Your Kids and Hajj


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This book is designed to help parents explain everything about hajj to the little ones. All of the materials here are written specifically to address parents who try to educate their children about Hajj. It gives practical tips for parents and interesting information for kids.

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Your Kids and Hajj

  1. 1. 2 © 1433 AH / 2012 AC All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without a prior written permission from
  2. 2. 3 Introduction Every year at such time, our kids get to hear many things about “Hajj”. They hear it in the news and may be from relatives or friends, but most of the time they do not fully understand what the word “Hajj” means. As parents, we are supposed to explain the meaning of Hajj to our children and make them understand the universality and the great meanings behind this fifth pillar of Islam and its rituals. However, we are faced with some challenges, such as : not sure from where to begin, how to make the topic interesting to little Muslims, how to explain it in a simple way for the kids to easily understand. Here is the good news… This E book, presented to you by OnIslam’s Family Section is designed to help parents explain everything about hajj to the little ones. All of the materials here are written specifically to address parents who try to educate their children about Hajj. It gives practical tips for parents and interesting information for kids. We hope this will be of help and benefit to our audience.
  3. 3. 4 Content: Introduction………………………………………………………………………….3 Chapter 1: Explain Hajj to Your Children ……………………………….5 Chapter 2: What Should Your Kids Learn About Hajj Rituals? 11 Chapter 3: Tips for Parents Taking Kids to Hajj……………………..18 Chapter 4: The Family of Prophet Ibrahim (Story for Kids)..….26 Chapter 5: Counseling Q & A..................................................34 Psychological Impact of Slaughtering on Kids…………..35 Teaching Our Kids about Eid……………………………………43
  4. 4. 5 Chapter 1 Explain Hajj to Your Children
  5. 5. 6 Explain Hajj to Your Children* Every year Muslims around the world get prepared for Hajj season, and those who intend to perform this holy ritual head to Makkah in a spiritual journey of faith. In such days, our children get to hear lots of news about Hajj; however, most of them are not aware of many details related to this holy season. When they start to ask about Hajj, some parents find it a little bit difficult for young kids to understand. In this article, we collect information from our prominent counselors in a form of tips to help parents explain Hajj in a simple way to their children. * By Family Editorial Board
  6. 6. 7 Prepare Your Materials  Prepare for the Hajj lesson very well before gathering your children for an introductory talk. Get children Islamic books or articles and read what young kids may say about Hajj. This will help you understand major points to be emphasized in your lesson.  You will need more than just a talk. You can get photos of Muslims at Hajj, posters, maps, Web sites, book extracts, and video material for instance. Cover These Points in Your Lesson  The five pillars of Islam and where Hajj fits into the five. Hajj is a once-in a-lifetime obligation for Muslims who have the physical and financial ability to undertake the journey. It is also a form of worship that involves the entire being: body, mind, and soul.  The story of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and the sacrifice he was asked by Allah to make.  Describe Hajj to your children and explain more about the diversity of Muslims who come
  7. 7. 8 together to worship Allah, and identify the reasons that Muslims give for undertaking Hajj. 1. Discuss Hajj by describing how it is exactly performed. Make a model of the Ka`bah: you can do it with a cubical cardboard box, some black paint, and a line of gold fringe material. If possible, get some dolls or action figures to demonstrate how Hajj is made. 2. Tell your children what Muslims wear on Hajj and why. Also, get one of your children to model ihram, the clothing men wear during Hajj and `Umrah. 3. Talk about the Talbiyah (what the pilgrims recite during Hajj) and recite together the Takbir of `Eid. 4. In addition to talking about how Hajj is performed, you can give details about the Ka`bah‟s construction and its reparations. 5. Talk about what Muslims do at the Ka`bah.  Explain how Hajj is different from a vacation trip.  Explain what Muslims do at Arafat, Muzdalifa, and Mina.
