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Resources for Laylatul Qadr

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Then there is a whole series of posts on making the most of these nights for yourselves and your kids!

Hope it is handy, and pls keep Buzz Ideazz in your duas!

Making Gatherings Meaningful in Ramadan

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We are reminded all the time that Ramadan is a month like no other… and therefore, should not be treated like a normal month. It’s hours, minutes and seconds are precious… and yet, with Ramadan traditionally comes iftar invites, sehri gatherings, sports events and the like. And with that, potentially, the usual chit chat, time-passing and other things that are often not so fruitful.

So how can we marry the two? I have put together a list of ways we can change this gatherings into ibadah, Inshallah, if we do it right! Some are the usual ones, and hopefully some may be some new ideas for you 🙂

  • Clarify your niyyah

It is highly recommend to feed others during this month, and so inviting people over for Iftar is a great way to fulfil this. But whether you are inviting others, or going somewhere yourself, ensuring that your intention is to do it because it is an act that pleases Allah will hopefully bring blessings into your evening. Even if you go to play sports, clarifying your intention that you are doing it to keep your body healthy during this month, so that you can serve Allah in other ways, will allow you to transform that sport into worship.

  • Don’t overdo it

Now that your intention is sorted, it is important to remember that balance is important. Moderation is the way in Islam, and this is the same. There is no need to attend every event that is going on, or accept every invite. It is OK to be choosy and attend a select few which you think will be beneficial for you

  • Have a talk

Last night I attended a wonderful family gathering where we got together to celebrate the birthday of Imam Hasan (as), as well as enjoy some quality time together with cousins. The highlight of the evening was a short talk by a cousin, which was simple, practical and very effective. Adding meaning to a gathering by a short talk is a wonderful way to bless the occasion!

  • Share goals for the month

One lovely thing to do – especially closer to the beginning of the Holy month – is to identify and share at least one goal for yourself for Ramadan. We did this in a friend’s group one year, and found that hearing other’s goals not only inspired us but helped us clarify our own, and motivated us to see it through! To top it all off, the hostess gifted us a little notebook for penning down these goals and other reflections during the month, and had blessed it with a personalised message for each of us!

  • Share a hadith each

If you feel a talk is too formal, or perhaps no one attending can give a talk, then another great way to get everyone learning as well is to ask all coming to bring a hadith to share. When we did this at a gathering of friends recently, we found that the hadith that everyone chose to bring really inspiring and led to some great discussions!

Here is one of the hadith shared – very aptly 😉

  • Share any other info – a favourite verse, a favourite line of a dua, a new Quranic dua you want to learn, one thing they have learnt so far, etc!

In the same vein, why not branch out and give guests a little fun homework! So they can bring a favourite verse that they like, or their favourite line of dua, a new Quranic dua they want to learn to recite in their Qunoots, or even one thing they have learnt so far in the Holy month.

Somebody hosted a themed iftar last year – the theme was ‘His Love is in the Air’ 🙂 All the friends were actually asked to do all four of the suggestions above! Furthermore, they were asked to present it nicely, but were not told why. When everyone had eaten, they began sharing their four things and showing what they had put together. Once each person shared what they had chosen and why it was meaningful to them (which was beautiful in itself!), they picked a name out of a hat and in line with the verse, “You will not attain piety until you spend of what you love; and whatever thing you spend, Allah knows of it.” (3:92), they then were asked to gift their presentation of their favourite verse/dua etc, to that person whom they picked.

Then in line with Allah’s promise of giving us more when we give something, they each got a little something as a gift. The gifts were little things to do with the kitchen and home, such as a cake tin, worktop saver, etc, but each item had a small dua to go with it! So for example, with a tray, the message read: “A tray can hold so many things and requires a balancing act to carry! This Ramadan, may you put all of your prayers and problems on Allah’s tray and leave the balancing to Him!” and so on…

Alhamd it was a lovely evening filled with the remembrance of Allah in the most beautiful, personal way.

