I am not letting my kids out after Maghrib (sunset). I mean they will go out with us if we had to get groceries or when TJ has to go for his Isha (night) prayers but besides all that, the kids will not be frolicking around by themselves, at or after Maghrib. The moment TJ hears the Maghrib Adhan (call to prayer), he has been instructed to go straight to the mosque, say his prayers and then come directly home. This policy is quite bit of a deviation from my usual policy of letting the kids stay out after Maghrib.
What made me institute this change? Here goes. Well, first of all when we were in the USA, the kids didn’t really get out after Maghrib. The reason was that we were always in Muslim deficient communities with not a lot happening after Maghrib so naturally everyone was in and getting ready for the evening. But after coming to Saudi Arabia and after having started living in a double gated community with plenty of Muslims living next to us, with basketball/soccer/tennis courts and pools abound, it was natural that the kids would stay out after dark. Masha’Allah, the community is safer and Muslims sleep later as well also so many kids stay out. But here is the thing that made me make this decision. I don’t want my kids to be influenced by the devils – the shayateen – the followers of Iblis (the Satan).
For starters – for us Muslims, the Devil is real and his followers whether in the humans or in the jinns (the invisible creatures in Islam made of fire) are real. These are not some sort of hypothetical creatures that get created only when we need some scary movie made for Hollywood. These are real creatures that invite us to evil and we always seek protection from them by reciting verses like أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم – “I seek shelter in Allah from the rejected Satan.”
Here is a strange thing that I have seen happening in KSA. My kids behave extremely naughtily in the evenings once they come in at night. I see a marked difference between how they are during the day and during the night. It’s almost as if they are possessed or something. They just run around, stop responding to instructions, fight continuously with each other and all together change to different creatures after having played outside in the dark. I have been unable to explain their behavior by any rational thinking not involving the shayateen (devils or followers of the Devil). The older kids make fun of my shayateen theory but when I stumbled upon these Ahadith (sayings of the Prophet – May peace be upon him) – my kids’ behavior after dark makes sense to me. So now they stay strictly in after Maghrib, the front door is fully shut and they are much nicer, Alhumdulillah! Of course, keeping the kids in after dark protects them from all the visible physical dangers as well.
Narrated Jabir: The Prophet said, “When night falls, then keep your children close to you, for the devil spread out then. An hour later you can let them free; and close the gates of your house (at night), and mention Allah’s Name thereupon, and cover your utensils, and mention Allah’s Name thereupon, (and if you don’t have something to cover your utensil) you may put across it something (e.g. a piece of wood etc.).”
Sahih Al-Bukhari – Book 54 Hadith 500
Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah: Allah’s Apostle said, “When night falls (or when it is evening), stop your children from going out, for the devils spread out at that time. But when an hour of the night has passed, release them and close the doors and mention Allah’s Name, for Satan does not open a closed door. Tie the mouth of your water-skin and mention Allah’s Name; cover your containers and utensils and mention Allah’s Name. Cover them even by placing something across it, and extinguish your lamps. “
Sahih Al-Bukhari – Book 69 Hadith 527
Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah: Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Do not let your animals and children go out when the sun sets until the first and the darkest part of the night is over, for the Satan is let loose with the sinking of the sun until the darkest part of the night is over.”
Sahih Muslim – Book 23 Hadith 4998