Ramadan 2012 Week 2

 

Bismillah,

Alhamdulillah, by the grace of Allah azza wa jal, we have finished the 2nd day of our Ramadan camp today. There were 15 kids and 4 moms staying with us full day. And all the children really enjoyed themselves. (except the little incident this morning : P)

Last week we learned about the phases of the moon, Islamic calendar, Islamic months and the virtues of the month of Ramadan. So, we started with circle time today where we quickly remembered what we learnt last week. After we made dhikr, dua and read surah each from the Qur’an, we had question-answer based sessions to revise the phases of the moon and Islamic months. I made the moon flags and flashcards with the names of Islamic months and children had to put both the moon flags and Islamic months in the right order.

Then they made a display board about fasting day and what breaks/nullifies the fast.

This week we learnt all about fasting. We learned the ayah in the Qur’an where Allah has commanded us to fast. They did this copywork and used the sheet for their lapbooks

We learned hadith on fasting (Fasting is a shield) and made a mini book and learnt the duas to say on breaking the fast, dua when you break the fast at someone else’s house and dua to be said on laylatul-qadr. We also learnt 3 hadiths about dates as it is sunnah to break the fast with a date. All these mini books were part of their lapbook on fasting.

Finally, Ramadan is a month in which the Qur’an was revealed. So, we did Let’s learn about the Qur’an workbook from A Muslim Child is Born. We did this with our girls last year but mashaAllah it is always nice to review and remake with the other children.

 Another busy day for us, alhamdulillah. InshaAllah we start doing the Ramadan Activity Packs with my girls next week. Generally speaking we have been reading and listening to the Qur’an a lot more, read books on Ramadan and fasting, do their Ramadan copywork and Ramadan memories journals a day. I can not believe how fast this Ramadan is going, subhanAllah. May Allah enable all of us to do more for His sake only amin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ramadan 2012 Week 1.

Bismillah,

Alhamdulillah, Allah has enabled us to spend the first few days of Ramadan so productively.

We had the 1st day of Ramadan camp on Saturday the 21st July and there were about 20 kids, mashaAllah. The camp is running just on Saturdays now as we have a circle with some sisters on Sundays I cancelled the 2nd group. But, alhamdulillah, it keeps me busy as it is, I have to prepare activities and printouts for the whole day to keep 15 kids entertained. It gives my girls a chance to learn in a big group in a trusted environment, alhamdulillah.

This is just the summary of what the girls have been doing. We trying to read more Qur’an daily and I will start focusing more on Qur’an hifdh and Qur’an reading and learning the tafseer throughout this month. I will do a separate post on this later inshaAllah.

They have received this card making kit from Smart Ark as a gift on their Qur’an party. They were busy making Ramadan Mubarak cards for all their friends, used up all 18 cards, envelopes and stickers inside, mashaAllah.

On the first day we learned about moon phases and how it changes the months in the Islamic Calendar.

They made an Islamic Calendar and did some other activities from here. And we all revised the names of months in Islam, made Ramadan Calendar to hang on bedroom wall. In order to keep track of days and to know how many days left till Eid, they will colour in a day for each day of Ramadan. inshaAllah we will be making more things from Ramadan Bulletin Board

Sumayya is doing a copywork daily using ayah and ahadith related to Ramadan and fasting. She reads ayah/ahadith, we discuss the meaning and she writes her own copy underneath. MashaAllah it has helped her to learn few new words such as shield and Muttaqun.

I got this printed from here, it has 30 pages of copywork all around Ramadan and Fasting. MashaAllah it has been of great help to teach both about deen and get her practise her handwriting. JazakAllah khayr to sis Umm Ibrahim, may Allah accept her efforts as sadaqa jariya.

We have also got her Ramadan Memories journal printed from Jannah Steps. She did the following page. We talked about what was her favourite times during Ramadan and I asked her to draw a picture. She loves drawing pictures, she is so artistic for some reason (none in the family is lol). Since I explained the hadith on drawing images with eyes she draws Islamic pictures (with no eyes) lol.

