Thursday, December 29, 2011

Religion

I started talking to my daughter about God. It's a topic that makes me uncomfortable because I see religion and ones relationship with God as such a personal thing... It's not at allpart of the Islamic tradition to keep religion something personal since Islam (traditional interpretation) is a religion that dictates every aspect of life...


This probably comes a tiny bit from the Christian part of my upbringing, but even more from my culture's dislike for religion overall. It's a bit of an embarrassment to admit to believing or following a religion.

I got an Islamic kid's book from a good friend in Australia for Eid last year that I found again after putting it away for a while and after reading it to my daughter a couple times, I decided the poor child should at least be given some sort of description of God. I honestly didn't know what to say though. I told her that God made everything. He made her, me, her brother, the flowers, the snow, the rain, etc. She then started saying that he made our house, he made the bath tub, he made the carpet, etc... I didn't want to confuse her, so I said that yes He did because we as humans made it with his help. Everything that is made is with the help of God. She started asking what God looked like and what colour he was (she's 4 years old) and I told her that we could not see God but that he was everywhere and always helping us.

What can I add to this small intro to God for a 4 year old? How did you go about it?

7 Comentários:

Sana Castellano said...

Allah is light. Allah is in our hearts. He is closer to us than we can imagine. Allah has 99 names, which describe HIM =) do read and understand those.
Allah loves us many times more than our mothers do.
For more, read the translation of the Holy Quran.
Allah is always there. He listens to us.

JaLpArI - tHe MeRmAiD said...

Hey Candice :)
I think the little that you explained to your child is pretty fine.
I, too, find it very difficult to accept the intrusion of 'ppl' in my relationship with God. God is mine. And it fails me when ppl tell how God is this this this and this and not that that that and that. Tis almost like they have met God over coffee, or maybe even grown up with God.

A LOT of things about Islam, or rather, the INTERPRETATION of Islam, disturb me.
And one of them is how God has been confined within boundaries of description. I, too, believe that God is everywhere. He is more than we can imagine, forget bout arguing over.

My sister has twins, to turn 5 this January, inshaAllah. I heard them talk somethin bout God being Almighty and stuff. . . And they told me that their paternal grandfather has told them. Just to know exactly what they think of God, i asked them a few questions.
I asked them if God is tall or Short. They answered Tall.
I asked them if God is male or female. They answered Male.
And I asked them if God is fair or dark. They answered Fair.
I didnt really like their concept of God.
If you remember, you had once written a Post on Anthropotheism. . I found my nephew-niece's description of God to be very Anthropotheistic . . .

And THIS is very common in the much applauded "Islamic Monotheism", though there's always some grand sheikh from some grand place tellin how silly it is of 'blasphemic' souls like me to even IMAGINE that they could be Anthropotheistic.

Anyway, I appreciate the way you didnt confuse your little one. Coz, indeed God is the Creator of everything, even laptops and cellphones. There is a verse in the Bible, it escapes me at the moment. Something about horses. . 'But the victory is from God'.

That is what i mean. Though the bath tub and stuff are 'made' by man, they are MADE by God coz man's power to do or undo comes from God and God alone. God is the Power that drives the world (my personal belief).

So that evening i told my sister's kids that God is neither male nor female. Neither tall nor Short. Neither fair nor dark.
God is Power . (Taakat)
God is Light, a Beautiful Light . . (Noor)

I aint sure if God would like my description of him. But, if i need to worship a tall, fair, male . . I'd rather worship a Nicholas Cage.

Candice said...

Thank you for the comments. Jalpari, I really agree with what you said. The only thing is that it is normal for children to be even less able to understand things than we are and to have to make God very humanlike to begin to understand him. It makes me frustrated to see so many adults who you would think have the capacity to go beyond this definition of God continue to define God in such a human way.

My husband won't accept that the throne of God is not literally a chair that he sits on. He won't accept that the "straight path" is not a line that people will physically walk on. I get very frustrated at his very limited view of God. To me, it's him not giving God the all that He/She is and I feel this comes closer to shirk than other things that I've been accused of. Of course, only God knows so I try hard to keep my calm, make him see my point of view and leave the conversation. I have to understand that he was taught Islam in a very strict, "this is what you believe and don't ask questions" way.

I will make sure things are different for my children. I want them to develop an inquisitive mind. I want them to question things and take life as a journey full of beautiful discoveries and knowledge to be had. I want them to search for meaning in their lives. I don't want religion to be nothing more than a set of rules to live by (though there is much worse that could happen like using religion to judge other people, that kind of thing, which I am strongly against)

Anyway, there is so much she will learn and I'm pretty satisfied with the "little by little" way. I introduced angels too just yesterday. It wasn't intentional, and my description was super child-like... I have no idea what I understand angels to be myself as an adult, but it was a way to answer her question and I went with it. She asked me who put her on the floor the other day... Seems she fell off her bed or something without noticing and woke up in the floor - I didn't even know. And she would just not accept when I told her she simply fell. She thought someone came into her room to do that and with my husband scaring her with monsters lately, I didn't want her being scared by insisting it was her so I said it was angels. That they are made of light and love. She's the one who added to that and said that they come and hug us all at night and so I just said yes. It was kind of adorable. She mentioned it again tonight and seemed happy that she'd be visited by loving angels during the night.

truth said...

Allah is neither he nor she coz,
god can be goddess, godesses
Allah has no--> ss and -->essess
god has god father,god mother etc
Allah has no father,no mother.
god can be son of god,holy ghost.
Allah is beyond all your imagination..
so Allah is the greatest.

sure children like this concept and this kind helps them not to be superstitious when they have many questions while they are growing up.

Safiyah said...

I think you have a very nice view of God :) Me too, I believe that God is everywhere and that we shouldn't try to limit Him in anyway. I also want to raise my future children with that kind of idea about God, and that they see Him as loving and gentle, instead of someone who watches you all day just waiting until you make a mistake so he can punish you. That's not God in my eyes, that's giving human characteristics (anger, jealousy, intolerance) to God. I once read (although I remember only vaguely) something like: imagine the most merciful person on earth, well the mercy he has is only 2 drops in the ocean of the mercy of God. Like was said before, God loves us more than our mothers do, and to turn Him into anything else is the real sin, in my opinion.

Your daughter sounds adorable by the way :) May God bless her!

JaLpArI - tHe MeRmAiD said...

:) loving the 'angel hugs' :)

Becky said...

I liked your description.

It's fun, I grew up in a very Christian family, so I have been used to talk about religion very explicitly from a young age. One of my very earliest memory actually, is from when I was 3-4 years old, and I was sitting on a mattress in the hallway and praying to God. Not sure what I was praying about, but I remember that clearly.

I grew up in a family that sang praise before dinner, and read a passage from the Bible (a children's Bible when we were young) after dinner, as well as praying. Singing Christian songs before bed time, as well as praying again. It's just how I grew up.

Funny enough, as I've almost moved completely away from religion growing up, it makes me sort of uncomfortable now, almost indoctrinating. But yeah, I haven't yet thought about what role religion will play in my children's lives, when I one day have children. Cause I do want them to know the beautiful songs I knew as a kid, I want them to know the stories of the Bible - simply as a cultural thing as well.

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