  8. 8. 9  Encourage the children to reflect on the idea that Muslims travel with hope that the journey will change them, that is, that they will come back spiritually more developed by the experience.  Discuss with your children the idea that, for many people, a religious life involves the sense of being engaged in a quest to develop as fully as they can. Time for Exercise  Invite your children to explain or act out how a person may return from Hajj and how to feel transformed by the experience. Children may access a variety of resources you have such as the photos, maps, stories, video material, etc., in order to find answers to the following: 1. Locate on a map the places of Hajj in and around Makkah. 2. Who should go on Hajj, and when? 3. What do Muslims wear when on Hajj to Makkah, and why? 4. Where is the Ka`bah? What does it look like and who built it? 5. What do pilgrims do when they first arrive at the Ka`bah in Makkah, and why?
  9. 9. 10 6. What do pilgrims do when they go to Arafat, and why? By answering these questions, your children would have fully understood everything about Hajj and knew what does Hajj means
  10. 10. 11 Chapter 2 Hajj Rituals & Your Kids
  11. 11. 12 What Should Your Kids Learn About Hajj Rituals?* Hajj plays an integral role for every Muslim, young or old. Special stories of Prophet Ibrahim's sacrifices and his family's journey are all endearing for little Muslims and should be revisited as the Hajj season creeps around the corner. As much as children love imitating their parents in prayer, they can also be reminded how important facing the right way is - and the right way is by facing the Ka'aba, that special building in Makkah that pilgrims visit. The duo of Prophets, Ibrahim and Ismail, iconic prophets in their own rights, were ordered to build the Ka'aba as the special focal point for all of Muslims until this very day and to keep it free from idols. That is very important * Maria Zain
  12. 12. 13 for all Muslims to remember as they perform their daily prayers and even more so during Hajj. Imagine at any point in time of prayer at anywhere in the world, every Muslim is facing one single direction - and that is in the direction of the Ka'aba. The focal point of the Ka'aba is also the heart and soul of the Hajj. Not only do Muslims walk around the Ka'aba seven times when required but the sight of the pilgrims praying together in union is a sight to marvel at. So, what is properly performed Hajj that would reap such a reward? Surely, Muslims of all ages would also like to know. Special rituals take place during the Hajj and it's important to know them as well as the wisdom behind each one. But what are they? What makes a proper Hajj that becomes a gateway to Jannah? Here are the pillars of Hajj, explained to little Muslims. First, Making the Best of Intention for the Best of Hajj
  13. 13. 14 All Muslims must make sure they have enough money to go for Hajj. They must also make intention to stay away from bad deeds and to keep good company as they prepare for this special journey. Performing Hajj to please Allah should be the goal for every person who sets out on his or her pilgrimage. Second, the Arrival Tawaf: Every Muslim needs to walk around the Ka'aba seven times, starting at the Black Stone in the anti clockwise direction. This is done when arriving at the Ka'aba; after that pilgrims pray two rakaat prayers facing the Ka'aba (of course). Drinking waters from the Zamzam well should also be done during this time. Third, running to and fro Safa and Marwa. Many children are already well acquainted with the story of Hajar, running to and fro these two mounts. If they are not, this is a great time to introduce this story to them. All Muslims need to ascend Safa and Marwa seven times. At each point, each pilgrim calls out Allahu Akbar and can make du'aa to Allah. Fourth, Staying the Night at Minaa
