Trying to achieve a high level of khushoo i.e. mindfulness and connection with Allah SWT, during salah is a challenging task for everyone.
Add young children into the scenario and salah can feel like a rushed and stressed experience. Who can relate? I certainly can!
I remember when my daughter and my twin boys were little – trying to focus on Salah was a real struggle – the kids would get so distressed when they wouldn’t have my attention.
Of course as they became more familiar with the routine, of seeing mummy donning her prayer clothes, laying the mat, they knew that I would be quiet for a short time, and Al Hamdulillah they quickly learned to stay calm. Especially, when they were of the age to have their own baby prayer mats, on which they loved mimicking salah on!
Masha’Allah my kids are all teenagers, and I am so proud of them to have now established the 5 daily salah into their routines, including waking for Fajr daily all year round.
Children learn from seeing the actions of their parents and not just by what their parent say.
Over the years I’ve tried and tested a few things to improve my khushoo as a busy mum. I’ve also read about other parents and their tips. I would like to share them with you during this blessed month. With the hope of benefiting you, and earning some rewards too Insha’Allah.
Plan Your Day Around Your Salah
Since Fajr and Isha (and Dhuhr perhaps) are most likely to be prayed when your children are asleep, maximise your khushoo during those times. Starting your day and ending with a mindful salah is a wonderful feeling! If you can pray Thahajjud too, then even better.
Create Some ‘Me and My Lord’ Time
For the salah times when your children are awake, see if your spouse or family member can watch the children while you take a moment for yourself and pray in another room. Then swap. If you do this, tell your child with a kiss and a cuddle that you’re leaving to pray. When you return, give another kiss and a cuddle. This will let them know and see the peace salah brings you.
Think of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) & Practice Sabr
If you’re alone or you want to encourage praying as a family, use mini prayer mats and lay them out with yours. This creates a welcome sign for your little ones to join in. We all know what happens next. They may follow along for a minute or two but then they become Olympic gymnasts or horse jockeys! Still, you tried. And Allah will reward you for that.
Whenever my children would climb on me, I would think about the following hadith and practice some sabr:
The Messenger of Allah came out to us for one of the two later prayers [Dhuhr Asr], carrying Hasan or Hussein. The Prophet then came to the front and put him down, said Takbir for the prayer and commenced praying. During the prayer, he performed a very long prostration, so I raised my head and there was the child, on the back of the Messenger of Allah, who was in prostration. I then returned to my prostration. When the Messenger of Allah had offered the prayer, the people said: “O Messenger of Allah! In the middle of your prayer, you performed prostration and lengthened it so much that we thought either something had happened or that you were receiving revelation!” He said: “Neither was the case. Actually, my grandson made me his mount, and I did not want to hurry him until he had satisfied his wish”(Nasaa’i, Ibn Asaakir, and Haakim)
Use Engaging Activities
Save an activity that you know your children love and will engage with for more than 2 minutes. Even better if you give them Islamic games and toys! Use what you have to try and occupy them whilst you offer salah in the same room. We have some free colouring pages you could try.
Give Beneficial Screen Time
There wasn’t anything for my kids to watch about salah or Islam when they were little. But there are plenty of choices now Alhamdulillah! You could give them headphones and pray in the same room.
If your children are a little older, you could hand them our iPray Salah Pad whilst you pray. In our humble opinion, it’s one of the best Islamic toys you could invest in. We created it after noticing how much children love their iPads these days! Our latest version is bursting with colour, and comes with fun lights and a little pop-out stand to prop it up. Children can use it while you pray. Why not ‘play a game’ and ask them to press the pictures that match the position mummy/daddy is doing.
Our ipray Salah pads are not just limited to salah, you can teach kids dua’s with it, and the steps for wudhu. And more!
Learn the Difference Between The Fard and Sunnah Acts of Prayer
Learn the difference between the fard and sunnah acts of prayer, so if you are anxious about your child, you can offer a shortened version of salah.
Remember, quality is better than quantity.
This hadith makes me love the Messenger (saw) even more. He understood and accommodated mothers with young children.
The Prophet said: “When I stand for prayer, I intend to prolong it, but on hearing the cries of a child, I cut it short, as I dislike to trouble the child’s mother”(Bukhari)
And did you know?… You also have the option to hold your baby during salah!
The Messenger of Allah would pray holding Umaamah bint Zaynab bint Rasoolillaah.He would put her down when he prostrated, and then pick her up again when he stood up.(Bukhari and Muslim)
These are the 7 tips I wanted to share on how to improve khushoo in salah. I hope you find them beneficial and they help you achieve that extra bit of focus and connection Insha’Allah.
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