Striving for Excellence in Taqwa & Character

Posts tagged ‘children’

A Parisian Cat

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I made it to the school just in time. The session’s facilitator and the second speaker were already in the classroom waiting for the students to be brought in by their teacher. The second speaker was Rosemary; dressed in trousers and shirt in shades of red. She’s probably in her late sixties with features that presented a sweet and friendly type of person.

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The Battle of Badr

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Here we are in September and the beginning of the academic year. This term I am taking a module on Seerah (a study of the life of the Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him) as part of my diploma in Islamic studies with the Islamic Online University.

This module covers the period after the migration of the Prophet Muhammed to the city of Medina where many other Muslims had joined him or travelled there before him after the Muslims of Medina invited them and affirmed their support to Islam and its Prophet.

Listening to the audio on the battle of Badr, that took place in the 2nd year of Hijra (migration), I could not help but swim deeply in the sea of my thoughts.

If you are unfamiliar with what happened in the battle of Badr, you may like to check this Youtube clip.

Qualities of a leader

The Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) was approachable and that’s why when he decided on a camping place, one of the companions did not hesitate to check about the source of that decision, was it a personal choice of the Prophet or a direction from Allah. When the Prophet replied that it was a personal decision, the companion explained that another site, one that places the water well behind them would be strategically better. The Prophet listened, accepted and they moved forwards.

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Building your child’s Islamic Character

By Shamim F

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Moulding your child’s akhlaq, moral conducts

Our moral conducts (akhlaq) are like our garments, visible to all. Working on perfecting our akhlaq is part of our religion.

Principles of moral conduct:

Adab is that which is praiseworthy in actions and utterance and considered the best of ethics. Islam offers boundaries and measures by which adab can be taught, for instance in dealing with one’s parents, interacting with scholars, family and neighbours etc., how to dress, how to worship and general politeness.

Truthfulness – taught by way of example as children often learn from what they see.

Trustworthiness and honouring confidences – raise your children to be discreet and honourable, even a statement said in confidence is a trust that must be honoured.

Pure of Heart – train your children to pure in their hearts and discourage spite, envy or insincerity by nipping it in the bud. Teach them to forgive and move on.

 

Emotional and Psychological welfare

Principles of building emotional and psychological strength:

Affection/Play– always try to be affectionate and loving. Play with your children. The Prophet of Allah would show affection to children and demonstrate his love and concern for them by wiping their hair, particularly the orphan children.

Give gifts – as the Prophet of Allah said ‘Exchanging gifts lead to love’

(al- Tabarani)

Meet them smiling – let your children feel you value their company and enjoy them being around you.

Show your concern – by asking them how they are, showing interest and sympathy.

Be just and fair – always be fair in dealings with your children to avoid breeding jealousy amongst them.

Restrain yourself – do not fall into the trap of over-indulging your children as it will be destructive in the long term.

 

Developing healthy children

Play is a natural instinct that Allah bestows on all children. It is a means to develop their physical body and an education in life. Physically healthy bodies are better able to worship Allah with consistency and energy, and a healthy start in life will increase you child’s likelihood of succeeding.

Principles of building a healthy body:

Child’s right to learn sports – it is one of your child’s rights to be permitted physical exercise. Archery, horse-riding and swimming are recommended. In addition to being both physical and educational sports have many other benefits, including:

Social: learning how to interact with people in different situations

Moral: a lesson in right and wrong, dealing with success/failure

Innovative: they often encourage new ideas

Confidence boosting: opportunity to learn new skills.

Stress reliever: sports often provide a vent to release any stresses etc.

Friendly competition and play – competitions are good motivators and allow a sense of ‘community’ and ‘togetherness’ to develop between the competitors.

Play with your children – the Prophet of Allah would play with his grandsons and would allow them to play with him.

Note: never allow your children to play out of doors after sunset.

 

Intellectual and academic development

Acquiring knowledge is an obligation on all muslims. As per Hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari, our Prophet Muhammad (May peace be upon him) said: ‘Educate, make it easy ; not difficult,..’

Principles in developing the intellect:

Motivation – plant the love of knowledge an learning in your child early on. Inspire them with the Hadith extolling knowledge and those who seek it. Recognise their achievements with tangible rewards.

Memorise the Qur’an – create an achievable plan for Qur’an memorisation and work on their and your ikhlas.

Find righteous teachers  and tailor goals according to each child’s needs and capabilities. Work towards maximising their strengths and passions.

Arabic language – Arabic is the key to the Qur’an and Hadith and allows one to access a vast library of Islamic works.

Make knowledge accessible – invest in good books and a comprehensive Islamic library.

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Alkauthar Institute Weekend Course – ‘Parenting Matters, The art of raising Righteous Children’. Taught by Sheikh Alaa Elsayed.

The Birds and the Bees

By K. A. Musa

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Children from an early age are curious about their body. It is not uncommon for a boy and girl toddlers to look at each other and wonder why their body parts differ and especially common when putty training or changing the diapers.

At what age is ‘sex’ education essential? This is dependent on the parents but the best method is to make the education age dependent. What a child of 2 years old will understand will be different to a child of 12 years old. What is not advisable is to ignore such questions raised by the child. We live in a time where a child of 8 years old knows a lot more than the parents might want to admit to themselves. Like adults children are exposed to the media where provocative images are visible, they have access to the internet and if unsupervised can be used inappropriately. Take control and education your child on this issue instead of relying on others.

You might (and can) take your child out of ‘sex & relationship’ lessons at school but you cannot remove or protect them from outside influences such as friends and media. Children need to be taught this within an Islamic framework of halal relationship within marriage. If a child asks a question in an inappropriate time, you are shocked and have no answer then do not ignore the question by pretending not to have heard. You can postpone answering at that time but make sure that the child is aware of this and an answer will be provided later.

Other challenges…

You know your child and if you have a ‘hot’ child that is ready for marriage then assist in finding him/her an appropriate spouse. Recently I attended a wedding where the bride was young (18 years old) but she is still studying. Marriage at such an age does not mean that ones life is over. When your son or daughter is ready then facilitate marriage as this will prevent zina (fornication).

Children should be taught to seek permission before entering their parents’ room to avoid unnecessary embarrassment(1).

Children should be trained to lower their gaze(2) but we should be ‘normal’ Muslim and not hypocritical when out and about performing our daily routines. We can not walk about with our eyes closed and the first look is permissible(3).

The messenger of Allah (peace & blessing of Allah be upon him) taught us to separate our children in beds when they reach the age of 7(3).

Talking about ‘sex’ education within an Islamic context need not be a cultural taboo. It is advisable for the parents to be the teachers instead of delegating to others. You need to be aware of the physical and mental changes that your child is going through. Stick to the facts, make it age appropriate and always have an open communication and encourage your children to talk to you when they have questions. You will not be with your children at all times but be their friends and especially when teenagers as if they are able to talk to you then you will be able to guard them against Fitnah (trials and tribulation) in sha Allah.

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References:

Alkauthar Institute Weekend Course – Parenting Matters, The art of raising Righteous Children’. Taught by Sheikh Alaa Elsayed.

1Qur’an: 24:58-59 (Surat An-Nur / Light)

2Qur’an: 24:31 (Surat An-Nur / Light)

3 The Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “O Ali, do not follow a glance with another, for you will be forgiven for the first, but not for the second.” (Tirmidhi 2701).

Additional resources:

Sex & Relationship Education in State School: Hotline: 07883 027 067.

Alkauthar Institute Weekend Course – The Divine Protection. The Fiqh & Power of the Daily Supplications. Taught by Sheikh Hacene Chebbani.

Health is Wealth

By K. A. Musa

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Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace & blessing of Allah be upon him) states: “Grab five things before five others: ….your health before your illness…”1.

Prophet Muhammad (peace & blessing of Allah be upon him) advised us to be more productive and make good use of our time whilst young and healthy before becoming old and in poor health. Our body and health are gifts from Allah (glorified & exalted) and as a result we need to look after them. Children are now becoming more obese due to poor diet and lack of exercises. After all you are what you eat!!! We consume foods high in fats, sugars, contain less fibre and heavily processed so it is not surprising that our waist bands are also increasing. For some, due to a poor work-life balance parents no longer have the time to cook a meal from scratch using raw and natural ingredients. Families are no longer eating together. A Sheikh once said “A family that eats together is a family that stays together.” Prophet Muhammad (peace & blessing of Allah be upon him) said “Eat together and do not disperse” (Abu Dawud, 3764).

A healthy and balance diet consisting of all of the food groups and eating in moderation is highly recommended. Our Shari’ah provides us with numerous guidance in regards to healthy eating as there is a link between one’s physical, mental and spiritual health. To avoid overeating we should implement the recommendation of 1/3 of your stomach food, 1/3 for water and 1/3 for air2.

Regular exercises are required for maintaining a healthy weight and it does not need to be expensive. Get some skipping ropes and just skip 100 times per day or take the children to the park. Walking is free and one can appreciate the beauty of the creations of Allah (glorified & exalted) and can be a fun activity for the entire family to participate in.

Cleanliness is half of Deen and as such we should keep our body clean and this is emphasised daily by performing ablution for salah. For oral hygiene we should occasionally practice the Sunnah and use the Miswak to clean our teeth. A healthy body and sleeping early will enable you to wake up your family for fajr salah. Do also wake up your children as the sooner this habit is established the easier it will be to maintain in sha Allah. Teach your children the morning and evening adhkar as well as adhkar for protection before sleeping3.

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References:

Alkauthar Institute Weekend Course – Parenting Matters, The art of raising Righteous Children’. Taught by Sheikh Alaa Elsayed.

1The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: ‘Grab five things before five others: your youth before your decrepitude, your health before your illness, your wealth before your poverty, your leisure before your work, and your life before your death” (al-Hakim, Al-Mustadrak, 44, 4/341).

2The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: ‘No human ever filled a vessel worse than the stomach. Sufficient for any son of Adam are some morsels to keep his back straight. But if it must be, then one third for his food, one third for his drink and one third for his breath’ (Tirmidhi 2380)

3Recitation of the three Quls (ie. Surat Al-Ikhlas/The Purity, Surat Al-Falaq/The Daybreak and Surat Al-Nas/Mankind) and Ayatul-Kursi.

Additional Resources:

Health in Islam

Alkauthar Institute Weekend Course – The Fiqh of Food & Clothing’. Taught by Sheikh Bilal Ismail.

Alkauthar Institute Weekend Course – The Divine Protection. The Fiqh & Power of the Daily Supplications. Taught by Sheikh Hacene Chebbani.

Teaching Children to memorise the Qur’an: Practical Tips

By Shamim F

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  • Purify the intention and correct the goal – One’s concern to memorise Qur’an and preserve it must be for Allah, for gaining His paradise and attaining His pleasure, and for acquiring the great rewards reserved for those who recite the Qur’an and memorise it. Reiterate the significance of this intention to your children.
  • Correcting Pronunciation and Recitation – Listen to a good precise reciter.
  • Set a daily limit for the amount of Qur’an to be memorised – Help your children set realistic goals insha’Allah that will also give your children a sense of achievement.
  • Continual Recitation and Review – of the daily portion you have set in order to ensure it is retained in the long-term memory. The recitation can be reaffirmed in fard/nafl prayers, while sitting in the Masjid before jama’ah prayers, while waiting for anything, before going to sleep etc. Make this repetition enjoyable for children and not a chore.
  • Reciting in a Melodic Tone – this conforms to the Sunnah and helps make memorization firm and strong.
  • Using the same mushaf (copy of the Qur’an) – a person memorises using vision and hearing. The script and form of the ayat, and their places in the mushaf leave an imprint in the mind when recited and looked at frequently. Using different mushafs confuses the memory and makes memorising more difficult.  Give each child their own Qur’an for memorization insha’Allah.
  • Understanding the meaning – this greatly aids memorization of the Qur’an. The memoriser should read the tafsir (explanation) of the ayat they want to memorise and bring these meanings to mind while reciting them. Try to establish a daily routine of reading tafsir with your children insha’Allah.
  • Reciting to others – a memoriser should test their memorisation by reciting the ayat to a companion who knows them by heart or can follow from the mushaf. This is a means of correcting any mistakes and keeping their mind constantly alert in avoiding these errors.
  • Constant review – constant revision and review of what has been memorised is necessary in order to retain it and protect it from slipping away.
  • Watching for analagous sections of the Qur’an – various parts of the Qur’an resemble each other in meaning, wording or repetition of ayat.
  • Taking advantage of the ‘Golden Hours’ of the day – best time to memorise Qur’an is the last part of the night before Fajr or the early morning hours that follow it.
  • Taking advantage of the ‘Golden Years’ of memorising – best years are from age of five to twenty-three.
  • Make dua and remember that Allah says in the Qur’an (54:22): “And We have made the Qur’an easy for remembrance (and understanding), so there is one that will receive admonition?”

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Alkauthar Institute Weekend Course – ‘Parenting Matters, The art of raising Righteous Children’. Taught by Sheikh Alaa Elsayed.

Be A Friend (part 1)

By Ayesha K

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The end of your offspring’s childhood marks the beginning of a period of changes most commonly known as the teenage year. At this time there are usually two categories of parents; the first that enjoy this time because the effort they put into the many years of nurturing their child has produced a well-rounded young adult and so they are enjoying the fruits of their labour.  The second group are not so content and experience a lot of anxiety during this period.

If you find yourself in the first group then say ‘Alhamdulilah!’ and enjoy this time with your child and build a beautiful friendship with them. If you are in the second group then do not despair! Although this is a very difficult situation, there are some strategies you can adopt when dealing with your teen that will ease the situation insha Allah. Whether you are in the first or second group,  or you are reading this because you are being proactive and still have young or yet to be born children then hopefully you will find the strategies we have highlighted useful in either building or maintaining a good relationship with your teen.

The teenage years are the third and final period that was mentioned by Ali radiAllah anhu in his famous advice given on parenting. Ali (ra) said “Play with you children for seven (years), discipline him for seven (years), and be his companion for seven (years), then leave him after that”

There are three elements to this; understanding your teen, communicating effectively with them and knowing how to approach specific behavioural issues.

The anxiety that most parents experience is because they just do not understand and remember what the teenage years entail. So let’s take the first step and try and understand our teens better.

There is no specific time when adolescence begins, every child is different. Adolescence is characterised by the physiological changes of puberty, behavioural changes, attempts at individualisation, trying to gain acceptance from peers and finally an increased desire for independence. It is this desire for independence that can result in disagreement and isolation from parents.

The first step to understanding your teen is to educate yourself. This can be achieved by reading related literature and also reflecting over your teenage years.  Remember that you were once a teenager and reflect on the difficulties that you experienced during this time. This will help you emphasise with your child and improve the interaction between yourself and your teen.

Your teen is going through many changes during this time. Prepare them for it by speaking to them about what they should expect. They need the comfort of knowing that they are not alone and you understand what they are going through.

Wisdom is a vital tool during this time, pick your battles wisely. Do not condemn everything that your teen is doing. She wants to dye her hair the colours of the rainbow? Let her, it is better that she learns through small mistakes rather than committing acts that are majorly sinful.

Your child is an adult now; you need to make decisions concerning them together. So any expectations you have make them together this will lessen their anxiety.

Now your child is a teenager the best way of telling them what is permissible and what isn’t is to tell them the consequences of an action, the benefits of abstaining, an alternative to the action and then leave it to them. For example in regards to sexual relations and zina, tell them if for every minute engaged in illegal sexual activity they should liken it to spending a minute spent inside a hot tandoori oven.  Then tell that sexual relations between spouses is one of the pleasures created by Allah in this world and that if you protect yourself Allah will grant you a spouse that has done likewise.  Another good analogy that represents the consequences  of ones deeds is likening the world to a supermarket in which whatever you put in your shopping basket you have to pay for at checkout.

Many teenagers desire privacy. Give them this privacy but tell them this privilege is built on trust. If they break this trust it will come with consequences.

Even though they are all grown up now, you should still monitor your teen. You should monitor what they are watching, reading and accessing in your home. Some tips are to put the TV, tablet, PC in a public space that is continually being used such as the living room and not in a secluded area such as the bedroom.

Finally it is common for teens to go through some difficulties when dealing with the changes associated with adolescence. However some experience serious problem that require professional help. As a parent you need to be aware of the warning signs, some of them are:

  • extreme weight loss or gain
  • sleep problems
  • rapid, drastic changes in personality
  • sudden friend change
  • continuous bunking from school
  • failing grades
  • joking/ talking about suicide
  • drug/ alcohol abuse
  • illegal activity

Any of these changes or any inappropriate changes that last more than 6 weeks can indicate a major problem and medical help needs to be sought.

Your child becoming a teenage requires a complete change in your parenting style, they are no longer the child that needs your command, Rather  what they require is your friendship and support.  It is through understanding them that you will take the first step in befriending them and once you gain this friendship you will have a greater chance in influencing and guiding them in the right direction.

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Alkauthar Institute Weekend Course – Parenting Matters, The art of raising Righteous Children’. Taught by Sheikh Alaa Elsayed.