Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tips on teaching children to pray

Children just like a blank piece of cloth, the parents play an important role as a designer on decorating the cloth. For a muslim, pray is a pillar of Islam, its the most basic but crucial pillar that we must teach the children.
Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-Asr, narrated that the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) said,
“Command your children to make salah when they become seven years old…” Abu Dawud
This does not mean that parents can only start teaching their children how to perform it when they reach the age of seven. Rather, informal instruction should start when a child starts to show an interest in salah, which usually occurs around the age of two. It is only human nature that children love to imitate their parents. In fact, this is one method that Allah has provided us for teaching our youth.
Here are some quick tips:
  • Informal teaching should start when child starts to show interest usually occurs around the age of two.
  • Let them pretend to make salah.
  • Invite them to pray along side and join the family jemaah prayer.
  • At a young age, children usually imitate what they see, so it is important to always pray in front of them
  • One of the first steps is to learn al-Fatihah which should begin around the age of three or four. Break down the instructions by using reasonable number of verses or small segments.
  • The practice session should only last between 5 to 15 minutes. At this age consistency is more important than length of practice.
  • Remind them that they are praying to Allah to thank him for all He has given them
  • Important to remember that not all children are ready at the same time and that not everyday will the child be ready to learn new materials.
  • Educational products can assist parents in achieving success with their children because children generally learn in different ways therefore introduction of material through different format (video, coloring book, going to the masjid) will help ease and reinforce the learning process.
  • One of the most important thing that a parent should do is to praise the child for each accomplished task and encouragement to achieve more success.
In a hadeeth narrated by Abdullah ibn Qart the Messenger of Allah (saws) said,
“The first act that the servant of Allah will be accountable for on the Day of Judgment will be salah. If it is good, then the rest of his acts will be good. And if it is evil, then the rest of his acts will be evil.” (Tabarani).

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