Drawing inspiration from the meme going around on Rajab, Shaban and Ramadhan, we recreated this for children.
The children were explained the significance of there being a seed in Rajab and the need to clear the soil of weeds (i.e. do lots of istighfar and clean our souls in this month), a little shoot popping up in Shaban which needs to be tended and watered (i.e. lots of good deeds and salawats in this month) and then finally the flowering in Ramadhan (inshallah the fruits of our efforts in the holy month!).
They were encouraged to go home and stick it on their fridge/boards as a daily reminder 🙂
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!
My favourite English nasheed about the Imam so far is Al-Ajal, Al-Ajal by Abbas Bandali:
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!”
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:
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…
By Busy Mummys (www.facebook.com/busymummys)
I’m loving all the original ideas there are around! Check out these lovely games to teach the children concepts about the Imam:
Part 1: How we should respond immediately when he calls us… (By Busy Mummys: www.facebook.com/busymummys)
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 from @islamfromthestart 🙂
Dua Ahad is a short dua that when recited, is a renewal of our covenant of allegiance to the Imam.
Why not switch it on every morning while the children are getting ready for school? It will hopefully familiarise them with the recitation, and even younger children can join in with the ending where it repeats three times: Al-Ajal, Al-Ajal Ya Mawlaa Ya Saahibuz Zamaan – Hurry! Hurry! Oh My Master, Oh Master of the time. In Iran, they switch on this dua as everyone is making their way to their classes, and when it comes to this bit, everyone stops and joins in – it’s a wonderful feeling!
Depending on the age of your child, you can explain why you are switching on this dua in particular, and especially explain the importance of the ending – of how we are waiting for him – hopefully it may lead to more discussions on him, why we are waiting, what he will do when he comes, etc.
If you’re like me, you are very likely to forget to switch it on! This morning I wrote myself a post-it and stuck it where I would see it to remind me – and still I switched it on too late to be effective! Inshallah will try again tomorrow 🙂
P.S. Imam Sadiq (a.s) narrates that “one who recites this supplication for 40 mornings; he will be accounted amongst the helpers of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s). And if he happens to die before the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s), Allah will raise him up from his grave so that he may assist the holy Imam (a.t.f.s). For every word that he recites in this supplication, Allah will grant him 1000 good deeds and will erase from his scroll of deeds 1000 sins”.
I remember Ummi bai Merali saying once in a lecture that when we come home from somewhere and as we stand in the doorway while waiting for the door to be unlocked, why not face kibla and say Salaam to our Imam at that moment? Hopefully then this should become a habit, and we would be remembering him at least at those point in our day!
The other day I saw the coolest thing which reminded me of that. I rang the bell at someone’s house and heard some recitation through the door. When I asked what it was, she said her doorbell was not a ring as such, but recited “Ya Mahdi” when pressed! How awesome is that? That way you remember him even when someone else comes home
P.S. Apparently the doorbell is available in Iran!
As the birthday of our Imam is coming up, I thought it might be nice to have a series on getting to know our Imam with our children, to help build their (and our!) understanding and relationship with him.
Idea 1: Watch these clips!
This first one is a wonderful visual way to convey the birth of our Imam. It’s in Arabic but perhaps you could turn the volume off and read the translation out to the younger ones?
Here is one by ABIS:
And check out this interactive one!
The month of birthdays is upon us! Check out what one inventive mum has done to welcome the month of Shabaan… Each star represents a birthday of our noble personalities in this month 🙂
And on the same theme…what an awesome video to welcome this month: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9RJfPDrvm0Q