Growing up my parents told me how important it is to perform the five daily prayers on time. They told us how important it is to take care of taharah and it makes us close to Allah as it increases our Iman. Kids who were born in the 1980’s and 1990’s can relate that how little they use to ask questions from their parents. It was a norm to do as told. We never considered it important to ask our parents why perform the prayers religiously five times a day and seven days a week and so on. We knew that we have to do it because our parents told us to do it.
Fast forward to the current time, kids ask questions and parents know that it is important to tell them what, why, how, where, and when to do certain things. If you want to raise your kids that love their religion and practice it in their daily life you need to tell them why we pray, fast, or do charity. The reason needs to be more than we pray because Allah told us to do so. Kids need to grow up to understand and appreciate how beautiful is our religion and to reach the level of faith where you no longer need to ask question but follow wholeheartedly. I know even as adult we ask question and we question but a lot more concepts about our religion are much more clear in our mind.
The five daily prayers are the most important and frequently performed pillar of our religion. And we try our best to teach our kids how to pray, when to pray , and what are the fard and wajib of prayer. We as parent did the same from very young age our kids started praying at home as well in mosque on and off. Everyone who saw them praying appreciated and that gave us so much happiness. That also gave them motivation to be more regular in their prayers.
But of course, this was not all as our kids started praying each prayer more consciously on their respected timings with proper attire and etiquette they also started asking questions. Questions that made us realize that is it enough to teach your kids the timings, method, and etiquette of prayer? Is there something that is more or equally important to teach kids about prayer? We realized that we need to tell them about the significance of prayer, why it is so important in our life and, what is the real beauty of prayer?
When kids see us performing prayer or fasting there is no by default option that tells them what is the relationship of prayer and love of God and love of God and love of humanity. But, they should know how prayer connects you to God and how your connection to God means your connection to humanity. There are many ways we can do this. The way we use at our home is we take examples of a surahs that they recite in prayer and tell them the meaning of it. For example we took the example of surah Ma’uun and told our kids how Allah says in this Surah that those who pray just to show off are the same people who do not help the needy people, and do not behave well with the orphans, and who do not share small things with those who need them. They are miser and they do not act upon the teachings of Quran although they call themselves Muslim. This helped our kids realize that prayer and what we recite in the prayer give us a message. This message is really very important and to know this message we must know its meaning. Prayer is not just some ritual that we perform without knowing the real meaning but it has a direction that if we follow we will not just acquire the love of God but will become better human beings.
Salah is the kind of worship that was granted to Prophet Muhammad for the Ummah when he went to Isra-al-Miraj – the night journey. Allah gave the gift of five obligatory prayers to Prophet Muhamamd a way to meet Allah every day five times a day. It is a way to communicate with the Rabb and remember Him. There are a lot many blessings in our life that we are thankful for but if you think this way prayer is the biggest blessing that Allah granted us.
It is important that kids love salah rather than they just pray because they are asked to do so. Do not herd children to pray five times a day teach prayers slowly and with love. Do not force it on children rather teach them prayer by example. Narrate stories that teach them how prayer help a Muslim and how it make us close to our Lord. Do not let any negativity attach to Salah or Salah-time. If some day they do not pray do not yell at them or call them bad words rather be patient and know that your patience will teach them to be positive. Also when kids pray it is more like a struggle on the part of parents than on the part of the kids. Because parents have to take out time to teach the importance of Salah and be with them at regular prayer time. Teach them how to pray, when to pray, and what are the etiquetes of prayer. They need to teach tahara, and wudu. All of this requires struggle by parents so if kids do not pray you cannot blame kids because there might be some negligence on your part as well.