Lots of practical ideas that we can apply with our children…
*As shared on WhatsApp*
Etiquette Towards the 12th Imam (a.s)
Sheikh Jaffer H. Jaffer – 15th Shaban 1439
10 Etiquettes that we can do daily in our life that can create a bond between us and our Imam.
1. Say Salaam to our Imam every single day. As soon as you wake up say salaam to him. Or for example in sheikh Jaffer’ s house they set an alarm every single day at 3:13 pm and when the alarm goes on the entire family says salaam to Imam Mahdi (a.s). We need to accustom our children and ourselves to say Salaam to him.
2. Every good deed that we do, we make intention to Allah( s.w.a) that we send 51% of the thawaab to the Imam of our time. The Imam should be getting more then what we are getting. We can be more generous then this if we want to. We don’t have to keep it at 51% . You can say for example I am sending 90% or 99%. That’s how we can gift to our Imam.
3. Whenever we go to Mosque, as we leave the house we need to send an invitation to the Imam that: “ Oh Imam come and join us to the program today”. Every act of sadness( wafaat) or happiness ( khushali), we want to be participating with our Imam thus we send him an invitation to join us.
4. Our homes need to be prepared for the coming of our Imam. That means nothing haram or questionable is happening in our house. Our house need to be ready all the time. It can’t be like if Imam knocks on our door and we are like give us 5 mins. Some cool things that people do to prepare for the Imam is for example on the dining table there is always a spot empty where no one sits and they say this is the Imam’s spot. When he comes, he will sit there.
5. We need to take out sadaqa all the time for the protection of our Imam and for his speedy return. We should be taking out sadaqa as often as possible specially if we are broke because we will get 10 fold if not more, back. The niyyat can be: “Oh Allah I am taking out sadaqa for the protection of my Imam and my family Qurbatan illallah”.
6. When in times of difficulty, call out the Imam, reach out to him. We sometimes forget him. We call out to Allah(s.w.a), we will say Ya Ali madad ect.. All these things are great but call out our Imam too: “Yaa Sahibaz Zamaan adrikni, help me”.
7. Visit places that he would visit and avoid places that he would avoid. We know the Imam would visit cemeteries so we go there too. We know the Imam would visit mosques, so we go to mosques. We can watch a mosque program online but our Imam might be at mosque so we need to go there to spend time with him. We might not recognize him but he is there. The Imam would visit sick people so we visit sick people. The Imam would go for ziarrat so we go for ziarrat. All with the desire to be in places where Imam would be. We should also avoid places where he would not be there. Do you see the Imam walking on the beach with everybody half dressed ? Do you see your Imam walking in places where people are not dress appropriately? So then we avoid those places too. If we look in Fiqh it says that we are allowed to go to restaurants that serve alcohol but serve halal meat – let’s elevate that: would my Imam go to that restaurant? No. Then why should I go to that restaurant?
8. Ask Allah in every single Salaat to give you an opportunity to meet the Imam. We should have the desire to meet the Imam and should ask Allah for that opportunity.
9. We need to constantly purify our hearts. All our moral vices that we have, we need to clean them out so that our hearts can recognize our Imam when he comes. The Ulamas of deen tell us that we have two pairs of eyes. The physical pair of eyes and the eyes of the heart. The eyes of the heart when they become purified it is those eyes that will recognize the Imam. It’s not the physical eyes that will recognize him because we have never seen him so how will we recognize him? It’s like talking to a person on the phone and having an image of them and then when you meet them they look totally different from what you had imagined. Same thing with the Imam we picture him this way or that way. But the eyes of the heart will actually be able to recognize him.
10. We need to reflect each and every day if we are any closer of being the servant of the Imam. To help us reflect on ourselves, we can look into the Hadith of our 6 th Imam(a.s) who, when asked by the people why he was constantly talking about Salman Farsi, said not to call him Salman Farsi but refer to him as Salman e Muhammadi . He said to them: “Do you know why I remember him so often?Because he had 3 traits: 1. Salman preferred the desire of Imam Ali over his own desires. 2. He loved poor people and preferred them over those who had wealth and riches. 3. Due to his love for knowledge and love towards those who possessed knowledge like ulemaas. He would always attach himself with those who had knowledge. These are the 3 Characteristics that makes me talk about Salman all the time”. Imagine what that means; If we had those characteristics then the Imam would talk about us all the time:)
- Below is a Activity Booklet on the 12th Imam – great for children up to 12! Something for them to also do while trying to stay up on the 15th of Shabaan perhaps?!
To download, simply click on the link: shabanactivitybooklet (Author unknown)
- Here are a series of 5 mini-books on the Imam (created by Tasneem Mumen)
Yesterday, the Madressa here in Stanmore had a lovely party for 15th Shabaan, with lots of party food (of course!), a short video on the birth of the Imam, a little talk and the highlight of the day – a puppet show!
Check out the full script here – it was a bit hit with the kids!
Buzz Ideazz was at a fundraiser for Sudan over the weekend, which combined celebrations for 15th Shabaan with a very worthy cause! Why not organise something in your areas? Check out the photos below 🙂
Last year we did a whole series on how to help our children develop a lasting relationship with our Imam. We will add to the series this year with some more ideas, Inshallah!
We received this lovely surprise today – a family sharing the love and joy of this day through a plate of fun!
The letters spell LABAYK – as the mum said: “the kids spent so much time saying it as they iced it, the know it by heart now.”
Labayk, Ya Imam!
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!
- This is also a sweet one by Towards Jannah:
- And here’s another:
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
My favourite English nasheed about the Imam so far is Al-Ajal, Al-Ajal by Abbas Bandali:
This cartoon nasheed is beautiful:
Voices of Passion have English ones also:
Path to Ascension also has one or two if you have the CD (not available online yet).
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:
- 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. Print out and talk it over with your little ones, and get them to colour it in for tonight!
Ariza By Islam From The Start
Ariza By Muslim Kids
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 🙂