Thoughtful Gift Ideas 38: The Thankful Diary

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Thankfulness is very much the ‘in’ thing right now, with studies showing how an ‘attitude of gratitude’ has so much benefits to our well being. This is something Islam has told us from the start, and we are encouraged to be thankful 5 times a day after every salaah!

This diary is a great gift to keep encouraging our children to reflect on what they are thankful to Allah for 🙂

The Happy Mum

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One to watch with your kiddos! Gratitude is everything 🙂

Fundraising Idea 11: Being Grateful Challenge of giving up comforts

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Sharing below this unique way of raising funds as well as gratitude in our little ones!

By Islam From The Start:

“To truly appreciate our blessings, we sometimes have to have them taken away. With that in mind, to help the little one understand what real gratitude feels like, we tried to think of ways that he could actually experience giving up some comforts. These are the challenges we came up with for the week ahead. (I’ll do them with him as added motivation.)

To instil a gratitude for:
Food – Try to do a half day fast. It took some persuasion, let’s see how it goes.
Toys – No screen time for a day! That’s no TV/ipad/iphone. (I’m going to find this one hard!)
Speech – Fast of silence for an hour.
Car – Walk a mile to the high street instead of using the car which is what we usually do.

I’m hoping it will provide a memorable experience which he can recall when he next thanks Allah for that particular blessing. At the same time, it will iA give him a small insight into what so many people around the world live without on a daily basis.

We’ve decided to incorporate the experience into a sponsored fundraiser for Gaza. The little one has recorded a short video clip to send out to family, using the challenge to appreciate his blessings, as a way to raise and contribute to those in need.

If you’d like to support him, you can make a donation online at:

https://www.justgiving.com/Begrateful/

Celebrating the Week of the Prophet's Birthday - Part 2

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Last year, we marked the week leading up to the Prophet’s birthday by trying to emulate his characteristics, choosing one for each day. This year we have chosen some different characteristics of the Prophet (saw) to focus on…here they are!

Day 1 – Take some time out to reflect:

The Prophet would make sure he took a time-out from everything and would go to the Cave of Hira to reflect and contemplate. The Prophet (saw) himself has said: An hour of contemplation is superior to an entire year’s worship” (Tadhkerah al-Haqaiq, p. 29). Indeed, meditation is all the craze now, and for good reason! Especially in this fast-paced world, wouldn’t it be great if we could encourage our children (and ourselves!) to be able to do the same – WITHOUT them complaining that they’re bored?!

IDEAS to help inculcate this fully and with understanding:

  1. I know of one family who especially created a reflection room, and would encourage their children to go and just sit and think for a while (and NOT as a punishment lol)!
  2. Perhaps we can encourage our kids to sit on the musalla for 5 minutes today? And just be still and see what thoughts come to their head?

Day 2 – Take care of the ill:

We all know the famous story of the Prophet (saw) who went to visit the lady who was sick, even though she used to throw rubbish on him every day. Visiting the sick is SO highly emphasized in Islam, with the reward for doing so being as high as having 70,000 angels escorting the visitor and seeking forgiveness for him until s/he returns home. There are also plenty of ahadith detailing the etiquettes for doing so, such as not staying long and taking a gift.

IDEAS to help inculcate this fully and with understanding:

  1. We can begin by talking about the above ahadith.
  2.  Asking them to perhaps call or write a letter/email to someone who is not feeling that great?
  3. Decorate a gift bag and personalizing it before giving it to someone not well.
  4. Making a sincere dua for that person
  5. Buzz Ideazz have created a special Get Well Soon card, which has a dua for the sick inside – these would make unique accompaniments to their gift!

Day 3 – Say the truth:

Well before he announced his Prophethood, the Prophet’s characteristic of honesty was well-known, earning him the title of As-Sadiq – the Truthful one. Honesty is VERY important in Islam, so how do we convey its importance to children, who may possibly lie for several reasons, such as being afraid of the consequences, wanting to entertain us with exaggerated tales, or just experimenting with their concept of reality.

We have all heard the story about the boy who cried wolf, but here is another real life story to share with your children about a 7 year-old boy named Tanner Munsey. Tanner’s reputation for being honest earned him a mention in the “Scorecard” column in the July 10, 1989, issue of Sports Illustrated magazine.

During a T-ball game in Wellington, Florida, Tanner attempted to tag a player leaving first base. When the umpire called the player out, Tanner immediately informed the umpire that he hadn’t managed to tag the runner. Two weeks later, Tanner encountered the same umpire in another T-ball game. This time, Tanner was playing short-stop and tagged a runner as they approached third base. When the umpire called the player safe, Tanner didn’t say a word, but the umpire noticed his surprise at the call.

