The saying that “children should be seen and not heard” does not ring true in the Muslim world! Children are front and centre in family life: a blessing at birth, a constant presence in daily life, and a built-in social safety net when their parents grow old. Childlessness is considered a shameful adversity.
Islam teaches that every child on earth is born a Muslim, but regrettably, they become whatever faith tradition they grow up in. When a child is born in a Muslim family, the father will whisper the words of the call to prayer (adhan) in the baby’s right ear. On the seventh day, a name will be chosen, and sometimes a family will offer a meat sacrifice in celebration. Boys are often circumcised on the seventh day. The new mother will be at home for forty days, and many female relatives and friends will come to visit.
According to Islamic tradition, children are not held accountable for their bad deeds until they reach puberty. Boys experience life with few limitations, while girls often live with many restrictions. Girls are responsible for preserving the honour of the family, so sometimes they are circumcised (known as “female genital mutilation”) to reduce their sexual desire.
But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?” Matthew 21:15-16
- Pray for exposure to the Gospel of Jesus at an early age.
- Pray for cycles of abuse to end as the traumatised and wounded find healing in Jesus.
- Pray for the faith of children to lead entire families and even communities to Christ.