>> Monday, May 13, 2013
Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullah,
I pray you are in best of health and eeman,
I was wondering if you can help me with this.
The problem is my sisters are not very practising... may Allah guide them! Alhumdulillah our parents have thought us the basic moral values but other than that my sisters do not follow islam religiously as of now! One thing that really troubles me is when they scold their children they do it in terms of "Allah will send you to hell if you do this" ! May be because that's how culturally it's put in our minds.. where fear of Allah is instilled rather than love for Him!
Anyway I was wondering, could u suggest some activities or ways in which I can develop my relationship with their kids better inshaAllah. They come home every weekend. So what can I do in the little time I get to teach them and instill in them good perspective about Islam, inshaAllah?
Wa alaykum as salaam,
First of all, it's wonderful to see you take on a positive role and to really want to help your nieces and nephews grow more in love with Allah and their religion. May Allah accept your efforts. And may Allah increase your sisters' understanding of Islam and help them to be positive role models for their children. Ameen to your duas.
You asked about different kinds of activities you could do to help develop your relationship with the kids while giving them a good perspective about Islam. To be honest, activities are important (and we'll look at a few ideas) but besides activities, it's the attitude that matters. The thing is it's really not any different from how you would develop your relationship with anyone. Kids are just like grown -ups. They want to feel heard, understood, appreciated, cared for, and that they matter. They want to be around people who make them feel safe to be themselves, who can laugh and have fun, and who are spontaneous. They don't want to be unfairly criticized, blamed, and compared to others. If you're doing those things while being the best person you can be (as honest, patient, gentle, etc as you can) and you talk about religion, you're going to create a connection for them that matters- people who practice Islam are the best people.
When it comes to activities, there are so many different things to do. Of course, it depends on their ages, but here are some ideas:
-You can read about the Prophet's seerah, together and the other prophets, too. If they're the "we have to move around type", you don't have to only look at the story from a book. You could actually make it more interesting by "going out" and doing things. For example, you could tell them the story of Prophet Nuh while you're on a boat ride. If you go to like a "Sea World" kinda of place (where there are whales), you can tell them the story of Prophet Yunus. In this way, they're learning and having fun.
- You can also tell them the stories of the Companions. After reading about them, you could ask "So, now we've seen how so many of the Companions were given titles/ nicknames by the Prophet. Khaled bin Waleed was "The Sword of Allah" for example. "What nickname would you have wanted the Prophet to call you? What shall we call you from now on?" That's just one example. The point is always to try to give them a chance to connect to whatever it is you're doing.
-You can do a project on what jannah looks like and look up different verses and ahadith. Or you could have them talk about what they would like to have/ do there. Let them get real imaginative :) Another way of doing this is to have each one of them look up beautiful pictures of nature/ hotels around the world and then casually mentioning that Allah has prepared something even better for the believers.
-You could agree to fast one day and cook up iftaar together ./ Even just have them cook up a big meal for the whole family and talk about silat al rahm (upholding the ties of kinship).
-You could take them to a mosque and have them clean it up.
-You could have them paint cards for their friends and buy small gifts and talk about the sunnah of giving gifts.
-Do a trivia night
But you know what? You don't even need to do special activities. Everyday activities are great too. Just add some Islamic ideas. For instance, clean up the house with them (and let them get wet and have fun too with the bubbles/wipes) And while you're doing that, talk about how Allah loves cleanliness. Take them swimming and tell them that the Prophet said we should learn swimming.
Practical implementation of ahadith and ayaat will definitely make them see Islam as something that they live by…and NOT something that one only remembers as a threat.
Even when you're playing any normal game, you can just give them a small hint/ Islamic reminder through the game. For example, as you are playing, "I spy", you can say, "I see something that is glorifying Allah that is blue (a blue bird, e.g.) ".
I've also gotten you some amazing blogs and links with all sorts of Islamic activities for children :) May Allah reward these incredible bloggers, ma'shaAllah =)
And here are some other links for children to use:
Baba Ali has some great videos aimed at younger children; Here.
Lastly, it really would be best for you to talk to your sisters, as well, about the importance of building love for Allah. Try giving your sisters other things to say like "I know you want to do this, but you're going to get hasnaat if you do ………..". OR "That might look like fun, but it's not something Allah likes. Let's stay away from it"….
May Allah reward you tremendously :)