It is essential for parents and guardians to educate their children in Salah within the home environment when they are young as “learning occurs when children actively engage in practical activities within a supportive social context” (Yogman et al 2018). In addition, according to the World Health Organization (2018), what we teach young children “lays the foundation for health, well-being, learning and productivity throughout a person’s whole life, and has an impact on the health and well-being of the next generation.”
- My Salah Mat is designed to help children of all abilities to support their preferred way of learning, as if materials meet this preference, learning is enhanced. Whether your child is an audio learner (prefers learning through sound), a visual learner (prefers using pictures and images), or a kinaesthetic learner (prefers learning in an active hands-on way), My Salat Mat addresses all of these through its combination of colourful visual content, clear press-button sounds, and active content.
- My Salah Mat is a teaching tool that supports parents to teach salat to their children with ease. This is important because studies in schools have shown that parental engagement improves children’s learning outcomes.
- Children can practice reciting the Quran with Tajweed, as the reciter on My Salah Mat has studied Quran for 10 years, both in Egypt and Makkah, where he was given Ijaza (permission to narrate from a certified imam).
- The recitation used by My Salat Mat is beautiful, and it is really nice just to simply listen to, especially when we consider the amount of non-beneficial things our children listen to every day, whether on TV or outside the home. Listening will have an impact on the child’s memory and help them to connect with salat and the Quran. Studies have found that simply listening to the Quran releases endorphins (chemicals that reduce stress and increase happiness) in the brain by stimulating alpha brain waves.
- In addition, listening to the content of salat will help children to identify words and familiarise them with the Arabic language and recitation of the Quran, which is especially useful for non-Arabic speaking children. Listening will help them to isolate specific sounds, which will enhance their pronunciation and understanding.
An educational tool for all types of learners.
Fun & Easy
Experts have found that play is not simply fun, but it enhances the structure and functioning of the brain, and “children playing with toys act like scientists and learn by looking and listening to those around them” (Yogman et al 2018). Therefore, providing a fun and interactive tool will encourage children to learn and understand the importance of salat.
- Children love the My Salah Mat, and we have noticed that the first thing children want to do when they see it is Sujood! This is amazing when we consider that Prophet Muhammed (SAWS) said “The closest that a servant is to his Lord is when he is in prostration” (Muslim).
- Using My Salah Mat makes learning salah a fun and enjoyable experience, with its colourful layout, buttons to push, and audio sounds; therefore, their very first interaction with salat will be positive, enjoyable and fun. It has been found that when learning is fun, children are more willing to participate and will remember more information.
- My Salah Mat makes learning salah easy, as each key is clearly labelled and is simple to understand, making the prayer process easy to follow for children. It has been found that incorporating technology into learning makes it both more enjoyable and increases the amount children learn.
- Your child will start off loving salat rather than it being a chore. Many of us know how it was when we were growing up! We at My Salah Mat want children to love salah, and not see it as something they must do, but something they want to do.
A fun way to engage children in Salah.
Instilling good habits
Good habits in children can be acquired through practice, and as with other activities, the movement in salat will teach the child’s nerves and muscles so that the movements become natural to them. Practicing leads to good habits and influences our neuromuscular system (Holt 2017).
- Just a few minutes every day, and with your guidance combined with the My Salat Mat, your child will be praying perfectly InshaAllah. According to social learning theory, children imitate their parents (and later on their peers), therefore it is really important to draw attention to when you are praying so that they can observe and imitate you - incorporating My Salat Mat into your routine will make this easier. The Prophet Muhammed (SAWS) was asked about the act most pleasing to Allah. He replied: “That which is done continuously, even if it is small” (Sahih Muslim).
- Children can teach and practice salat on their own – My Salah Mat has been designed so that children can use it on their own once their parents have gone through it with them a few times; therefore, it facilitates independent learning as children can use it whenever they choose. Encouraging independent learning will help your child to be intrinsically motivated, which essentially means they will want to learn without having to be persuaded to do so.
- Learn from routine is important as children do not learn habits over a short period of time, but through a continuous process (a little bit every day). If we make it routine that our children use the interactive prayer mat once a day for 5 minutes, the prayer will become part of their daily routine. Moreover, when young children engage in a routine, it helps to stimulate mental links that become stronger over time.
- Practice makes perfect, and practicing salat on the My Salah Mat, helps with concentration and stamina, as the prayer process takes around 5 minutes, which is quite a long time for children.
- My Salah Mat takes children through the entire journey of Salat, allowing them to learn everything from Wudu, Qibla, Adhan to Dua at the end of prayer.
- Children can copy and read the recitation out loud, essentially mimicking the recitation. As they copy it, they say it out loud, and in turn they remember it.
- It is essential to foster good habits. We live in an age of iPads and Tablets, and children sometimes do not want to do anything physical, or even anything to do with religion. This prayer mat helps to engage children, making them actually want to do the prayer movements.
Practice makes perfect and good habits last a lifetime.
Spiritual & Physical Benefits
Just as the Prophet Muhammed (SAWS) was kind to children, experts recommend being tactful when we teach and correct children (Holt 2017), and this is also important with regard to salat. My Salat Mat can support such an approach as it teaches salat in an enjoyable non-critical way.
- Sajda is good for calming children down. Children go through many stresses daily - if you look through the eyes of a child, you are living in a world of giants who sometimes speak a foreign language, because children don’t understand every word we say. So sajda throughout the day, and even at night before bedtime, is a great way for them to calm down and relax, and ultimately, connect with Allah and prepare children to read dua before sleeping.
- It has been found that it takes 21 days to instil a new habit. Once salat becomes a habit and something the person feels the need to do on a regular basis, if they stop, they will feel as if something is wrong physically as well as spiritually. Therefore, it is essential for children to start observing salat when they are young, and in an enjoyable and fun way, so that they feel the need to practise it.
- Ingrained in their memory – what we do as a child echoes later on in life. If we start our children off with simple positive interactions with Islam and salat, this will be something that will come back to them later on in their lives.
- My Salah Mat makes learning salat hands on, interactive, physical and provides a clear connection to the prayer and its movements. Children will understand the beauty in the movements, and it will prepare their bodies and minds for the rest of their lives.
- Children were always around the Prophet Muhammed (SAWS) and hence became familiar with salat. For example, Abu Qatadah reported that “The Messenger of Allah came towards us while carrying Umamah the daughter of Abi Al-`As (Prophet’s granddaughter) over his shoulder. He prayed, and when he wanted to bow, he put her down. When he stood up he lifted her up” (Al-Bukhari).
Salah has both spiritual and physical benefits and can clam children down