10 Islamically-inspired things to do during winter break

Winter break is fast approaching, and with students getting two weeks or more off, it’s an ideal time to incorporate some spirituality along with the fun. These are some unique ways to do that:

1. Fast
The shorter days of winter make it easier to catch up on missed fasts from Ramadan. Fast and recreate a Ramadan feast at Iftar time, featuring traditional winter fare, like hot chocolate, cookies, and other baked goods.

2. Masjid-hopping
Organize trips to different Masajid in your area and brush up on Masjid etiquette. Learn the Duas for coming to and leaving the mosque, as well as how to pray the Sunnah prayers upon entering the Masjid. While you're at it, try to find out about the mosque's history, services, and activities. Drop some dollars or change in the donation box on your way out.

3. Family/friends Quran challenge
Memorize two new Surahs, one for every week of winter break as a family or with a group of friends. Learn their translation as well. Encourage each other by texting daily reminders to memorize. Whoever succeeds gets a prize.

4. Plan a Qiyaam reunion party
Hold a family and/or friends reunion party for those you normally don’t see during the year. But don’t just make it about food and entertainment. Spend part of the night in Qiyaam, offering a few Rakaat of prayer together, as well as reading and reflecting on short parts of the Quran. Also have attendees bring canned food to give to charity.

5. Hold a hockey tournament
Enjoy the adrenaline rush of a fast-paced hockey game - just take a break for prayer and offer a two-minute Islamic talk afterward. Also, have players bring a non-perishable food item for charity.

6. Stories of the Sahaba - Hamilton-style
The tremendously popular Broadway play Hamilton: An American Musical popularized the life of one of America’s Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton, for a new generation using songs and raps.

Taking this same idea, encourage young Muslims to develop raps and songs about Companions of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, to share their incredible example and legacy of faith. One excellent source for material is the two-volume Companions of the Prophet series by Abdul Wahid Hamid. A notable Companion to start with could be Musab ibn Umayr, whose life offers many lessons for young Muslims growing up in America today.

7. Islamic art paint party
Set up an area in your home or book a room in an art studio to make a masterpiece of Islamic art with friends. Try a new form of art you haven’t before, whether it’s anime, calligraphy, pottery, or something else.

8. Hot chocolate story night
Every few nights, over hot chocolate, cookies, and dimmed lights, have family members share a story on an Islamic theme. Ideas include being hopeful, gratefulness, Jesus in Islam, and death.

9. Record family members’ history - and share it with StoryCorps
During winter break, record interviews with parents and grandparents about their lives as American Muslims. Find out what they did to build their faith growing up as Muslims in America. If they are immigrants, how did they maintain their Islam here and adjust to change? What did they do for Eid? What was the Masjid like? If there wasn’t a mosque in their community, how did they worship in congregation? What did they do for fun? Once you’ve recorded it, arrange to share these inspiring stories with StoryCorps, either over the break or next year.

10. Visit the planetarium
Talk about the Islamic New Year as New Year's Day approaches. Visit a local planetarium to learn about the phases of the moon and discuss how the Islamic calendar relies on the moon to determine dates.

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