Bismillahi Al-Rahmani Al-Rahim

Teaching Children Good Prayer Habits


These questions are from several emails.

Q
1
When one says "one beats the child for not performing the prayer at age 10" is it a certain number of blows, like with the Shafi'is?

2 Regarding 10-year olds being beaten for not praying, does this also apply to girls? If not, what does one do to get them to start praying?

A
Al-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

When children reach the age of discernment, seven years according to the mufta bihi, it is incumbent upon the parents to order them to pray. Imam Ibn al-Jawzi writes (via Mukhtasr minhaj al-qasidin), “When [the child] becomes seven years old, he is ordered to pray â€" and is not permitted to do so without ablution â€" in order to make it habitual, and he is taught to fear telling lies and deceiving†(Mukhtasr minhaj al-qasidin, p161). When the child reaches ten years of age, they are scolded [darb; “beaten†loses sight of the purpose] if they neglect it. They are also taught that fornication, stealing, taking intoxicants and narcotics, lying, slander, backbiting, and fornication are all unlawful, and they are informed that once they reach physical maturity that they will be legally responsible for their actions. All of this is done with the sole purpose of establishing habits at an early age. All of this applies to girls and boys, and there is no specific number involved. (See Al-Buhuti, Kashshaf al-qina`, 1.225-26)

And Allah knows best.

Wa al-salamu `alaykum,
--Musa