Ummah in a very simple way



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Kindergarten

Age: 4-5

Focus: Fun activities. Basic manners and basic understanding of the world. Acting out and physical activities.
Five years olds like to please their friends and be like them. It is a good time to introduce the notion of community or ummah in a very simple way.

They are discovering the world around them and trying a little independence such as going to the neighbor’s alone. They like to sing, dance and act. Prepare activities that will value individuals, give some independence to the child (a Muslim decides on his own it is time to pray or how much he can give in charity; try to make them take some personal decisions they can handle) and use the body as a way to learn (kinesthetic activities).

They will obey rules but do not like time-out when they decide not to. They can be very cooperative and demanding at times and their patience is small. Build activities where children do not have to wait more than a few minutes (write very organized activities) and where they take turns and learn to listen to each other, but not for long. Activities should be conducted at a fast paste, in small portions. They can spend a long time singing or doing an activity they really like. Create activities where children can act out animals in the Qur’an or other activities where they can be prophets, heroes, etc. Rasulullah (peace and blessing be upon him) used to give dates to encourage children to do Salat or other acts of worship; you can introduce activities with rewards at this point. After a while, children will not want the reward. However, if the activity interests them, they will not want any rewards.

A big milestone is that they can now distinguish between fantasy and reality. Build games where children will have to find what’s wrong in the picture or the statement. Be creative while proposing activities. Determine what is very likely, equally likely, less likely, impossible to happen.

Kindergarten children will follow two step oral directions in sequence. They are able to place pictures in a logical sequence. They can identify rhyming words using pictures or orally presented words. Work on rhymes, rhythm, repetitious pattern and identifying the beginning, ending and middle sounds of Arabic words. Work on Arabic action words with the children and act those words. Identify opposites. Answer and ask questions, retell the story, draw a picture about the story. Use matching games and memory games that involve completing a pattern. Work on solving simple problems together.

This year, children will be introduced to writing, but not much. Write first name in English and Arabic. Learn to write the names of the Prophets (peace be upon them all) and other important people. To practice writing, use labels, lists, messages, stories. Brainstorm and write a few lines about an idea, familiar experiences or brief descriptions.

Work on the senses using the vocabulary: heavier-lighter, longer-shorter, more-less, bigger-smaller, full-empty, in-out, above-below, over-under, top-middle-bottom. Apply this vocabulary to Islamic situation such as we do not eat more when we are full; we eat less than we feel like in case we get too full, etc.

Describe two dimensional shapes. Use common Islamic objects such as the Kaaba (square), the beads used for the tasbeeh (round), the prayer mat (rectangle), etc. Recognize symmetry in the environment like the wings of birds. Talk about the way Allah has made things perfect and how Allah has paired all the animals. It is a good time to introduce the story of prophet Nuh (peace be upon him) and the pairing of animals.

Learn about basic symbols to represent what is missing and also useful symbols of everyday life (hazard, caution, danger). Relate those words to Islam such as stop for non-halal foods, lying is in the danger zone or a hazard, talking abut other people a lot is in the caution zone because there is the possibility we end up backbiting, etc.

Create simple patterns like the ones present in Islamic architecture. Also study sound, movement patterns.

Recognize elements of the day and night (sun, moon, stars, planets) and that the position of the sun in the sky appears to change during the day. Teach that the cosmos obeys the laws of Allah, that we have no power over them.

At this age, they need to learn cooperative learning as well as sharing such as sharing lunch, toys, etc. During Ramadhan, remind children to be on their best behavior and be extra nice with each other.

Work on diversity and why we should be proud to be Muslims. Describe basic facts and traditions about Islamic holidays. Discuss changes that occurred in peoples' lives when they moved to the United States or moved from a Muslim country (dress code, food has to be watched, we do not hear muezzins in the streets, most people do not pray the way we do, etc.)

Classify pictures representing life long ago, life today or life in the future. Identify the different basic means of transportation in the past and in the present, the dress, the way houses were and are build now, etc.

Identify and teach basic needs and wants, and show that they are universal.



Explain how work contributes to society, and finding a job is one of the ways we can earn money in exchange for goods. In Islam we do not get but what we strive for (Qur’an verse). This is why we have rewards and punishments. Adults also get rewards and punishments like little kids do.