P.S. Here is the poster I got! It was so cleverly done, with pictures to symbolise each of the four things, and the text behind.

  • Discuss a good book

Last year we started a book club, and held our first sehri during the month of Ramadan. The book was secular, but had lots of links to Islam and as we all shared our thoughts and relevant hadith on the topic, it felt like a beautiful session with God at it’s center. Why not choose a book a month in advance, and set a date to discuss it during a gathering?

(P.S. This wasn’t the book we read for Ramadan, this came later… but you get the gist ;))

  • Hold an event for a greater cause

There is a group in our community who host a beautiful iftar every Ramadan, and it’s ultimate goal is to raise money for charity. We pay tickets to the event, and there are raffles sold with lots of people donating their services as prizes; lots of money is raised, and an evening of community building and fun is had in the process!

  • Top it all off with Sadaqah!

And lastly, a lovely way to top it all off is to encourage giving when people attend a gathering. For younger children, inviting them to bring in food to donate to a food bank, or new gifts to give to refugees or the sick, is a lovely way to incorporate charity into an event. For adults, having a sadaqah box present on the table alongside the food, and inviting people to donate to a cause is also a lovely idea.

Have you had any meaningful gatherings during Ramadan? Please do share!

School Play on Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (saw)

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We usually go in once a year for an RE day – this year, we decided to do a play about sayings from the Prophet Muhammad (saw). With only one practise, Alhamd the Key Stage 2 kids did brilliantly! Here is the script.

 There were two performances, one to the whole of KS1, and then to KS2. After they had watched the play, there were follow up activities that the classes went on to do in their classrooms with their teachers, and a parent helper.

 Reception, Year 1:

This class had an activity based on the hadith: “Greeting people and having a cheerful face is a form of charity.” They had a quick discussion on this, and then moved on to the activity of making a smiley paper plate. They put googly eyes on and decorated it, and stuck on a piece of paper with the hadith written on it. They stuck it on a lollipop stick so that they could wear it as their own face when greeting someone!

They then could colour this colouring sheet or take it home:

Year 2/3:

The activity organised for this class was centered around concept the of forgiveness, taken from a hadith of the Prophet pbuh: “Forgiving is the best of all actions.”  The children all got busy making a chatterbox, in which they all had to write something about forgiveness or what they understand forgiveness to be.

After that was completed, we used dissolvable (Vitamin C) tablets in which the children picked one and put into a jug of water with the thought of forgiving somebody. As the tablet fizzled away into nothing, this was related to any hurt or anger fizzling away inside them as well. This giving them an opportunity to practice forgiveness.

After this activity, this short story was read to them. The children were really engaging and enjoyed their afternoon.

 

Year 3/4: 

After the play the year 4 classes had activities based on the Saying of Prophet Muhammad – “The strongest among you is the one who controls his anger.”The activities for the classes were as follows:The following clip was to be shown which was based on what happens in our brains when we get angry and how to control our anger.

The students were then asked to make these anger chatterboxes. Students were given the pre printed chatterboxes and they cut them to size and thereafter folded them and coloured them in as appropriate and played the chatterbox game with their peers. The purpose of this activity was that the chatterboxes had techniques on how to control one’s anger so it was an indirect method to educate the students on anger management.Once all the students had finished making their chatterboxes, the following clip had been arranged to be shown which was based on relaxation and mindfulness techniques.

A recommended book to read with them was Angeryella!

Year 5/6:

After the play, the children from Years 5 and 6 stayed in the hall to discuss another saying of the Prophet: “The cure for ignorance is to ask questions.” (PPT available for download here). We began by looking at what ignorance means, and then what type of things we are ignorant about. As the kids brainstormed, they began to realise that there is a lot we don’t know, and actually “we are ignorant about what we are ignorant about”! Some things included other cultures, religions, foods, and even what other people have been through and are feeling.

We then moved on to talk about what ignorance leads to – one main thing being fear – we are often scared by what we don’t know, especially if we look through the world with our BLM glasses – ‘Be Like Me’ glasses mean we expect everyone to be like us and we don’t like it when things are different. This fear then leads to things like prejudice and racism, and acting on these feelings hurt others.

