Alhamdulillah, yesterday we got the opportunity to go into our children’s school and have a Hajj Activity Day with them. Each class (from Year 2 onwards) came into the hall and we had about 40 minutes with them.
The children gathered around the Kaaba in the centre. After a quick introduction to how Muslims greet each other, and that we were there to show them what we do in Hajj, the children were divided into groups of five and went off to different stations around the hall!
Every traveller who goes to Hajj has a suitcase, and these children needed one too! They each got their own suitcase with the names of the different stations. Once completed, the stations were stamped. Once all stations were stamped, it was time for Eid!
The stations were:
IHRAM/TAWAF: The children tried on clothes that Muslims wear – as well as ihram (towels), there were abayas and dishdashas and namaaz chaadars. They were told about the symbolism of the colour white, and how in ihram everyone looks the same, no matter what profession or how rich or poor someone is. The importance of being extremely careful in ihram was also emphasised (no hurting anyone, lying, stealing, etc), and how this should ideally be how we are when we return from Hajj also.
The children were then taken to the Kaaba and told to think of (and write down) a wish that they would like to make, because your first wish when you look at the Kaaba is granted, if it is good for you. These were stuck around the Kaaba.
They were talked through how the Kaaba was made, and how tawaf is all about making God the centre of your life – and then they went around the Kaaba 7 times! This was fun for all, even the year 6’s!
SA’EE: The story and role of Bibi Hajar was told here, and also the role of women in Islam. The fact that one of the big parts of Hajj was following the footsteps of a woman was emphasised.
ZAM ZAM: At this station, the story of zam zam was shared with the children – the story telling was captivating . The children were told the health benefits of zam zam water, and encouraged to try some. The sincerity with which they did so was awe-inspiring to watch, with some praying to be healed as they did so. This proved to be one of the most popular stations!
ARAFAH: Here a beautiful corner was set up under a parasol with a lovely rug, pillows and kid-sized musallas. At this station, as well as learning a little about Arafah, children were encouraged to think about what good habits they wanted to inculcate in their lives. They then wrote this out on post-it notes and put it in a box of sand.
MINA: Here children thought about the bad habits they may have. They wrote it out with marker on a piece of newspaper, scrunched up the paper and threw it into a bin, saying ‘Sorry’ as they did so!
UNITY: This was definitely one of the most popular stations also! We were lucky to have local artist Siddiqa Juma – Islamic Art come in and help the children recreate one of her famous pieces of the Kaaba – Diversity. Children were explained the concept of unity in Hajj, no matter what race, colour, language, etc. Each class made an A3 poster with the Kaaba in the middle and fingerprints of each class member around it. Inshallah this will be mounted and placed in the classroom . They also made their mark on a bigger poster which will contain the prints of all members of the school, teachers included!
EID: Once stamped, the children got to celebrate Eid! Here they were shown pictures of the different ways children celebrate. They were encouraged to give charity (we had kept some coins ready) and got an Eid Mubarak sticker. They also did a lucky dip and got a treat too!
There was also a table with some Eid books, a Quran (which the Muslim children read out to their classmates with pride), and other little Hajj bits and bobs out on for the children to look through.
Once this was all done, they had an opportunity to write their thoughts down. It was amazing to hear their reflections.
Lastly, we gathered around the Kaaba again to share thoughts on the event. They shared their favourite bits, and some even shared the bad and good habits they had thought of. Before they went off, we had a resounding THANK YOU from each class
Alhamdulillah, both students and teachers alike commented on how great the day was – even teachers of classes who didn’t come in spoke of the positive things the other teachers and students had said. The head and many teachers thanked us for putting this together. A few teachers commented also on how this was exactly what was needed to help the children be more aware and informed, to prevent future prejudices based on ignorance.
Inshallah we aim to go in a do this on a smaller scale for the younger classes next week too 🙂
A MASSIVE thank you to all that were involved – even people whose children did NOT to the school gave up their free time to come and help out, and we can’t be grateful enough!