بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
By Zahra Anjum
Grandma repeatedly promised the five-year-old girl and her little brother that she would give to them the most treasurable gift in the world. She would say, “So that when I meet Allah (st) I can tell Him that I gave the most precious gift to the most precious children in my life.” At last the day came when she beckoned them, and handed them each a beautiful copy of the Qur’an, saying that as you grow older, ask your parents to teach you every word of this book, and you must strive to act upon it and spread the light. Certainly, this moved the little hearts!
As parents, we are responsible to connect the souls entrusted to us by Allah to the Qur’an: their ultimate success and survival guide. If a child is behind in school or keeps skipping meals we become worried. Let us also worry about their spiritual wellbeing, and include the Qur’an as an important part of their lives. Following are some tips on how to do so:
1. Personal Qur’an: Every child should have their own personal copy of the Qur’an. We naturally feel inclined to our personal belongings, and love them. Before giving it to them as a gift or going shopping for a Qur’an, sit together, read, and discuss the importance of the Qur’an in our lives. Tell them that this is the book given to us by Allah, the magnificent Creator, which talks about us. Also, discuss the numerous hadiths related about the reward and importance of reciting and learning the Qur’an.
2. Recitation (Tilawah): Qur’anic recitation should be a regular part of your routine as a parent. When children see you paying attention and giving importance they will do the same. Mothers and fathers should both recite to their children, before and after they enter this world.
Moreover, play the recordings of the Qur’an in the voice of different reciters as you travel and while at home. Children may not seem to listen but are actually absorbing and learn the Surahs (chapters) being recited. They can also be encouraged to record the Surahs that they have memorized.
3. Translate in simple words: Around the age of three, we can start translating and explaining the verses of the Qur’an in simple words. Whenever my son saw me holding the Qur’an, he asked what I was reading, and I simplified the meaning of the verses. For example, the first verse of Surah al-Fatiha is: Alhamdulillahi rabbil ‘alameen. I explained how all praise and thanks is for Allah, listing all the things He has created, their wonder, and His blessings upon us.
Younger children can relate to the verses talking about the universe, and the different stories mentioned in the Qur’an, whereas the older ones can also understand the commands and laws given in the book.
4. Be their Qur’an teacher: You yourself should teach the meaning of the Qur’an, and how and why to read and act upon it to your children. Read the translation and explanation of the Qur’an (Tafseer) individually with them or in the form of a family study circle. Teach them how to deduce lessons for themselves. Older children can be given the task of researching, making quizzes, making wall charts, etc. according to their aptitude.
5. Qur’anic classes: Children, especially teenagers, learn well in the company of their own age group. Find a suitable Qur’an class for them where they can learn under a knowledgeable teacher, in righteous company.
6. Ayah a week: Place a white board at some visible spot in the home, and write a different ayah (verse) on it each week. Together, memorize the ayah, learn its meaning, and discuss how to apply it in daily life. Spend the whole week under the shade of that ayah, and observe what change it brought or what it made you think throughout the week. Everyone can share their experiences in the end.
Once we have handed the strongest of ropes and the brightest of lights to our children, we can hope that it’ll help them stay on the straight path. Through the trials of this world, nothing and no one can accompany them better than the Qur’an. Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “The Book of Allah contains the right guidance, and the light; whoever adheres to it and holds it fast is upon the right guidance, and whosoever deviates from it goes astray.” (Sahih Muslim)
The incident quoted in the introduction of this article is adapted from the Urdu translation of a book titled Khuzil Kitaaba Biquwwah [Hold Fast to the Book] by Yasmeen Hameed.
Zahra Anjum is a freelance writer, editor and translator based in Islamabad, Pakistan.
© IIPH 2014