Quran Day at School

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Science in the Quran

  1. 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.

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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:

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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.

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Manners in the Quran

  1. 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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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:

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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, 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!

 

Knowing Allah Day

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A few years ago, an idea was hatched… Alhamdulillah, last Sunday it finally came into fruition!

Our Madressa held a Knowing Allah Day for children in years 3 and 4, with a slightly simplified version for years 1 and 2 (will share this later). Am very excited to share it here with you!

There were 8 stations, each one focussed on a different name and characteristic of Allah…

*Many of these activities were inspired by Prayer Spaces in School!

Each child got this to tick off as they went through each station. They took this home to remind them of what they had explored during the day.

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Al-Khaliq: The Creator

Here the children talked about how Allah has made each and every single one of us, and how we are all unique and perfect as we are.

The children looked at mirrors and compared their similarities (2 eyes, 1 nose) but then started noticing how each was also very different.

They then put their thumbprints on the poster and explored it further with magnifying glasses, noting that no 2 fingerprints are the same!

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Ash Shakoor: The Rewarder of Thankfulness

At this station, the concept of thankfulness was explored, and how Allah loves those who are thankful, and gives them even more.

The children jumped on a trampoline to tap into a happy state, and shouted out something or someone that made them happy.

They then thought about the fact that it was Allah who gave them these blessings. They wrote this blessing down on a ribbon and tied on the tree, saying thank you to Allah as they did so.

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Al Ghaffar: The Forgiving One

At this station, the children talked about how we all make mistakes which we feel sorry for. Allah is so Forgiving, He forgives our mistakes is we realise what we have done and say sorry.

The children sat and wrote something they had done and wanted to say sorry for – they wrote this in invisible ink and then went into the den to put it away into the chest secretly, to emphasise that we try and hide the bad we have done and feel ashamed of it.

Then then discussed how sometimes people do things that hurt us, and how we too, should forgive. With that in time, they dropped a tablet into water and watched it fizzed into nothing as they thought of a hurt done to them which the now forgave as they said the name Al Ghaffar – until the hurt was all gone!

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Al Qaadir: The Most Able

At this station the children talked about how we all have worries, which sometimes weigh us down and make us feel worried and sad.

The children wrote down a worry and put it on either end of a weight and picked it up, exploring how heavy that felt. They then were reminded of the fact that Allah is Al-Qaadir and able to deal with any problem, big or small, and how we should try our best but ultimately leave our problems with Him.

So the children picked up the weights and notes and popped it into the Worries Box, leaving the weights and notes inside – metaphorically and physically leaving everything with Him!

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Al Mujeeb: The Responsive One

At this station, the children were asked to go into sajda and think about their hopes and wishes – in short, their duas. They were taught about the fact that in sajda, we are at our humblest and closest to Allah.

They were then asked to write this wish out and fold into a Dua Flower. This dua flower was placed in water…and lo and behold, the flower slowly started blooming! The chidlren were reminded that Allah is Al-Mujeeb and He is the One who responds to this blossoming dua!

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Al Muhaimin: The Protector

At this station, the children contemplated on family and friends that they had around the world. This was expanded to then also include the fact that all Muslims are brothers and sisters and have to care about each other, as well as all other humanity across the world.

They discussed Allah being the Protector, and how although these people are far away, we can still pray for Allah to protect them.

The children wrote out either a name of family or friends or a message for people, found the place on the map that they were and stuck it down.

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Ar Rahman: The Compassionate

At this station the children talked about friendship, and how just as Allah is so kind and compassionate to us, so we should be to our friends.

The children took a petal and wrote a name and dua or message for a friend, and stuck it on the Ar-Rahman flower.

They also talked about how sometimes friends fight, and we should always try and make up and be friends again, or pray for and help others to do the same.

They took a zip and, while thinking of either themselves with someone or two other friends they wanted to make up/be close to again, zipped up the two strands while they said Ar-Rahman.

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Al Khabeer: The Fully Aware

At this station, the children looked at the concept of Allah being aware of everything, everywhere.

