Idea 16: Invoke His help!

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I would like to finish off this series with this final story on someone’s use of the power of DUA to help their children become of those who pray!

Ultimately, it is HIM we are praying to and to HIM we want our children to develop a connection to, and so clarifying that as our intention and using HIS duas and HIS help to do it is really the ultimate way!

May He grant us tawfeeq in guiding our children to love praying, and to love Him, Inshallah!!

Check out the BEAUTIFUL story at this link: http://asqfish.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/dua-for-the-gift-of-salah-for-your-children/

Idea 14: Play Games to help learn the meaning of Salaat

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An awesome card game designed by Kids n Islam (and available for purchase through Buzz Ideazz!) is ‘My Salaat Fun Cards’.

The cards are a great way to help children understand the special conversation taking place between ourselves and Allah (swt) in Salaat.

There are two games that can be played – Memory Match and Salaat Snap – both of which encourage familiarisation of the Arabic and English translations of the dhikr in Salaat.

Check it out here:

My “Salaat” Fun Cards

Idea 13: Use technology

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In our app review some time ago, I review an app called Salat Tracker for Kids. I have posted the review below to read in more detail, but in short – it is a good SHORT TERM incentive to get our kids to pray!

On the use of technology, here’s what one mum shared:

“Texting is replacing talking among teens. Teens spend nearly an equal amount of time talking as they do texting each month. The feature is so important to them that if texting were no longer an option 47% of teens say their social life would end or be worsened.

They also say texting has advantages over talking because it offers more options, including multitasking, speed, the option to avoid verbal communication, and because it is fun – in that order, according to the study.

So text your teen when it’s time to pray. Encourage them to set up reminders on their cell phone to offer their prayer or download an app for this purpose. This will make it more fun and help weave prayer into their lives in a practical way.”

App 2 – Salah Tracker for Kids

Idea 11: Don't push them away

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The flip side of the coin to inviting them with love, is pushing them away from Salaat.

I cringe whenever i remember how i was with my younger sisters on one of the first salaats they prayed after they became baaligh. I had assured mum that as big sister, i could handle it. But to put it simply, i was the Salaat Police – and it was NOT pretty. I think i must have stopped them at least 10 times saying they had not recited ‘that’ with good makhraj, or not done ‘this’ action correctly. In short, however well-meaning, i’m sure i put them off big time – thank God my mum stepped in again when she did!

With all the previous suggestions such as jamaat namaaz, duas after Salaat, etc, it is important to remember NOT to force or become overbearing. Marhum Ayatullah Behjat, one of the greatest spiritual masters of our time, used to say that his father told him to only carry out the wajib actions of prayer as a child and young adult, but despite that he was able to attain extremely high levels of spirituality in his prayers.

Indeed, even in Qom, the jamaat prayers are done at quite a fast pace…this is simply to cater for everyone and not to put them off coming to pray at the mosque!

Idea 10: Invite them to pray with LOVE

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When we call our children to come pray with us, how do we do it? Do we call out to them? And if they don’t come the first time, shout?

What about Fajr? Do we switch on all the lights? Do we threaten to pour water on them?! Or guilt them about the fact that if it becomes Kazaa it’s on their heads?

The other day, I was talking to someone who said that once, a group of people were sharing their best memories of their parents. One girl shared how her best memory was of her dad, waking her up for Fajr…he used to massage her arms and hands to wake her up – how beautiful is that?! And how awesome that that is one of her favourite memories? πŸ™‚

Idea 9: Teach them GRADUALLY

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Sometimes, we have a sincere but misguided emphasis on doing too much too young with children. Someone once told me how she was told to make their daughter pray at the age of 3; at first the daughter would put on her little chaadar, and sit next to or follow along with her mum, but then she began to object and dislike it. The mum, because of what she had been told and also peer pressure, began to get frustrated. Luckily, she realised it was heading down a slippery slope and relaxed about it all.

Imam Sadiq (as) says: “When a child reaches the age of 3 he should be told 7 times say ‘Laa Ilaaha Illallah’. Then leave him until he reaches the age of 3 years and 7 months and 20 days. At this time he should be told 7 times to say ‘Muhammadur Rasulullah (s)’, then leave him to be free. When he turns 4 he should be told 7 times to say ‘Salallahu ‘Alaa Muhammadin Wa Aali Muhammad’. When he turns 5… (and he can distinguish his left hand from right), then turn his face towards Qiblah and tell him to do sajdah. And at the age of 6 teach him ruku’, sujud and other parts of prayer… (Wasail ush-Shia, v21, pg 474).

From the hadith it is apparent that we should bring about awareness of religion in a child early, and as they grow and show interest we can invite them to pray BUT we should do so gradually and not ask them to do too much too quickly, lest we push them away.

Idea 8: Teach them WHY we pray

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Sometimes we get so bogged down in the rites of prayer (wudhoo, dhikr, etc) that we forget WHY we are praying. So how do we teach this amazing philosophy of prayer that we have?

When children are young – and especially if they are reluctant, rather than ‘making’ them pray, why not make them do a sajdah and encourage them to TALK to Allah. Is that not what Salaat is all about anyway? A conversation with Him?

Another idea is to remind them to link Salaat to shukr. As someone commented: “…starting from, thanking Allah because of sooooooooo many blessings He has given us (try counting with them all the blessings and then give up saying “I can’t, there are just too many, uncountable”)”

Here again, modelling is essential. Do we only pray out 5 wajib salaat? Why not fall into sajdah when something good happens, and encourage our children to do the same?

When we need something, why not recite a two-rakaat salat for hajaat and let the children know you are doing this so they realise it has so many purposes?

As they get older, we can try and explain the deeper meanings of remembering Him, being aware of His presence and explaining the philosophy of the different parts of salaat…

Idea 7: Model it yourself!

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It sounds so obvious but unfortunately (am telling myself first!), we often forget to model the best behaviour ourselves.

Here’s what someone sent in: “Start through actions rather than words. Many of us have grown up with parents who would tell us to go pray but they would be finishing up cooking in the kitchen or cleaning, etc instead of going to pray.”

Simple things like stopping whatever we are doing at Salaat time, taking some time to recite Azan and Iqamah beforehand, and the tasbeeh and duas afterwards.

If however, we are grumbling at how early Fajr salaat time is during the summer or how we have a million things to do…this will also have an effect.

My own first memories are listening to my dad recite the Fajr dua out loud after Salaat…he wouldn’t force us (in fact, we would usually be asleep on the musalla straight after finishing!), but that recitation has stuck in mind and now when i recite it, i can often hear his melody in my head

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