By Farozan Warsi
My 7-year-old grandson threw me a question that I least expected a child that small to ask me. “Nani, sometimes I think about why we were created.”
Wanting to dig deeper into his thought-provoking statement, I asked him “Why do you think?”
“I think we were created to do acts of kindness” he said.
Profound, to say the least.
If one child has the capacity to ask questions like this, I am sure there are so many more sensitive little minds asking or at least thinking about life and its purpose. Although the idea of purpose of life might be viewed in quite another dimension by the child than by an adult.
My grandson’s idea that we were created to do acts of kindness is not far from the belief that we were created to worship Allah. For, any act of kindness done is nothing but a segment of ibadah, if done with the intention of pleasing Allah.
However, this is not the easiest of concepts to teach children.
Simplifying worship for children:
What not to do:
- Do not promote the idea of an ‘angry’ Allah. We do it all the time: If you don’t listen to your Mom, Allah will be angry. Don’t waste your food. Allah will be angry. If you don’t pray, Allah will be angry.
Instead promote the idea of a merciful Almighty. He forgives. He is a friend. You can share anything with Him.
- Do not box worship into prayer and Quran recitation alone. While these are a must-do, children must also know that we can please Allah through many other means too. Let us start by making things easy, rather than difficult.
What can be done:
- Everyone without exception wants to be happy. Talk to children about how easy Allah made it for us to be happy. The equation then is simple. We make Him happy, and we miraculously end up feeling happy.
- Teach them that with their acts of care and kindness they begin to fill a jar of “Ibadah”.
What fills the jar completely?
There are three sets of actions that help:
Mandatory Acts: These are acts that are completely non-negotiable. They are a duty that must be done.
Voluntary Acts: These are acts that we commit to willfully. There is no pressure on us to do them. We do them because we want to do them.
Everyday Acts: These are actions that we may be doing every day and when we do it with the intention of pleasing Allah, they become ibadah. Eg. Helping to clear the dishes after the meal.
(Acts that must be performed)
(Acts one does willfully)
(Acts one does every moment of our lives)
|Eg. maintaining hygiene, helping a friend in need, opening the door for someone, appreciating someone, not backbiting, eating a meal, exercising,
protecting ourselves from doing things that make us feel bad inside.
All and more of these become ibadah if our intention is to please Allah.
Making worship an everyday activity:
All acts of worship earn Allah’s pleasure. For each act of worship Allah rewards us.
Every act of worship gradually begins to fill an empty jar. The more you fill it, the richer you get.
Process: Allah facilitated us by making our life itself about worship. That is why we know Islam as a way of life. No extra effort is required to complete Allah’s condition that He created us to worship Him. By living according to His laws we are constantly in a state of worship.
How can we be sure we are doing right?
By being our own moral compass.
This helps us sort our actions into ones that give us a good feeling and the ones that give us a bad feeling. It helps us reject anything that gives a bad feeling and do all that gives us a good feeling. Good feelings and bad feelings are both a result of our actions. Children may be taught to simply monitor themselves against these feelings.
Ramadan is a great time to begin the whole regime of ibadah.
May we all have a rewarding one!
Ramadan Journal for Kids
About the Author
Farozan Warsi is an Educator and Author who has an interest in child psychology and theology. She draws her inspiration from the hundreds of children she has taught and guided – specifically her three grandchildren. Her writing is an homage to them. Through her writing at Farozans Book Shelf she hopes to ignite a curiosity about Islam amongst this most thoughtful generation. With this specific work, she aims to exemplify the mysteries of Islam through a fun-filled genre. She comes from generations of writers and educators. She lives in Canada with her spouse where she paints pictures with her words.