Talking about Prophet Muhammad’s life and following in his footsteps should be a daily practice for Muslim families. We continue to love, respect, and obey Prophet Muhammad as the human being who was chosen by our Lord to perfect the religion of Islam.
Having children think up “a Deed a Day” and then take action imbues their love for Allah’s Messenger with a vitality, and make it a daily habit to apply the teachings of the Prophetic sunnah to their lives
Below are ten tips to help you facilitate your children learning about and loving Prophet Muhammad. And for those who are home-schooling their children, these tips can add to the enriching experience of home-based education, nurturing the family to grow into a cohesive unit that loves and celebrates and emulates the Prophet’s way of life.
1. A Deed a Day
The initiative, “A Deed a Day,” is a good way to start emulating the Prophet, as he (peace and blessings be upon him) encouraged believers to engage in good deeds even if it was as little as smiling at another brother or sister. Consciously thinking of a good deed every day raises awareness and love of Prophet Muhammad’s life, as it is stated repeatedly in the Qur’an that we are to follow the way of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
Having children think up a ”Deed a Day” and then take action imbues their love for Allah’s Messenger with a vitality, and makes it a daily habit to apply the teachings of the Prophetic sunnah to their lives. It is a wonderful way to encourage creative thinking in coming up with possible good deeds, like calling on a neighbor to help clean his or her yard. And if “A Deed a Day” becomes a comfortable part of the children’s daily routine, you can always upgrade to “Two Deeds a Day,” and so on.
2. Bedtime Seerah Stories
Bedtimes stories are a norm in close-knit families. Instead of reading Goodnight Moon and the like, replace bedtime stories with stories of Prophet Muhammad’s life. Listening to stories of Allah’s Messenger before dozing off allows children to take messages of the Prophet with them, after a long busy day.
3. Travel the World
The Qur’an tells us, “And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colors: verily in that are Signs for those who know” (30:22). And Prophet Muhammad advised that we should seek knowledge, even as far as China. And sure enough, it’s a great, wide world out there, with so many things to learn. And with the internet as a tool, we can take a virtual journey with our children anytime we want.
Decide with them where you wish to go, perhaps each month “traveling” to another place. And with the help of a globe, atlas, encyclopedia, and the internet, immerse yourselves in each place, learning about their culture, religion(s), and language(s); learn about their Masjids if it is a Muslim country, and who their leaders are; read about the history and their contemporary politics and economy; study their geography and biodiversity; find out what cuisine they are best known for, what sports they play, what their holidays and festivals are.
Understanding that the world is made up of great diversity helps imbue the child’s mind with a sense of humility, and respect and appreciation for others. There are often opportunities for your children to have pen pals and you can look for like-minded parents who are trying to expose their children to the various cultures of the world. Travelling the world from the comfort of your home helps increase knowledge and brings us closer to Allah and His Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
4. Be an Advocate of Green Living
Prophet Muhammad loved the earth, as it was described as the largest Masjid for us to worship Allah. He encouraged the planting of trees and kindness to animals. He also loved sports and being outdoors, appreciating Allah’s beautiful creation in this temporary abode. So get your children out and about and in tune with nature. Let them learn the names of plants, flowers, trees, animals, and insects.
Start an organic garden. Take up a family sport. If your children are old enough, get them networked with green activists so they can be part of protecting the earth and the environment. Have them participate in neighborhood clean-ups and other initiatives. Everything they do to save the earth will bring them closer to Prophet Muhammad. It’s been said that for Muslims, each and every day should be an Earth Day.
5. Get in Touch with an Orphanage
Getting in touch with an orphanage (usually called a “children’s home” in the U.S.) to find out how you and your children can play a role in the upbringing and/or welfare of orphans is a great way to emulate Prophet Muhammad who was an orphan himself. Prophet Muhammad declared his love for someone who strokes the hair of an orphan child. You and your children may be able to get involved in some of the educational, sports, or recreational activities at an orphanage. You can also identify an orphanage in another country and contact them via email. Then you and your children can think of projects to raise funds for that orphanage. Some examples are sending a letter to family members and friends, asking them each for $10 to send to the orphanage; you can have a yard sale and donate the proceeds; ask your children if they would like to donate one of their toys or a birthday gift they receive to the orphans; hold an “orphanage party” and invite your family and friends to come and each bring a gift that will be wrapped at the party to donate to the orphanage. You and your children can get creative to come up with ideas to help the orphanage. This is one of the best ways to demonstrate our love for Prophet Muhammad.
6. Write Letters to Loved Ones
Keeping in touch with loved ones and acquaintances is part of the Prophet’s sunnah. Prophet Muhammad encouraged keeping in touch with friends and family at all times in order to build a healthy ummah (nation). Have your children write letters or post cards to loved ones who are far away. Not only does this allow them to keep in touch, but also it encourages them to express themselves in writing.
7. Read a Surah and the Tafseer
One of the best ways to commemorate the life of Prophet Muhammad is to read the Qur’an. There are plentiful blessings in just reading the Qur’an, and there are even more when one strives to understand the message conveyed in a verse, and reading also the tafseer (interpretation) facilitates this understanding. Discuss the various teachings with your children on an age-appropriate level. Ask them to verbalize how they can implement the teachings in their own daily lives. This will surely bring our children closer to the piety of Prophet Muhammad and his love for Allah.
8. Make Du’a All the Time
Prophet Muhammad was known to make du’a (invocations) for everything. And there is a list of du’as available to Muslims that they can utilize in their daily lives. However, du’as, or invocations, are not limited to those alone, and Muslims should call upon Allah all the time, as Prophet Muhammad did. A du’a can open doors for guidance and protect us from evil, insha’Allah.
9. Meet Friends at the Masjid
Have your children meet with friends at the Masjid. The Masjid, during the time of the Prophet, was the meeting point for Muslims, so it’s great to make hanging out at the Masjid a social norm.
Besides meeting for prayers and Qur’anic/Islamic classes, encourage your children to bring their own books or simple crafts projects. The more children enjoy being in the Masjid, the more likely they will find themselves returning, to find solace and relaxation, nurturing their love for a healthy social life, much like the youth during the Prophet’s time.
10. Enjoy Some Dates
One of the best ways to cultivate our love for Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is to cultivate our love for dates. There are plentiful health benefits in enjoying dates on a daily basis and that is why it is an important sunnah. Children who eat dates are reportedly more calm and at peace. To put an interesting spin on things, try out date-based recipes that include puddings, cakes, and stir-fries.
There are many ways to increase our love for Prophet Muhammad on a daily basis. Speaking to our children about him, often and in various ways, helps them follow in the footsteps of the final Messenger of Allah. When we speak of him, we must do so with sincerity and conviction. And we must speak of, and invoke blessings upon, the Messenger of Allah and do so with the intention of deepening our and our children’s love for him; as he (pbuh) said, in Jannah (Paradise) “You will be with those whom you love” (Bukhari).