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Is your child seven years old, or approaching seven soon?

“O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire whereof the fuel is humans and stones, over which are set angels strong, severe, who resist not Allah in that which He commands them, but do that which they are commanded.”

[Qur’an, 66.6]

Being a parent is not easy, it is a heavy responsibility. Unmistakably, in the above ayat, Allah has cautioned parents clearly.  Therefore, as a parent, you should undertand that it is your job to teach the child to pray. That is the best thing that you can do for your child. Feeding him, bathing him and clothing him are just the basic necessities that you have to do to keep him healthy and clean. But what about nurturing his little soul?

Your child’s soul is the one that he will carry till the end of time, whilst his physical shell of a body will only grow older with age and eventually die. Consequently, consider your options carefully. Do not give in to the whispers of shaytan (satan) to “let him enjoy being a child first. When he has reached puberty, I’ll tell him to pray.”

When puberty reaches children who have not been trained to pray since young, it is usually a little, if not very difficult for the parent to get him to pray all 5 of his daily prayers. As this defiant child grows older with each passing day, the child may start to pray less, if at all and by the end of his teenage years and beyond, it may be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to start him praying to his Creator. Many parents, who have fallen into this devious trap of Shaytan, often blame their children for being lazy or insolent. Some of these parents often say that they have tried their best to encourage their children to pray but to no avail. Some blame their children’s friends, TV, video games, music videos, internet, etc… as they raise both arms up in surrender.

It’s not fair to say that these parents are bad parents… they may have sincerely tried their very best in raising a proper child, but it is God’s choice to give these parents a huge challenge. How many of us have heard about a pious father whose child is an embarrasing failure as a true Muslim example?

It is therefore, not for us to judge who is a better parent than whom… Only Allah is the best of Judges. Allah may have given a certain servant of His more tests than another. It is useful to remember that Allah will test those He loves even more.

“When Allah who is Great and Glorious loves people He afflicts them [with trials].”

Hadith Tirmidhi

Trials and tribulations are therefore one good indication that Allah loves a person. Do not grieve when Allah gives you a difficult child or when Allah gives you a child who is easily influenced by his peers. You may have tried your best in raising him well, but Allah has planned for you a tough path in which to travel. So seek His Help and Guidance always. Du’a to Allah as frequently as possible to give you patience, strength and a solution to deal with your demanding and rude child. Insha Allah, He will show you the way. Do not, for one second think that Allah has given you a child too strenous for you to handle.

In fact, Allah has promised us in the Quran:

“No burden do We place on any soul but that which it can bear.”

Quran, 6:152

So, if you really do love your child tremendously, you should think of his future and try to secure him a place in Heaven, starting TODAY. No matter what age your child is. The earlier we start guiding him how to pray, the further away he will be from Shaytan’s bag of tricks, insha Allah.

“Verily, As-Salat (the prayer) prevents from Al-Fahsha’ (i.e. great sins of every kind) and Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil wicked deed). And the remembering (praising) of (you by) Allah (in front of the angels) is greater indeed [than your remembering (praising) of Allah in prayers. And Allah knows what you do.

Quran, سورة العنكبوت , Surat Al-Ankaboot, Chapter #29 ,Verse #45

For that reason, if one notices that one is frequently doing sinful acts, one should realise that one has not been doing prayers regularly or if one has been doing prayers regularly, one can conclude that one’s prayer has not completely been done correctly.

For a simple example:

A forty-year old Muslimah prays five times a day, fasts during Ramadan and pays her zakat regularly. However, she just hasn’t felt ‘ready’ to put on her hijab when she goes out to work daily, for one reason or another. Why is this so and what can she do?

Well, many experts in the religion would ask her to firstly evaluate her five daily prayers. If she had been doing all five prayers correctly and in the right niyyah (intention), with proper wudhu’ (ablution) and hijab (covering of body except for the hands and face), she should be prevented and protected by Allah s.w.t. from committing lots of sins. Allah has promised us that as stated in the above ayat in the Quran.

If this lady is serious in pleasing her Lord and not wanting to face His wrath, she should examine her wudhu first, then her hijab, next her niyyah, then all her recitations and actions in all rakaats (units) of prayer and lastly her du’a at the end of her prayer. Did she ask Allah for help and guidance throughout her prayer and at the end? In each rakaat of prayer, she would ask Allah for His Help and Guidance at least once (in surat Al_fatiha). So did she read her Al_fatiha correctly? She should read this very important surah to a knowledgeable friend, relative or teacher and let them assess.

After giving the final salam in the last rakaat of her prayer, she should spend at least a minute on her du’a (supplications or invocations, do’a) to seek Allah’s Help, His Guidance and to ask Him for whatever she pleases, in her own language of choice. Has she raised her hands in her du’a after the prayer or has she always hurried after the prayer, taking of her hijab and rolling up the prayer mat?

So, here’s a last check – Did she do all of the wudhu’, hijab, prayer and du’a sincerely and correctly, for the sake of Allah? The answer will be revealed as soon as she shows signs of being a better Muslim, or not. If she still carries out many haram activities that displease Allah, the answer is no.

