Over October half-term, the Children’s Islamic Library held a Najaf to Kerbala ‘walk’ for children ages 4 to 10. It was a beautiful few hours and the buzz in the hall was noticeable as children made their way from ‘Najaf’ to different mawkebs and finally arrived at ‘Kerbala’ in a moving procession. Below are the details!
Najaf: To set the children of on their journey towards Kerbala we got the children to visualise Najaf while gazing at a large poster (A1) of the golden dome of Imam Ali. We discussed who Imam was and why we would aspire to be like him. With that in mind, the children were encouraged to think about one good deed they could do regularly in honour of their walk. They left the city of Najaf in their groups taking out Sadaqa (which they were asked to bring with them) for their onward and upward journey.
Each group was assigned a ‘group leader’ (older children who were helpers for the day!), who helped guide them from mawkeb to mawkeb. The group leaders also talked to them about the walk, asking them if they were tired, and pointing out the various posters showing the distance to Kerbala, and psyching them up for their arrival to Imam… all in all, making the children feel like they were truly on the walk.
Flag Making Mawkeb: The children made flags for Imam Hussein using black card and bamboo sticks. With flourescent markers they wrote Ya Husayn on it, and decorated it with different crafty materials. They were encouraged to raise their flags high during their walk to symbolize their love and alliance with our Imam.
Taboot Making Mawkeb: Here the children learn what a taboot was, and how it was a symbol and a representation meant to be an emotional symbol it was. The children then all had a chance to actually make the taboot themselves.
Massage Mawkeb: Here, the children learnt how people beg to give zawwaar a massage to help their weary bodies.They learnt how to give of themselves unconditionally, just like the people in Iraq, who treat their guests with immense hospitality. The children had a lot of fun learning how to give themselves and others, a massage as well as the importance of resting and supporting others, in order to help themselves and others’ progress further. They were taught about pressure points and how to give a good massage, and then were encouraged to give each other a massage. Those that didn’t want to, gave themselves a massage instead!
Marsiya Mawkeb: At this mawkeb, the children took a break from all their ‘walking’ and sat down to remember Imam Husayn (as) through marsiyas. Books were on hand and the mawkeb leader helped them choose familiar marsiyas so that they could all take part.
Date Making Mawkeb: After melting blocks of pitted dates in a microwave, each child was given a small amount of dates and cornflakes to mix with their hands and roll into balls. As they did so, we talked about how dates are mentioned 20 times in the Holy Qur’an, and the different scientific benefits of dates! The children were so quick to volunteer their own thoughts and experiences about eating dates: “They make you strong” “Dates give you energy” “I love dates!” “My dada eats dates everyday” “My mummy and papa eat dates in Ramadhan”.
All the chatting, squeezing, squashing and rolling date balls worked up a good appetite and made for a brilliant sensory experience! We remembered to give thanks to Allah for the food we have and started with ‘Bismillah’. Most of the children were really keen to eat their date balls and all was quiet as they enjoyed the fruits of their hard work. Others immediately said ‘I don’t like dates’ but were brave and had a little taste anyway mashaAllah! Some of the little zawwaar took their date balls home to share with mums and dads.
Sherbet Making Mawkeb: The zawwar were welcomed and it was explained to them that they would be making sherbet, an energising drink made from milk and rose syrup (for those allergic to milk, oat milk was provided as an alternative). We briefly touched upon the benefits of drinking milk. While the children were mixing their drinks, they were asked to recite surahs on it, and just before drinking their sherbet they were encouraged to say Bismillah and make the intention for Allah to help and give them the energy to complete their walk towards Imam Hussain.
Rest Mawkeb: Here the children were encouraged to take a break and rest their weary legs. They were told how it is an honour for people to provide a resting place for the zawwaar. We had lots of books on Kerbala, Imam Husayn (as), etc for them to peruse as they rested.
Maatam Mawkeb: At this mawkeb, the children recited maatams and remembered Imam Husayn (as) through their azadari. Children took turns to wave a flag as they all recited. Their maatam filled the hall with the remembrance of Aba Abdillah!
First Aid Mawkeb: Here, we treated all the Zawwars with contemporary medicine as well the all important Quranic Medicine. During our research we were AMAZED to find out how many common illnesses could be cured by the different Suras from the H.Quran. There are also Asmaul Husna that can be recited, but we focused on the Suras this time. Download the sheet of illnesses/cures here.
All Zawwars were given some yummy skittles as pain killers which they accepted without hesitation, except the really good ones who said they weren’t allowed by their mummies. Please find the cheat sheet we used. Please visit www.QFatima.com for lots of inspiration and resource.
