Category Archives: Islamic Studies

Death and hifdh

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Last week was a very intense week for us a family. A sister Solace UK had been supporting was dying and eventually did return to her Lord. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioun. So formal home Ed kind of flew out of the window as I had to arrange for transportation of the body, the ghusl, janazah and then burial.

Despite not being as available to the kids as I normally am, they got to experience praying the janazah, and witnessing the actual burial of our dear sister. Real Islamic studies lessons subhanaAllah…They saw the body taken out of the coffin, lowered into the grave, and the wooden planks positioned over the body. They then contributed in filling the grave with the crumbled earth. It was a very moving experience for them and I think it left it’s mark on R.

A sister asked me if it would be too much for them. I said no. Death is a part of life and it’s a reality they need to know and remember.

Since then, she’s developed a sudden interest in the journey of the soul after death and the signs of the day of judgement. So I’m in the process of stocking up some books inshaAllah. If you can recommend any good titles, please do let me know.

This has led us onto thoughts about R’s hifdh. I’m of the opinion that a child doing hifdh should never really stop hifdh but to reduce it if more time is needed for murajaah. However, recently we have decided to stop her hifdh for about 10 days. Her murajaah has become very intense in recent weeks and we feel it is best to do a huge intense round of murajaah before continuing. We have always had the target of her completing her hifdh by age 10 and inshaAllah Allah will bless her to reach that target. But after the recent death, it has changed our perspective somewhat.

There’s no rush. In fact, I’d rather she finishes later by 16 and memorises it well and really solidifies and consolidates her hifdh than to complete by age 10 and her hifdh is patchy.

We’ve also been thinking about our intentions towards hifdh. Since R has been memorising, she has always wanted a huge party with her friends once she finishes inshaAllah. I have no problem doing that for her but I want all of our intentions to be pure and so we’ve decided to postpone the party some time after she completes all her hifdh. In that way, we hope that our intentions will be purer.

After she completes her hifdh, it still be a private affair. No one knowing aside from us in the family. Trying to link that back to shukr and being grateful to Allah. Then later on we’ve agreed she can tell her friends so as to invite them to her party. I don’t want her to start advertising it as soon as she’s completed as it interferes with her intention. And it affects my own. Life is preparation for the next life. We need to be careful what we say and do and how we do things…. As they either have a positive or negative effect on our next life.

May Allah help us all. Ameen

Boys Update

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Thought I would quickly do an update on the boys home ed as time is just flying by and mashaAllah they’re progressing nicely. So just trying to capture their progress.

Y just turned 4 years old a few weeks ago and Z is inshaAllah going to be 6 tomorrow!

Personality

Z: Z has always been my challenging child. He still is mashaAllah but is calming down. I’m beginning to finally understand him! I think a large part of my frustration was that I was trying to change him. But now I realise that I have to work with who he is and that has brought more harmony within home. He is my most affectionate child subhanaAllah and I do love him dearly. Zuzu has surprised us in recent months in terms of what he is doing academically – more on that below.

Y: Despite being 2 years younger than Zuzu, Y is as tall as his brother. His friends who are the same age as him look tiny next to him. I often have to remind sisters when Y and other boys are arguing that actually he’s the youngest or the same age. I think due to his height and the way he speaks, people including myself expect him to behave like a 6 year old. I would say Y is my wise child. Yes, he screams and throws tantrums like any 4 year old but he is my wise child mashaAllah. He speaks like he’s been raised in an upper class family. Everyone we come across laughs at how posh he is. His vocabulary is huge and sometimes in a normal conversation, he surprises me as I really can’t understand where he learnt ‘big words’ and is able to use them in the correct context?! He’s the nerd of the family!

Quran

The boys do hifdh and murajaah daily. They start off with murajaah and then do their hifdh. We were taking this very slowly with Z as he would sometimes take 1 week to memorise a small ayah. But mashaAllah he’s started to improve and is able to memorise more in a shorter space of time. Y is just like his sister R, Allahumma barik alayhi, he has a very sharp memory. And so at the moment, we’re warming up his brain and then we are going to start him on serious hifdh later on towards the year.

