Over October half-term, the Children’s Islamic Library held a Najaf to Kerbala ‘walk’ for children ages 4 to 10. It was a beautiful few hours and the buzz in the hall was noticeable as children made their way from ‘Najaf’ to different mawkebs and finally arrived at ‘Kerbala’ in a moving procession. Below are the details!
Najaf: To set the children of on their journey towards Kerbala we got the children to visualise Najaf while gazing at a large poster (A1) of the golden dome of Imam Ali. We discussed who Imam was and why we would aspire to be like him. With that in mind, the children were encouraged to think about one good deed they could do regularly in honour of their walk. They left the city of Najaf in their groups taking out Sadaqa (which they were asked to bring with them) for their onward and upward journey.
Each group was assigned a ‘group leader’ (older children who were helpers for the day!), who helped guide them from mawkeb to mawkeb. The group leaders also talked to them about the walk, asking them if they were tired, and pointing out the various posters showing the distance to Kerbala, and psyching them up for their arrival to Imam… all in all, making the children feel like they were truly on the walk.
Flag Making Mawkeb: The children made flags for Imam Hussein using black card and bamboo sticks. With flourescent markers they wrote Ya Husayn on it, and decorated it with different crafty materials. They were encouraged to raise their flags high during their walk to symbolize their love and alliance with our Imam.
Taboot Making Mawkeb: Here the children learn what a taboot was, and how it was a symbol and a representation meant to be an emotional symbol it was. The children then all had a chance to actually make the taboot themselves.
Massage Mawkeb: Here, the children learnt how people beg to give zawwaar a massage to help their weary bodies.They learnt how to give of themselves unconditionally, just like the people in Iraq, who treat their guests with immense hospitality. The children had a lot of fun learning how to give themselves and others, a massage as well as the importance of resting and supporting others, in order to help themselves and others’ progress further. They were taught about pressure points and how to give a good massage, and then were encouraged to give each other a massage. Those that didn’t want to, gave themselves a massage instead!
Marsiya Mawkeb: At this mawkeb, the children took a break from all their ‘walking’ and sat down to remember Imam Husayn (as) through marsiyas. Books were on hand and the mawkeb leader helped them choose familiar marsiyas so that they could all take part.
Date Making Mawkeb: After melting blocks of pitted dates in a microwave, each child was given a small amount of dates and cornflakes to mix with their hands and roll into balls. As they did so, we talked about how dates are mentioned 20 times in the Holy Qur’an, and the different scientific benefits of dates! The children were so quick to volunteer their own thoughts and experiences about eating dates: “They make you strong” “Dates give you energy” “I love dates!” “My dada eats dates everyday” “My mummy and papa eat dates in Ramadhan”.
All the chatting, squeezing, squashing and rolling date balls worked up a good appetite and made for a brilliant sensory experience! We remembered to give thanks to Allah for the food we have and started with ‘Bismillah’. Most of the children were really keen to eat their date balls and all was quiet as they enjoyed the fruits of their hard work. Others immediately said ‘I don’t like dates’ but were brave and had a little taste anyway mashaAllah! Some of the little zawwaar took their date balls home to share with mums and dads.
Click here to download a poster on dates!
Sherbet Making Mawkeb: The zawwar were welcomed and it was explained to them that they would be making sherbet, an energising drink made from milk and rose syrup (for those allergic to milk, oat milk was provided as an alternative). We briefly touched upon the benefits of drinking milk. While the children were mixing their drinks, they were asked to recite surahs on it, and just before drinking their sherbet they were encouraged to say Bismillah and make the intention for Allah to help and give them the energy to complete their walk towards Imam Hussain.
Rest Mawkeb: Here the children were encouraged to take a break and rest their weary legs. They were told how it is an honour for people to provide a resting place for the zawwaar. We had lots of books on Kerbala, Imam Husayn (as), etc for them to peruse as they rested.
