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In the Name of God بسم الله

Little sister refuses to pray

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rxdbx

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Salam,

my family has never been that religious unfortunately, but we've always done 'most' of the obligatory parts of Islam, like praying, fasting and wearing the hijab.

My parents taught me at the age of 6 to pray, and my little sister, who is 3 1/2 years younger than me, was taught at the age of 8. 

My journey with praying hasn't been smooth, I've had my ups and downs, but I pray now Alhamdulillah. 

The thing is that my little sister refuses to pray now, she hasn't completely 'abandoned' praying either, but it's not something she does without someone telling her to. She is 13 years old, and I honestly feel obligated as her older sister to constantly remind her of praying, at the first I would remind her bc it would annoy her, but now I remind her bc Salah is important. My parents does obviously tell her to pray but she'll just say I'll do it and hours will pass and she still hasn't, and when my parents especially dad asks her if she prayed, she'll lie. She obviously doesn't do it all of the time, and she prays sometimes without us nagging her about it, but it happens quite often.

Whenever I tell her to pray, she gets annoyed and says that it's not my business, and that I shouldn't care, or that I'm not her mom, or she'll even say straight forward that she's not going to.

That's not the only thing, sometimes I make her read her prayers out loud, and she makes several mistakes, she forgets parts of her prayer and doesn't tell neither my mom or me, (my dad is pretty strict and he'll most likely get mad at her, or blame it on my mom for not 'looking after' her children). And obviously her prayer doesn't count if she doesn't say the right things, or if she forgets parts of her prayers and just skips those, without telling anyone. Each time she's forgotten, I've told my mom, and my mom only gets mad at her for not telling anyone.

I don't know whether I should just let her be, and not 'bother' her anymore, or that I should keep reminding her.

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Since it seems her mind is already made up, then you have done your duty and it is not wajib to tell her. However, if you still think there is a chance she will pray due to your advice, you must persist.

However, even if you know she will not pay attention to your advice, you must always show discontent at her actions,  - as per obligatory precaution.

This is according to Sayyed Al-Sistani

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Find another way of encouraging her which will be more successful.

Teenagers are magnets of love and attention. If you don't spend enough time with her and she doesn't feel comfortable enough with you then she wouldn't listen to your advice.

Women are not obligated to read their prayers loudly. Try to find a gentle way of correcting the recitation e.g. by showing her video clips of people praying.

The go to word is gentleness. Gently remind her - it shouldn't always be so direct.

The last thing that I would suggest is that you find some interest or hobby that she has and spend time engaging in it together. This will help develop your friendship, and then she will naturally develop a liking to you and your ideas.

May Allah grant both you the best of imaan and success.

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1] Try a 'light touch'. Not the obvious-hint stuff, but things like reference-remarks that are within the din's architecture. Also think of some quips, like "not good for the Last Day", or some derogatory remark about the kufr stuff on TV.

2] l know you wrote she is 13, but in mosque the imam said "salah is the first (thing) to go" for people to leave the religion --irrespective of any declarations.

3] Don't "push".

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I'm in the exact same position as you. I've told my little sister so many times politely but she ignores me.

I think it's very hard in a society where atheism is growing. I think you'll sister will get more annoyed if you tell her to pray. Your mum has more of a right.

Just pray for her.

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9 hours ago, ali_fatheroforphans said:

I think it's very hard in a society where atheism is growing.

l have heard this many times since the 1960s and read the same comments from stuff written in the 19th Century.

l think atheism has always been prevalent. Covered over with lip service.

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Be patient. I know of a Muslim woman who was patient with her son. He was a drug dealer. She was still there, praying for him, encouraging him, etc. 

After so many years, he became religious. He started praying, fasting, etc. 

Not many have the patience of a mother's love. 

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Salaam Alaykum Brother

I think it's better not reminding her for some time. Be nice to her. Brother when you insist on something, she gets resolute in her decision on not praying. This is incorrect way. The only way that you can change is by being nice and doing favor to her. Kindness is the key. Try to do as much favor as you can. Talk with your parents about this issue and all of you should come up with a rational and comprehensive decision. Being nice, encouraging her whenever she prays even if she misses some parts, don't be like a security camera on your sister. If she misses some parts, don't go and tell parents. She is your sister. She should think that she has your support as her brother. Buy gifts for her like shoes, shirts, pants, scarf, and after several times get a praying mat for her. Make hot coffee with cookie for her in the morning at pray time. If she wants to pray, go and open her praying mat. Be nice. Gradually you'll see that she is changing.

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8 hours ago, ali_fatheroforphans said:

Yeah but there is so much information out there, and everyone has access to it - all due to technology. 

Was this the case in 1960?

Back then it was only TV and radio. l was remembering this year  that on Sunday mornings in the 50s and 60s you couldn't get anything on TV -and probably nearly all radio stations- that was not the 'preaching-the-Words-of-the-Devil' until about Noon.  There was also the rhetorical "people only say they are atheists to show off ".

