This post is sponsored by mysalahmat.com
We asked women in our FB group (Productive Muslimaat) – “WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST STRUGGLE IN SALAH (particularly praying on time)”? and most women said that it was their children because of whom they struggle to pray on time. And of course, as mothers of small kids ourselves, we understand that struggle.
Struggles of Praying with Children Around
The struggle of praying in peace while one kid is riding on your back during prostration and the other is lying in front of you.
The hardship of keeping your cool during salah while the kids fight with each other.
The difficulty of praying on time while one child wants to go to the bathroom really bad and the other wants food.
The trouble of maintaining khushoo during salah while one kid hangs onto your hijab and the other is trying to pull him/her away (in an attempt to help mama).
The stress of forgetting what rak’ah you are on while the kids start crying in a form of chorus.
The struggle of connecting with Allah while being connected with your surroundings as the kids do all kinds of dangerous things around the house.
The struggle is never ending and mama, you’re not alone!
But the struggle never has to be permanent. We can always support each other and help in finding solutions together. Children knowing the importance of salah and how to pray with you, can make a huge difference in having that harmony at home during salah time (most days at least).
Most mothers of small kids struggle with khushoo during salah because they are surrounded with kids 24/7. We can’t run away from kids for that peaceful time with Allah and we can’t even concentrate when we are amidst hyper active/hungry/cranky kids. So the solution that works most days is to include them in our salah time.
Teach Kids to Pray
They can only pray at the age of 7 when they have been introduced to it before that age. So here’s how we can help our children understand why salah is so important and how to pray with us peacefully. (Mothers of babies – just hang in there, it gets easier bi’idhnillah).
1) Be a role model
Nothing takes precedence over this act in the methods of teaching. This has always been a human mindset and thus Allah always sent guides in the form of prophets, towards His creation for the guidance. Allah even commanded us to obey and follow the footsteps of our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
Similarly as kids are born with the innate nature to imitate what they see, parents become their first choice. And later those acts become stronger as they develop the urge to please their authorities.
Being a role model is always rewarding and that’s what makes our kids our sadaqah jariyah. So do more of what you want to teach them and you won’t feel the need to scream and yell to make them do it. And thus the little persuasion in the times of laziness will be fruitful.
2) Let kids join in when you pray:
Now I know, that’s a tough one for your own khushoo. But fathers can do this while taking the little ones and the boys along with themselves to the masjid (mothers can try to go for jummah prayer in the near masjid, if possible). And mothers can start preparing for their salah with the kids at home as soon they hear the adhaan. This helps convey the message in the most subtle and effective way.
They may bring their own prayer mat to pray. We use My Salah Mat with the kids – The interactive prayer mat is touch sensitive and has pre-recorded keys that can be touched to reveal the sound, such as the Adhan, prayer times, how to do wudu, recite surahs, say duas, and much more. It came with a free 12 page Salah activity book too (which the kids fought over 🤦♀️ , but hey! they learnt in the process :p)
Put them down in front of you on your prayer mat and they are happy to see you perform the prayer. Most days they actually enjoy it. You may recite a bit louder, that way, the baby will think that you are reciting for him/her. If the kid is still crying, you may carry the child while praying or wrap them with you.
Warning: Sometimes they may giggle when you go into prostration, thinking you’re playing with them 😝
Include them in Wudu and let them wear the hijab etc. so they may stand with you or even ride your back while you prostrate (and emulate the sunnah ❤️).
Warning: Your wudu area will be splashed with water and your back may get all kinds of spasms while they refuse to get off of your back 😶
3) KIDS (3-5 YEAR OLDS)
Let them have their own prayer mat like @mysalahmat so they may pray beside you.
Warning: Multiple kids would want to board the salah mat and then all kinds of features will get activated 🤪 but rest assured, their level of concentration will be 99% (no kidding).
3) Let kids pray together & teach each other:
You know what’s best about raising your eldest child in the light of Islam? It’s their passion to teach their younger siblings all the things they have been taught.
Same with the prayer. Kids praying in congregation is not only the most heart-melting sight, but it is also effective for kids who are not interested in salah. Allah says in the Quran
So race to good. [Qur’an 2:148]
And this fitra is a part of each child – competing in all things good! So utilize this natural disposition to your advantage.
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As we are also teaching kids Arabic step by step, the language feature in my salah mat came in handy. My salah mat is translated to 7 different languages – English, Malaysian, Urdu, Indonesian, French, Turkish and of course, Arabic!
