26 May 2017

Ramadan Activities For Children

Summer is showing it's hot signs this month. The generous sizzles and the scanty drizzles make us parched, yet we are getting ready to welcome Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. Whatever season it may come, certainly, that is the most blessed month of the year. As we prepare ourselves for this special month, we also have to make Ramadan interesting and fun for our children, as much as making it worthy of them.


It is always best to involve the children in every discussion and the projects you plan. From the moon sighting, to Iftar till Eid preparation, make sure they participate. The essence of Ramadan must be the first thing to be taught before they observe fast. The kids often want to fast as they see their parents and elders in the family. But, at the beginning they are not able to complete the fast fully. In that case, let them fast for few hours or as long as they can. Prepare a special Iftar for them with their favorite meal. Try to divert their minds from hunger and thirst, by taking out for a walk or a ride in the car. Let them fast even for couple of hours and celebrate.

Highlighting here are the best possible ways, to my knowledge, to boost their energy levels during fasting, while improving their values and life skills. From toddlers to teenagers, this list applies to children of all ages. I believe, these are interesting as well as productive ways for them during Ramadan.

1. RECITE QURAN AND PRAY 5 TIMES A DAY - This is the fundamental of Islam and it is a good way to start practicing from Ramadan. Maintaining a journal or planner to keep track of 5 waqt prayers on time and the Juzes and Surahs they recite everyday. This will encourage them to recite more and to pray without a miss, especially to keep their journal impressive.


2. FAST TOGETHER AS A FAMILY - Every parent is their child's role models. They imitate them in their actions, knowingly and unknowingly. After sahar time, stay up till Fajr to pray together, and then go to bed. That will be one of the cherished family times spend together.

3. STORYTELLING - Don’t rely on reading books all the time. Kids will be entertained and well informed through a Storytelling session. Schedule your time to tell stories to your children, everyday. Tell them Prophet stories in chapters and episodes. And this activity will make you read more, while the kids look forward to the next session. This activity easily brings the enthusiasm to know about prophets and their lifestyle. On a long run, the stories we tell them now, will engrave in their memory as they grow older.

4. INVOLVEMENT IN IFTAR PREPARATION - Not to play with fire but they can help you in making desserts, fetching the things you need, setting tables, serving dates and water etc. Giving some responsibilities to them will make them feel important as well as some of our chores get done too. Once in a while, invite their friends for Iftar party. Let your children decides the menu and their guests. That will be like a picnic and will enjoy their friends' company. Apart from fun, this will also instigate responsibility in their minds, as they lead the Iftar.


5. PRAY TARAWEEH IN JAMATH - Children enjoy going to masjid with their parents to pray Taraweeh at nights. Even going to Taraweeh for few days with the family, standing for prayers with the community people and relatives, will give them opportunity to socialize with others and feel as a part of the community. That goes a long way for our children in bringing them closer to Islam.


6. MAKE GOODIE BAGS - Let the children fill the bags with goodies and they will be much happy to distribute to the people at the masjid. Do this at least once in the month. preferably, on Laylat-ul-Qadr. This will also make them know about the significance of that one night. Or they can even make the goodie bags for their class, anytime of the month.

7. INTRODUCE ARTS AND CRAFTS - From paper crafts to painting, there are lots to keep them occupied. If they are old enough to handle needles, then basic sewing and embroidering would be perfect. Fabric painting in a plain cloth or doing patches with patterns and designs with fabric glue on a Felt cloth which later can be used as their Prayer mats. Or help your small girl to do embroidery flowers in her prayer outfit. They will be more keen to pray in their handmade personalized prayer materials. Making Eid Cards and sending it to family and friends also make an interesting activity to keep them engaged. These will stir their creative minds.



8. ZAKAT PLANS- When planning for charity, include them too. Let them keep the Zakat money in the envelope. If they are older, let them write the names of the receiver, as you list. We should also teach them that charity is not alone about giving money, but also kindness through actions and manners. Greeting the guests or when going to Taraweeh, saying Assalamu Alaikum with a smile to others in the masjid -that itself a Sadaqah. Also encourage them to save some of their pocket money to donate during Eid. This will naturally bring the knowledge of Zakat calculating as well as the idea of sharing.

