Here are some resources on the 11th Imam:
Here are some resources to help mark the life of Bibi Zainab:
- A puppet show on her birth:
- A poem about Bibi Zainab:
- Children’s Hour special on Bibi Zainab@
- A visual look on her life:
- An animation on her role in Kerbala:
- A short clip on Bibi Zainab by a Catholic priest:
- A book on Bibi Zainab (suitable for older children) can be downloaded here.
- Here is a craft idea – this was done after discussing her qualities:
- Here is another craft idea based on her timeline as sent in by a mum:
“My 6 year old daughter created this art on canvas showing Bibi Zainab (as) on Siratul Mustaqeem guiding us, through the lessons we learn from her life, all the way to Jannah!
She is holding an alam, and on her superheroine cape are written her titles, ‘Sharikatul Husayn – …Imam Husayn’s partner in his mission to save Islam’ and ‘Aalima Ghayr Mu’allima – One who knows without being taught’ (title given by Imam Zainul Abideen, as Bibi used to conduct Islamic classes for the women of Madina and Kufa and was revered for her knowledge and wisdom).
She also included Bibi’s famous, powerful and most profound words, summing up her life’s philosophy of placing Allah’s (swt) pleasure at the centre of all she did and thought: ‘I see nothing but beauty’ – ‘Ma ra’aitu illa jameela’ when asked by Ibne Ziyad at his court how she found the events of Karbala.
She drew and captioned pictures to create a simple timeline of her life, from her blessed birth to her death at 57 years.
Born on 5/5/5 – 5th Jamadil Awwal 5AH
At 7 years – Bibi Fatema (as), her mother, and Rasulullah (saw), her grandfather, pass away
At 12 years – she got married to Abdullah bin Jaffar e Tayyar and they had 6 kids including Awn and Muhammad
At 32 years, Imam Ali (as) became the khalifa and they moved to Kufa with him
At 35 years, the martyrdom of Imam Ali (as) takes place
Bibi then moved back to Madina to support Imam Hassan (as) in his imamat
At 45 years, Imam Hassan (as) is poisoned and passes away
At 55 years, she witnesses the tragedy of Karbala, Kufa, Shaam, back to Karbala on Arbaeen – Bibi established the institution of Majlis Al Husayn, Allah’s University! – and then return to Madina
At 57 years, she passed away – most say in Sham but there are also reports that she’s buried in Cairo, Egypt or Madina”
- One mum said: ‘We spoke about Bibi Zainab’s line “I saw nothing but beauty” and we should see beauty in everything because everything was created by Allah. We then made these binoculars using cardboard tubes, coloured paper and ribbon.’
- One mum said: ‘We held a small family majlis at home and talked about Bibi Zainab’s role in telling the people what happened to her brother, Imam Husayn. We did a little experiment to demonstrate how she established the concept of a majlis with the following simple story using a pack of Skittles, a plate and some warm water:
“After Bibi Zainab returned home, she gathered a group of people” (Put a handful of skittles on a plate)
“She told them to sit around her” (Get kids to help arrange the skittles in a circle around the plate)
“Bibi Zainab told them about what happened in Karbala. This made people sad and they began to cry” (Slowly pour warm water in the middle of the plate so it covers the whole plate and skittles)
“And as they cried, their love for the Ahlulbayt became even stronger and the message of Islam was spread” (watch as the colours from the skittles spread through the water to make a beautiful pattern)’
As the birthday of our Imam is coming up, I thought it might be nice to have a series on getting to know our Imam with our children, to help build their (and our!) understanding and relationship with him.
Idea 1: Watch these clips!
- This first one is a wonderful visual way to convey the birth of our Imam. It’s in Arabic but perhaps you could turn the volume off and read the translation out to the younger ones?
- Here is another about his birth
- Here is one about the 6th Imam giving information to Jabir about the 12th Imam, in particular about his name.
- Here are videos on where Imam is:
- And check out this interactive one!
- And this movie – Princess of Rome, about his mother. Full movie here.
- Here is some video lessons about the Imam:
- Here is a great documentary for older kids:
And Towards Jannah created a Kahoot! quiz based on the documentary as a way to reinforce the learning too!
Here are some interactive sessions on the Imam:
It’s the birthday of Imam Ali (pbuh)!
