Nurturing an Environment of Thought and Action | Samad Zubairi
For the last 12 weeks, I have been facilitating a program entitled ‘Read Together. Think Together. Do Together.’ Once a week for one hour at a time, children between the ages of 7-12 come together along with one or both parents. We read passages from a child-friendly English translation of the Holy Qur’an in addition to The Book of Knowledge for Children by Imam Al Ghazali.
The goal of this program has been to nurture an understanding of the Qur’an that inspires children to act on what they understand of it. Children love stories and the Qur’an tells so many of these in so many ways. One particular method of the Qur’an that has stood out to the children are the varied metaphors that are included within it, for example the comparison of a flimsy spider web to belief which is frail or weak. The Book of Knowledge for Children also uses story telling to introduce how knowledge can help strengthen our spiritual heart, and how Allah has blessed us with the ability to think and learn.
So much discussion has been on metaphors over the last 3 months, including during our time together virtually after the start of COVID19. The Qur’an is full of gems hidden within it but we must go looking for them. The parents of our children, their teachers and educators and the community at large should create environments where children can ask questions like ‘what does it mean that our soul is taken away and we die during our sleep’ or ‘what does morally right refer to’ or ‘how do inanimate objects celebrate the praise of Allah’ or ‘what does it mean when we say Glory to Allah’?
All these questions come from a place of curiosity and it should encourage the adults among us to answer them by studying the Qur’an and learning from the example of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). We will never have the answer to every question, but when we find an answer we should do something with that knowledge. One child in our program wrote a poem, another collected donations, a third made a craft reflecting the importance of knowing Allah’s creation, and another debated with their parent what it means to have knowledge.
As a parent of a toddler and a pediatrician who works with children with special needs, I have learnt a lot about how children can bring us closer to Allah over a short period of time. I encourage everyone to cultivate such reading, thinking and doing together. We can all start somewhere InshAllah.
By Samad Zubairi (Member of Halton-Hamilton Chapter)