Over the half-term, the Children’s Islamic Library held an event where each group focussed on a book.
11-15 year olds:
First up, The Breadwinner
“In the half-term break, the Children’s Islamic Library organised a book club for 11-15 year olds to discuss a book called The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis. We were also going to watch an award-winning, animated movie based on the book. They recommended that we read the book before we came.
The Breadwinner is about an 11 year-old girl called Parvana in Afghanistan living under the strict Taliban law. Parvana’s dad had been wrongly arrested, and since women and girls were not allowed to go out on their own, Parvana had no choice but to dress up like a boy to earn a living for her family. Parvana had to be extremely cautious to keep her disguise a secret. I won’t give away anymore in case you haven’t read this book, and I highly recommend that you do.
As soon as we arrived in the annexe, we got on with watching the movie. Most people enjoyed the film, although we noticed a few differences between the book and the movie, such as missing characters and slight changes in the storyline. After the film, we all introduced ourselves, then went on to discuss the major themes and concepts dealt with in the book, such as courage, perseverance, resilience and consideration, and how the characters displayed these. Everyone expressed what they thought of it overall, and whether they liked it or not. Most people agreed that it was better to read the book before watching the film. Apparently, there is also a sequel, which I am really looking forward to reading.
It seemed to me like everyone thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon, and it was definitely a good choice of book for the book club. I can’t wait until the next one!”
By Jannah Virjee
7-10 year olds:
Next up, ‘Meet the Masumeen’:
“It was ‘the’ Friday afternoon I had been looking forward to since my mum told me I was going to go for the Children’s Islamic Library event.
Prepared and excited we arrived at the annex where we were asked to go upstairs to where our group was doing the Book review and activity based on the book titled “Meet the Masumeen,” which is about a class of children who have a magic rug and go into the past with their special teacher and learn about the Masumeen and their special qualities.
We were warmly greeted by Azra Aunty and settled down to hear her read the chapter on Imam Husain a.s in her eloquent voice. After that we watched a clip about the 14 Masumeen and then went on to do the activity which was making necklaces with attributes relating to each Imam. To do this we had to answer questions about the Masumeen which were around the room and collect all the different pieces related to them.
I really enjoyed my afternoon and came home having learnt a lot and sharing it with my family.
I thank the Children’s Islamic Library for organising this event and I look forward to attending more of their sessions in the future.”
9 years old
4-6 year olds:
And last but not least, Pip The Monster Lost His Heart:
The 4-6 year olds started off with a story reading session about Pip The Monster Who Lost His Heart but only managed to find it when he visited Kerbala and said “As Salaam Alayka Ya Aba Abdillah”
We realised Allah had blessed us with more intellect than Pip and although saying Salaam to our Imams is important, following them is also very important!
A multi sensory treasure hunt with four rations was laid out to enable all kids to engage in the activity
So off we went to search for four treasures that our beloved Imam Hussein (as) loved: Salaah, Quran, Istaghfar and Dua
The Salaah treasure Hunt station had pictures of Salaah actions to put in an order and kids had to guess that the actions were part of Salaaah. Only then they could collect the first piece of their heart.
Here the kids listened to some Quran recitation and had to guess it was Quran! Some kids responded back with their fav memorized suwer, after guessing a few suras they then searched for the second piece of their heart hidden under the Qurans.
Here the kids got to sniff and associate Istaghfar to a beautiful smelling perfume which takes away our bad smelly deeds. The third pieces of their hearts were hidden inside a Tasbih basket
Here kids had to decode the clue using letter codes. The secret message read: “Call Upon Me” and guess that Dua was their last and final clue which led to finding their last piece of heart, hidden inside Dua books.
With their heart all complete, they glued it on their special craft activity. Then they went on to design their own flags to take to Kerbala with them very soon one day InshA!
I loved this Facebook post. He is a great sporting role model!
Can’t stop thinking about when Conor offered Khabib alcohol at the pre-fight press conference and Khabib said, “I don’t drink.” Conor says, “Why don’t you drink? I bet you’re some buzz at parties you mad backwards c***!”
