Making a will is also something adults do before they go, in case anything happens during the trip. This is something that is highly encouraged in Islam at all times anyway, as death can befall us at any time and any age – something which the recent tragic events in Dar-es-Salaam have reminded us of again starkly 🙁
Perhaps the trip to ziyarat is a good time to introduce the concept of preparing for our inevitable end…
Maybe sit down with the children and make a will with them; again adjust according to their capabilities, from deciding who gets their toys and clothes, to any prayers/fasts that may be pending.
For younger children, maybe make it a fun activity, with the whole rolling up of the will, tying with a ribbon, sealing with candle and all that…as long as the concept of preparation is introduced, it doesn’t need to be morbid!
It may bring on a serious discussion on death however, which is a whole other series in itself i think. Would love to hear from parents who have approached the issue with their children and any tips on how to do this?
Idea 11: Encourage them to make amends
Tying up loose ends, paying any debts, asking for forgiveness and basically trying to clean the slate are things all zawwaar do before they embark on this trip, to try and make the trip as spirituallybeneficial as possible…
What if we encouraged our children to do the same, according to their capabilities? They can say sorry for anything they may have done to their siblings, cousins, friends, etc (perhaps after sitting and reflecting and making a list), return any books or toys or money they may have borrowed, and ensure that any pending things they need to do are completed!
As they grow older, the understanding and level at which they do this will change, but inshallah even at a young age, they can have an awareness of these concepts among others…
– accountability for their actions
– the importance of making amends
– how actions affect how close they can get to Allah
– the importance of returning amanat
– the importance of fulfilling any tasks they have
And finally, it may even hopefully make saying sorry in general that wee bit easier!
Idea 10: Take the Lyrics for their Favourite Marthiyas and Nawhas
As one mum said, she makes sure she packs these in for her children to express themselves in the harams of these Noble Personalities.
Check out http://www.qfatima.com/docs/YaHusayn_Marthiyas.pdffor a whole range. Audio: http://www.qfatima.com/index.cfm?Content=527 –
Voice of Passion have also been very inspirational for the slightly older generation – check their Marthiyas and Nawhas out athttp://englishnawha.com/
Idea 9: Encourage them to eat less meat beforehand and/or fast
Cutting down on meat and fasting for the last 3 days (http://www.myziyarat.ca/Books/ZIYARAT-IRAQ.pdf (page 7)) before the trip is also highly recommended.
If your children are too young, encouraging them to eat less, and perhaps less of the junky food, may be a good way to emphaises this aspect. It will also stress the importance of how what we eat affects our spiritual state – a good reminder for us parents as well!
Idea 8: The Bag of Sweets!
Don’t lose hope with the bag of sweets though! I’m sure many people in the group you’re travelling with will love a pick-me-up 🙂
Also, if your intention is to give it out as Fateha…it’s a great opportunity to explain/reinforce the concept of Fateha being a gift to the Marhumeen with your children!
Idea 7: Good ol’ Socks
So I’ve heard the idea “take some sweets to hand out to the children on the street” several times, and have also seen it in a book or two. But I think times are changing as when I spoke to someone who is inshallah headed there soon, she mentioned that a recent zawaar said that when they tried to do this, the children actually refused the sweet stuff, and asked just for cash!!
However, groups are advised NOT to give out cash on the street, but to donate it to established projects, such as the orphanage, etc. It got me thinking though, as to how bad we feel when we pass beggars but don’t give them anything, usually ducking our heads and walking quickly by, feeling guilty all the way.
Have you ever seen those vendors on the streets though? The ones that sell small things that we usually don’t need? Socks, pens and that sort of thing? I know I normally pass them without a second thought, except perhaps a quick dismissal thinking along the lines of ‘those socks will only last a day!’
And yet they are out there, trying to earn a living through whatever means they can, and choosing this struggle over the humiliation of begging, which is also frowned upon and highly discouraged in Islam.
So here’s a thought…next time we pass such a vendor on the street, perhaps we can buy that pair of socks? Perhaps Allah wants to give him halal rizq through us that day? And hey, maybe those socks will last us a lifetime 😉
Idea 6: Keep a Scrapbook
Scrapbooking can be sooo fun to do with children! And it is especially more meaningful when you are saving mementos from a journey like ziyarat.
From a store bought book to a few pieces of coloured paper stapled together, there are so many options that it can be as simple or as complicated as you want to get! The main thing is that you save the little ticket stubs, hotel receipts, etc…and, given the importance of it, why not collect some sand from each place you go?
Then once you’re home, print out all those photos, combine the two, add some info and voila! Along with the journal/diary, your memories will be safe to cherish for a lifetime, Inshallah…
Idea 5: Keep a Diary/Journal
Journalling is a little more than a dairy, so which one you choose to encourage your children to keep depends on their age and capability. A diary is simply an account of the day’s events, whereas a journal encourages reflection on those events.
Either way, keeping one is an amazing way to note down important events, memories, thoughts, goals and more…and they will hopefully be treasures in the future when you look back on the trip, and even after years, Inshallah!
P.S. Buzz is working on something special along this theme…can’t wait until it’s ready, Inshallah!
Idea 4: Prepare them…to their level
Although there are ziyarat books, lectures, etc abound, very few are actually suited for the younger age group. Yes, we can simplify it, but wouldn’t it be great to have something that you can hand to them directly?
Alhamdulillah, we have some very talented and dedicated people in our midst who prepared something for this very purpose!
In her own words: “Going through the guide books as I was doing my own ziyaraa preparation, inspired me to make a simpler book especially for the little one. It felt it helped him understand the importance and basic history behind some of the main places we would visit and an idea of what to expect. He was able to in his own mind already anticipate what he was looking forward to seeing the most etc and learning little facts like how Najaf is famous for its gemstones, meant he had even decided beforehand he was going to spend his gift money on an aqeeq ring!
I printed the pages 6×4 and inserted them into a basic pocket photo album that made it easy to carry around and read regularly. I found it really useful and have tried to share it by uploading a pdf of the book on this link: http://db.tt/XO6Arkx6”
Thank you so much Islam From the Start for sharing this! Am sure you will get many duas 🙂
Idea 3: Decide on a project
I loved the idea that HIC Orlando did… before the trip, they held fundraisers to raise money for clothes and other items to donate to local orphanages in Iraq.
Again, many lessons – This combines fundraising and idea generating, team work, thought into the project chosen, working towards a greater goal and humankind, is fun as well, and ultimately, a tangible result!
Then on ziyarat, when they go to visit the project chosen, they see first hand how their efforts have helped, Inshallah…not to mention realise how very very fortunate they are.
P.S. When searching for images for this post, I was shocked and saddened by the images coming up from Iraqi orphanages…this one shows a child who drew a chalk image of his mother and slept next to it :(. A worthwhile cause indeed…