She wrote this on her own: iftar, Ramadan camp, praying with mumy, reading Qur’an, fasting with dady.

Then she drew picture of us having iftar with closed eyes, mashaAllah.

Both Summayya and Safiyya like to express their feelings and emotions through pictures. I bought them some books with muslim characters based on sister’s reviews here. We read the story of Alia’s mission- Librarian from Basra…It is a story about a librarian who tries to save the books from Basra library during the war in Iraq. I had to explain to them a lot about the war in Iraq. Sumayya keeps asking them why non-muslims had all the weapons and guns (based on the illustrations) and why muslims didn’t have those weapons and guns. They keep asking me why muslims didn’t make dua so Allah would send angels to help them (like the battle of Badr) or make dua so Allah would send the wind or storm (like the battle of Trench). It has been a real challenge and a mission to answer these questions. Then they drew this picture on tissue paper and explained to me non-muslims came to invade a muslim city. But muslims were fighting back and Sumayya and Safiyya were there helping. The picture was really good.

Safiyya did the Ramadan colouring book from TJ Ramadan and I asked her to copy a word on each page.

You can see how she wrote her name from right to left as in Arabic on the cover here. She gets confused between Arabic and English, like many of her age I guess. Sumayya used to get confused until recently between Arabic and English when it comes which side to start writing. Some sample pages

Safiyya has also learnt how to spell the word Ramadan with this accordion book from Umm Abdul Basir. 

We are yet to print the activity packs from Smart Ark. InshaAllah we should be doing it soon. May Allah guide us all and give us tawfiq to do more good deeds during this month amin.

Ramadan Mubarak!!!

Bismillah,

Alhamdulillah, all praise is indeed due to Allah swt that we reached another Ramadan. May Allah give us all tawfiq to make the most out of this blessed month, spend as much time in ibadah as possible, strengthen our imaan and stock lots of good deeds for the Akhirah inshaAllah. I hope and pray we will be able to reach our potential as Muslims in this month and spend it productively.

I feel and hope this Ramadan will be different, that we will be able to do more during this Ramadan inshaAllah. I was fasting this week and this to make up my missed fasts, so physically and spiritually feel more ready for Ramadan, alhamdulillah. I have also been able to make some study plans for myself, am planning to keep on hosting the study circle on tazkiya on Sundays as well as running the Ramadan camp on Saturdays inshaAllah.

Kids are so excited as well. We have been talking more about the virtues of the month of Ramadan with children, reading some books on Ramadan and discussing what children can do in this month. Sumayya wants to fast with us inshaAllah. We dont want to discourage her so we will let her fast as long as she can keep it. But with fasting lasting 20 hours, I am not so sure if she can fast that long. Even if she can fast till asr time (which is around 7pm in the UK), it would be good enough practise for her.

I and kids are so excited about the Ramadan camp. We have prepared lots of fun stuff with plenty of games and hands on activities. I would like to thank sisters over at Talibedeen jr, Raising Muslims, Islamic Bulletin Boards and Umm Abdul Basir for providing lots of engaging activities on Ramadan and Fasting on their blogs. MashaAllah, may Allah accept your efforts as sadaqa jaariya amin.

Today we made some decorations on Ramadan. We painted a “Ramadan Mubarak” banner, made a crescent moon that marks the beginning of new month in Islamic Calendar and a star as a companion to our moon to hang in our classroom. They practised their creativity and made lots of other things too, Alhamdulillah. Whilst they were working on their decorations, we discussed what Ramadan means to Muslims and why we love this month so much. They knew so much about Ramadan, alhamdulillah. We talked about how fasting is ordered in the Qur’an and how it is good for a believer, it makes us patient and think about poor. We should increase our good deeds during this month, try to attend taraweeh prayers and be kind and helpful around the house etc. I asked them some basic questions like

What is the name of gates through which only fasting people can enter Jannah?
What happens to big shaytaans in this month?
What time do we have suhoor and what time is iftaar?
What do we do if someone argues with us or hurts us? (we dont answer back but say ‘I am fasting’) etc

These are some of the things they made today, alhamdulillah.