“Did you tag the runner?” she asked Tanner. When Tanner affirmed that he had, the umpire changed her decision and called the player out. When the coaches and other parents protested, the umpire stood by her decision, informing them that she had learned to trust Tanner, because of his honesty.

IDEAS to help inculcate this fully and with understanding:

  1. Share the above story with our families
  2. Let’s ask our children today to be extra mindful of what they say today. At the end of the day, perhaps they can make and decorate a ‘Certificate of Authenticity’ with the ayah: “And cover not Truth with falsehood, nor knowingly hide the Truth.” (2:42). Here, emphasize that they are awarding it to themselves as only they and Allah know exactly how truthful they have been!
  3. There are plenty of books on honesty – read these to the kids!

Day 4 – Pray a little extra:

The Prophet was known for praying extra, with ahadith a plenty describing his devotion to the nawafil prayer, etc.

IDEAS to help inculcate this fully and with understanding:

  1. Mybe we could ask the children to pray a teeny bit more, whether it’s a two rakat sunnat salaat, an extra sajda or tasbeeh, or maybe they could recite any of the recommended duas for tonight that they don’t perhaps do…
  2. The Prophet (saw) loved praying Namaaz-e-Shab, so maybe that’s something we parents can try doing (if we don’t already?)!

Day 5 – Give sadqa:

A well known characteristic of the Prophet was that he used to give, and give, and give!  There are many ahadith about the benefits of giving charity – such as prolonging our live, warding of illnesses, keeping problems away from us, not to mention the fact that we are promised 10 times more than what we give!

All of these are a good discussion point to start with our children…but here is one that i LOVED given the fact that we are building love for our Prophet, and that is giving charity (especially when we have less to give), may give us a closer position to our beloved role model!

Below is a story to share with our families.

“Mullah Muhammad Taqi Al Barghani who is commonly known as the ‘Third Martyr’ related that his father saw in his dream the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) surrounded by so many Scholars of Islam.

However, he saw the son of the scholar called Fahad Al Hilli sitting very close to the Prophet (S). Mullah Barghani says that he was surprised to see this when there were other scholars who were greater in calibre, knowledge and their service to Islam who were not sitting so close to the Holy Prophet (S).

Mullah Barghani’s father asked the Prophet (S) the reason for this, and the Prophet replied that it was because all the scholars surrounding him used to give charity when they possessed something, but if they didn’t have any property they didn’t give anything to the person who was begging or in need. However the son of Fahad Al Hilli used to give in charity despite not possessing anything extra, and used to sacrifice his personal belongings in order to fulfil other people’s needs. This gave him a higher degree of proximity to the Prophet.”

IDEAS to help inculcate this fully and with understanding:

  1. Share many such stories with our kids from this site.
  2. Ask your children to give from their own money that they may have saved up.
  3. Make or decorate your own sadqa jar.

Day 6 –  Eat with others:

The Prophet (saw) The Prophet advised others against eating alone as he never ate alone when he had the opportunity to eat with another person:

“When a food possesses four qualities it becomes perfect: being halal, eating it with other people, having started with the name of God, and having ended with the praise of God.”

IDEAS to help inculcate this fully and with understanding:

  1.  Share this hadith with our children.
  2. Invite people over to share a meal!
  3. Involve the children in the prepping and cooking of the meal, as well as the cleaning of the house and setting of the table.

Day 7 –  Say thank you and be grateful:

The Prophet (saw) continually reminded his followers to be ever grateful to their Lord, and the term shakir, meaning “one who is grateful,” is often used in Islam as a name of great honor among Muslims.

IDEAS to help inculcate this fully and with understanding:

  1. Here are some clips which show the benefits of gratitude.
  2. There are lots of fun activities and crafts that can be done on gratitude. Check this page out from Islam From The Start to get started.

Salaah Idea 8: Teach them WHY we pray

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Sometimes we get so bogged down in the rites of prayer (wudhoo, dhikr, etc) that we forget WHY we are praying. So how do we teach this amazing philosophy of prayer that we have?