Maatam Mawkeb: At this mawkeb, the children recited maatams and remembered Imam Husayn (as) through their azadari. Children took turns to wave a flag as they all recited. Their maatam filled the hall with the remembrance of Aba Abdillah!
First Aid Mawkeb: Here, we treated all the Zawwars with contemporary medicine as well the all important Quranic Medicine. During our research we were AMAZED to find out how many common illnesses could be cured by the different Suras from the H.Quran. There are also Asmaul Husna that can be recited, but we focused on the Suras this time. Download the sheet of illnesses/cures here.
All Zawwars were given some yummy skittles as pain killers which they accepted without hesitation, except the really good ones who said they weren’t allowed by their mummies. Please find the cheat sheet we used. Please visit www.QFatima.com for lots of inspiration and resource.
Kerbala: After all the stations were completed, we gathered the children together and got them ready to raise their flags and walk together as they entered ‘Kerbala’, while listening to a maatam. As they entered, they faced a poster of Kerbala and spent a moment reflecting how it is Allah who gave them the energy and ability to witness this beauty. To Him belongs all praise and thanks and with this in mind, they all went into sajde e shukr.
Before taking their final few steps towards Aba Abdillah, they discussed how when we love someone, we want to be like them. If we love Aba Abdillah, how can we be like him? Can I be the first to say salaam, can I forgive when someone makes a mistake, can I lend a helping hand? The children took a moment to reflect and wrote their own personal pledges (examples were given to them below) to Imam on a little slip with the magic ink of their fingers.
With our pledges in one hand and our flags in the other, we recited a ziyarah and then we completed our walk towards the shrine (the poster) with chants of labbayk ya husayn! Labayk Ya Husayn!
Finally: The children then got a chance to reflect and write down one thing they loved most about doing the Najaf to Kerbala walk!
- To download all the Mawkeb signs, click here.
- To download all the Distance to Kerbala signs, click here.
Check out the video highlights here!:
Rcae is an ongoing complicated issue in today’s society – unfortunately – and it is important to discuss his with our children. It is not surprising that Islam teaches us lessons through the personalities of Kerbala on every aspect of life – including race. It is also another great example of how we can introduce such topics in school settings…
Here is what she said:
“October is black history month where black personalities are remembered for their contributions in all walks – history, science, etc.
I took this opportunity to raise awareness at school and decided to hold assemblies and wrote an article for the weekly newsletter. Year 10’s have also read and discussed this in their PSHCE lessons:
“Black History Month continues to remember John and Fizza.
While everyone was enjoying their half term holidays some staff and students of QPC School were part of over 1.5 billion people globally commemorating the martyrdom of personalities such as John and Fizza.
John was a Christian Abyssinian freed slave who was the companion of Husayn. John’s life teaches us a lesson of loyalty and true friendship. He defended his companion with his life.
Fizza was an Abyssinian princess who left her riches to join the struggle of Husayn. Fizza showed that age or worldly desires should not come in the way of your belief. She happily went from riches to rags becoming the backbone of the household of Husayn which was a symbol of peace, justice and good virtue.
The selfless sacrifice made by black Abyssinian personalities such as John and Fizza at the epic of Karbala have great lessons for us to learn amidst a world of discrimination and injustice.”
P.S. The photo is of one of a great series of books on the companions of Imam Husayn (as) in Kerbala!
Having recently come back from doing the walk, I thought it might be useful to share some resources and practical tips that will Inshallah help the trip go smooth and also have the kids benefit as much as possible!
After having recently come back from the Arbaeen walk/Ziyarat, I thought it might be helpful to put a few handy hints together for those who go in the future – both with and without kids!