Then they did copywork based on their experience. I wrote the text first, let them read and copywrite it into their notebooks. We do copywork with Sumayya every day based on the Islamic story she reads. Recently she has been copying ayah from the Qur’an or a hadith as these will be mentioned in the stories we read. She has a seperate copywork notebook and I think doing copywork using Islamic text will reinforce the content of the text more in their mind, wallahu alam.

During play time they all took some pens and papers outside. I came out with Ibrahim as he loves to spend time in the garden and saw them making and playing a story. Marjaan was author and writing the story, Dawud was illustrator drawing pictures to go with Marjaan’s writing and Sumayya and Inayah were acting out and making all the details of the story. Then later Sumayya wrote the following on a piece of paper and said she wrote that story.

Basically it says

“Once there was a man His name was Abdullah and he was gratful to Allah He told pepol what to do Then one day he was been killd He didnt now he was gowing to Jannah But he was case He was good and gratful to Allah We dont know who will go to Jannah” . MashaAllah, she only turned 5 recently and I havent taught her any grammar or spelling but both are coming along just fine inshaAllah. I believe Charlotte Mason’s method really worked with her with regards to teaching the language. We dont need to break up the language into bits and pieces like grammar, spelling, punctuation etc until they are much older. But if we are able to instill the love of reading in our children from young age, the more they read, the more they pick up on language and linguistic style, genre etc. And things like grammar and spelling develop in them naturally. Since Sumayya has started doing copywork regularly, I am explaining to her more about spelling rules and basic things like putting dots at the end of a sentence or question mark if the sentence is question. She has missed putting dots at the end of her sentences and is not very regular with her capital letters but nevertheless we were happy with her story. More with the content than the language bit lol. This is what she really meant to say in her story

Once there was a man. His name was Abdullah and he was grateful to Allah. He told people what to do (she is saying to me he told people pray to Allah alone and do what Allah likes but couldnt write it because it was too long lol). Then one day he was killed (by people who didnt want the message from Allah to be spread, her impression must be from one of prophet’s stories or a story of boy who called to tawheed from the tafseer of surah Burooj). He didnt know he was going to Jannah, but he was. Because he was good and grateful to Allah. We dont know who will go to Jannah

In general alhamdulillah our homeschooling journey has been going well. I still face some challenges with Safiyya. I think she feels neglected sometimes as all 3 other kids are a lot older than her in our class and their minds work differently. Older children dont always listen to her input and she gets frustrated. Sometimes I see in her that she really craves for attention and approval, especially during play time as she can not run as fast as others or do the things they do. I wish there was someone of her age who would spend some time with her but I will have to make up to it. I have realized that, now Sumayya can do lots of self-studying, I should give more one:one time to Safiyya and listen to her more, say “yes” to her as often as I can and do more things just me and her (without other siblings) inshaAllah.

On a different note, last weekend we had a day out at Bolton Abbey and kids absolutely loved it, alhamdulillah. It was so lovely mashaAllah, and it didnt rain lol. We had a picnic by the river, went for a walk by riverside and in the woods, climbed up the moor hills, sat under the trees and prayed in the grass. Men collected twigs from a nearby wood and made fire to cook traditional Uzbek rice in open fire. We played lots of games with kids (there were three families), kids paddled in the river, played football, sack race, cricket, tug-a-war etc. Alhamdulillah, a great day out in Yorkshire Dales. We made plans to come again inshaAllah as it is not too far from where we live. Some pictures from the trip

Alhamdulillahi Rabbal Alamiyn, once again Ramadan Mubarak dear all. May Allah give us all tawfeeq to push our limits, strengthen our imaan and make as much ibadah as possible inshaAllah. May Allah help us all to change for better amin.

