Farhat's Muslim Sticker Blog

Discussion and advice for parents and teachers…
  • Why do Muslims Fast ?
    The fourth pillar of Islam is known as Sawm, or fasting . During the month of Ramadan, which is the ninth of the Islamic lunar calendar, every Muslim who meets certain requirements is required to fast from dawn until dusk.

    The act of fasting is both unique and yet a shared experience in human history. From the very beginning of time, humans have been involved with the great struggle to master their bodies and emotions. The urge to eat is one of the most powerful motivations anyone must face. Many have fail and over-eat or consume unhealthy foods.

    Anyone who has ever sought to come closer to their spiritual self has had to overcome their body’s desire for satisfaction. Hence, the history of fasting goes way back in human history. Previous Prophets have enjoined fasting upon their peoples and untold numbers of wise men and women have made self-denial a part of their life.

    When a person denies something to their own body which it craves, they are elevating their mind and showing that, unlike animals, their reason and will is stronger than their basic urges and passions. In this way our thinking becomes clearer and we learn that we are, indeed, not governed by our instincts. We gain greater awareness of ourselves and hence are able to bring ourselves closer to Allah.

    We can only become the “the best of creation” (95:4) when we rise above our desires and recognize the power of our belief in Allah.. As Allah declared, “You who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you so you can be aware of Allah (gain Taqwa). (2:183)

    When the new crescent moon (Hilal) is sighted signalling the beginning of Ramadan on the next day, Prophet Muhammad (saw) taught us to say: “Allah is Greater, Allah is Greater, Allah is Greater. Praise be to Allah Who created me and you and Who decreed for you the phase (of moon) and made you a sign for the universe.”

    Now imagine waking up, long before the first light of the sun has risen over the darkened sky, and taking a small meal, called Sahoor. When the hint of light approaches, the meal is finished and you pray the morning prayer with great clarity of mind and thought. You make your intention to fast that day for Allah’s sake and then either return to bed for a few hours sleep or stay up and read Allah’s words from the Quran. Then you prepare to face the day. The dua for making intention to fast is “Wa be saumee ghadin nawaytu min shahri Ramadan” – The next day’s fasting I intend for the month of Ramadan.

    During the daylight hours, a fasting person abstains from all food, liquids, smoking and nutritionally- related medicine or any non-essential oral medicine. In addition, all normally undesirable behaviour is especially frowned upon. No fighting, swearing, arguing, lying or other sins are to be indulged in. Of course a Muslim must naturally avoid such sins anyway, but sometimes people fall into error. Fasting for a month from these actions helps us correct ourselves. The Blessed Messenger of Allah once said, “Five things break a person’s fast: Lying backbiting, spreading rumours, false testimony and a lustful gaze.”

    Ramadan : The Month of Training
    The month of Ramadan provides us with a sort of spiritual and moral ‘Boot Camp’. We know that fasting in Ramadan is a duty from Allah and we learn that any sins may spoil our record of fasting with Allah so we take great pains to be on our best behaviour. This intense modification of our habits is designed to help us avoid such sins throughout the rest of the year. The Prophet (saw) once remarked, “Whoever doesn’t give up lying and acting on lies during fasting, then Allah has no need of him giving up food and drink.”
    On another occasion he warned, “There are many people who get nothing from fasting except hunger and thirst.” Clearly the moral dimension is as important as the physical aspects of fasting.