Things to pack for the walk:
The bare minimum is always advised! Snacks are abound, but here are some things that came in handy:
- Tissues/Wipes – a travel pack
- A small anti bac, cream, essential meds
- V light bathroom slippers – sounds odd, but this saves a lot of hassle and dirt as you have to wear your shoes to the bathrooms at the mawkibs
- Face cloth – will come in handy if you need to have a quick shower at the mawkib
- Your own mohr/turbah – again, saves time and energy looking for some
- Hat/Sunglasses/small suncream – for women visors are great. They do sell them there but it’s probably easier to take one with you rather than spend time looking there.
- Disposable poncho for unexpected showers are handy
- Ipod/phone with downloaded lectures/Quran/Nauhas with earphones to listen to on the walk
- Tasbih counter – to do dhikr
- If you have kids who will not be able to use the Easter toilets, then disposable seat covers might be a good buy. Just pls don’t thrown them down the toilet as the flush systems are not very good and will get clogged up.
- For kids suffering from allergies/asthma, a mask is a good idea.
- High vis jackets for them to wear, or even to pin on the back of their bagpacks is a good way to keep them visible. Alternatively make them wear a bright top. Always have a pre-agreed mawkib for where you will meet in case you get separated if you have older kids.
- For older kids who might want to go ahead on their own, one family brought a walkie talkie set which was ingenious and allowed the parents not to worry too much if they were not in sight!
- A wrist link might be a good idea for younger kids.
- The group you are going with will usually give out lanyards or cards with hotel and contact no details, but it’s also a good idea to make sure they have full ID attached to them also.
- If you like tea, please do take a very light reusable cup! There is a lot of wastage of disposables and you can make a difference by filling your own cup at the mawkibs or during the walk. They will also come in VERY handy at the hotels!
- For fussy eaters, small milk carton and cereal boxes are handy for breakfast.
Things for the haram:
The best investment we made was foldable thin shoes which came in a small bag that you could store away in your purse when entering the haram, rather than having to go put your shoes in the storage.
- For women, these Roll Up Fold Pumps is a suggested buy: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/GYMNASTIC-SHOES-LEATHER-TRAMPOLINE-TRAINING-DANCING-CUSHIONED-PUMPS-IN-3-COLOURS/152503162969?hash=item2381e59859:m:mHbYLBjwMV9_ofA5wzt8JoA
- For men, similar shoes: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/GYMNASTIC-SHOES-LEATHER-TRAMPOLINE-TRAINING-DANCING-CUSHIONED-PUMPS-IN-3-COLOURS/152503162969?hash=item2381e59859:m:mHbYLBjwMV9_ofA5wzt8JoA
- For kids, this is a suggested buy:
For kids, workbooks and journals are great to keep them occupied. You might not have the time to sit and work too much at the haram, but they also come in handy for the hotel for when it’s too busy to go out. Also, if going to the haram, trying going to the higher levels which are big halls and usually have much more space than near the zarih area.
(recommended for 13 and over)
(recommended for 7 to 13)
Watch these video resources before you go:
I loved these ideas on how to continue the learning achieved in the majlis!
- These books were given out at the end of two majalis – can you guess what the topics were? That’s right – Keeping Promises and Good Intentions 😉 A little something to help children retain what they have learnt and more importantly, act on it!
One thing parents may face is the question of how to mark their children’s birthdays during these two months of Muharram and Safar. This was the first year we have had to deal with this and while we celebrated before Muharram started, my daughter wanted to take in sweets on the day to school, as is the norm.
So with the kind help of the creator of the Random Acts of Kindness cards that i shared a few days ago, we decided to do this! We waited until the 10 days were over and then gave out a little chocolate as well as the cards, with a little message on top about the commemoration of Ashura, in order to raise awareness about Imam Hussain (as).
Inshallah may it lead to lots of acts of kindness in the name of Imam Hussain!
So proud of the girls in the mosque classes, Mashallah!
