Some Ways of Making your Kids Vacation more Rewarding
During the vacation there is a good opportunity to recharge our kids spiritual batteries and start afresh in daily activities. It is a joyous period and a unique break from our busy schedules. Most of us welcome vacations for its fun. It is good to have fun but this must always be done by not compromising the Islamic way of life!!!
By the same token, it is not a bad idea to take time out during these pressure-free holidays to reflect and possibly change our positions and life for the better.
There is an area that is largely ignored by parents when they go on holidays and that is how to guide their children and teenagers to a sin-free vacation. Very often, the newer generations of Muslims growing up in the West have little guidance and sometimes even less knowledge of the Islamic rules that govern our Islamic way of life and they often end up imitating the free unislamic western lifestyle that surrounds them.
No doubt, if we don’t take a proactive approach to maintaining our iman (faith), we might really lose it. The vacation represents an ideal opportunity to boost one’s deen (religion). However if it’s spent inappropriately, it can lead to disastrous consequences. If we truly value our faith, it is imperative that we use this opportunity to its fullest extent.
Parents have a great responsibility to guide their children to an Islamic lifestyle and to provide a vice-free environment. They should use all available strategies to carry out this responsibility effectively and successfully. This can be achieved by attempting to implement the following tips:
Parents should ensure that prayers are performed punctually and be keen to pray on time, especially when their children are with them. This will help the children learn the importance of prayer and the value of time. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as said, “Refresh yourselves with Prayer…” (Hadith Al-Bukhari).Men should perform prayer at the Masjid.However if on vacation a Masjid is not close by then pray together as a family. Prayer in Jamaat is better than praying alone. Children love to call azan. Make the youngest one the salaat manager, taking care of prayer rugs, timing, and inviting everyone to salaat.
Always remain within an environment that is free from sin. Psychologist emphasize that environment has a great effect on the upbringing of kids. Plan visits to places that do not in any way encroach on our Islamic way of life. Parents should try to keep their children and teenagers away from the immoral scenes that people usually see in holiday resorts during vacations. The free intermingling of sexes is totally prohibited in Islam. Children are vulnerable and very easily succumb to peer pressure. Parents need to be diplomatically assertive in emphasizing Islamic values.
Regular interaction with your children is vital. Teach them through cool behavior. Trying to appear “cool” in front of their peers during adolescence brings tremendous pressure on children. “Children often don’t feel that their parents know what’s cool and what’s happening, so they turn to their peer group for the answers by trying to imitate them. By starting regular interaction while your children are young, parents can ensure that their kids will use them as their role models and not their peer groups. Time spent with children enhances the parent-child relationship, so that in their later life children will emulate their parents’ values and attitudes and that makes the gift of time the greatest gift of all.
All of us, no matter how long we have been Muslim, have ups and downs in our Iman (faith). So we must always strive to improve and not get discouraged when we are feeling our Iman at its lowest. Some people give up trying when their Iman is low, and they may end up losing it completely. Don’t let that happen to you!
The first thing one should do, of course, is to learn how to perform Salah (the formal prayer) properly, and then get into the habit of performing the five daily prayers at their proper times. This means learning a little bit of the Qur’an — at east Surat Al-Fatihah (Chapter 1) and at least one or two short surahs — so that you can pray.
It is better, of course, if you learn more of the Qur’an. So make as much effort as you can to learn a bit each day. Also try to learn how to read the Qur’an in Arabic. Your pronunciation will be much better if you learn Qur’an from the Arabic script rather than from a transliteration into Latin letters. This advice is a “too much thing to do” at the beginning, I understand. At least have it at the back of your mind that it is recommended and a long-term goal. Yet, bear in mind that it is not a must.
Another important step in developing your Iman is to make new friends with devout Muslims and try to spend time with them. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to totally give up the friends you had before you were Muslim. Yet, if you spent your time with your old friends drinking or gambling or doing other negative and haraam (forbidden) things, you will have to avoid those activities. This may or may not mean dropping those friends also. If they are real friends, they should be willing to accept you for what you are now. You can still watch football together, for example, but substitute soft drinks for alcohol. If they’re not willing to do that, they’re not real friends.
You can also increase your knowledge of Islam by reading, attending lessons at the mosque or in homes, and listening to audio files on the Internet or to tapes. Try to find a knowledgeable person who can answer your questions. Beware of those who seem to be knowledgeable, while they are not. Search for scholars through Islamic centers and get close to them. Seek knowledge from them.
Also, try to get information from more than one source so that you get a more balanced view of what Islam is. The hardest thing for new Muslims is to figure out where they fit on the spectrum of Islam — are they liberal, moderate, or conservative? Some people have very strict views of what is right and wrong and always choose the more difficult of two Halaal (permissible) choices. Try to take the middle ground and be moderate. Usually, there is more than a black-or-white choice, with many shades of gray in between.
