The Challenge of Performing Salah With Young Kids
Maybe you’re trying to benefit from the last days of Ramadan. You feel the pressure rising to do better than you did the year before, especially when keeping up with your salah and praying with khushoo. If you have young kids around, it seems even harder to concentrate on your ibadah.
Finding khushoo when you perform salah becomes such a challenge with little ones around. Sometimes, the distraction of young kids cause a mom to become upset and she starts to shush them quiet and scold them away. We feel frustrated thinking, “This is impossible!”
Yet we forget that Allah SWT knows the dilemma of raising children. He is very well aware that our intention is to worship Him when we want to perform salah. He isn't expecting us to do the impossible! Knowing this is good start to ease your distress at salah times when you have young kids.
Our beloved Prophet’s SAW beautiful example shows us how to handle situations like this. He showed patience and compassion with children during salah. He would shorten the salah upon hearing the cries of a child, knowing it would save the mother from feeling anxious. How considerate of him subhanallah! The Prophet SAW said,
(It Happens that) I started prayer intending to prolong it, but on hearing the cries of a child, I shorten the prayer because I know that the cries of the child will incite its mother's passions. (Al-Bukhari)
The Prophet SAW would not become irritated by his granddaughter during prayer; He would merely put her down when he prostrated, and carry her when he stood up.
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) was praying and he was carrying Umaamah the daughter of Zainab, the daughter of the Messenger of Allah. When he prostrated, he put her down, and when he stood, he carried her (on his neck). (Bukhari and Muslim)
The Prophet SAW would lengthen his prostration so that his grandson could finish playing on his back. Instead of trying to remove him, the Prophet SAW would wait for him to get tired of using him as a mount. Such a sweet and thoughtful gesture towards a child.
The Messenger of Allah SAW came out to us for one of the two later prayers (dhuhr or asr), carrying Hasan or Hussein. The Prophet SAW then came to the front and put him down (next to his right foot) 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 SAW, who was in prostration. I then returned to my prostration. When the Messenger of Allah SAW 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 son made me his mount, and I did not want to hurry him until he had satisfied his wish.'
The Prophet SAW did not find children to be a hindrance to his prayers, rather he showed much compassion and gentleness to them.
"He (the Prophet (SAW)) was praying. When he performed sajdah, Hasan and Hussein jumped onto his back. When the people tried to stop them, he gestured them to leave the two alone. After offering his prayer, he placed them in his lap and said, 'Whoever loves me should love these two.'"
These Hadith make a parent feel better about praying with little ones around, especially when they're trying to climb, hang, and perform gymnastics as you perform your salah positions. Just keep in mind our beloved Prophet's SAW outstanding patience with children during salah when you feel your irritation rising by your children’s constant disruption.
It is also paramount to leave children with a beautiful feeling about salah. This is the time for us to be the most compassionate and endearing towards them. In this way, our kids will retain positive memories of salah, instead of associating it with a time to be scolded and told to go away.