Welcoming Ramadan With Kids

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Thursday, May. 25, 2017 | 12:00 - 14:00 GMT

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Salamu Alaikum counselor, Happy Ramadan, this year I'm preparing my young kids (9-7-5) to fast Ramadan or part of it this year. They are very excited about the idea of fasting with the family but I'm worried that the experience might be distributed by their attachment to the Internet, mobile, and video games; can you please give me some tips on how to take my children away from the games in order to enjoy the holy month with the family. Thank you.



Wa alaikum salaam dear sister,

Ramadan Mubarak. Masha Allah, your children are now old enough to join you in the festivities of Ramadan. You want to do your best to make the experience an enjoyable one for them but are concerned about getting them away from the various technologies that they are otherwise attached to.

There are a few different ways that you could approach this challenge. Whilst you could take them away entirely, or just allow them to continue playing them as they would do normally, these options are much less likely to yield the effects that you are hoping for of them reducing their time on these activities, but also having fun and enjoying Ramadan on a more spiritual level.

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One option is to limit the time they spend on these activities daily. Imposing this restriction on them without an explanation may cause conflict so there are a few things to keep in mind when doing so. Firstly, explain to them why you want to reduce their time in these activities, i.e. to give more time to worship Allah during this holy month. Let them know that it’s not a punishment, but is for their own good. Let them know that this is why you will also be restricting your own time using internet, mobile..etc.. That way they will be able to see that it is not a punishment, but something that we should all be looking to accomplish as well as you leading by example and imposing the same restrictions on yourself too.

Empowering them and involving them in the process will also place them in a position that will be more likely to comply with the instructions with less resistance. You can do this by giving them some choice is the process. If you feel like they might be able to make reasonable choices about how long they play each day then you can negotiate a time between you. If you feel that they might be likely to ask to play a lot longer than you would be happy for them to play each day then you could be the one to tell them how much they play each day, but allow them to decide the time of day that they will play. Allowing them to be part of the process will make them feel more responsible for adhering to the agreement.

Furthermore, you can make the process easier by ensuring there are plenty of alternative things to do that will keep them distracted from the need to play games. There are many resources available online which have games and printouts to engage children during Ramadan. Again, this is another task that you can involve them in. Allow them to pick out the activities they would like to do. Taking part in fun activities during Ramadan will build positive associations with Ramadan. You could help them to create a schedule of which activities they will do each day. You could make a plan together and stick it somewhere visible so they can see which activities they will do each day. This will help to keep them motivated each day and have something to look forward to as each day of Ramadan passes

You might also set targets regarding their Islamic education at this time too. Supporting them to increase their knowledge during this time by setting a monthly target to achieve by the end of Ramadan will hope to boost their confidence and motivation during this time also. Keeping a track of their progress towards their individual goals will keep them motivated.

Amongst the resources available online, there are also a wealth of Islamic games and apps available that they could avail of. You could include the use of these by either allowing their gaming/online time to be solely on these tasks, or you could perhaps split their gaming time into their usual games and Islamic games. This again could be a decision that you negotiate between yourselves that they are empowered as a part of the process as well as allowing you to have some control in reducing the amount of time they spend doing the activities that you desire to reduce during the holy month.

May Allah bring you all the blessings of this holy month. May He grant you and your family the chance to grow together spiritually, striving for His sake.


In Ramadan, I am busy trying to prepare my kids for this holy month. I listed the challenges I may face during Ramadan with my kids. One of the major challenges is their non-Muslim school environment, as they are in a public school. My child is not yet at the age when fasting is obligatory but is training. However sometimes I feel really confused what to do if there is an exam at school, a swimming class, or the child just feels too hungry.



Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

 

Ramadan Mubarak. There are many challenges that come with training children for Ramadan, and when they are going to school in the non-Muslim environment there are additional challenges that you anticipate facing. There are, however, some ways in which you can make things easier.

 

Like you say, your child is not at the age yet where fasting is obligatory, but we know that training them years in advance will make it easier for them to fast in the future when it does become an obligation. It gives them the chance to not only know what to expect but also the chance to begin appreciating the things that Ramadan encourages, even if it is just as simple as understanding the feeling of hunger that many of our brothers and sisters face each day, not just during Ramadan.

 

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If you have big concerns around them fasting on school days, then you could simply encourage them to fast on weekends only. If however, they want to fast on school days too, then as they’re not yet at the age where it is obligatory they could skip fasting on days where they have an exam or sports and allow them to fast on the other days where they don’t have to do such demanding tasks.

 

As alternative option might be to allow them to fast on any day they want to, including if they have an exam or sports, but instead tell them that if they feel that they can’t complete their fast, then it is okay in their situation to breakfast. As they get older, however, they also need to understand that this will not necessarily be a permissible reason to breakfast, especially if they only want to break because they feel hungry. So, perhaps this particular option might one that will suit the older children who are almost at the age where fasting becomes mandatory in order they can get a better feel for the challenges that they may face as a teenager/adult.

 

To further support them with this, especially when it comes to fasting on school days, you can make things easier for them by informing the school. This way the teachers will be able to support them and will be aware of what they are doing. Also, be sure to let the teachers know that it is ok for them to break their fasts if they need to. Again, this way their teachers will be able to keep an eye on them in case they need to break their fast.

 

In the meantime, continue to strengthen their connection to Allah this Ramadan by engaging as many acts of ibaadah as possible, especially as a family so you can bond in these activities and the children can experience both the challenges and joys that come in this month. Having this understanding and positive association with Ramadan and understanding why we fast they will get the best from the experience and be motivated to join in in subsequent years.

 

May Allah reward you for supporting your children to engage in an enjoy Ramadan. May He put Barakah in all you activities during this blessed month.

