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Thoughts on ‘fatiha’ in majalis…

Thoughts on ‘fatiha’ in majalis…

Have been thinking a lot about the majalis we go to, and in particular the fatiha we get. Mashallah everyone loves to contribute and so as well as the fatiha that the host themselves make and provide, many people also bring fatiha on the day which is then distributed into the bags, etc. In particular, a lot of fatiha also comes into mosque for the children’s classes, so our kids go home with bags full of crisps, chocs and drinks every night. This is all great, however – ESPECIALLY in this day and age, it really feels like that food/extras would be much better if it went to those in real need?

Discussing this with family the other day, an idea emerged. Instead of taking fatiha to people’s majlises and mosque classes, what if whenever we went to their houses, we dropped 50p, or a pound or two if we wanted (or whatever the heart desires!) into a ‘fatiha’ money collection box? At the end of the majlis, this could then be counted and donated to one of the many charities out there doing an amazing job. Even a little goes a really long way – for example, £6.50 can buy someone a blanket in Iraq to help them in the long winter months coming up.

This is in no way saying that there shouldn’t be fatiha at all! I think a little something is excellent, both for keeping the kids excited when they come to mosque and it is of course also a sunnah and a pleasure to feed people when they come to our homes for a majlis – I am simply referring to all the extras people bring on top of the norm.

I also think perhaps we need to re-focus on what the fatiha is actually being given for. Fatiha is to encourage people to recite Sura Fatiha for the marhumeen of the giver’s family (as per my understanding), is it not? But when we do give fatiha, how many of us actually give the names of our Marhumeen too? And when we get and eat and enjoy, how many of us actually do remember to recite it? Perhaps with the ‘fatiha’ money collection box, we can also have a piece of paper where people can write down the names of their marhumeen, to be remembered and recited Sura Fatiha for within the majlis itself.

If we start implementing this one household at a time, maybe just sending out a message to all those coming beforehand to let them know…perhaps we can make this a tradition going forward? In terms of classes, we could include it in the letters that parents get so that they are aware too?

Would love to hear your thoughts!!

P.S. November, 2016: Slowly but surely, things are Inshallah changing. In the Children’s Library event a few weeks ago, we asked people to bring in change instead of fatiha, and raised £122 from one afternoon! This will be feeding those really in need, Inshallah – for the thawaab of the Marhumeen of those who donated.

In the classes at mosque this Ashra, we are Inshallah introducing a similar scheme. The poster we will be putting up is attached here, in case anyone wants to do the same in the different jamaats around the world.

Inshallah, here’s hoping that this little change will make a BIG difference!

Ashra Idea 1 – Hold a Children’s Majlis

Ashra Idea 1 – Hold a Children’s Majlis

And so we begin, Inshallah…

Subhanallah, during the last month and a bit, we have had so many wonderful opportunities to commemorate the event of Kerbala. During the first ten nights, we shared ideazz on how to do this in our homes and with our families. We will now focus on how we can do this with the community around us, while still involving the children also.

Idea No 1: Hold a children’s majlis (YOUNGER CHILDREN – Idea sent in by Faiza Mawji)

Being a mum of three young children (aged 2, 3 and 4) I have always felt that their age group is missed out on in terms of Muharram education. Although the two youngest attend our community nursery, they are exposed to Muharram based activities and education but only whilst at nursery. Once we take them to mosque then they just follow us like sheep and are kept occupied during majlis. Although I actively explain each nights significance etc, I feel they have never experienced a majlis for their age group and decided to hold one.

We had about 20 children with ages ranging from 2 to 5 years. We tried to stick to the conventional majlis schedule by having Marthiya, Hadith-e-Kisaa, Majlis, Matam and finally Ziyareh. However, with a twist! The majlis needed to be based on the typical majlis but in a way that the children would benefit from.

We had a marthiya recited by a friends young son, Zahid Alidina. He was superb and has recently been reciting in the main program at our mosque.