  14. 14. 15 On the eighth day of Dzul Hijjah, pilgrims make their way to Minaa to spend the night there. Imagine all pilgrims setting up tents in the middle of the desert and performing their prayers there! What an amazing sight! Fifth, the Day of Arafah The night after Minaa - after Fajr, pilgrims begin to move to Arafah - an important station for the pilgrimage. While being in `Arafah, you should busy yourself with dhikr, du`aa', and asking for Allah's forgiveness. The Day of `Arafah is a very blessed day. `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, There is no day in which Allah frees a greater number of His slaves from the Hellfire than the Day of `Arafah. Allah comes close to His slaves and boasts about them to the angels, then asks (a rhetorical question): "What do these slaves seek?" (Muslim) Sixth, Muzdalifah and Minaa Once Again After sunset, pilgrims venture to Mudzalifah to perform combined prayers of Maghrib and Isha'. After spending the night there, Muslims return to Minaa to throw pebbles at the Grand Aqabah Jamrah, selecting 7
  15. 15. 16 pebbles in doing so. It is recommended to say "Bismillah, Allahu Akbar" when throwing each pebble. Next, it's time for male pilgrims to shave their heads and women to cut some locks of their hair. Seventh, Tawaf Al-Ifadah A special tawaf, called Ifadhah tawaf takes place at Makkah once again. Pilgrims walk around the Ka'abah seven times. After this is done, any special prohibitions upon pilgrims are lifted. At Minaa, Muslims spend three days there, namely the 11th, 12th and 13th of Dzul Hijjah and throw pebbles each day at the three Jamrats. This is done on each day, starting from the smallest to the largest Jamrat. The Final, Farewell Tawaf Finally, it‟s time to say goodbye to Makkah and the Hajj season. Muslims perform one last tawaf - again in by walking around the Ka'aba seven times in an anti clockwise direction. This ends their Hajj rituals, and they should also perform a two rakaat prayer, drink Zamzam water and make plenty of du'a that their Hajj has been
  16. 16. 17 accepted as perfected and proper and to be rewarded Jannah as their permanent resting abode. Hajj is such an important journey for Muslims and it's important for little Muslims to be acquainted with its importance from young. Prophet Ibrahim's family's stories are important to color the lessons of Hajj and so are the rituals of the important pilgrimage. A proper Hajj calls for the rewards of Jannah and that is a massive motivation for any Muslim, no matter how young, no matter how old. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) is reported to have said, "He who performs Hajj without speaking or committing indecencies (abstains from sensual and sinful acts) will return as free of sins as he was on the day when his mother gave birth to him." (Al- Bukhari and Muslim).
  17. 17. 18 Chapter 3 Tips for Parents
  18. 18. 19 Tips for Parents Taking Kids to Hajj* Hajj is a journey of a lifetime for any Muslim and completes the fifth pillar of Islam. There are an increasing number of parents who perform Hajj with their families or whilst expecting a child; however, to make Hajj a truly positive and spiritual experience when going with the kids, it is important to take note of a few things. Many people are worried about taking their children to Hajj with them as the pilgrimage requires immense physical, spiritual, and emotional preparation. Those who do decide to take their children should strive to find the best ways to prepare themselves and their kids and place their trust in Allah. * By Tasnim Nazeer
  19. 19. 20 Almighty Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says to us in the Holy Qur‟an: “If anyone thinks that Allah cannot support him in this life and in the Hereafter, let him turn completely to (his Creator in) heaven, and sever (his dependence on anyone else). He will then see that this plan eliminates anything that bothers him.” [Qur‟an: chapter 22, verse 15]. So leave your trust with Allah, do not worry, and take heed of some essential tips to aid you in making your Hajj journey a little easier when going with the family. Top tips for going on Hajj with your family: 1. Teach your children about Hajj If your children are old enough you could explain to them the significance of Hajj and what it entails and let them know about the spiritual journey they will be undertaking to get them motivated and excited, insha Allah. 2. Light cotton clothing for kids Prepare for very hot conditions and ensure your children wear clothing or ihram that is lightweight and loose. Remember to pack extra change of clothes for the kids and an over-garment for yourselves when you are performing Hajj with the kids.