    The Prophet (saw) also said “Fasting is a shield. So, the person observing fasting….should not behave foolishly and rudely, and if somebody fights with them or abuses them, they should tell them twice, ‘I am fasting.” (Bukhari)

    The Prophet (saw) added, “By Him in Whose Hands is my soul, the breath from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk.( Allah says about the fasting person), He has left his food, drink and desires for My sake. The fast is for Me. So I will reward (the fasting person) for it and the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times.” (Bukhari)

    Ramadan has such a wondrous impact on our morals and behaviour that it has been described as the month of forgiveness. The Prophet (saw) once declared, “During the month of Ramadan, the gates of Paradise are open, the gates of Hell-fire are closed and the Shaytans are chained.” (Bukhari)

    Ramadan is blessed for another reason. It marks the first month when Allah began revealing His Messaage to Prophet Muhammad (saw). Layalat ul Qadr is the exact night when the Quranic revelation started to be revealed. Many Muslims stay up all night seeking their Lord’s forgiveness and guidance. Also during the last ten days some Muslims perform Itikaf, or Retreat. This consists of living in the prayer area of the Masjid for up to ten days. They spend their time in prayer, reading, study circles and making dua.

    The Lessons of fasting
    The lessons learned during Ramadan are many.
    1. We learn self-control and clear our minds and thoughts for serious remembrance of Allah.
    2. We understand how dependent we are on the food and water that is provided to us by Allah.
    3. We learn what it means to be part of one global ummah, united by our fasting.
    4. We recognize what it means to be hungry and how we must help our fellow Muslims who are hungry every month of the year.
    5. We restrain our anger and we train our habits towards prayer, forgiveness, self-sacrifice and good behaviour.

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  • December 13th, 2011fariArticles, Free Learning Resources, Parenting

    We don’t celebrate Christmas !
    Santa, tinsel, glowing snowmen and the sound of piped carols, wherever you are in the world, there is no getting away from Christmas. As ‘the season to be jolly’ approaches songs, films, cards and plays will all be depicting only one version of the birth of Jesus (Isa) and that will be the Christian one. We all know that the religious element of Christmas has been pushed aside by the new holy trinity - wealth, consumption and celebrities and that the worship of these 3 false gods takes place devoutly in shopping centres globally, especially during the season of good will. So, is it a problem if Muslims take part in the festivities after all it’s no longer really a Christian festival?
    Like all Muslim kids who attended a non-muslim state school I was told the feel-good story about Jesus (Isa) the ‘Son of God’, being born to Mary (Maryam) who was married to Joseph the carpenter. Three wise men followed a star and found baby Jesus lying in a manger and gave him gold, frankincense and myrrh. The shepherds and the lambs all came to have a look and then they all lived happily ever after… The End. To further cement this idea in my impressionable mind I was taught catchy carols - whose words I can still remember -with great enthusiasm, I played a leading role in the nativity and spent my pocket money on Christmas cards and presents for my Muslim, Sikh and Hindu friends. During the Christmas holidays the brainwashing continued with reruns of every Christmas film and cartoon under the sun.
    Although I had been completely indoctrinated at school the only thing that stopped me from believing the fairytale were my parents. They sat me down and explained that Isa (as) was a prophet of Islam and that “We don’t believe in what the Christians believe”, I wasn’t given a lot of detail but alhumdulilah, what they said stuck in my head. They also forbade me from attending Christmas parties as a teenager and we never celebrated Christmas at home. Having said that, I knew of countless Muslim families who didn’t see the harm in celebrating Christmas, they didn’t want their kids to feel left out and they didn’t realize that they were teaching their kids -you do not have to follow Islam all the time, you can pick and choose – But, what is the natural conclusion of teaching a young child that? It starts with a Christmas party, then, as they become teenagers a New Years Party where there is alcohol, then down to a nightclub and finally you have a Muslim who no longer cares about what is halal and which actions are haram.

    So, how are we going to equip our kids to deal with the confusion that will occur during the Christmas period, how do we explain to them that “We don’t celebrate Christmas”. Well, to begin with we teach them the truth, the truth is simple it doesn’t need bells and tinsels wrapped around it, the truth stands out clearly from falsehood, we teach our kids the correct Quranic view of Isa (as) birth. There are many lessons to be learnt from the life of Isa (as) and his mother Maryam (as) and the crystal clear message of tawhid, which he propagated even as a mere infant.

