Character Building during Ramadan | The Muslimah Guide
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Character Building during Ramadan

Charecter Building during Ramadan

 One of the most important aspects of Islam is that one should strive to have high moral standards and good manners.  When asked about the best of the believers, the Prophet (sallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied, “They are those who have the best character and manners.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhee: 1162; Sunan Abu Daawood: 4682)

The Prophet (sallaahu alayhi wasallam) is the best example for all of us to follow, as he had high standard of morals and the best manners. If there is one area in our lives that we should constantly be improving it’s our relationship with Allah and those close to us and the best way to do that is to be a person of high morals and manners. What better time to start cultivating good character than in the month of Ramadan when we are more Allah conscious.  

Character Traits to Focus on in Ramadan:

Generosity:

Generosity was among the countless good qualities of the Prophet (sallaahu alayhi wasallam). He was the most generous of people and he used to be the most generous in Ramadan. (Saheeh Muslim and Bukhari)

 

Practical tip: With Eid almost here, along with buying gifts for needy families, why not also have a closet day, a day in which they go through their closets and bag up things that are too small or not worn to donate to charities? Another idea would be to ask your children to go through the pantry at home and find any canned goods that haven’t been used within the last 6 months and donate those to families who are in need.

 

Forgiveness:

The Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) always repelled evil with kindness, and mercy.  One of the greatest quality of Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) was that he never took revenge on anyone for personal reasons and always forgave even his enemies. What did the prophet do when his own people the Quraish mocked him, beat him and even tried to kill him? He showed them mercy and forgave them, and it is this tolerance that led many to convert to Islam later in the dawah of the prophet.

Practical tip: All siblings disagree, quibble and fight. I remember my siblings and I would argue just about anything you can think of. Although sometimes these arguments can lead to lasting bitterness, most of the time we were able to sort out our  problems among ourselves. However, there are times when a parent needs to step in and remind their kids about the importance of forgiving and “wiping the slate clean.”

 

Love:

The Prophet (sallalahu slaihi wasallam) said, “None of you will (truly) believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself,” which is comparable to the Golden rule that we all know: “treat others the way you want to be treated”.

 

Practical tip: We find it easy to give away the things we don’t want anymore, but have you ever tried giving away something you actually love, for the sake of Allah? Next time you’re donating something, ask your child to add one thing they actually love. Why? Because if your kids love it for themselves, they will love it for others too.  They will also learn to put others first before themselves, a skill that is not easy to learn in this day and age, especially for kids. Eventually, they will also discover inshaAllah that in addition to it being sunnah, giving has its own set of rewards.

Honesty:

Narrated Abu Hurayrah: The Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)” Therefore, fasting is multidimensional – along with the physical aspects of fasting, one must also nurture the social and spiritual elements, which includes refraining from lying, in order to fully benefit from fasting.

 

Practical tip: An interesting study done on whether reading moral stories about being honest had impact on children, showed that children were much more motivated with positive role models in stories who were rewarded for their honesty, rather than adverse characters who were punished for their dishonesty.

As Muslims, we don’t have to look far to find that positive role model, or these moral stories for our children as we have our prophet (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) to look up to, and the seerah to learn from.  During Ramadan, we should make extra effort to teach our children about the life of the Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wasallam), how his nicknames was  Al-Sadiq (the truthful) and AlAmin (the trustworthy), and how his honesty carried him far in life.  The more our children learn about our Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) and his beautiful characteristics, the more our children will love him and want to follow in his footsteps.

 

Perseverance:

It is reported that Al-Hasan Al-Basri (Allah have mercy on him)  said when asked ‘what is Iman (faith)?’:

“It is perseverance (al-sabr) from the things that are forbidden by Allah the Mighty and Majestic and acceptance.” When he was asked, “What is perseverance and acceptance?” he replied, “al-sabr is to persevere in holding back from what Allaah has forbidden, and [acceptance is] acceptance of what Allah the Mighty and Majestic has commanded.” (Abu Bakr Al-Daynuri, Al-Mujalasah wa Jawahir Al-‘Ilm 3:535.)

 

Practical tip: Fasting in Ramadan can be especially hard for kids but we should still encourage them to do so because it’s important for children to go through hardship sometimes. I know it’s hard for us to watch our kids suffer, but if we allow ourselves to just take a step back, we will discover that our children will learn much more from this experience than from any lecture we may give them about perseverance. As well-intentioned parents, we may have a tendency to try to cater to their every comfort, but we should not forget that we also need to prepare our children to undergo some hardships. This will allow them to develop character, and also learn that great achievements often require work and sacrifice.

