Most of the time when we talk about Islamic family life, we tend to focus on the relationship we have with our parents. However, the bond between siblings should not be neglected when it comes to establishing a stable Muslim family. If you are a big brother or a big sister, chances are that you are a role model to someone. And whether you realize it or not, you have a certain responsibility toward your younger siblings since children tend to imitate what they see others do. Therefore, you should aim to spend your quality time with them in the most productive way possible. After all, you are helping raise the next Muslim generation.
Below, you can find eight productive activities to do with your younger siblings. But since doing all of these at the same time would be a little bit overwhelming, I would suggest you choose at least one religious activity and one other activity to integrate into your daily life and do them on a regular basis. Also, depending on the age of your siblings, you might want to slightly alter the activities.
1. Pray together. If your siblings don’t know how to pray yet, now is the perfect opportunity to teach them. Ideally, children should get introduced to prayer at the age of seven and pray it regularly when they are ten. Agree on (at least) one prayer per day where you and your siblings, or even better, the whole family, prays together. After prayer, don’t just rush off, but remain seated and remember Allah (glorified and exalted be He) together. This is also a good time to go through the meaning and/or tafseer of a couple of verses that were being recited during prayer.
2. Read Qur’an together. Again, set a specific time which you dedicate to reading the Qur’an. Since many of us aren’t fluent in the Arabic language, it is important to look up the meaning of what you and your siblings are actually reciting. Also, you can revise with them the Surahs they have already memorized or find a technique to teach them new ones. If you are lucky, you still have the chance to teach them Surat Al-Fatiha. Imagine how beneficial it will be to them and how much reward you’ll get since they will be reciting it in every single prayer!
3. Go to the Masjid together. Try to go to the mosque together as often as possible and get into the habit of taking them to Jumuah prayer with you. If you have a strong Muslim community in your town, take advantage of that. Get involved in your local mosque and introduce them to the feeling of brotherhood/sisterhood at an early age. If there is a lecture, a youth club or any other special event taking place, make sure you and your siblings attend. This is also a good opportunity for them to meet other Muslim kids who are the same age as them.
4. Increase your Islamic knowledge together. Make it fun and get creative. How about utilizing videos? There are so many great people on Youtube who provide Islamic knowledge in an entertaining way like Baba Ali (ummahfilms), Amal Ahmed Albaz (AmalAhmedAlbaz), Mohamed Zeyara (mzeyara2) and Hisham Al Hadi (hishamalhadi). Of course there are many other possibilities on how to go about it. From playing Islamic board games to reading Islamic good night stories to them – the sky’s the limit.
5. Cook together. How about once a month you and your little brother or sister plan and cook a complete dinner for the whole family? Although the process of choosing a recipe, going to the grocery store, cooking the meal, and setting the table might take a couple of hours, it’ll be totally worth it and at the same time a wonderful bonding experience! Not only will your siblings be incredibly proud, but I’m sure your mom will appreciate your effort as well.
6. Exercise together. Everyone knows that regular exercise has multiple benefits on your health, as well as your overall well-being. So why not share the experience with your younger siblings and make them your workout buddy? Children are usually full of energy and can be a great motivator. And who said you have to burn those calories at the gym? Get outside and try something new for a change. From going inline skating to playing basketball to even horseback riding – the possibilities are endless!
7. Study together. Education should be an essential aspect of your siblings’ life for it will be the key to opening the door to many opportunities insha’Allah. Since you’ve already been through what they are going through right now, why not offer a helping hand? Revise with them before a test, help them learn vocabulary, work with them on a project. Show them how to use the Internet to research information or take them to the library to pick up books on topics that they are discussing at school. Studying together can be fun, and – believe it or not – they can learn a lot from you!
8. Hang out together. Get ice cream, go to the park, the beach, the museum, a game, the mall, the zoo. Again, you have countless options to choose from. If they have a favorite hobby, like soccer, offer to play it with them once in a while. Most of the time it really doesn’t even have to be anything special because children usually don’t ask for much except for the attention of their elders.
Insha’Allah, you got inspired to spend more time with your younger siblings. Of course, this list is far from being complete and I would love to hear if you have any more ideas. Feel free to share them in the comment section below!
About the Author:
Naima Asma Cherfaoui is an 18-year-old Muslimah who strives to use her passion for Islam, languages and helping others to benefit the Ummah and humanity as a whole. Before going to medical school, she has decided to take a year off to teach English and German at the Hopeland Institute in Algeria. She is currently translating the book “Clear Your Doubts About Islam: 50 Answers to Common Questions” to contribute towards diminishing the many misconceptions about Islam. She frequently tweets @NaimaAsma.