Benefits of having an Islamic identity
Having an Islamic identity means that you are a Muslim first. You know that because you are Muslim, there are certain things that you are not allowed to do as a Muslim person—you at least know the basics of Islam (what is halal and what is haraam).
Whether you live in a Muslim or non-Muslim country, you will certainly come across things which Islam prohibits. For this reason, it’s important for all Muslims, especially Muslim children to have a strong Islamic identity.
When a child has a strong Islamic identity, he or she will be aware of who they are. They will know they are accountable for every deed they do. This realization will help them to avoid haraam things while they’re in school or when they’re with their friends, away from their parents.
Parents as teachers
One of the most important things for us as humans is our upbringing. It’s hard to forget the things you grew up with—the things you learned from your parents and others around you at a young age. For this reason, as Muslim parents, we should make learning about Islam and practicing it a priority not only for ourselves but also for our children.
It was reported by Abu Huraira that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said,
“No babe is born but upon the Fitra. It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian or a Polytheist.”(Bukhari and Muslim)
As our Prophet told us, it is the parents who help their children to become Muslims, Christians, Jews or whatever else. Thus, the first teachers we had were our parents, particularly our mothers. Likewise, when we become parents, we will become our children’s very first teachers.
Steps to take in helping your child to have an Islamic identity
Children’s minds are like sponges. They will absorb whatever they see, hear or learn about. Hence, it is important to teach them basic Islamic knowledge and rules at a young age.
The following are some tips to help you establish a strong Islamic identity in your child.
- Start to teach them about Islam when they are young (when they are still babies) by using Islamic terms and greetings. Teach them Allah’s name, to say “Bismilaah” before starting anything and other important Islamic phrases.
- Recite or listen to the Quran in the presence of your children; this way, they will become attached to the Quran and develop deep love for the word of Allah at a young age.
- Take your children to the masjid. Let them see other Muslims and their children at the masjid. This will expose them to other people who pray like their mother and father do.
- Buy them Islamic clothing such as Hijabs for your daughters and kufis for the boys. Encourage them to look like Muslims!
- Tell stories of the Prophets and great Muslim men and women (Sahabas) to your children; this will give them role models to look up to.
- And last but not least, tell them how lucky they are that Allah has chosen them to be Muslims and teach them to be proud of being Muslim!
Sister Um Ibrahim Ali is a regular contributor on Islamic Learning Materials. You can follow Sister Um Ibrahim Ali and her adventures as a Muslim mother on her blog Sweet Mama Loves You.