|AUTHOR:||Shaikh Muhammad Amaan Al-Jaamee|
|SOURCE:||Sharh Shuroot as-Salaat (pg. 7)|
A child that is below the age of seven does not yet comprehend. This is why we were commanded to order our children to pray when they turn seven since before this age they do not possess the adequate level of comprehension. So the point at which he begins to comprehend things is the age of seven. After reaching this age, a child must be ordered to pray. This is based on the statement of Allaah's Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam): "Order your children to pray at seven (years of age), and beat them to it (if they fail to comply) at ten. And separate them in their beds."These are Islamic etiquettes that we are required to follow, and included amongst them is: Commanding the children to pray at the age of seven.
Ordering them to pray doesn't mean that you just tell your child "Pray" and that's it. The understanding that we derive from this command of Allaah's Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) of ordering our children to pray is that we should teach them how to pray. And if this is not so, then the act of you telling your child who is playing by the door: "Go to the masjid and pray" when you have not taught him how to purify himself or how to perform the prayer, does not remove the responsibility from your shoulders.
You have only fulfilled your responsibility when you have taught him how to purify himself and then you tell him “Go pray.” In this circumstance, you have complied.
Many people are inconsiderate when they bring to the masjid their children – aged seven or less – who are not in a state of purity and have no understanding of how to pray, and then place them in a row of prayer. This row is considered disconnected due to this child standing in it since he is not praying.
The following statement of the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) applies to people who this:“Whoever connects the row, then Allaah will connect him, and whoever cuts off the row, then Allaah cut him off.”
You bring a child who does not comprehend the prayer to the masjid and put him to stand in the first row next to you behind the Imaam while the people remain silent out of courtesy. This child is not in prayer. Perhaps he may not even be in a state of purity, i.e. he may have impurities in his body! This is since you took him from the front of the house before teaching him how to purify himself and how to pray. This is incorrect.
So it is mandatory that you teach him at home how to purify himself and how to pray. Then you should teach him where to stand in the masjid. He should not stand in the front row. Rather, he should stand in the row where all the children are lined up. If a group of people congregate for prayer and they consist of two rows, then the children should stand in the second row, i.e. the last row, after the row of men. This is what the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) instructed us to do. So we must abide by these etiquettes.
Then when the child reaches ten years of age, and non-compliance and rebelliousness (against this order) arises in him, he should be hit for the purpose of disciplining and intimidating him until he prays and safeguards all of his prayers.
Children should be separated in their beds at this age also, i.e. each child must sleep by himself (in his own bed). This is the etiquette of Islaam.
Published on: April 23, 2007