When you have a deep love for Allah, amazing things happen! There’s a bounce in your step; there’s a comfort in your soul; there’s hope in your heart; there’s sincerity in your prayers; there’s just ‘magic’ all around! Of course, we want to raise our children to have that love. Here’s how we do it:
1. Keep reminding your children that Allah loves them seventy times more than you do. To make this easier to visualise, employ some colourful sweets - make two piles, one with one sweet and the other with seventy. Show them that the single sweet represents how much you love them, and the big heap is how much Allah loves them!
2. Don't tell them that Allah is going to punish them when you are upset with their behaviour. It's ok to let him know that you are upset, and also important to teach them right and wrong, but don't use Allah as a scare tactic. The truth is that Allah does not punish or hold a child responsible for his actions. Only use positive associations with Allah.
3. Love Allah yourself and speak often of that love to your children. Children do emanate our actions. They tend to love who we love. When they hear you beaming constantly about how much you love Allah, they will naturally follow in sha Allah
4. Telling your children you love them makes them feel confident and content, and it makes you feel great too because they always say it back! Why not get them in the habit of telling Allah that they love Him?! You can make it part of the bedtime routine, when you're close, after reading a bedtime story.
5. Teach them to see Allah’s love in everything that happens to them. Basically, make, “See! Allah loves you!” the most commonly used phrase in your household. This, of course, is much simpler to explain when joyous things happen, but remember to use the concept with the smallest of things, to encourage gratefulness. It’s harder to explain when not-so-joyous things happen – like falling down. In these instances, help them to see that it’s all part of Allah’s plan and they may have been saved from a bigger not-so-joyous thing happening!
These five pointers are not an exhaustive list of ways to instil a love for Allah, but are very effective with children in sha Allah.
Allah loves you, love him back!
Zanib Mian is the author of Migo & Ali: Love for the Prophets and 30 Hadith for Kids. She also has 10 other published children’s books, including the ever popular, My Dad’s Beard!