    We first need to delve into the life of Isa (as) pious grandmother. Maryam’s mother was a widow from the family of Imran, who were descendents of prophet Harun (as). She was born after her devout mother made dua to Allah.

    “My Lord I dedicate to you [the child] that is in my womb, to be devoted to your service. Accept it, then, from me because, You hear, and know everything!” (3: 35)

    Maryam’s mother had thought she would have a boy who would be able to grow up and become a rabbi. Only men could be rabbis women were not allowed to touch the holy books or even go to the temples because they were thought to be unclean. After Maryam was born her mother said,

    “A male child is not the same as a female child at all. So I will name her Maryam and place her and her children in Your protection from the cursed shaytan.” (3: 36)

    She had full faith in Allah that He would protect and guide her daughter, which Allah did. Prophet Zakariyya financially supported Maryam and her mother even though he was poor. He also taught Maryam religious lessons that no one else would. Zakariyya was a true follower of Allah and didn’t discriminate based on gender. He realized Maryam was blessed after food would appear miraculously in her study chamber. He would ask her where the food came from and she would reply,

    “It is from Allah, for He provides sustenance to whomever He wills without end.” (3: 37)

    Maryam grew up to be a steadfast believer in Allah however, the people around her knew very little of the truth and instead practiced all kinds of superstitions and cultural practices. The teachings of Prophet Musa (as) were being hopelessly twisted and the rabbis were making up their own laws and fighting over meaningless issues. Allah sent her this message,

    “Maryam! Allah has chosen you and made you pure. You are chosen above the women of all nations. Maryam! Serve your Lord devoutly, bow down (in prayer) with those who bow.” (3:34-43)

    Relate in the book (the story of) Maryam when she left her people and traveled to a place in the East. She built a shelter to screen herself from passing (people). Then We, (Allah) sent Our Angel to her and he seemed to her like a man in all respects. She cried out, “I ask the protection of the Merciful from you (Stay away) if you fear Allah.” (19: 16-18)

    Maryam wanted to be alone and when she saw a man approaching her tent she was alarmed. Note how she called on Allah’s name to ward the stranger off. Little did she realize who the stranger was! (The angel) announced,

    “No. I am only a messenger from your Lord to you (to inform you about) the gift of a pure son. (19:19) His name will be Isa, (Jesus) the Masih, son of Maryam. He will speak to people in childhood and manhood and will be one of the righteous.” (3:45-46)

    She asked, “My Lord how can I have a son when no man has ever touched me?”
    The angel replied, “So it will be. Your Lord says, ‘It is easy for Me to make him a sign for humanity and a mercy from Us. It is decided.” (19:21) Even so, Allah creates what He wills. When He decides a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be’ and it is (3:47)

    You can imagine Maryam’s surprise at his momentous news. Allah chose her! She would have a son who would be a sign from Allah! Before departing, the angel informed her that her son’s mission would be to call the Bani Israil back to true faith, the very thing she hoped and dreamed of! By the will of Allah, Maryam would soon become a mother, before long she began to show that she was pregnant. Before anyone could question her about it, she packed up her few belongings and retreated into a more remote and secluded place.

    And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm tree. She cried out in her anguish), Oh! If only I died before this! If only I was no more – gone!”
    But (a voice) cried to her from beneath the (palm-free): “Grieve not! For your Lord has provided a trickle of water below you. If you shake the trunk of this palm-tree, it will drop fresh ripe dates in your lap. So eat, drink and refresh yourself. If you see anyone, tell him: `I have vowed a fast to Rahman (Allah), so I will not speak to anyone today’.” (19:23-26)

    Then she brought him (the baby) to her people, carrying him. They said:
    “0 Maryam! Indeed you have brought a thing Fariyya (an unheard mighty thing). 0 sister (i.e. the like) of Aaron (not the brother of Moses, but he was another pious man at the time of Mary)! Your father was not a man who used to commit adultery, nor was your mother an unchaste woman.” (19:27-28)

    Then she pointed to him. They said: “How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?” (19:29)

    Then something miraculous happened, baby Isa spoke: “Verily! I am a slave of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet; And He has made me blessed wherever I am, and has enjoined on me prayer, and Zakat, as long as I live, and be dutiful to my mother, and made me not arrogant, and Salam (peace) be upon me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive!” (19: 30-33)

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  • June 27th, 2009fariArticles, Parenting

    Behaviour Charts do they work?

