Since the early years of Islam, mosques have been not only places of worship but also centers of life. One beautiful example is the Prophet’s Mosque, which he started building right after his migration. In the city of Medina, this mosque served as the administrative center, where many important activities took place, one of which was the Suffe. Initially built to provide shelter for the homeless poor, Suffe later transformed into an educational institution for them. Today, our mosques still fulfill this role and continue to be centers of knowledge and guidance.
Let me share a wonderful example of what else can be done in mosques. To make mosques vibrant with children’s laughter and to encourage them to come willingly, the Sinop-Ayancık District Directorate of Religious Affairs, in collaboration with mosque staff, set up a “Cami Market.” In these mosques, children are not sent away empty-handed. They receive surprise gifts, leaving them eager to come back.
How did the idea of Cami Market come about?
Imam Hatib Murat Demir from Köprübaşı Mosque tells the story:
We used to offer treats to the children during the summer Quran courses. However, due to the increasing number of children and the lack of organization, there was chaos. Also, the treats were generally limited to cakes and fruit juice. We wanted to expand the variety for the children who didn’t like those treats. So, we consulted with a carpenter, and the Cami Market was born. Thanks to Allah, we received and are still receiving positive feedback.
The initiative, which initially started at Köprübaşı Mosque, spread to other mosques over time. Another participating mosque, Yeni Sanayii Mosque, is described by its Imam Hatib, Şaban Şahin.
How do the congregation and children react to Cami Market?
Imam Hatib Şaban Şahin from Yeni Sanayii Mosque shares his experience:
“At first, we were concerned about whether we could fill the market. We weren’t sure if everyone would approach it with the same sensitivity. However, after a small start, a generous citizen filled our market entirely. Seeing this act of charity, our congregation did not hesitate to support it. They even lined up to contribute. We received and continue to receive great support and reactions. The fact that the market is free and that every child is treated makes them very happy. Through the market, we also teach them about good manners. With time, our worries faded away. Both our congregation and our children have become more conscious, and we hope this consciousness will continue to grow.”
How are the expenses of the market covered?
During our sermons and conversations with the congregation, we talk about the Cami Market. When they hear about it, they respond with interest and provide their support. Additionally, we have a donation box at the mosque entrance. Those who prefer to remain anonymous also contribute by placing their donations in the box.
Do you think Cami Market increases children’s interest and love for the mosque?
Absolutely! You know, children mean candy and chocolate. After each prayer, we offer treats to children who come regularly. When other children hear about it, they start coming to prayers. Today, they come for the sweets, but tomorrow they will come for the love and affection. As time goes by, the number of children increases. Besides, we also offer treats to the children attending summer Quran courses. I truly believe that this will create beautiful memories for our children.
We thank Şaban Hoca and Murat Hoca for both being the catalysts for this wonderful initiative and for sharing their experiences.
We believe that everything done with devotion brings joy to the heart. Let the sound of children’s laughter echo in our mosques, and may they always be filled with joy…