After discussing the part in Ayatul Birr (Ayah 177 of Sura Baqarah) where it talks about the quality of righteous people giving away money that they love, we invited them to bring in some of their OWN money on Ashura day for charity…
They were told that any amount – or even no amount if they didnt want to! – would be fine, even a 1p coin. And yet they brought change, they brought notes, and they brought in large numbers! Alhamd they manged to raise over £140! Just shows how much we can do when we come together, even at the tender ages of 7 to 11 years…
May Allah make them of the righteous ones, Inshallah 🙂
A good way of narrating stories is using felt images. In this video,you are shown how to make your own Felt Story Bag to create many different stories on the Tragedy of Karbala.
P.S. Check out TanveerShares for other cool activities and posts: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKjeShaxzkrM_PX5lndPpMA
Alhamdulillah, the Muharram half-term event at the Children’s Islamic Library was so well attended, and all ages children ended up being very busy indeed!
Downstairs, children created a wall of mosaic art – each chose a word related to the event of Kerbala that meant something to them, and then went on to decorate this word using materials of their choice. These different mosaic tiles then went on a wall to make a magnificent display. The children also had access to all the books and games from the library – it was great to see all these materials being used by so many!
Upstairs the children aged 7 and older were honoured to have a workshop with renowned recitors! Muhammad Datoo (from Voices of Passion) led a nauha writing workshop, along with support from Muhammad Abbas Khakhi, Ali Panju and Sakina and Sabiha Rahemani (Rahemani Sisters). They chose a nauha ‘Countless Voices’ and then worked on creating a new verse or two for that in their groups and individually.
They then joined everybody else downstairs and after Story Time, some shared their new verses for all to hear. They recited beautifully and we look forward to a new generation of recitors for the Ahlul Bayt, Inshallah!
Until next time… 🙂
P.S. Oh yes! We specifically requested no Fatiha to be brought (as is usually the custom for Muharram majalis – see some thoughts on that here: https://www.buzzideazz.com/thoughts-on-fatiha-in-majalis/). Instead the library provided a simple fruit jelly pack, and we asked for people to bring in some loose change or contribute whatever they wanted for charity instead.
Alhamdulillah the response was great, with someone even bringing in their entire money box for us to break and use! We managed to raise a grand total of £122.35, which will be going straight to those in need, via Hujjat Jamaat, with the thawaab going to all the families’ Marhumeen Inshallah.
A huge THANK YOU to everybody!
To view the pictures, see: http://childrensislamiclibrary.com/photo_gallery_view.php?id=39
For children it can sometimes be difficult to find a way to explain what happened in Kerbala. Below are some resources you might find useful.
Here is a series on Muharram for children that were created during the lockdown period:
A Story Time based on the book: Yasser and Zahra Meet the Saviour of Islam
A puppet show series – short and good for younger kids:
What is Muharram?
Why attend the majlis of Imam Husayn (as)?
The Journey of Imam Husayn (a) from Medina to Kerbala:
A series of episodes for the 10 nights of Muharram:
A beautifully done video narrated by a little girl, on Imam’s final embrace:
The following is a series of powerful videos on each of the main people in Kerbala. The imagery is suitable for young children:
This video is an overview of the events, with a focus on the sermons that followed:
Sand Art – Kerbala:
This one is a general simple and short cartoon:
This is a 4 part series about the life of Abbas (as) in Arabic:
This is an English series called Heroes of Kerbala telling about the companions of Imam Husain (as):
The Unsung Heroes of Karbala:
On Kufa and the Entrance in to Shaam:
Some videos on Bibi Ruqayyah/Sakina:
On Imam Hussein (as):
What happened after the day of Ashura:
This is a series of Masaib that is easy to understand for teens too:
This animated cartoon of a latmiya where the father (Abather Alhalwachi) narrates to his son (Ammar Al Halwachi) the story of the children of Karbala:
An English cartoon recitation for children:
💚 Thank You O' HussainBy Basim KarbalaeiDirected by Abbas Yousefi
Posted by Ahlulbayt TV on Friday, 28 September 2018
Here is an activity idea:
And finally, this looks like a good full-length cartoon movie:
So lovely to see the youth leading the way in this!