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The Prayer is the second pillar from the pillars of Islaam and the most important pillar after the Shahaada. It is a link between the servant and his Lord, a means of support and assistance, as well as a source of expiation for sins. In this post we will briefly outline the steps we took to teach our kids how to pray.
1-Seeing us pray
The best method we found in our home was to lead by example. In a very well known hadeeth, the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said:
“Pray as you have seen me pray.”
He instructed the companions to observe his prayer and perform their prayers in the same manner. We always prayed in front of our first child ever since he was a newborn. By the age of 6 months he would attempt to imitate our actions. Then at around one year of age he had picked up words which he would try to say during the prayer like ‘allahu akbar’.
2-Recite in low, but audible voice.
As I noticed our son was paying attention I began praying in a slightly raised voice so that everything I was saying was audible to him. At times he would try to pray with us, at others he would just observe and occasionally we would encourage him to join us in our prayer. We continued like this, until around the age of six. By this time he had memorized several surahs, he knew all of the components of the prayer except for the tahhiyyat, and the salawat.
3-Finally I had him memorize the tahiyyat, and salatul ibrahimiyya over the course of a couple of days. We would learn a small portion, and build upon it each day. I also taught him the number or raka’aat in each prayer, and taught him which parts of which prayers were loud and which were silent in congregation.
4-Observe his prayer and correct mistakes
Over the next 2-3 months he would perform all of his prayers loudly leading his younger brother in prayer. I would watch them, and whenever he made a mistake I would correct him. Within a month he was able to pray on his own without any mistakes Alhamdulillah.
What I did not realize was that his younger brother who would imitate his actions began learning how to pray through him. By the time my oldest was praying confidently It came to my attention that his five year old brother already knew so much that I was compelled to complete the job. I taught him at tahiyyat and the salawat not by sitting down and memorizing as he was too impatient for this. I had him pray with me, and I would say these parts slowly, pausing to allow him to copy what I said. Within a few weeks he had memorized them with little effort.