A friend was recently talking to me and asking how do I go about teaching Islam to my kids. I actually never thought that Muslims parents would find it hard to find a starting point. Going back to my friend, she’s a revert and as her husband is not around a lot, she does all the teaching.
Being born in a Muslim household, I was taught Islam from the beginning so never really considered it as something my parents were teaching or inculcating me with. It just was a natural thing that I used to observe around myself and other family members.
Anyway, I thought maybe I should blog about this for those who are finding it hard to introduce their children to Islam. A good starting point would be to teach your kids about Islamic morals and etiquette, big words yet the easiest thing to work on. The prophet (peace be upon him) was a gentle and respectable man who never failed to show manners and respect even in the worst of situations. So, little things you can do is remind your child to say things like thank you or jazakhallah khairan; as my children are multilingual, I used to repeat ‘thank you’ in English, French/Creole and Arabic. So they actually know they all stand for the same thing, and now that they are older, they use each of them and choose to thank me in whatever language it please them. Sometimes we remind our kids of saying thank you to outsiders for the good action they have done, but we don’t remind them to say thank you for the actions we are carrying out for them as parents. IF we want this to be automatic thing for them, then we need to start it from home. Also, we need to get ourselves in the habit of thanking our children for their good actions. Sometimes I am so busy and my kids would help with something and I’ll forget to say thank you, and they’ll be like ‘Mummy, what do you say?’ or sometimes I am talking to them and I will say ‘oh tomorrow we are going bla bla bla.’ And then they will answer ‘In sha Allah Mummy.’ It makes me feel stupid that I have forgotten my Islamic etiquettes and my children have to remind me of it, but at the same time I feel so proud of them.
Get yourself as a parent in the habit of saying your du’as loud whether you are carrying the action, or the kids are. You will find eventually you won’t even need to tell your kids to make the dua before eating etc as they will just do it automatically. But along with the du’as, translate it into children’s language so they know what they are saying. For example when my kids finish their dinner, we say Alhumdulillah, and thank you Allah for giving us such yummy food and making our belly so full. By this, your children won’t just be puppets or parrots, they are actually learning the why they are thanking Allah/God. What you can also do is teach them about how everything you have comes from Allah and we need to thank Allah for everything he gives us, as he loves so much. I got an anecdote for that. I used to teach my kids about how Allah gives us this and that etc. When we went to my friend, and my friend gave us some dinner, my youngest went: ‘Allah gave us dinner’ LOL. Made me and my friend laugh, but it was nice to see she connected the too. I told her yes Allah gave us dinner, but aunty cooked it for us, so we have to thank Aunty as well.
If possible tell your kids stories about Allah’s creations, the prophets and Islamic stories so they start getting familiar with Islamic values. Also something I mentioned before, on top of reading the 4 quls and some of al-baqarah at nighttime, get them into the habit of repeating it anytime during the day. We normally do it in the car after reading our du’a for travelling but it’s good to get them in the habit of saying it so they can memorise it quickly.
Finally but most importantly, lead by example! Children will copy people around them, they will copy and imitate your actions, so make positive Islamic changes in your own life so they can follow you. When you are praying, include them, yes it’s very distracting, but at the end of the day in sha Allah you will be rewarded for this distraction! When you are reading Qur’an, read it aloud so they can hear. Make it melodious with tajweed so they find it more interesting. My kids love to sit around when I read Qur’an and sometimes, they would pick up my Qur’an or their Arabic books and pretend they are reading and make up their own Arabic words! Practise what you preach and all will be easier.
Submitted by Proud_Mum
Original Source: http://www.projecteve.org.uk