The birthday of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s) is coming up. It is an occasion for happiness and celebration.
What are you planning?
Below are some ideas that may help us celebrate the occasion with family and/or friends in a meaningful way.
1) A Play on the Prophet – Choose a story from the life of the Prophet and get children (or adults) to perform a play.
2) Story telling session – there are many interesting stories on the Prophet. Hold a story telling session and make it exciting. A very good book on a story from the life of the Prophet written in contemporary style is ‘The Camel in the Sun’, about the Prophet’s compassion for a tired camel.
3) Quiz on the Prophet – Let the audience benefit from questions based on the life of the Prophet.
4) Poetry on the Prophet – Hold a session of Nasheeds, Qasidas, Spoken word, and poetry in praise of the Prophet. It is very effective in evoking emotion for the Prophet.
5) Film on the Prophet – watch a movie on the Prophet complete with drinks and popcorn.
6) 40 Hadith from the Prophet – hold a competition or learning session on 40 short hadith from the Prophet and learn/discuss them.
7) Art on the Prophet – Draw/Paint Islamic calligraphy on the Prophet. The internet has many good samples.
8) Fun day – Have games and other fun activities on the Prophet.
9) Talk/Discussion on the Prophet – Have a talk or discussion on the life of the Prophet with practical examples from his life relevant to today’s times. Include verses of Quran on the greatness of the Prophet.
10) Book club session on the Prophet – gather a few people and read together. Articles on the Prophet, a good book on the Prophet, etc.
Make the occasion a joyful connection with the Prophet and what he stood for.
Here are some presentation plans sent in to mark these amazing personalities in schools:
Here is the one on Bibi Fatema:
And here is the one on the birthday of the Prophet:
Alhamdulillah, we were invited back to our local school to share some more of our religion with them. We decided to focus on the Quran! This time, we decided to foster more independent learning and allow the children to learn by interacting with the material on their own, with us around to supervise and help where necessary. This worked really well with the older children!
Each class had a different time slot to come in to the hall. We first welcomed the children, reminding them of how Muslims greet each other. We then introduced the topic and equated the Quran to the holy book of the Muslims, similar to the Bible or Torah. A little clip of the recitation of the Quran was played for them, and then they went off!
Here are the different areas we covered:
God is Everywhere – The children looked at the verse describing God as being everywhere, and were then invited to play with the Plasma Ball and think about how they were related. Everywhere their fingers touched, there was a connection to the source, even if many fingers touched or moved at the same time!
Animals in the Quran – The children were invited to read the posters abou tthe different animals and a little bit about them, and then make a playdough model of an animal of their choice.
Fruits in the Quran –
The children had a matching game to play here! After reading the posters, they then had to match the correct fruit picture to the poster. A plateful of the fruits was in the middle for them to look at, touch and smell also.
Prophets in the Quran –
This was an area for them to have a seat and browse through the information on the different Prophets mentioned in the Quran, through books and posters. Emphasis was made on the similar Prophets we share!
Science in the Quran –
- Birds: On one table, we focussed on the verse about birds staying in the air. Here the children made a balloon stay in the air with a hairdryer, and then notice how as soon as the hairdryer stopped blowing, the balloon fell. They then thought about how Allah made the birds fly without any help, and how airplanes also have been inspired by this.
2. Water Cycle: On another table, we looked at the verses about the water cycle. An experiment showing the water cycle using shaving foam and blue food colouring proved to be a hit!
Here is the link to the experiment:
3. Others: For the last Science table, we created boxes with a range of different Science topics linked to verses from the Quran, which they could peruse and read about on their own.
Manners in the Quran –
- Bullying: We looked at bullying using the simple example of a sheet of paper. The children scrunched up (or bullied!) the paper, then apologised as they opened it up and tried to smooth it out. They compared the paper to how it was before, and noticed how it was still crumpled despite their best efforts. They then thought about how this was like someone after being bullied; even if the person apologises, it still affects them inside. The verse focussed on how God tells us not to ridicule one anotehr or call each other names.
2. Anger: For this, they read the verse on anger and shook the lemonade bottle as hard as they could. At the end of the session when we gathered the class back together again, we shook it one more time and opened the bottle. The kids watched the lemonade explode out and compared it to how we act out badly when we are angry, and this is why God says to control out anger.
3. Forgiveness: After reading the verse and poster on forgiveness, the children thought about how staying angry makes them feel and how it is better to forgive. Thinking of someone they wanted to forgive in particular, they popped a tablet in the water and watched it fizz and melt away, like any grudes they may have felt.
4. Good deeds: To help the children see how God sees all the good that we do, big or small, we invited them to think of any good deeds they may have done as they popped some coins into the rice and hid it in there. Using a magnet, all the coins were then pulled out and related to how God always sees our good actions and accepts and loves them!
