Is there a reason we are told to bring children in at Maghrib time?

ⓘ Supported by Al Medina 313.



Islamic Text

Yes, there is a reason given for bringing children in at Maghrib time. The Prophet ﷺ mentioned that it is due to the Shayateen (devils) being abundant at that time.

عَنْ جَابِرٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، قَالَ: ” إِذَا اسْتَجْنَحَ اللَّيْلُ، أَوْ قَالَ: جُنْحُ اللَّيْلِ، فَكُفُّوا صِبْيَانَكُمْ ، فَإِنَّ الشَّيَاطِينَ تَنْتَشِرُ حِينَئِذٍ، فَإِذَا ذَهَبَ سَاعَةٌ مِنَ العِشَاءِ فَخَلُّوهُمْ، وَأَغْلِقْ بَابَكَ وَاذْكُرِ اسْمَ اللَّهِ، وَأَطْفِئْ مِصْبَاحَكَ وَاذْكُرِ اسْمَ اللَّهِ، وَأَوْكِ سِقَاءَكَ وَاذْكُرِ اسْمَ اللَّهِ

(Sayidina) Jabir (May Allah Most High be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘When night falls, then prevent your children (from going outside). For indeed the devils are abundant at that time. When a period of Isha passes then let them go. Lock your doors and mention Allah’s Name. Put out your lights and mention Allah’s Name. Cover your utensils and mention Allah’s Name.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, 3280).

The norm is that we are not informed why we have been told to do something or refrain from it in Islam. However, occasionally we are given some insight into the reason behind a command, prohibition, or recommendation. This is one of those occasions.

The Hadith above explicitly references the abundance of satanic presence being the reason to keep children in at Maghrib time. However, it does not go into much detail. Therefore, further detail provided by scholars must be understood to be speculative. Since only Quran and Hadith can inform us regarding the unseen (Ghayb) in a definitive matter.

وَقَالَ ابْن الْجَوْزِيّ: إِنَّمَا خيف على الصّبيان فِي ذَلِك الْوَقْت لِأَن النَّجَاسَة الَّتِي يلوذ بهَا الشَّيَاطِين مَوْجُودَة مَعَهم غَالِبا. وَالذكر الَّذِي يستعصم بِهِ مَعْدُوم عِنْدهم، وَالشَّيَاطِين عِنْد انتشارهم يتعلقون بِمَا يُمكنهُم التَّعَلُّق بِهِ، فَلذَلِك خيف على الصّبيان فِي ذَلِك الْوَقْت وَالْحكمَة فِي انتشارهم حِينَئِذٍ أَن حركتهم فِي اللَّيْل أمكن مِنْهَا لَهُم فِي النَّهَار، لِأَن الظلام أجمع لَهُم من غَيره، وَكَذَلِكَ كل سَواد، وَيُقَال: إِن الشَّيَاطِين تستعين بالظلمة وَتكره النُّور وتشأم بِهِ. (عمدة القاري شرح صحيح البخاري)

(Imam) Ibn al-Jowzi said, children are feared for at that time because the impurity devils flock to is usually upon them. And the Dhikr which is used for protection is absent with them. When the devils are widespread, they attach themselves to anything they can. For this reason, it is feared for children at that time. The wisdom in them being widespread at that time is that movement is easier for them at night as compared to the daytime. This is because darkness is more facilitating for them. Likewise, all darkness. It is said that the devils seek facilitation through darkness and hate light, they consider it a bad omen. (Imam Badr al-Deen al-Ayni, Umdatu al-Qari).

In the Nass (text) above Imam al-Ayni explains that the prevalence of impurity together with a lack of Dhikr amongst children is a possible reason as to why they have been specified in the Hadith. The Hadith does not discourage adults from leaving the home at Maghrib time. Rather adults are encouraged to leave, as they are advised to pray Maghrib prayer at the Masjid.

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

-Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (17.08.2022)

See also:
Bringing children in at Maghrib

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