Raising Children - Tahera Kassamali

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Have you seen this gem of a book? Packed with Islamic wisdom and sound advice on raising our children 🙂

“The duty of every parent is to train the child in the right way. Training means teaching and guiding. Training also means producing required changes in a person. It is not enough for parents to cater for the physical needs of the child. They need to give the child an awareness and knowledge, help him gain good characteristics, and develop a virtuous personality. Such training of children has great benefits for the child as well as for the society in which he lives. Although many people have an influence on the training of a child, the first and most important trainers are the parents.

The guidance that a parent gives his child is vital for the progress of the child. Although the child may not appreciate it at the time, a loving parent knows that it is incumbent upon him to make his child learn from his own knowledge and experience. This enables the child to avoid the mistakes the parent may have made, and benefit from his wisdom. Imam ‘Ali (a) wrote a will to his son Imam Hasan (a), advising him on how to live in this world. In the will he explains why he felt it necessary to advise his son:

I found you a part of myself, rather I found you my whole, so much that if anything befell you, it was as though it befell me, and if death came to you, it was as though it came to me. Consequently your affairs meant to me as my own matters would mean to me. So I have written this piece of advice as an instrument of help . . .

Certainly, the heart of a young man is like uncultivated land. It accepts whatever is strewn on it. So I hastened to mould you properly before your heart hardens up and your mind gets occupied. So that you may be ready to accept through your intelligence, the results of experiences of others and be saved from going through these experiences yourself.
Nahjul Balagha, Letter 31″

Read the book at: http://www.al-islam.org/raising-children-tahera-kassamali

Thoughtful Gift Idea 17: Books!

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As the saying goes, when you learn something you get the ‘gift’ of knowledge – and what better means than a book!

Especially one that may not be commonly known about such as that featured in the main picture above  🙂

And here’s an example of a great gift for children – Islamic, educational, fun, and interactive as the children have to write in it themselves!

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Princess Siyana's Pen - Book Review

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I had promised a review on Princess Siyana’s Pen a while back – here it is!

Great for Eid gifts perhaps?! 😉

“This recently published picture book is a keeper! With beautiful colour-rich illustrations and a gripping story line to boot, it is sure to captivate young and old readers alike – I know I certainly wanted to know what happened. 🙂

The story follows the tried and tested formula of many fairy tales, and so in essence will be familiar to children – however, there are morals and values infused within every page, adding that oh-so-special Islamic essence. Princes Siyana is a captivating main character, who charms as well as leads through example and character; her bravery and courage makes her a great role-model for all our children, but our daughters in particular. Shargor is the typical evil villain, with a plot to gain power and riches, impoverishing others as he does. And I love the touch of the side-kick, Pepe the parrot, who adds light humour to it all! It is clear that Zainab has drawn on her own experiences to write this story, which makes it all the more personal and endearing.

As the story progresses, several concepts are touched upon in a subtle way – talking to Allah through the heart as well as the pen, hijab and the importance of inner beauty, trusting in Allah, kindness, helping others and forgiveness, amongst others. All in all, with these concepts weaved in to an adventure story with remarkable characters, Princess Siyana makes an ideal book for our children’s bookshelves.”

Quran Memorisation Series - Idea 7: Play GAMES to help them learn!

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In ‘Adventures of a Qur’anic Family’ – a book designed to help children learn and apply different Quranic verses in their lives through stories – there is a section at the end devoted to memorisation.

In it, is a section on games to help them learn! This is a great way to make learning fun, as opposed to boring and heavy. Indeed, children learn best when they’re having fun 🙂

Traffic Lights: Concentrating on the verse that you’re teaching them that day, get them to run around when you say ‘Green’, then freeze when you say ‘Red.’ They can only ‘Go’ again if they recite the verse. Again, they race around, and you say ‘Red’, etc. If more than one child, say it to them individually so as one is still moving around, the other is stopped; that way, if they’re each working on different chapters, they can each get a turn to say their line.

Tag: Same concept as above, but this time try and catch them. When you do, hug them tight. They can only get out of your ‘hug’ if they recite the verse correctly. If they get it wrong, squeeze them even tighter!

