I absolutely love this idea and thought it would be the perfect end to our series on the Imam! Jummah Mubarak 🙂
“This was a project initiated by Stanmore Jaffery’s and promoted by Madressa too. It started off by putting the abbreviations on a wrist band to be a reminder to ask yourself: What would Imam Mahdi (aj) do if he were in your situation? My boys had come across this idea from annex lectures.
So one half term when they were all really playing up and continuously bickering and driving me crazy, I sat them down and told them they were really upsetting me and that if it continued I would cancel all their half term plans which they were so excited about.
Soon after that I heard the older two calling a meeting in the sitting room. They all emerged with WWIMD written on their wrists! It was very sweet as they explained that every time they would fight and argue they would think themselves and more importantly, remind each other what would Imam Mahdi do.
I was so touched and overjoyed. This was a classic example of God consciousness, Amr bil maroof and bringing the !mam into our lives! It worked very well for the next few days and was a pleasure to hear them use the phrase all the time and check themselves.
Kids being kids and human nature as it is, it didn’t last forever. However, it still is a sentence we use often now: What Would Imam Mahdi (aj) Do?”
This is a perfect tool for auditory learners!
For younger children, these short and sweet rhymes by QFatima on the Imam are great!
- Here are some more:
I Will Follow
Who will I follow? Who will I follow?
Everyday, Every day.
I will follow Mahdi, I will follow Mahdi,
All the way, All the way.
When kids tease me, When kids tease me,
For doing right, For doing right.
I will follow Mahdi, I will follow Mahdi,
With all my might, With all my might
✨Twinkle twinkle Hidden Star✨
✨How I wonder where You are✨
✨Among us but we can’t see✨
✨O Imam come set us free✨
✨Twinkle twinkle Hidden Star✨
✨How I wonder where you are✨
My favourite English nasheed about the Imam so far is Al-Ajal, Al-Ajal by Abbas Bandali:
This cartoon nasheed is beautiful:
Call Imam Mahdi:
Voices of Passion:
Crafts are an amazing way to get hands-on learning underway… Here are some examples:
- Birth of Imam Mahdi (as) Collage:
“We started with a big piece of cardboard (roughly A2 size) that we had lying around from a recent delivery. The piece had protruding bits at the top and bottom that added to the 3D effect of the final finished collage. To create the background for our collage, we painted the cardboard using a mixture of metallic gold poster paint mixed with a roughly equal amount of pva glue. We then sprinkled colourful sequins and glitter all over the paint while still wet and then left it all to dry and set.
For the cutout of Imam Hassan Askari (as) and Bibi Nargis Khatoon (as) holding the newly born Imam Mahdi (as), we used a part of the image linked to below:http://amira8.deviantart.com/art/Birth-of-Imam-Reza-188217408
We printed out the image on card stock, which FZ then painted using her watercolour paints and glitter. For the cutout of angel Jibreel, we used a part of the image linked to below:http://ourpreciouslambs.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/annunciation.jpg
We printed out the image on card stock, which FZ then painted using her watercolour paints and glitter. We stuck pieces of thermocol to the backs of the cutouts (creating a pop out effect) before gluing them into place against the gold backdrop using pva glue.
I had explained to FZ at length the analogy of Imame Zamana being like the sun behind the clouds. The sun, when hidden behind clouds, still gives us warmth, light, causes the plants and us to grow and flourish, and without which there would be no life! In the same way, our Imam, though hidden, still watches over us, sees our actions and loves and cares for us. He comes to our aid when we need him (told her the story of Syed Amili being lost in the desert and how Imam comes to his rescue…). We represented this analogy at the top of the collage, using cut out card shapes to create the sun and clouds. We used gold, silver, red and green glittery strips for the sun’s rays and to show the noor emanating from the blessed trio below.
FZ imagined that when our Imam was born, flowers began springing up everywhere (so we put in some felt flowers), all of Allah’s creatures rejoiced (so we added felt butterflies, caterpillars, sparkly animal and fish stickers to the bottom of the collage, although they may be hard to see! Lots and lots of yummy treats were given out (so we used sparkly stickers of cupcakes, ice lollies etc. at the top around the sun and clouds).
We also affixed tinsel decorations at the top and bottom of the collage using drawing pins. FZ practiced her handwriting skills by doing a small write up on our Imam on coloured card that we then cut out and stuck into place.”
2. I also loved this idea from Islam From The Start (www.islamfromthestart.com):
“We made a chart, painting some clouds and a sun. We plan to use it to both visually reinforce the hadith and record our remembrance of Imam every morning. With 40 dots around the sun, everyday after completing the list, the little one will draw a line from the sun to a dot making a ray. Inshallah by Eid we can celebrate a new habit with the remembrance of Imam shining a little bit brighter in our hearts!” Link with details here.