9. PLAY TIME WITH QUIZ AND DUAS - From the stories you tell, ask them questions. This will make them listen and grasp the stories and its details. Alternatively, you can also teach them one or two Duas and Salawats per day. Saying a Dua will encourage the children to ask from Allah and the Salawat brims the love for our Prophet (pbuh). At the end of the month, they will come to know some 40-60 Duas easily.

10. EID SHOPPING - That will be some fun outing for them at the malls. But shop for their Eid gifts in advance and surprise them, when the time comes. While gifting, do not forget to appreciate them for the effort they put throughout the month and let them know how much they mean to you. And even a simple acknowledgement means a lot to them.

These were few things my parents and grandparents used to do to encourage me and brothers during Ramadan, when we were young. Certainly, that helped us a lot in understanding the essence of the religion, as much it became our lifestyle, with no much effort. Also that motivated us in reading religious books, listening to bayaans, and keeping a Ramadan journal in later days.

Insha Allah, children will sure look forward to each day throughout the month. May Allah bless us all with long, good, healthy and prosperous life, to witness the next Ramadan. Aameen!



Image Source - Google Cliparts

16 May 2017

Baahubali - An Epic Saga

Finally, I watched Baahubali - The Conclusion. To be honest, I have not gone to the movie to know Why Kattappa killed Baahubali or to know has Baahubali really died? The question they asked at the end of Baahubali - The Beginning did stir the audience’s curious minds. And, the sequel holds answers to many questions.


Baahubali is undoubtedly an epic masterpiece. Captivating storytelling, stunning visuals, innovative war sequence along with the notable Tamil dialogues. (I watched the Tamil version) It has all the elements to enthrall the audience in every possible way. As the twists and turns unfold, we will be wanting for more and more. I found part 2 was powerful and action packed than the part 1. Well, the first part established all the characters already and so it was easy to go directly into fast paced action story.

However, I felt a hurry in the climax and also left with one or two unanswered questions, still there are many things to rave about. Because, the movie left me speechless in many places. I literally couldn’t come out of the movie and its characters even after two days. This post is not a review, but I am trying to reminisce what I experienced on the big screen.

I can list out many reasons for why I liked this film. I always look for the costumes in any movies. And here I couldn’t stop admiring those rich brocade costumes with bright colors and prints complementing each characters who share the same screen and also with the backdrop. Not to forget the lavish art direction, action choreography, well, every scene etched in detail to please our eyes. But the songs and the dance choreography failed to impress me as much it did in the prequel.

Know more about the movie

Let me highlight the two things I loved the most. Firstly, it is the visuals. No one can forget the visually stunning waterfalls and the magnificent golden statue scene in Baahubali - The Beginning. The team had put a lot of effort in the second part, and hence there are some breathtaking scenes. The visuals not only showcase the images and objects but also expresses the character of each and every element and brings out that overwhelming feel, naturally.


Secondly, the dialogues. I was kind of attracted towards the dialogues in Tamil version. I must admit I fell in love with my language one more time. It was like listening to a rhythm. Not all but some dialogues. That’s not because of the bestirring background score but the rhyming in the words play its own tune. The way its been rendered is also impressive.

I have grown up watching black and white Raja-Rani Tamil films and it reminded me of those days. At one point, I even longed for the Tamil poetry I studied in my school. It was that beautiful and enchanting. It also reminded me the historical series I used to read in a weekly magazine.

Beyond the extravagant visuals and the graphics in the movie, the emotions underneath played the vital part. Be it romance, vengeance, melodrama, action, humor, sarcasm etc. I admired how the brevity of dialogues elevate those emotions.


Like I said in the beginning of this post, I did not go to the cinema to know the answers. But I only wanted to get drenched in awe moment. The movie did satisfy my expectation. It certainly has the gravity to keep the audience hooked throughout. When I walked out of the cinema hall as the end credits rolling, it was like every single droplet of the rain caressing my skin, leaving me in a state that I would want to sway in its harmony.

The magic of the terrific storytelling along with the visual grandeur makes Baahubali a brilliant masterpiece.
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