  20. 20. 21 3. Keep hydrated Stack up on bottles of water and fluids for your children as you have to ensure that you and the family are well- hydrated. There are particular parts of Hajj such as in Mina when you may spend time in tents and will need a lot more fluids to avoid dehydration. 4. Bring your sunscreen It may sound rather obvious but children need sunscreen protection and there are many sunscreens which are suitable for kids to protect them from the heat. It is important to bring one and use it on your children to protect against sunburn as you will often be in uncovered space. 5. Make arrangements for necessary immunizations Your children should be immunized if they haven‟t already done so before going to Hajj. This will ensure that they are protected against meningitis, yellow fever, and other diseases, depending on what is requested by the Saudi government in any particular year. 6. Remember the cough syrup
  21. 21. 22 There are medicines and basic first-aid kits which are available for free in medical units, which are set up all over the Hajj area; however, you may prefer to bring your own cough syrup or any other prescription medication you will need. 7. Make dua with the kids at Mount Arafat Many pilgrims spend the whole day in supplication and prayer in Mount Arafat; therefore, it may help to alternate care with you and your spouse to ensure that you can make dua effectively. It is also a perfect time to encourage your children to make dua if they are old enough. 8. Prepare for cold nights in Muzdalifah Muzdalifah can be quite cold, so prepare by bringing a blanket and something warm in your bag for you and the kids, as it is especially chilly in the cold seasons. 9. Find out from your Hajj guide/organizer about facilities for kids It would be beneficial to discuss with your Hajj organizers about the facilities available for children whilst going to Hajj such as baby changing areas, places to feed babies if you are nursing, wheelchair facilities if they get tired, etc. This will ensure that you know what
  22. 22. 23 your package facilities are so that you do not have to worry later. 10. Keep the kids busy whilst on the roads You may find that the kids may get restless whilst on the roads especially when you are travelling for long. Keep the kids busy by arranging some things for them such as drawing and coloring if they are young or travel games. In addition to keep in the spirit of Hajj why not get them to learn some short verses on the way. 11. Bring a travel pillow for children Children get tired rather easily especially in hot climates and they tend to feel more irritable especially if they are young. If they do feel sleepy it may help to bring a small cushion or travel pillows to keep them comfortable whilst travelling for long hours. Last but not least have a wonderful, spiritual, and enlightening journey to Hajj and may Allah (glorified and exalted be He) make it easy for all parents who are commencing on this s beautiful journey of a lifetime. “Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You, and show us our
  23. 23. 24 Manasik (all the ceremonies of pilgrimage – Hajj and Umrah) and accept our repentance. Truly, you are the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful” [Quran: chapter 2, verse 128].
  24. 24. 25 Chapter 4 The Story of Prophet Ibrahim
  25. 25. 26 The Family of Prophet Ibrahim* The story of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and his family was filled with constant test and trials to prove their love and faith to Allah. As a result of their sacrifices, the blessings of their good actions are still present with this Ummah today. Hijrah to Allah * Saleema Dawood
  26. 26. 27 Prophet Ibrahim, his wife Hajar and their little baby Isma‟il had been travelling for days. They stopped at a place that had no water, plant or human life. The only thing they could see was hills and sand. Prophet Ibrahim helped his wife and child dismount and then left them with a small amount of food and water. He climbed back onto his camel to return home. Hajar was very surprised and asked him, "Where are you going Ibrahim, leaving us in this barren valley?" He did not answer her. She repeated herself but he remained silent. She was worried something terrible would happen to them, especially their baby who could die of hunger and thirst. Then she asked him,” Did Allah command you to do so?” “Yes,” he replied. Then because she was an obedient wife who trusted Allah and had a strong faith, she said with deep faith in her heart, “If this is Allah‟s Command, then He will not abandon us.” Running Between As-Safa and Marwa Prophet Ibrahim was very worried about his family being alone in this deserted place, but after all, he obeyed
  27. 27. 28 Allah‟s command. He knew Allah was testing him; after all, Allah tests those He loves most. Out of concern for them he prayed, "O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Your Sacred House (Kaba at Mecca) in order, O our Lord that they may offer prayer perfectly. Incline the hearts of some men towards them in pity, and O Allah provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks." (Qur‟an 14:37) After a few days, the water and food had been used up; Hajar and her baby Isma‟il were gripped with hunger and thirst. Hajar had been feeding Isma‟il milk from her breasts, but that too had dried up. Baby Isma‟il began to cry piteously and Hajar‟s tears too began to flow. Imagine how she must have felt – she was in agony over her baby. She could not bear to see him suffer like this so that she placed him down on the ground and started running toward Mount As-Safa hoping to find some food, water or somebody to help them in this distressing time. She stood on the mountain, looking keenly at the valley but nothing and nobody could be seen. Then she descended mount As-Safa and ran in the valley reaching the mountain of Al-Marwa. There too she stood, hoping to see somebody to help them but there also, she found nothing and no one. Frantically,
  28. 28. 29 She ran back to the first hillock, then from one to the other, completing seven runs. It was hard but Hajar remained patient and kept praying. This event marks the Pilgrimage rite of Sa’y in Hajj between Safa and Marwa. Zam Zam! Hajar returned to her little baby with an aching heart and found him shrieking. “Mercy, O my Lord!” she cried. She looked at her baby helplessly who appeared as if he was on the verge of dying, praying with all her heart for Allah to help them. Then suddenly, in this moment of deep anguish, she saw crystal clear water bubbling out of the dry earth. Allah had responded to her cries! Quickly, she poured water onto Isma‟il‟s mouth and he drank. She thanked Allah tremendously for His never ending mercy as they filled their stomachs. Allah rewarded her patience by causing water to gush forth from the dry earth to ease their sufferings. It is this miracle water which is called Zam Zam. This 4000 year old stream is still flowing, providing millions of pilgrims with water.