When often see the younger two kids (3 year old and an almost 4 year old) standing together for prayer with their hands folded, till the audio player recites surah naas. The concentration with which these two stand is amazing (although these two are extremely hyper active 24/7 and can’t stop giggling when they are with each other).
Knowing a purpose behind one’s act, gives meaning to a cause and strengthen its foundation. Similarly, knowing that this worship is solely for the pleasure of Allah, is a great way to build the right foundation of salah.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Seven (people) will be shaded by Allah by His Shade on the Day of Resurrection when there will be no shade except His Shade…(one of them being)…a young man who has been brought up in the worship of Allah…”[Bukhari]
When kids fall in love with Allah, teaching them what He wants from us becomes slightly easier.
5) Introduce them to the seerah of Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم):
It’s the love of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in the heart of every Muslim that urge him/her to follow his footsteps. Parents can help their children in developing this love by narrating them the seerah of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ through stories, their actions. etc, realizing that it’s the essence of our deen.
And establish prayer and give zakah and obey the Messenger – that you may receive mercy. [Qur’an 24:56]
6) Make the learning easy and interactive:
Effective results come from the teaching that are taught with love and ease. No wonder how this ease and love from Rasoolullah ﷺ shaped Anas Bin Malik r.a., Zaid Bin Haartha r.a. and his own children into such remarkable companions and obedient servants of Allah.
I served the Prophet (ﷺ) for ten years, and he never said to me, “Uf” (a minor harsh word denoting impatience) and never blamed me by saying, “Why did you do so or why didn’t you do so?” [Bukhari]
Taking aid from the new advancements and technologies is another wise decision to help ourselves to teach our kids deen. Especially when this era is stuffed with endless adornments and distractions. My Salah Mat is an Educational Interactive Prayer Mat which can teach about the different times of salah, and the various bodily movements and positions, and what to say during them. In order to make the learning process easy, My Salah Mat will guide the user through two rakat of salah using a simple to understand format. It’s waterproof and has a fire resistant material with adjustable volume.
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For example, when someone places both feet on the feet location on the prayer mat, the sensors in My Salah Mat recognise the pressure, and the first action of the Muslim prayer is heard (Allahu Akbar), followed by Surah Fatiha. Then when the knees, hands, and head touch the relevant locations on the mat, the sound related to that part of the prayer is heard.
7) Make dua for them
As Fudayl ibn Iyyad (a scholar from the past) said: “Dua is the weapon of the believer”. It is a direct link to our Rabb with no barriers. We know He’s All-Hearing and All-Powerful and thus have all the ability to do as He wills. Thus parents shall never let go of this weapon to guard and guide themselves and their loved ones.
رَبِّ اجْعَلْنِي مُقِيمَ الصَّلاَةِ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِي رَبَّنَا وَتَقَبَّلْ دُعَاءِ
“My Lord, make me an establisher of prayer, and from my descendants. Our Lord, and accept my supplication.” [Qur’an 14:40]
What to do when kids turn 7 years old
This is the time when you start to get serious about your child’s salah. Ayesha (my elder sister and co-founder of AYEINA) started the book “Prayer According to the Sunnah” (NAMAZ-E-NABWI) with her daughter when she turned 7 years old. Lecture series on the book can be found HERE (only available in Urdu language unfortunately).
So I was discussing with Ayesha how her 7yr old can start with Isha prayer because that’s the prayer kids are most excited about. Night time – when kids are excited about anything and everything that can help them buy a little more time and not sleep 😁 If their bedtime is close to Maghrib more than Isha, then Maghrib is indeed a much better option (because it is also slightly shorter than Isha and hence easier to adapt to). This discussion happened after the following incident:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Command your children to pray when they become seven years old…” [Abi Dawud]
We’ve been using MY SALAH MAT for 1 year now and I’ve seen a massive shift in my 4 year old’s learning alhamdulillah. She not only memorized a lot of surahs and duas through it, but also tries to make her voice beautiful now – just like the reciter in the mat’s audio system. Her 1 year old sister keeps bugging her during the salah, but she remains focused (unless the little one steals her hijab lol). The poor mat has survived many shenanigans of my 1 year old who keeps toying with the audio system – on and off, on and off! Whenever the adhaan is announced, my 4 year old takes the mat out of the storage box and spreads my mat with hers too.
How did you teach your children about salah? Do they pray regularly now (after 10 years of age)? Do you pray peacefully as a result? Share your struggles and solutions below ❤