Idea No 10: Give Your Child the Gift of a Handkerchief
Teach your child to treat it very carefully, take it with them to all majalis and collect their tears in a special handkerchief, which will Inshallah be a light for them in the grave, and an intercession for them on the Day of Judgement.
Excerpt from Yaseer and Zahra Meet the Heroes of Kerbala (from where the pictured handkerchief originates):
“One day the Holy Prophet (SAW) told Bibi Fatema (AS) what would happen to Imam Hussain (AS) in Kerbala.
Bibi Fatema (AS) began to weep. She asked if she will be alive when it happens. He told her no. She asked if he would be alive. He told her no. She asked if Imam Ali (AS) would be alive and he said no. She then asked what about Imam Hassan (AS), he looked at her and said no.
Bibi Fatema (AS) started to cry more and asked, ‘Then who will cry for my Hussain?’
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) looked at his daughter and told her, ‘O Fatema, there will be a group of my followers who will cry for our Hussain and the ones who will help him in Kerbala.
The elders will cry for the elders, the mothers will cry for the mothers, the children will cry for the children.’
Bibi Fatema (AS) looked at her father and said, ‘By Allah I swear whenever there is majlis of my Hussain or anyone is weeping for him, I will collect their tears and on the Day of Judgement, those tears will be shafa for there and will save them from the hell fire.’
The Holy Prophet (SAW) nodded his head in agreement and told Bibi Fatema (AS), ‘On the day of Judgement, you shall intercede for the ladies and I for the men. Every person who has wept over the tragedy of Kerbala, we will take him and her by the hand and lead them into paradise.'”
Idea No 9: Write to your Child’s School about Ashura
A lot of school-age children will be attending mosque during the nights, and however quickly we try and leave the mosque to be home and have the kids in bed at a decent time, this is not always possible! The knock-on effect is seen the next morning, when they have to get up for school…
So why not write to your school and give them a heads up?
And here’s a thought – even if your children are tucked in bed by 8pm during the week and only attend mosque during the weekend, why not write to the school anyway and spread the word?!
Usually if Ashura fell on a school day, we would have to provide some sort of reason as to why the children aren’t attending, but since this year it falls on the weekend, let’s use any excuse to write to them! Then maybe we can use this letter next year and adjust it slightly to include a day off 😉
So here’s the letter – after debating what the best format to post it was, I have decided on just writing it out here. That way, you can just copy and paste it into your own document and amend the details in BOLD to personalise it (and italicise the quotes too please to make them stand out!).
And here’s another thought – why not e-mail it to them? That way, they will be more inclined to check out the website linked in (just a click away!).
Here it is:
This is just to let you know that this month we are commemorating a man who, along with his family and close friends, was killed for upholding social justice and the rights of others. This man was called Hussain.
Although not much has been said about him in mainstream history or the media, he has gone on to inspire many a contemporary leader, including Gandhi’s famous struggle for independence.
“I learnt from Hussain how to achieve victory while being oppressed.” – Mahatma Ghandi
“In a distant age and climate, the tragic scene of the death of Hussain will awaken the sympathy of the coldest reader.” – Edward Gibbons, English Historian and Member of Parliament
I have included a link to a website: www.whoishussain.org which gives a bit more insight into the event which is usually commemorated by over 200 million Shiite Muslims around the world.
On that note, the memorial is usually attended over a period of 12 days and thus you may find my SON/DAUGHTER slightly tired over the next few days. The final day of remembrance (Ashura Day) is on DAY AND DATE and so my child(ren) will not be attending school on this day.
Thank you for your understanding in this matter and should you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.
NAME OF PARENT
P.S. This letter was inspired by SIM Madressa who had a letter available last year for this reason, and www.whoishussain.org‘s amazing work in getting the word of our Imam out there!
Here is what someone said after they did this:
“Just wanted to share above. I emailed the buzz Ideazz letter into school for all my children. This is part of the response from my older son’s form tutor. It looks like he took time to go on to the whoishussain.com link to find more out! Imam Husayn awakens every soul!!”
Idea No 8: Create an Azakhana in your Home (sent in by a mum!)
Especially if you have little ones and you can’t go to mosque a lot, why not create a little area within your home?
This mum said: “I’m trying to teach my one year old Panjetan so thought of making azakhana for Muharram. My 6 year old is teaching the lil one :)”
Alhamdulillah, am loving all the ideas coming in … Jazakallah and keep ’em coming – they REALLY do have an impact!