Then we discussed how we could prevent this from happening – and it led us back to the saying, to cure ignorance, we need to ask questions to learn, and take off our BLM glasses. The students then had a ponder on different questions they wanted to ask, and wrote a question down on a post-it note and stuck it up. Their questions were thought-provoking and honest, and ranged from: “Why do people feel the need to be rude about people’s religions” to Why has your hand got 5 fingers?”, “Why do people eat meat”, “Why do Muslims wear headscarves” and – my favourite – “What is chicken masala?”

Unfortunately we did not have the chance to answer all these questions! We wrapped the session up by watching Episode 2 of Season 2 of The Kindness Diaries – a series where a guy called Leon travels from Alaska to Argentina in a bright yellow VW beetle, with NO money and relying only on the kindness of others. He comes across 2 people in this episode that reflect the impact of ignorance and fear – such as the removal of Native Indians from their home in the Bush in Canada to forcibly being schooled in English schools to remove their culture, and another guy in Canada who hosts a BBQ every Wednesday in his home for refugees and people from all over the world, to give them a sense of community, saying that the answer to this fear is simply to get to know the other.

A fitting end to the session on the beautiful saying of our Prophet!

 

Islamic Gameshows

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Gameshows are SUCH a fun way to not only test one’s Islamic knowledge but also teach it – without them even knowing any learning is going on!

Here is a collection of Gameshows Templates/Questions from around the world – if you have any to contribute, please do send them in!

 JEOPOARDY Template

Which Grade Wants to be the Smartest (With questions)

Who Wants to Be a Winner (Saba)

Who Wants to Be a Winner 

Who Wants to Be a Winner (10-13 years)

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire – on Salaatul Qasr

Islamic Quiz

 

 

Islamic English Plays

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Art and Islam Activity Day

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Last week, we got together and got our paints and brushes out!

10+ year olds: POLITICAL ART

Here is the Powerpoint used.

We began with a question – what would you do if?…

If a friend took your phone?
Then you try and take it back and she kicks you?
And goes to the teacher to tell on you.
What if the teacher then puts you in detention?
Or expels you?
You go to court but you keep getting told you’re the one whose fault it is?

HOW DO YOU FEEL?

Most rightly said they would feel hopeless and couldn’t understand how such a gross injustice could take place, and were shocked when we explained that unfortunately such injustices do happen – for example in Palestine.

They then brainstormed ways they could act against this injustice in a peaceful way – such as protests, petitions, use of stories, media and ART.

We then introduced different art works that people have used to spread awareness of injustices of things like Palestine, but also Syria and the refugee crisis, the current event of Marzieh Hashemi and even hijab.

We reiterated the aim of using our voice through art to make a peaceful stance against injustice, using Imam Hussain’s words: ‘I only desire to spread good values and prevent evil’.

The children then brainstormed issues that were close to their heart, then chose one and brainstormed further on ideas of what to draw/paint on that topic. They then drafted it out and went on to do it on canvas. We were very impressed with their thinking and the wide range of art they produced.

5-9 year olds: ROCK ART

We had a fantastic rock painting session last week for the 5-9 yr olds. The first rock was the rock of good habits. The children discussed and thought of a good habit they wanted to instil in their life. This was then painted on to their rock with the number 40. Reminding them that it takes 40 days for an action to become a habit. They would then keep this rock in a place they would see everyday as a reminder to make that habit a rock in their life.

The second rock had a little twist. We painted and decorated this rock with the words #mymosquerocks #hujjat after the rocks had been varnished and dried the children got to hide them outside around our centre. The idea that when you come to the centre you bring a rock to hide, maybe you’ll find a rock which you can keep or re-hide for someone else. Building a connection with our centre.

The last rock was for our mums, sometimes when the children are at school their mums really miss them so the children painted their names on their last rock for their mums to keep. A reminder that even us mums need that our children are also rocks in our lives!

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