Is it wrong or haram in any way to encourage children under seven to perform 2 or 3 of the 5 daily salaah
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
From the very outset it is known that children will not be sinful because of the non-performance of Salaah. Rasulullaah Sallallawhu Alaihi Wa Sallam is reported to have said:
عائشة قالت : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم : ( رفع القلم عن ثلاثة : عن النائم حتى يستيقظ وعن الغلام حتى يحتلم وعن المجنون حتى يفيق)
قال شعيب الأرنؤوط : إسناده صحيح على شرط مسلم صحيح ابن حبان – (1 / 355)
The meaning of which is, “The pen has been lifted from [writing the deeds of] three: the one who is asleep until awakening, the young child until becoming pubescent, and the crazy person until becoming sane.”
However, it is necessary to teach children the proper way of performing Salaah before they attain puberty. This is understood from many Ahaadith. In a Hadith recorded by Imaam Abu Dawood Rahimahullaah, Rasulullaah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam said:
سنن أبى داود – (1 / 185)
قَالَ النَّبِىُّ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- « مُرُوا الصَّبِىَّ بِالصَّلاَةِ إِذَا بَلَغَ سَبْعَ سِنِينَ وَإِذَا بَلَغَ عَشْرَ سِنِينَ فَاضْرِبُوهُ عَلَيْهَا »
The meaning of which is, “Command a child to perform Salaah when he reaches the age of seven years, and when he becomes ten years old, spank him for neglecting it.”
In another Hadith recorded by Imaam Abu Dawood Rahimahullaah, Rasulullaah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, is reported to have said:
سنن أبى داود – (1 / 186
إِذَا عَرَفَ يَمِينَهُ مِنْ شِمَالِهِ فَمُرُوهُ بِالصَّلاَةِ
The meaning of which is, “When a child distinguishes his right hand from his left hand, then command him to pray.”
Keeping the above in mind, once a child reaches an age of understanding, every effort should be made to begin instilling in him or her all aspects of the Shariah, so it becomes a part of their life. They cannot be commanded to perform Salaah at seven years of age unless they have already learnt the basic Faraaidh, Duas and Surahs. Therefore these teachings should start from the time the child has an understanding. This should obviously be done in such a way, that it will not put them under pressure nor depress them; rather it should be done with great wisdom, love, affection and motivation.
For example in the matter of Salaah, the parents should set the example, the father by going to the Masjid and the mother by being punctual with Salaah. When Ta’leem is established at the home the child will be hearing about the value, importance and benefit of Salaah. At a very young age we will see that this child is imitating the parents in the performance of Salaah. A Salaah motivational gift may be bought, for example a cute little praying mat. Then when we do begin to instruct the child in the performance of Salaah, if it’s one or two, then it should not be done in such a manner that the child thinks it is okay to leave out a few Salaah. Remember, by ten years of age the child should be performing all the Salaahs and if they leave out any then the hadith encourages a suitable punishment. They should also be instructed to make Qadhaa of any missed Salaah at this age. As mentioned before, great wisdom should be used based on the individual ability and understanding of each child. May Allah Azza Wa Jall guide us all to bring the complete Deen within our lives and that of the entire Ummah
N.B. – Girls may become Baaligh at the age of nine if they see their menstrual periods. It is then Fardh for them to perform every Fardh Salaah and it will be a major sin for them to omit any.
N.B. – Spanking is only with the hands. It must not exceed three smacks, nor should it cause bruises.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Mufti Muhammad Mahdi
Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)
Mazahire Haqq Jadeed Vol.1 Pg.468-467 Maktabatul Ilm Lahore
Ta’leeq Bazlul Majhood Vol.3 Pg.233
Tuhfatul Alma’I 2/242-243
Durr Mukhtaar and Raddul Muhtaar Vol.2 Pg. 7-8 Maktabah Rasheediyah
Mazaahiri Haqq Jadeed
Khairul Mafaateeh Dars Mishkat 2/13
وإن وجب (أي على الولي) ضرب ابن عشر عليها بيد لا بخشبة
قوله ( بيد ) أي ولا يجاوز الثلاث
( قوله : قلت إلخ ) مراده من هذين النقلين بيان أن الصبي ينبغي أن يؤمر بجميع المأمورات وينهى عن جميع المنهيات .
قوله ( وإن وجب الخ ) هذا مبالغة على مفهوم قوله كل مكلف كأنه قال ولا يفترض على غير المكلف وإن وجب أي على الولي ضرب ابن عشر وذلك ليتخلق بفعلها ويعتاده لا افتراضها أفاده ح وظاهر الحديث أن الأمر لابن سبع واجب كالضرب والظاهر أيضا أن الوجوب بالمعنى المصطلح عليه لا بمعنى الافتراض لأن الحديث ظني فافهم
This answer was collected from Fatwa-tt.com, which is operated by the Darul Iftaa of Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad and Tobago) under the advice and guidance of Mufti Ebrahim Desai (Daamat Barakaatuhum) of South Africa.