We as adults all know of the spiritual benefits of reciting the Holy Qur’an during the holy month of Ramadhan, but how do we instill this in our children? For many of us, Arabic is not a language we are fluent in, and thus this often causes a disconnect between us and the beautiful words of our holy book.
Often we as parents are pressured into making sure our kids are learning how to read the Qur’an, and equally pressured into making sure they “finish” the Qur’an. We hold lavish parties and celebrations all honoring the child who has finished reading the entire Qur’an. But if we were to ask that child what he/she understood, what kind of answer do you think we would get?
Surely there is a huge blessing in reading the holy Qur’an, and indeed in finishing it also, but have we ever thought to teach our kids what those beautiful words mean? What about teaching them a little bit of tafseer, or commentary, of the backgrounds of those same surah (chapter) they have memorized?
“Beware, there is no good in recitation (of the holy Qur’an) and not thinking upon it,” said Imam Ali ibne Abi Talib (as).
In many countries, like Iran, children in school are not forced to recite Qur’an with the intention of simply “completing” the holy book, rather they are taught commentary and therefore this helps the child gain a greater connection with the words of Allah.
Now it isn’t that difficult to help our children understand what they are reading – albeit in small pieces so they can digest – and helping them make the Qur’an a part of their daily lives.
Tips for helping our children understand the Holy Qur’an
- Start with simple tafseer: For those smaller surahs that children often memorize, go through and read the commentary, or tafseer, and relate it in a child-friendly way. This helps the child think of the Qur’an as a living book. There are many books out there for children with illustrated stories from the Qur’an.
- Try to utilize Qur’anic verses in your everyday life: There are many verses of the holy Qur’an that serve as beautiful reminders in our daily life. Verses about remembering Allah, asking for help during difficult times, requesting protection from harm during travel, etc., all serve as a way to keep kids acquainted with these holy verses.
- Even if you don’t have time to read, have your children listen: Some days there might not be time to sit and recite from the Qur’an, so try to have kids listen to the Qur’an being recited. Besides the spiritual, there are many physical benefits associated with listening to the Qur’an’s recitation. It also helps children better their own recitation as well.
- Help kids learn basic Arabic for words commonly used in the Holy Qur’an: This will not only get them acquainted with basic Arabic vocabulary, but also help them slowly understand the gist of many verses they come across. There is a good app for IOS and Android called Learn Quranic Arabic. It is in a simple-to-use format, and perfect for adults, too.
- Communicate the importance: Make the holy Qur’an a part of your life by talking about it with your children. The lessons derived from it, the stories of prophets, the rules we follow, etc. Make the Qur’an a part of your every day – if only for a few minutes.
Prophet Mohammad has said, “The holy Qur’an is a wealth that no wealth can equal (or reach) it. And there will be no poverty after it.”
The holy Qur’an is indeed a living book. We often set it aside because we feel there isn’t enough time in the day, but even devoting a few minutes a day can help make a huge difference in our lives. During the holy month of Ramadhan, if we haven’t already, let’s make a pact to Allah Almighty to give us the opportunity to get more acquainted to the holy Qur’an. And may He help us understand the beauty and wisdom of the Qur’an, and help us share this gift with our children.
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.