How To Teach Kids About Religion-Part 1Aug 07, 2022
Respectful heads up: Religious content ahead.
There are only three ways for our kids to learn about religion and want to live it:
2- Through fun
1- Our children can’t be better Muslims than we are currently. And if all they see us do is hurried Salah and recitation of words we don’t understand then we’re not actually showing them anything worth loving about religion.
2- We want them to read qaida but are WE learning Arabic too? Are we joyful about it? Do we talk about how important it is to us to be able to understand and read Allah’s words? Or did our journey with Arabic just end when we finished qaeda at age 7? If you’re thinking... but I need my kid to learn qaeda NOW and I don’t have time NOW to learn Arabic.. then I’ll say yes you do. You can learn 5 minutes of Arabic 3-4 times a week. When your kids see you do it... they’ll do it too.
And if you really really can’t then *gasp* maybe the kids shouldn’t be expected to either? And maybe *bigger gasp* they can go all the way to age 7 without ever opening a qaeda? (You know, like the sunnah;)) [I somewhat apologize for the snark here- I hope it gets the meaning across more purposefully:)]
3- We want them to learn Surahs but are WE learning more surahs? If this is important to me, I would start learning a Surah myself and 100% the kids would follow suit in shaa’Allah.
4- How else do we express love and joy for our religion? Have we reduced it to those moments when our kids are doing something we don’t like and we use Allah’s precious name to scare them? Allah loves children unconditionally and He wants to be known for that love. “Maryam, but we must teach our kids that Allah is to be feared as well.” Yeah no. Hard no to that. “Fearing Allah” is a complex phenomenon many adults don’t even understand or care about. If we promote the love NOW, the FEAR of losing that love will come naturally. After all, we know all about the fear and still continue to willfully not do things we’re supposed to do.
5- The best way to help kids appreciate religion is to show them with OUR kindness and mercy that this is the biggest value our religion teaches. “I’m kind to you because that’s what Allah asks me to do.” If we’re running after them with a chappal and qaeda, all we’re teaching them is “religion is harsh and incites my parents’ wrath”.
6- Haqooq-Ul-ibaad are dear to Allah... how do we incorporate People’s rights in our daily lives? Do we talk to our kids about race issues? Economic disparity? Injustices? Do our kids see us advocating for minorities? Volunteering for our communities? Or do they see us gossiping, indulging mostly in entertainment and socializing and being unkind to our spouses and siblings?
If you’re thinking.. yikes this is hard!
I’ll say... yes it is. It’s VERY hard to model being the kind of Muslim we want our 5-year-old or 10-year-old to become yesterday. And until we can do that... we can’t expect our kids to fulfill all our expectations. We HAVE to accept that this a journey. Allah Azwajal is NOT interested in us or our kids finishing the Quran. He never once talks about reaching some ultimate perfection. In fact, He tells us repeatedly how flawed we are because it’s true. That’s His way of letting us know He doesn’t expect perfection or anything close.. He expects forward movement. In fact, He prefers consistency over quantity.
So if we CAN’T model and CAN’T do fun then at least we CAN back off and relax.
Why ARE are we in such a hurry? Who are we REALLY doing this for? Who are we wanting to impress? Why are we on some kind of deadline for our kids to finish the qaeda and reading Quran?
The point of us teaching our kids religion should be to foster Allah’s love in their hearts. So much so that they grow up and want to learn more about Him.
This is something I’m truly thankful for to my parents. They provided me with opportunities to learn about Islam but never ever forced anything on me. I was like all kids, on the fitrah and curious about my Creator, my parents answered my questions and provided me with resources and that’s it. They didn’t even do the modeling part too great or the fun part but what they didn’t do is, force me. And I grew up loving my Creator and wanting to know Him more. And the older I get, the more I know of Him and the more my love grows and the more sincere my worship becomes. Alhamdulilah.
Now if your child is happy reading her qaeda, that’s awesome. I mean please don’t chuck that out and say Maryam is anti-qaeda 😅 (like Pakistan main meri entry ban na ho jaye)
How to teach kids religion in some fun ways coming up next.