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 salaah is all about anyway? A conversation with Him?
- Another idea is to remind them to link salaah 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 salaah? Why not fall into sajdah when something good happens, and encourage our children to do the same?
- Show the children that salaah is also great for asking Allah for things, as He is the source of it all. 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 salaah.
- Here are two articles that show how beneficial Salaah is to us PHYSICALLY as well! Here’s the first: Salaah makes your face glow (thanks in part to the blood that rushes to your face when we are in sujood) http://ilmfeed.com/this-is-why-praying-makes-your-face-glow/ Secondly, here’s the second article on how Muslims do yoga five times a day ? A great way to perhaps explain the holistic aspects of salaah and that even when our kids (and us!) may go through a phase when they are not ‘feeling’ salaah, salaah is still always benefitting them!http://mvslim.com/5-ways-yoga-is-a-basic-practice-for-muslims/
And you really can’t get clearer than this!:
Hina Khan-Mukhtar says this:
Prayer should not be allowed to become a series of robotic yoga-like motions devoid of meaning or purpose. Zeeshan and I have been forthright with our kids and confessed to them that there will be times when prayer might feel like an inconvenient, rote duty that just needs to be discharged — and they may find themselves feeling disillusioned and disheartened when those thoughts come to them — but, nevertheless, the canonical prayer is never to be abandoned, no matter how ambivalent one might be feeling towards it in that moment.
“We worship Allah with our minds, bodies, and souls,” I remind my children. “If our minds and souls aren’t ‘into’ prayer for some reason, we can at least force our bodies to obey Him. And then we pray that He will eventually lead our minds and souls to follow our bodies in joy and submission as well. Allah is the One Who is in charge of our hearts. He can turn us to Him at any time He wills. We just have to make sure that we’re not the ones who’re turning away first.”
- Here is a lovely PPT on why we do wudhoo, full of ahadith and beautiful explanations!