Raising Muslim kids in non-Muslim countries can sometimes be a challenging or a daunting task for the parents, especially if they’re living away from the family. Below are some parenting tips I’ve shared for upbringing Muslim kids in the West.
Concept of Halal or Haram – Let the kids know about the difference between Halal and Haram products and about the food products we’re permissible to consume and the ones that shouldn’t be consumed. It is advised to talk about this in front of kids at a very early age, as they’re intelligent and remember everything. You could especially highlight products such as jelly and candies that are sold in the market and contain gelatine that isn’t Halal. When buying sweets with kids, make sure to tell them we’re looking for Halal sweets that are either suitable for vegetarians or the ones that contain Halal gelatine.
Adhan & Prayers – In non-Muslim countries, it’s very rare or unlikely to hear the call to prayer loudly, but this way kids will never get a chance to listen to it until and unless they’re at the mosque at the prayer time. Lots of applications are available on mobile phones, that can be downloaded free of cost, and one can set the timing according to the residing country’s prayer timing and the Adhan will start automatically. In this way, the children will know it’s prayer time. Also, you can buy a small prayer mat for the child, kids love to have their own separate mat and ask the child to join you when you’re praying. At a small age, it can’t be expected for the child to be able to learn the Quranic verses or the way in which prayer is offered but kids copy the actions well, especially the Sajdah (prostration) and Ruku (bowing down) and they can even say small words with actions such as ‘Allah ho Akbar!’
Quranic Recitation or Tilawat –
Every morning, make sure to play one Quranic Surah loudly so the children can listen. This won’t just create awareness about the Quran, the Holy book sent by Allah but recitation also brings Barakah in the house.
Introducing short duas – Make it a habit to recite short duas loudly in front of the children since the time they’re born. Children listen and observe everything and saying duas like ‘Bismillah’ before eating or ‘Alhamdolillah’ when sneezing or after finishing a meal will give enable children to remember these things. Also, if you’ve got anything specific to your faith, then you must definitely let the kids know about it (depends on the sect you belong to).
Islamic books for children – Nowadays, lots of Muslim writers and publishers have introduced amazing content and children’s books in the market and the best thing is that they’re available for different ages. The amazing illustrations in the books help in inculcating the Islamic values in children and reading books to them at a convenient time also makes the experience more engaging and is easier for them to remember what is being conveyed.
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