Now that the first half of Ramadan has passed and most Muslims are accustomed to the long, hot days of fasting in summertime, the time to really focus on the spiritual aspects of this holy month is now-if you aren’t already.
Contrary to what you may think, long, lazy days of summer with the kids home from school may offer the perfect opportunity for focusing not only on deepening and enhancing your own worship but that of your children as well.
With so many children too young to fast, it’s important for them to participate in the special feel of Ramadan in other ways, and it’s up to parents to make particular efforts to ensure they learn all they can. It is not only about why we fast but also about how to improve our character, increase our good deeds, and keep away from sin in this month more than any other.
Everyone Can Join!
Finding activities in which your children can join is the best way to engage them in the spirit of Ramadan and anything from coloring, arts and crafts to serving the needy in their community will do the trick.
For many students, keeping up with and improving their reading skills is important during the summer months when they are away from school. Parents should seize this opportunity to have their children focus on reading Quran, an activity moms and dads can join as well.
Sitting down quietly as a family, perhaps after the evening iftar meal, can provide not only a great bonding and relaxing time for children and parents but it also demonstrates to youngsters the importance of reading, reciting and understanding Quran during Ramadan.
Indeed doing so is following the example of the Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). It is recorded that the angel Jibreel (Gabriel) used to come to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) every night in Ramadan and study the Quran with him. (Narrated by Bukhari, No. 5)
Bonding with the Quran
What better way to develop your child’s love for the Quran than snuggling them into your lap, or pulling them close to your side and reading and sharing Allah’s book with them? What wonderful memories families can make, and what rewards might they gain by learning, reciting and memorizing the Quran together and instilling in each other a love for Allah’s word?
For those little ones who have not yet learned to read, moms or other caregivers can take advantage of hours spent indoors with arts and crafts geared specifically toward children during Ramadan.
The Internet is awash with ideas for simple coloring projects and even religious-themed printouts with images of mosques, children praying, or Arabic calligraphy.
Get kids involved by helping them to do an Internet search for ideas on Ramadan-themed decorations, which they can create on their own to make their homes more festive.
It’s even a good idea to encourage youngsters to use their own imagination and make original artwork, sketches, paintings, and drawings to hang about the house, or even a Ramadan wreath to adorn the front door.
Imagine the pride your children will feel when their parents’ iftar guests are greeted into their homes by a beautiful, hand-crafted wreath they made themselves. And of course, don’t leave all the fun stuff to the kids. Parents can find simple delight in assisting their children with their craft projects and kids will surely love the extra time and attention from mom and dad!
Give, Help, and Volunteer
For older children and for adults, emphasizing the importance of giving in charity and doing good deeds during Ramadan is especially important and again the example was set by Prophet Mohammed (may the peach and blessings of Allah be upon him.) It is recorded that Allah’s Messenger was the most generous of all people, and he used to reach the peak in generosity in the month of Ramadan when Jibreel (Gabriel) met him. (Narrated by Bukhari, No. 6)
For those looking to help others in need, look no farther than your own community. Most cities have any number of homeless shelters, food banks, soup kitchens and other organizations, which assist those less fortunate, and they are always happy to welcome volunteers and donations.
Familiarizing yourself and your children with these places and taking part in helping others is a great way to not only teach them the importance of giving to those who are in need, but it also emphasizes the special rewards of giving in Ramadan and year round-rewards that not only benefit the giver but the receiver as well.
You can even go to your local masjid and ask if there is a needy Muslim family that your family can sponsor during this month. If so, enlist your children in the task of shopping for groceries and even preparing the meals you want to donate. And, finally, have your children come with you when you drop the food at the masjid.
The more children take part in charity and the more they are involved in making it happen, the more they will come to understand and appreciate how much they are blessed with and may even inspire those youth who are not yet fasting to go without food and water for a half a day or even every other day. There is no better way to relate to those who are suffering than to walk in their footsteps even if for a short time.
In short, no matter what you do to make this Ramadan meaningful for you and your children, remember there are many ways to enhance your worship, increase your good deeds, and read more Quran. But if you can achieve all of these while involving your children and imparting to them the special significance of this holy month, you and your family will not only reap more rewards but you’ll be ensuring your children have joyful memorial and traditions they will remember with each coming Ramadan Insha’Allah.
First published: June 2016