3. Fireworks and T-Shirts:
“We had been discussing the lives and some of the inspiring lessons learnt from our beloved Imam Husayn, Hazrat Abbas, Imam Zainul Abedin and Imame Zamana, and celebrated their wiladats with a couple of fun activities, alhamdulillah.
Using the analogy of beautiful, colourful, pure hearts filled with the love of Allah swt, His Guidance, goodness and light as opposed to ones blackened with sins, we discussed how these 4 awesome personalities, and our Prophets and Imams in general, personified all that is good and were like bursts of colour, spreading out over and lighting up our world with their teachings and their true followers (us!) and how, when Imam e Zamana returns, the entire world will be a haven of beauty and peace.
To visualise this concept, we had fun doing a ‘fireworks in a jar’ experiment! http://www.icanteachmychild.com/2012/05/fireworks-in-a-jar/
Next, FZ designed a t-shirt! She used different coloured sharpies to draw designs on a white t-shirt, using a variety of closed and open ended shapes. We then sprayed surgical spirit (available at pharmacies) using spray bottles, evenly all over her design, and then sprayed some more in the middle of each closed shape. We stood back and watched the magical effect of the colours spreading and blending into one another, beautifully transforming the initial designs into a lovely colourful background.
We talked about how Allah swt says, of our beloved Prophet saw and his household, in Hadith al Kisa: ‘By My Honor and Glory, O My angels! O Residents of My Heavens, verily, I have not created the erected sky, the stretched earth, the illuminated moon, the bright sun, the rotating planets, the flowing seas and the sailing ships, but for your sake and love’ Using fabric glitter pens and markers, FZ added to the t-shirt design by drawing our family, with herself at the centre, holding hands, surrounded by the colourful Love and Guidance of Allah swt through His Chosen Ones, as well as the sky, stars, Earth, sun, moon, planets and seas.
The end result was colourful, wearable art to remind us of these beautiful personages of the family of our beloved Prophet saw, their status as Allah’s Chosen Ones, and how we must strive hard to model our lives upon their example, Insha Allah. (Placing pieces of cardboard inside the t-shirts during the spraying of surgical spirit helps stop the colours seeping through to the back of the t-shirts).
For Shab e Baraat, I also introduced FZ to the idea of defining and being accountable for her personal goals for the coming year, to be revisited next year, Insha Allah.”
4. This visual reminder of how to prepare for the Imam:
I’m loving all the original ideas there are around! Check out these lovely games to teach the children concepts about the Imam:
- These Kahoot! Games are a great way to get kids of all ages learning!
- As is this Jeapordy Game (shared on academyofislam.com), and this one – needs reading of this QFatima timeline of the Imam as prereading (shared by masjid-e-ali.org)
- This awesome Mu’min Spy Kit to help them learn about the Imam as a secret mission.
- This matching/memory game on the Imam.
- How we should respond immediately when he calls us (By Towards Jannah):
Here’s a really cool game to play with your little ones. It really helps explain how Imam Zamana (atfs) is HIDING, we need to eagerly WAIT for his call and RUN to be with him when he calls
You can adapt it, but this is how we played it.
– Set a running timer/stop watch at random times
– Hide it in random places of the house
– Get kids to wait for it to ring
– Get them to follow the sound and find it.
– Whoever finds it gets to recite Dua e Faraj!
The eagerness will naturally set it in. After the game explain to them how Imam is in hiding, and how eager we should get (just as they did during the game) and RUN towards his call. (Inspired by Islam From The Start)
- Balloons Quiz (By Islam From The Start):
“The little one was very excited to wake up to a balloon banner across his room! He loves popping balloons so I filled each of the 12 with a question about Imam Mahdi (ATF) to help summarise our learning. Each bang brought down a shower of confetti and looking for the rolled up question paper among it became a game in itself! To add to the noise and mess, the correct answer was rewarded with a party popper.
The little one enjoyed it so much, he asked to do it again, eagerly answering the questions once more and remembering the ones he hadn’t got first time around. Its activities like this that remind me how important it is at this age to make learning fun. I can’t imagine that if I’d have done it straight from the book, he’d have asked to be asked again! Alhamdullilah :)”
Here is the link to the questions and more details.
- Light Behind The Curtains (By Towards Jannah)
A game to help explain how is he behind the curtain and how our deeds affect his light reaching us! These visual methods will probably be remembered long after our verbal explanations have been forgotten…
- How about this mini-book and game by Teaching Young Muslims?