Kerbala: After all the stations were completed, we gathered the children together and got them ready to raise their flags and walk together as they entered ‘Kerbala’, while listening to a maatam. As they entered, they faced a poster of Kerbala and spent a moment reflecting how it is Allah who gave them the energy and ability to witness this beauty. To Him belongs all praise and thanks and with this in mind, they all went into sajde e shukr.
Before taking their final few steps towards Aba Abdillah, they discussed how when we love someone, we want to be like them. If we love Aba Abdillah, how can we be like him? Can I be the first to say salaam, can I forgive when someone makes a mistake, can I lend a helping hand? The children took a moment to reflect and wrote their own personal pledges (examples were given to them below) to Imam on a little slip with the magic ink of their fingers.
With our pledges in one hand and our flags in the other, we recited a ziyarah and then we completed our walk towards the shrine (the poster) with chants of labbayk ya husayn! Labayk Ya Husayn!
Finally: The children then got a chance to reflect and write down one thing they loved most about doing the Najaf to Kerbala walk!
If a friend took your phone? Then you try and take it back and she kicks you? And goes to the teacher to tell on you. What if the teacher then puts you in detention? Or expels you? You go to court but you keep getting told you’re the one whose fault it is?
HOW DO YOU FEEL?
Most rightly said they would feel hopeless and couldn’t understand how such a gross injustice could take place, and were shocked when we explained that unfortunately such injustices do happen – for example in Palestine.
They then brainstormed ways they could act against this injustice in a peaceful way – such as protests, petitions, use of stories, media and ART.
We then introduced different art works that people have used to spread awareness of injustices of things like Palestine, but also Syria and the refugee crisis, the current event of Marzieh Hashemi and even hijab.
We reiterated the aim of using our voice through art to make a peaceful stance against injustice, using Imam Hussain’s words: ‘I only desire to spread good values and prevent evil’.
The children then brainstormed issues that were close to their heart, then chose one and brainstormed further on ideas of what to draw/paint on that topic. They then drafted it out and went on to do it on canvas. We were very impressed with their thinking and the wide range of art they produced.
5-9 year olds: ROCK ART
We had a fantastic rock painting session last week for the 5-9 yr olds. The first rock was the rock of good habits. The children discussed and thought of a good habit they wanted to instil in their life. This was then painted on to their rock with the number 40. Reminding them that it takes 40 days for an action to become a habit. They would then keep this rock in a place they would see everyday as a reminder to make that habit a rock in their life.
The second rock had a little twist. We painted and decorated this rock with the words #mymosquerocks#hujjat after the rocks had been varnished and dried the children got to hide them outside around our centre. The idea that when you come to the centre you bring a rock to hide, maybe you’ll find a rock which you can keep or re-hide for someone else. Building a connection with our centre.
The last rock was for our mums, sometimes when the children are at school their mums really miss them so the children painted their names on their last rock for their mums to keep. A reminder that even us mums need that our children are also rocks in our lives!
Alhamd the Quran Gameshow event came and went with a bang!
Here are the details 🙂
The 4 to 6 year old group:
The session started by describing the powers of the H.Quran and reading a story called ‘Q-Man and the Cat’ by A14 Publication.
The 4-6 year olds then engaged in an interactive Quran themed game show. The children were divided into four groups, they chose a name for their team and were asked to answer and perform interactive tasks (email firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the questions and score sheet)
Questions included rolling Play dough on Arabic letters flashcards, matching animals mentioned in the H.Quran to their Arabic names, sequencing the Arabic letters, completing a Quran word puzzle and much more. All teams performed brilliantly well taking away lots of new interesting information about the H. Quran!
The 7 to 9 year old group:
The children were separated into groups of 5 and set about completing 6 tasks.
1.Placing the Islamic months of the year in order 2. Matching the names of Allah in English and Arabic 3. Matching foods from the Quran in English and Arabic 4. Placing the names of the imams in order 5. Answering basic questions involving numbers in the Quran 6. Matching up the prophets with the Heavenly books They all scored very highly!
Then we had a quiz, with all 5 groups competing against each other. They received a token for every right answer. When there were no more tokens left, they could take a token from a competitors table!! At the end, all the tokens were added up and put on the scoreboard. The winning team was Red!
The children had great fun and worked really hard with their teams, it was great too see everybody having a chance to join in.
The 10+ year old group:
The children were treated to a good old fashioned game show with buzzers and all! They were split into 4 groups and each group had a chance to play each other. The top 2 then went on to the finals where they played Who Wants to be a Winner. Lots of fast fingers and fast answers won the day!
Over the half-term, the Children’s Islamic Library held an event where each group focussed on a book.
