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.
Dhikr is very highly emphasised this month. Why not gift them a tasbeeh if they don’t have one already, and keep it near their bed as a reminder to do dhikr just before they go to sleep.
1. Asking for forgiveness – The older ones can recite Astaghfirullaha wa as-aluhu tawba. (I seek forgiveness from Allah, and I pray He accepts my repentance.) whereas little ones can simply be encouraged to say i’m sorry for every bead, and think about something they may have done wrong.
2. Repeating Laa ilaha illAllah (There is no God but Allah). Share this awesome hadith with them! The Holy Prophet said that if we recite it 1000 times, Allah will grant us 1000 rewards and houses in heaven. Ask them to imagine this as they are reciting!
3. For older children, the following dhikr can be done: The Prophet said that we should recite Astaghfirullahal-ladhee laa ilaaha illaa Huw, wahdahu laa shareeka lah, wa atoobu ilayh (I ask forgiveness from Allah Whom there is no God besides He, and He has no partner, and I repent before Him) 400 times. The reward of that will be the same as 100 martyrs would receive!
And let’s not forget to do these dhikrs ourselves Inshallah!