- Activity 1: Follow a Path to Imam Mahdi (as)
Imam Mahdi (as) should be our example in life– by following in his steps we will become more and more closer to Him.
Before class set up a path with colored footprints on the floor and end the path at the craft of Sun or name of Imam Mahdi decorated with daffodil flowers. On the back of each footprint write one of the following words: kind, wise, forgiving, friendly, giving, thankful, honest, helpful, patient, neighborly, trustworthy, respectful, caring, pray, tell the truth, share, read Quran, etc. Tape the footprints to the floor so that the words don’t show. As the children arrive let them follow the paths.
Tell the children to go quietly and pick up a footprint off the floor and bring it back to the circle. Call on one child at a time to bring you his or her footprint. Turn it over and read what is written on the back. Then ask the child if he or she can think of a way he or she can do whatever is written on the foot. For instance, if the word is kind, ask the child if he/she can think of a way he/she can be kind. When a child thinks of an idea tape the footprint on the bulletin board display or let him tape it on the board. You can also write the child’s name on the footprint “Ali can be ___”.
(Give each child a turn. Try to keep the children on positive things. For instance, instead of saying don’t lie, say Imam Mahdi is truthful.)
Did you know that there are two different ways you can follow in someone’s steps? One way is to walk behind the person and follow where he is going. (Have the students stand up in a circle and walk behind you as you walk in a circle. When they are all seated again and quiet continue with the lesson.)
Another way to follow in someone’s steps is to act like them, or do what they have done, or to follow their example. The Quran tells us that we should obey and follow our Prophet and 12 Imams’ steps [4:59]. Who is the Imam of our time? We can’t walk behind Imam Mahdi but we can follow in his steps by acting like him. This verse is saying that Imam Mahdi should be your example.
Imam Mahdi is kind, forgiving, friendly, brave, generous, thankful, honest, helpful, patient, neighborly, trustworthy, respectful. He always tells the truth. He shares. He prays a lot. He reads Quran.
We can not be perfect all the time like Imam Mahdi but we should try to do the things that he likes. We all make mistakes and do wrong, but if we are sorry for what we have done and ask Allah to forgive us, he will. If you have a hard time following Imam Mahdi, you can ask Allah to help you.
- Activity 2: Play “Follow the Leader”
Have your students stand in a circle. Explain to the students that you are playing follow the leader and that their leader is the child standing to their right. So they do whatever that child does after he does it. Start by turning to the child on your left.
Say, “Imam Mahdi is friendly” and shake the child’s hand. That child will do the same thing to the person on his left until it goes all the way around the circle and back to you. Start another round by saying,
1. ” Imam Mahdi is helpful.” Bend over and pretend to tie the child’s shoe lace.
2. ” Imam Mahdi is generous.” Pull money, food or something out of your pocket and give it to the child.
3. ” Imam Mahdi is kind.” Smile at the child.
4. ” Imam Mahdi reads Quran.” Open Quran and read and hand it to the child.
5. ” Imam Mahdi thanks Allah” – Hold up your hands and say “Alhamdulillah”
5. “Imam Mahdi praises Allah” – Hold up your hands and say “Subhanallah”
6. ” Imam Mahdi cares about others” – Pat the child’s shoulder.
7. ” Imam Mahdi does Sajdah” – Go to Sajdah in the direction of Qiblah.
8. ” Imam Mahdi prays for us” – Do Qunut.
9. ” Imam Mahdi loves us” – Give the child a hug.
To finish say, ” Imam Mahdi shares”. If you have a snack time hand out cookies to everyone.
If you have older students you can begin another round while the children are still working on the previous one.
- Arizas for the night of 15th Shabaan:
Check out these wonderful simplified arizas for little children. Different ones may suit your children at different ages. Here they are in ascending age order:
Ariza By Towards Jannah.
Instructions: Cut out the images and get your little ones to stick them next to the Dua statements. Make it more meaningful for them by sticking pics of them, family or familiar places they know e.g usual supermarket. The last one is kept empty for the child’s more personal dua.
Ariza By Islam From The Start
Ariza By Muslim Kids
Ariza by Zahra Trust
Ariza (Author unknown)
Ariza for adults
- Have a grand send-off for the ariza:
As arizas are recommended to be placed in water (river, well, etc), this could also be a perfect way to teach that to the children. I’m not too sure what happens to floating lanterns but I’m guessing they eventually go under water? It could also be an amazing 15th Shabaan ritual, as mentioned by another mum!
