One of the very first acts that we will be questioned about in the hereafter will be regarding our salah. If our Salah is sound, then all of our deeds will be sound, but if it is lacking, then all our deeds will be lacking.
Salah is an obligatory act of worship which means that it must be performed under all circumstances by those who have reached maturity and are mentally able. Salah is one of the five pillars of Islam and a penultimate part of being a muslim is observing the five daily prayers, there is so much emphasis on prayer in the Quran and also in Hadith of the prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم.
In light of the above it is so important that as parents we inculcate the love of Salah in our children from a young age and make it part of their daily routine early on in their life.
The Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم said:
‘Command your children to pray when they become seven years old’
[Sunan Abu Dawood – Hadith 495]
Since it is the parents responsibility to cultivate love for salah and ensure that our children pray, let’s discuss different techniques that we can use in our homes to cultivate the love of Salah in our children’s hearts for a lifetime:
- Teach them by your own good example
First and foremost before we try to teach our children about Salah, we must make sure that we are performing our Salah correctly and on time ourselves. When we give something important and priority our children see this and they will also consider it a priority too. Always show them that Salah is something that you should love to do, it isn’t something that you begrudgingly need to complete or is just as a mere formality, but show them that you look forward to performing prayer. Tell you child about how prayer gives you peace, happiness, contentment and a connection with Allah سبحانه و تعالى. You will gradually see your child will pick up your attitude and your mindset and will start to also do things they way you do.
- Start them early
Start telling your child about Salah from 4-5 years old, let them join in with you while you pray. There are so many cute child prayer mats available these days which makes joining in even more fun. If they loose concentration and wonder off while your still praying then don’t worry too much, the main thing is they have joined in even if it’s just for a few minutes. As they grow older 5-6 start to show them how to perform wudu and teach them the words for salaah. Always give them positive comments and lots of encouraging words, smile at them, give them lots of love and attention during the time they pray with you. In doing so you will be creating a positive mental association with Salah in your child’s mind, they will associate Salah with happiness and feeling good Insha’Allah.
- Small steps to Salah
Taking small but regular steps is better than trying to do too much and failing miserably. Start your child off with one prayer a day, until they become regular, add a second prayer, a third and so on, until you eventually have them consistently praying five times a day.
- Explain why we pray
Children are naturally inquisitive and like to know why certain things are the way they are. Tell your children the story of night of ascension, [Isra wal Miraj] when our blessed prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم ascended to Allah and was given 50 prayers initially and how he صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم asked to have them reduced to five.
Tell your children these five prayers are a gift to us from Allah سبحانه و تعالى and they are our communication with Allah سبحانه و تعالى, not only that but they protect us and erases our bad deeds too.
- Make it aesthetically fun
As we all know children love things that are bright, colourful and relatable. Get your child their own prayer mat, let them choose their own. Get them their own abaya, thobe, prayer beads, headscarf or hat and tell them that this is their special prayer/Salah clothing. You could make part of their bedroom or play room a Salah area and have posters of mosques or inspiration quotes about Salah on the wall. Small things like this really get children excited and enthusiastic about things, so why not use the same technique for to make them enthusiastic about Salah. Insha’Allah in doing this when they are younger we can help cultivate the habit of Salah that will stay with them all of their life.
- Be consistent
If you want our children to make Salah a habit then we must make them perform it consistently each and every day, and preferably at a similar time if possible.
Just as children have a bedtime routine, a particular time they have dinner or bath time on a consistent basis we need to ensure that Salah is also a very fixed and permanent part of their day. For example if you start your child off by praying Asr Salah, then be consistent with Asr and make sure that they pray this every single day. The only way to make sure they are amongst those successful people who pray regularly on time is to make it a habit Insha’Allah.
- Make Salah memorable
Making memories with our children is important, as memories stay with them as they grow older and in to their adult life. If you make salah a memorable time for your children, they will always associate it with their happy childhood moments, and will those fond memories will mean
they will gain solace in Salah when their going through tough times. Insha’Allah when they go on to have their own children they will also teach their children in the same way and in this way you will leave a beautiful legacy and a means of ongoing reward for yourself.
- Make Dua
Finally but most importantly we need to remember and that everything is in Allah’s [سبحانه و تعالى ] hands and only Allah can guide us to good. The dua of a parent is always answered, He سبحانه و تعالى listens and will answer our Duas Insha’Allah and guide our children in the most beautiful.,
It’s really Important to remember that we must always have patience when it comes to parenting. It is our job as parents to remind them of their purpose in life and to educate them in their religion so that they understand their duties, but we need to do this in a friendly and loving manner, then keep making dua and leave the rest to Allah.
May Allah سبحانه و تعالى guide us and children towards good and make us of those who are successful in this life and in the hereafter. Ameen