September 19, 2011

5-A Day Challenge WEEK 2

Yay! for all who have survived week 1 of our challenge and inshaAllah benefited from it :)

Now it's time to move on to week 2 and a new set of tasks. What I intend on concentrating on for this week is:
- Surah Falaq (perfect pronunciation and memorisation)
- 3 names of Allah
- 3 letters of the Arabic Alphabet (thaa, jeem, haa)
- Dua before leaving the house
- Revising what we've learnt in week 1
Hope to hear from you all on how you have been going so far. Share your list of 5 too :)

May Allah help us in our endeavours and make it easy for us and our children to learn and practice our deen, Ameen.

September 15, 2011

5-A Day Challenge Week 1 Update 2

Assalam Alaykum,

Alhamdulilah we've been going well so far, and dear daughter has pretty much finished learning the tasks at hand. To recap, the 5 we're concentrating on this week are:

- Dua before and after going to the toilet 
- Surah Ikhlaas, she has memorised it already but I'm going to work on better pronunciation 
- Dua before bedtime 
- Arabic Alphabets (Alif, Baa and Taa)
- 3 names of Allah
 Activities we've been doing to reinforce the learning:

- Reading the dua before and after using the restroom & before bedtime together - loudly!

- Listening to recitation of Surah Ikhlaas. I have the CD where you have a child repeating the ayah after the Sheikh's recitation.

-  Writing the Arabic Alphabet. There are plenty of free resources available online where you can download printable worksheets that can be used to practice writing. Make sure they say each alphabet aloud whilst tracing it on the paper.

InshaAllah I think we're pretty much ready to move on to our next set of 5, Alhamdulilah.

Would love to hear updates from you :)

September 13, 2011

5-A Day Challenge: Week 1 Update 1

Since we've only just started there isn't too much to share on the progress front, but we can surely share our techniques of implementation inshaAllah.

To recap, the 5 tasks I have chosen for this week are:
- Dua before and after going to the toile 
- Surah Ikhlaas, she has memorised it already but I'm going to work on better pronunciation 
- Dua before bedtime 
- Arabic Alphabets (flash cards) 
- 3 names of Allah
- We go over our list of 5 at intervals throughout the day. I ask her one at a time randomly. For example, she was helping me cook lunch for the baby and whilst she was watching me cook we sang the Arabic Alphabet song and revised the duas and Surah Ikhlaas.

- Pick a time of the day when you are both relaxed and free of distraction and try to do activities related to what you are teaching. Today we made some play-dough alphabet shapes. I am doing 3 alphabets at a time, so we've started with Alif, Baa and Taa.

Busy Bee Making Play dough Alphabets
- I intend on making an Allah's names tree chart or buying the chart from Muslim Stickers. Still haven't decided, but inshaAllah when I do, we will use it as a reward chart for learning the 99 names.

- Last night we also did a little 'show' together, where we went over everything one by one followed by a big round of applause ;) I might get her a toy microphone that she can use for her 'shows'.

So how have you been going? :)

September 12, 2011

A Playful Insight

In a young child’s life play forms an important aspect of their emotional, moral and social development. It provides a platform for healthy cognitive development and various life lessons are learnt on the playground.
As parents we are constantly investing in our children looking for ways to change every aspect of parenthood into a learning experience with the intention of equipping them for success and connecting them to their Creator.

Imaginative play is crucial for a child. How often have we come across our child pretending to be a pirate at one instance, sailing in a ship on high seas in search of a hidden treasure and at the same time transform into being a keen builder where they put together this “ship” that will facilitate the expedition.  The thought process is fragmented, sometimes difficult to decipher, but they proudly carry on putting together their story with ease and self-confidence.

Imaginative play becomes a thinking exercise where children learn to connect various aspects of role-play, anticipate and expect a reaction based on the same.  

After returning from our recent trip to Makkah I have stumbled upon my 3 year old doing ‘tawaf’ around her make shift ka’ba – a cardboard box that we put together and painted to resemble the ka’ba. A huge procession of dolls follows suit chanting the verses “Labbaik Allah Labbaik…”

My 6 year old on the other hand often likes to be the ‘Imam of the Grand Mosque’ and lead in prayer her sister and toys (and anything/anyone else she can get her hands on!).

By witnessing these moments of sheer bliss I realized that children have the capacity to grasp and retain a lot more than we think. Our actions are constantly examined; memorized and mimicked in their hours of play and by watching them we get a true picture of our parenting.