Below is a compilation of some ideas by amazing mums from around the world, on how you can mark it with your children/classes:
- Play this game of Fast Feet – Race to Get the Object – ideal to be played over zoom and get children moving during lockdown!
- Have children research and present one hadith by Imam Ali (as)
- Older children can do a short skit/play on his birth/life. Here’s one example of a puppet show one mum did.
- Have a gameshow with questions on Imam Ali (as) – here are some Kahoots!
- Have a poem writing or a spoken word competition with the subject being Imam Ali (as)
- Read ‘The Secret Jar’ (By Kisa Kids) and then have a honey tasting session
- One talented girl made fortune cookies with sermons from Nahjul Balagha in them
- One mum make Ali cookies with her little one! ‘We have a play dough set with Arabic alphabet cutters, my little one used them to cut the cookie dough and I just stuck the letters together, put toothpicks inside and baked. Then she helped me make the cupcakes too 😊 and we dropped them to all her friends. Then at home we stuck a candle inside and sung happy birthday to Imam Ali (AS) and she got to blow the candle out.’
- One family read how Imam was a lamp in the darkness, and then made a lava lamp!
- Mystery box: Usually used during circle time, you (or ask a child to) pull out items one by one that related to the theme or special person. As you take them out you explain the meaning or significance, and help deepen and broaden the children’s understanding of the theme or special person by attaching a visual and/tangible object to represent the different attributes of said theme/person. To make it more exciting, even with very young kids (2-5), you can put all items back in box and at the end of your session you can ask them to remember what items were in box. It’s a good way of seeing how much they picked up as well 🙂
The items mentioned below can be used for the mystery box idea:
- No. 1 – to represent him being the first Imam
- A small Kaaba – to represent where he was born
- A toy lion – he was known as Asad-ullah
- A ring – for when he gave charity while in ruku
- A sword – to represent his sword of Zulfiqar
- A door – to represent Khaybar/city of knowledge
- A prayer mat, bread/rice – as he used to feed the poor at night
- A bed – as he slept in the Prophet’s bed on the night of Hijra)
- A spool of thread – to show how he used to mend his own clothes
- A pen – because he transcribed/compiled the Quran
- Scales – for his sense of justice
- A small book – to symbolise Nahjul Balagha/Dua Kumail
- A picture of his shrine in Najaf
- The letter ‘ayn’ for his name
- Read this jellybean poem on Imam Ali (as) and have the children colour it in, and then finish off with some jellybeans for them to eat as a wiladat treat! Alternatively, one mum used M&M’s instead:
- Have a drawing competition on the theme, e.g. everyone draws a lion like one family did
- Create Imam Ali (AS) bags for the less fortunate: “We first explained how Imam Ali always helped people. We then went to the store and she picked items she thought everyone would need on a daily basis – comb, toothbrush, snacks. We came home and she packed everything into ziplock bags and asked the grandparents to come home to help write Hadith from Imam Ali (as) on the hearts which we put in the bags. Inshallah we will be distributing them to the people we came across on the street.”
- Or why not follow in his footsteps and take some food with your children to a food bank near you. Imam used to make every effort to feed those who had no food, often giving away the little he and his family had!
- One family went on a walk and wrote down all the street names in their area they came across. Then they went home and tried to see how many words related to Imam Ali (as) they could find using just those letters.
- Make Father’s Day cards with a hadith inside
- Make bookmarks and write Ali on top and decorate them
- Here’s a nice craft on the titles of Imam Ali by Teaching Young Muslims
- Decorate your home with home-made decor like one mum did
Or decorate with balloons like one mum did!
- Decorate cakes with Ali – this is what one community did!
- One mum baked donuts! ‘I started off talking to them about the story of when Imam Ali (as) gave his ring to a needy person while he was in ruku. As an activity, we had fun making mini donuts and decorating them! Then, we put a donut on our finger and demonstrated how Imam Ali (as) may have given the ring. We made extra donuts so packed and distributed them to relatives as a Khushali treat!
