Praying With Little Ones Around
As you try to benefit from the last days of Ramadan, you may feel the pressure rising to do better than you did the year before, especially when keeping up with your prayers, and praying with concentration. If you have young kids around, it seems even harder to concentrate on your ibadaah.
Finding khushoo when you perform salah becomes a challenge with little ones. Sometimes the distraction of young kids cause a mother to become upset, and she starts to shush them quiet and scold them away. We often forget that Allah SWT knows the dilemma of raising children, and He is well aware that your intention is to worship Him. He isn't expecting you to do the impossible, so knowing this is good start to ease your distress at salah times.
Our beloved Prophet Muhammed'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 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. Narrated Abu Qatadah:
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)
In another Hadith reported by Nasaa'i, Ibn Asaakir and Haakim, 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; he showed much compassion and gentleness to them. Reported by Ibn Khuzaimah and Baihaqi,
"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 do gymnastics as you perform different prayer positions. Keep in mind that when you start to feel your irritation rising by your kids constant disruption, think of our beloved Prophet's SAW outstanding patience with children during salah.
It is also paramount to leave your children with a beautiful feeling about salah. This is the time to be your most compassionate and endearing, so your kids will retain positive memories of salah, instead of associating it with a time to be scolded and told to go away.