Mommy, lets go to Jannah together (Part 2)

-by Ayesha Zaka

Read Part-I here

Bismillah

Imagine that someone entrusted you with a clean white cloth.  How careless and sloppy would it be if you let it get all dirty and grimy such that it can no longer be recognized as that clean white cloth!

Now imagine your children in place of that cloth.  Allah has entrusted you with them; and Allah has created them clean and pure.  To ensure that they remain on the fitrah (natural instinct) and are not exposed to any ‘dirty-ing’ factors is your duty and responsibility.
No one is born except they are upon natural instinct, then his parents turn him into a Jew or Christian or Magian. As animals produce their young with perfect limbs, do you see anything defective?” (Sahih Muslim)

You, Yes, You!

The first thing to be clear about is that you are responsible for teaching Iman to your young children. The Islamic summer camp, the maulvi, Islamic studies teacher etc. have supplementary roles, but the primary job is yours.  Allah honoured you with this responsibility!  That is the reason you need to prepare yourself and chalk out your plan.

This article deals with some simple yet high-impact ideas for a sound upbringing of young children (upto the age of 10 yrs).  The three things that I will focus on are: Aqeedah, Ibadah and Akhlaaq.

Jannah

1- Building ‘Aqeedah:

We usually focus on children memorizing supplications and Surahs, the meaning of which is not even known to them.  Although, this is important, it is far more important to teach them a sound ‘Aqeedah.

Belief in Allah:

Tell your kids about Allah.  Connect them with nature.  When you eat food, tell them Allah gave you this yummy food.  Show them the full moon, let them smell the red roses, let them romp in the rain, and tell them that Allah is the Creator of everything and the one who gives us all these gifts.  This remembrance of Allah must be practiced with the children as much as you can every single day.

Also, inculcate in them the belief that Allah is always with us and He is watching us.  Many parents teach their children to be good in front of guests and inculcate in them the “What will the people think?” attitude.  Substitute people-consciousness with God-consciousness.

Belief in the Prophet (pbuh):

Tell them stories about the Prophet (pbuh).  Connect them to him as a real person who taught us everything, who loved us and who we are waiting to meet in Jannah.  Tell them his Sunnahs and practice them together.

Imagine Daddy is abroad for 3 years, but when he returns, his 4 yr-old is immediately comfortable around him.  The reason being that Mommy has been talking to the child about Daddy all these years, telling him about him and showing him his pictures.  In the same way, the Prophet’s love and familiarity needs to be inculcated in the hearts of our children.

Belief in Angels/Shaitaan:

At a rudimentary level, depending on their age and understanding, tell your children how angels are our friends and Allah sends them to protect us.  Also, introduce them to our greatest enemy, and how to save ourselves from him.  For example, when they get angry, teach them to say ‘Aouzubillah’ (knowing the meaning) and to know that it is from Shaitaan

Don’t scare your kids from imaginary monsters just to make them go to bed on time or listen to you in other matters.  This will only shatter their personality and spoil their belief in the Unseen (Iman bil-ghayb)

Belief in the Hereafter:

Talk to them about Jannah and its wonders.  Plan their rooms and houses in Jannah.  Imagine with them spending a day in Jannah.  Let your imagination run wild with them.  Enjoy 🙂  Kids love to imagine, and very soon the desire and longing for Jannah will take root in their hearts firmly.

2- Building ‘Ibadah:

Firstly, never make you kids an excuse to ignore or neglect your ‘Ibadah.

“O ye who believe! Let not your riches or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. If any acts thus, the loss is their own.” (al- Munaafiqoon: 9)

Rather, try to get them involved with you whenever you can.  Learn from the example of the Prophet (pbuh) who used to carry his grandchildren during prayer and elongate his sujood so that they could play on his back.

Salah:

Take them to the Masjid.  Get them their own small prayer mat.  And when you pray, encourage them to join.  Teach them Wudu- they love playing with the water.  When you’re done with prayer, let them climb on your lap, engage them in doing tasbeeh on their hands, and raise their hands along with yours.  Make dua aloud for the things that they love.  Let them say Ameen.  Don’t force them into any of these activities, but do it playfully and lovingly, until it becomes a routine they cherish.

Dua:

Let them hear you making dua about everyday affairs.  O Allah! Please make the brownies tasty! Please make the electricity come back! Please help Fatima with her homework! Please bring Daddy home soon etc.  Teach them to make dua even if their shoelace breaks.

Sadaqa:

Take them to orphanages and hospitals to donate clothes and toys.  Make homemade Sadaqa boxes with them.  Teach them to be individuals who share and care.  Also, emphasize that Allah will return this money to us multiplied many times over.

Quran: 

Instill in them the love of the Quran.  Help them memorize small Surahs and appreciate and reward them for it.  Play the recording in your homes and cars.  This is something to be done even while the child is in the womb.  Medical research has pointed to the long-lasting effects of the sounds that babies hear while inside the womb.  (If you truly want your children to be from amongst the people of the Quran, try to protect them from music also.  It will get imprinted in their hearts and before you know it, they will start dancing to its tunes.)

recite quran

3- Building Akhlaaq:

This is something that you really need to work hard on.  And, the best way to teach this is to be the role model.  Another good idea is to have theme-based learning.

Be the Role Model:

Even if they don’t do what you say, they will eventually end up doing what you do.  The sponges inside their heads are absorbing every bit of information they see and hear.

Being cheerful, smiling often, saying “Please” and “Sorry”, respecting the grandparents, being silent for the Azaan and many other acts, they can learn simply by observing you.  Being super-polite around your kids should be the norm for you, just as you manage to plaster that smile and cheery voice for guests and strangers.  Easier said than done!  But take it as a part of the teaching process.

Theme- based learning: 

You could have have a theme of the week or theme of the month, focusing on one positive or negative character trait.  You can make charts with your children and put them up in their room.  Also, perform related activities e.g. the theme could be taking care of plants, and you could write ayahs and ahadith related to it and put them up around the house, and take them for tree-planting or for a nature walk to observe the trees etc.

The theme could even be hidden from the children, and only serve to keep yourself on track.  For example, this month you are focusing on backbiting.  Grab appropriate opportunities to teach them about it.  Narrate stories to them, show them related videos.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started today!

“Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Garden whose width is that (of the whole) of the heavens and of the earth, prepared for the righteous” (ale-Imran: 133)

 

 Meet the author

Ayesha Zaka has done her her M.Phil in Molecular Biology. She is a student of the Quran, and has a passion for teaching

Part 3 will focus on some more general ideas and tips and tricks to help you along.
Read Part-III here

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