Salah is a part of our religion is from the compulsory acts of worship. It is one of the five pillars of Islam namely shahadah, salah, fasting, zakat, hajj.
Prayer is obligatory on every adolescent Muslim. For making sure that once our children reach puberty, they pray regularly, we have to inculcate the habit of prayer from the start. Hadith of prophet peace be upon him guides us in this matter.
Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-As (Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “Command your children to make Salah when they become seven years old…”Abu Dawud
It means that once a child becomes 7, we should start focusing on teaching him/her salah and making the habit for it, so once he/she reaches adolescence:
- He/she knows how to pray
- Has the habit of praying
How can we inculcate habit of Salah in children?
Teach Through Example
For teaching children anything, be it speaking truth, being kind or praying salah, we have to lead by example. Show them the traits, you want them to practise. For them to be regular in salah, first of all we should show them that one can be regular in salah. Pray on time and pray in front of your kids. Small kids start imitating their elders. Sometimes a 2 year old will start to perform sajdah along side you.
Through being an example, your kids will learn salah, and they will also make it a part of their life once they grow older.
Pray So that the Children can Hear
We pray in whisper or sound that only we can hear. If we want to help our children memorize salah, we should increase our sound while we are praying. This will help them become familiar with the words and they will slowly start picking up.
Include Them in Ablution
When you go to make wudu/ablution for prayer, include your children too, if they are old enough. Explain the steps to them. Share Islam’s view on purity and cleanliness with them as well.
Explain the Purpose of Salah to Them
We want our children to follow with their hearts, not just by their tongue. If the children are old enough to understand discuss the purpose of salah with them. You can share the following points:
- Salah is an important part of being Muslim
- We talk to Allah through salah
- Allah becomes happy when we pray
- Prayer helps us organize our time
- We earn reward through praying
Encourage them to Pray Alongside You
Ask them to join you when you pray. They can follow your actions, if they are just starting and haven’t memorise the words of prayer.
Buy Them a Separate Prayer Mat
Children like it when they have an ownership feel. Gift them a prayer mat and hijab if it’s a girl. Tell them it is theirs to pray on.
Reward Them When They Learn
When they achieve praying milestones like memorizing, being regular in one salah and so on, then encourage them by rewarding them. Praise them with words and buy them something as appreciation. It can be something as small as a candy.
Be Kind and Polite
Don’t be strict with children. They will run away from religion if we start to be harsh and unkind. Teach them with love and compassion. If they make any mistakes, then it is okay. They are just children. They will learn slowly.
May Allah make us righteous and make our kids righteous and keep us all on the straight path. Ameen.