  29. 29. 30 The Tribe of Jurhum Due to the discovery of Zam Zam, the tribe of Jurhum sought Hajar‟s permission to camp there and to use its water. She was so happy to see people in this forsaken land. Allah had indeed „inclined the hearts of some men‟ towards the place where she and her baby was abandoned, thus answering Prophet Ibrahim‟s prayer for his family. So, Hajar welcomed them heartily and many of them made Makkah their permanent home. Prophet Ibrahim constantly thought of his family that he left behind and thus visited them to see if they were well. Upon finding them in the state they were in, he thanked Allah who did not abandon them but sheltered them comfortably. The Building of the Ka’bah Isma‟il grew up and later, he got married to a young woman from Jurhum tribe. Many years passed before his father visited him again. This time Allah had commanded him to build the first „House of Worship‟ where people could come together and worship Allah. He found Isma‟il near the well of Zam Zam, sharpening his hunting arrows. Ismai‟l was overjoyed to see his father again and they greeted each other with love and longing. He told Ismai‟l that Allah had instructed him to
  30. 30. 31 build the Ka‟bah (cubic structure) on elevated ground. As always, Isma‟il was ready to serve and obey his Lord. So, the two of them set about digging the foundation. Then they raised the foundations of the Ka‟bah. Isma‟il brought the stones while Prophet Ibrahim built. While Isma‟il was handing him the stones, both of them were saying:"Our Lord! Accept this service from us, verily, You are the All Hearer, the All Knower." (Qur‟an 2 :127). Then both of them went on building and going round the Ka‟bah repeating this dua. A Great Sacrifice Indeed When Isma‟il was still a young man, Allah again put Prophet Ibrahim to the test. Prophet Ibrahim‟s entire life was one of tests and trials of his sincerity to Allah. One night, he had a strange dream. He dreamt that he was sacrificing his only son, whom he loved so dearly. Prophet Ibrahim knew that his dream comes as a command of God and that He shall obey the command. This was an enormous sacrifice to ask of any person. Prophet Ibrahim longed for a son in his old age and Isma‟il was a great joy to him. Only a great Prophet like Ibrahim was able to carry out such a painful task as proof of his true love for his Creator.
  31. 31. 32 Prophet Ibrahim left for Makkah. It was heart-breaking for him to tell his son about this news. He told Isma‟il about the dream and asked his son what he thought. Isma‟il showed great courage and obedience. He said:” "O my father! Do what you are commanded, if Allah wills, you shall find me of the patient." He then removed his clothes and drank some water. Fearing that he might struggle, Isma‟il asked his father to tie his hands and feet. Prophet Ibrahim sharpened the knife so that death would be swift and less painful. He laid Ismai‟l down and tied him. With a last painful look at his son and a heavy heart he lifted his knife and brought it down to Isma‟il‟s throat but the knife would not cut! Ismai‟l urged his father to press harder and so he did and still, the knife would not cut! He turned to Allah asking for forgiveness for his weakness and Allah responded to his plea, “O Ibrahim, you have fulfilled the dream, thus we reward the obedient.” Both father and son did not waver in their sacrifice… Nearby,appeared a big ram to be sacrificed in place of Isma‟il. The same knife that would not cut the throat of Ismail, cut the throat of the ram in one swift move causing blood to gush to the earth.