Supermarket Game: Can be played with parent and child, or with any number of children. The longer the chapter, the better! The first person recites one verse of a chapter of their choice. Then the second recites the first AND the second, then the third recites the first two AND the third, etc… going round and round in circles. This really drums it into them!

Turn, Turn: If more than one child, or for longer chapters, turns can be taken to recite the verses. If they have to be prompted or they get it wrong, they get a forfeit (e.g. jump up and down 5 times).

Reverse Psychology: Challenge the reluctant child, “’Bet you can’t recite Chapter Lahab.” Chances are, he’ll say, ‘Just watch me!’, and he’ll recite it! Make a big deal of it, saying, “Oh I’m wrong again, not fair!” Then challenge him with another, etc…

Push Mummy Over: This is especially nice to teach them their 4 Quls. Tell them the Chapters are like a force field around them, where if they recite it they’re super-protected and Allah makes them really strong. First, sit cross-legged on the floor and get them to try and push you over, while you’re resisting really hard. Then, get them to recite one of their chapters and then try. Allow them to push you very easily, making a big dramatic scene of falling over of course, and exclaiming, “Not fair, you became all strong!”

Teacher, Teacher: Make them the teacher. Recite your chapters with mistakes here and there and get them to point out the corrections. Alternatively, get them to recite it correctly as you repeat after them.

P.S. To check out the book, see link below:

http://www.sunbehindthecloud.com/adventures.html

Book Review: House of Ibn Kathir

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Boarding school stories grip young readers in a unique sort of way – with the majority of children not going to boarding schools, it provides an insight into a totally different world; indeed, some of the greatest series have been based in boarding schools, Harry Potter, The Worst Witch and Malory Towers to name a few!

Alhamdulillah Muslims ventured into this world through Khadija Academy (See: http://www.bibipublishing.co.uk/Zahra-s-First-Term.html), and now here is one based on a boarding school for boys!

“It’s Yusif’s first time away from home. The Dar Al Ilm Academt seemed to be the ideal place for him to pursue his studies and achieve one of his lifelong ambitions – to memorise the Qur’an, or so his parents had decided…

However, just when he thought he was settling in, Yusif finds himself with more on his hands than he had bargained for. When mysterious events start happening around the school, it begins to seem as if Dar Al Ilm has more in store for him than he had ever imagined.”

My 9 year old loved this book and devoured it in a few hours – we look forward to the sequel!

Book Review - My Dad's Beard

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I LOVED this book:)

My Dad’s Beard by Zanib Mian – Sweet Apple Publishers – is everything you would want from a picture book, and more.

The illustrations (by Lauran Ewing) are clear and strong, and will appeal to young ones straight away. The text on each page changes format – sometimes it is as if straight from a computer screen, other times formed as if magnets on a fridge!

The book focusses on the dad’s beard, and why it is so cool – because you can pretend a teeny cat can live in it of course! But for me, the best part was the end, where it talks about the dad saying he is copying the greatest man that ever lives by having a beard 🙂

This subtle point is bound to have the children asking about who that is, which can lead into a wonderful discussion about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)! A great way to both teach, and entertain – am sure this will be a bedtime favourite.

Iqra Day

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As I’m sure you all know, World Book Day was just a few days ago on the 5th of March. Our Madressa here also honoured this day, by having an Iqra Day!

The children were told to dress up as their favourite character from an Islamic book they had read – and their costumes were pretty amazing 🙂

What a great way to encouraging children to read the wonderful array of Islamic books that are out there!

Here are just a few of the characters and books…

Book Review - A School Girl's Hero

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This is the story of a school girl who has to write an essay about her hero – any guesses for who she chooses?!

“For a couple of days the same question continued puzzling Anum; “Who do I aspire to be like?” Then, whilst she was busy helping her mum with chores it suddenly came to her. It now seemed so obvious, and she couldn’t believe it hadn’t come to her earlier. She told her family about her idea and they were all really impressed. but Anum then began having second thoughts…”

A wonderful read aloud with younger children, or for the older ones to devour on their own!

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