Building bridges

Bismillah,

I have been telling children lots of stories from my childhood and they keep asking to travel to Uzbekistan. Also, they have started to take more interest in speaking to my mom and dad on the phone. We speak to my brother and one of my elder sisters via skype and mashaAllah they love these skype-chats as they get to see them as well. InshaAllah, I hope we will be able to take them to see their grandparents soon inshaAllah.

Very often my stories about Uzbekistan lead to some funny conversations. One day at bed time I said to them “Today, I am not going to read you a story from the book. I will tell you one from my own head”. We all lied down and I kept telling them how I used to look after our cow during school holidays. I had some friends who were our neighbours. Their names were Surayyo and Dilnoza. They were of my age. We used to call each other early in the morning and take our cows to a place far away where there were lots of wild weeds. We used to pick them up for our cows. There were big and long streams. We used to cross these streams barefoot and sometimes had bath. Our cows used to drink water from those streams. When the cows eat well, then they give lots of milk. So, I had to make sure our cow was fed fell. In the evening when I come home my dad used to say “Well done, my daughter, mashaAllah”. SubhanAllah, the girls loved this story so much, the next day they said “Mom, tell us a story, not from the book but from your own head” lol. So, I started telling them more about the village where I grew up and our house; what we did with our parents and how much fun we had. My mom-in-law tells them lots of stories in general about the lifestyle back home and they are so intrigued and want to visit soon inshaAllah.

This morning I was telling Sumayya stories about my my mom and what she used to say when I did certain things. She goes to me
-Mommy, you know when I grow older I will have my own children. You become old then so you become a grandma. You go to live in Uzbekistan like all grandma’s
-No, I dont go to live in Uzbekistan. I am gonna miss you, Safiyya, Ibrahim then. I can stay here inshaAllah
-No, no. You have to go and live in Uzbekistan like all Uzbek grandmothers. You are not English grandmother so you have to go. Then I will have my own children. Dad can stay because he needs to take me to hospital. and I will ask my children to speak to you on the phone
-I am gonna miss your children, Sumayya.
-No, no. I will tell them about everything you and dad do to me now. I say to my daughters, my mom used to do this and that with me. I will speak like you mommy. I tell them about you.
LOL

We went to the library late afternoon yesterday, checked out about 15 books. As soon as we got home Sumayya started reading and continued this morning without breakfast. I said to her
-When I was a little girl like you I used to read a lot. I loved reading so much that my mom used to tell me off saying “Go and do this job for me, that job for me instead of reading all the time”. Then I used to go and lock myself in the toilet (which is true) and read there.
-But, mom, you like it when I read. You never tell me off and say do this and that
-I know. But, we lived in the village, Sumayya. where there was so much to do. We had big fields where we grew crops and we always had 2 cows. I and my sisters had to feed them and there was lots of jobs in the village. We dont have much to do here
-Anyway, even if we have much to do you can do it by yourself whilst I read, yea mommy.
LOL

Safiyya is even more hilarious. I cant remember anything particular at this moment but she is so sharp and quick to interpret things to her own benefit. One day she was arguing with Sumayya. She must have said something not nice about Sumayya so Sumayya came up to me to complain. I said to her

-Safiyya, why did you say this about your sister, to which she replies
-But, I was not talking about her mommy, I was talking about a different Sumayya. Do you remember we met a girl called Sumayya at Dawud’s Qur’an party, I was talking about her

I didnt know what to say LOL. She only met this girl for a couple of hours, at someone else’s house and she could remember and knew how to use her when I wanted to tell her off. Anyway, I said to her not to lie because bad smell comes out of her mouth and angels will run away from her. And she goes
-Mommy, even the angels who write down your deeds run away? You know Kiraman Katebeen, even they run away when someone lies?
-I dont think so, Safiyya.

