With the holy month of Ramadan quickly approaching, parents can help ready the kids for the holy month by encouraging kids to incorporate more duas, Qur’an, fasts and prayers into their daily lives during the months of Rajab and Sha’ban.
While parents should avoid forcing kids to participate in certain acts of worship, there is a way to gently and progressively help children get used to partaking in extra worship during the holy months. In these months, every small act of worship done purely to satisfy Allah the Almighty, can help keep it as part of our daily routines. Parents must wisely spend time preparing a child before they are baligh (coming of age) to take on certain responsibilities. You cannot expect a child to just wake up and start praying or fasting. They need to practice beforehand.
Instead of asking your child to read the recommended multiple-rakat prayers, maybe start them off with a simple 2-rakat prayer. And try reciting any special ziyarats (visitation) or duas (supplications) together as a family. You can also take a few minutes to read the translation to help kids understand what they have read.
“Rajab is the month to sow the seeds, Sha’ban is the month to irrigate the crop, and the month of Ramadan is to reap the harvest.”
When talking to kids about doing extra worship, you do not want children simply fasting or praying so they can be considered be better than others. Offer a simple treat if siblings fast together, or if they read some extra Qur’an. If children are not encouraged properly at a young age, they could grow up feeling that they are indeed better than everyone else. Sometimes you might run into children who brag about how many surahs (chapters) they have memorized, or how many fasts they have done. While it certainly is an honorable thing, showing off is not an admirable quality and should be discouraged.
Tips for encouraging a healthy attachment to worship
- Keep Allah as the focus: When talking about worship, always keep Allah’s satisfaction as the main goal. When kids are reminded about attaining Allah’s pleasure, they won’t care so much about pleasing others.
- Start small: Kids often become “bored” with worship when it is clumped together in such a way that it becomes too much for them to handle. Start them in small doses, and it can even be paired with a craft or activity to keep their interest.
- Offer treats: There is nothing wrong for offering a treat if a child fasts or reads extra Qur’an. Keep the treats simple and again, keep the focus on Allah.
- Communication: Talk with your children about the effects of certain worship. This will help children see the positive effects worship can have on their lives.
- Worship can be family-centered: Do things as a family. Prayers, Qur’an, ziyarats, fasting – can all be done together as a family. Use the time to help build each other up. Kids also like to see everyone is involved in doing the same thing.
During the holy month Sha’ban, we ask Allah the Most High to give us the opportunity to raise children and families who will follow in the footsteps of the Holy Prophet and AhlulBayt.
Editor’s note: Islamic Insights is honored to host the “Raising Faith” column by esteemed guest contributor and student from Qum, Sister Samira Rizvi. Besides being a former newspaper copy editor, Rizvi is a mother of three, an author who writes for Little Muslim Books, and maintains a personal blog. Her column will focus on her experiences in tarbiyat—the upbringing of children based on Islamic values. For past articles in the column see here.