Arabic

The boys do Arabic evey day. At the moment their Arabic consists of learning how to read and vocab. They are at the same level and so it is easier to teach them together. So far they have learnt all the names and are able to recognise all of the Arabic letters, they have alhamdulillah learnt all the letters with fatha, kasrah and dammah. And are now reading simple 3 words. This has very much been taught using hands on methods, competitions between them, moving around etc. Learning how to read with a Qaidah wouldn’t work with these two and so alhamdulillah the hands on way of teaching them has really worked. I’ll try and post the types of games and methods we have been using.

English

Z: Z is alhamdulillah reading simple books. Daily, we review phonic sounds such as ai, ee, igh etc. And we also do a quick test of sight words. Then some handwriting, maybe a spelling test or spelling workbook pg, some new phonics work, he reads to me and then it is either comprehension, sentence structure, poetry etc. Sometimes this is workbook related sometimes its a game.

Y: I didn’t want to put any pressure on Y as he has only just turned 4 but he loves to learn mashaAllah. And so Y is roughly at the same level as Z. And I do the same with him as I do with Z. Alhamdulillah he’s reading simple books now and can write.

Math

Both boys are using Primary Mathematics from Singapore Math. It is Grade 1 which is roughly Year 2 level and mashaAllah I am so very happy with this program. I think Z has a mathematical brain. He is really surprising us in maths. His mental maths is mashaAllah better than what I remember of R. He really enjoys Singapore Math and just loves doing Maths. I try to use lots of different hands on resources to supplement our maths lessons.

Science

I had to rejiggle our schedule. We now do Science one day a week and I ensure it is hands on and fun. We don’t follow a curriculum. It is based on what we have, what their interests are etc.

Islamic Studies

We are currently making a lapbook on the creation of Allah. It is a simple lapbook I did with R when she was little. Most of our Islamic Studies take place through discussion and my daily Islamic reading to them immediately after breakfast. This initiates questions and discussion. We live Islamic Studies – I don’t believe it should be taught via textbooks at such an early age.

Other

Z is mashaAllah a fantastic swimmer. I wish he would do more sports but he isn’t really interested. The only sport he loves is skateboarding! Y is learning how to swim and loves football. Z is still forever making things. His interests at the moment are: inventions, earthquakes, landslides, and anything to do with war (artillery, soldiers etc etc). Y still loves drawing and recently loves colouring. His interests are practically everything. He is like a sponge that wants to know and understand everything. I’m struggling to keep up with him to be honest. Both boys play with their magnets, make geometrical designs using coloured wooden shapes, play educational games on the computer, watch things like How Its Made, Fierce Earth, Absolute Genius etc. They role play A LOT!! Sometimes I laugh at what a simple toy becomes during their role play. Eg we have these bright orange hot wheels type tracks that are quite bendy – from these orange plastic sticks,  they have made a pretend camp fire, swords, a bridge and the list goes on! Oh and they love playing with their little sister mashaAllah. She loves them and just lights up whenever they play with her. I think she might be a bit boisterous as she grows!

Sibling Rivalry

They fight. And they fight a lot!!! And I’m not talking about little squabbles but sometimes full on physical fighting. I hate it and it really does get to me. I feel like a policewoman most days. But I guess it is normal. They are 2 boys very close in age who are in each other’s faces every day. I’m working out ways to keep them separate at times just so as to have a bit of peace!

How I’d like to improve

I would like to be more patient and shout less! I really would like the fights and taunting to reduce. I would like to be able to read more to them and do more art. I’d love to do more project work but find once I’ve got the basics out of the way, there just isn’t enough time. When the clocks go forward, I want to spend more time outdoors inshaAllah.

 

To all home educators

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Please support this sister as in turn her venture might end up supporting you:

Asalamuu alaykum

Are you home educating? Interested in home education? The Home Educators Hub needs your help! 

We have a wonderful work in progress that will be a great resource for home educators. 

Please help us by completing the following few questions and email it back to homeeducatorshub@gmail.com

Feel free to forward it on to all home educators! 

(1) If there were a series of online home education webinars, would you attend? If yes, what topics would you hope to listen to? 

(2) Do you use tutors to teach your children? If no, please explain why. 

(3) Do you plan or intend to plan your child(ren)’s home education in advance? 

If yes, do you feel you need assistance with this? 

If no, please explain why. 

(4) Which of the following options would you choose and why? 

A. A ready made individualised home education plan for your child (ren)

B. The above with resource lists of everything you need. 

C. The above with actual resources.

(5) Would you be interested in a unit study/topic planning service? 