Sometimes it is hard to believe she is only 3,5. She is so sharp and manipulative lol. She talks like a great philosopher or a preacher even. She doesn’t forget to reference her speech from the Qur’an or hadith.  They went to stay with one Uzbek family without me one day. They have a 7 year old boy who plays with Sumayya. He must not have listened to his mom or he must have done something not nice so my friend (his mom) told him off and gently smacked him. And there was Safiyya preaching the mother
-You know aunty, our prophet said you should be kind to small children. You should be kind, aunty, because Allah said so in the Qur’an.
My friend was so softened by her reminder lol. Anyway, she asked
-I know. But, what did Allah say in the Qur’an about treating mothers? Should children speak nicely to their mothers?
Then Safiyya quickly turned to the boy
-You know, you should listen to your mom and speak to her nicely. Because Allah said so in the Qur’an. Only when you dont listen she can smack you. (LOL, as if she always listens to me- I thought to myself)

My friend was telling me this incident and how Safiyya quickly changed her mind about whose side she should take lol. She is so hilarious, bless her.

Anyway, I think we should talk to them more about Uzbekistan, our culture and lifestyle back home in order to build bridges with their own background inshaAllah. So, when Allah enables us to visit our families and extended families one day inshaAllah, they don’t feel like fish out of water.

Growing kids

Bismillah,

We have been so busy, as usual, alhamdulillah. I might have told before that we live socially very demanding life- alhamdulillah. I always try to keep in close relationship with other muslim families we got to know over the past years, especially some of them have children around the same age as ours. I don’t want kids to miss out on “socializing” aspect, plus it gives them a chance to practise their English (as we only speak Uzbek at home). Sisters along with babies and toddlers and older siblings in and out of our house, we can feel the sense of belonging, the sense of community alhamdulillah. It is such a blessing to be surrounded in such company and our children always remind each other of Allah swt as. We really enjoy listening to their conversations whenever we get a chance. May Allah continue this friendship and protect and preserve our children for us and us for them.

I started teaching another 7 year old girl, alhamdulillah. So, there are usually 4-5 of them in our classroom (my two girls, 6 year old twins-a boy and a girl and 7 year old girl). Safiyya doesnt always stay with us, as she finds some of the activities too challenging. Whenever she distracts the class I send her out. Otherwise, she is always at the background and I try to provide some fidgety things- beads, sticks, pipe cleaners to keep her busy.

We always start with dhikr and make dua that Allah gives us all beneficial knowledge. They read 2-3 surahs each and a page from Ahsanul Qawaid daily. At the moment they are doing copywork from Ahsanul Qawaid, they copy 8-10 high frequency words from the Qur’an. Alhamdulillah, they are improving. We usually pray dhohr together.

Literacy. I use a lot of Islamic literature for our literacy activities. At story time we always choose one non Islamic and one Islamic story book to read. I read some pages and let kids read a page each in turn. I let Safiyya read some short words that she knows how to read. MashaAllah, she can read most 3 letter words. And she is more interested in books than ever before. Following the story time, I ask them do some copywork for their English handwriting. They usually copy the dua of a particular prophet from the story we read or ayah from the Qur’an or a hadith where the story is derived from. Alhamdulillah, I think copywriting the powerful messages sent through the Qur’an and Hadith will help them to understand the moral of the story better.

When we read the story of Hud a.s they copied the message Hud a.s delivered to His people.

And I also do a spelling check using the words from the story. Usually I choose between 6-8 words from the story and ask children to write those words without looking at the book. I will just say them outloud and they have to write the words down and number them. I check at the end if they have correct spelling. Then they have to copy the words in which they have made a spelling mistake.

This is the spelling test I did based on the book called The Way to Jannah by Learning Roots.

We also read the story of Ayyub a.s and kids copied his dua.

Sometimes when we read a story I ask them to summarise the story in 5-6 sentences, basically narration but very short narration. When I ask them to narrate they keep going on and on lol. Alhamdulillah, they have got really good memory so they keep telling me every detail. And we have a short dictation based on the story. I read out the sentences and they have to write down without looking at each other. MashaAllah, Sumayya’s spelling is the best in the group though she needs to improve her handwriting. So, this is an example of our dictation based on one of the stories we read about a little girl called Jane.

