How To Teach Muslim Children About Gratitude
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Gratitude In Islam
Gratitude, or thankfulness (Shukr), in Islam is an extremely important concept. It links back to the very purpose of our creation.
“And Allah has extracted you from the wombs of your mothers not knowing a thing, and He made for you hearing and vision and intellect that perhaps you would be grateful (to Allah).” – The Quran 16:78
Allah created us with the purpose of acknowledging and worshiping Him and we can do this by showing gratitude.
From prayer and making dhikr to fasting and giving zakat, gratitude is a key characteristic. It is constantly required as a way to develop a closer connection to Allah and achieve happiness.
The ability to show gratitude is something that should be nurtured in Muslim children at a young age.
“If you are grateful, I will surely increase you (in favour)” – The Quran 14:7
You can teach your child how to express gratitude. Help them to acknowledge and see that every single day Allah provides us with countless blessings, big and small.
When children learn how to identify these blessings they can better appreciate how fortunate they really are.
“It is God who created the heavens and earth, who has sent down water from the sky and with it brought forth produce to nourish you; He has made ships useful to you, sailing the sea by His command, and the rivers too; He has made the sun and the moon useful to you, steady on their paths; He has made the night and day useful to you and given you some of everything you asked Him for. If you tried to count God’s favours you could never calculate them: man is truly unjust and ungrateful.” (Quran, 14:32-34).
Developing an “attitude of gratitude” in your child enables them to change their perspective when faced with a challenging situation and establish a more positive outlook.
There are many ways we can express gratitude towards Allah and these can be broken down into 3 categories;
1. Gratitude from the heart
This is a silent, personal acknowledgement or appreciation of what Allah has provided you with. It can be an intention before performing an action or making a decision out of gratitude.
2. Gratitude from the tongue
Verbally expressing your gratitude like when saying “bismillah” before eating and “alhamdulillah” when you are finished. Making dhikr after prayer by saying “subhanAllah”, “alhamdulillah”, “Allahu akbar” is all about expressing gratitude towards Allah through remembrance.
3. Gratitude from the limbs
Physical actions are another way to practise gratitude. Acts of kindness and prayer are just some of the ways you can show gratitude through your actions.
Looking after the body that Allah has given you, for example trying to eat heathy, is also an expression of gratitude.
Gratitude Books For Muslim Children
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Planting The Seeds Of Gratitude
To help you teach your child about the importance of having gratitude, and even seeking out opportunities to practise gratitude, I though it would be great to round up some children’s book that deal with this topic.
Also included below are some free printable activities for children to enjoy!
Mr Gamal’s Gratitude Glasses
Written by Asmaa Hussein | Illustrated by Nuria Thomas Mayolas.
It can be easy for children to focus on the negative in a situation and then let that affect the rest of their day.
Even as adults, how often do we let something simple upset us and then hold onto those negative feelings?
Mr Gamal’s Gratitude Glasses is a story about looking at things through a lens of gratitude.
Gratitude is being “thankful for everything you have and everything you experience.”
When the students in Mr Gamal’s class are constantly upset, he decides enough is enough and it’s time to do something about it!
While wondering through a dollar store Mr Gamal stumbles upon the perfect solution with a simple pair of rose coloured novelty glasses.
Each student in Mr Gamals’ class is given the task of looking through the glasses whenever they find themselves in a negative situation. At the end of the week they then have to report back to the class on what happened.
The story takes the reader through different examples of how a situation can be turned around when a positive attitude is applied.
Mr Gamal’s Gratitude Glasses is an entertaining picture book that shows how children can change their outlook and attitude towards challenging situations.
The simple narrative using a school setting provides an opportunity for everyday examples that children 5+ can relate to.
Overall it’s a fun picture book that allows for extended discussion and learning opportunities.
If you’d like to set your child the same challenge, they can make their own Gratitude Glasses using our free printable template at the end of this blog post.
Alhamdulillah For Series
By Ayeina Official
Gratitude journals are an effective way to acknowledge and record things that you have to be grateful for. For children in particular it is a great tool to help develop a more positive outlook.
The #Alhamdulillah For Series by Ayeina is a gratitude journal for Muslims with weekly prompts for recording things you are grateful for. Filled with beautiful watercolour illustrations, the format and strong use of visual imagery is appealing and educational.
Older children can work through the journal on their own, while a parent can read and discuss the topics with younger children and record their child’s answers.
My daughter (11yrs at the time of writing) loved the images and topics as these helped to broaden her thinking on what she had to be grateful for. Things such as basic necessities like the clothes we have and a home cooked meal, to more abstract spiritual concepts like people who make dua for us are covered in the #Alhamdulillah For Series.
The process of journaling things to be grateful for is a wonderful way to draw focus on positive aspects of our lives. It also also provides the opportunity to look back and reflect on these things.
A fun alternative to a journal for younger children is to use our free Cactus Gratitude Garden printable, available to download at the end of this post.
It’s a creative way to demonstrate how even in prickly/negative situations we can find something to be grateful for!
Zaid And The Gigantic Cloud
By Helal Musleh | Illustrated By Sabrina Pichardo
Having gratitude can help with controlling negative emotions and developing a more positive mindset. The story of Zaid and the Gigantic Cloud is a great way to introduce this concept to children.
Zaid is disappointed when he discovers a camping trip he’s been looking forward to is cancelled. A little cloud of gloom starts to follow him around and Zaid feels like his day just keeps getting worse.
Each time Zaid encounters a setback the cloud gets bigger and bigger.
It’s not until Zaid starts to look at things differently that his emotions start to change. Suddenly the weight of the cloud he is carrying around starts to lift.
Zaid and the Gigantic Cloud is a book that helps children to understand that turning negative emotions into positive ones can be tricky. But it’s a skill that they can learn through having a mindset of gratitude.
Our free printable Gratitude Cloud is a fun way for children to continue the story. This simple craft activity is a great way for them to use their very own cloud to see how THEY are actually showered with blessings.
You can download your FREE Gratitude Cloud Printable at the end of this post.
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Use the craft activities below to encourage your child to discover and record things to be grateful for.
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Do you have a favourite book about gratitude for kids that you think I should include in this review? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.
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