Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
My wife and I are blessed with a 6-year-old and a 2-year-old. Since having children, much of my time is focused on them. I feel like it’s difficult for me to make time to focus on my faith, and with the years flying by, I feel like I’m not able to strengthen my iman. For example, it’s difficult to go to the masjid other than the Friday prayer, as the younger one doesn’t always behave in the masjid (in the pandemic world, the masjid was off-limits for them too).
How do I strengthen my faith while balancing parenting young children? We pray at home, sometimes in a group (for them to learn about salah) but it’s not the same.
Thank you for your question. Your plight is a common one and I pray that you can discover how to maintain a spiritual life with your family and not despite them.
The Best Spirituality
The best spiritual routine is with one’s family as its effects are edifying and long-lasting. Of course, there should be a time for lone worship, but worshipping together helps a family bond and multiplies the reward 27-fold. My personal role models in spirituality are families around me who pray five times a day with their children in a group, who read Surah Kahf together as a family after fajr on Fridays, and who spend some evenings singing nasheeds together after dinner.
Consider the prophetic advice here: “The Messenger of Allah, (Allah bless him and give him peace), said: ‘May Allah have mercy on a man who gets up at night and prays, then he wakes his wife and she prays, and if she refuses he sprinkles water in her face. And may Allah have mercy on a woman who gets up at night and prays, then she wakes her husband and prays, and if he refuses she sprinkles water in his face.‘“ [Nasa‘i]
I can see that your heart is attached to the mosque, and this is a tremendous gift that you must hold fast to. See this prophetic hadith, “Allah will give shade, to seven, on the Day when there will be no shade but His. A just ruler, a youth who has been brought up in the worship of Allah, a man whose heart is attached to the mosques, two persons who love each other only for Allah’s sake and they meet and part in Allah’s cause only, a man who refuses the call of a charming woman of noble birth for illicit intercourse with her and says, ‘I fear Allah‘, a man who gives charitable gifts so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given, and a person who remembers Allah in seclusion and his eyes are then flooded with tears.“ [Bukhari]
You absolutely should go to the mosque without your child for now. In sha Allah, your children will soon be able to come with you, when the time is right, but there is no need to miss it on their account. Your wife should support you in this. Start with going once a day, and see what is easy for you to maintain.
Another good way to increase your faith is by doing good deeds. Seeking knowledge is considered one of the best deeds one can do. The great companion Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him), said, “Studying together for an hour during the night is better than spending the whole night in devotions.” [Darimi]
I highly encourage you to spend your free time studying your personally obligatory knowledge in fiqh, increasing your knowledge of reciting the Quran and its meaning, and covering the basics of ‘aqidah.
If you choose Seekerguidance, try the Step One program. You can find all that you are looking for, right here, for free. This will keep you very busy, spiritually, and in sha Allah, your faith will become a fortress that you can share with your family.
May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.