Here are some ideas in which we can mark his important day with children:
Create a Mystery Box:
Possible ideas of items:
Black cloth – we wear black to mourn during sad occasions
The # 7 – explain that he’s the 7th Imam
An Angry Face – Explain how Imam Kazim (as) was the opposite of anger, but was known to be the one who swallowed his anger and was patient/calm.
A map with Iraq circled – explain how he’s buried in Iraq.
Picture of the harem of Imam Kazim (as) – explain how we go to Kadhmayn to do his ziyarat where he’s buried.
Handcuffs/box, bicycle chain or any chain or mini cage – explain how he was put in a prison for most of his life even though he was such a good Muslim and our Imam, but the ones who made bad choices caused him to suffer.
A bridge (from legos etc) – Explain how the Imam (as) was left by the bridge.
Toy bread – Explain how he was given very little food while in prison.
Janemaz or Du’a book: Explain how despite all the difficulties he endured, he never gave up his faith in Allah and in fact thanked Him, and continued to worship Him even in the prison.
There are a growing number of resources out there to help mark this special month, here they are below:
Kisa Kids have been releasing booklets for the last few years which are FULL of activities to mark the occasions of the months. They are available to download for free here. They also have banners, amal checklists, etc.
Zair Zabr Play has a few free printables for Rajab, including a booklet on Me’raj.
Here is one by Lunar Learners on Me’raj (Although there is much debate about Me’raj being on the 27th of Rajab, with the consensus being it’s not – that date is important for Mab’ath), you can use these on the other dates that have given for Me’raj)
A weekend ago, an amazing event took place – combining fundraising, celebrating the beautiful personalities we celebrate in these months, as well as marking the powerful 3 months of Rajab, Shaban and Mahe Ramadhan. Am sharing with you here in case you want to do something similar in your communities around the world, be it this year or in future years! Details below:
This was the flier that went round… lots of exciting things planned!
As the children came in, they received this A5 piece of card – their ‘passport’ for the day! This lists all the activities that were around… take a look! All the activities had some Islamic link – either to these special months, or to an ayah of the Quran, etc.
On the other side of the card was a Cluequest. The questions were based on the personalities whose wiladats we were celebrating.
The children had to first answer the initial question of which personality it was. They then had find the name of that personality which were stuck around the room in different places, and then look at the question that was stuck under the name. They then had to answer the question on the card above.
Parent and child, looking up the clues and figuring it out 🙂
And now to some of the stalls! This was the ever popular candy floss stall 🙂
Islamic link (as mentioned on the passport): “If you thank me, I will give you more.” (Sura Ibrahim, Verse 7)
This was the delicious food stall – with loads of donated goodies on offer!
Islamic link: “Eat of the good things which We have provided you.” Sura Taha, Verse 81)
This was the slime stall! It was by far the messiest – but the kids had a blast 🙂 They mixed their own slime, then kneaded it into perfection, adding glitter for that personal touch.
Islamic link: “Indeed we have created man out of clay, out of altered form of dark slime.” (Sura Hijr, Verse 26)
This was the Henna and Face paint stall!
Islamic link: O Allah as you have beautified my exterior, so beautify my character.” (Dua for looking in the mirror)
This was the bulb planting stall!
Here the children planted a seed and got to take their pot home, water it and look after it and watch it grow! They talked about how the months of Rajab, Shaban and Mahe Ramadhan were like the process of weeding, taking care of and watching the bloom of our soul.
Islamic link: “Verily Rajab is Allah’s month, Shaban is my month, and Shahr Ramadhan the month of my Ummah.” The Holy Prophet (saw)
And here is a flower that was planted that day, growing nicely in a little girl’s home 🙂
This was the toys and books stall! Lots of amazing books and gifts for just as amazing prices 🙂
Islamic link: “Who is it that will loan Allah a goodly loan so that He may multiply it for Him many times over?” Sura Baqarah, Verse 245
Drawing inspiration from the meme going around on Rajab, Shaban and Ramadan, we recreated this for children.
The children were explained the significance of there being a seed in Rajab and the need to clear the soil of weeds (i.e. do lots of istighfar and clean our souls in this month), a little shoot popping up in Shaban which needs to be tended and watered (i.e. lots of good deeds and salawats in this month) and then finally the flowering in Ramadhan (inshallah the fruits of our efforts in the holy month!).
They were encouraged to go home and stick it on their fridge/boards as a daily reminder 🙂
Here’s another craft idea sent in:
FZ and mum did an activity on the Tasbih of Bibi Fatema, which was told to the Prophet by Angel Jibrail during his ascension!
Here are the details below:
“In the centre is Bibi Fatema as with her Tasbih, then the rectangle around her represents the Kaaba with its 4 rukn, followed by an outer rectangle representing Bayt ul Ma’mur with its 4 rukn, followed by the ‘Arsh with its 4 rukn and the Dhikr of the Tasbih of Bibi Fatema as holding up the 4 corners…here FZ also added graphics to show how the Dhikr came about…
On the sides she made colourful wings to show that the Tasbih is so powerful that it can take us so close to Allah, even up to the ‘Arsh! At the top is the last bit of the story where the Prophet saw, during Mi’raj, is riding on Buraq where Angel Jibraeel tells him how the Tasbih came about and the Dhikr to complete it. She also added a 3D star to show that Bibi Fatema is Az Zahra, the Shining Star and the Lady of Light.
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.’
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