  • When children are young – and especially if they are reluctant, rather than ‘making’ them pray, why not make them do a sajdah and encourage them to TALK to Allah. Is that not what salaah is all about anyway? A conversation with Him?
  • Another idea is to remind them to link salaah to shukr. As someone commented: “…starting from, thanking Allah because of sooooooooo many blessings He has given us (try counting with them all the blessings and then give up saying “I can’t, there are just too many, uncountable”)”. Here again, modelling is essential. Do we only pray out 5 wajib salaah? Why not fall into sajdah when something good happens, and encourage our children to do the same?
  • Show the children that salaah is also great for asking Allah for things, as He is the source of it all. When we need something, why not recite a two-rakaat salat for hajaat and let the children know you are doing this so they realise it has so many purposes?
  • As they get older, we can try and explain the deeper meanings of remembering Him, being aware of His presence and explaining the philosophy of the different parts of salaah.
  • Here are two articles that show how beneficial Salaah is to us PHYSICALLY as well! Here’s the first: Salaah makes your face glow (thanks in part to the blood that rushes to your face when we are in sujood) ?http://ilmfeed.com/this-is-why-praying-makes-your-face-glow/And following on from the previous post on Salaah helping us physically, here’s the second article on how Muslims do yoga five times a day ? A great way to perhaps explain the holistic aspects of salaah and that even when our kids (and us!) may go through a phase when they are not ‘feeling’ salaah, salaah is still always benefitting them!

    http://mvslim.com/5-ways-yoga-is-a-basic-practice-for-muslims/

    And you really can’t get clearer than this!:

Hina Khan-Mukhtar says this:

Prayer should not be allowed to become a series of robotic yoga-like motions devoid of meaning or purpose. Zeeshan and I have been forthright with our kids and confessed to them that there will be times when prayer might feel like an inconvenient, rote duty that just needs to be discharged — and they may find themselves feeling disillusioned and disheartened when those thoughts come to them — but, nevertheless, the canonical prayer is never to be abandoned, no matter how ambivalent one might be feeling towards it in that moment.

“We worship Allah with our minds, bodies, and souls,” I remind my children. “If our minds and souls aren’t ‘into’ prayer for some reason, we can at least force our bodies to obey Him. And then we pray that He will eventually lead our minds and souls to follow our bodies in joy and submission as well. Allah is the One Who is in charge of our hearts. He can turn us to Him at any time He wills. We just have to make sure that we’re not the ones who’re turning away first.”

From: http://muslimobserver.com/six-tips-to-guide-children-to-the-straight-path-of-prayer/

Ramadan Idea 11: Dedicate a space/wall in your house to Ramadan

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Many mums talk about having a dedicated space or wall area for Ramadan themed books, props and learning ideas. Here are a few ideas:

  • Your advent calendar can have prize position 🙂
  • A Ramadan banner can liven up the house. There are many free downloadable ones on the internet these days. Simply print on card, cut and hang!
  • How about a bucket list for what they are going to do during the month? Eg. memorise a sura, give food to the neighbours, etc. Here is a great example!
  • Why not have your Ramadan books/activity books out for easy access?
  • A charity box is a good idea to have out, to encourage daily giving.
  • A good deed jar may also help encourage them to give in another ways!
  • Why not have a theme? Here is what one mum said: “This year our theme was the Quran. The hadith about the homes in which the Quran is recited shining bright for the angels to see if the main focus, and around it there are stars which Inshallah we all will fill with ayahs from the Quran that we come across, like and want to focus on. Quran City (Q-City) has been a focus of study for us for the last few months and so a poster of the city is up there are a reminder – thank you MUCH, QFatima! Our countdown of 10 clear plastic glasses strung together with numbers written on them have Quran quiz questions from Islam From the Start and some money for them to give sadqa. In the jar next to it are the Quran word cards from the 30 Day Ramadan Activity. I am not going to have the children stick it on a chart after they look the word up in the Quran, but stick it in their Ramadhan scrapbook instead along with their thoughts/notes.Lastly, the Juz Umma sticker charts will help us on the memorisation side of things – this year we will just be focussing on refreshing and retaining the suras we have learnt thus far – and this sticker chart is a great way to make it visual and fun.

  • Here is another idea for a Quran wall. This idea was sent in by a mum, and once again allows the children to focus on the deeper understanding of the Quran. She said: “During recitation, they are to retain a word they want to know more about and make a note of it. They then write down which sura it was in and what the verse is referring to.”

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  • One mum had the theme of gratitude for Ramadan. Check out her wall here.
  • On the theme of gratitude, here is what another mum did:
“Our Blessings Garden: Helping children see how beautiful our blessings are and how we need to nurture them and appreciate them. Each flower will have a theme in the center and the petals we will write why that blessings is important to us. One of the theses will be Allah – we are thankful to have the one and only beat God. On the petals we will put Allah’s names and discuss how lucky we are to have Allah who is Al-Khaliq he made everything and go into discussion of all the creations.. How Allah is Al-Wadud and go into discussion of how He loves us so much.”
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