 


As-Salamu `Alaykum. There are many difficulties raising children in a non-Muslim country. I want to know how to take care of teenagers when they start being “Western” like going out and so on as Westerners do. Should I be strict with my children or should I just make them understand politely?



Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

 

There are indeed many challenges that come with raising children in a non-Muslim country, but in sha Allah with firm faith in Allah it is possible to raise good, righteous children in such an environment.

 

You suggest 2 options; being strict or make them understand politely. These are 2 options you could potentially take, but they could both have negative outcomes. If you are too gentle and polite about it then they might not understand the importance of refraining from activities that are not in line with Islamic values and therefore not pay attention to what you are doing. Likewise, if you are strict on it they may get angry and rebellious not understanding why you are restricting them from doing the things they want to. However, at the same time, a polite approach might make them more likely to comply, as might a strict approach. Knowing your own children, you would be in a better position to understand how both approaches might impact on their behavior.

 

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There are however, alternative ways that you can approach this issue. Firstly, ensuring that they have a firm Islamic education, whether that be by attending a local madrassa or at home as a family if the resources are not available locally. Attending local activities in the local community will introduce them to other Muslim children who will share the same values.

 

Ensuring their Islamic education, whether that be at home or the local madrassa will indirectly form a means of ensuring that they don’t desire to do the things that some people do in Western culture that are not compatible with Islamic values. This is because as they come to learn more about Islam and what is acceptable behavior and not, they will be more likely to only engage in things that they know are okay to. If you are confident in their Islamic education then you can feel more settled that when they are going out with their friends that they are only doing things that are acceptable and it is not at the cost of their Deen.

 

The thing is, that going out with friends in itself does not have to be a problem. Children do also need to have this social time and enjoyment as much as they need to be serious when it’s time to study too. Educating them about Islam and ensuring good Islamic practice at home will support you in accomplishing this. It will also instill their own confidence about their Deen with an understanding of what is right and wrong in the eyes of Allah

 

Additionally, you could tell them to invite their friends around sometime so that you can also get to know their friends and know who they are spending time with. This way you can not only be aware of what they are doing and ensure that it is not harmful, but you are then clear who they are spending time with and if they are good friends for them that will not be those who might lead them astray.

 

May Allah reward your concern to raise your child in the best way and may He grant you pious and righteous children that will be upstanding pillars of the community and the coolness of your eyes.

 


As-salamu aleykum. Hope this email will find you in good health. I married a woman with six kids. First, she informed me that she has only two orphan children who are living with her mother, I accepted it and we were married. She later informed after two years that she has six orphan children who are still with her mother. She is nice to me and she is a very good woman. But I am still thinking why did she hide from me that she has six orphan kids. I didn't get married before her and she is my first wife. The kids are not with us but we are supporting them. I am sometimes ashamed and not happy about her money for children. It is very difficult to accept it in society and culture. But I want to know what Islam said about it. Do I have the right to divorce her depending on the above issue? Do I have the responsibility to help her orphan children? Do I have the responsibility in Islam to accommodate the children? What does Islam say about marrying a woman with more kids? As she hid from me that she has six orphan kids, can this issue be enough to divorce her in Islam? How can I accept it? Sometimes I think that she is older than me as she has six kids! Thanks in advance.



Wa alaikum salaam brother,    

 

It seems that right now you are feeling confused about what to do about your marital situation. Alhamdulilah, you married a good woman who is good to you, however, you have just found out that she was concealing information from you which has cast doubts in your mind now.

 

Whilst I can’t answer your question regarding the Islamic rulings on your right to divorce her and what Islam says about raising orphan children as these are questions for the scholars, I can support you with information on the psychological side of things.

 

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If you choose to continue in the marriage, it is important that you leave behind any hard feelings that you have toward her as a result of what she hid from you and be prepared to face the challenges that may arise. If you are unable to do this then you may continue to face difficulties. It might be best to begin by confronting her about it and how you feel betrayed that she kept it from you until after you were married which was not fair. Certainly, Islam places marriage amongst one of the most respected institutions and does much to protect it and ensure peace and respect between spouses. She needs to understand that what she did was deceptive and how this makes you feel. How would she feel if it was the other way around; that you had 6 children but chose not to reveal this t her until after you married. She would quite likely feel as devastated as you are.

 

If this is the route you chose to take, then understand that it is best that you find it in your heart to forgive her shortcomings, otherwise, it will continue to be an ongoing issue for your marriage. Forgiving people can be difficult when they have wronged you, but always remember that we can draw on the character of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in remembering how he forgave people who had wronged him to the most extreme of levels. Remember also, that we all do wrong in one way or another and we pray for the Mercy of Allah, and if we can expect Allah to forgive us, then we have to be prepared to forgive others too. This forgiveness will help to bring a softness in your heart that will allow you to move through this situation with less difficulties in your marriage.

 

If you find yourself unable to accept what has happened and chose to pursue a divorce instead, then ensure that you get support from your loved ones to support you through what will be a difficult time. Divorce is not an option you can go back on, so make sure you are absolutely sure about it if you chose to do so and move forward with confidence that you did the best thing for you.

 

It is a difficult choice to make. On the one hand, you are already married and you say she is a good woman, but at the same time, she deceived you and she has even more children than she told you which you are finding to be a bit of a burden. At this time, you can make istikhara and ask Allah to guide you to make the best decision that will be good for you and your wife as well as being most pleasing to Him. Continue to find solace with Allah that you will feel happy and content with whatever choice you make in the confidence that you doing it to please Him.

 

May Allah guide you to make the best choice that you will be content with and will please Him. If you continue in the marriage may He bring ease in your affairs and if you pursue divorce may He make it smooth and easy for you. Either way, may He comfort you in His remembrance.

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