Is it true that I as a mother cannot force my 18 years old son to pray
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
Dear Brother in islam.
Is it true that I as a mother cannot force my 18 years old son to pray because my son says that his prayer will be not ikhlas for Allah. So my son told me not to force him to pray. What can I do. I can`t bear to see him without praying.
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Can mother force son to pray?
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Amr ibn Shu'aib related from his father on the authority of his grandfather that the Prophet (saws) said, "Order your children to pray when they reach the age of seven. Beat them (if they don't pray) when they reach the age of ten. And have them sleep separately."
Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and al-Hakim.
Amongst the absolutely obligatory duties that a believing parent has in Islam is to enforce the establishment of prayer upon their children. A believing parent is duty bound to guide and encourage their small children to pray, and at the age of ten, if need be, enforce them with penalties if the child refuses to pray.
If one amongst the believing parents lapsed in their duty to guide and encourage their children to pray from a small age, and the child has reached the age of youth or adulthood and still refuses to pray, the parent is well within their rights to enforce their children to prayand if their child, regardless of whether their off-spring is now 18-50 years of age, still refuses to pray, the parent has a right to enforce penalties upon them like not talk to them until they establish prayer, or not accept any gift from them until they establish prayer, or not attend their celebrations, etc. if they feel that these penalties would work and get their children to establish prayer.
Whether one prays with Ikhlaas or humility and submission is something between the slave and his Lord Most High; but it would be the duty of the parents to make sure that those under their guardianship establish prayer. If the parents do not fulfill this duty of encouraging and enforcing (if need be) their children to establish prayer, they will be held responsible for their lapse in the Court of Allah Subhanah.
If even after all the efforts of the parents to get their children to pray, the child refuses to establish prayer, not only will the off-spring be guilty of disobeying Allah Subhanah, but he will also be held accountable for being disobedient to their parents.
Your Question: What can I do. I can`t bear to see him without praying.
My dear and beloved sister in Islam, the time to encourage and enforce prayer is when the child is at a very young age, for then they are completely dependant on their parents and whether or not they like or understand a thing, they are forced to obey their instructions. Contrary to popular belief, it is not that a parent is only obliged to command and enforce their children to establish prayer, but it is their duty as parents to introduce and guide them to the understanding of the deen, of the Glorious Quran, the life of the Messenger of Allah (saws), and concept of the Hereafter, etc. When the parents fulfill these duties towards their children at a young age, it is expected that the child will grow up understanding the deen, and live a righteous life of obedience to the laws of Allah and His Messenger (saws).
If one leaves this duty until the child has grown to the age of youth or adulthood, it obviously becomes all the more difficult to enforce their off-spring to establish prayer and obey the tenets of the deen.
You may try to put some pressure if you believe or think that would encourage them to pray; but above all you should seek forgiveness from your Lord Most Merciful for your lapse in your duty towards Him, and remain constant in your supplication to your Lord Most Gracious to have mercy upon your off-spring and guide them to the Straight Path.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your Brother in Islam,