Experimenting with placing fingers on the plasma ball allowed them to actually see how we can be connected to the source, wherever and whenever we touch, even if many fingers are touching at the same time!

The children then thought about one question they would like to ask Allah, and wrote this down. Their questions and duas to Allah were very insightful and clever!

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To download the posters, click here.

Marking the Prophet's birthday in school

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We are marking the Prophet’s birthday with our school, Inshallah! As we had done the Ramadan Activity day not so long ago, we decided to spread the joy in another way 🙂

The timing of Christmas was perfect, and so we decided to do a double celebration of the birthday of Prophet Isa as well…

With our Kidzz cardzz, we added a a hadith from the Prophet, added some sweets (the healthy kind!), some ribbon to make it festive and voila!

The children are looking forward to giving them out tomorrow, Inshallah!

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Ramadan Activities for School

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Your lovely ideas have started pouring in! Here is what one mum did in school:

“Last week we visited my daughters class for a Ramadhan presentation. We started by introducing Ramadhan, why and how we fast. Then I spoke to the kids about how they can fast with their bodies.

Kids were encouraged to come up and label the card board cut out of a girl. Mouth – tell the truth, hands, share etc…

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Next all the kids made a good deed spinner – each section had one good deed. The idea was to spin each morning and see what deed they will concentrate on that day.

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Finally we played a what’s behind the squares game. Here the kids had to try and figure out what was behind the squares. Kajoor, a mosque, someone visiting the sick etc. Each time the picture was revealed we talked about the significance. The final picture was one of their class which made them laugh!

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Then we handed out moon shaped biscuits and Ramadhan party bags.”

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School Ramadan Activity Day

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Alhamdulillah, following on from the success of last year’s Hajj Activity Day, we had the opportunity to go in to our children’s school again – this time to share the month of Ramadan with them!

Each class came into the hall and we had about 35 minutes with them. After a quick introduction to how Muslims greet each other, we introduced the notion of the month of Ramadan being an Islamic month (it’s not one of the 12 months they know about) and that it’s a month of fasting. The children were asked if they knew other religions that fasted (yes, they do!), and were told that they would be learning all about how Muslims fast. The children were divided into groups of five/six and went off to different stations around the hall!

Each one got their Ramadan Activity Day station card represented by the different stages of the moon. Once all stations were stamped, the month would be over and it would be time for Eid!

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The stations were as follows:

Lunar Calendar and Moon Phases:

Here the children were first introduced to a calendar which follows the moon rather than the sun, and therefore how it changes over the years. They were introduced to the fact that some other religions also follow the lunar calendar, and then as a group, they went through the moon phases, and then were given the task of arranging pre-cut moon phase shapes into order. An added challenge for Key Stage 2 (but many from Key Stage 1 were also able!) was to label the phases too!

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Fasting from dawn till dusk:

Here the children learnt about the timings of the fast, and that no, we don’t starve for 30 days on the trot! The younger began by discussing the times they woke up, went to school, went to bed, etc – and were encouraged to stick relevant pictures on to the clock faces and try to set the clocks themselves if they were able. They then discussed how Muslims don’t eat from sunrise to sunset, and older children were shown how this varies across the globe, and across different years. They had a fact sheet to look at about the different hours of fasting around the world!

At dusk, we break our fast with dates – the children were shown a plate of dates and explained how this was a constant, and why it was recommended. This station had an amazing display of pictures of people in different countries breaking their fast with different spreads – the children then had to go around the spot the dates and circle it in each different picture!

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The Holy Qur’an:

At this station, the children learnt that one of the reasons Ramadan is so special is because the Holy Quran was revealed in it! The Holy Quran was likened to the Holy books they may have heard of, such as the Bible. They had an opportunity to look at a Quran and also listen to the recitation on some iPads and then share how they felt – some of the feedback was amazing on this: “When I listen to the Quran it feels like it’s taking all my troubles away.” Many said they found it soothing and calming, and they often didn’t want to stop!

