh :) …can’t wait for my little one to get to that stage! …like all phases, it’ll pass, and we’ll look back and smile :)

  • fatima

    I love it too, and it bothers me when close ppl lose their temper with children for playing all over them during salah. but i wonder during what age one has to ‘discipline’ children when they are still playing all over us. 2? 3? 4?

  • Maha

    Wow, most parents wouldn’t be that patient I think! May ALlah swt reward you and make your son love salah because of these early climbing adventures of his!

  • Maha

    Hey Fatima, it really annoys my husband, because for him he feels he really needs the peace during his salah, but only when our five-year-old does it, because he feels she should understand. At one, two, they can be all over him, but at about three years, he starts taking their hands gently after every salah and explaining to them why he needs to be able to concentrate. He was really patient about it, if they didn’t listen the next salah, he just did the same thing, calmly explained. Eventually, at least with our oldest, she only does it if she is intentionally trying to push his buttons.

  • Hagar

    My three year old Mohammed just turned three and he’s been doing this for quite some time. My husband does do what your husband does, Maha and actually, our almost 7 year old helps us with him, too while we pray. And recently, this climbing has started to give us both back pains and so, that’s another reason my husband has been trying to stop this behavior. I can’t really expect my three year old to even somewhat understand my need for khushoo in prayer, but yes, I think it’s a good age to start setting the expectation. Thanks, ladies for the comments!

  • ummossama

    Yes, I remember those day and yes, it does get better!! Fun to read!!!!

  • http://habibimuslimah.blogspot.com thanaya asgher

    our deen coveres all aspects of human nature and daily life! subhanAllah! if not in the quraan then in the ahadith-i-mubarakah and the sunnah we find examples that solve our problems or teach us sabr, like in this case… i think this happens in every household because children are the sweetest and simplest of all Creation mashaAllah and youre so right it some times gets nerve wrecking:) but alhamdulillah for the wonderful example we have in our Holy Prophet(s) that we learn to be gentle n patient with our little ones!

    as one sister has rightly mentioned may your perseverence in salaah and ur child’s fun adventures, as well as every other child’s adventures:) during salaah grant them the love of deen and salaah, Ameen!

  • Manija Ansari

    Mashallah, sister. I am still laughing with tears in my eyes LOOOOOOOOOL. I am laughing mostly because your words explain so well what my son Mohammad did when he was around 2ish. EXACTLY. Now he is four and his sister would not let him do that (she is almost six) but I have a 9month old who’s (Mommy radar) goes off when I start praying and drops everything and wants me to hold him. Which fine except the minute she is on my arms he looks for my nose and starts sucking at at frantically, LOL. Mashallah, may Allah(swt) make them from the Saliheen.

  • najia Nazir

    It’s great that after someone’s else’s similar experience, one can feel that one’s children are not being paranoid!

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