Anas ibn Maalik and Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) said:

حُفَّتِ الْجَنَّةُ بِالْمَكَارِهِ وَحُفَّتِ النَّارُ بِالشَّهَوَاتِ

“Jannah is surrounded by hardships and the Hell-Fire is surrounded by desires.”

[Muslim #2822, al-Tirmidhi #2559. Al-Bukhari also reported it with a different wording.]

As parents we shouldn’t stop our children from learning something new just because we are afraid they might “stumble.”  Children develop self-confidence when they figure out how to do things on their own. Letting your child try and try again will teach them more about themselves than you rushing in to help them figure it all out. If your child chooses to fast, it’s best to allow them to figure out if they want to complete the full day or part of it because if they don’t complete the full day of the fast, they will eventually get there if given the support and encouragement.

 

Love for knowledge:

Islam calls us to seek knowledge. The Messenger (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) made seeking knowledge an obligation upon every Muslim. He said that the scholars are the heirs of the Prophets and that the Prophets did not leave behind dinars and dirhams (money), rather their inheritance was knowledge, so whoever acquires it has gained a great share. And he (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) said that seeking knowledge is a way to Paradise, “Whoever follows a path in the pursuit of knowledge, Allaah will make a path to Paradise easy for him.” (Narrated by Al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-‘Ilm, 10) 

 

Practical tip: In Islam, knowledge comes before action, so encourage older children to teach the quran they know to their younger siblings.  You can also start a “share what you learned” at the dinner table. Take that time to find out what your child has learned and discuss with them the important lessons they have derived from those ‘stories’, hadith, or ayah’s in the quran. 

Another important aspect of seeking knowledge is to make Dua that Allah blesses guides you upon the truth and increases you in knowledge. A great dua to teach your children is : “My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.” (Ta-Ha 20:114)

 

Love for the Sunnah:

In order to become the best at anything, you have to follow what those before you who have excelled in their fields have done. So emulating the Prophet (sallaahu alaihi wasallam) and his companions is very important in order to become the best Muslim you can be. The Prophet established sunnahs for  drinking water, walking, sleeping, etc.  He also showed us how we should behave when we fast. 

Abu Hurayrah (Radiyallahu anhu) reported: “When any one of you gets up in the morning in the state of fasting, he should neither use obscene language nor do any act of ignorance. And if anyone slanders him or quarrels with him, he should say:” I am fasting, I am fasting.”

 

Practical tip: It is from the Sunnah to let those who are mocking or annoying you know that you are fasting. As always, siblings will quarrel. Teach them to forgive one another and remind them of the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallaahu alaihi wasallam) to say “I am fasting, I am fasting”. This reminds the person saying it to be patient and signals to the other person that they should stop.

 

Gratitude:

We all know we can never count all the blessings Allah (Subhanahu wa tala) has given us, but Ramadan is the time we are reminded of how much we really take for granted. When it’s time to break our fast for iftar, though our tables may be spread with so much food, we should not forget that there are other Muslims who are less fortunate than us who may be scrambling to find any scraps to break their fast with.

 It is reported that ʿAli Bin Abi Ṭalib (Radiyallahu Anhu) said:

Blessings arrive with gratitude [to Allah], and gratitude is connected with more (blessings), and the two are tied together: more blessings from Allah will never stop unless gratitude from the servant stops. (Ibn Abi Al-Dunya, Al-Shukr article 18.)

 

Practical tip: Ramadan is the time for giving, contemplating and improving ourselves. Have your kids go through this Hungry Planet: What the World Eats book. Hungry Planet profiles 30 families from around the world, some from affluent countries and others from the third world. The book captures what they eat on a typical week.  Because the book does a wonderful job of putting things into perspective, you can take this time to discuss the differences between what people eat and why Ramadan is a good time to show compassion for those who are less fortunate.

 

It is reported that Abu Hurayrah (Radiyallahu anhu) used to say: Whoever does not think that his speech is part of his deeds and that his character is part of his religion will be destroyed without even realizing. (Ibn Abi Al-Dunya Dham Al-Kadhib wa Ahli article 94.)

 

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  • Ayeina says:

    How beautifully elaborated. I hope one day someone makes a Ramadan version of the hungry planet. The amount of food that is on our iftar tables and the amount of food people around the world eat in a week…does put things in perspective for sure!

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