Lots of research has gone into this well-written article!
Here’s a snippet:
“As per the title, the child is “The Master” for the first 7 years and this means that formal or strict standards should not be rigorously implemented, particularly in terms of Islamic rituals. How many of us have had the Quran Hifz inculcated into us from the age of 4/5 and onwards or fasting the long hours or knowing the 4 rakaat prayers by say, age 7? When in Surah Baqara (2:256) Almighty Allah Azawajal, tells us that “There is no compulsion in religion”, why do we compel our children to follow rituals so stringently? I am by no means saying that they should not learn the Quran, attempt fasting or know how to pray Salaat. However, it should be proportionate to their age and development. We should explain and inform children, that when they think of Allah – that Allah’s name becomes synonymous with LOVE and MERCY and not FEAR and SHAME. When I was growing up,I learnt a lot when I was young due to fear and peer pressure – not the best way to teach! It was drilled into me by well meaning parents and Islamic classes. Is it time to ease up a little?”
And this is some great research to back up Islam’s take on no-dating! Teens who don’t date may be more well-adjusted and less depressed, new study find: https://abcnews.go.com/Health/teens-dont-date-adjusted-depressed-study-finds/story?id=65486471
Some of the traditional methods of raising children in Tarim (Yemen). This is really beautiful.
Women expecting children would ensure every morsel going into their mouths was halal. Breastfeeding mothers would repeatedly recite Ayah al-Kursi, Surah al-Falaq, Surah al-Nas and du’as of protection over their babies.
When a child first began to speak it would be taught to say:
رَضِيتُ بِاللهِ رَبّاً، وبِالإِسْلامِ دِيناً، و بسيِّدِنَا مُحَمَّدٍ صلى الله عليه وسلم نَبِيَّاً ورَسُولاً
‘I am content with Allah as my Lord, with Islam as my religion, and with our Master Muhammad ﷺ as my Prophet and Messenger.’
Parents would teach their children the importance of making good intentions and what intentions to make just as they would teach them how to recite Surat al-Fatiha.
Parents would teach their children to call upon Allah in every situation. If a child asked for something, his parents would tell him to perform wudu, pray two rak’ats and then ask Allah to fulfil his need. After he had done this, they would give him what he wanted and tell him that Allah had answered his prayers.
Each child would be allocated a specific task. For example, one child would buy things from the shops, another would clean the house and another would serve guests.
Parents would wake up young children in the last part of the night to accustom them to being awake at that time. Fathers would take their young sons to the mosque at that time.
Parents would hold family gatherings in their houses on a daily or weekly basis. They would recite a portion of the Qur’an and read from the books of fiqh and hadith. They would conclude the gathering with du’as and salawat.
Parents would gather their children together before blessed days or months, such as Ramadan, and ask them what good deeds they planned to perform. For example, they would ask them how much of the Qur’an they would recite and how much charity they would give.
When one of their sons reached maturity, the father would hold a gathering to which he would invite the scholars and elders of the community. He would inform his son that he was now legally responsible and that he now had two angels who were recording his good and bad deeds.
Parents would give more attention to the education of girls than boys because girls would spend the greater part of their time in the domestic sphere. In reality, educating and nurturing a woman is educating and nurturing an entire nation.
Parents would marry their children as soon they were ready to ensure they did not commit any acts of disobedience. May Allah bless our children immensely and grant them every goodness in this world and the next.
Credit: KQZ Institute
Lots of nuggets in these clips:
In the next video, the first part is especially poignant for teens living in the West – I remember something similar from my own teenage years where I would listen to friends talking about how drunk they got at a party, threw up in plant pots and made a fool of themselves in general and how they regretted it the next day, etc. Was (and still am!) so grateful to have such an amazing religion that stops us from going down that destructive path.
In line with making gatherings meaningful in Ramadan, here’s another idea! Last Ramadan, my 11 year old daughter and I held a joint sehri!
There were 6 girls and their mums… as they came in, they were given a sheet of questions to fill out – the mother sheet was different to the daughter’s one – and they weren’t allowed to look at each others! Here is a copy of the sheets.
They also filled out a little slip of paper each – for the girls, the question was: What’s one thing you find hard to discuss with your mother? and for the mums, the question was: What’s one thing you wish your daughter would talk to you about? No names were placed on these to allow safety for both parties to put down any topic they wanted! Here is a copy of the sheet.
We then put these aside and got to the fun stuff 🙂
First up was an obstacle course where each mother-daughter pair was tied together (literally), as if in a three-legged race. Each pair then had to complete an obstacle course which was timed, and the mother-daughter pair that did it in the quickest time, won! The course included bouncing a ball each 5 times, maneuvering the ball in and out of the cushions, lifting the hula hoop over and under the pair together and then running back to the start!
Next was a game where the mums were one team against the daughters. It involved a lot of skittles on a plate, a spoon, and no hands! Mums and daughters faced each other across the plate with only a spoon in their mouths, and the task was to use the spoon to lift as many skittles off the plate and on to a bowl in 1 minute. The group that got the most skittles at the end, were the winners. I am proud to say that the mums beat the daughters for this one 😉
The final game played was a lego communications exercise. Each person received an envelope full of lego pieces – each mother-daughter pair had an identical pack. They then had to put their backs against each other so they couldn’t see each other. The daughters then had 1 min to make a lego creation with what they had, then they had a few minutes to explain their creation (using words/description only – no visuals!) so that their mums could recreate their creation. The mother-daughter pair with the closest resembling creation won! Lots of lessons on communication were extracted from this – such as how simple words can be misunderstood, how communication needs to be as clear as possible, and how shouting to make yourself understood doesn’t help!
We then moved on to the highlight – foooood 🙂 – and while we ate we opened up the small chits they anonymously filled out right at the beginning, and started discussing the issues that came up – things like puberty, friendships, school, etc. Alhamd a fruitful and varied discussion was had!
Finally, last on the agenda was using the sheets they had filled out right at the beginning to see how well mothers and daughters knew each other! The aim was just to have fun and be lighthearted while we learnt about each other, as opposed to test the pair! Each mother-daughter pair took a turn sitting on the sofa and being the centre of attention. I then looked through their sheets and asked them random questions based on it – i would ask the daughters from the mum’s sheet, e.g. what’s your mum’s worst chore to do around the house? and vice versa, e.g what’s your daughter’s favourite movie? We only did about 3 questions each before moving on to the next pair. Each mother-daughter used their time on the hot spot well, cudding close and some very sweet photos were taken during this time!
And so ended a lovely evening where mums and daughters enjoyed quality time with each other, learning more about each other, as well as getting to know the other mums and daughters in the group too!