    Yes they do!

    Charts work for 2 simple reasons: firstly, children love them secondly, they break the cycle of nagging and telling off that is so easy to fall into as parents - a chart provides a really positive way (using encouragement and praise) for the whole family to try and tackle and issue.

    Reward or Bribe?

    Some people don’t like the notion of “bribing” a child to do something. But using rewards adds to the child’s excitement and helps build towards a sense of achievement when the chart is finished. Rewards shouldn’t be expensive, they should be treats - little things that mean a lot.

    Some ideas for rewards?

    New book, trip to the park, family outing, new (small) toy, sleep over, trip to the seaside, extra bedtime story, choice of menu for the weekend, special cake gets baked, new coloring pens…

    There are practically hundreds of things you could think of but the most important thing is it should be something the child wants, even better, something they choose themselves (with a little bit of parental guidance). Avoid junk food and anything expensive in the long run it will be counter productive and you will end up spoiling your child.

    At what age can a child use a chart?

    This depends on the child in question. A good rule of thumb is charts should work for children from 3+. However, the more important things to consider are whether the child is capable of tackling the issue you want to address.

    What issues can I tackle with a behaviour chart?

    You can use a chart to tackle all sorts of everyday family issues, for example: educational achievements, daily activities, resolving a problem, encouraging good adaab.

    Some ideas on what to write

    Don’t use charts for everything - use them in moderation. The real joy of using a chart is it proves to you that positive encouragement and praise is what kids really respond to.

    • say please and jazakallah khair
    • go to bed on time
    • do my homework/Islamic Studies
    • share my toys
    • put shoes/clothes away
    • clothes in laundry basket
    • make my bed
    • brush my teeth
    • be kind to siblings
    • tidy my room
    • finish my food
    • read quran
    • wash myself on the toilet
    • get dressed
    • clear away my toys
    • help around the house
    • say my duas
    • pray salah

    The Golden Rules…

    Please take a few minutes to read through the instructions that are supplied with your chart - as a quick summary here are the golden rules you should follow:

    Stick to a few issues and be realistic.

    Think about ways you can help your child.

    Stay positive and concentrate on praising success.

    Involve your child before you start using a chart - they must want to tackle the issue and must also understand how the chart is going to work.

    Never take away stickers or rewards.

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  • June 27th, 2009fariArticles, Parenting

    To smack or not to smack ( by Nazia Jalali)

    “Don’t do that!” orders Sairah agitated by her child’s incessant need to jump on her friend’s sofa. A few seconds later, the undeterred child receives a second warning from his now very embarrassed mother when she breaks from the conversation with her friend, “ Hamza I told you not to do that –you’ll hurt yourself!” Another few moments pass and she looks up again to see little Hamza, still jumping for the stars, giggling defiantly. This time Sairah sighs and continues her conversation with her friend.

    Sound familiar? Perhaps - so when it happens, what is the irate parent to do?  Smacking a child may see you labelled a child abuser. Ignoring them means being branded an incompetent parent. In fact, the common responses from parents after the mandatory warnings and rebukes are variable. When faced with situations like that above, it is all to common to see the parent retreating in to their shell, ignoring the situation in the hope that it will sort itself out, whilst desperately praying that no one will notice their child’s questionable antics.

