We talked about D is for Dua today. Dua is the Arabic word for supplication or invocations. As part of the #AtoZofAkhlaaq series, I discussed with my children the importance of making dua and the etiquettes of prayer. I am also recommending a book Golden Stories of Accepted Prayers by Abdul Malik Mujahid.
‘Invocations are requests from the bottom of the hearts to the Almighty. The best invocations are those that are narrated by the prophet but if you don’t speak Arabic, you can pray in your language too.’
Most of us have started our little tots on their spiritual journey by helping them memorize small Duas (supplications) or Dhikr (remembering God) before daily activities like eating and sleeping. If you have a little one and are just starting, this is the way to do it. Teach them to start with God’s name (bismillah) by saying it yourself and often. Kids learn by example. When you say Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God) after a sneeze, over time they learn to say it out of habit too. Children love to copy their elders. Start teaching them to say dhikr with their daily day to day activities. That is the first step that you can start even before they are ready to learn prayer (salah).
Teaching children that ‘to pray’ doesn’t mean just offering salah: Duas can be said anytime while sitting, standing, sleeping and at all times. We need to remind them that they need to remember God in not just in times of need but in times of peace too. They usually don’t know that they can pray for others too. The best way to do this to is to teach them the words to use and how they can pray for their parents, siblings, grandparents and family. We talked about charity the other day. You can mention today that charity can be to send dua when you see someone else in need too. Another thing that we need to teach children is to have faith that prayer can heal. Help them in understanding that prayer can solve our problems. You can do this by talking to them about life events and also by teaching them to remember God when they are afraid or sad. A child needs to know that he is not helpless. That there is God who can guide him, protect him, help him and look after him. He also needs to learn that he can help others by praying for them too. When there is nothing that you can do for a person, you can pray.
There are etiquettes of praying that make your prayer look beautiful. Here are a few things that I taught my children:
- Start with ‘hamd wa Thhanaa’. That is to show gratitude and remember to thank God for what he has given you. One way to do that is to use the beautiful names of the Almighty. The easiest way, is to say the Fatiha but you can use the appropriate name of God for your dua too. (Ofcourse you will need to teach them the names and meanings first.)
- Next, start by praying for yourself. Thank God for what you have been blessed with and then make dua for yourself. Ask for abundance and health, for prevention of disease and protection from calamities.
- Include your family in your prayer. Ask for everything that you can for your mommy and daddy. Think about what they need help.
- Make dua for your friends too.
- Make dua for people who you know need help. This teaches them to care about the world around them.
- You can pray for random strangers too. This is something that all children should be taught. If you see sadness, pain, hurt, anger, pray for them. Think of it is your secret way to help them. This is how you can be your own super hero. Remember those prayers that come from the depth of the heart with pure intentions are always answered.
One of our favorite books to read together is ‘Golden Stories of Accepted Prayers‘ by Abdul Malik Mujahid. (Darrussalam publications.) These are a collection of real stories from present times mostly where people have narrated how their prayers were answered. Some stories are very simple for even little preschoolers to understand. My children love to hear about how people live. These stories talk about the many ways God answers prayers. The lessons that I have taught my children from this book are how prayers get answered for the virtues that you have in yourself. It also talks about making sure your livelihood is free from all ill doing.
It has many stories about showing gratitude too. I have often pointed out in the stories how charity can bring you blessings. When you ease someone’s difficulty or make someone happy, they usually respond with a blessing or prayer. So take dua from people because God accepts the prayer that is said from the depth of the heart with pure intentions.
Beware of wronging someone or hurting a heart too because they may curse and curses are duas (of misery). There are a few stories from history in this book about how curses affected people and ruined them.
This book is our favorite and one that we are often pulling out when I need to tell them a story with a moral.
That is all folks. That is the word for the day. Have you noticed we are a day late? Yes… Ramadan is a very busy time and my toddlers have been very active. Mommy though has been too tired. How is your Ramadan going? Have a blessed month and do remember us in your prayers.