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Habitual Education

9240 2010/02/16 2024/04/19

habitual education

foundation of habitual education

the foundation of habitual education is the following hadith by the prophet muhammad (peace be upon him) concerning praying. abu dawood and ahmad narrated from ‘amr ibn shu’ayb from his father that his grandfather said: the prophet (pbuh) said: “teach your children to pray when they are seven years old, and smack them if they do not pray when they are ten years old, and separate them in their beds.” (sunnan abu dawood no. 459, musnad ahmed no. 6650, classed as saheeh by al-albaani in al-irwa’ no. 247) repetition that continues for three years is enough to instill praying to become a solid habit in the character of the person. that is clear also in the saying by ibn mas’ud (ra) ([1]): “habituate them to do goodness, as goodness becomes a habit” ([2]). this way, habitual education is not only to affairm acts of worship, it includes manners, ethics and behaviors ([3]).



how to apply habitual education

habits are formed starting from a very early age, the six month old baby feels happy when he repeats the things that pleases the people around him. this repetition sets the habit. this formation of habits continues till he reaches seven years old ([4]). the mother should avoid too much pampering since the birth of the child. at the first day of birth, the baby can feel that someone is carrying him when he is carried so he stops crying. if he is always carried by his parents, it will become a habit that he calms down when the mother or anyone else carries him. it always happens when the mother hurries to carry her baby when he cries. also, the mother should be careful not wake up her baby to nurse him because she might upset him and make him used to be breastfed at night, and it would become a habit of waking up at night to be fed even if he is not really that hungry. this habit can continue till he becomes an adult, namely waking up to eat at night. some parents/educators make a big mistake of laughing when their child utter some bad words, such attitude might make him feel proud or happy for what he said. they might even praise the child for doing a bad behavior like kicking or biting his siblings, this encouragement forms this negative habit of the child and enforced it in him.



through habitual education, the child gains good manners in two methods (first): fitrah (natural disposition) (second): familiarization and habituation. since monotheism and morality is innate in humans, adaptation and habituation helps to enforce them in the character ([5]).


to train the child on the acts of worship and good manners, we have to exert a lot of efforts to achieve repetition and punctuality through the policy of the carrot and stick (namely reward and punishment), setting a role model, follow up and other educational methods ([6]).


([1]) ra = radya allah anhu/anha[may allah be pleased with him/her]

([2]) manhaj al-tarbiyah al-nabawiyah by mohamed nour swaid: page 354.

([3]) manhaj al-tarbiyah al-islamiyah by mohamed qutb: page 381.

([4]) al-mushkilat al-solokiyah by nabieh al-ghabrah: page 20.

([5]) ihya' 'ulum al-deen by imam al-ghazali: 3/58-59.

([6]) manhaj al-tarbiyah al-islamiyah by mohamed qutb: page 381.

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