We had Hadith-e-Kisaa as a story version. So our ‘Mulyani’, a dear friend Shellina Walji who is amazing at getting children’s attention put together a story book with pictures. Her 3 year old son can be seen in the photo’s helping to turn the pages. The story was excellent as it showed the Holy personalities depicted by a ‘shining moon’ under the blanket (as the verse goes “I then witnessed his face glowing like a full moon”). As each member of the Holy Family entered and went under the blanket another moon appeared on the next page. The story had many beneficial educational elements in addition to the story of Hadith-e-Kisaa. It encouraged counting (the children counted as each person entered the blanket), it showed nature scenes (the verses “I created..this Earth…moon..sun…planets..oceans…”) and of course children are very used to the story book format.

We then held a show and tell majlis. We had put up posters of common Muharram themes. An alam, a zarih, a mashk and also some of the art work the children had created at nursery. The ‘Mulyani’ then proceeded to ask and explain to the children what each element meant.

We had borrowed some alams and two zarih’s to keep at the majlis, another friend Ishrat Pirmohammed and the children then recited “Oh my Asger” and did matam. We then did Ziyareh.

The children were given Niyaz in takeout boxes of chips and chicken nuggets, a box of juice and also bags of fruit, dry fruits and a wafer bar. Mums had their own Fatiha bags.

After the whole thing was over I was left with a feeling of immense satisfaction. Our house was blessed with our dear friends and family’s presence, we mourned and remembered Imam Hussein (as) and his family, and best of all; all the children regardless of age did benefit in some way or another.

Obviously being our first childrens’ majlis, there were challenges, but none of them affected the children’s gain from it, but it did give me ideas on what I would change if I were to do it again Insha’Allah.

+ the timing, we had to keep it at 1215, so mothers could pray and come, and also that the mothers could attend ladies majlis at mosque in the morning. I would keep it earlier so that the very small children would not have been close to their nap times or snack/lunch times.

+ perhaps more items in the show and tell majlis.

Overall, I think it was a success, I felt the confidence to do it again and cannot thank our friends and family for all their help and especially to all those who took part so wonderfully and genuinely.

EDIT: Buzz Ideazz has since compiled a list of ideas for Children’s Majalises to help you hold your own! Check them out HERE.


Thursday Majlis

Thursday Majlis

Ramadhan has come and gone, the last few weeks of holiday have come and gone, and now as we settle back into some sort of routine, the feeling that we are missing something seeps in…

We all miss the hustle and bustle of mosque, and especially that feeling of spirituality that is special to the Holy month. We can try and maintain it over this relatively quiet month (mosque-wise) by going on Thursday nights – but for me personally, this is not possible with two young children to put to bed ready for school the next day.

So when a friend mentioned that she has her own majlis at home with her children, I loved the idea and decided to try it! Over time and with trial and error, what we do in the majlis has changed, but for the most part we keep it short and simple, and as child-involved as possible:

– If there are any Wiladats or Wafats that week, we talk about that and maybe share a story or two on that personality. (Now that ‘Meet the Masumeen’ (Sun Behind The Cloud Publications) is out this would be a great book to read over the weeks! ‘Excellent Stories’ (QFatima) also has great short stories that are packed with great lessons!)

– The children choose a Name of Allah from the book ‘Call upon the Almighty – The Marvelous Names of Allah SWT’ by Binte Abbas Creations and we talk about that and try to learn that Name through the week.

– The children choose a Sura to learn over a few weeks, and we look up its benefits from the book ‘Call upon the Almighty through His Marvelous Book, the Holy Quran’, also by Binte Abbas Creations.

– We remember the Marhumeen on this day by reciting a Sura Fatiha (and usually have some accompanying Fatiha!)

– We wrap up by the recitation of the Ziyarat/Dua Faraj

There are so many more ideas out there as to what can be included, depending on your child(ren) and how old they are! I have heard of some families with older children reciting Sura Yasin and Hadeeth-e-Kisa together. Maybe families with younger children can use that time to work on an Islamic craft project together, etc.

Inviting grandparents, family or friends over for the Majlis can make it even more exciting and special. Writing the Name of Allah/Sura for the week on a white board where the whole family can see it everyday can help remind you to bring it up over the week too.

I wish I could say I did this religiously every week but sometimes I just don’t manage – when we do do it however, I am pretty sure I am learning as much, if not more, than my two little ones!

P.S. Do you hold something similar with your children? Please do share your ideas!
P.P.S Apologies for the looong post 🙂