Having khushoo in salaat with young kids is something I have very rarely been able to attain. When they are running around yelling, screaming, jumping on me and using my forehead as target practice for bricks and books it’s hard to concentrate! I know you mums get it! But it is something I want to develop so that I feel more connected to my salaat (prayers) and with it, my religion. I want to build that relationship with Allah swt to be more productive and happier in my life.
What is khushoo?
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said,
“The khushoo’ of true faith is when the heart feels aware and humble before the greatness and glory of Allah, and is filled with awe, fear and shyness, so that the heart is utterly humbled before Allah and broken, as it were, with fear, shyness, love and the recognition of the blessings of Allaah and its own sins. So no doubt the khushoo’ of the heart is followed by the khushoo’ of the body. . (Al-Rooh, p. 314)
Khushoo can broadly be defined as having focus and humility in salaat.
Why do I need to have khushoo in salaat with young kids?
In surah al-Mu’minoon Allah swt says:
“Certainly will the believers have succeeded: They who are during their prayer humbly submissive.” (Qur’an 23:1-2)”
From these ayat we can see that having focus and humility in our salaat are among the most important issues.
On the Day of Judgement our salaat will be the FIRST thing we will be asked about! That’s how serious it is subhanallah! As I mentioned in a previous post, there are so many benefits to salaat – whether they be medicinal or emotional or spiritual. We need it, it’s our time to disconnect and have that 1 to 1 time with our Lord.
As soon as you begin your prayer and say “Allahu akbar” you can bet that you’re going to get distracted. You’re going to remember irrelevant stuff and be making lists and stuff in your head. This is from shaytaan. He actively tries to interrupt your salat. You can’t banish him for good but you can take steps to guard your mind from him each time, and here’s how in sha Allah.
12 tips to having khushoo in salaat with young kids
It should go without saying that these tips can be used by everyone regardless of having kids or not and whether they are young or old. Bismillah, let’s begin!
- Ask for Allah’s guidance. Please don’t underestimate the power of dua/ supplication. There is nothing you should feel you can’t ask for. This is Allah we are talking about, closer to us than our jugular, loves us more than our own mothers. Don’t be shy!
- Cut out your distractions. If your mind is busy then what do you think will happen when it’s time to pray? Your thoughts will get in the way. That’s why winding down 15-30 mins before salaat is a good idea. Mentally prepare yourself for you salaat. Think about what it is: your soul being nourished with remembrance of Allah . Lowering your gaze in salaat helps to not distract you and maintains focus. Another great idea is a “brain dump.” Write down everything on your mind before salaat so that your brain can be unburdened of some of its thoughts. It’s great for people like me who can’t stop thinking! For kids, sit them down with something if they don’t want to read with you. Crayons or a snack, prepare for it the same way you would prepare if you were going on a long journey. This really helps when you want to have khushoo in salaat with young kids.
- Increase your understanding of the tafsir of salaat. Know the words you are reciting and what they mean. I like to quickly read over the translation before salaat – in my winding down period to get me in ‘the zone.’ That way when you start to pray the words will be fresh in your head!
- Pray as if it’s the last time you are able to pray. None of us sees the future. What if you die today? What if you are in an accident and unable to pray again? Do you really want your last salaat to remembered as something you couldn’t be bothered to put much energy in to? This could be your last chance to ask for forgiveness, do you really want to sacrifice that? It’s not easy to cut out the noise and you may not be able to do it throughout your whole salah, but if you still think of this being your last chance to pray you’ll have more khushoo than if you don’t try.
- Don’t rush your salaat. I know it’s not easy when they are acting up but if you want khushoo in salaat with young kids you have to make it a priority. Sometimes we forget what we have read as our mind is distracted with other thoughts. If we pay attention to how we are praying and slow it down we can overcome this. Allah is greater than the things we are rushing our salah for. When you say Allahu Akbar remind yourself of one thing Allah is greater than. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah entered the mosque and a man came in and prayed, then he came and greeted the Messenger of Allah . The Messenger of Allah returned the greeting and said: “Go back and pray, for you have not prayed.” The man went back and prayed as he had prayed before, then he came to the Prophet and greeted him, and the Messenger of Allaah said, “Wa ‘alayk as-salaam.” Then he said: “Go back and pray, for you have not prayed.” When he had done that three times, the man said: By the One Who sent you with the truth, I cannot do more than that. Teach me. He said: “When you go to pray, say takbeer, then recite whatever you can of the Qur’an. Then bow until you are at ease in bowing, then rise until you are standing up straight. Then prostrate until you are at ease in prostration, then sit up until you are at ease in sitting. Then do that throughout the entire prayer.” (al-Bukhaari (757) and Muslim (397)). This hadith demonstrates the importance of completing your salaat properly.
- Your salaat is the first thing that will be judged on so make it something you will be proud of. Make it count. This gives you a sense of contentment.
- Let your body come to rest in each position before moving. Be still, be calm, be content.
- Make istiatha (seeking refuge from shaytaan) before you start your salah. Think about the meaning and do it with sincerity.
- Strive in your salaat, it’s a form of jihad. There’s a principle: “Every time an affair is tremendous, attaining it is difficult, however attaining it is possible so the affair requires striving.”
- Pray your sunnah prayers where no one can see you even if it’s late in to the night. This ensures you are doing it for Allah alone and not for show. It helps keep you focused and it develops that connection because you are only focusing on Allah .
- Pray sunnah before obligatory prayers. Scholars say this makes the heart attentive during prayer.
- Ihsaan – praying as if you can see Allah and if you can’t then knowing that He can see you. Remember that you are in front of Allah . Tomorrow you will also be in front of Allah and there will be no interpreter between you and Allah and He will speak to you – remember this.
But I have young kids, can I have khushoo in salaat with young kids?
No doubt it is hard. I tried these steps myself and I couldn’t focus for very long, but I was able to have far more khushoo then when I didn’t try at all. It does work, it just takes practice to drown out the noise of the kids! I was far more calmer when they made noise and less shouty. My soul felt more connected and at peace. So please DON’T be like me where you make excuses for why you can’t do it, but keep striving for khushoo and in sh Allah you will get there. As they say: Jannah don’t come easy!
Drop me a comment below with any tips you have for maintaining khushoo in salaat with young kids.