These are examples of Sumayya’s Arabic handwriting.

These are the kinds of activities we do regarding numeracy. Alhamdulillah, as they grow older it is becoming easier for me as they do lots of self-studying. I am enjoying teaching more and more.

Numeracy/Maths.

We have been continuing with MEP Year 1 with math. Alhamdulillah, I like this programme so much, math concepts introduced like a building blocks and slow pace. It is moving towards logical thinking and mental math now. Other children in the group use their fingers or math manipulatives and Sumayya said today “Before I used my fingers now I use just my own brain” lol. Alhamdulillah, she is excelling in math.

For example, I ask them to write an addition sum for the number 5, using any of the numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. And she wrote all the options such as 0+5=5; 1+4=5; 2+3=5; 3+2=5; 4+1=5 and finally 5+0=5. We do lots of equation based problem-solving such as you have 4 how many more shall I give you to make it 7. Or, I say Marjaan has 2 more than 3 apples but Sumayya has 3 less than 8. So, who has more? And she quickly said we have the same amount, calculating things in her head. Other kids do simple additions and subtractions really well but struggle a little bit when it comes to equation or problem solving. Anyway, I am really happy with MEP books and programme and inshaAllah continue using it.

Here are some sample pages of the MEP workbooks.

Safiyya was initially doing MEP Year 1 but she finds it really difficult now and so I have just been reviewing numbers 0-20, counting 0-20, Arabic numbers 0-10, colours and shapes in English/Uzbek/Arabic in addition to very basic addition. She is not yet ready to do subtractions and generally we use lots of math manipulatives with her. I have got the below poster from rahmah homeschool and thought it would be nice to have it on her bedroom wall and go over it every day before bed time inshaAllah.

We are also continuing with K12 reader programme to improve her handwriting and reading. Alhamdulillah, she finds these worksheets easy and enjoys them.

Geography

We do map drilling and use the globe every time we read a story. When we read the story of Musa a.s I ask them to show me Egypt from the map, and draw pretend line where he has travelled, find river Nile where his mother put him as a baby in the basket. When we read the story of Hud a.s they found out he was from Yemen and found Yemen on the globe. Prophet Ayyub a.s was from Syria and they found Syria. And I ask simple questions such as “Is Arabia on the east or west of Red Sea?” “Is Makkah on the north or south of Yemen?” And alhamdulillah they can answer well looking at the globe. They noted that lots of prophets was from Egypt, Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Syria  and surrounding area and asked me which prophet came from England. I didnt know any prophet from England so I said I dont know but Allah knows. Alhamdulillah, very curious children lol.

This is our Good Deeds Tree that hangs on our classroom wall. Whoever collects the most number of flowers every 4 weeks will get a prize inshaAllah.

And we mostly cook together with my girls. It gives me a chance to practise some of their vocab in Arabic. I keep asking for names of vegetables and fruits and some kitchen tools in Arabic and Sumayya answers while Safiyya mostly copies what she says. But, inshaAllah, she must be internalizing and learning.

Anyway, we have made a new dish yesterday called Maqlooba from an Arab cuisine. We tried it 1st time at our friend’s house in London 2 weeks ago. We all liked it. Me, Safiyya and Sumayya found the recipe on youtube and watched it a couple of times. And we made it together. They were very curious about this new dish. Alhamdulillah it was so yummy, the whole family enjoyed it, including little Ibrahim.

Finally we bought Ibrahim his 1st pair of shoes today. It was such a mission lol because his feet are so chubby. We got them measured in Clarks and his size was no less than 5 I. His sisters had size 5 H as 1st shoes so his feet must be even chubbier. Anyway, the guy said they wont do any shoes in size 5 I, 5 H was the biggest width they could provide and alhamdulillah we found a pair that fit his chubby feet. He is so much into books, just like his sisters, mashaAllah. He walks really fast now. He loves spending time outside, always asking us to take him out by holding one of us by hand and walking toward the door lol. He mimics and imitates most nursery rhymes, his favourite is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Wind the Bobbin Up. He loves when we sing it together and does the actions so well. We all call him sheikh lol. Potty training is going well, hope he will be fully out of nappy by 18 months inshaAllah.