  32. 32. 33 This event is commemorated every year by Muslims, on the day of Eidul-Adha, The Festival of Sacrifice at the end of the annual Pilgrimage. Lessons:  Because of Hajar‟s faith and trust in Allah, she was prepared to stay alone with her baby in a deserted desert – knowing in her heart that Allah would not abandon them. When you have trust in Allah you will do whatever He wants without question.  Allah promises ease after every hardship and Hajar was at the point of extreme difficulty when Allah brought relief.  Isma‟il was equal in his dedication to Allah; he did not question his father‟s motives because he knew his father was acting on Allah‟s command. Because of his dutiful ways his father loved him dearly.  A believer‟s life will always be filled with trials and tribulations – it‟s how Allah tests our love for Him.
  33. 33. 34 Chapter 5 Counseling Q & A
  34. 34. 35 Psychological Impact of Slaughtering on Kids Is it appropriate to make children watch the slaughtering of Al Uduheya in ‘Eid ul Adha? Or would it have negative psychological impacts on them? What is the right age for children to watch this? If it happened that children saw the scene of slaughtering the Uduheya and were frustrated, what can parents do to solve this? BismillahiRahmaniRahim Asalaamu alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu, This is a very good question and although it clearly requires a ruling from a religious scholar from a Shari point of view, I can discuss some of the psychosocial aspects Inshaa Allah. There are many factors that influence a child‟s reactions to potentially disturbing events. These include the child‟s
  35. 35. 36 personality, his cognitive ability, his emotional maturity, past experiences, preparation or explanation about the event, as well as the support within the family environment. This is further moderated by the influences of the wider religion and social culture. So, we must take these factors into account. They apply to all your questions so inshaAllah please keep them in mind when managing each situation. Regarding Eid al Adha, the scene as a whole will/can have a range of associations to the child‟s response. Unfortunately, in many cultures the enthusiasm to complete the slaughter ritual may override the correct methodology and to-date has resulted in much wastage of meat and haraam (wrongful) treatment of animals as well as lack of concern on the impact on the environment, and negative results (all, I believe, prohibited by Islam). So, this is also what children, who witness the slaughter, will see as part of that ritual. The children will be attuned to what goes on before and after the slaughter, especially if they found it difficult. Turning specifically to your questions: Is it appropriate to make children watch the slaughtering of Al Uduheya in ‘Eid ul Adha? According to Sharia, there is no mention of an obligation to observe the slaughtering. So, the idea of letting
  36. 36. 37 children watch the slaughtering would not be seen from the perspective of obligation. Rather, we could do this in the context of teaching our children the story of Prophet Ibrahim and his son Isamil and the lessons we get from this story mainly surrendering to Allah‟s will. So, the point would not be merely observing the scene in itself. However, we should be aware that emotional and physical maturity is essential to process what is seen by the observer. This is what I would suggest be the criteria to use as a baseline if you feel strongly that a child needs to witness the slaughter. Or would it have negative psychological impacts on them? There is no direct answer here, except that - as I have mentioned at the start of the reply- factors, such as the level of disturbance, depend on the child‟s level of understanding, the preparation made, the child‟s personality, past experiences and personal ability to absorb such experiences as well as the wider socio- cultural influences. So, for example, it is more likely that a non – Muslim child living in a non- Muslim country may be more disturbed since this event may be alien to their personal and family culture and so will be framed more negatively in a wider culture. This would further be affected by
  37. 37. 38 attitudes to slaughter of animals in the Islamic manner in those countries. Remember, different countries expose their children to differing levels of such events. The same reaction is less likely in a Muslim child living in a Muslim country where such an event is common and an ingrained part of culture. So, the response depends on all these factors. What is the right age for children to watch this? Again, given that there is no research on this specific topic, this is a difficult question. The age at which parents allow their children to watch anything potentially disturbing varies and depends on their knowledge of the child and again external environmental factors. In many cases, what are seemingly disturbing images in one culture are seen as normal in another culture, and children manage them very well because they are part of their life experience. So, the answer is not simple. I think, because of this, it would not be wise to give a specific age. Rather, my suggestion would be to ensure that the „observing‟ child has a fairly stable/clear view about the world around them and is able to understand the context in which this ritual exists because the context itself is very important and increases the understanding of the importance of
