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Parents and Rituals

Although beliefs are most important, parents also have to teach practical part of following religion. Faith and action do go together. From a young age, a child should be encouraged to pray, recite the Qur’an, perform wudhu etc. Some parents think it is a bother to have young children do these things and wait until they are almost baligh. The love for such actions does not develop, and may then have to be forced to carry them out. It is much better to start at an early age when the children are willing to imitate the parents and have an interest in praying and doing wudhu.

The daily prayers are the most important action in Islam, and it is the duty of all parents to ensure that the children pray properly and regularly. The Prophet (S) said:

“Teach your children the prayer when they are seven, and beat them if they do not recite it when they are ten.”

Thus when the child becomes baligh and does not wish to pray it is necessary to force him to do so. It should be mentioned that children need to be observed when they first begin to pray by themselves. Many children pray very quickly, and the actions resemble a quick exercise rather than a prayer. If possible, parents should try and pray with their children, at least sometimes. It is not a good idea to tell children to pray by themselves in their rooms. Out of the view of the parents. This could encourage them to skip some prayers altogether, and then lie about it. Shaytan is very strong, and the child is easily too preyed.

Another important part of religious training is to teach the child to recite the Qur’an. It is a right of the child. Many parents are already aware of this responsibility and strive to make their children good recitors of the Qur’an. But one must be wary not to do it compete with others, or to show off to the community. Some children become fluent recitors of the Qur’an but are not regular in their prayers and are generally lax in their obedience to Allah. The child should also be encouraged to understand the Qur’an. This could be done by reading the translation occasionally, or even learning the Arabic language.

Adapted from: "Family Life" by: "Aisha Mutuku"

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