Ibrahim loves playing with his sisters. They play run and catch, hide and seek and a ball. It has been a good couple of weeks since he started playing football. He doesnt play other babiesh ball games, but kicks the ball and runs after it. He is just so hilarious as he is so short and chubby running after football half of his size. He only turned 1 on Sunday but already plays football, mashaAllah. May Allah protect and preserve all our children and make them among the pious Muslims amin.

Character building with the Qur’an

Bismillah,

I cant believe how fast the days are flying by and it is only 16 or so days left till Ramadan. SubhanAllah…

I would like to update on the hifdh of Qur’an inshaAllah.

We try to listen to the Qur’an a couple of times a day. We do the revision session as usual once a day when I ask the girls both read me 5 random surahs I choose off their memory. Safiyya is memorizing surah Zalzala at the moment and Sumayya is just reviewing Juzz Amma. She can read a lot of the surahs in the next Juzz but has not yet started memorizing. She keeps reading surah Mursalat after our Qur’an revision session. She listens to a new surah a few times and she can read it from mus”haf on her own mashaAllah.

A lot of the moms complain to me how hard it is to sit their children and make them listen and repeat when it comes to memorizing the Quran.

Q: How can I motivate my child to memorize the Qur’an?

This was my answer:

1. We- the moms have to make the effort to memorize new surah alongside with our children. They should see us listening to the surah we want to memorize, repeat after the sheikh, read that surah at least a couple of times a day outloud. When we set that example, they will be motivated to copy us inshaAllah.

2. We should make the effort to make the Qur’an a living/applicable thing in our lives. We try to talk about Qur’an as much as possible in our household. When we ask children to do something or to become something we should always try to reference it from the Qur’an. For example, when we ask them to be kind, we can remind that Allah has asked the believer to be kind in the Qur’an (you can search and find specific ayah for older children). When we see older siblings making little ones upset we often ask them to say sorry. Again, we should always remind that when we hurt someone we should first ask forgiveness of that person then we should seek forgiveness of Allah swt. When we ask them to be gentle, sharing, humble and not to show off- all these things can be referenced from the Qur’an. We should make our children understand from young age that it is not we who want them to behave in certain way but it is Allah the Almighty, who created all of us from nothing and gave us everything we need- He wants us to become and behave that way and He told us so in the Qur’an. These character building statements with Qur’anic backing can be explained on the go all day long. We don’t need to sit children down to explain these. Make use of time during school run or whilst cooking and trigger some conversation about what Allah azza wa jal told us in the Qur’an. When kids don’t listen to me I always say “Allah said in the Qur’an “Worship me and obey your parents”. So, if you want Allah to be happy with you you can do as I said “.

3. One of the things my girls ask every time we make dua is going to the highest level of Jannah, inshaAllah. Whenever they feel reluctant to do the Qur’an hifdh- I ask them “So, how are you going to go to the highest level of Jannah without learning much of the Qur’an. Remember, Allah loves those who learn and live the Qur’an. So, Allah is watching you now to see if you can do it or not”. MashaAllah this works perfectly well with Sumayya as she is getting older she has more understanding of things relating to HereAfter.