To introduce them to the content of the Quran, we made some simple booklets which they were briefly explained, and then had the opportunity to look into themselves. These were – Science in the Quran, Morals in the Quran (e.g. respecting elders and teachers, being nice, smiling) and Stories of Prophets from the Quran.

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Calligraphy:

We invited a calligraphy artist to come into school for this program! The art of calligraphy was introduced, and the fact that it was most often done from verses in the Holy Quran. Lots of pictures were up on display for them to see the different recognisable shapes that could be made up by calligraphy, such as animals and fruits. The artist then sketched their names in Arabic in pencil, and the children traced over this with calligraphy markers, learning how to manoeuvre the pens, and make the diamond dots. This (and listening to the Quran) was by far one of the most popular activities of the day!

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Fasting with the whole body:

There were two parts to this station. Firstly, they looked at how fasting is good for the body and how it affects us positively. Secondly, they looked at how fasting is not just about eating or drinking, but how we need to fast with our whole bodies (e.g. not hitting with hands).  On post-it notes, children wrote how they thought fasting was done with a certain part of the body and then stuck it on a life-sized body chart.

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Giving charity:

A letter to the parents had gone out, requesting certain food items to be brought in for this day. When the children came to this station, they discussed the concept of charity and that so many in this world don’t have enough, even in the UK today. They talked about food banks and what they do, and how fasting helps us empathise more with those that don’t have enough food. They were also made to think about the fact that as well as handouts, many people who are suffering also just want to know that people remember them and are thinking about them, and so they wrote out little messages to the recipients of the food and stuck these on to the food items.

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Once all the stations were completed, it was time for EID:

At this station, they talked about how Eid is a celebration – not because we don’t have to fast anymore, but because of the fact that after this month, we are hopefully better people! They discussed what people wear and do on this day, such as visit the mosque, visit family and exchange presents, and then were given a treat that they got to pick out from a Lucky Dip box.

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Once this was all done, they had an opportunity to write their thoughts down. It was amazing to read their reflections!

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We finally gathered them together and left them with this thought – once the month is over, it doesn’t mean we go back to all of our bad habits. Ramadan is like intense training that we go through, to serve us for the year ahead. Just like when people want to be a fire-fighter, police, etc – they go through such intense training to make sure that when a real fire/situation arises, they are ready to deal with it. With that final thought, we got a resounding THANK YOU before they went back to their classes with their hands full 🙂

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Alhamdulillah, the staff were really appreciative of this day – they felt like they learnt a lot too, and that the children could relate so well to all of the activities.  Parents were also invited in at one point to have a look which they enjoyed also. Inshallah with steps like these, we can try to prevent the prejudices that arise in society today due to lack of knowledge!

Muslim Hijaabi Prom Queen

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WoW! Show your teens this – we don’t need to change our values to fit in – being true to ourselves and our faith can get us just as far, if not further!

“When the high school senior found out that she had been nominated for prom queen, she was more worried about getting permission to attend than wondering about winning.

Prom queens, she reasoned, are usually the most popular girls in school, the cheerleaders, the student government officials, the kids who go to the parties.

But her friends were determined to get her the crown.

They each wore a hijab to show their support for Zarifeh, who has covered her hair throughout her high school years. On the morning of the school vote, they huddled together to pass out dozens of colorful scarves. A few held balloons printed with “Don’t be a baddie, vote for the hijabi.” Among the more than 2,000 students at the school, just four girls typically wear the head covering.”

Read the full article here: http://nyti.ms/1N7MQgg

Thoughtful Gift Idea 20: Candles for Teachers

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Last but not least for our thoughtful gift idea series this year is with the same theme of making gifts more meaningful with a message…

These are candles for teachers of Ramadhan classes who dedicated the month to teaching young ones and serving them iftaar first, etc – they read: “A good teacher is like a candle, it consumes itself to light the way for others.”

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The shop will be closed from the 14th of December, 2017 to the 1st of January, 2018. Any orders made during this time will be processed in the new year InshAllah.