Format of lesson to Avoid: A minimum of time should be used for writing activities. Children that age should focus on understanding basic things, not on memorizing facts. Memorization will occur only if it is reinforced in different ways. Kindergarten children like fun activities everyday! Use painting, crafts, songs and rhymes, simple du'as and manners in greeting and eating, stories and games to reinforce basic akhlaq (manners).
After this Grade, the Students Should Know:

Qur'anic Concepts & Knowledge

1. Surahs: Al Fatihah, Al Kauthar and Al Ikhlas. (Teach surahs plus their meaning in English)

2. The Qur'an is the Book of Allah. It was given to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him).

3. It is a special book that guides people so they can live happy.

4. We must have clean hands before we can touch it and must treat it with care.

5. When to say Tasmiyah (mentioning the name of Allah or the Bismillah) and Ta'awwudh (A`ūdhu billāhi min ash-shaitāni r-rajīmi أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم - meaning "I seek refuge in Allah from Shaitan, the Damned.)

6. People must read the Qur'an everyday. People who do that will become more happy and Allah will love them more.

7. The Qur'an was given in the Arabic language, that's why we should learn how to read it in Arabic.

8. A surah is a Qur’an chapter.

9. Almost all surahs (chapters) in the Qur’an start with the Bismillah.



'Aqeedah

1. Allah is the Maker of everything and everyone.

2. Allah is just one and doesn't need any helpers.

3. Allah can do anything He wants.

4. Allah is just and wise.

5. Allah is here forever.

4. Allah loves us and wants us to follow His rules. His rules are made for our own good, not to bother us. If we following His rules, we will be successful in life and we will be number one in all that we do. If we do not follow His directions, we will be unhappy and lost. His rules are like class rules that help us be courteous to each other and work in harmony as a group.

5. Allah is like a teacher watching us and seeing how well we follow His rules. If we do a good job and love Him, He will reward us; if we disobey Him or ignore His rules, he will punish us or make us grumpy in life.

6. Allah made Angels to watch over us and record our good and bad deeds. They are made of light and do everything Allah wants them to.

7. The Angel that brought the Qur'an to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) was named Jibra'il.

8. There is a bad creature called the Shaytan who wants to hurt the good people. He is invisible and only Allah can protect us against him.

9. Allah gives us four angels to protect us. If Allah wants something bad to happen to us, He asks one angel to move out of the way. Therefore nothing can happen to you if Allah does not want it.

10. Allah chooses people to bring His messages to other people. These special people are called Prophets. The first Prophet was Adam and the last Prophet was Muhammad.

11. Sometimes the Prophets are given a lot of Allah's teachings and rules. When this happens, we call all those things put together a Book of Allah. There were some Prophets who got Books. The Prophets who got books are called prophets, but they are also given another special name. They are called Messengers because they are bringing the messages of Allah; the are the special mailmen of Allah. The last Book of Allah is the Qur'an. That's why it's special.

12. The word for Prophet in Arabic is Nabi Allah.

13. All people must try to follow Allah. When you follow Allah, you are following what is called Islam. The word “Islam” means to follow what Allah says. The people who do this are called Muslims. Each one of us are called a Muslim or, for ladies and girls, Muslimah.

14. A Muslim is a person who is extra good. We must never do or say bad things that hurt people. If a Muslim does do a bad thing, he or she has to ask Allah to forgive him or her. We have to say Astaghfirullah and ask forgiveness from the people we hurt. Sometimes saying “I’m sorry” is enough. If we took something from a person, we must return it or its equivalent. This is why it is better not to even pick up an object lying from the floor unless we intend to find its owner.

'Ibadah

1. The Shahadah ('ašhadu 'al-lā ilāha illā-llāhu wa 'ašhadu 'anna muħammadan rasūlu-llāh) is what we say to be a Muslim and what we say in the Salah. It means: "I say that there is no god but Allah and I say that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah."

