By Umm Zaidah Nusaybah
Teaching children Aqeedah
At the beginning of this class we were asked by Umm Talha to give an example of something we have learnt recently and how that information was acquired. Some of the responses were as follows:
“I learnt how to cook rice without a rice cooker by trial and error”
“I discovered I needed to wear glasses whilst driving. My driving instructor advised me to go to the optician.”
“I learnt that babies can be given solids at 6 months. This information was related to me by my friend”
The thing I learnt that morning was the fact that I could get a different bus to my class. My husband drove me to the other bus stop, showed me where to get on, took the same route as the bus and finally showed me where to get off Alhamdulillah (I still haven’t taken that route because it seems too complicated!!).
You’re probably thinking, what was the point of this exercise? The reason why this exercise was conducted was to get us to think about the different methods involved in learning new information. After listening to the examples given by the sisters we came up with a list of the methods involved in learning new information. These are as follows:
Touching and feeling
The most effective method by which children acquire new skills and information is by exploring, seeing, touching and feeling. Therefore, it is not wise to tell a small child to sit down for an hour or two while you explain to them the different categories of Tawheed from a big text book. Forget children this method of learning sometimes puts adults off!!
A better approach would be to take them out to the zoo or park and inform them that Allah has created the animals and He is the creator of everything. Therefore, he is known as Al-Khaaliq. You could point to a tree and say “did you know that even when a leaf falls from that tree, Allah knows about it.”
We should make teaching fun so that they are learning about Allah as well as having fun. We should constantly mention the name of Allah so that the child grows up loving Allah (SWT).
Also, when we are teaching them to say “Bismillah” before eating for example we should say it rhythmically or we could ask the child “what do you say before eating?” and the child can answer by saying “Bis-mill-llah”. However, one thing we should NEVER do is to force them to say something. Don’t be dictators because the most likely result of that would be rebellion. Instead of forcing them to say something, we should say it and they will copy us.
An example of this would be getting them to memorize, let’s say, the dua for traveling. So as soon as we get in the car we should say it out aloud and get the child to say it along with us. SubhanAllah, this method really works, my husband once told me how his colleague taught his children the times table by playing a cassette in the car on their journey to their school.
We should always use Standard English with our children because they will imitate what they hear. We should say “Alhamdulillah” and “Masha Allah” so that they will be familiar with these words. We should take the time out and communicate with them, play and bond with them. How often do we see the mother always disciplining, feeding, changing the child (basically doing all the boring chores), whilst the father plays with them and takes them out. We can be creative and make our own books with lots of bright pictures; this is fun and cost effective.
We should use references from the Qur’an and make children reflect on Allah’s creations. Every time we are out with our children we should try to relate everything back to Allah. We should use visual images from the Qur’an, for example when Allah (SWT) says:
"Have we not made for him to eyes, and a tongue and two lips?" Surah Balad: ayat 8-9
We can point to our eyes, tongue and lips while reciting the ayah and inform our children that Allah (swt) has given us these things so that they become thankful to Allah for His blessings.
I just want to finish off by mentioning a beautiful example given by a sister about an incident that occurred with her son. Her son was talking to her about what he wanted to be when he grows up, he mentioned a few things and then he said “I want to be Allah” (because he loved Allah so much he wanted to be like him). I think the normal response from mothers would be “Astaghfirullah, don’t say things like that”, wouldn’t it? Or “don’t be silly how can you be Allah?” However, Masha Allah this sister used her wisdom. She remembered the story of Ibraheem (AS) and Nimrud so she said to her son “okay, you want to be Allah? Can you create the sun and make it move from one place to the next? Can you give life to the dead? Her son realised he couldn’t do these things so he knew he couldn’t be Allah. SubhanAllah what a beautiful story and what an effective way to teach children About Allah’s attributes.
May Allah give us the ability to raise pious children with the correct Aqeedah. Ameen