- Another thing we did in preparation for Khushali was make these lion decorations using a gold paper plate and coloured paper. I started off taking to them about Imam Ali’s (as) title of Asadullah and how he was very brave and strong. I explained how when we need help in being brave or strong we should say Ya Ali! I then had them cut around the paper plate to make it look like a lions mane the plate was a bit thick, so it make it slightly difficult to cut, so every time they would cut, they would say Ya Ali! Not only was the process effective, but the final product turned out quite nice for us to hang for Khushali!’
- This is a craft one mum and daughter worked on. This is what mum said:
“FZ and I made a luminarium (paper lantern) using waxed paper that we normally use for baking, crayon shavings, oil pastels and sharpies, to celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Believers, Imam Ali as! We used a candle in a glass holder on the inside to ‘light’ it up, and the overall effect was pretty awesome. Luminarium tutorial here.
Over the past week, we had discussed various aspects of Imam Ali’s life and teachings through stories and activities…his miraculous birth, devotion to Rasulullah and Islam, steadfastness in belief, compassion and charity towards those less fortunate, love of children, and his bravery, strength and courage. To culminate our activities, we talked about Sermon 187 from Nahjul Balagha, where Imam Ali as says: ‘Amongst you, I am like a lamp in the darkness. Make your way through Life by my Light…’ (paraphrased)
FZ used sharpies and oil pastels to draw her designs onto the front and back of the luminarium. She wrote ‘Ya Ali’ on the front and the drawing on the back is ‘a beautiful palace in Jannah for the Shia of Ali as’. Insha’Allah we shall be lighting up our luminarium often as a visual reminder to always hold on to the Rope of Allah swt (Qur’an 3:103) through His Chosen Ones.
- One mum said: ‘We usually try and create some artwork for Khushali. This time we used metallic spray and glitter to create a sparkle, as per the sermon in Nahjul Balagha.’
- One mum made was figurines: ‘The figurines are made out of Stockmar beeswax. We use beeswax for a number of reasons, firstly because of the sensory experience it provides. Beeswax has to be warmed by the hands to make it soft enough to be shaped. The process of warming the beeswax also brings out the lovely smell of the wax, which children and adults alike really enjoy. Finally, the wax comes in a wonderful array of colours making the wax visually pleasing for all. Working with beeswax has many benefits from a child development perspective. It requires commitment and perseverance as beeswax doesn’t easily mold in to the desired form. Modelling with beeswax also develops the fine motor skills and is used in Waldorf style education to prepare the child’s fingers for holding and writing with a pencil. We also mixes colours together which was a great learning experience of secondary colours too.’
Books, Journals and other Resources
- This colouring book by Islam from the Start
- This Nahjul Balagha Mini-Book by Towards Jannah is great to do
- Here is a Nahjul Balagha reflection journal for older children
- Here are sermons from the Nahjul Balagha for younger children by Jaffari Centre in Atlanta
- I love this personalised colouring sheet idea – (Child’s Name) loves Imam Ali (as)!
- This links to a story on Imam Ali’s birth in the Kaaba (slides)
- This is a great website filled with info on the Imam
- This short document on Imam Ali (as) might be useful
- This is a simple rhyme that goes to the tune of Barney’s I Love You song. These posters (Allah loves Imam Ali!_Rhyme) can be used alongside the relevant lines:
- Here are some more rhymes:
Props like laminated picture of number “1”, a small cube painted like Kaaba, a toy lion from a dollar store, a ring, and the picture of a sword or a toy sword can be used when singing the rhymes, to help visual learning.
- Read ‘Isa Climbs Mt Mushkil’ and watch the corresponding nasheed:
Here’s a reading of it:
A craft to go with this is making a shield with Naade Ali on it:
- Here is a link to a YouTube playlist on Imam Ali (as) with Nasheeds in English:
- And here’s a movie on Imam Ali (as):
Books on Imam Ali (as)
- The Secret Jar – from the Great Prophets and Ahl-al Kisa series (Kisa Kids)
- Why was he Named Ali? from the Blessed Names Series (Kisa Kids)
- The Name Chronicle (Has a chapter on Imam Ali which includes a timeline of his life. Kisa Kids)
- Isa Climbs Mount Mushkil by Twelver Kids
- Meet The Masumeen: With Class 786 (Chapter book)
- Let’s Get To Know Imam Ali
- The Champion of Islam
- Imam Ali (as) – Illustrated Short Stories for Little Readers