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How to make the Prophet Muhammad come alive for your children
by Abdul Malik Mujahid
Mention of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, is always around Muslims, Alhamdu lillah. But why not organize a week-long family activity around the life of the Prophet? Why not spend one day of the week on each of these activities, devoting the whole seven days to a different project? Or you could incorporate some aspect of each activity daily. Whatever method you choose, these are small ways to instill a love for the blessed Prophet while showing what a critical role his example plays in every Muslim's life.
Instead of deciding yourself, why not do a family Shura about it. Let every one sit down with a pen and a paper, think and decide together about seven activities you can do in a week concerning the life of the Prophet.
Get a map of Arabia, or better yet, get the kids to draw or trace one from an atlas. Then, note down the different places he traveled to from Makkah or Madinah. Each voyage should also be researched and presented to the whole family by one person in the course of a family discussion or meeting.
The Prophet would wake up everyday before dawn, before the start of the Fajr prayer, to worship God through Salat, Dua, Zikr, etc. While looking at the sky, he would read the last portion of Surah Ale-Imran, thinking and contemplating about the universe and its Creator. This is an excellent way to become closer to God, at a time when concentration is at its peak, minds are clear of daily worries and according to one Hadith, God is very close to us.
Once Fajr began, the Prophet would pray and then chat with people who stayed behind for some time.
Get the whole family to get up in time to perform this special prayer on a Saturday or Sunday. Encourage them, to the best of their ability, to stay awake to worship God as the Prophet did.
This can be done at bedtime, after the kids come home from school or any other time conducive to learning. The first step of loving and learning from the Prophet and his life is to know about him and what made him great. You can buy children's books about his life, or even listen to them on tape while you're in the car on your way to or from school. Maybe each person in the family can choose their story to tell. This will allow some research and reading as well.
The Prophet used to sleep in a unique way and would say a Dua or two before it. Maybe as a token of your love you want to sleep one night the way he slept. Some Muslims do sleep that way all the time, although it is not a requirement of our faith. The Prophet slept on his right side, with his right hand under his right cheek. He used to make Wudu before going to bed also. He used to recite one or two Duas before sleeping and recite a few short portions of the Quran.
If you adopt this item, you can memorize the Duas, understand their meaning and make copies of them for everyone.
There are reports about the type of food he used to eat or liked most. Make a list of those items. Once the whole family is together with a selection of his/her favorite food, why not have one person talk about it and remind everyone of his table manners? A young person may be the best one to do that. For instance, he advised Muslims to eat in a way that after eating, the stomach is only one-third full. We also should wash our hands before eating, recite "Bismillah" (in the Name of God) and other Duas before we begin, as well as eat only with our right hand. These are just some of the ways the Prophet ate.
This may require you to do some research and it may involve calling some Middle Eastern friends to get some recipes as well. You can have one night where dinner is devoted to the Prophet's food or one dish like that per day.
During the lifetime of the Prophet, if a person made a mistake in the recitation of the Quran, he was corrected by others present during the prayer. This is exactly the way it is done throughout the Muslim world in Ramadan. During this week when you're teaching your kids how to live like the Prophet, have a different person lead prayer each day and correct their mistakes if they make any. This will not only be an exercise in one aspect of the Sunnah, it will also be one teaching humility.
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