The first and main responsibility of Muslim parents (Muslims) here in N. America or elsewhere nowadays is the future of Islam, our children, our youth who are on the crossroads asking themselves: Who are they? From where did they come? Where are they going? They face often two opposite worlds and for that reason as well as the not having full parental support, children are not aware of their lives, direction and destination. They are not aware of their past, their present, and their future. They are not aware of their Din. They are not aware of the beauty, which is present in Islam, because we did not present to them that beauty in the way they could comprehend it in their time.

We are in the month of Ramadan, Al Hamdulillah! This is a great opportunity to use this time and send the message of Islam to our children. They are Amanah (trust) on our shoulders gave to us by Almighty Allah. It is not enough just to tell them about Ramadan and its beauties; it is more appropriate and useful to show them by our own examples what Islam is all about in general and what Ramadan is, in particular.

Our tradition asks us to educate our children much before then they are born. We as parents, being Islamically educated is a good precondition for their better education. Then, when they approach the age of seven, start involving them in different Islamic activities, even before for it will not harm them. Once when they reach puberty, they are asked to observe all the Faraid (obligations).

Children are not obliged to fast is they did not reach puberty. However, their parents are strongly recommended to encourage them to fast few days so that they get used to it and that they grow up knowing of the importance of Siyam as they know that of Salat. It is to late start educating them when they reach the age of fifteen. At that time we would like them to be with us but many distractions took over. It was narrated that the Sahabah fasted voluntary Siyam as well as their young children. Allah’s Messenger Muhammad (s) said that among the seven that Allah will shade under his shade on the Day of Judgment is a young one who grew up in the worship of Allah. Let us help our children be among this elite group, Insha Allah!

There are many ways to help them and educate them in the month of Ramadan. The best and the most important of the ways, as mentioned earlier, is to set the good example by fasting properly and behaving according to the tradition of the last Messenger of Allah Muhammad (s). This is what our children will take from us first. Once when we will fulfill this important duty, we can very easily teach them whatever we want for the children will accept it and practice it easily as well. Here are few tips in how to help our children during the month of Ramadan in building their personalities and awareness of Allah (At Taqwa):

* Depending on their age, encourage them to fast a number of days up to every day or more for those who are almost at the age of puberty. Thus, wake them up for Suhur, even if they don’t fast, and for Salatil Fajr. For those who are still young, let them fast a day or two and praise them in front of relatives and friends for their achievement. Even maker a special Iftar for their first fast!

* Take your children with you when you are going to the relatives, a friends’ house or the Masjid for Iftar to make them feel the greatness of Siyam and the unity of Muslims in worshipping Allah (SWT). Let them eat with you at the time of Iftar and teach them how to breakfast even if they ate before. Teach them the Du’a for breaking the Siyam: “Allahumma laka sumtu wa ‘ala rizqika aftartu – O Allah! For You did I fast and with Your Rizq (Your bounties) did I break my fast.” Teach them to feed the Saims (fasting people) and tell them about the reward for this good deed.

* Take them to the Tarawih Salat so that they get used to it and know about it from their early age. In the Masjid you have to ask our children to be around us, manage them and give them good guidance.

* Correct them gently if they behave wrongly (any place including the Masjid as well) or say unacceptable words and remind them that they are fasting or that they are in the month of Ramadan and that such behavior may alter their reward promised by Almighty Allah.

* Teach them to recite the Qur’an regularly and inform them that the Messenger of Allah used to do that in the month of Ramadan.

* Teach them to give charity. Do it in front of them and tell them you are doing it because the reward increases in the month of Ramadan. Give them a chance that they donate with their own hands so that they get accustomed to this great activity.

* Dress them well for these occasions especially for Eid, let them take bath and take them with you to the Eid prayer. Give them Hadaya (gifts on the Eid days). Teach them that this is our celebration. Other people have theirs. That is your duty as parents!

Almighty Allah calls upon the believers saying: “O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is man and stones.”                                            {At Tahrim 6}

May Allah strengthen our Iman, give success to our efforts, help us guide our children to His Path so that He is pleased with them and so that we can gain His Rahmah. Allahumma Amin.