If yes, what would you expect from such a service? 

(6) How often do you use online resources in your home education?

(7) Do you see ideas on websites, blogs and books that you would like to try with your child(ren)? 

If yes, do you feel you have enough time to prepare these activities? Would you use a service that would prepare these activities/resources for you? 

(8) How often do you speak to other home educators for advice on home education? 

(9) Do you feel it is important to speak with more experienced home educators? If yes, why? 

(10) Would you be interested in a home education resource library?

If yes, what types of resources would you hope to borrow? 

(11) Please state any other type of help or support you would hope for in your home education. 

Many thanks for completing the questions. 

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Murajaah (quran revision)

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I haven’t posted about hifdh for a while, I think it’s mainly because it’s just part and parcel of life and we just tend to get on with it.

I thought I would share some of the ways we schedule hifdh and murajaah which I hope will be  beneficial for some of you.

Okay, so to start with, if anyone has a goal in mind for their children to inshaAllah become huffadh one day, I really recommend you start with your children when they are young… it doesn’t have to be a lot but as long as there is consistency.

I see a huge difference between children who were memorising from a young age and children that haven’t.

Let your children get excited about quran, do a little everyday and keep at it. It will pay off later when they are seriously doing hifdh and have to spend 3-4+ hours per day on hifdh and murajaah. This may seem a lot and it is if a child has not been accustomed to  spending regular time with the Quran.

The aim is to build the child’s ability to memorise a minimum of a page a day. Once they reach this level then the real journey begins. Again, it might seem a lot but if a young child is used to memorising say 1 ayah per day then 3 then 5 lines, then 10 etc then 1 page it will inshaAllah be easy for them.

I’m not going to speak too much about the way to do hifdh as a) there are many different methods and b) anyone can become a haafidh with time and dedication.

What I’d like to focus on is murajaah (revision). Oh my… murajaah. ..*sigh*

Murajaah is a journey in itself. It is very much a journey for the one memorising as it is for the one ensuring that the murajaah is regularly being done.

Let me start by saying that murajaah is probably more important than hifdh. A child who memorises but doesn’t have a regular and consistent murajaah program is wasting their time. There is no point memorising if revision does not take place.

I have realised that murajaah will change throughout the hifdh journey…. sometimes due to the student’s needs and sometimes due to the needs of the ‘murajaah manager’!!

Eg, a few weeks ago R’s murajaah was to read 2 juzz per day of quran she has already memorised with the aim of completing all of what she has memorised at least in 1 week to 10 days. I assigned this to her partly because prior to that we had done a long spell of me testing her by listening to all her memorised ajaza and partly because I just didn’t have the time to test her on previous hifdh. The most important thing is to keep the murajaah going even if the child is just listening.

At the moment R’s daily murajaah consists of the following:

1. Preparing the portion she had memorised that morning. Preparation here means that she needs to get it ready for me to listen to. No mistakes allowed. So, she does her hifdh in the morning and then prepares that portion she did  for me later in the day. I listen to her and underline the mistakes in the mushaf. If she makes mistakes she has to go back over it again and again until it is perfect.

2. Preparation of the last 5 pages memorised. She is allowed 3 small mistakes. I then listen to her and again mark the mistakes.

3. Old hifdh. .. this is all old hifdh. At the moment she has to prepare 10 pages for me to listen to. I then listen and underline any mistakes. We just move from juzz to juzz. The only problem with this is it takes ages for her to be tested on all previous hifdh by just doing half a juzz per day, so I tend not to do this regularly as it takes up so much time and is tiring for her and causes me worry because it’s a long time before she revisits the first 10 pages I tested her on. If we’re doing murajaah this way, then I try to ensure she’s listening to as much old hifdh as possible whilst doing easy tasks.

4. Preparation for the following day’s hifdh. She has to read, listen and rescue that portion 10 – 15 times just before she goes to sleep. The reason for the timing is that she goes to sleep with it and it is fresh when she wakes up with that portion being repeated in her mind when she does her hifdh in the morning.

After this, I think I will put her back onto reading and listening and reciting ti a few ajaza per day as the testing 10 pages is quite long and slow. It is very important that the child revises all quran memorised in no longer than 2 weeks otherwise they forget.

I’m not sure if any of this has helped and I’m sorry if I’m not making sense. . My eyes are forcing  themselves closed.

