Your Questions - May, 2017

How to motivate a child to be regular in prayers?

Answered by: Shaykh Zafar ul Hasan

Praise be to Allah.

We know quite well that once children cross over 10 years of age they should be made to pray five times. But that is not enough, because the real concern is how to make them passionate about being committed to their duties towards worship.

The best example is the example of Prophet (peace be upon him)

Indeed in the messenger is the best example for you to follow.(Al Ahzab- verse 21). There are two ways to develop a committed passion for any deed. By Motivation through good news and threatening of punishment. The Qur’an calls it ‘Bashiraw and Naziraw’. The Prophet (peace be upon him has been sent as Bashir and Nazeer.

Verily We have sent you in truth as a bearer of glad tidings and a warner (Al Baqarah, verse 119)

Bashir is understood as a glad tiding offered for those who do good deeds and it is in different forms like Forgiveness from Allah, huge status in the sight of Allah, Paradise of highest abode and blessed rizq etc.

Nazeer is understood as a warning like a threat of a punishment of Allah, His displeasure, a low status in his sight,  burning in hellfire, shortage of rizq etc.

Targheeb and Tarheed a Book by Imam Muzihri

These two terms are profoundly used by almost all the compilers of Hadith. Taghreeb is to motivate someone to do a particular deed with passion and enthusiasm. Tarheeb means to sketch a fear in the mind of the person in such a way that he will not do a particular deed which is prohibited for him. The most detailed book on the subject is written by Imam Muzihri and it runs up to four huge volumes.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) has instructed all teachers, parents and those who propagate Deen, should give glad tidings to others and avoid creating hatred.

Grooming children for Worship

Whenever the situation arises about teaching children the etiquette of prayers, reciting Qur’an, Fasting and all other value based good deeds, one must take both the approaches. Let me explain you : Once the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave ten advices to Muadh ibn Jabal (Allah be pleased with him). The last four advice focused only on upbringing of children under the shade of Islamic values. One of them was “Cultivate Allah’s fear in the hearts of children.” Giving examples like, “if you speak truth you will get such and such reward and if you lie you will get such and such punishment.” Such cautionary threats of Allah’s punishment will work on the heart of child. Don’t forget  that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was the best teacher of humanity. This fear should be refreshed every now and then so that it does not fade. This is termed as Akheef hum Fillah

Something written on the heart of the child does not get erased: Hassan ibn Ali (Allah be pleased with them both)

 Imam Ghazali has mentioned about a woman who used to talk about the punishments of Allah whenever they talked or sat for meal. She tried her best in upbringing them. Mothers of today should also not waste their time in useless conversations and petty entertainment but focus on teaching their children about fear of Allah.

  In the incident he mentions that a man was passing by some children who were playing. All of a sudden one child fell down heavily and started to scream and cry.  He picked up the child and asked him the reason for his tears. The boy said, “I am very afraid of Hell fire. I recall my Mother’s words about punishment of Allah if I skip my prayers or get involved in other bad deeds.” The man reminded him that he was too young to worry about it but the  reply of the child is a reflection of his mother’s upbringing. “ I have seen my mother burning the oven with sticks and when the fire does not catch she puts small sticks first and then the larger sticks. I fear that if I committed any sin Allah may put me in the fire before the elderly people.”

  Imam Ghazali, after narrating this event, wonders at the grooming of the child by his mother with astonishment. He wondered how the little child used his logic about the stick put in oven and that was not the teachings of his mother but an impact of her teaching that's raised the Taqwa index of the child. Such a child would definitely grow up to become a very good charactered person out of the fear of Allah.

Memorise these verses from Qur’an and inform your children about its meaning

Children should be reminded this verse from Surah Mudathir: They will be asked, “What put you into Saqar ( Painful Hell fire). “ They will reply, “We were not among those who offered prayers.”

  Another verse from Surah Qiyamah can also be very effective in helping the child to be regular in offering prayers: When the soul has reached the collar bones and it is said (by his relatives), “Who will cure?” And he is certain that the it is time of separation. And the leg is wound about the leg. To your Lord, that Day will be the procession. And he had not believed nor had he prayed.

  The above verse is a very frightening  scene about the time of the death of a person. He can hear people talking about saving him but he now knows it well that it is time to go. He is punished for his disbelief and avoiding his prayers. Parents must discuss such verses with their children on a regular basis. It will be very useful for their grooming This is what the Prophet (peace be upon him)  said: Ak’heefhum Fillah. Establish in them the fear of Allah.

 The other way of encouraging a child to be regular in worship is to introduce him to the virtues of prayers in such a way that he would look forward  for the next prayer after each prayer with a desire of achieving all the benefits that prayers offer.

 A Hadith which has around thirteen lessons!

Imam Tirmidhi and Ahmed narrates a hadith which teaches us how beautifully did the Prophet(peace be upon him) encouraged his young cousin to pray! There are many academical commentaries are written on this hadith in every age and the trend continues even today. Scholars have said that every teacher, parent and seniors should gather children and explain this hadith to them. Children love to listen to those narration which motivate them. Even today heroic stories oriented movies inspire children upto such extent that they would imitate them even at the coast of disobeying their parents. They even rush to participate in those sports which offers a very good health. The same inspiration should be applied in encouraging children to make them be punctual in their prayers.

 Once the Prophet (peace be upon him) was passing along with his cousin Abdullah ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) and both of them were sitting on the same animal. The Prophet (peace be upon him) began with the affectionate term, “O Dear Child!” Then he said, “ Ihfazillah Ya’h Fazka, Protect (The Deen of Allah)  and He shall protect you, and you shall find Allah  at your side. If you ask, ask from Allah. If you need help, seek it from Allah. Know that if the whole world were to gather together in order to help you, they would not be able to help you except if Allah  had written so. And if the whole world were to gather together in order to harm you, they would not harm you except if God had written so. The pens have been lifted, and the pages are dry. ”

Scholars have  agreed that  prayer is the deed which is instructed to be protected most number of time in Qur’an and Hadith

“Protect your Prayers especially the middle prayer (Asar)”

“And stand for prayer devoutly”

“Those who protect their prayers”

    If you inform about being protected by Allah, children find them very secured and they approach prayers whenever they feel insecure or unsafe. You can’t put a list of the things from which Allah will protect and include, hardships of life, Azab e Qabr,  Azab e Hashr and fear of enemies etc. This is how the Prophet (peace be upon him) has persuaded us in observing our prayers.

The Hadith continues, “ If you protect (the Deen of) Allah you will always find Him before you.” It means that if one protects the commands of Allah he will always find the help of Allah during every crisis. It is a guaranteed protection. If you help (The Deen of ) Allah, then Allah will be ahead of you in your matters and guide you.

 Surah al Baqarah’s verse no. 153 is a great motivator

“O you who Believe! Seek Help from Allah with Patience and Prayers”

People spend so much on making their children’s career. Allah has given this tip, seek Allah’s help with patience and prayer. Parents should also teach children to seek help of Allah during exams and other important landmarks of education. We do make dua to Allah for our children’s success but we do not take their omitting of prayers seriously. Such reminders  will help children to get connected to Allah.

Share this Hadith and other information with your children

Whenever the Prophet (peace be upon him) face a difficulty, he approached Allah with prayers.

People who pray regularly have got huge respect and honour in this world too.  He is considered to be a fine person.

Share with your children the stories of good Muslims who pray regularly