    Some say the child should be allowed to play freely after all, “ Imran’s just a child, we can’t expect too much from him.” Other insist that they must be punished – ‘If we don’t teach Samia manners now, who knows what she’ll turn out like?’

    For Muslim parents, the divine instruction is simple. We must first and foremost understand that the nurturing of children is a sacred trust that Allah (swt) has given to all parents. Parents are duty-bound to bring up and educate their children in the best manner, teaching them right and wrong according to the criteria laid down by their Creator. The aim of this careful nurturing is that upon reaching the age of maturity (baligh), they become responsible and productive members of the community, obeying the will of their Creator, and at the same time being excellent examples for the wider society around them.

    But what does this careful nurturing practically entail? The mere mention of the word discipline makes some parents cringe, as they conjure up images of bruised and battered children. But in reality, there is a difference between discipline and punishment which are not necessarily the same thing.

    “What is discipline?”

    Punishment on its own just describes an act of chastisement that does not necessarily explain to the child why their action was wrong. But discipline is the training to establish a pattern of appropriate behaviour in youngsters, which will build a link in their minds between their conduct, and a notion of right and wrong. For the child, a process of thoughtful and careful discipline, should lead them to understand that their behaviour has boundaries, which when crossed may result in punishment.

    “How and where should boundaries be set?”

    As a rule for Muslim parents, children should of course be taught the basic criteria of haram and halal. They should be taught that that good things are halal, and bad things are haram, and every effort should be made to make them realise the difference between these two limits. In this way, they would be encouraged to link their behaviour with the pleasure and anger of Allah (swt). This in turn paves their way to understanding the concept of accountability, which will form the basis of their future actions throughout life.

    “Who should best discipline them?”

    It is essential for both parents to be involved in disciplining their children, and in this regard, consistency in essential. If there is no consistency between mother and father, discipline becomes almost impossible to establish, and the child will quickly learn to play one parent off against the other. So when Hamza starts jumping on the furniture, he finds himself rebuked by his mother and ordered to stop. He then rushes over to his father in another room, only to receive a big hug, and to be told, ‘don’t worry Hamza it’s OK, here’s a lollipop for you if you stop crying.’ You have just witnessed the end of effective discipline!

    If both parents are not unified in enforcing discipline then this could easily lead to the children being confused and result in them not taking either of the parents instructions seriously, which could cause them to become disobedient.

    In general, parents are unlikely to differ in matters of discipline related to haram and the halal. For example, if a child steals or lies, neither parent will condone such behaviour. The potential area of conflict is in the area of mubah – i.e. those matters of general behaviour which are open to parents to decide, such as jumping on the sofa, sitting quietly at the dinner table etc. Sometimes, parents may disagree with each other over certain rules of conduct of methods of discipline. But never the less it is essential that both parents discuss the matter and come to an agreement. Otherwise, the clash of values may quickly create conflict (fitnah) in the household.

    “What age should I start to discipline my child?”

    The earlier the better! Some parents may feel that very small children are too young to grasp rules, let alone understand anything you might say. However, these early years can in fact be crucial to establishing a good pattern of behaviour. Once a good pattern is established, it will always be easier to maintain, whilst once bad habits are established they are very hard to break. For example if a child begins to express his artistic flare by scribbling on the walls, you might think they are too young to reason with and correct. You therefore decide to ignore it and let them carry on, making a mental note to white wash the walls at a later date – after all, a re-paint was well overdue anyway. But delaying the explanations for when they are older, and then later trying to explain to the child that,“ we draw on paper not on the walls,”- will only lead to confusion. After all how can something that was acceptable yesterday be suddenly be forbidden today? Most experts agree that there has to be consistency when establishing rules. So in the younger days, while the child may not quite understand your kind instruction, if combined with preventing the behaviour from which it arises and hiding the pens if they cannot be supervised whilst using them, the rule will be established early on.

    “What if they cry when the are refused something?”

