Ramadan for Children
by Musa Bukhari
Everyone reading this was once a child. Feelings of nostalgia when Ramadan is mentioned are often a key component of how we view the month. How we navigate through Ramadan, and our thoughts and feelings of it are often derived from our childhood experiences. We all remember the mini fasts, our introduction to dates, the night that parents and our elders would take part in. Some people don’t always keep that same zeal and sometimes, our past experience of Ramadan actually makes it seem burdensome. We learn this from our family.
Abu Huraira reported that al-Aqra' b. Habis saw the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, kissing Hasan (his grandson). He said: I have ten children, but I have never kissed any one of them, whereupon Allah's Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, said: He who does not show mercy, no mercy would be shown to him. [Muslim]
It is important to assist our children in their spiritual development by introducing Ramadan to them with the underlying theme of hope. When they struggle to understand why bad things happen, why they do not always get what they want, hope and the Wisdom of Allah in these matters. These all matter significantly, and Ramadan is a great training ground to rely on Allah and turn to Him, to understand the importance of repentance when we slip, as we are created to slip, but also how to rise higher and gain closeness to Allah during times of adversity. This will not only enhance the mind of children but train them and grow their memories of Ramadan supported with a positive light.
The Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, "No father has given a greater gift to his children than good moral training" (Tirmidhi).
1. Instil practical learning
When the Prophet (saw) would go for prayer in Madinah, he would take his grandchildren, Hassan (RA) and Hussain (RA). This was when they were very young, before they had any understanding of Salah, but this part of their education was demonstrated practically.
2. Inspire ambition
The Prophet (saw) would always listen to all of those around him, and would encourage all those around him to aim high. When he talked about Jannah, he said to not ask for Jannah, but to ask for Firdous al ala (the highest level). Encourage your children to seek a high calibre in all of their life endeavours.
3. Approach with love
Aisha (ra) reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, kindness is not found in anything except that it beautifies it, and it is not removed from anything except that it disgraces it.”
Some experiences of learning about Islam are shrouded in focusing on the punishment as control mechanism to submission. This never yields fruits in the long term. When approaching the month of Ramadan, explain with love and mercy, the effects will be far reaching. Remember the Prophet (saw) was known as a mercy to the worlds.
4. Make it fun
Remember you are dealing with children. Use bright colours, and make learning about Ramadan fun. Tip: Get a money jar, fill it with money and ask your children to pick a charity of their choice at the end of the month. This not only encourages giving, but also allows them to make decisions and inspire leadership.
5. Nurture the ‘why’
It’s important for children to understand why they are doing something. Always align each action back to our central purpose as well as the goal and purpose of what we are trying to achieve with fasting, salah, reading Quran etc. Help children understand that Allah rewards all deeds, but highlight that good deeds are not always rewarded in this life, and our focus should be for the hereafter.
May this Ramadan be a source of growth and beautiful memories for your children and your families. Ameen
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