2. Muslims pray to Allah because Allah made us to pray to Him.

3. Everything prays to Allah, even animals, even the Angels.

4. Prayer is called Salah in Arabic.

5. We must pray Salah on time, this way we can remember Allah at regular times throughout the day. Offering Salah on time is like brushing teeth or remembering to eat; it is necessary and has to become a habit. We enjoy Salah the same way we enjoy eating. And Salah is necessary as brushing teeth is necessary so that we do not get crooked teeth.

6. Salah reminds us to be good and it also makes some of our bad deeds fall away from us.

7. Practice Qiyam, Ruku, Sajda and Jalsa a few times a week. Make it a reward or even a game. Offer praises. If students do the movements of Salah correctly, they can have a special treat or gain a privilege; it can take the place of punition, to make for it (Salah makes our bad deeds go away).

8. We wash ourselves before we pray. This is called Wudu.

9. Make Wudu with the students. You might use the song “head, shoulders..” using the order in which we wash body parts for Wudu. Draw the shadow of a person and play a game highlighting the parts of the body that are cleaned first, then second, third, etc.

Say the Tasmiyyah: "Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem" before making Wudu.

Say the Shahadah after making Wudu; say: "Ashahadu an la ilaha illallah. Wah dahu la shareeka lah. Wa ashahadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa rasulhu."

10. The names of the Five daily prayers (Arabic: صلاة, Qur’anic Arabic: صلوة) and the time in which they are prayed. You can create a schedule like a timetable that looks like a craft or a clock with the times.

1- Salah Fajr (صَلَاةِ الْفَجْرِ) (Dawn Prayer), (Surah Al-Nur 24:58) offered from dawn to sunrise.

2- Salah Dhuhr (ظهر) offered after true noon until Asr.

3- Al-Salah Al-Wusta (الصَّلاَةِ الْوُسْطَى) or (الصَّلاَةَ لِدُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ إِلَى غَسَقِ اللَّيْلِ ) (or The Middle Prayer), (Sura Al-Baqarah 2:238) and (Sura Al-Isra 17:78) or Salah Asr (عصر) offered when the shadow of an object becomes equal to its length until sunset.

4- Salah Maghrib (مغرب) offered after sunset until dusk.

5- Salah Isha’a (صَلَاةِ الْعِشَاءِ) (Night Prayer), (Sura Al-Nur 24:58) offered at dusk until dawn.

11. Muslims stop drinking and eating during the day for one month every year. This is called fasting, or Sawm or Siyam. It happens in the month of Ramadan.

12. During Ramadan, we are extra nice with everybody. Being nice means sharing with others, keeping the peace, listening to parents, picking up the trash, helping someone, having a good word for everybody. You can use a "star chart" or any other reward/award system to encourage children to do good things. Brainstorm with them and decide what behavior must be rewarded. When we do good, Allah also put a star on our chart.

13. Each year, some Muslims go to the city of Mecca for Hajj. In Mecca is the Ka'bah. People turn around the Ka’bah.


Du'as, Phrases & Ahadith

1. The following Du'as and hadiths should be learnt by the children in Arabic and English:

A. Before doing anything important we say, "Bismillahir Rahman ir Raheem." "In the Name of Allah, the Caring and Kind."

B. "Rabbee Aghfirlee" "My Lord forgive me."

C. When we see something good happening we say, "Al humdulillah." "Praise Allah!"

D. When we see someone doing something bad we say, "Astaghfirullah." "Allah forgive that."

E. "As Salatu 'eemadud Deen." "Salat is part of this lifestyle."

F. "Asleem Taslam" "Surrender (to Allah) and have peace."

G. "Ta 'ahadool Qur'an." "Take good care of the Qur'an."

H. "Ad-dinu Yusrun." "This Lifestyle is easy!" (Ask the kids: "What lifestyle is easy?" Train them to answer, "Islam!")


Akhlaq & Adab

1. Greet each other using: "Assalamu 'alaykum" (meaning “Peace be to you”) and answer saying: "Wa 'alaykum assalam." (meaning "To you be peace")

2. Muslims shake hands with each other when they meet; boys with boys, girls with girls.

3. The best one is the one who greets first.

4. When coming to a group, the single person greets them first.

5. People should never say bad words. The Prophet said, "Allah does not like bad words or using them."

6. A Muslim never say something mean to anyone.

7. Muslims follow the rules even staying quiet in the library is a rule to be respected.

8. A Muslim always obeys his or her parents and is kind to them.

9. Muslim children never answer back to older Muslims and respect them.

10. Muslims always are neat and clean and wear clean clothes.

11. We always wash our hands before and after eating and we say "Bismillah" before the first bite.

12. After we finish eating we say, "Alhumdulillah."

13. We never leave a place messy and always like to clean things up even when no one is watching because we know Allah is seeing us.