    Children are very perceptive, and quickly realise it if every time they cry they can get what they want. But if you console them while not giving in to their demands, them they will soon understand that crying will get them nowhere. So let them cry for a little while and don’t give in. Initially this will be hard for both parent and child, but perseverance and patience will find the whining and crying abating. The choice is yours; you could either deal with the cries for a few days or spend the rest of your life listening to them.

    “What are the morals that should be taught?”

    When children misbehave they should be taught to say sorry, as they will learn what is to be expected from them by others and by Allah (swt).  They should also be taught to seek Allah’s (swt) forgiveness and apologise to people they hurt and upset by their words or actions. This will help to instil a conscience within them.

    In addition, parents should always accept a child’s apology for their bad behaviour. When we do something wrong we turn to Allah and seek and hope for his forgiveness. We in turn should try also to be quick to forgive – it is like a kind of reward for desisting from bad behaviour. This teaches your child the virtue of mercy. Make it clear to your child that you love them especially after they have been in trouble and they have apologised, so that no bad feelings remain between you.

    Similarly don’t fall victim to pride by failing to apologise when you yourself make a mistake, as this is crucial in establishing in your child a belief in your sense of justice. It also stops you from being seen as a tyrant or an unfair parent.

    “Who should be their role models?”

    You should try your utmost to stop them from talking about pop stars, actors or sports personalities as people worthy of being followed.  Such people are far from the correct example that Muslims should look up to. Instead, let their role models be the prophets, the Sahaba and the countless heros of Islam.  By frequently reading to them about the lives of such great people, you will cause your child to admire them and strive to be like them. So in general, we should teach them Islam from a very young age.

    “What are the limits of punishments according to Shari’ah?”

    The example of the Prophet, upon whom be the peace and blessings of Allah, needs to be kept in mind. The Prophet’s (saw) treatment of children was always loving and encouraging. For example, his kindness to his nephew, Ibn ‘Abbss, is well known. The Hadith records instances of his delivering the Friday khutbah while holding his grandsons in his arms, of his making sajdah in salah (as the imam in the mosque) with his granddaughter on his back; of his kindness toward Anas ibn Malik as a boy, and of his annoyance with the bedouin who confessed that he had never kissed his own children.

    While it is generally accepted that the Prophet (saw) never physically rebuked children himself, mild physical punishment is allowed in Islam, but not in a way that causes harm. In knowing this, however it is important to bear in mind Prophet’s (saw) personal example, which is the ideal that all Muslims must aspire to conform to.

    If gentle force is used by a parent on their child, it should not be enough to leave redness or marks, and it is prohibited to smack on the face or private parts.

    The Prophet (saw) urged parents to teach their children to begin practicing their daily prayers by the age of seven. If they did not start the practice by the age of ten, he (saw) instructed that they should be disciplined by physical means without causing them harm or injury. In fact, if parents themselves pray at home and take their children to the mosque at an early age, it is very common for children to wish to pray of their own accord, without the need for any physical punishment.

    “What methods can I use to punish a child that has misbehaved?”

    There are many books available on disciplining children that can be used as aids to understanding children and which provide useful do’s and don’ts with respect to types of punishments. Providing that there are no contradictions to the Shar’iyah, there is no harm in using these books as a source for advice. The following are outlines of some common methods of dealing with inappropriate behaviour in children.

    ‘TIME OUT’

    Definition -To remove the child from a deteriorating situation and place them in another room. This takes the child from his position on centre stage to a less prominent place where his antics pass unnoticed.  It is good technique for a few reasons.

    1. It gives the child a chance to cool down and permits older children a chance to reflect on their behaviour against the values taught by their parents of what pleases and displeases Allah. Making a child understand the difference between what is right and wrong is very difficult when both parties are in a state of anger.
    2. It allows the parents to calm themselves down, and seek refuge in Allah, and to remember that children are a test from Allah. They can also reflect on the hadith “ if you are angry sit down.” There is much reward for those who exert patience in the most testing of times.
    3. Time out also prevents a situation arising where the parent could inadvertently harm the child excessively in a state of rage.
    4. If for example, two siblings are fighting, placing each of them in different rooms diffuses the anger and more importantly breaks up the fight and prevents the possibility of any harm befalling them.