4. Treats- we have no TV but we use watching some educational cartoons on youtube as a treat for learning/memorizing the Qur’an. For those who have/watch TV- it should be limited and used as a treat only. We can use Qur’an charts- where a child collects a star for each new surah learnt and parents can buy something for every 10 stars. The prize can be a real simple toy or some educational resource, a book etc. Something useful. We can also give them sweets and candies for new surah learnt. We have always restricted sweet things in our family diet (and really I dont have a sweet tooth. I can not each store bought chocolates, candies, choc-chip biscuits etc) So, what our girls receive is usually something very little- it could be 1/4 of a twix bar and they are over the moon lol. But I say to them, chocolates/sweets are unhealthy in this world only. But, in Jannah, everything is healthy. They can have as many lolly pops and chocolates as they wish for and it never affects their teeth or tummy. I say “Even if you dont feel like eating a meal and have 10 lollies a day, still your teeth don’t go black. Because everything is pure in Jannah and nothing makes you poorly there”. They love it when I talk like this about Jannah, alhamdulillah. Also, we can organize Qur’an parties when they memorize a certain juzz or a number of surahs. We also organize trips for our girls for memorizing the Qur’an and alhamdulillah they look forward to trips and try to memorize quickly.

5. Keep listening to Qur’an as many times during the day as possible. Whilst travelling in the car, whilst cooking a meal, whilst having breakfast etc. Most people have smart phones these days and some really cool apps. So, we can utilize the technology we have at hand and make use of every spare minute we have inshaAllah. If we get our children’s ear used to the sounds of the Qur’an recitation, they should not feel as reluctant when it comes to memorizing. It is completely foreign language to children, they don’t read, write, speak or even hear the Arabic language. So, we can imagine how hard it must be for them to memorize something in a language that their ears never heard of. I think it helps to train their ears by listening to the recitation of Qur’an from as young as newborn babies (or even in pregnancy).

6. We have “It is Qur’an time with mommy” every day. We all should make it a habit inshaAllah.  Time is crucial factor both for  parents and children. We parents should be able to choose a time that works for both inshaAllah and revise all the surahs they have memorized so far. We can make them read or listen/repeat the surah they are on at least 3 times (depending which method is being used. Older children memorize by reading a surah many times but younger ones memorize by listening and repeating. Personally, I prefer listen/repeat method as it is traditional and you are more likely to get the sounds right). Anyway, when we establish “Qur’an time with mommy” as a habit, then we don’t need to drag them/ nag them or spend long time trying to make them sit and do the hifdh. Establishing a habit in itself is an automatic motivation inshaAllah.

7. Aqeedah- we should keep working on their understanding of Aqeedah. We should establish the firm knowledge of Allah, the oneness of Allah and meanings of names of Allah swt. We should teach all the basic knowledge relating to HereAfter from a very young age and as they grow older learn in more details. Few things we have to develop strong awareness in children are: tawheed (all 3 aspects of tawheed) the pillars of imaan (belief in Allah, angels, prophets, books, the day of Judgement and Qadar). In general terms, this is what we always say to our children at home “We all have a book called Illiyun. We all have angels on our sides called Kiraman Katibeen. These angels write down our good deeds and bad deeds. Allah swt will count on the day of Judgement all our deeds to see which one is more. If we have lots of good deeds than Allah will reward us with Jannah inshaAllah”. As well as treating our children with trips, sweets or Qur’an parties from time to time, we should keep reminding them that the greatest reward is with Allah swt and in Jannah.

I was memorizing surah Qiyamah some time ago. As I memorized I was listening to the tafseer of the surah as well. I said to Sumayya “You know on the day of Judgement Allah will destroy everything. All the strong mountains will be flying in the sky. All the trees will be uprooted and strong tall building will crumble. Do you think it will be dark or clear on that day. That’s right, everywhere will be dark. But, the prophet saw said those who memorize and learn the Qur’an will have light on their face. So, if you learn and live the Qur’an, you can see where you are going. Everywhere will be dark but inshaAllah you can find your way” She was really impressed by this fact and also learning about the description of the day of Judgement. So, I thought developing their knowledge of the HereAfter would help them to feel motivated to learn the Qur’an.

8. Finally, we should all be making dua constantly that Allah swt makes this journey easy both for ourselves and our children. Allah is All Knowing, All Watching, All Seeing, The Controller of the Hearts and He can make anything possible. We are only asked to do what we can do inshaAllah.