Check out this site on how to make them at home:http://howtomakepaperlanterns.weebly.com/
Here is what one mum said: “We had a grand send off for FZs areeza to Imame Zamana at our local woodland lake. Inspired by the wonderful, lush, blooming natural beauty all around us, we discussed Imam Ali’s Hadith about what it will be like when our Imam returns:
‘When our Qaim makes his advent, the skies will send down their rain; the Earth will bring forth its produce; enmity will be removed from the hearts of the servants; wild animals and beasts will live (in peace) with one another and will not stampede each other; (and life will be such that) if a woman wanted to walk from Iraq to Shaam (Syria), then every step she took will be on luscious, green grass and she will be able to display her adornments (jewelry etc) (and not a single person will try and steal them from her)- no animal will attack her, nor will she have any fear about them (the wild beasts).’ Imam Ali (a.s.)
We even imagined beautiful flowers and greenery springing forth at Imam’s every step, and the Earth going back to its natural state, healing itself from everything human beings have done to harm it (deforestation, extinction of species, pollution, overfishing etc.)”
- Why only write to the Imam once a year? Check out what one mum has been up to:
“We’ve been writing Arizahs recently. Very short, usually stickers and drawings to let the kids express something to our Imam. In this one, z wanted to send Dora to Imam because Dora has a map which Imam can use to get to us quickly. The Arizahs are on a scented writing pad, and we write them after we recite Quran on Fridays, so we don’t forget. We hang onto these Arizahs, its nice to look back at the previous pages. We’ve used scented writing pads to make it special and since ‘the sense smell’ enhance formation of long-term memories.”
What a great way to help develop connections with the Imam every week 🙂
- Here is a book Buzz Ideazz has created for this very purpose. Interspersed throughout is information about the Imam, with plenty of space for letters, thoughts and duas!
A wonderful idea implemented in our Madressa program today throughout the day was Show and Tell. The children brought in little bits and bobs about the Imam and shared them with the whole class.
Another idea using a similar concept of items is a Mystery Box. This can be done during circle time for bigger groups or just with your own children. You (or ask a child to) pull out items one by one that related to the theme or special person. As you take them out you explain the meaning or significance, and help deepen and broaden the children’s understanding of the theme or special person by attaching a visual and/tangible object to represent the different attributes of said theme/person. To make it more exciting, even with very young kids (2-5), you can put all items back in box and at the end of your session you can ask them to remember what items were in box. It’s a good way of seeing how much they picked up as well 🙂
Here are some ideas for items:
- A newspaper – to signify that Imam will come when there are lots of problems in the world and he will eliminate all of them.
- An Iranian coin/note (or picture) with Masjid-e-Jamkaran on it, where people gather on Tuesdays to try and meet the Imam.
- An Ariza and/or envelope – for us to write to him.
- A Zulfiqar necklace – as a reminder that when Imam comes, he will have different things belonging to Prophets/Imams of the past, including the sword of Imam Ali (as).
- Cut-out sun and cloud – to signify that although we can’t see him, just like the sun behind the cloud still gives us light and warmth, so the Imam still provides guidance and help.
- Tasbih – lots of Tasbihs recommended to be recited during this month
- A small Quran – place over our heads during the amaal
- Dua hands/dua book – as it’s the night of the duas/seeking forgiveness
- A small sleeping bag or pillow – We spend all night in duas and prayers til dawn
- A small telephone or cellphone – for calling friends or relatives to ask for forgiveness on this night
- A small cake – to represent a birthday
- A compass – for the “guided one”
- The number 12 – for the 12th Imam
- A little boy – how how old he was when going into occultation clouds
- Picture of someone standing up with head bowed – to represent how we bow out of respect for him
Friday is dedicated to Imam Mahdi (aj), and he will reappear on a Friday also.
Below are some ideas to make this day stand for our children so that they truly come to think of it as an Eid, and associate this happy day with the Imam 🙂
- Start off the day with a nice breakfast! Make sure they know it’s a breakfast treat for Jummah. Mine love crepes or pancakes 🙂
- Why not buy your child a small present today? Nothing big (am talking Poundland style!) – but just something to help them mark the day of Jummah Eid with a smile 🙂
- If you have some unopened birthday/Eid gifts in the cupboard (I don’t let them have them all in one go), maybe today’s the day you can let them choose one to open and play with!
- If your cupboards and bare and a trip to the shops is not possible, chocs and sweets work a treat – make sure you tell them you’re giving it to them for Jummah!
- Or better yet, take them for Friday prayers and give them the treat after to create the positive association that they can look back on fondly. This article explains it well!