5. Good words: Using the verse about good words being like a good strong tree, the children were invited to think of words that were good, write them down and hang them on a tree. By the end of the day, the ‘good tree’ was full of beautiful words!
Women in the Quran –
To highlight the different women mentioned in the Quran, and again emphaise the common women we all believe in, we all wore a poster with the name of these women!
At the end, we brought the class together and invited them to share their thoughts on the Quran and what they had learnt. We asked them to share their thoughts in writing:
Alhamdulillah, all in all we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and so did the kids! The head and the teachers were also very appreciative of the efforts put in.
To download all the posters and extra bits and bobs, please click here. Both Word and PDF versions have been given, in case you want to make any changes! If you do run this session in your local school, do let us know – we would love to hear all about it!
P.S. Received this and thought ‘d share as it has a few extra ideas!
“Salaams, hope you are well. I just wanted to say thanks for the ideas on your blog! My kids go to a catholic school and for Prophets kushali every year we have a theme, this year was charity. I spoke to the school and they gave me free reign to come in, talk to all the kids and do whatever activities I wanted!! Woohoo!! So I “stole” some of your ideas from Quran day and mixed them in with what I had planned. It was a hit!! Even teachers said they learnt something!!
We had each class come down individually, and started with a PowerPoint where I spoke about who was HP and his message, then where the Quran came from and some examples from the Quran. The In front of the classes we did the bottle (anger), paper (bullying), effervescent (forgiveness), prayer (coin clean) and the rice (love) experiments.
We then let them loose to animal, Prophets, women, Quran, goodness wall and food stations. Then we gathered them all together to talk about charity and launch our collection for the food bank.
When they went back to their classes they made a moneybox (nets) and had a multiple choice quiz (PowerPoint) on what they learnt.”
Continuing on from yesterday, here is the advice for parenting older children…
Parenting in the second stage (8 to 14):
As well as stories mentioned above, introduce ahadith to them so they earn the maxims of the Ahlul Bayt.
Problems with kids:
– Be aware that they are undergoing physical/emotional changes – no longer innocent!
– Problem in today’s society is the sexualisation of children at younger and younger ages.
– Kids feel unloved – parents may be loved but this is not necessarily communicated or perceived
– The way couples talk to each other, argue, even looks/glares – can confuse a child, or they feel guilty/responsible
– They misbehave because they’re missing something at home, not because they want to
– Phones, social media and other influences means greater likelihood of anxiety/depression, body image issues, for girls signs of these start from 11 years and for boys from 15 years
– Materialistic society
Help them by:
– TIME needs to be spent with them, not gifts
-If gifts, make the wait. Give on Eids/wiladats
– Always remind them Allah, Ahlul Bayt and parents love them
– Parents need to protect children from issues between them. They should ideally not even hear this when asleep.
– We are all humans, sinful, make mistakes – but we need to acknowledge and address and amend this
– It may be hard to believe that our children have done wrong, but at some point or the other our child will be the wrong one, and therefore parents have to be just and have adalah when dealing with them.
-Delay devices, and if devices, no data/delay social media. No phones allowed in bedroom.
-They should love you and fear displeasing you, not fear your anger.
-Anger shouldn’t be so much they they lose hope in your forgiveness.
-Don’t hit kids – discouraged my ulema, you cannot leave a mark and it doesn’t even work!
Advice from Ulema:
✔never humiliate in public – a child is honoured by Allah, we should never take their izzah away
✔ go to Maroof not Munkar – if we need to teach, do it positively (as above). Munkar only if they have gone too far and have displeased Allah and His Messenger (it’s not about pleasing the parents but about pleasing Allah!). Let them feel guilt towards Allah – there are ahadith about when parents are diespleased, Allah is displeased and children cannot enter Jannah.
– go to Allah first (Hadith)
✔teach them empathy – to feel the pain of others. Devices etc prevent that as you can hide behind the screen. Sidenote: selfie is borderline haram (from an akhlaqi perspective)! Hadith: 3 things shall destroy Insaan, one of them is self-admiration
-Husbands (or other father figure) talking to boys by age 12 about sexuality (Janabah, istibra, ihtilam), haya, respect of women – need for candid conversations.
-Mums/sisters to dress appropriately – they are not our baby anymore!
-Encourage looking their best/clean – again use examples from Prophet’s life (he always used to look in bowl of water, brush his hair/beard, apply fragrance, etc)
-Teach haya at 6-7 years for girls positively – Allah has honoured you!
-Teach your older girls B.Fatima (sa)’s Hadith on sexuality. A woman’s sexuality (eyes/voice) is very powerful – can be a tool for incredible change but also own undoing.
