Praise be to Allaah.
There is no doubt that prayer is very
important and is the most important matter in Islam, as it is the
foundation of religion, the means of success and a sign of piety (taqwa). It
is the first thing for which a person will be brought to account on the Day
of Resurrection: if it is sound, then all his deeds will be sound, but if it
is lacking, then all his deeds will be lacking.
Undoubtedly doing one’s utmost to give a
child a sound Islamic upbringing and teach him to establish prayer and fear
Allah in word and deed, is a sign of success and being guided.
Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, said
to His Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) “And enjoin
As‑Salaah (the prayer) on your family, and be patient in offering them [i.e.
the Salaah (prayers)]” [Ta-Ha 20:132 -- interpretation of the meaning].
i.e., urge your family to pray and encourage
them to offer both obligatory and naafil (voluntary) prayers. The command to do
something is also a command to do everything without which that thing cannot
be done, so it is a command to teach them what makes prayer valid or
invalid, and what makes it complete or perfect.
And Allah says of His Prophet Ismaa‘eel
(peace be upon him):
“And he used to enjoin on his family and
his people As‑Salaah (the prayers) and the Zakât, and his Lord was pleased
[Maryam 19:55 -- interpretation of the
And Allaah says to those who believe
(interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Ward off yourselves
and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over
which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe…”
i.e., enjoin them to do good and forbid them
to do evil, and do not neglect them lest they be consumed by the Fire on the
Day of Resurrection.
Tafseer Ibn Katheer,
Abu Dawood (495) and Ahmad (6650) narrated
from ‘Amr ibn Shu‘ayb from his father, that his grandfather said: The
Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:
“Instruct your children to pray when they are seven years old, and smack
them if they do not do it when they are ten, and separate them in their
beds.” Classed as saheeh (authentic) by al-Albaani in al-Irwa’ (247).
Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on
Pay attention to your family members and do
not neglect them, O slave of Allah. You have to strive hard to guide them.
Instruct your sons and daughters to pray when they are seven, and smack them
if they do not pray when they are ten, a light smack to help them obey Allah
and help them get used to praying on time, so that they will adhere to the
religion of Allah and know the truth, as it says in the saheeh Sunnah of the
Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him).
Majmoo‘ Fataawa Ibn Baaz
With regard to the means of disciplining
children and raising them with the prayer and to respect its importance, it
may be summed up as follows:
It is essential that
there be a real life example, in the parents’ being keen to offer the
prayers on time.
The father should be
keen to take his sons with him to pray, and the mother should be keen to
tell her daughters to pray regularly at home.
importance of prayer and that it is an important pillar of Islam, without
which one’s religious commitment cannot be complete.
Encouraging them to
establish prayer on time, and explaining that Allah has promised Paradise
for establishing prayer, as Abu Dawood (425) narrated that ‘Ubaadah ibn
al-Saamit said: I bear witness that I heard the Messenger of Allah
(blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) say: “Allah, may He be exalted,
has enjoined the five daily prayers: whoever does wudoo’ for them properly,
prays them on time, bows properly in them and focuses with proper humility (khushoo‘),
has a promise from Allah that He will forgive him. And whoever does not do
that has no such promise from Allah; if He wills He will forgive him and if
He wills, He will punish him.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh
Whoever would like to have a promise from
Allah, let him pray, and whoever does not care to have a promise from Him
and to expose himself to His wrath and punishment, let him forsake prayer!
And one may also quote hadeeths which
mentioned promises and warnings with regard to prayer.
Making the most of
all available means to give gentle advice, provide books and audios that speak of prayer and explain how important it is.
to keep company with those who pray regularly, whilst instilling positive
motives in their minds to compete in establishing prayer and attaining good.
Offering moral and
material support, such as giving gifts, offering words of praise and
encouragement and so on.
example of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) in means
of dealing with the issue of prayer, as mentioned above in the hadeeth of
Abu Dawood, such as instructing them to pray when they reach the age of
seven, then smacking them (lightly) if they do not pray when they reach the age of
ten, whilst paying attention to wisdom with regard to the matter of
smacking: using it if it is thought most likely to be of benefit, and only
being strict and harsh at the appropriate time.
Using means such as
shunning and forsaking if a child stops praying or neglects prayer; this is
a kind of effective punishment that is prescribed in Islam.
Offering a great
deal of supplication (du‘aa’) and beseeching Allah, asking Him to guide them
to the straight path and make them pious people who pray regularly. This in
fact is one of the greatest means of guiding one’s children, although many
people neglect it.
The parents should
never tire of reminding, advising and disciplining, even if the children
neglect prayer repeatedly, and they should never despair of their children’s
being guided. No one knows when a word will be of benefit or not.
For more information, please see the answers
to questions no. 10016,
And Allah knows best.