Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question: How do I motivate someone who doesn’t perform the solat or one who is inconsistent in doing it? Do I tell them to work their way up slowly e.g. praying one prayer a day and then slowly increase the number to all the obligatory prayers? What if they don’t know the dhikr to be recited too including all the obligatory ones? Should I get them to memorize those first or go through the motions and recite any dhikr they know?
Answer: Wa alaykum Assalam wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu,
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful & Compassionate
I pray that this finds you well, and in the best of health and spirits. May Allah grant you all good and success in this life and the next.
Your question relates to three key Islamic principles:
(1) commanding the good;
(2) sincere counsel (nasiha);
(3) calling to Allah.
We have to remember that the sunna of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) regarding action is two-fold:
a. That we take the best, most positive, and most effective means (both outward and inward) that we are able to;
b. With this, we realize that everything is under the absolute disposal of Allah Most High.
It is generally unwise to constantly advise those who are not practicing: this usually has little benefit, and can make people more disinclined towards the good they are being called to.
Rather, what we see in the example of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) is that we should strive to encourage people in a positive and indirect manner.