Idea No 7: Utilise the Power of Words and Rhymes
Alhamdulillah, we have more and more English Marthiyas and Maatams available these days, with simple tunes that children easily pick up and learn from.
Here is a beautiful example:
Check out http://www.qfatima.com/docs/YaHusayn_Marthiyas.pdf for 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/
Or why not inspire your son or daughter to write their own?
Idea No 6: Remind them about the Importance of Water during these 10 Days (sent in by a mum!)
One way to do that is to stick up a note in the kitchen as a reminder to think of Imam Husayn (as)!
Or for older children, you can stick up the Dua When Drinking Water (or even stick it on their water bottles):
S’ALAWAATULLAAHI A’LAL HUSAYNI WA AHLI BAYTIHEE WA AS’H’AABIHEE WA LA’-NATULLAHI A’LAA QATALATIHEE WA A’-DAA-IHEE
Blessing of Allah be on Husayn, his family and his friends; may Allah curse those who killed him and opposed him.
Why not make it into a craft activity? Check out:http://www.madressa.net/arts-and-crafts/islamic-months/muharram/718-dua-for-drinking-water
Idea No 5: Mark our New Year with Resolutions (sent in by a mum!)
We don’t celebrate our new year, but we can make it meaningful as a family. We (children AND parents!) created a flag with our goals for the year. It is something for them to think about every day. Perhaps a sticker can be given for each day the child and parent remember the Akhlaq they wish to make into a habit.
NB: Goals can be anything! As well as an Akhlaqi goal, why not have a goal for the body, the brain, the soul… increase or decrease this according to the age of the child.
Idea No 4: Make it VISUAL (sent in by a mum!)
As Muharram approaches us every year, I ponder over how to create an atmosphere in the house to give the children a sense of understanding and importance of the next two holy months.
This year, I created a banner with various vocabulary applicable to my children’s ages. I placed it opposite their bunk bed so that they are able to see it before going to bed. It is to be a source of discussion every night.
Idea No 3: Mark each Personality/Event through Crafts
Getting children involved in making something to do with Kerbala is a great way to teach them about it first hand. You can do these at home, or in classes during the Muharram nights.
The activity pictured for example, can be done over a few days to depict the layout of the camp of Imam Husayn (as). There are many more activities, such as making Hazrat Abbas’ Alam or Hazrat Ali Asghar’s cradle, each with step-by-step instructions and a photo of the finished product.
Check out the full range of activities here for Muharram and Safar: http://www.madressa.net/arts-and-crafts/islamic-months/muharram – They are ALWAYS looking for new activities so please do send in anything you are doing to email@example.com to be put online.
Idea No 2: Make the Event of Kerbala come to Life through Books
Again, one of my memories growing up was reading Understanding Kerbala as a family during the 10 days of Muharram. This is one of the first children’s books that was published on Kerbala and is also sometimes sold with a tape to listen to. The illustrations are as amazing as the way in which the event is narrated. Check out www.almurtaza.co.uk for more info.
For older readers, to read alone or with you, check out ‘Yaseer and Zahra Meet the Heroes of Kerbala’ (and later, ‘Yaseer and Zahra Meet the Heroes of Shaam’) – see:www.yaseerandzahra.org for more info.
For those children who prefer comic strips, why not check out Sheikh Bahmanpour’s book: ‘The Story of Ashura’ – see:http://www.hujjatbookshop.co.uk/the-story-of-ashura-with-illustrations.html.
The companions of Imam Husayn are often less well known but a great series entitled ‘The Heroes of Kerbala’ covers their stories in detail – see: http://www.al-asr.org/products.html
Last but not least, I just heard of a new release that looks very promising by Saleem Bhimji and Arifa Hudda entitled, ‘The Alif, Baa, Taa of Kerbala’ which will teach children the Arabic alphabet through the tragic saga of Kerbala. This work is due to be printed in 2013 and they are looking for donors so do visit www.al-mubin.org for more info.
Muharram is upon us…Inshallah over the next few days I will be sharing collective ideas on how we can make the next 10 days as inspiring and impactful to our children as possible. Please share your comments and ideas as they are invaluable!
Idea No 1. Let Our Homes Reflect Muharram:
Just as we decorate our houses for our celebrations, let’s commemorate through this means too. Ever since I can remember, as soon as Muharram was upon us, black cloths were draped around the house, and in particular, over the TV. Nowadays there are little black and green flags available – why not get our kids to put them up around the house in places of their choosing?