11-15 year olds:
First up, The Breadwinner 🙂
“In the half-term break, the Children’s Islamic Library organised a book club for 11-15 year olds to discuss a book called The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis. We were also going to watch an award-winning, animated movie based on the book. They recommended that we read the book before we came.
The Breadwinner is about an 11 year-old girl called Parvana in Afghanistan living under the strict Taliban law. Parvana’s dad had been wrongly arrested, and since women and girls were not allowed to go out on their own, Parvana had no choice but to dress up like a boy to earn a living for her family. Parvana had to be extremely cautious to keep her disguise a secret. I won’t give away anymore in case you haven’t read this book, and I highly recommend that you do.
As soon as we arrived in the annexe, we got on with watching the movie. Most people enjoyed the film, although we noticed a few differences between the book and the movie, such as missing characters and slight changes in the storyline. After the film, we all introduced ourselves, then went on to discuss the major themes and concepts dealt with in the book, such as courage, perseverance, resilience and consideration, and how the characters displayed these. Everyone expressed what they thought of it overall, and whether they liked it or not. Most people agreed that it was better to read the book before watching the film. Apparently, there is also a sequel, which I am really looking forward to reading.
It seemed to me like everyone thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon, and it was definitely a good choice of book for the book club. I can’t wait until the next one!”
By Jannah Virjee
7-10 year olds:
Next up, ‘Meet the Masumeen’:
“It was ‘the’ Friday afternoon I had been looking forward to since my mum told me I was going to go for the Children’s Islamic Library event.
Prepared and excited we arrived at the annex where we were asked to go upstairs to where our group was doing the Book review and activity based on the book titled “Meet the Masumeen,” which is about a class of children who have a magic rug and go into the past with their special teacher and learn about the Masumeen and their special qualities.
We were warmly greeted by Azra Aunty and settled down to hear her read the chapter on Imam Husain a.s in her eloquent voice. After that we watched a clip about the 14 Masumeen and then went on to do the activity which was making necklaces with attributes relating to each Imam. To do this we had to answer questions about the Masumeen which were around the room and collect all the different pieces related to them.
I really enjoyed my afternoon and came home having learnt a lot and sharing it with my family.
I thank the Children’s Islamic Library for organising this event and I look forward to attending more of their sessions in the future.”
Aliya Muraj 9 years old
4-6 year olds:
And last but not least, Pip The Monster Lost His Heart:
The 4-6 year olds started off with a story reading session about Pip The Monster Who Lost His Heart but only managed to find it when he visited Kerbala and said “As Salaam Alayka Ya Aba Abdillah”
We realised Allah had blessed us with more intellect than Pip and although saying Salaam to our Imams is important, following them is also very important!
A multi sensory treasure hunt with four rations was laid out to enable all kids to engage in the activity
So off we went to search for four treasures that our beloved Imam Hussein (as) loved: Salaah, Quran, Istaghfar and Dua
The Salaah treasure Hunt station had pictures of Salaah actions to put in an order and kids had to guess that the actions were part of Salaaah. Only then they could collect the first piece of their heart.
Quran Station Here the kids listened to some Quran recitation and had to guess it was Quran! Some kids responded back with their fav memorized suwer, after guessing a few suras they then searched for the second piece of their heart hidden under the Qurans.
Istaghfar Station Here the kids got to sniff and associate Istaghfar to a beautiful smelling perfume which takes away our bad smelly deeds. The third pieces of their hearts were hidden inside a Tasbih basket
Dua Station Here kids had to decode the clue using letter codes. The secret message read: “Call Upon Me” and guess that Dua was their last and final clue which led to finding their last piece of heart, hidden inside Dua books.
With their heart all complete, they glued it on their special craft activity. Then they went on to design their own flags to take to Kerbala with them very soon one day InshA!
In 2017, the Children’s Islamic Library introduced Iqra Time! Led by Aaliya Mavani and especially for little ones, the sessions include rhymes and crafts.
On Thursday, the 30th of November, Iqra Time held a Hassanah Hunt. It began with rhymes, a little Hassanah Hunt and then crafts. For the Hassanah Hunt, 5 things were used: Toothbrushes, a smiley lamp, pomegranate, perfume and shoes.
See captions of pics for the words for the hunt. The session was finished with crafts using a variety of media – sticking, sprinkling, ripping, etc. All kids were given a fun toothbrush to take home!
We had lots of fun learning about B.Fatima (as) on the 12th of January, 2018 at Iqra Time!
There were rhymes, an interactive story board (see pics) and crafts.
The story board consisted of A3 posters and lots of Velcro images to make it interactive eg. roof, windows, Angels etc
The crafts included making a flower with B.Fatima’s names, Tasbih making with pipe cleaner and beads and Tasbih dot sticking.
