Teaching Kids to Love Prayer (Salah)
Salah is the second pillar of Islam and not only is this act of worship compulsory, it is also incredibly beloved to Allah SWT. Allah says in the Qur'an
"And he used to enjoin on his people prayer and zakat was to his Lord pleasing". (19:55)
As Muslims, one of our life goals is to pass on the practice of Islam to our offspring. In recent years, Muslims are learning that it is much better to make our children love the Deen rather than be compelled to practice it.
How can we achieve this and raise our kids to love Salah?
Here are 7 useful tips that we can practice to In Sha Allah help us to raise kids who rush to prayer.
Lead by example
Children are known to imitate the people around them. This is why parents should be intentional about what they do in the presence of their children. When the adhan is called, let them see you hasten to perform wudhu and perform Salah. When you do this every single day, your children will naturally start to do the same. Let them see you pray and see your positive attitude towards prayer.
Talk to them about Allah
The reason we all perform Salah is that it is a commandment sent to us by Allah. Salah is a means to get close to Allah, to speak to Him, worship Him, praise Him, and love Him. It is important to help kids get to know their maker. Let them in on His qualities as Al-Wadud - The Most Loving, Al-Kareem - The Most Generous, Ar-Rahman -The Exceedingly Compassionate. When they love Allah, they will only want to do acts that please Him and would excitedly rush to prayer to speak to that amazing Lord they always hear about and love.
Make The Prophet (SAW) their role model
Talks about Prophet Muhammad (SAW) should be a part of daily conversations in the homes of Muslims. By talking highly about The Prophet (SAW) and narrating His story regularly, your children will be inclined to want to be like this incredible man they hear lovely things about. Knowing how much their role model used to love Salah, your children would grow to love Salah as well.
Start them young
Whatever we learn to do from a young age eventually becomes second nature as we grow older. By teaching kids to pray from an early age, we eliminate the reluctance they may feel when they grow older. Abu Dawood and Ahmad narrated from ‘Amr ibn Shu’ayb from his father that his grandfather said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:
“Teach your children to pray when they are seven years old, and smack them (lightly) if they do not pray when they are 10 years old, and separate them in their beds.” Saheeh by al-Albaani.
Give them their Prayer Mats
Let your kids have their prayer mats as well as hijabs and caps. This will greatly increase their desire to pray because prayer time is when they get to use their very own prayer mats and hijabs/caps.
Take them to the mosque
Children love to explore and visit places. By taking them to the mosque with you they will have the opportunity to see you and other Muslims praying and see that Salah is part of the Muslim life. They will observe the beauty of congregational prayer and the peace that surrounds the mosque. They will also see their friends praying there.
Praise your kids whenever they pray on time. Compliment and acknowledge their efforts towards doing what is pleasing to Allah. You can also reward them with treats and activities that they love to encourage them. Remind them that Allah is happy with them and that a great reward awaits them.
It's important to acknowledge that this process of getting your kids to love Salah is going to take time. Don't be hard on yourself and don't be hard on them either. Teach from a place of love, be patient with them and have faith that their efforts will be rewarded. And lastly, remember to make du’a for them as Allah is As Rashid, he is the one who guides and nothing is possible without his guidance.
Through consistency and making du'a for them, your goal will be achieved In sha Allah.