It’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves time and again as parents- how do we make our children fall in love with Islam? Here are 10 tips to consider…
10 Ways to Teach Children the Joy of Islam
1. Live it, Live it, Live it.
It’s definitely a journey. And although we constantly put our children first, we forget that we’re the people who are always around them; who they’re learning from. So we need to fall in love with our religion. Constantly remind yourselves as parents/ caregivers to feel the love that Allah has for you first. It’s so easy to forget. Remind yourself of the incredible peace God brings to your life and insha’Allah you’ll be pleasantly surprised how easily your children will grow up feeling it too.
2. Make Allah a Member of your Lives as a Family.
When something great happens, grin and thank Allah in front of your child. When you’re struggling with something, or you need to access His Strength, let them hear you whisper to Him. They’ll ask what you’re doing and you can tell them you’re talking to Allah.
When you’re standing in-front of life’s big crossroads, bring Allah into the decision making process. What would He want?
3. Fill your Lives with Qur’an.
Buy or borrow laminated Juz so they can touch and read it easily. Make listening to Qur’an part of their daily routine. For example, listen to your favourite reciter while breakfast is being prepared or on the way to school. Recite a few Surahs out loud with them before they sleep. Or mix it up- challenge yourselves as a family to learn a more ‘obscure’ short Surah like Surah Dhuha together, or pick a familiar Surah and they can try and guess the last word of each verse!
4. Lead by Example.
Let them see you be kind to a driver who cuts in front, or forgiving when your child breaks another one of your things. Drop off food for someone who’s sick, have them choose food for the homeless during your regular grocery shop, or they can even pick a toy every month to give to kids who need it more.
5. Involve your Children in the ‘Big Nights’.
As tempting as it is to try and get them to sleep so you can concentrate on Laylatul Qadr, or even go to Ziyarah without them, the impact it will have on their young curious minds is well worth the tiredness/jet-lag once it’s over. They’ll catch on that something special is happening plus they’ll have extra access to the angels too! It’s said that Lady Fatimah (as) used snacks and water to keep her kids awake on the blessed nights.
6. Differentiate between culture and Islam.
Whether it’s the West or ‘back home’, the place and time you grew up in, will definitely be adding colour to your view of the right way to do things. And like it or not, your children will be looking through different colour glasses. It’s so important to peel back those layers so that you’re teaching them as ‘pure’ Islam as possible. This comes into play, even more, when enforcing rules. This leads me to the next point…
7. Answer their Islamic questions.
Personally, I find this to be the most difficult one. When a toddler is shouting for you on repeat while another child is asking how come he can’t see God if God’s always there, it’s hard to process. But it’s always a moment of joy seeing your child care enough to ask about Allah. Kids are amazing and often understand way more than we give them credit for. If s/he’s asking the question, use it as an opportunity to talk.
8. Choosing the right friend circles.
When children are very young, it’s easy to centre their playdates around your circle of friends. Make sure the people you and your children meet regularly are ones who remind you of Allah, who teach you to be better human beings by the way they run their own lives. This might mean adjusting your circle a bit to include new friends, or it might be as simple as focusing your conversations more with current friends. As children get older, stay aware of who they are spending most of their time with, and try to ensure a few positive influences that they connect with.
9. Give them space to be children.
Let Islam stay an easy way of life for them. Remember they are young and, especially for non-Baligh children, don’t keep lots of rules. For older kids, enforce the waajibs and haraams and maybe your two or three main house rules, but let everything else be ‘up-for-debate.’
10. Ask Allah for the ability to raise your kids with the love of Him in their hearts.
Ask Him to guide your hearts when the way gets confusing and to take them and you by the hand throughout life.
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