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Islam: When We Lead By Example

As parents or caregivers, we all care about teaching our kids the Islamic religion and strengthening their bond with it and its studies, worships, and morals, but we also wonder how to teach them all they need to be strong Muslims in simple ways without pressure.

The best way to teach Islam to your kids is by acting upon the deen yourself: lead by example, focus on your actions rather than on your words, and make sure to be a positive role model, not one who forces or uses threats and other negative language or behaviors to make their children do something they don't want to do.

Here are some practical tips that will insha'Allah guide your children to strengthen their bond with their Creator, with their deen, and even with you, their parent.

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1. Pray and make dua for them, especially at night

There are so many narrations and verses that emphasize the importance of worship at night. Do not underestimate the power of your nightly prayers, supplications and dhikr. Similarly, do not think that night prayers and duas are only reserved for desperate situations: we should all build a habit to worship at night, to the best of our abilities, especially when we don't feel like we need that much help because that's certainly when we need it the most.

2. Start with yourself

When your kids see you care so much about your deen, from praying on time and serving your parents to giving time and money for worthy causes and being on your best behavior, they will witness what Islam truly is and they will find congruence between what you tell them about Islam (or what they might hear from their teachers, friends, etc.) and how you are living it.

3. Pray together as a family

Prayer is the second pillar of Islam, so make sure to build a family habit around it. It will not always be possible to pray together, especially as the kids get older and various responsibilities will keep them outside of the home for most of the day. If your kids are already teenagers, or even adults living on their own, it's not too late to start this beautiful habit. Whenever they are home and it's time to pray, make sure to suggest praying together. You can make it more exciting by giving each family member a specific task (getting the prayer rugs, setting the prayer space, calling the adhaan and iqaamah, etc.), or offering to do a fun family activity right after prayer (board game, special sweet treat, family movie night). Build positive associations with this special, bonding time.

Keep scrolling for 3 more tips below!

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4. Build a relationship with the Quran

Over are the days when we would use the Mushaf as a decoration piece on our bookshelves! It is time to let the Quran enter our hearts again, not just our physical homes. Reading it, listening to it, memorizing it, studying it: this should be a part of our daily lives, to the best of our abilities. Make this a family priority for greater blessings and rewards insha'Allah!

5. Do good

Actions are usually better than words: instead of suggesting to your children ways in which they could be good Muslims, show them with your own actions and behaviors. Give charity, dedicate time to help with the local food pantry, be intentional about using positive language and avoiding bad language, be kind to others, visit family, etc. Show them what it is to live Islam through your character, acts of kindness, and role in the community. You can also ask your children to help you out as you carry out those good deeds, but do not shame them if they drag their feet.

6. Keep on learning

Try your best to continue your own learning about your deen. This will not only signal to your children that learning is a life process and we can all always learn more about our religion, but it will also allow you to understand Islam better and put you in a better position to teach your children. For instance, kids love stories, so if you learn more about the life of our beloved Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم ,(you will be able to use your knowledge to convey valuable lessons to your children through stories that they can easily understand and relate to.

There is no shortcut to sparking a true, genuine interest in and love for Islam in your child's heart, and at the end of the day, we know that guidance only comes from Allah SWT. However, we as parents or caregivers are responsible for the efforts and intention we put into our own work in that regard. These tips will require daily effort on your side, but let's agree: it is so worth it.

May Allah SWT grow the love for our beautiful deen in your children's hearts, ameen!

This article was originally published in our Studio Arabiya Times magazine (Winter 2021). CLICK HERE to read the whole magazine!

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