I often get asked by my non-muslim friends about our traditions and practices in Islam, in particular around our holy month of Ramadan. When I first reverted to Islam I had a close circle of friends who were all so incredibly welcoming and open in their practise of Islam, sending around food to neighbours (muslim or not) just before Iftaar (the break of fast each evening). They would always set extra places at the table, and the food, somehow, was always enough. One of my closest friends at the time Fatima, is a shining example of what a good Muslimah should be. She could whip up a feast in literally half an hour, without any warning, and make absolutely anyone feel at home. If you reading this Fats, I love you, and I’ll always look up to you!
I digress, I’ve gotten a few questions recently about how we “celebrate” Ramadan, specifically with the kids, and when I asked on instagram recently if anyone was interested to see what we have in our little Ramadan boxes, 100% of you said yes. So here I am sharing 🙂
Last year (with a lot more time on my hands), I made up a gorgeous little Ramadan corner in our playroom. The bookshelf was cleared of everything else and items related to Islam and Ramadan were placed on the shelves. We made up little “Dua Books” (Prayer books) for the boys to write in – On each page we wrote what we were grateful for and learnt a short prayer. We did a number of activities related to the crescent moon (Ramadan follows the cycle of the moon, so the sighting of the crescent moon signifies the start and end of Ramadan). These included making our own moon sighting binoculars, making moons out of plates and sticking on buttons. We also made our own Ramadan calendar (a little like an advent) and in each pocket, for each day, we had a different activity to do. Things like : bake cookies, learn a new Kalima, give money to charity etc.
I reused a lot of these things this year, as you can imagine with a newborn around, time is a little more limited. While I would have loved to have redone or purchased everything new, both time and money were limited!
Ramadan “boxes” are all the trend, so this year I made up a box for the boys. In it, I put a selection of our favourite Islamic children’s books, all from Suhayla Kids. I put together a blog last year on some of my favourite books around Ramadan, and Suhayla Kids has even more titles available this year; you can read up on some of them here.
New cloaks were also put into their boxes, alongside their prayer mats (the boys have always been obsessed with having their own special prayer mats), and a tasbeeh (prayer beads). When I have a little more time I would like to do that as a separate craft, have the boys make up their own prayer beads. I chucked in a couple of colouring books and the Sadaqah Jar (money for charity) we made up last year. We also received the cutest little personalized Wudu towels from their cousin that I added in (Wudu is the act of ablution one makes before praying).
I haven’t got any fancy activities planned for this year, though every week we will be focused on teaching the boys the 99 names of Allah.
The names can often seem complicated and abstract to children. They don’t really know what they “mean”, but by associating the names with an activity or craft, we show the children a more concrete representation, creating a connection and a memory. Apart from that I really would like to take them to an orphanage or charity to get hands on involved in helping others.
So that’s how I prepared the boys Ramadan boxes, I’ve been dying to get Ramadan PJ’s made for them but the closest I got this year was new Pyjamas with the moon on them (close enough right?).
How do you get your kids excited for Ramadan and do you have any special family traditions?