Written by: Kendall A. | Umm Iman
(Originally Posted: July 18, 2020)
As a revert to Islam, I have had the unique opportunity to learn alongside my children the beauties of Islam and the uniqueness of each month of the Hijri Calendar. This year, we are really excited about delving into the many aspects of Dhul Hijjah, the Hajj, Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) story and sacrifice, and the meaning of Eid Al Adha. I wanted to make the learning experience as hands-on and interactive as possible to really solidify the concepts. My hope is that each year, we can add onto the learning and internalize the lessons of this special time in our everyday lives. Below are a few projects that we have been working on: (P.S. For myself, I registered for Rabata’s “Pilgrims @ Home” Challenge to help me meet my spiritual goals during this month.)
1) Contextualize the Hajj within the foundation of the pillars. My daughter has been using flashcards to review the 5 pillars of Islam and the 6 articles of faith. We live the first pillar in our daily lives by constantly remembering Allah (SWT) and striving to emulate the character of the Prophet (SAW). We have dedicated a space in our home to performing the salah, and my children are invited to join me in that experience several times a day. We give in charity often and discuss helping others who are in need. Ramadan was a particularly exciting time of year for our family with increasing our ibadah together. So now, we are able to see the pillar of Hajj by illuminating these first ten days of Dhul Hijjah and building some understandings ahead of time. My goal is for my children to understand that the Hajj is a rite that we should hope to fulfill one day, in sha Allah, and that it is part of what grounds and makes up our faith.
2) Learn about Hajj. Children love books and stories, so this is always a great way to introduce new ideas to little ones. We have also been taking advantage of short video clips for children that explain the Hajj. This is also an opportunity to share the stories, in our own words, of: the Kaa’ba and how it was built, Zamzam water and the miracle of its origination, and Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) sacrifice and the characteristics that made him qualify as “the Friend of Allah.”
3) Recite the Talbiyya of Hajj. Children are naturally drawn to repetitive sounds and rhythms, so learning the talbiyya of Hajj is something that they can get excited about and feel confident in being able to do. The talbiyya of Hajj is below, along with its translation:
“Labbaik Allahumma labbaik
Labbaika laa shareeka laka labbaik
Innal hamda wanna’mata laka wal mulka
La shareeka lak.”
“Here I am, O Allah, here I am
There is no partner for You, here I am
Verily all praise is for You, and every bounty is from You, and all dominion is Yours
You have no partner.”
I also came across a darling song sung to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus” that reads: “The hajjis on the Hajj say, “Labaik Allahumma, Labaika Allahumma, Labaik Allahuma.The hajjis on the Hajj say, “Labaik Allahumma, all during tawaf.”
4) Role Play the Rites of Hajj. If you can recreate a life-sized version of the Hajj for your children to simulate, that is amazing! We used some nature props in our backyard to symbolize the different stages of the Hajj, and because my children were able to go through the motions, I think they benefited greatly from the experience. They repeated their “Hajj” several times in one day, because they enjoyed it so much, mashaAllah! We pretended to ride an airplane to Hajj and used our passports to make it feel more real. You can also make faux passports out of construction paper. We covered a boulder with a black sheet to represent the kaa’ba and circled it seven times. Alhumdulilah, we have two large rocks in our yard that worked well in representing Safa and Marwah, and our mini, blow up pool served as our Zamzam water basin. We used a tent to represent Mina, along with a small prayer mat for Arafah. We made a tower out of connectors for the Jammarat (stoning) and did a sheep craft to represent the sacrifice.
We were also able to do this on a smaller scale and have our toys “participate” in the Hajj as well. This was really great, because it also taught the concept of scaling dimensions and STEM with critically thinking about how to construct these different landmarks using the materials that were available to us. For the toy-sized model, we used magnatiles for the kaa’ba and sponges for Safa and Marwah. We constructed tents out of Origami paper, prayer mats from fabric scraps, and used a recycled tea box for the Jammarat tower! It was great fun, and my children really enjoyed it!
5) Do art projects and activities related to Dhul Hijjah, Hajj, and Eid Al Adha. My children were able to express their creativity by coloring a kaa’ba print-out, finger painting around the kaa’ba to depict the diversity of the ummah, and decorating a sheep cut-out with cotton balls! These activities were provided to us through the UEC program on Dhul Hijjah/Hajj/Eid Al Adha.
6) Create a List of Good Deeds to Do During Dhul Hijjah. Before Dhul Hijjah starts, we are developing a plan for some extra good deeds that we can do during these first ten days to earn extra rewards. Some of the ideas on our list include: making lots of dua, reciting our dhikr more frequently, practicing Quran daily, and being kind to everyone in our home. These are things that we are always encouraging our children to do; yet, it is good for them to know that these actions are counted even more in these blessed days, because Allah is the Most Kind and Ever-Merciful.
Alhumdulilah, we feel ready to truly benefit from this year’s Hajj season and are hoping to make it an exciting time of year every year, in sha Allah!
Here are a few more resources that we took advantage of for activities and craft ideas: (Please find the website for these materials listed at the bottom of their resources and support these sisters in their efforts as well!)