Al-Ghazali The Mysteries of Prayer for Children Includes Book and Workbook
Author: Imam Al-Ghazali
Publisher: Fons Vitae
The children’s version of this book strives to show them the canonic prayer (al-salat), which in addition to being one of the Five Pillars of the religion, is first and foremost an opportunity for communion with the Divinity, for focusing and concentration, and for expressing gratitude to God through words, physical postures, and inward state.
Even though young children do not yet have to pray (though many join in!) the spirit and inner life of prayer can be taught from now by word, story and the example of parents and teachers. What Imam al-Ghazali explains about the essential internal conditions necessary for true prayer are in fact necessary during every moment of daily life for all people of any age. And in one sense we can say that our lives are prayers. Our daily lives must be permeated with reverence, humility, good intentions, understanding, veneration, hope, and shame, the Heart s presence and sincerity. These elements are what Imam al-Ghazali discusses in his Mysteries of Prayer.
CHAPTER 1: APPROACHING THE PRAYER
This chapter explains to children the meaning of the Prophet’s saying, “A person only gets from the prayer that of which he or she is mindful.” In this chapter, they learn what it means “to be mindful.” This begins with Ghazali’s example of what intention means when he teaches that if we really wanted to thank another human being for a favor they have done, we would probably say to ourselves before doing so, “I really need to make a point of thanking them,” which includes remembering both the favor and the need to say thank you. This is the disposition that Ghazali teaches should be brought to the prayer and kept present in the mind especially at the moment when the words “God is greater,” which begin the prayer, are pronounced.
The virtues stressed in this section are mindfulness and gratitude.