That had to have struck a chord with every Muslim kid in public school who said “I don’t drink, I don’t date, I don’t engage in premarital sex” and was met with jeers, weird looks, and made to feel like an overall outcast.
That’s why I love Khabib. Showed young Muslims that there’s nothing wrong with being an outcast in society of degenerates. At the weigh-in:
1) Conor strips down to his underwear to flaunt the body he’s worked so hard to get.
2) Women dolled up on stage and made to wear barely anything so that they may be objectified by the UFC’s majority-male fan base.
3) Everyone is drinking and hollering like rabid dogs.
In the midst of all that, Khabib shows up, fully-clothed with his head covered. Keeps his gaze averted from what he shouldn’t be seeing. The demeanor of a lion amongst a pack of rabid, barking dogs, and he publicly invokes the name of Allah, declaring himself an outcast who is a proud Muslim in the middle of this degeneracy. Then he proceeds to promise them that he’s going to tear their golden boy to shreds, and the following day, he fulfilled that promise, because a Muslim always keeps their promise.
A lesson to all the Muslim kids who’re tired of being made to feel like weirdos: don’t just go along with whatever the crowd says or does. Follow the path laid out for us by Allah and His Messenger ﷺ, beat them at their own game, and solidify yourself as the new standard for what it takes to succeed.??
I love the way this mum explained dhikr to her children – and her ideas for making it a part of their family life are lovely!
As seen on Facebook:
This past week my boys began a new Islamic Studies class. The teacher assigned them the homework of saying “astaghferullah” 100 times a day.
Alhamdulillah, we’ve been consistent in doing it every day. Yesterday, after we finished reciting together, I asked them if they knew why we did it.
They said to remember Allah and ask forgiveness.
I said, “But you are children, Allah doesn’t hold you accountable. So why should you do it?”
They shrugged and said they didn’t know.
I replied, “Well, one day in sha Allah you’re going to grow up and then Allah will hold you accountable, right? So, it’s very good to get in the habit of these things now to prepare you for later. Does that make sense?”
They said yes.
I then said, “There’s also another reason why doing this type of dhikr and dhikr in general is very good for you. When you can focus your mind on doing something by repeating it, it’s very good for your brain. Do you know why? Well, your brain is kind of like a muscle in that it needs exercise every day. Just like people spend hours in the gym doing “reps,” which is short for repetition, of different exercises or weightlifting because they are working out their body’s muscles, we need to also exercise our brain. Dhikr is a great way to do that. We focus on something and get very good at it and our brain gets stronger. It’s also very good for our hearts because anytime we call on Allah ﷻ’s name our physical and spiritual hearts, and our whole body actually gets healthier.”
In the digital age when an unprecedented amount of teens and youth, and even small children, are either addicted to devices, video games, television, or on very serious prescription medications for anxiety, depression, ADHD, and a variety of other mental health related issues, we need to empower our small children with ways to quiet their mind.
Dhikr is the best practice to teach mindfulness and meditation to children. If you haven’t already done so, I highly recommend that every parent do the following:
1. Buy individual prayer beads for every member of the household based on everyone’s color/bead preferences. You can even get them involved and excited by taking them shopping to buy their own prayer beads at a nearby Islamic bookstore or online if you don’t have one in your community!
2. Keep the beads in a special container somewhere in the house that is easily accessible to everyone.
3. Have dhikr circles daily (if possible) after one of the prayers or even before bed time.
4. Teach your children that they can do dhikr by themselves whenever they are sad, upset, sick, tired, etc. Teach them from an early age to call on Allah ﷻ (not just mommy or daddy) when they are not feeling happy.
5. Give them clear objectives and goals based on THEIR preferences. Some children might like doing simple tasbih like “alhamdulillah, subhanAllah, and Allahu Akbar,” where other children might want to do salawat an-nabi or astaghferullah. Give them options of which dhikr THEY like most and let them pick that one to start. Guiding them to do what their hearts incline to instead of what you assign to them is a much better way to encourage them in sha Allah.
May Allah ﷻ guide and protect all of our children and always keep their hearts close to Him. Amīn.