By Ruhaifa Adil
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
“For Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean…” (al-Baqarah, 222)
Keeping clean is not only an integral part of our faith, but has been referred to as its half. (Muslim) Prophet Muhammad (sa) has given us detailed instructions on how to perform ghusl (bathing), and how to make ablution before praying, and several reminders about cutting our nails, cleaning our teeth with miswaak (tooth stick), and removing hair from different parts of the body.
As Muslim parents, we teach our children to keep clean since they are small. We make sure they wash their hands before meals, brush their teeth in the morning, take showers regularly, and so on. However, most mothers will agree that these things rarely get done without constant reminders. A great way to help children become more conscious about keeping clean is to make them realize the ‘“why” behind it.
Here are some games and ways to demonstrate the importance of cleanliness to kids. After every game, do reinforce the wisdom in the commands of Islam.
1. Glitter germs
Put some glitter on your hands without bringing it to notice. Shake hands with your children, play with them, and so on, making sure to touch them several times. After a little while, show your children the glitter that they have on them, and the glitter that they and you have passed on to other people and things. Tell them these were the “germs” you had carried in the room because you had not washed your hands after coming from the bathroom.
Point of discussion: Germs spread around all the time, and we cannot even see them. This is a great game to help children understand the importance of washing hands, particularly before meal times.
2. Peeling potatoes
After your children have come in from playing outside, ask them to help you peel some potatoes. Make sure you have washed your hands but ask the children to just dust off their hands so that they look clean. Observe the difference between the potatoes peeled with washed and unwashed hands.
Point of discussion: Our bodies can be dirty even if we don’t see the dirt. We should shower regularly to keep ourselves clean.
3. Walk like a surgeon
Tell children they are going to be surgeons for the day. Teach them how to wash their hands like a surgeon and to walk around the house without touching anything, otherwise their hands will no longer be clean. Help children realize that it is an impossible task as keeping your hands up doesn’t allow you to do anything at all.
Point of discussion: Since we cannot avoid getting dirty, we must clean ourselves regularly.
4. Hygiene charades
Help children learn the correct way to clean themselves through this game. Each child picks an action from a set of pre-made cards which have options such as using miswaak, coughing into a sleeve, doing ablution, entering/exiting the bathroom, or taking a shower. The child acts out the hygiene habit without using any words. The other players guess what action is being portrayed.
Point of discussion: Discuss the proper way to do different hygiene actions and Islamic cleanliness rituals.
5. Miswaak the blocks
Get some playing blocks and hand each child a miswaak or toothbrush. Teach the children to clean the “teeth” and also how to floss.
Point of discussion: Remind them that the Prophet (sa) said: “The miswaak cleanses and purifies the mouth, and pleases Allah.” (an-Nasa’i and Ibn Khuzaymah; authentic)
6. Bathroom posters
Give the children pictorial cut-outs of all the steps for entering and exiting the bathroom, including the duas that need to be read, which foot to enter with, wearing slippers, washing hands, and so on. By group consensus, decide which step comes first, which comes next, and so on. For instance, does ‘wearing slippers’ come before or after ‘saying the dua’? Arrange the cut-outs to make a poster. Follow up with asking them to make their own posters.
7. Miswaak holder
Help children design their own miswaak holders using whatever material you have at home, such as empty tissue rolls, pipes, cardboard, plastic sheets, etc.
8. The Sunnahs of Friday:
Discuss the Sunnahs of Friday: taking a bath, clipping nails, putting on perfume, using miswaak, and wearing clean clothes – and make a checklist for children. Give them rewards based on how well they complete their Friday-related tasks.
Ruhaifa Adil is a mother of four, a practising Muslimah, an avid reader, and a passionate writer. She works primarily as a trainer for mothers and teachers, advocating a multi sensorial, learner-centred approach, which she has learnt through her work as a remedial specialist for children with dyslexia. She is also an author of English textbooks, based on the teachings of the Qur’an (currently under editing), and creative director of a Tafseer app for kids (soon to be launched Insha’Allah).
© IIPH 2015