Salah (prayer) is one of the five pillars of Islam and is the first thing Allah SWT will ask us about on the day of judgment. Not only this, but Salah protects us from numerous harms and immoralities and provides us with a profound opportunity to connect with our Lord and prepare for our Dunya (worldly life) and hereafter.
Parents and elders have to encourage their children to pray. Although it might be difficult for them to maintain the daily five prayers at such a young age (our Holy Prophet (PBUH) stated that children should offer salah when they become seven years old), there are many techniques through which we can ensure that they develop a love for Salah, which keeps them on the right path for the rest of their lives. This guide will highlight the five methods for encouraging children to maintain Salah and inspiring them to strengthen their relationship with Allah SWT.
Since children learn from examples, your children may not always verbalize what they are learning from you or others, but they always notice. They are the silent eyes and ears of the house, and you can use this to your advantage.
Cultivating an atmosphere of Salah in your home allows them to note that whatever happens, Salah is your first priority. It solidifies the importance of Salah in their minds, and before long, they will start copying your actions, which includes praying with you!
There are several things you can do to take this up a notch. For example, you can specify a separate room in your house for praying or give your children their own hijabs, tasbeeh, and prayer mats to pray on.
Actively preaching the importance of Salah and quoting Allah SWT and Prophet Muhammad PBUH also develops a positive mindset towards praying.
Our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) always stressed being calm and positive, especially with children. When you are positive and calm when teaching them something, they will be more eager to learn about it.
It is worth noting a peaceful atmosphere will also encourage them to be open toward you and ask questions if they feel confused. Moreover, they will also feel more comfortable making mistakes when they know you won’t scold them. It would help if you praised your children whenever they achieve a new milestone in their Salah journey.
Teaching your children about the rewards of praying also helps foster a deeper connection with Salah. Tell them how Salah is a gift from Allah SWT to them, through which they can ask Allah SWT whatever their heart desires! Inform them how doing wudu (ablution) helps wipe away their sins like they never existed.
You can also explain that Salah is a one-on-one conversation with Allah SWT, where we can share everything with him, tell him all our goals, joys, and troubles, and ask for solutions to our problems. Tell them that praying Salah helps barakah (blessings) enter our lives as we please Allah SWT and makes everything easy.
Let’s be honest: sometimes, advice from a third party is more impactful on children than the advice of their parents or older siblings, especially in this day and age. If you ever experience a similar situation with a child who doesn’t heed your advice, specifically in Islamic matters, you can connect them with Islamic scholars. You can take your child to a mosque to meet a scholar or give them access to YouTube videos of reputable scholars who speak about these matters.
Here is a YouTube video regarding this topic, so you can understand where to start:
Mufti Menk is an Islamic scholar and motivational speaker. He also has a series for children in which he talks about the basic principles of Islam. Besides offering content for children, his channel also offers videos for teens and adults.
Remember, they don’t necessarily have to be Islamic scholars; you can find many people on different platforms who talk about Islamic topics. Just ensure they provide authentic information from Hadith and the Quran.
Children always look for something extraordinary in everyday things. Therefore, making praying interesting for them can positively affect their Salah journey. You can print out Salah checklists and hang them in your children’s room. These checklists will encourage them to pray while keeping track of their progress.
Another great idea is to make a Salah monthly jar. First, take some white paper and cut out small hearts or a shape of your choice. Next, take three plastic jars. Then, take any three colors you like, for example, pink, purple, and blue, and label the jars according to each color. After that, fill the hearts according to the following method:
- Pink: For every prayer performed on time, color a heart pink.
- Purple: Color a heart purple for every prayer performed but not on time.
- Blue: For every prayer missed, color a heart blue.
Every time you color a heart put it in a specific jar. This activity aims to obtain as many pink hearts as possible. Keep these colored hearts in a small container, and the next month, reuse them again.
Teaching your children to love Salah is a long journey where consistency is key. They might deviate from the path occasionally, but constantly reminding them about the words of the Hadith and Quran will keep them on track.