Monday, June 20, 2016

A good book vs. a great book

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Jazakallaahu khayr to the reader who passed this along. 

What do you think? 

Of course the book should be Islaamically appropriate, but do you find this to be true for you or for the child(ren) you teach?

Friday, May 6, 2016

Helping Children Learn to Be Grateful for Allaah's Favours

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Abu Hurairah reported Allaah's Messenger (sallallaahu alayhe wa salam) as saying: Look at those who stand at a lower level than you but don't look at those who stand at a higher level than you, for this would make the favours (conferred upon you by Allah) insignificant (in your eyes). Abu Mu'awiya said: Upon you.{Sahih Muslim: Book Pertaining to Piety & Softening the Heart #7070}.

If you have a little one who is on the way to becoming an independent reader and you would like to teach him or her about the importance of being grateful and satisfied with the favours that Allaah has conferred upon us, The Foolish Tortoise is a book that you might want to use (after mentioning ayaat from the Quran and authentic ahadith). This book is appropriate for children who are able to read longer sentences independently (i.e. sentences longer than 2-3 words), can recognize and read most (if not all) sight words for KG-grade 2, and are ready to learn new, slightly more difficult vocabulary words than they are used to. The book can also be read aloud to children who are still working on becoming proficient readers. The rhyming text will appeal to children and will act as a prompt when children are trying to determine what the last word in each sentence might be.

In The Foolish Tortoise, the tortoise has a shell that is just right for him because Allaah has created everything in the best way. The tortoise, however, does not appreciate his shell and longs for what other animals have. Foolishly and ungratefully, the tortoise sheds his shell and soon regrets it. 

Before reading this story with children, you can mention that Allaah is الخالق و البارئ (the Creator and the Originator), and He is المصور (the Bestower of forms). You can mention/read to children the following verse from the Quran, "الَّذِي خَلَقَ فَسَوَّىٰ {Surah al-A'laa: 2}" and you can mention to children (in grade level appropriate language) what Shaykh Abu Abdur-Rahman Nasir as-Sa'di (رحمه الله) said: [Allaah is] "the one who created all that is in existence and originated it, who made everything correct and in its place in accordance to the dictates of His wisdom, who shaped everything by virtue of His praise and wisdom" (Explanation to the Beautiful and Perfect Names of Allaah, 59-60). 

After mentioning the verse from the Quran, the applicable Names and Attributes of Allaah, and the explanation of those names by the noble Shaykh, you can read The Foolish Tortoise and have a small discussion about being grateful to Allaah for His countless favours. The discussion can end by reading the following ayaat to the children:

فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لِي وَلَا تَكْفُرُونِ

Therefore remember Me (by praying, glorifying), I will remember you, and be grateful to Me (for My countless favours on you) and never be ungrateful to Me. {Al-Baqarah: 152)

وَإِن تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

And if you would count the favours of Allah, never could you be able to count them. Truly! Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. {An-Nahl: 18}

...ذِي الطَّوْلِ ۖ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ إِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ

...the Bestower (of favours). La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), to Him is the final return. {Ghafir: 3}

During your next trip to the library, check the shelf for The Foolish Tortoise and check it out!

What Islaamic stories do you use to teach children about being grateful for Allaah's countless favours?