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الأحد، 30 يونيو، 2013

Ramadhaan in a Young Muslim’s Life

http://www.islamweb.net/eramadan/index.php?page=articles&id=178943


How Parents Can Help Children Understand Fasting
At a young age in our lives we are taught by teachers, parents, and elders how to live a good life following the guidance of Islam, its rules and principles. As children, we tend to listen to our elders and follow their example not really knowing the importance and benefit of each action we take. Unfortunately, not many parents realize this fact. Parents must teach their children how to perform religious duties in a way that allows them to appreciate the meaning behind those duties and grow connected to Allaah Almighty and love Islam.
I am now in my early twenties and I am not a parent yet. But, in my middle school years, I had an experience which highlights this parenting aspect and I thought of sharing it with those who may find it useful.
Every year, the return of Ramadhaan brings to me many good memories of fasting; memories related to all parts of Ramadhaan—the nights of ‘I’tikaaf we spent in the different Mosques, the good food we ate, the many guests we had over at our house every weekend, the competition between my friends and me to see who could fast the whole month. But there is one incident that really stands out.
I always knew that fasting was a principal part of my religion, but I wish I understood why it was necessary for me to do it. Some of my Islamic school teachers told me it helps us feel how the less fortunate people live everyday and motivates us to do something about that, as well as be thankful to Allaah Almighty. I did and still do appreciate this explanation, but I felt it was not enough. Then one day in my sixth grade class in public school, a friend of mine asked why I fast Ramadhaan. "Because it's a part of my religion," I told him, and went on to mention the same explanation I heard from my teacher. He nodded and we went on with what we were doing. A few minutes later he asked me what would happen if I were to eat during the period I was supposed to be fasting? I told him I shouldn't do that unless there is a dire need for that, in which case I would have to make up for my missed fasting days at a later time. A few moments later he looked at me with a smile saying, “How would anyone know whether or not you broke your fast if no one was looking?” I chuckled and said, “Allaah Almighty knows.”
During recess, my friend offered me a piece of his pizza and began to tempt me saying no one will know, and I again replied that Allaah knows. But what he did hit me so hard I feel my spine shivers almost every time I remember it. No one will know...had I really wanted to, I could have eaten a piece of his pizza and the hunger in my stomach would have gone away and not even my parents would have known. But what I said to my friend kept ringing in my head, “Allaah knows... Allaah knows...” It suddenly dawned on me that I was fasting for the sake of Allaah; that I was actually sincere in that. This realization made me feel very powerful, I determined even more not to break my fast.
A few years after that, I was very happy to learn the Sacred Hadeeth which said, “All the acts of the son of Aadam are for him, except fasting. It is exclusively meant for Me, and I (alone) will reward (him) for it.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim] Every time I remember this Hadeeth or hear it, I feel happy. I intuitively feel a special strong bond with it. Ever since then, I began to strive every Ramadhaan to learn more and to teach my friends about this epiphany I had about why we should fast Ramadhaan. The fact that I understood why, made my fasting that much better and easier to accomplish.
As a way of encouraging understanding and appreciation of all acts of worship, here is a suggestion that would allow us to visually observe what we accomplish so that its discussion, contemplation and review, individually or collectively, would be much easier. And even though, the suggestion is meant for children, everyone in the family is encouraged to make use of it. We all need tools that facilitate what we want to accomplish and this one makes good example for our children as well.
Be creative, facilitate understanding, let your children set reasonable goals and strive together to achieve them this Ramadhaan.
For this Idea to work properly, parents should get involved, positively, and try to make it easier for the child to complete each activity or worship. That may exact a lot of time, teaching, energy and patience. As parents we must set the example of how to do things. This project may not succeed, parents must realize, without discussions and encouragement and focus on the virtues of these acts and importance of this kind of projects in managing matters of worship it is part of the well-known Islamic concept of self accountability.
And speaking of virtues, Allaah Almighty Says in the gracious Quran (what meams): {O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are [appointed] angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allaah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded....} [Quran 66:6] and the Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, "Each one of you is responsible for his family and he will be questioned (by Allaah Almighty) about this responsibility.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]
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