How then can I teach my child to pray correctly?

Firstly, check if you are doing the prayer correctly. A good way to measure is to look at yourself closely. Are you a practising Muslim? Do you obey Allah’s laws? If you are unsure, seek a teacher’s assistance. Find out how to be a better Muslim by reading, listening to Islamic lectures, going to Islamic classes, being near good Muslims and befriending them, asking religious teachers questions on how to improve your iman. But most importantly, ask Allah for His Guidance and Help. He will not turn you down.

“So We answered his call, and We removed the distress that was on him, and We restored his family to him (that he had lost) and the like thereof along with them – as a mercy from Ourselves and a Reminder for all who worship Us.”

Quran, 21:84

Therefore, do not give up hope. Du’a to Allah for HIS constant help. Try your extreme best to be patient and to find a solution to your difficulty in raising a well-behaved Muslim child.

“Seek (Allah’s) help with patient perseverance and prayer.”

Quran, 2:45

That is the first step, insha Allah. We will share more steps in the next part of this article, insha Allah. But please, do not give up in trying your best in doing daily supplication to the Lord, asking HIM to guide you on the right path. Allah loves to listen to any of our invocations.. The more we seek HIM, closer HE will be, insha Allah! Try having a “talk” with HIM after every of your 5 daily prayers from today. Tell HIM your wishes, your problems, your hardships, your gladness… anything you are eager to tell someone about. Be assured that HE is listening to your voice and your heart.. so start communicating with HIM, insha Allah!

When should my child start praying 5 times a day?

Prayer should be actively emphasized from the age of seven, and enforced with discipline from the age ten.

Hadith Sahih, Nawawi confirmed that this is a sound Hadith; (Hasan):

Narrated by Abu Dawud, the Prophet (s.a.w) said,

“Order you children to pray when they are seven, and discipline them regarding it when they are ten.”

 

In terms of religious education (tarbiya), children are encouraged to pray from when they are small. Many young children like to imitate their parents when they see them pray. Do not stop your toddler from running around you or climbing on top of you during your prayer. Let them feel comfortable with being near you instead. As they get older, you may teach them the mannerisms of how to behave around someone praying. Never close the door when you are praying to keep your child out of the room. Never scold the young child when he disturbs you during prayer. Just continue praying and if the child is old enough to understand, explain to him later why one should not disturb others who are praying. Remind him that one cannot talk to another person during prayer as he is communicating with God.

Having a child watch you pray is very important as the child will then slowly, though sketchily learn the steps of prayer, the recitations and frequency.

  
Hadith Bukhari, Book #11, Hadith #653

As narrated by Malik bin Huwairth:

“We went to the Prophet and we were all young men and stayed with him for about twenty nights. The Prophet was very merciful. He said, “When you return home, impart religious teachings to your families and tell them to offer perfectly such and such a prayer at such and such a time and such and such a prayer at such and such a time. And al the time of the prayer one of you should pronounce the Adhan and the oldest of you should lead the prayer.”

By going through the physical methods of prayer with the child, step-by-step, make it fun and interesting. Do not force the child to do the salat steps in a stern voice.

Do not just leave it to the videos or animations to teach your child to pray. It is certainly your duty to teach your child personally. It is best not to leave this important obligation to the teachers at your child’s madrasah. Not that the teachers at madrasah are not great examples, but it is much more rewarding for both you and your child if you take the time to teach your child to pray one-on-one. Your child will appreciate your efforts, insha Allah, in many years to come!

These web sites below are quite comprehensive. They are dedicated to beginners or parents teaching their children how to pray using animation or video images or descriptions.

It’s the basic praying method, valid for both genders accepted by all the Islamic scholars throughout the world, insha Allah.


Part 2 of this article will cover more suggestions on how to make your child find prayer easy and not a chore, insha Allah… (to be continued, please click link below…)

Free Prayer Reward Chart can be found here:
https://victorianmuslimah.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/free-prayer-reward-chart-for-kids/
Image credits: http://forum.urduworld.com/f343/edu-topic-may-upbringing-children-islam-356710/, http://www.muslimblog.co.in/islamic-topics/book-session-subject-complete-reliance-on-allah, http://www.baby-pictures.org/cute-muslim-baby-kid-praying-6639/, http://muslimparenting.wordpress.com/page/7/, http://islamizationwatch.blogspot.com/2009/06/female-muslim-teacher-quits-amid.html, http://muslimink.com/?attachment_id=124, http://myerscounselinggroup.blogspot.com/2011_06_01_archive.html, http://shawuniversitymosque.org/JTaqwa/modules.php?name=News&new_topic=3&pagenum=15, http://newshopper.sulekha.com/sri-lankan-muslim-boys-play-as-their-parents-offer-prayers-on-eid-al-fitr-in-colombo_photo_451388.htm, http://www.baby-pictures.org/muslim-kids-offering-namaz-7414/, http://www.baby-pictures.org/tag/muslim/page/5/, http://www.productiveramadan.com/ar/for-sisters-only-6-ways-to-stay-spiritually-uplifted/muslim-woman-saying-dua-in-masjid-300×196/.
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