With the distress of world economies taking its toll, people everywhere are trying to reduce their expenses and maximize their spending money. Muslim families are no exception.
As the holy month of Ramadan dawns on us, many are starting to wonder how they can make this time special for their children without breaking the bank account.
Make a Lantern
Lantern (Fanous) is traditionally loved by children in Egypt, because of the symbolism behind it. Now, for all those who feel they would like a significant way to start Ramadan for their children, why not take on arts and crafts? Why not make a fanous?
Here is what you'll need:
- Construction paper
- Glue, glitter, sequins, if youwish to decorate your lantern
And here is how to make it:
- Use your ruler to measure and cut one inch off the short end of your paper. Set this end aside to use it as the handle.
- Fold your paper in half lengthwise.
- Draw a line one inch from the end of the long edge of the paper opposite the folded edge. This will be the line where you stop cutting.
- Measure and mark lines one inch apart starting at the folded edge and moving toward the "stop-cutting" line (see photo).
- Cut on the marked lines up to the stop-cutting line.
- Unfold the paper.
- Re-crease the paper in the opposite direction. This will hide any pencil marks.
- Match the long edges together on the lantern, and use tape to hold it in place.
- Staple the handle and the top of the lantern together (see photo).
- Make as many lanterns as you wish, and display them around your home.
If you wish, add glue, glitter, sequins, or other things to decorate your lanterns.
Visit a Local Museum
As far as cultural institutions go, you can't beat a museum for the historical lessons it provides and the "next-to-nothing" entry fee they do it for.
Taking your children on a field trip to your local museum can be a way to instill in them a sense of heritage, and if there are any Islamic exhibits, this is extra special.
I recently had the chance to attend the exhibit Sultans of Science at the Ontario Science Centre in Canada with my children. The presentation of all the remarkable contributions made over the last 1,400 years by Muslim physicians, astronomers, mathematicians, and inventors was remarkable to witness. It left us all with a sense of pride for our heritage and a longing to excelein life and contribute to the development of humanity as our predecessors did.
What's on in your local museum this Ramadan?
|Wouldn't it be a great idea to attempt to write a memoir with your children this Ramadan? It could be an extended family project as well.|
Write a Memoir
The word memoir comes from the French and Latin derivatives of memoire, meaning to remember or to reminisce.
Wouldn't it be a great idea to attempt to write one with your children this Ramadan? It could be an extended family project as well, meaning that grandparents can be interviewed by your children, and cousins can contribute their favourite stories of what it means to be a family member.
To get started, gather ideas to write about by thinking of incredible or funny stories that are told during your family gatherings. Maybe it was the time Uncle `Ali lost his fancy shoes during last `Eid and had to walk home barefoot while wearing his three-piece `Eid suit. Or maybe it's how your mother burned the first Ramadan dinner she ever cooked for her in-laws. What written treasures will your family chronicle this month?
The only thing that children like more than sweet treats is baking those sweet treats themselves. So, in Ramadan, asking for your children's help baking traditional cookies, can give them so much delight.
Most Muslim cultures have a special biscuit or cake that is unique to this month, and finding one that children can help with shouldn't be hard.
Try this recipe:
1/2 cup melted butter 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup sugar 1 egg 1 cup raisins
1½ cup flour
1. Preheat oven to 350?F. Line a cookie sheet.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine melted butter, vanilla, and sugar; then add the egg and mix until creamy.
3. Add raisins and mix well. 4. Fold in the flour until a soft dough forms. 5. Drop teaspoonfuls of batter on the wax paper, leaving about 2 inches between each spoonful. 6. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
Have an Iftar Potluck With Your Neighbors
Taking the time to organize an iftar party with your neighbors is a great way to share a wonderful time with friends on a very spiritual occasion. Also, you would be instilling in your children the value of Prophet Muhammad's Hadith “…he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should treat his neighbour with kindness and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should show hospitality to his guest. (Al Muslim 1: #0075)
Make it a potluck, where everyone brings something different, really helps save on the costs of throwing a big party. Make one dish or bring along some cookies that your children helped bake.
Let them help with the organization and the invitations, and they will surely enjoy the project from start to glorious finish.
|Watching something grow — especially as you nourish it — can be such a wonderful feeling, and it is certain to teach children the value of patience.|
Plant a Seed
If you have a garden and you live in a warm climate, then take the time to plant some seeds. Your children can have the input of how seeds grow to plants and the tasks of digging the mud and tending to the seeds.
Watching something grow — especially as you nourish it — can be such a wonderful feeling, and it is certain to teach children the value of patience.
Living in a cold climate shouldn't be a hindrance: You can house your child's tree. Just bring your plants indoors next to a sunny window.
Read a Book (or 30)
Visit the library with your children; select some books for the whole month; and ensure that you have a stockpile.
You can designate a time to tell your children a story everyday (maybe during the countdown to Maghrib time when their stomachs are growling). Watch their world expand: an adventure on the high seas, a struggle to overcome a formidable adversary, or a step back to the glorious days of a great Companion of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
Your child will surely enjoy the encounter no matter what. And you would be instilling a habit that will serve them very, very well in all aspects of their lives, in sha' Allah.
Pray in the Masjid
The family that prays together stays together. Leave the dishes in the sink; gather up the baby; put on comfortable clothes; and head to your local masjid.
Even if the children cannot yet handle the length of the Tarawih Prayer, when they stand close to their parents and other Muslims seeking the bounty of Allah, they go through an incredibly spiritual, uplifting, and shared experience that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Give in Charity
Ramadan is a blessing in which Allah covers you with blessing, for He sends down mercy, and answers prayers. In it, Allah looks at your competition [in good deeds] and boasts of you in front of His angels. So show Allah goodness from yourselves, for the unfortunate one is the one who is deprived [in this month] of the mercy of Allah, the Mighty, Exalted" (At-Tabarani).
Distributing dates to those in need and sponsoring orphans in a war-torn country are a few examples of how we can impart in our children the desire to do good works and to give in charity, for verily good acts benefit us more than those who are the recipients of them.
Asking your children what cause is important to them makes the act of giving sadaqah (charity) all the more relevant to them. You may be pleasantly surprised by the conscious answers you get; children can be very empathetic.
Compile a "Du`aa' List"
Teaching your children the value of du`aa' (supplication) is something that should stand paramount during all times of the year, but especially in the month of Ramadan, when, as Prophet Muhammad said, "the gates of heaven are open."
Ask your children what goodness from this life and the next they would like to pray for? Then get them to compile a list and commit to asking Allah to answer their du`aa's each day before they break their fast or any other time. Teach them that their du`aa' is the ultimate tool in this life and that Almighty Allah says,
(When my servants Ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed Close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every supplicant when he calleth on Me.)(Al-Baqarah 2:186)
May Ramadan be a blessed month for all of us.
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