  38. 38. 39 the slaughter. Without it, it is simply a slaughter and that gives a very different message. Of course, to understand the context one would need the child to be familiar with more abstract concepts and able to talk and discuss their experiences at a basic level. This is because there need to be some processing of the experience (by „processing‟ I mean discussion and questions and answers about the effect of the experience on the child‟s emotions and thinking about their world). If it happened that children saw the scene of slaughtering the Uduheya and were frustrated, what can parents do to solve this? If a child is distressed by the slaughter, then whatever the age, it is important to talk about it. Research shows that we are wrong to assume very young children, for example under 5, have no concept of disturbing events and can manage; the evidence shows they do not. However, expression of their concerns is restricted by their age. So, this advice inshaAllah applies to all children. There are bi idh nillah a few simple steps the parents may take:  Listen to the child – and whatever they say, Do Not say ‘It’s OK, Just don’t talk about it and it will go away.’ Use simple language; many parents,
  39. 39. 40 when trying to explain disturbing situations, are so uncomfortable about it themselves, they use abstract language and the child is left without a clear understanding but the parent feels they have done their job. Give them a chance to express their thoughts and try and understand as a parent how they have experienced the event. Help them to understand it.  Where there are confusions or misunderstandings do not ignore them but address and answer them. The biggest issue will be that the child will probably feel the pain of the animal and this will be heightened if the method was incorrect. Reassure them of the reality. The child may have recurring images of this event or find they constantly think or talk about it. This may be difficult for the parent to keep hearing but you must bi idh nillah be patient and give a consistent and supportive response inshaAllah.  Validate their feelings and say: „It‟s ok to feel uncomfortable or find it difficult – many adults do‟. Children should not be forced to be brave in situations adults find difficult. But also tell them that they will inshaAllah feel better later and the distress will go away. Perhaps, tell them about your experience and how you managed, as this
  40. 40. 41 will inshaAllah help them to realize they are not alone and it is something they can live with.  Ask the child if they have any questions and answer them. Validate their questions, maybe just by saying ‘that’s a good question’ to help them feel they can talk about it no matter how strange or difficult the question may be. Remember that your reaction at this time will affect their future response to this event and Eid al Adha in general.  When the child is more comfortable with their feelings inshaAllah put the whole scene into the wider context of the Prophet Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him) and the commemoration of that event from an Islamic point of view.  Remind them that in the future they have a choice to look at such things and they need not force themselves to do something they find unpleasant– since it is not a fard (obligation) on them. This message is important as otherwise they will feel Eid is about forcing oneself to look at disturbing images and that will give them a negative image of the din (religion). Remind the child that Allah (swt) wants ease for the creation.
  41. 41. 42  Do not take weeks or months discussing this and do not spend hours on the same conversation. Be confident and clear and encourage the child to move on but keep your eye on them for some time after the event and check they are ok as time passes on. InshaAllah they will be fine. NOTE: If after 4 – 6 months the child remains disturbed (or the problems increase) and the experience is affecting their everyday functioning, then it is important to take the child to see a psychologist for treatment as they may be suffering from deeper psychological problems. May Allah (swt) reward you for this question and may the benefit of it be written as Sadaqah Jariah for you.
  42. 42. 43 Teaching Our Kids About Eid How can we teach ‘Eid to our kids? If parents are going to have a family meeting with their children before ‘Eid in order to talk to them about ‘Eid, how are they going to explain ‘Eid to them and what are the lessons that can be taught in light of that occasion? How can parents explain to their children the reason we perform Uduheya and the story of Prophet Ibrahim when Allah ordered him to slaughter his son Prophet Ismail (peace be upon them)? Answer From Mona Younes As-salamu`Alaykum, Before answering your question, I would like to send you my heartfelt wishes for a happy and blessed Eid ul- Adha. May Allah the Almighty help us all have our
  43. 43. 44 prayers answered, and our deeds rewarded in the hereafter. Amen. In answering this question, I will somehow take a different approach than the usual one. I will not just answer the question of how we could teach Eid to our children; rather, I prefer to take the opportunity of this question to talk about a very important approach in teaching children in general. I will stop for a second by the question: “How can we teach „Eid to our kids?” TEACH… if we really want to have our words, our explanations and our instructions be effective, this has to be done by taking our kids (learners, whatever their age is) into a “constructive learning process”. What does this mean? This is a really long story, but to make a long story short, I will pin point on some very simple principles that make this type of “learning” meaningful and effective. You may be astonished as I am supposed to direct my words to ordinary Muslim parents and not to a highly professional group of instructors or teachers. I fully understand, but the bottom line is “meaningful learning and its underlying principles are the same for parents and professionals”; both want to reach the same goal, which is to construct knowledge that is meaningful andthat can be used and implemented in our kids‟ daily life.