– Every good thing comes with a possible negative one
-Oyster shell analogy when explaining hijaab
We had the pleasure of listening to Sheikh Vinay Khetia talk about parenting… here are the notes on general parenting/early years. Inshallah will share his notes on the second stage of parenting (8 to 14 years) tomorrow!
Sheikh Vinay Khetia – Talk on Parenting
Sura Tahrim – ayah 6 (66:6): “O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones.” – Thus this is our main priority when parenting.
Children are a fitna (test) as well as a joy. We parents become an invitation towards Allah (da’aat Allah). We want our children to have pride in our religion – very different to pride in ourselves.
Sayyid Sistani says a mother plays a unique role in imparting stories through love – the relationship is different to a fathers. This connection needs to be capitalised upon and time spent with children:
* Establish a love of Allah in their hearts – talk about miracles and the wonderful creation of Allah
*Use these stories and examples from the Prophets/Aimmah/Ulema – make them the lexicon of your family:
God’s Emissaries (book by Rozwan Arastu)
Many children’s books out there
Voice of Human Justice (about Imam Ali): https://www.al-islam.org/voice-human-justice-sautul-adalati…
Baqir Sheriff Qureishi: https://www.al-islam.org/person/baqir-shareef-al-qurashi
Ayatullah Khomeini: https://www.al-islam.org/rays-of-the-sun-eighty-three-stori…
Allama Tabatabai: https://www.al-islam.org/eternal-manifestations-80-stories-…
*Read these stories at bedtime (instead of the other fairytales, etc). Also encourage children to talk to the Imam at bedtime, and end with Dua Faraj. As much as possible, protect them from other influences/examples.
* Bring everything back to Allah and divine principles – for example, go to the library and connect it with Allah’s commandment to Read (Iqra)
*Make it fun and developmentally appropriate – through puppet shows, drawings, skits, etc as when they are young, God is too abstract to understand simply through discussion (best understood after 14/15 years of age)
It is very important to establish foundation of faith, as without it, nothing we do is worth anything. Biggest losers in quran:
Say: Shall We inform you of the greatest losers in (their) deeds?
(These are) they whose labor is lost in this world’s life and they think that they are well versed in skill of the work of hands.
These are they who disbelieve in the communications of their Lord and His meeting, so their deeds become null, and therefore We will not set up a balance for them on the day of resurrection.
Sura Kahf 103-105
Parenting is the first line of teachers. 3 M’s are just icing on the cake: Masjid-Mimbar-Madressa
Parents need to be higher in (religious) education than their kids – if they find a lack in their knowledge and an inability to answer questions, they should go and take classes and learn. This way they will also build up a resource and support structure so that they have somewhere to go and ask if stuck.
Teaching kids Salaah:
3 – La Ilaha Illah
3 years 7 months – Mohd Rasulullah
4 – Sallahu Alayhi Wali Mohd
5 – teach them right and left, Qibla, Sajdah
6 – all stages of Salaah
9- Wudhu & Salaah
Overall our spiritual responsibilities (which is 80% – physical, secular education, etc is only 20%) to our children are:
Fulfilment of Religious Obligations
To protect from:
Sheikh Vinay Khetia recently gave a talk on parenting and emphasied how the stories and examples we should be giving our children should be from our holy personalities. This fits in so well! Have also included some posters which bring in another aspect also.
Shared from a post on Facebook:
Ask children what kind of a Prophet’s day they had:
Was it like a Jonah/Yunus day that you felt alone and trapped and thought to give up?
Was it like a Moses/Musa day that you weren’t sure if you could do what you were tasked with?
Was it like a Mary/Maryam day where someone mocked, judged, and made you feel rejected?
Was it like a Hajar day that you prayed, then acted and therefore were able to quench your own need and protect someone else you cared for?
Was it like a David/Dawud day that you had to stand up by yourself to a bully?
Was it like a Solomon/Sulayman day that you were so present in your surroundings you felt you could talk and connect with creatures people usually ignore?
Was it like a Noah/Nuh day that you stayed strong in what you believed in even as people laughed at your concerted, quiet confidence?
Was it like a Joseph/Yusuf day that you stayed humble even as you achieved leadership and were in charge of things?
Was it like an Adam or Eve day that you felt maybe scared you didn’t know what lay ahead and everything seemed new and overwhelming?
Was it like a Jesus/Esa day that you spoke up and defended someone even though you felt small?
Was it like a Prophet Muhammad day that you smiled easily at others and they thanked you for your kindness?
Spiritualize our youngsters’ struggles and successes by humanizing changemakers of scripture and bringing them alive to the reality of our days.
Be it so. Amen