    If children persist in disobedience, then they should be warned and threatened with being sent to their room. If they continue, then they should be taken to their room and left alone there until they apologize for their mistake. Of course, care should be taken with very young children who need constant supervision.  If a child is having a tantrum, they should not be allowed to carry this out in a way that disturbs others, or attracts too much attention. Sending them to their room until they calm down will soon teach them that such behaviour achieves nothing.


    Threats to withhold privileges such as an outing to the park, or playing with a favourite toy are useful only if your child believes you. Therefore, if such threats are made, they should be carried out. Apologies should be accepted, and privileges should be restored once the child returns to correct behaviour.


    If  your child is rewarded for a good action by being given a treat or a praise then they are more likely to do it again and therefore develop a good habit. However it should be noted that rewards should not become bribes. So don’t say, “ If you listen to me I’ll will give you a ice lolly.” This could lead to the child only doing something good if ‘there was something in it for them.’ Rewards should be a spontaneous gesture from your part as a sign of appreciation for your child’s good actions. So the child should not expect anything. What would be more appropriate if you were to say “ Since you have been such a good girl I’m going to take you the park.”

    Be careful that a relationship is not established where the child expects reward every time they do a good action. As the child gets older he shouldn’t need to be given rewards as often although you should still continue to express your appreciation of their good behaviour. You should also make them aware that whilst they may not receive a reward from you for the good actions, they may still receive one from Allah (swt).


    If you have a strong relationship with your child then a great impact can be made upon them by a simple expression of disappointment or dissatisfaction.  When they misbehave and you tell them that you are angry with them and refuse to play because of their actions the child will most likely feel bad feel the need to say sorry. The effect of this method is reinforced when more than one member of the family objects.

    If parents establish effective discipline and follow it through consistently


    Fundamental to effective discipline of a child is the nurturing of a strong relationship between parent and child, which is based on love, kindness and mutual respect. A child is more likely to obey a parent whom they love and respect, and whom they wish to please. If they perceive that the parent is pre-occupied with other things, and not really concerned about the child’s day top day interests, they too will feel it acceptable to ignore their parents orders and wishes.

    The best way to establish the kind of sound relationship that is needed is by spending quality time together as a family. In today’s fast pace of life, with high cost of living, endless taxation and often the need for both parents to work in order to make ends meet, it can be very easy to let the time spent with the children slip. It is all too common to see children being left for school, TV and the society in general to take the role of building a child’s personality.

    If on the other hand, parents make as much effort as they can to talk and play with their children, as well as teach them about values and right behaviour, the result can be great. Simple measures can help to build a strong family bond. Here are a few suggestions:

    1. Eat meals together at the table instead of at different times or in front of the TV. Try to make this a regular family activity, where all are present. It is a good time to talk.
    2. Mum and dad should regularly read to the children, even if it is just a bedtime story. Choose Islamic stories as well as conventional children’s books, as this will help to nurture an Islamic identity in the child, and create positive role models.
    3. Try not to use the TV or video games as a ‘baby sitter’. It is all too easy for children to be absorbed into these activities, and be forgotten about by their parents. Instead play interactive games with each other, such as board games, or outdoor games.
    4. Dad should take the children to the mosque wherever possible – such as during Juma or on weekends, so that children begin to find the mosque a familiar and enjoyable place.
    5. Pray in Jamaat at home, and encourage small children to join in. Buying children’s hijabs/prayer hats and small prayer mats can help to encourage them.

    `“And know that your possessions and your offspring are only a trial; and that it is Allah with whom there is a tremendous reward” [TMQ 8: 28].

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