Sirah

1. Describe the childhood of Rasulullah (peace and blessing be upon him). Mention his manners and conduct. For example, he didn't run around and get into fights like the other kids did. He always told the truth. He helped his uncle out by tending the sheep and everyone thought he was a good boy.

2. The blessed Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) taught that Allah was one, that all are equal, that the rich should help the poor, that people should be good and truthful, etc...

3. Explain that people at this time did a lot of bad deeds because they had forgotten what the other prophets had told them. Show simply how people get messy when they do not have the guidance of Allah to help them.

4. Explain the Hijrah. Show the escape of the prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) through the eyes of his camel Qaswah. Explain how the Prophet barely escaped with Abu Bakr. Go through the hiding in the cave incident, the story of the spider and the doves. Show the importance of the animals and the way they also worship Allah by helping His prophet (peace and blessing be upon him).

5. Explain why the people of Medina loved to have the Blessed Prophet with them, that He settled their arguments, brought friendship, and peace.

6. Explain briefly that the Meccans tried to defeat Islam but after some big battles, (mention only Badr, Uhud and Khandaq) they , themselves, were defeated. Show that those who are mean and cruel do not win in the path of Allah.

7. Explain how a lot of people wanted to enter Islam because they realized that only Allah could help the Muslims stay strong and united even though they were always outnumbered and families tried to pull them apart.

8. Explain how Allah helped the Muslims because they had true love for Him. Allah always helps those who are true and who follow what He asks of them.

9. Explain that the best person to copy is the Blessed Prophet because he followed Allah's directions the best. Allah said, "Laqad kana lakum fee rasulillahi uswatun hasanatun." (33:21) "The Messenger of Allah is the best person to follow." When we are following his ways we say we are following the "Sunnah." The word Sunnah means the example of the Prophet.


History

1. The stories of the prophets (peace be upon them all) and other people should be introduced in a pleasant way using props and visual aids, puppets and crafts. These stories have one point in common: disobedience and its consequences. Loving Allah is not enough; we must obey Him because He knows things we do not know and He sees everything.



Prophet Adam (peace be upon him) and his wife Hawwa (may Allah be pleased with her). Stress the consequences of not obeying Allah’s rules. Also explain that sometimes we do not understand the reasons of some rules, but one day we will. Allah is wise and wants only good for us.

http://www.al-imam.net/kids/prophet_saleh.htm



Prophet Saleh (peace be upon him) and the Camel. Point out that this story has something in common with the story of Rasulullah (peace and blessing be upon him).

http://www.al-imam.net/kids/prophet_saleh.htm





Prophet Yunus and the Whale.

The Owners of the Garden. (Surah 68:17-33.) Importance of saying: “Insha Allah” (meaning “If Allah wills”). With this parable the people of Makkah have been warned to the effect: "With the appointment of the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) to Prophethood, you, O people of Makkah, too, have been put to a test similar to the one to which the owners of the garden had been put. If you do not listen to him, you too will be afflicted with a punishment in the world, and the punishment of the Hereafter is far greater."

The sinful woman and the thirsty dog. This is a Hadith about a sinful woman who was copassionate towards a dog and gave him something to drink. Allah granted her Jannah. This story offers a contrast to all the other stories because it shows that Allah is capable of great punishments and great rewards for small actions. We should never look at our actions as little or not important; everything we do counts.


Misc.

Manners of eating and drinking:

- Eat healthy because a Muslim has to take care of his or her body as well as his or her soul.

- Clean after yourself because Muslims leave the earth as clean as they found it and make it even cleaner if they can.

- Do not blow on food or drink. 

- Do not waste food.



- Eat dates for snacks.

Use Islamic songs and rhymes in the classroom.




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