In summary, be very strict with your children’s murajaah, swap between them listening, Reading and reciting and being tested. Murajaah without testing isn’t really murajaah. They need to recite whatthey’ve learnt tosomeone. Balance is needed.

The mother must be ready to sacrifice he time to test/listen etc. It isn’t easy but inshaAllah it will be worth it for them and us. Ameen!!

Have you seen Allah??

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R baked some double chocolate cookies and as we sat down to eat them, the following conversation unfolded after that each had 2 cookies:

Y: I should have 3 cookies because I’m 3.
Z: Well I should have 5 because I’m bigger, I’m 5.
R: I should have 9.
Ummi: You’re all only having 2 each.
Z: Allah can have soooo many! Because He is the Biggest.
Ummi and R: Allah doesn’t eat Zuzu!
Z: But what does he do when he’s hungry then?
Ummi: Allah doesn’t get hungry. He isn’t a person like us.
Z: But in my head I thought he was a verrrrrry big person. How does he look like then?
Ummi: No one knows zuzu. But inshaAllah we’ll see what He looks like in Jannah.
Z: But have you seen Allah Ummi?
I know I know… are you not telling me because you have seen Allah but it’s a secret and you can’t tell anyone. (Whispering) You can tell me. . I won’t tell anyone.
Ummi and R: can’t stop laughing!

?!?!

Dua challenge

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There are some Muslims who without fail will always say their morning and evening adhkar. There are others who cannot simply pray the fardh salah. They must pray the 12 rawatib. And others cannot leave or enter the home without saying the relevant dua.

All of the above feel out of place should they miss any of the above. They feel like something is missing and almost perform the above as though they were obligatory acts of ibadah.

As a revert, sadly, those who were around me during those early few weeks and months did not show me the importance of adopting the above. And so trying to get into the ‘habit’ of never missing some of the above acts of worship have been an uphill struggle. It’s taken me many years to reach a point where some of them become habitual… others I still need to push myself that bit more.

With children, especially when they’re young, are like sponges. They are clean slates and what we engrave on them will inshaAllah always remain.

This is why I feel it is essential that whilst they’re young that they get into the habit of doing certain things so that when they’re adults it is so second nature they do it without thinking. My hope is that by working on developing these habits that they will be a means of ajr for them when they are adults.

So I’ve begun to think of ways to get them into these habits. We’re working on getting into the habits of saying our situational duas.

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As adults we choose to do acts of ibadah because we want reward and we want Allah to love us and be pleased with us. For very young children, it is difficult for them to have the same motivation.

So I sat with the children and spoke about the importance of saying our situational duas. I told them that all of us need to get into the habit of saying our duas. So the challenge is to remember to say the duas we already know, to remind one another to say them, to learn new ones and to help one another in learning them. For every dua they say, they get to choose a sweet. For the boys I further explained that just as I’m rewarding them, Allah rewards us with hasanat and stores them for us. And we’ll see all the stored hasanat in Jannah inshaAllah.

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As a reminder, I created the above poster as a reminder for them and replaced certain dua posters in different positions around the house. Some posters have been up for years so changing the position slightly has made them take more notice.

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They made bags to store their sweets and the dua  challenge jar is placed on our main table to serve as a motivation.
This past week they’ve really gone for it mashaAllah and they’ve been saying most of their duas and learning new ones. But what has been so nice to see is them encouraging and reminding each other mashaAllah.

I’ve even withheld from giving them sweets as rewards for a few days to see if they’d still say their duas and masha’Allah they did.

It’s also been good for me to get back into saying certain ones.

I think I’ll carry on with this until the sweetie jar is empty and then hopefully they’ll have got into the habit.

Blind for a few hours

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The children and I watched a great movie called The Miracle Worker about the life of Helen Keller who was blind, deaf and dumb. It was an excellent film and R in particular really enjoyed it.

After the film, R decided she wanted to test out how it feels to be blind deaf and dumb.

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So she wore a blindfold, I stuffed tissue into ears but she could still hear so in the end she settled with the blindfold and not talking. We carried on with our day as usual. Her brothers were particularly amused. And after a few hours we spoke about how it felt to have some of her senses removed. We also spoke of the importance of being grateful for our health and using the blessings of our senses in that which is pleasing to Allah.

I think it also made her love increase for her paternal grandfather who became blind over 10 years ago due to illness.