By indulging in children’s world of wonders, we get an insight into their moral strengths and weaknesses. Is your child a fighter, a bully or a quitter? How do they react to failure? Through this we can help them develop their sense of justice, fairness, sharing and cooperation. By creating the right atmosphere we can work towards changing their weaknesses into their strengths and in the process raise a confident, selfless and emotionally aware child.

How does this benefit?

A famous hadith a lot of us have come across says, “Teach your kids swimming, archery and horse-riding.”

Have you ever wondered what the wisdom behind this is? Are these skills going to benefit us as Muslims, or was it intended only on the basis of recreation?  I decided to do some reading on this and here’s what I found:


Health Benefits:

-       Endurance
-       Cardiovascular fitness
-       Builds muscle strength

Spiritual Benefits:

-       Can prove to be a form of meditation that can help you attain a feeling of well-being.
-       Develops skills of sportsmanship, time-management, self-discipline, goal setting and increased sense of self-worth through participation in the sport.
-       Alleviates stress


Health Benefits:

-       Works upper body strength
-       Improves balance
-       Boosts hand-eye coordination

Spiritual Benefits:

-       Develops focus, flexibility and attention skills
-       Teaches the benefits of patience
-       Encourages teamwork
-       Improves self confidence by driving satisfaction from having won a personal mental battle – irrespective of the outcome
-       Teaches responsibility and abiding by rules


Health Benefits:

-       Stimulates muscles in the dorsal and abdominal regions
-       Can prove beneficial for folks with diabetes, due to the glucose-metabolizing effects
-       Improves posture and balance
-       Improves muscle tone and flexibility

Spiritual Benefits:

-       Improves self-confidence
-       Learn to take risks responsibly
-       Improves problem solving skills
-       Encourages self-discipline
-       Increases patience and focus
-       Instills love and respect for other beings

All these activities put together (or even on their own) prove to be so much more than just physical health. What better way of training our children in qualities such as patience, self-discipline and goal setting than through sport?

Chinese Whispers

I bet we’ve all done it before, unintentionally, absolutely unaware of the consequences of our actions. It’s something so trivial that you probably won’t even think about it twice, or even include it in your ‘wonder what happened?’ list down the track.

Have you ever been in a situation where you are happily having a conversation with a couple of friends, and just ‘suddenly’ one of them becomes awfully quiet & withdrawn which normally would not have been the case?

Most of the time, there can be numerous other reasons for this, but sometimes, it can be because of something we do.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has warned us of this 1400 years ago, and if only were we to pay heed to such advice, we could deter those awkward moments. He said:

“Two people should not converse privately with each other in the presence of a third.”  Sahih Bukhari: Volume 8 hadith no. 303.

The reason for me raising this topic is first and foremost as a reminder for myself than anyone else. It so happened that I was at a gathering recently, where I didn’t know too many people and found myself mingling aimlessly through the crowd. I then started having a light conversation with an acquaintance and midway through our chatter she turned to someone beside her and said something to her. Now, normally I wouldn’t think much of this, but due to the situation I was in – already feeling ‘out of place’ and not knowing one too many people around, my mind automatically deciphered this meaningless gesture to mean something more than it probably was.

In hindsight I realize how silly it was of me to make such huge assumptions, but on the flip side I was in the shoes of someone who probably felt the same way because of me! SubhanAllah.

Not only should we be mindful of the people around us but also teach our children to do the same. Children have the tendency to walk up to you and whisper in your ear when you are having a conversation with someone, or furthermore do the same amongst their mates. Though seemingly harmless, Shaytaan plays his tricks to use this against us to cause rifts and give rise to suspicion which in turn leads to misunderstandings.

 This was not from the manners of our Beloved Prophet (pbuh) and we too should strive to avoid such acts that will bring harm.

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “I have been sent to perfect the best of manners.” 

The 5-A Day Challenge WEEK 1

Assalam Alaykum to all who are participating in the challenge this week :) It's never too late to join, so hop on if you haven't already.

InshaAllah this week I plan on doing the following 5 with my 3 year old:

- Dua before and after going to the toilet
- Surah Ikhlaas, she has memorised it already but I'm going to work on better pronunciation
- Dua before bedtime
- Arabic Alphabets (flash cards)
- 3 names of Allah

List your 5 (or whatever number you choose) and lets track our progress. As mentioned in my previous post, it can be less than 5, it can be over 2 weeks if 1 week isn't enough. Work it around your child's ability and task at hand.

Renew your intention, make it for the sake of Allah alone, and to gain His acceptance and pleasure and to raise a righteous child, InshaAllah!

Let the challenge begin! :)