Spiritual Training of Children

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I have a young child who is three years old, and I want to instill faith in his heart. What should I do?
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Praise be to Allaah.

A child who is three years old should see his mother and father praying, and he should hear them reciting Qur’aan, for if a child hears his parents and brothers reciting Qur’aan and daily dhikr (words of remembrance) repeatedly, this nourishes his soul and brings his heart to life as the rain brings life to a dry barren land, because when a child hears his parents remembering Allaah and sees them worshipping him, that has an effect on his own words and actions. 

An example of that is the following story of a young girl: 

Her mother finished her wudoo’, and her three-year-old daughter washed her face and hands, copying her mother, then she raised her forefinger saying, “Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah.” This indicates that the little girl had been watching her mother and noticed that there was a specific dhikr to be said after making wudoo’. 

In another story, a mother did the Sunnah of wudoo’ (saying “Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah”) one day, then she got up to finish her housework. Her daughter had gotten used to seeing her mother sitting after praying until she had finished reciting the du’aa’s (supplications) to be said after prayer, and she noticed that her mother had got up straight after doing the Sunnah prayer, so she said to her, “Why did you get up before saying, “Astaghfir-Allaah”? This attitude indicates how closely children watch their parents. 

Man is exposed to sickness and diseases, and a child may fall ill. Then his illness should be an opportunity to strengthen his relationship with Allaah, by reminding him of the virtues of good health, and that it is the blessing of Allaah, and that we must thank Him for that, and that man has no power and no strength except with his Lord. When giving him medicine or going to the hospital, we should tell him that healing comes from Allaah, but these are means which Allaah has enjoined upon us. Then we should get them accustomed to ruqyah (incantations)as prescribed in sharee’ah. We should tell them about the example of the Prophets and how they took the necessary means and put their trust in Allaah, such as the story of Ayyoob (peace be upon him) and his sickness, and the story of Ya’qoob (peace be upon him), when he told his sons to enter by different gates, and that would not avail them against Allaah at all, and how he left the matter to Allaah. Allaah tells us that Ya’qoob said: 

“Do not enter by one gate, but enter by different gates, and I cannot avail you against Allaah at all”

[Yoosuf 12:67 – interpretation of the meaning]

One of the most important things is to remind children to seek reward and to bear sickness and medical treatment with patience. One little girl reminded her mother that Allaah wanted her to bear with patience the sickness which the doctors described as chronic. That was according to human doctors, but healing is in the hand of Allaah. The mother remembered that this child had to take medicine twice every day, and her mother always reminded her to seek reward. One day this little girl said to her mother, “I will get reward because I am taking this medicine.” She said that as if she felt proud of this reward and the reward that her family and siblings would receive. 

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah's Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

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