Friday, July 29, 2011

Ramadan is Approaching

Now I know I have not been the most Muslim person lately with doubting a lot of very major things that make a person Muslim... But even with my search for truth and meaning going beyond Islam, I still want to appreciate the month of Ramadan and benefit from it. And probably most importantly, I want my daughter to.

Just to clarify, my search for meaning and truth has not gone away from Islam, it has just expanded so that now it's bigger than just looking into Islam and its teachings but also to other religions and philosophies along with Islam.

My plans this Ramadan focus a lot on making my daughter "feel" Ramadan. I don't want it to be difficult for her to feel how special the month is. I don't want her to have trouble connecting with her Muslim identity as she gets older because we ARE a Muslim family. I want her to know she is not exactly like most other kids she will be going to school with and becoming friends with and to know that it's not a bad thing! I don't want to spring it on her when she's 10 - I want it instilled in her that she is more than any other kid and I hope that this will make some of her tough decisions as a kid, pre-teen, teen and young adult easier. Basically, I want her to have a strong awareness of who she is!

The little things I have planned for her this Ramadan seem very insignificant when my ultimate goal is for her to be able to make good decisions because of a strong awareness of who she is, but a goal that big has to start somewhere! And building her Muslim identity is where it's at this Ramadan!

SO! What we will do is
1) decorate the apartment. Put up twinkly lights in the living room and her bedroom if she wants, with some Ramadan Karim lights and lantern lights my husband got from Egypt, if he can manage to convert the electricity plug on those.

2) do an Eid countdown with a chain made out of construction paper. I will write one small thing about Ramadan that I want her to know per day and encourage her to show her chain link to others and explain what she learned. For example, first one will be that people fast during Ramadan... She will learn what fasting means and that as a child, she doesn't fast, and as a pregnant woman, I am not fasting... I hope that she will discuss some of those things with her daycare buddies.

3) this is only IF she shows interest... I will encourage her to fast a few hours and make breaking the fast a bit special for her. She is only 4 so I will not suggest it unless she shows interest, which might not happen at all.

4) Pray while she is there and encourage her to join. I have not been doing salat so this is something she has not seen much of.

5) Bring her to the mosque. My husband has one Friday out of two off so I will get him to bring her for those two Fridays that he can. And I will try to bring her to teraweeh prayers once (one of those days when she had a late nap)

6) This is dumb but I think I will keep a dish of something out each day... Just like Christmastime has a lot of candies and chocolates in dishes out for us to snack on... An extra thing for her to remember and cling to. Something yummy that she will be happy to see again next year! I'd love your ideas on what that should be. Dates maybe?

7) Onto Eid... It's in the middle of the week I think and I will be working all day... But we will dress up nice for daycare and in the evenings and do a little something special. One evening we plan on seeing a movie in a cinema outside of town.

8) I will get her a piggy bank and give her some money. I think my parents would be on-board with participating for Eid too and there must be a couple Muslims we know that we will see that might do that too. She will learn that she can get herself something nice or pick out something for another child that she will give away and feel good about this day.

Well, that's the most of my list so far. I'm in a Ramadan buddies "program" and I hope to exchange more good ideas with my partner. She sent me the link I got the countdown chain idea from. Hopefully more little things I can add to this.

I welcome any ideas. My daughter is 4 years old and so far doesn't know about Ramadan at all. Thanks!

7 Comentários:

Susanne said...

Isn't Ramadan also about remembering the poor? Perhaps saving to buy something for a needy child and having Nora go with you to give it to that child so she can see how good it is to give rather than receive. Making a meal for a needy family in town and let Nora help you? Kind of like some people take the fixings for Thanksgiving to needy families here. You could collect food for a Eid feast for a less fortunate family and then deliver the cans of food, lamb (turkey, whatever) prior to the Eid celebration.

Also explain that other families in the world don't have as much food and stuff as we do and let her know part of fasting is to remember those who go without meals not just from dawn to dusk, but sometimes all day.

Or do those seem too heavy for a 4 year old?

I like your ideas!

Candice said...

Good ideas! I plan on teaching her about the reasons for fasting in our daily thing and remembering the poor will come up then. I'm not sure I know where to find poor people in need of a meal over here but collecting cans and all that is something we will probably do. We could leave that at the local mosque - a needy Muslim family would probably pass by there.

We did the "toy to a needy child" thing for Christmas and I thought it was a great lesson for her to come choose a toy at the store that she would not play with herself.

I don't want it to be too "heavy" for her so we will go with her reactions and keep it simple. It's a tiny introduction!

The Odd Muslimah said...

I also have a four year old daughter and I think I'll be adopting some of your ideas (especially the Eid countdown chain!). I'll be doing with my daughter this year:

-- Waking her up at suhoor. In Australia, it's around 5am here and I'll be working so I'll only have her up an hour early. Hubs and I will pray tahajjud and, if she wants to, she can 'fast' from Fajr until fruit time at school (which is around five hours). She woke up a couple of times at suhoor time when I was making up fasts and now wants to fast herself so this seems like a fair compromise.

-- During the extra time after Fajr, will sit as a family and discuss/talk about Ramadhan it's importance, reasoning, requirements and blessings for our minds, bodies, souls.

-- Keep a 'sadaqa jar' that we will put some money into before Maghrib. We plan on donating to the crisis in Somalia and, inshaAllah, we can use this as an opportunity to teach her about the importance of charity and use it as a means to help her understand God's love for those that are kind, generous and thoughtful toward others.

-- We're planning on eating simple this Ramadhan as we've had a few too many indulgences last year which made us realise how hypocritical we're sort of being in our fasts. We will, however, be giving her and her younger sister special treats (regardless of whether she fasts or not) to encourage good feelings toward the month.

-- Duaa and Quran in the last half hour before iftar. Teach duaas for breaking fast at iftar time and their meanings/translation (I only speak English and so do my girls so I want them to know what they're saying).

-- Letting her choose her own Eid gifts. She's old enough now and knows what she wants!

-- Making our own decorations for Eid together as a family. Paper chains, lanterns, etc. I loooove it. ;)

About the plate of sweets/niceties you want to put out: do it! It's not silly and it will sit with them if it's something special. Dates are good and coincide with the connection between iftar and dates. In Egypt, they make ma'mool (kahk) (date or nut biscuits) and give it out during Eid. My father is indian and I still remember the sweets his family used to serve during Ramadhan and Eid.

At four, they can remember so make it memorable!

Best wishes for you and your family this Ramadhan! xo

Amalia said...

Great ideas! I can't wait to do some of these with my Nora when she grows up :)

Candice said...

Odd Muslimah: Love your ideas! I need to get things together because so far I have not put up my decorations, we are not done with the lights, I have not planned what treats to put out, have not worked out exactly what I want to accomplish or started...

Ʋƨɐɠɪ ❤ said...

For the treats maybe Date Squares :P They're a little yummier ~

I wish you luck : ) It seems exciting and fun! I can't wait to have children and celebrate eid with them <3

Candice said...

I hope to post in the next days pictures of my decorations and what I have done so far :)

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