Inshallah maybe through this way, we can all be constantly reminded every day of the solemness of these days, and hopefully have our actions reflect this…
P.S. Doing this can have even more far-reaching effects than we can imagine – check out this story from Facebook:
Apologies in advance for this very long read, but it is something that Lovers of Husayn a.s. InshaAllah will appreciate:
This is a picture of the front of my house. Every year, we try to make this very small commitment to ensure these symbols of grief grace our home until after Arba’een.
This year has been tough. I have really been struggling with a lot of elements in my life and honestly and embarrassingly admit that I was having a tough time ‘connecting’ and getting into ‘the zone’…’Dunya’ has truly ensnared me from all angles?.
Yesterday, already a few days into the Ashra, the symbols still weren’t up and I had essentially given up and decided to skip the ritual this year. I just didn’t have it in me…after work, after pick ups and drop offs, etc I was thoroughly exhausted, not feeling ‘it’ and was barely even making it to mosque awake; there was just no time or importance for this.
As I was driving between work and pick ups and drop offs, my mom called. We chatted for a bit and she asked if I had put up the banners. I embarrassingly said no and told her I was going to skip it this year; it was too late anyways.
In the way that Mothers do, she listened to my reasons and my state of mind, then gently advised in the way only she can, ‘Beta, do whatever you need to do, do whatever you can, but don’t ever leave Husayn a.s. He never left you’
It struck a chord, so I dutifully went to find all the banners and began cleaning them off and putting them up. It was done…but I still didn’t feel a sense of fulfillment. After all, I wasn’t ‘connected’.
That fulfillment came today. I had slept in and missed my morning meeting, so was ‘stuck’ working from home…if I had began driving to work when I got up I would have missed any subsequent conference calls. They day had not even begun and I was already behind the proverbial ‘8 ball’…Great.
Just around Zuhr time, I heard a gentle knock at the door. I opened it to find a small elderly lady who was struggling to stay standing, leaning on her cane. She stood there with tears streaming down her face, pointing to the banners, saying ‘Husayn, Husayn!’
I was stunned, I’ve never seen her before, and I couldn’t understand what she was saying, but I knew I had to let her in. I led her in and took her upstairs to the namaz room, where, upon seeing the Alam of Abul Fadhl, made her way quickly over to it, grasped it and began to wail in Farsi. She had put all her entire weight and strength completely upon Abul Fadhl…but the Alam remained standing; unwavering ?
All I saw in her eyes was focus, faith and determination…I couldn’t understand anything she was saying but yet I knew in my heart exactly what she was saying. It was the language of love, sacrifice, doubtless, unquestionable faith, of wilayah…and it was the most beautiful dialogue between a servant and her Master that I had ever witnessed.
I stood there watching her, crying like a child as she moved from the alam, to the turbahs, to the tasbihs, to the banners, touching each item, holding it to her heart, murmuring words of yearning and grief and then doing it all over again…for well over an hour.
Here I was, with everything at my disposal, complaining that I couldn’t ‘connect’ and look how Imam guided her, His servant, who had NOTHING, to the connection she was yearning for! This lady was an absolute inspiration and ignitor of ‘connection’.
Truly Imam is generous, truly His ways are not understood!
This has to have been one of the most humbling and eye opening experiences of my life.
In my very broken Farsi (and the help of Google translate) I was able to learn from her that she moved here 6 months ago and is staying with distant relatives who do not commemorate the Tragedy or know where the mosques are as they do not practice. She has been yearning for Husayn a.s. But doesn’t know where majalis are being held. She was yearning for Husayn and Husayn Himself came to her Alhamdulillah❤️
We parted ways, both with tears streaming down our faces…united only by the Love for Husayn.
We consistently hear, during these nights about the ‘Universality’ of Husayn…how Husayn belongs not only to us but to everyone. I have believed that Husayns’ legacy is such, that he has no need for us to advocate for him. This event has truly proved that for me. It has let me see that his intervention is nothing but divine. His unique connection to Allah swt has already cemented his legacy and how it will be spread in a divine manner…these affairs are truly not ours to manage.
Thank you Mom Shamim Haji for persuading me to keep my dying flame alive ❤️.
InshaAllah May we all develop such love and yearning for Husayn a.s. in our hearts as this beautiful visitor of mine today has ?