One popular late Sunday night radio program was "The World Tomorrow" which the main line churches actually hated. lt later had a daily TV syndication in the 1970s. This was 1st Commandment Christianity which often noted that in the Gospels lsa-a.s. referred to himself as "son of Man" and the satans said "son of god".  By accident l had somehow retained a couple of their magazine issues --the one in 1972  that predicted the "Energy Crisis". (lf you try to find one online it is the one with powerlines on the cover).

Note: And today, the day after Xmas, the Church of Sweden will no longer refer to "god as male".

Like Quran reveals, most people will try to alter things to suit their own desires.

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11 hours ago, rxdbx said:

she makes several mistakes, she forgets parts of her prayer and doesn't tell neither my mom or me, (my dad is pretty strict and he'll most likely get mad at her, or blame it on my mom for not 'looking after' her children). And obviously her prayer doesn't count if she doesn't say the right things, or if she forgets parts of her prayers and just skips those, without telling anyone.

Salam. If your little sister doesn't remember all the Arabic words of her prayer, she won't want to pray. This is a link to a pamphlet that I hope you can print out and show it to her. Read it to her first and then ask her to read it with you, so she can practice saying the words. 

https://www.al-islam.org/nutshell/files/prayers.pdf

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When people neglect their compulsory actions, it indicates there is a weakness in their certainty. I went through a phase when i was young where i questioned what on earth was the point of bowing up and down to a creator who is free of all need? Prayer was nothing more or less than something i had to do, a chore, and that if i didn't do it i would be punished. I would look at it as an act of fear and compulsion, rather than anything else.

You have to sit down with your sister and go back to the beginning. 

1. How certain if she that God exists? Or is she just not sure? You have to sit down and provide sufficient intellectual explanations in this regard.

2. What is the philosophy behind out life, and why do we exist? We all want to have good things in our lives, we all want to be happy. However this life, as beautiful as it can be sometimes isn't our permanent home. Almighty God created us with special characteristics: our intellect and awareness. Through these and other facets, we can know God, and by knowing God, we know who we are, and our place in this vast universe. We know who we are, what why we are here, and where we are heading. Whether we like it or not, we are all on ships, and out actions stir the ship a particular direction towards our ultimate destiny. That is what we strive for, for what we do in life, echoes in eternity. We want an eternal life of bliss, knowing that he creator of existence itself is pleased with us, and that with our own free will we chose him, rather than the world that will itself cease and wither away. We chose true life, and not true death in disguise.  Some of the above is quite philosophically packed, and it's important to speak to her to the limit of her own understanding and know what approach is best.

Now for the most important bit why should i pray, and what is the point of it anyway?

If we accept God exists, and if we want to choose true, eternal bliss, in paradise where he is pleased with us, if we want the ultimate success, we need to be mindful of what God almighty has decreed on us to do. If God makes a command, we should recognise that command is probably very important and that if we reflect a little bit deeper, there is probably incredible wisdom in it. So if we think prayer is just a little bit of exercise, bowing up and down, so we aren't burnt in hell, maybe it's not prayer that's flawed but our understanding.

This life is one where we experience sadness, boredom, routine. Maybe we go to school or work, we meet out colleagues, we come home, we cook, we eat, we sleep, and repeat. It is so easy to forget sometimes that our lives our temporary and get trapped into routine and the bubble of day to day life, and think that this is all there ever will be. Sometimes when someone close to us dies, that shocks us. 'How can they be gone?'. We don't just grieve for their death, but inside us we even grieve for our own mortality and how that 'popped' our bubble.

What does prayer do? It is a time where you disconnect from getting trapped into every day routine, and five prayers a day, which allows you to affirm your true purpose. It helps you steer that ship you are own and focus back on your target. It helps you connect with your true purpose, and realise you won't always be here. Mum and Dad won't be. I may die soon, or maybe in a while. My friends won't be here. My house might not even remain the way it is. Those places i go to, the Cinema, places to buy food, parks, school, will themselves wither away one day , be demolished, or undergo major change. Verily little of what i know, including that person i see in the mirror will ever remain.

Prayer lifts one up. It gives the good news that we ought not to be sad about the fleeting nature of life, but that we are created for bliss, for intellectual satisfaction, to be liberated in knowing and serving God, through worshipping him, not that he needs it, but that we are in need of knowing and serving him.  It is a gift to all of us, a chance to meet with our creator, a chance to talk to our creator, five times a day, and to focus on the real life, and not the existence we live in which is a fleeting impersonation of life.

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Give her time, space. Be patient. Eventually she might come around and start praying. It might not be now, but several years from now. For myself, I didn’t start praying until at the age of 20. (I prayed as a child, but I stopped. I’m 22 now.) 

If someone like me can start praying, I have no doubt that other people will start. Your sister just needs to be ready. 

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