Children have some of the most inquisitive minds. They find the mundane awe-inspiring, they constantly ask questions and they are full of excitement. It is at this tender age that you can start instilling a love of Allah and a love of Islam.
I don’t mean by forcing them to join your salah or making them go to as many Qur’an classes as possible. I mean by getting their minds thinking about how Great and Merciful their Creator is. Make Islam fun and attractive! Show that our worship is not a chore. It can be quite tricky to do in the midst of our busy lives and the rise of technology, but I will discuss some easy ways to ensure that your little one’s heart is immersed in the love of Allah .
Remember that the love is already there
Before anything, always remember that love for Allāh is already in our children’s hearts and it is our duty as parents to help nurture and sustain that love. Do not see this as a huge difficult task – do not underestimate how much understanding your child already has about their Creator from a young age.
The Prophet Muhammad said,
You don’t need to tell your children to love Allah , you just need to show them the endless reasons to love Him. Consciously teaching your children to love Allah , rather than just teaching them rituals like prayer and fasting, will lead them to grow up with strong imaan in their hearts.
“Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding. Those who remember Allāh (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth, (saying): “Our Lord! You have not created (all) this without purpose, glory to You! (Exalted be You above all that they associate with You as partners). Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire”. [Qur’an: Chapter 3, Verses 190-191]
The importance of contemplating over the Signs of Allah is understated and yet so invaluable. There are a million things around us to remind us of our Creator, and it is up to us to stimulate a child’s mind to find opportunities to contemplate on Allah’s signs in everyday tasks and conversations – whether it’s discussing the weather, eating breakfast or stuck in traffic on the school run. Soon your child will be pointing out all the signs of Allah in many of their conversations. For example:
Your child playing with his favourite wooden train. Ask him/her, “What is your train made of?”
Suggest different materials, and then conclude: “The train is made of wood.”
You can then ask, “where does wood come from?”
Again, discuss different places and then conclude: “wood comes from trees.”
Now, importantly, ask your child, “who created the trees?”
This will create a dialogue where your child will automatically attribute Allah as The Fashioner and The Creator. Remind them of all the amazing things Allah has provided for them (their favourite snack or favourite toy) and find a way to attribute every blessing to Him.
2. Be moderate
Islam is a religion that is the middle path, neither harsh not lenient. Adults should have a healthy balance of love and fear of Allah in order to armour our imaan. Do not make Islam solely about strictness and discipline, as this creates only fear of Allah , and no love, and at the same time, we need to teach our children about the boundaries Allah has placed for us. Remind children of Allah’s kindness and endless mercy.
Whatever haram you teach your child, teach them a halal. If you say birthdays are haram, then give them a party to celebrate their memorising of Qur’an, or learning to pray, and make Eid the most exciting day of the year. Make their Islamic achievements memorable and their mistakes forgettable. You cannot instil a love of Allah into children by reminding them of His punishment and wrath – this will cause resentment.
3. Lead by example
Allah says in the Qur’an,
“O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones” [Qur’an: Chapter 66, Verse 6].
Children love to imitate their elders; if you love the deen of Allah , let it show through your actions and this will be mirrored by your children. The beauty of Islam means that there is always something to learn – yes, we can send our children to madrassah and Qur’an and Arabic teachers to learn Islam, but there is a duty upon ourselves to instil the teachings of the deen into our children, by undertaking the actions we want to see in them. We are never too old or too busy to stop learning or improving ourselves.
Take your children to the masjid often so that the environment becomes familiar and beloved to them. Get them involved in your salah at home, by giving them their own prayer mat and prayer clothes. Children love to play and explore, and are naturally enthusiastic. Take time to carry out projects that increase Islamic knowledge. Seek knowledge together by using their areas of strength and enjoyment to deliver lessons – directive arts and craft is a popular option with youngsters, and is what inspired me to start my own project of learning through craft activities. Through providing hands on creative activities, I made sure that learning about Allah was fun whilst being informative.
The childhood of our young Muslims is so important because it is the time when the love of Islam can be ingrained in their hearts. Your role will determine how they look back at being taught about Islam. Their hearts are so impressionable and full of love, and as a parent you have the potential to cultivate a strong faith in them, which will prove important later on in their lives, especially during the teen years.
The love that Allah has already placed in their hearts is waiting to be nurtured by you.
What ways do you teach your children love for Islam? Comment below and let us know!