  44. 44. 45 Here are the most important principles of a constructive learning approach:  In a constructive learning process, the learner is in the center, he takes the lead and is responsible for his learning; what we do is to guide him, to facilitate that process.  Each learner is unique and his needs, prior knowledge, his abilities and skills have to be put in mind.  Learning is an active process, a social process with lots of interaction between all parties involved: here the parents, the kids, the siblings and maybe also other friends…. We learn from each other, we learn from others, we learn by seeing others doing, hearing their words and even by observing their mistakes.  Likewise, learning happens when „what is learnt, is put into context‟. If I am going to tell them a story about Prophet Ibrahim, I have to put principles of scarifying, direct immediate obedience to Allah and trust in our Creator into the context of the learner‟s daily life. Now, let‟s apply these principles to our situation: Teaching kids about Eid. The learner is in the center:
  45. 45. 46 Instead of telling our kids about Prophet Ibrahim and his story, why not ask them to go and search for information about Prophet Ibrahim. To have this done in a safe way, we have to give them some supervision time. If they are going to look up information on the internet, why not give them keywords or some good directories to use for their search. If they are going to use the library or some story books at home, we have to specify exactly what we want them to know about Prophet Ibrahim‟s lengthy story. Let them come up with the information… If we have more than one child, why not distribute the information and each should come up with a different part of the story. In this way, they lead and we will guide, help and support them. Then in the family gathering, let them tell us about their findings. This will raise their interest, motivation and they will feel very much attached to whatever information they brought. Each learner is unique: The uniqueness of our children has to be put in mind while we ask them to come up with information about Eid, Prophet Ibrahim and what should be done during the Eid days. Maybe some of our kids are very musical, let him/her come up with Eid Nasheeds and choose one either to be sung, or he/she (according to age) would be given the task to „teach us‟ (other family members) the song.
  46. 46. 47 Maybe you have got a very artistic son or daughter, why not ask him/her to draw a sheep, Eid cards or do some handicrafts. All the above ideas might not be so attractive if we have got children of an elder age (+8). For older children, you might want to consider asking them to come up with information about Eid customs and traditions around the world, to tell us what makes us as Muslims different and what unites us. Coming up with a PowerPoint presentation or moviemaker product would be very engaging for children at that age. Now think about the level of motivation if those children are asked to perform that product in front of a wider audience (neighbors and relatives or even the local community). However, we need to give them resources, needed tools and of course enough time. The latter activity will serve other purposes. It will turn our „teaching‟ into a joyful action…. Learning will be fun…. This raises learners‟ motivation, interest and involvement. All that means, at the end of the day, that they will remember, stay attached and feel ownership of what they are learning. Use the time of kids being involved in doing the handicraft activity (Sheep drawing, Eid card creation…etc.) in telling them a little bit about the WHY question: „Why are we as Muslims so proud of having Eid?‟ It reminds us of the prophets, it keeps us attached to our religion, it unites us all together as Muslims, it‟s a good chance to re-promise Allah to try
  47. 47. 48 our best to be obedient as Prophet Ibrahim once was, etc. What is learnt is put into context: The only thing left now is putting the concepts (obedience, sacrifice, submission to Allah…) into context; that means relating the concepts, which are the underpinning principles and values in Prophet Ibrahim‟s life, to our kids‟ daily life. This is easily done by example. When (name someone who converted recently to Islam) converted to Islam, he thereby submitted himself to the Will of Allah, like Prophet Ibrahim, when he was asked to sacrifice his son. Both are difficult decisions, but at the end, were able to follow Allah‟s path, will be rewarded.