In learning to practice your new faith, take things slowly. Don’t be over-enthusiastic by plunging in and trying to do many extra acts of worship at once.
It was reported by Al-Bukhari that the Prophet (peace be upon him) told us that Allah loves best the acts that are performed regularly, even if they were little. So choose one new action at a time and become very regular in performing it before adding another one.
Finally, the prayers that can be recommended in times of trial. The best thing to do is to pray from your heart. Ask God for what you need and expose your soul at His attendance. However, the only other prayers that are to be recommended are Prophetic supplications used by Prophet Muhammad and other great Prophets (peace be upon them all) or the great Companions.
Otherwise, it is never recommended to oblige oneself to use specific supplications that one doesn’t feel or develop personally. Supplication is a way to communicate on personal level with the Divine. We can only use the Prophetic example as a role model here, from where we start to launch a deep personal relation.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: He among you who sees something abominable should rectify it with the help of his hand; and if he has not strength enough to do it, then he should do it with his tongue; and if he has not strength enough to do it, (even) then he should (abhor it) from his heart, and that is the lowest level of faith. (Muslim)
To ensure that our supplication is answered, we must be firm in our belief that Allah is able to rectify the problem and that He will answer our prayers. If we have little hope that Allah will answer our prayers, then we have poor understanding of His power or little faith in His mercy, or both.
So supplicate and pray for the sake of your brothers and sisters in Islam, as well as for all humanity, as much as you can and have faith that Allah will help them, and help all of us to help them,In Sha Allah.
Committing sins and falling into error is an unavoidable human trait, such that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “By the One in whose hand is my soul, if you were not to commit sin, Allah would have swept you out of existence and would have brought about another people who commit sin, and then seek forgiveness, and He would then forgive them.” (Ahmad, vol. 20, p. 344; Al-Tirmidhi, vol. 4, p. 659) He also said, “All the children of Adam sin repeatedly, and the best of those who sin repeatedly are those who repent frequently.” (Sahih Muslim, vol. 4, no. 2749)
Repenting to Allah (Tawbah) is one of the greatest characteristics of people of faith; Allah says, ‘‘…and turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.” (Qur’an, 24:31) He also says, ‘‘O you who have believed, repent to Allah with sincere repentance. Perhaps your Lord will remove from you your misdeeds and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow (on) the Day when Allah will not disgrace the Prophet and those who believed with him. Their light will proceed before them and on their right; they will say, “Our Lord, perfect for us our light and forgive us. Indeed, You are Able to do all things.” (Qur’an, 66:8)
Ibn Al-Qayyim defines repentance by stating that “the reality of repentance is to have regret for that which one has committed in the past, to disassociate oneself from it in the here and now and to have the resolve to not return to it in the future.” (Madarij Al-Salikin, vol. 1, p. 199)
When a servant happens to slip and disobey Allah, if he is righteous, two inseparable qualities are manifested. The first is swift remorse and return to Allah – the heart that is alive with Iman (faith) neither continues with disobedience nor continues transgressing; it is quick in resorting back to his Lord in repentance.
Allah says, “And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves (by transgression), remember Allah and so seek forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allah? – and (who) do not persist in what they have done while they know.” (Qur’an, 3:135) He also says, “And whoever does evil or wrongs himself but then seeks forgiveness of Allah will find Allah Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an, 4:110)
He also says, “And Paradise will be brought near to the righteous, not far. (It will be said), ‘This is what you were promised – for every ‘Awwab’ and keeper (of His covenant). Who feared the Most Merciful unseen and came with a heart returning (in repentance).’” (Qur’an, 50:31-33) Ibn Kathir said, “Awwab means one who continually returns, repents and renounces.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 4, p. 229)
The second quality is not to regard disobedience as a trivial matter. The righteous Believer does not regard sinning as being insignificant regardless how negligible the sin is classified as being. This is remaining true to the saying of Allah’s Messenger, “Beware of small sins, for the example of slight sins is that of a group of travelers who broke their journey in a valley. Then one of them brought in a stick and another came up with another piece until they were able to gather enough to bake their bread. Remember! If a person is held to account for his small sins, surely they will destroy him.” (Ahmad, vol. 37, p. 467)
This is why our righteous forefathers, may Allah be pleased with them, would take the utmost care not to fall into sin (whether major or minor); Anas Ibn Malik said, “You people do deeds which seem in your eyes as minute as a strand of hair while we used to consider those very deeds during the lifetime of the Prophet as destructive sins.” (Al-Bukhari, vol. 11, no. 6492)
Abdullah Bin Mas‘ud said, “A believer sees his sins as if he were sitting under a mountain, which he fears may fall on him; whereas the wicked person considers his sins as flies passing over his nose and he just drives them away like this.” (Al-Bukhari, vol. 11, no. 6308) Abu Shihab (the sub-narrator) moved his hand over his nose in illustration.