- Some families save the treat baking for a Friday – a fun activity for them to as well as mark this day! (Idea shared by Tales of a Nest)
- Others make a point of reading an Islamic-themed book on this day in particular – one Jummah themed one is: Hakima and Hadi Go to Jum’ah by Kisa Kids. (Idea shared by Tales of a Nest)
- And then don’t forget all the usuals – cutting nails, ghusl, putting perfume on followed by a special Jummah handshake/kiss while you tell each other Jummah Mubarak.
- Call the grandparents/family just to wish them Jummah Mubarak too!
- Have them put some money in the charity box for the safety of the Imam
- Have them write a quick letter or note to the Imam! Here is a journal to help them do just that.
- As with the other days that are linked to the other Ahlul Bayt, there is a small ziyarat for our Imam that can be recited today: http://www.duas.org/WeeklyZiyarat/friday_z.htm
Check out what one mum did! She created a Jummah box with all the things they should be doing on that day as a reminder for the family 🙂
Have an awesome day, Inshallah 🙂
- Dua Ahad is a short dua that when recited, is a renewal of our covenant of allegiance to the Imam.
Why not switch it on every morning while the children are getting ready for school? It will hopefully familiarise them with the recitation, and even younger children can join in with the ending where it repeats three times: Al-Ajal, Al-Ajal Ya Mawlaa Ya Saahibuz Zamaan – Hurry! Hurry! Oh My Master, Oh Master of the time. In Iran, they switch on this dua as everyone is making their way to their classes, and when it comes to this bit, everyone stops and joins in – it’s a wonderful feeling!
Depending on the age of your child, you can explain why you are switching on this dua in particular, and especially explain the importance of the ending – of how we are waiting for him – hopefully it may lead to more discussions on him, why we are waiting, what he will do when he comes, etc.
If you’re like me, you are very likely to forget to switch it on! This morning I wrote myself a post-it and stuck it where I would see it to remind me – and still I switched it on too late to be effective! Inshallah will try again tomorrow 🙂
P.S. Imam Sadiq (a.s) narrates that “one who recites this supplication for 40 mornings; he will be accounted amongst the helpers of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s). And if he happens to die before the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s), Allah will raise him up from his grave so that he may assist the holy Imam (a.t.f.s). For every word that he recites in this supplication, Allah will grant him 1000 good deeds and will erase from his scroll of deeds 1000 sins”.
- Or how about teaching them to recite Dua Faraj just before leaving the house? Or even perhaps at night before bed? Here is a post which has the dua in Arabic, a video of the recitation as well as a link to an activity to help learn the meaning of the short Dua. And here is a link to a free printable of the dua, with simple English and pictures to help them remember the meaning!
Create a habit for the family to remember the Imam at the same time every day.
- One mum said: “My sister taught me we should also say salam to Imam Zamana (atf) holding our heads and when we wake up. So I have taught my daughter the same and now sometimes I forget but she always says salam to her Imam which is a reminder to me too! This has so many benefits: it reminds us of the presence of our imam in his occulation, our responsibilities to him when it time for his arrival and it sets a standard for our behaviour for the rest of the day.”
- Here is a great little tracker by Islam From The Start to remind children to say Salaam every morning, as well as give sadaqah for his safety, and to pray for his swift arrival.
- Another idea is to set the alarm for 3:13pm every day and have them remember the Imam at that time, while also making a dua to be part of his 313!
- I also remember Ummi bai Merali saying once in a lecture that when we come home from somewhere and as we stand in the doorway while waiting for the door to be unlocked, why not face kibla and say Salaam to our Imam at that moment?
The other day I saw the coolest thing which reminded me of that. I rang the bell at someone’s house and heard some recitation through the door. When I asked what it was, she said her doorbell was not a ring as such, but recited “Ya Mahdi” when pressed! How awesome is that? That way you remember him even when someone else comes home
P.S. Apparently the doorbell is available in Iran!
As the birthday of our Imam is coming up, I thought it might be nice to have a series on getting to know our Imam with our children, to help build their (and our!) understanding and relationship with him.
Idea 1: Watch these clips!
- This first one is a wonderful visual way to convey the birth of our Imam. It’s in Arabic but perhaps you could turn the volume off and read the translation out to the younger ones?
- Here is one about the 6th Imam giving information to Jabir about the 12th Imam, in particular about his name.
- Here is one by ABIS:
- And check out this interactive one!
- And this movie – Princess of Rome, about his mother. Full movie here.
- Here is some video lessons about the Imam:
- Here is a great documentary for older kids:
And Towards Jannah created a Kahoot! quiz based on the documentary as a way to reinforce the learning too!
Here are some interactive sessions on the Imam: