Best Foundation Summary weeks 12 March- 18 March

Bismillah,

I dont know how to name these posts, wallahi I struggle lol. It is the summary of what we have been doing the past week/weeks so decided the best way to go would be just putting the dates in.

Qur’an reading

We did Surah Kafirun from Um an Numan. MashaAllah girls did so well all the activities inside. It is a bit easy for Sumayya but perfect for Safiyya’s level.

    

Arabic Handwriting

Sumayya is doing a page a day from her Scribe book as well as independently writing/copywriting words from her Arabic books. Safiyya mashaAllah independently writing all the letters of the Arabic alphabet.

  

Arabic Reading

We have started using My First 100 Words from the Qur’an book. Kids read words in Arabic, copywrite them and talk about the meaning. They get to colour the pictures for each word. We were talking about how Allah created the earth and human beings; how some people have ears but they cant listen to; they might have eyes but they cant see; but for those who use their ears and eyes well and lived as Allah ordered them to live- there will be nice armchairs with soft cushions in Jannah etc. We are revising Ahsanul Qawaid. We read lessons 16-17 with Sumayya and lessons 4-5 with Safiyya. Alhamdulillah Safiyya just started reading the words with fatha.

  

Math

Safiyya finished her Math workbook from Autumn Learning Books. MashaAllah she can count 0-50, write numbers 0-20 and is doing simple addition problems. Sumayya is progressing on MEP Year 1. We are practising counting by 2’s with both girls.

 

Prophets’ stories

Sumayya read the story of Musa a.s. We did all the worksheets inside and talked/discussed the content in greater depth. Then I gave kids a paper and asked them to make snakes. They made one long chain-style snake by cutting and sticking paper strips. Then they drew and cut out lots of smaller snakes and were role-playing how big snake ate all smaller snakes using their crafts. MashaAllah good way of getting them narrating the story.

Creativity

MashAllah they are both so so creative. Sumayya is always drawing and describing her pictures to us in such great detal. Below she drew mommy, Sumayya, Safiyya and Ibrahim in Jannah. Apparently we were all by the lake and I was trying to get some water. There were green pebbles and she even wrote PRINCES MAMA for me lol. Then again she drew the whole family- mommy, daddy, Sumayya, Safiyya and baby Ibrahim in car seat. Me and daddy had crowns on our heads given by Allah swt because we have been good. Alhamdulillah.

We have also been spending a great deal of time outdoors, thanks to recent nice weather. They are always collecting stones, sticks, feathers etc to make something out of them when they get back home and mashaAllah they do. Sumayya has nicely washed one feather and decided to use it as a pen. She keeps asking me for ink and she wants to put her feather in ink and write with it. I dont know where to get such ink

  

Safiyya is N1 creative artist in the household. She never lets me put anything in the bin (recycling bin) be it food packaging or plastic bottles and bags. She is always waiting for me to use one of the packaging things so that she could have the box etc. She was asking me to use the lasagne sheets so that she can have the empty box. I gave her the empty box, she covered it with white paper; drew animals on one side and people on the other side of box and said it was Nuh a.s ship.

These two are ship as well and she has different stories to go with both. Her stories are never ending, she keeps going on and on making new sequence in a story

  

Aqeedah and Seerah

We have been learning more on Good/Bad Deeds and Jannah. InshaAllah I will try to reinforce the positivity to encourage the love of Allah, the love of Qur’an, the love of Jannah so they fall in love with being good and doing good deeds in order to get to Jannah.

We are still learning about prophet Muhammad saw’s family; who was who in the family; good and bad uncles etc. They have done one more coloring page from Easel and Ink

Russian

MashaAllah their interest in Russian language is increasing day by day. The past 2-3 days we have been reading the famous children’s book Buratino by A. Tolstoy. It was my favourite as a kid and I read and translated it to the girls at bed time a couple of days ago. Since then Sumayya pretends to be reading it, spending about 30-40 mins with her big Buratino book in her bedroom. She doesnt like being interrupted when she is not a confident reader. She could read 3-4 words in the book. She could read all these words; Buratino, papa (father), lisa (fox), kot (cat). And she started talking a little phrases here and there. Safiyya was trying to cut a large cardboard and Sumayya said ostorojna- be careful; just so randomly and so casually lol. I was surprised and amazed. InshaAllah with a bit of push she will pick it up very quick, she is literally teaching herself how to read in Russian. All I do so far is read books and let her watch the cartoons made based on the books we read.

So we read this book and we watched the cartoon here and I am trying to speak a little Russian every day for simple phrases such as: sit down, stand up, come here, eat, wash your hands etc.

 

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Awesome conversations

Bismillah,

This is just for me to remember things my kids say. I want to remember and cherish these memories inshaAllah.

My next door neighbour is pregnant at the moment. One day girls wanted to go and play with their next door friends. I said no because Rawda’s mommy is feeling poorly. Sumayya asked me why she was feeling poorly.

-Because she has a baby in her tummy. And when Allah gives someone a baby in the tummy they feel a little sick at times
-Oh she made dua to Allah asking for a baby?
-Yes, she did
-Do you know mommy if the baby is a girl or a boy
-No, I dont know. Allah knows
-Do babies sleep in mommy’s tummy all the time? or sometimes they keep awake?
-They sleep sometimes and they keep awake some other times
-I know Ibrahim used to kick you before he came out.
Sometimes she keeps making dua asking for a baby.  And she explains her grandma how babies come out

-You know grandma, if you want to have a baby, first, you need to make lots of dua to Allah swt. Then Allah creates baby in your tummy. First, it is very small then mommy’s tummy gets bigger. Then one day baby wants to get out, so the father takes mommy to hospital. Then in hospital there is this red button and when you press the red button the baby comes out.

(We laughed so much at her instructions. She could clearly remember the day when they all came to see me after I had Ibrahim. She pressed the red button by accident then and I told her only mommies who give birth press that button to ask for help etc)

And grandma is always telling her endless stories of Uzbekistan and how one day we all go back home. One day I said

-Sumayya, you and Safiyya might have to stay here to study at university when we all go back.
-No, mommy. Daddy has to stay with us. You and grandma and Ibrahim can go
-Why? (I was so surprised since she is usually clingy to me more than her father) 
-What if Allah gives me a baby when I am studying at university like you? Who takes me to hospital then? So, daddy has to stay with us in case I have baby he can take me to hospital in his car (LOL)

There were a couple of day when I was feeling impatient last week. I kept shouting at Safiyya.  SubhanAllah very often anger takes me by surprise and one shouting leads to another. As soon as I start raising my voice, it just seems to get louder and louder without me even realizing it. So I end up losing control of the situation and afterwards keep thinking I could have sorted this out with just one hug or gulping my anger etc. So one day I was telling Safiyya off (can’t remember the reason) and Safiyya goes

-Now mommy, what did the prophet say? He said Do Not Shout at little children (stressing every word she possibly could). I am upset now, you are a naughty mama
-And prophet saw also said you should listen to your mommy and daddy (she cuts me off quickly)
-No, he didn’t say that. Allah said that. But the prophet said dont shout at your children. You listened to your shaytaan and made me upset (she says all these so quickly so that I dont interrupt her)
-Safiyya, how about me? you are making me upset as well. When you dont listen to me I get upset and when I am upset I get angry. And if I get angry then I shout
Sumayya interrupts me quickly
-No, you shouldnt shout. Even if you are angry with her you should speak to her nicely. She is only three. That’s why you only speak nicely to her
-But when I do so, she still doesnt listen. She only listens to me when I shout
-No, you only spoke to her nicely once. You should speak to her nicely many times. Ask her once, twice, three times and count till twenty and ask her again. Like this mommy (and Sumayya was demonstrating how I should explain things to Safiyya. We were amazed at her new technique. So, if I give instructions or discipline their misbehaviour I should explain things 20 times and I should count how many times I have said it lol)

Sometimes they fight over silly things. Sometimes they are a little mean to each other. But overall, I would say most of the time they are very kind to each other, mashAllah. Since full time homeschooling they spend a lot of time playing together. They are always together, eating, homeschooling, listening to Qur’an, learning, reading books, playing with teddies, playing with legos and blocks, playing in the garden. SubhanAllah I cant imagine one without another. They are like twins but with totally different personality. They are not like each other by nature.

Though Safiyya is so small and academically a lot behind her sister, she is so clever and manipulative when it comes to play. For example if Sumayya doesnt give her something, she says “Sumayya, give it to me. Share, if you share Allah gives you more” so Sumayya shares whatever it is. But if Sumayya wants something of Safiyya and asks in the same manner “Safiyya, share please. If you give it to me, Allah will give you more”. And Safiyya goes “But I dont want no more now. When I want more then I will give you, ok”.

One day Sumayya’s friends came over and I overheard their conversation about Jannah. Actually Sumayya drew a picture of me in Jannah (will share this pic later on inshaAllah) and explaining her picture to friends:

-You know grandmas become young again when they enter Jannah. It is very big park and you can have anything you want there. When you want something it will already be next to you when you look next to you (smile)

Some random question they ask me

-Mommy, are all the animals in the world Muslim?
-Mommy how young do people become in Jannah? Do they become like me 5 (her age) or do they become like you or daddy’s age? what age they become in Jannah?
-Will there be animals in Jannah?
-Will there be ambulances in Jahannam?
-How do we see Allah in Jannah?
-What if we cant speak Arabic and we dont understand anything in Jannah?

The Best Foundation Curriculum Summary: Weeks 28 Feb-11 March 2012

Bismillah,

SubhanAllah we have been so busy over the past couple of weeks and I find it hard to commit time towards blogging regularly. But I guess that is the same issue with all blogger homeschooling sisters, mashaAllah. Blogging does help me to contemplate and review our homeschooling and identify what steps I shall be taking next in terms of kids progress with each subject.

So, we have been trying to stick to our new curriculum. And Best Foundation is based on Qur’an and the Sunnah. All the other subjects are incorporated into one of our main subjects. Geography based on seerah, handwriting based on aqeedah, math based on Qur’an etc.

And here is what we have been doing over the past weeks.

Qur’an Hifdh

Alhamdulillah we do listen to Qur’an 20-30 mins each morning. I go with each child individually to revise 5-6 surahs they have already memorized. And we listen to a surah we are memorizing 3 times at the end, repeating after the sheikh.

Sumayya is now memorizing Surah Naba and Surah Abasa. She can read them both from the mus’haf and when she does it she recites them both without pausing. But when she recites them purely from her own memory then she does pause quite often and can’t remember the next ayah until I mention the beginning of it. Safiyya is now memorizing surah Takathur.

Arabic Reading

They have been reading from their reading book at Arabic school and memorizing the vocab inside. In addition we read from Ahsanul Qawaid. Sumayya is currently on lessons 14 and 15. Safiyya is learning the different forms of letters and on lesson 4 and 5. She has just started reading, mashaAllah. I just can’t believe it but she has grasped the concept of letters have different forms at the beginning, middle and end so quick and started recognizing them very quick as well.

  

Arabic Handwriting

We do lots of copywork for our Arabic handwriting. Sumayya is still using Scribe from Learning Roots and has just started the section copying words. Safiyya has Arabic Writing Book from Goodword books for tracing but she is also trying to independently write all the letters.

  

Safiyya’s independent handwriting attempt and tracing. Some pages she did from her writing book from Arabic school with exercises. She is memorizing the vocab in that book too, alhamdulillah.

      

Seerah

We have been reading stories from the Tell Me About Prophet Muhammad saw book and have lots of discussions on the life of the prophet saw. The last story we read was about Khadija ra and her marriage to the prophet saw. And here is what they have asked me

– Did she really like the prophet saw?
-Why her baby boys died when they were babies?
-Where is she now, is she in Jannah?
-Was she prophet’s best friend?
-Why was she reach?

We have also been doing the coloring pages based on the Sealed Nectar from Easel and Ink. So far we did 2 coloring pages. It started off with prophet’s lineage. So the girls have learned that Ibrahim a.s had 2 sons named Ibrahim and Ishaaq alayhumussalam. Prophets Musa and Eesa alayhumussalam were the children of Ishaaq a.s and Muhammad saw was the only prophet from the children of Ibrahim a.s.

Aqeeda

Previously we covered the angels Kiraman Katibeen and how they count our good deeds and bad deeds. And the punishment of the grave or the fire for being naughty, the bliss and Jannah for doing more good deeds. I try to reinforce the positivity so we talk more about Jannah and rewards and therefore we should be doing more of a good deed. But sometimes by accident we may do things wrong, and when that happens we should immediate say sorry to Allah swt and follow it with a good deed. That is girls understanding and alhamdulillah when they do something wrong immediately they try to please us by doing something nice at home.

We have been learning about Jannah lately in our Aqeedah sessions. We have read a book by Goodword and done a couple of activities based on that. But they learnt that Jannah is a big garden, very big park. And we have recalled all the previous parks we have been in the past and I explained that Jannah is even biggest than any park we have been so far. It is the biggest garden with the most beautiful flowers, the sweetest fruits, the healthiest vegs, bouncy castle and toys. And everyone has their own castle in Jannah. Some of the conversations we had

Sumayya:

-Mommy, is everyone young in Jannah or old?
-People of Jannah are very young, they dont age, they have no wrinkles on their faces
-So, grandma becomes young again if she goes to Jannah
-InshaAllah yes
-So she becomes white like you
-I think so
-So, she can have babies in Jannah. Then we dont have to give Ibrahim to her

(lol, we always talk about grandma taking Ibrahim back home when she goes back because she doesnt have anyone to live with. And Sumayya suggested that she should have her own babies and grandma explained that she had babies like daddy when she was young. But now she is too old to have a baby. Therefore Sumayya came up with the above idea that inshaAllah if grandma keep being good then Allah gives her Jannah. And she becomes young again in Jannah and can have her own babies instead of taking Ibrahim from us)

Safiyya:

-Mommy, can I have sweets
-You can have in Jannah but you have to be good until then
-And the sweets never make me poorly in Jannah. All the chocolates in Jannah are healthy
-Yup. And you can have as much lollies as you like, you never get toothache, tummy ache etc
-And I never get eczema in Jannah
-That’s right
-And we dont need toilet in Jannah because there are no toilets
-That’s right. Everything is pure and clean. We eat what we like but we dont have to go to toilet
-Mommy ask Allah to give me pink castle in Jannah
-Ok inshaAllah 

  

We read the book and talked about the flowers in Jannah. Sumayya absolutely loves nature, flowers, birds, animals and planting. She is forever busy in the garden with one of her gardening projects. She has asked me to plant something so many times. It was also the 1st day of spring so we talked about the changes in nature, more sunshine, daffodils and bluebells. So it was nice arts/crafts session relating both to spring and Jannah. We got it from here. We also got the above spring badge from Easel and Ink. And when finished coloring, cutting and pasting Sumayya wrote underneath: I love flowers. I like to water them. MashAllah, these two sentences she came up with, wrote without me suggesting anything. But she composed grammatically correct sentences, wrote them with the correct spelling. MashaAllah even English is not our 1st language at home, she can read and write better than her peers whose 1st language is English. And we have not done any grammar or spelling lessons, she seems to pick up all her linguistic skills from reading lots of books.

Qur’an party

I said to Sumayya when she finishes memorizing surah Naba we would do the Qur’an party for them. MashAllah one of the homeschooling moms I know did Qur’an party yesterday and it was awesome. We did lots of Qur’an centred activities, party games such as pass the parcel, puppet show about learning Qur’an etc. Kids and adults really enjoyed it and it was so refreshing. May Allah reward the sister. So, my girls keep talking about their Qur’an party and cant wait to finish memorizing their surahs. They keep making Qur’an charts like progress chart where they tick the box for finishing a surah. They keep drawing Qur’an tree and designing an invitation card and brainstorming ideas about how to decorate the house etc. Here is some of their cards

     here is her bakery list of things to get for the party. Her handwriting is improving too.

Tafseer

Alhamdulillah, after long hesitation on whether we should start doing something constructive on tafseer or not, I finally introduces the  tafseer using the pictorial worksheets from Little Starts of Islam. We have so far done surah Nasr and surah Lahab, we did these two because we were doing Quran centred workbooks of these two surahs from Umm an Numan. So, it was nice that they could read and understand the meaning/translation by using both.

Creativity

Alhamdulillah they are always reading, writing, making arts/crafts on their own initiative. Sumayya is always designing her cards and writing letters. If she makes someone upset she she quickly writes a letter to apologise. If she is upset with someone she quickly writes a letter asking not to make her upset. Safiyya is writing all the letters of the English alphabet independently but she cant obviously spell words yet. So she does ends up writing lots of individual letters up and down the paper and decides that it is a letter to someone in the end.

Here is Sumayya’s letter to my brother. She has never met him but they talk to each other via skype and they love each other mashaAllah. It says: To my lovely uncle Murod, I want to teach you about flowers and plants
  

Here is one of Safiyya’s letters. She draws flowers, colors them in, cuts them out and sticks them on a paper with gluestick.

Reading

Alhamdulillah Sumayya enjoys reading. On average she reads between 1 to 5 books. After much thought we have introduced chapter books and alhamdulillah this book I got from car boot sale ages ago was excellent start for chapter books. I would highly recommend it as it is a living book with beautiful illustrations and easy but not dumbed-down language.

 

Safiyya is still learning to blend. She recognizes all the phonics and some of the short words. She still uses Jolly Phonics flashcards too

Geography.

We do map drill based on prophets stories/seerah stories. When we read a story we try to locate places, towns on the globe, map, atlas books etc. We had this Picture Atlas since Sumayya was a baby but I had completely forgotten about it. As we moved the bookshelf to kids bedroom upstairs I had to rearrange books and found this. It is very interesting book and again I got this in car boot sale lol. I am telling you sisters, books are real bargains in car boot sales.
  

Russian

We still have not done anything specific for our Russian language apart from reading books and watching educational cartoons. One of our favourite books are about the Old Fisherman and the Golden fish by classic Russian poet Pushkin. I often read it before bedtime, translate the story and discuss the content. My dad always narrated this story to us when we were young and we all loved this story. One day I was speaking to my dad on the phone, I asked him to tell this story to Sumayya over the phone and passed the phone to her. Sumayya enjoyed it so much and I remembered my childhood. Grandma retold the story in that same tone and using the same language etc.

We have also watched the cartoon here

So, these are what we have been doing recently. InshaAllah when I am a bit more advanced blogger I would like to share files etc. I am trying to learn how to use box net.  I copy pasted the Easel and Ink coloring pages into word document but I dont know how to share files at the moment. So, if anyone is interested in using those then inshaAllah leave your email in the comments and I will email you the files for which there is no link in this post. JazakAllah khayr for stopping by.

Diseases of the heart: Symptoms and Cure

Bismillah,

MashaAllah this is another study circle a sister initiated on Sundays based on Al-Ghazalis book called Disciplining the Soul. This has worked out so nicely for me as both girls being at Arabic school, I can take this day out to work at myself, improve my own Arabic/Tajweed or increasing my knowledge inshaAllah, along with the baby, of course.

I could go on about how wonderful Ghazali’s above named book is, especially for those who are seeking to develop their own self and reach a higher level of tazkiya etc. But, instead I will just share the notes and handouts from today’s khalaqa. Each week a different sister will chose a chapter from the book, prepare the questions to be discussed and the talk to be delivered. And it was my turn today. And the topic was “An Exposition by which the diseases of the heart might be recognized and the symptoms that indicate the return to health”

First of all, let’s look at the definition of the heart. In Arabic it is the word Qalb; which can also be interpreted as soul. The meaning in Arabic is more wholesome than the meaning in English. When the prophet saw said “‘Surely there is in the body a small piece of flesh; if it is good, the whole body is good, and if it is corrupted, the whole body is corrupted, and that is surely the heart’.” He was not talking merely about an organ that pumps up blood and circulates it to the body. He referred to Qalb/soul. So, each part of the body has a function. We have eyes to see, hand to strike, feet to walk etc. And the heart/ qalb is the central organ.

And what is the function of the heart? The function of the heart is the formula below

the acquisition of knowledge –> acquisition of wisdom –> the love of God –> the love of His worship

We should note that knowledge and wisdom are two separate things. Knowledge is acquired through studying and wisdom is acquired through experiencing and implementing. There are many verses in the Qur’an that refer to the above formula. The most popular one being

[I created Jinn and mankind so that they would worship Me ] Ad-dhaariyat 51:56

I looked at tafseer ibni Katheer of the above ayah and it states the following: I, Allah, only created them so that I order them to worship Me, not that I need them.’ `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas commented on the Ayah,

[إِلاَّ لِيَعْبُدُونِ]

(…except that they should worship Me.) meaning, “So that they worship Me, willingly or unwillingly. I seek not any provision from them nor do I ask that they should feed Me. Verily, Allah is the All-Provider, Owner of power, the Most Strong.)

So, we have been commanded to worship one and only God and that should be the only function of our hearts.

What is the disease of the heart?

Al Ghazali states that “possessing a thing in the heart more dear to him than God” is ultimately a disease. He also states that every heart is sick except those whom God has saved. We should not prefer none of the things of this World over Him. And again there are many verses referring to this but one most quoted one Allah says in the Qur’an

[If your fathers, and your sons, and your brothers, and your wives, and your tribe and your wealth you have acquired and the trade you fear may not prosper, and the dwellings you desire are dearer to you than God and His Messenger and striving in His way, then wait until God brings His command to pass]

And if we ponder on this one verse, we realize why Ghazali claims every heart is sick. It is indeed very hard to implement in our daily lives to completely submit ourselves to the will of Allah, to put our ultimate trust in Him swt, not to rush about things and not to stress about worldliness. But diseases of the heart is one of a kind that remains unknown to people they afflict. Even if we become aware of it, we may find it extremely hard to treat it in a proper way. So what is the cure

What is the cure?

There is only one medicine for sickness of the heart. That medicine is very bitter. And that cure is opposing our desires. We shall persevere in the bitter medicine of opposing our desires. Some of us have been led to deny altogether the existence of such medicine, especially in today’s society. Instead we have given ourselves to worldliness. Ghazali said “A soul should return to God with a sound aspect so that it retains not a single tie with anything connected to this world, where soul will be enabled to leave this world unattached to it, paying it no heed and no longer yearning for the things which it contains”. We should hold on to the rope of Allah by being thankful to Allah, worshipping and loving Allah, becoming his Hanif and striving in His path. Impediments in holding on to Allah are pride, hypocrisy, pessimism, uncontrollable anger, abuse of the tongue and lustful sexual desires. Ghazali says that righteous acts proceed from good traits of character. Therefore we should look at our attributes and qualities and devote our energies treating them one after the other.

The hardest part…?

So we have established the function of heart is the love of God and the love of His worship. We know that in every heart there is a sickness that needs cure. And we know that cure is in opposing our nafs and desires and become unattached to worldly matters and things. Now, the most difficult part is keeping rectitude on this straight path. Or the word in Arabic is “Istiqaama” – maintaining the same level of imaan, maintaining opposing our desires and maintaining the healthy Qalb/heart/soul. Istiqaama on sirotal mustaqeem is something extremely obscure therefore we have been asked to recited Al Fatiha on every raka’h. We ask Allah Guide Us to the Straight Path 17 times a day. The prophet saw used to say “Surah Hud had turned my hair grey” and a man asked him why. He saw said “because of this statement [Practise rectitude as you have been commanded] ”. It is very hard to keep istiqama on the straight path. Nevertheless, Ghazali states if we are unable to do this properly, we must at least strive to keep in its vicinity.

And to finish off, I would like to quote from Ali r.a on the heart. He said the following which I find so true 
I am amazed at the heart of man: It possesses the substance of wisdom as well as the opposites contrary to it … for if hope arises in it, it is brought low by covetousness: and if covetousness is aroused in it, greed destroys it. If despair possesses it, self piety kills it: and if it is seized by anger, this is intensified by rage. If it is blessed with contentment, then it forgets to be careful; and if it is filled with fear, then it becomes preoccupied with being cautious. If it feels secure , then it is overcome by vain hopes; and if it is given wealth, then its independence makes it extravagant. If want strikes it, then it is smitten by anxiety. If it is weakened by hunger, then it gives way to exhaustion; and if it goes too far in satisfying its appetites, then its inner becomes clogged up. So all its shortcomings are harmful to it, and all its excesses corrupt it.
There are four things that make the heart die: wrong action followed by wrong action, playing around with foolish people, spending a lot of time with women, and sitting with the dead. Then they asked Imam Ali: ‘And who are the dead, O Commander of the believers?’ He replied: ‘Every slave who follows his desires.’
Surely want is a trial, and having sickness of the body is more difficult to bear than indigence, and having a sickness of the heart is more difficult to bear than having a sickness of the body. Surely being very wealthy is a blessing, and having a healthy body is better than being very wealthy, and having awe of Allah in your heart is better than having a healthy body.
Surely hearts have desires, and they turn towards, and they turn away … so approach them by means of what they desire and what they turn towards, for surely if the heart is forced to do something against its will, it goes blind.

So, we should train our hearts so they may conform to what Allah swt commands. We should keep opposing our desires and nafs and realize that it is a never ending task. Only after the soul leaves us we may stop because it is no longer functioning in this world. But until then we should keep striving and struggling every single day in order to maintain a healthy heart- a heart that contains no love for the things of this world for it realizes that everything is so much better and longer-lasting in Jannah. And the heart should be yearning for the pleasure of God, and worship Him out of love, yearning for the pleasures of the HereAfter by becoming totally unattached to this world.

 

Project: Islamic Parenting.

Bismillah,

Alhamdulillah, I am yet again convinced that there is nothing that we choose in order to seek Allah’s pleasure, He will surely make a way out of the situation for us. When I pulled Sumayya out of school I was still a little concerned about her need to mix and socialize with other kids, because of her English and also because she is very sensitive child. But, alhamdulillah, we have come to know some great families where I would be quite happy for our children to be friends with and inshaAllah they will influence each other only in a positive way.

It is through these families and other sisters I have met recently my original monthly Mum’s Discussion Group has really taken off and rolling into something bigger, Alhamdulillah. I encourage all the sisters reading this post to get out and get to know the sisters within their community and  initiate a similar groups in their own communities inshaAllah.

Below is the short talk I delivered for our first study circle (khalaqa) that was held on Saturday 3rd March at a sister’s house. It was followed by a discussion and Alhamdulillah, was useful and beneficial for all of us. If you initiate a similar project in your city/town, please feel free to use it as a launching talk inshaAllah. *smile*

For a long time I had wanted to launch a project called an Islamic Parenting. It is an ongoing project where all Muslim mothers of Bradford could come together to inspire each other, to motivate each other, to educate each other to be a better mom so that we could help our children to become someone better than ourselves, to be the real servants of God and to succeed in this world and the next, inshaAllah.

Why is there a need for such a project? We have a lot of problems with Muslim youth in Bradford (and worldwide as well). Our youngsters turning to drugs and smoking, adultery and robbery. We cant turn away from these problems. The only way we could change this situation is through education and getting more involved in our childrens’ lives from an early stages. Secondly, a lot of us have children at similar ages. So, by coming together discussing the challenges we have, we learn from each other’s experience whilst letting our children form friendship with each other.

Firstly, we have to conduct the needs analysis for out children. What is it we want them to achieve? What is our aim for them? We want them to be kind, just, honest, caring and the list is endless. But, ultimately we want them to love God and love worshipping the One God so that they become successful not just in this world but in the next as well. We want them to love the prophet saw and imitate his character and actions. But how do you embody the character of the prophet Muhammad (saw) on children? There is one simple formula for this: Example is the Best Sermon. We should be careful for children will always test us on everything we ask them to do. So it is very ineffective to ask them to be honest, humble, giving, sharing, noble, caring etc unless we strive to have all those qualities in ourselves first. We may tell them shouting is not good but we shout at them when they misbehave.

Another simple example is I am always telling my kids to sit down and drink. However, when I am cooking and preparing things I drink and have little snacks on the go. So, they always catch me drinking standing and ask: “But, mom, why are you drinking standing. You should sit down”. Three things they are noting: I am not following the sunnah, I am contradicting myself by telling kids to do one thing and doing the opposite myself and thirdly I am not showing them the good example. Alhamdulillah, I sit down near the sink and drink my water now. So, if we want to teach our children we should never stop learning ourselves. We should act on what we say/ask our children to do as well.

Second, we should show love and compassion. The prophet saw said “He is not one of us who doesn’t show compassion to our little ones and recognize the rights of elders” (Ahmad/Hakim). Anas r.a reported that :”I have never seen anyone who is more compassionate to children than the messenger of God. Whenever he passed a group of young boys he would smile fondly and greet them” (Bukhari/Muslim) How often do we smile at our children? Sometimes when kids misbehave you can win over your anger/child with smiling. Remember, smiling has a psychological effect on yourself and on everyone else around you. It restores self-confidence in our kids and makes them feel loved unconditionally. Kate Samperi, author of numerous books on children said “Before becoming a mother I had a hundred theories on how to bring up children. Now I have seven children and only one theory: Love them, especially when they least deserve to be loved.” 

Show physical compassion. We should give them plenty of hugs and kisses.  Especially as they become teenagers. One day Bedouin came to prophet saw and asked him “Do you kiss your sons. Because we dont”. Prophet saw said “What can I do for you if Allah has removed mercy from your heart?” Abu huraira ra reported that Rasulullah kissed Hasan ibn Ali when Aqra b Hamis At Tamimi was sitting with him. He said I have ten children and I have never kissed any one of them. The messenger of God looked at him and said “Whoever doesn’t show mercy will not be shown mercy”. We should practise this advice at times of disciplining as well.

Third, we should listen to our children and spend a quality time with them. Catherine M. Wallace, another author on children have said
‎”Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.” 

Sheikh Yahya Adel Ibrahim said in one of his talks recently  “The greatest thing you can do for your children is to be around them and spend considerable quality time with them not just near them”. Spending quality time doesn’t take long and is not expensive at all. This is not just taking children here and there, to this playgroup and to that indoor/outdoor playing area etc. A fine example of spending quality time woud be reading aloud to them, ask them to narrate prophet’s stories, take nature walks and ask them to notice changes in nature whilst talking about Creator. It could be as simple as discussing family matters together and ask for their opinions. 

Fourth, Disciplining without spanking. Patience needed at all times but especially when disciplining children. Always remember Muhammad (saw) said “The strongest among you is the one who can control himself when he is angry”. So, we should try not to show our anger to children. And he (saw) said “Whoever controls his anger, while he has the power to show it, Allah (s) will call him on the Day of Resurrection before all creation, and reward him greatly.” Sometimes it takes ages even for one smallest habit to stick. Patience is key to success. We should read more on habit formation, establishing the routine and setting boundaries. If we train these three from young age, inshaAllah there will be no clashes as children become teenagers and beyond.

Fifth, we should stop comparing our children. Comparing the siblings to one another, comparing children to their friends, comparing their Qur’an hifdh, or math skills, it has to be stopped. We should let each of them be who they are. For each human being is unique and has their own strengths and weaknesses. SubhanAllaah. As they grow older we can introduce the concept of healthy competition, competition in good deeds. But, for younger children I have experienced that very often comparisons and competitions leave a negative effect.

To conclude, we should remind ourselves that children are amanah; a trust from God. So, we should raise them in a way that is in line with Qur’an and the Sunnah. If we succeed in doing so, then they will be the glamour of this world to us. If we raise them in a way that is in conflict with the Sunnah and raise them as hostile to the Qur’an, then they could be a source of trial and trouble. May God save us from such a trial.

On the day of Judgement we will be asked about the blessings we have been bestowed. And children are blessing. And Allah has asked us to protect ourselves and our families from the fire. Allah is going to ask “Did our children know Allah, did they know who the prophet was, did they know what the aqeedah meant, and did they know the lifestyles of sahaba?” And each of us should ask ourselves each day “Did we safeguard our trust or did we lose it?”