How Can Reverts Bring Their Children to Islam?

Question and answer details
A (36_female_US)
As-Salaamu alaikum. Thank you for taking your time to help me. I am a new Muslim, I said the shahada 5 months ago. I have an 8 year old son. He didn't believe in Allah at all, because his father (my ex-husband) is an atheist. I have gently explained Allah to him and asked him questions to get him thinking. He now believes in Allah. I also explained how Jesus (PBUH) was a prophet. I asked him why would God get a human pregnant and then let His own son be killed to forgive someone else's sins. My son agrees that this idea makes no sense and seems to understand the oneness of Allah. My question is: how much should I push him towards Islam? He goes to masjid with me for Arabic class once a week and usually ends up praying with the boys there. But he doesn't seem to want to pray at home. Should I keep just guiding him on the principles of Islam and give him more time? He has been through a lot. His father and I divorced about 2 years ago and then his father ended up abandoning him. He has only seen his father 3 hours in the last 10 months. Thanks for any help and guidance you can give me.
Dr. Maryam Bachmeier

Wa `Alaykum As-salam Dear Sister,

You have already made excellent steps with your son, and Alhamdulillah that your lovely son is clever and has a clear fitrah (nature) enough to understand the meanings you are trying to convey to him. So, please sister, do not worry at all. You are already on the right track. You just have to be patient and relax; and do not push your son as over pushing always gets the opposite results.

A very basic rule in our children’s development is that children, indeed, learn from our actions not from our direct words to them. When your son sees how you love your Islam and Allah and how you are keen in following everything Allah says, he will naturally follow you. You just have to be loving and patient.

I would go gently with your son. Make prayer fun for him. For now, you are just trying to get him to get the habit; it is a life of prayer that opens the soul to awakenings. So, at him, you do your prayers, and then keep a goodie with you - if he prays with you, give him something that he enjoys to eat, but keep it small, like one small piece of candy. Over time you will fade this out, as he will begin to like praying with you.

However, at prayer time, make sure that play time stops. It is only 5 minutes or so. If you need deeper prayer for yourself, do this extra after the obligatory prayers. This way you can be an example and teach your son. If he does not want to pray during prayer time, let him sit in a chair and watch you.

Another help is to practice the prayer postures for fun when your son is in an active mood. Make it fun, like play. This way, he will learn the postures.

Finally, there are many nice children’s books about the Prophets (Peace Be upon Them) and other stories about the Prophet Mohammad and his journey, etc. You can read these books to your son during prayer time.

I pray that these ideas may be helpful to you. Your child can bring you great joy. Remember to make it fun.


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About the Counselor:

Dr. Bachmeier is a clinical psychologist who has been working in the mental health field for over 15 years. She is also a published researcher, former adjunct professor at Argosy University, writer, and consultant to her Spiritual community in the areas of mental health, clinical disorders, cultural, family and relationship issues, and more

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. You are strongly advised to seek face-to-face counseling and consult your physician or therapist when making a drastic change in your lifestyle in terms of behavior, medication or diet etc.