On the 26th of January, 2018, at Iqra Time, we stomped like elephants and even tried on a Jewish hat with Payots just like our Jewish brothers!
Thank you to the very talented Hajera Memon of Shade 7 Limited who shared two of her amazing publications – S.Feel Pop Up book and Hats of Faith.
The session started with Dhikr Rhymes featuring our Stomping rhyme to mark the event. There were stories, matching game from Hats of Faith and a blowing craft. Some little posers were even caught on camera!
At the very animated Iqra Time on the 9th of February, 2018, we looked at feelings and how Allah knows All About Us and Our Feelings!
There were dhikr rhymes, Iqra books and a Big Feelings cup craft with faces and Allah’s Dhikr to help that feeling!
Two books were read: The Feelings Book by Todd Parr and Allah Knows All About Me by @learning roots* We learned how our body – our eyebrows, eyes, mouth and shoulders – look when we’re feeling Happy, Unwell/Hurt, Mad/Impatient and Sad.
Also learned that Wudhu helps us calm down.
Two special rhymes for this session were:
Rhyme 1: • If you’re happy and you know it … Say Alhamdulillah • If you’re Unwell or hurting… Say Ya Shafi • If you’re mad or impatient…. Say Ya Saabiru • If you’re sad and you know it …. Say Ya Allah
Rhyme 2 • Sung to This is the way we brush our teeth tune, is in the photos:
Friday 2nd March, 2018, was a blast at Iqra Time! We had roaring lions, cheeky mice and playful pups to sail aboard P.Nuh’s ark!
A splashy experiment and rocking craft reinforced how we need to always Listen, Obey and Trust Allah SWT to be safe.
We sang our Dhikr rhymes, read the story from Learning Roots rhyming story perfect for little ones called ‘The Story of Nuh’ and our special rhyme was from QFatima‘s awesome collection of rhymes for kids.
On Friday the 27th of June, 2018, we sang and talked about Imam Mahdi (af) for his upcoming Birth Anniversary:
Extracts from The Book ‘Where is My Imam?’ By Marhuma Shelina Kermali was retold.
We sang this rhyme:
Although the party and Show and Tell was postponed until the next session, we enjoyed doing our magical craft which hopefully really emphasizes the whole ‘Sun Behind The Cloud’ concept!
Invisible paint (lemon juice) was our magic potion that was painted on the sun. And when there are enough GOOD DEEDS and PEOPLE to *warm up* this world (use a heat source eg iron, hair dryer, oven under caution) the Golden Sun just like our Imam (af) will InshA appear!
Lemon juice once dried is invisible on paper but when subjected to a heat energy is oxidized and appears yellowish Golden Description: Cotton wool for clouds and Rainbow strips with all the good things Imam (af) will bring to this world. We cant wait! Al Ajjal Al Ajjal O Imam!
Alhamd! We had our little party in the park today, on the 11th of May, 2018!
It was exciting to see some Show & Tells, we had an Areeza and a picture of Masjid as Sahla.
The party bags consisted of a little book and colourful gel pen to remind us to write to I.Mahdi (af) every week and a suncatcher to remind us to be ‘suncatchers’ while he is behind the clouds Description: There’s a rhyme too, see pic
Then we welcomed the holy month of Ramadhan with the book ‘My First Ramadhan’, had a sweet Oreo treat to learn about the moon we’ll be looking for InshA!
Not forgetting the special binoculars with our special rhyme. Since S.Ramadhan is soo soo special we’ll try being our best at all times! We’ll use everyday colors to remind us:
• Red – to do lots of good deeds • Orange – Recite the H.Quran • Yellow – be cheerful • Green – be kind to our planet and not be wasteful • Blue – no fighting or quarreling!
We sang this rhyme:
On Friday 18th May, 2018, Alhamd we had a supercharged session with Allah’s special Superheroes yesterday at Iqra Time, where we learned about the Superpower strength called Taqwa. Taqwa is of two parts, staying away from bad things – fasting with our bodies and doing lots of good deeds – the Ramadhan Rainbow
We made wrist and ankle cuffs and masks to remind our bodies to not do bad and we need to complete our Ramadan Rainbows so we can get lots of good deeds!
A special superhero magnetic clip was made to keep our rainbows visible and safe!
We read the book ‘Too Young To Fast’ by Khizar Husain (downloadable on iOS Farfaria app) a simple book, perfect for little ones, about a boy who was too young to fast but could do other things in this special month. We also looked at a very special experiment about floating and sinking http://tjannah.com/dua-is-a-shield-for-the-believers/
The famous Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes song got a whole new meaning with this powerful starting verse “We can fast with our….Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes…” It was a super charged day! ZAPPPOW!