Monday, March 12, 2012

Teaching the Life of the Prophet SAW to children

Recently I started a series on Seerah by Yasir Qadhi 'A Mercy to Mankind' I am really enjoying and benefiting from it. One of the things I love about the seerah is that when we study the life of the Prophet SAWand ALL the hardships and difficulties he SAW went through, our problems and issues become so small and worthless. And if there is a hardship or fitnah we have in our life, studying the seerah give us the power and strength to move on and move away, by seeing his SAW's tests and tribulations. Its a wonderful series! MashaAllah.

When I started listening to it, I felt a strong urge/motivation to really focus on the Seerah with the kids on a regular bases. Make it an important part of our lives.

Here are some things we have been doing as an effort to help our kids develop a strong and unique bond with the Prophet SAW at a small age.

1. Almost everyday, after Asr, I put Yasir Qadhi's seerah lecture on so the kids can listen to it. Sometimes AR comes and sits to watch the video and of course H joins, they actually sit and listen mashaAllah. (I don't mind him watching a sheikh on the screen for a few minutes to gain knowledge).  The benefit out ways the damage in this matter in my eyes.

A Mercy to Mankind - Muhmmad SAW

2. We posted the Learning Roots 'Seerah -  Makkan period' chart up to keep track of how far and how much we have learned and how much more to go

I am not sticking the stickers on though, this way I can use it again too.
3.  Lastly but most importantly we started reading "The Noble Life of the Prophet SAW' with the kids at bedtime. I know some of you might be thinking isn't that too much for the little ones?? No, not at all. They really enjoy it mashaAllah! How can they not, its indeed the life of our Prophet SAW.  It did take some effort from our side, to have them start it.

Since AR was very small we would tell him the stories of the Prophets and Sahabas without books. When we moved here and I made our bedtime ritual, this time I added bedtime story books, which were never there before that. However a few months ago I stopped reading books to the kids at bedtime again and went back to our old storytelling method. It took me a two weeks or so to wine them off books and listen to all the wonderful REAL stories mama has to tell them. To be honest some days I would have to look at a story before I would relate it to them.

I don't believe in making up stories too much, there's nothing wrong with it, but why fantasies when we can tell true stories. Like, for example if you were to relate the story of Salam Al Farisi (R.A) to a child, how can it be possible that a child will not listen to his story?? Theres no way a made up tale can be as beautiful and as meaning full as the story of Salman Al Farisi or the story of Prophet Sulaiman (A.S). AR still get lost at the thought of flying in the air. In order for us to tell the stories from our Islamic history we need to learn them ourselves and learn them from the right sources and learn them over and over again. So we don't have to relay on non-muslim folk stories and fairy tales, which to be honest in my eyes are all imitations of stories from Islam, some what.

When we share a story of the past we shouldn't hesitate to tell our kids about good and bad, death, murder and physical abuse the muslims went through. I have seen many parents who feel like they are scaring the child or the child will be traumatized. I feel this is a wrong way of thinking, because if this was the case then why would Allah SWT mention death, Jannah and Jahnam to us over and over again?? And the consequence of our bad and good actions?? Its important that we teach children to be detached from this duniya and have a desire to die and go to Jannah, not be scared to death!

Its not easy! The worldly life gives children (and ourselves) an immediate gratification. And Aakhirah is something that we have to remind them about about. Why remind and not tell?? Because its our fitra (nature)! and that is what Allah swt dose again and again in the Quran. And for children, to develop a love and longing for the Aakhirah we need to give them a mental image, and image that is fixed in there minds of Aakhriah(Hereafter) is, Jannah(Paradise) and Jahnam(Hell fire) are. Its not easy, we have to constantly remind them and ourselves and most importantly fight the devil's whispers.

This storytelling phase really helped them move to the book. Since there are no pictures in the book they have to make an image in there minds just by listening which is a great way to promote imaginative thinking. 
When we read it we have simplify here and there a bit to make it comprehend-able to them. We skip some parts here and their that will be beyond there ability to understand. We don't want to make it a philosophical discussion. We still read books and we read lots, but just not at bedtime. 

The last thing I want the kids to sleep with is a story or image that will actually benefit him in this duniya and Aakhira, and that is definitely not in 'Curious George' or Dr. Seuss'  etc. I am not at all saying that these books are bad or shouldn't be read or somthing! I just don't want my child to fall asleep thing about 'Cat in the Hat' or 'how George is a goood little monkey'!

Since MashaAllah Baba is a better story teller then Mama, Baba reads the book to them most of the time. Its a great Baba and kiddios time, Alhumdulillah.

Allah knows best!

1 comment:

  1. mashallah i really like this post and agree with everything youre saying... i suck at making up stories so i try my best to tell yusuf stories of the prophets and / or sahabahs... he actually calls the sahabahs the 'real superheroes!' one day i got annoyed with his interest in spiderman (though hes never even watched it before hes heard of him and seen him elsewhere), so i told him to come sit.. and i was saying how superman is fake and how Allah gave us real superheros to love and learn about and how we should want to be like them since theyre going to jannah... he loved the story of how shaytaan used to run away from Umer ra, he thought it was hilarious
    and youre so right, we have to make an effort to learn more of these stories to teach them
    i truly believe hs-ing is such an amazing blessing and privledge because we get to learn with our kids
    may Allah swt increase us in beneficial knowledge, ameen <3