As a mom on the go, I often find myself stuck in a car with a bunch of rambunctious kids for a big portion of my day. Since I’m now shifting away from giving my children tech devices, getting them to stay quiet during these rides can be very challenging at times. While some days are not so bad, others are.. well, let’s just say we’ve had our share of not-so-proud moments of children screaming, crying, or pulling each other’s hair as the driver in distress (me) tries to navigate through the crazy and chaotic roads. It’s enough to make me contemplate on whether I should be driving to our planned destination or to the psychiatric hospital to check myself, my kids, or all of us in. Sometimes I wonder if these not-so-smooth car rides (and I am being very generous with these word selections) are a punishment for something I did in my life. Other times, I tell myself that it’s something probably most families with multiple young children have to go through. I guess there is really no point in wondering about the “why,” when I should really focus on the “how,” as in how can I make car rides with kids a bit more driver-friendly?
Since I’ve been taxiing kids around for almost a decade, I have probably tried all the tricks of the trade. While some of them work for a while, before dying out, others were a complete failure. In the process of figuring it all out, I have found that the one thing we were really missing was a car “routine”, and an Islamic one at that. As Muslims, Islam should permeate all areas of our life, and that includes our family car rides. So while in the process of incorporating more Ibaadah (worship) in our car journeys, we may have just found that we can finally attain the peace we desperately seek.
A fun way to kick-start this would be to do a little craft to help them memorize the dua. For younger kids, you can print out the dua and have them decorate it and for older kids you can print out a car coloring page (or anything else) and staple it to lined paper for older kids to copy the dua. Place this dua in a convenient location in the car.
Allaahu ‘Akbar, Allaahu ‘Akbar, Allaahu ‘Akbar, Subhaanal-lathee sakhkhara lanaa haathaa wa maa kunnaa lahu muqrineen. Wa ‘innaa ‘ilaa Rabbinaa lamunqaliboon. Allaahumma ‘innaa nas’aluka fee safarinaa haathal-birrawattaqwaa, waminal-‘amalimaa tardhaa, Allaahumma hawwin ‘alaynaa safaranaa haathaa watwi ‘annaa bu’dahu, Allaahumma ‘Antas-saahibu fis-safari, walkhaleefatu fil-‘ahli, Allaahumma ‘innee ‘a’oothu bika min wa’thaa’is-safari, wa ka’aabanl-mandhari, wa soo’il-munqalabi fil-maaliwal’ahli.
‘Aa’iboona, taa’iboona, ‘aabidoona, Lirabbinaa haamidoon.
An easy (but very valuable) one that you can teach your children is `Subhan-Allahi wa bihamdihi (Allah is free from imperfection and His is the praise)’ (There are countless other ones that are short like this athkaar). You can encourage your kids to memorize the hadith, or ayah of the quran relating to the athkaar during this time by allowing them to quietly repeat it.
And he who utters: `Subhan-Allahi wa bihamdihi (Allah is free from imperfection and His is the praise)’ one hundred times a day, his sins will be obliterated even if they are equal to the extent of the foam of the ocean.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Abu Dharr (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) said to me, “Shall I tell you the expression that is most loved by Allah?” It is `Subhan-Allahi wa bihamdihi’ (Allah is free from imperfection and His is the praise)’.”
Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said, “For him who says: `Subhan-Allahi wa bi hamdihi (Allah is free from imperfection, and I begin with praising Him, and to Him),’ a palm-tree will be planted in Jannah.”
I have recently tried this, and can attest how wonderful it is to drive with a beautiful chorus of adhkar in the background. It sure beats the crying, and screaming I usually hear! 😉
When my kids were younger, we used to listen to a short surah 3 times, and then they would try to recite it 3 times from their memory with me guiding them along. MashaAllah, this simple practice led them to memorize many of the surahs of Juz Amma. I am not going to lie, it has helped me along the way too! 😉
My children love listening to stories, so I try to use this time to tell them of an Islamic story or hadith that I may have heard, usually those with valuable life lessons or we try to listen to Audio stories. For longer rides, some of my kids love reading books, while others get carsick from it. So we give them the option by keeping a few books in the car.
We have really been intentional about having peaceful car rides, and have alhamdullilah discovered that it is actually a perfect time to learn about our deen (since everyone is confined to a small space with nowhere to escape to lol). As Islam in itself means peace, it makes sense that learning about it will bring the peace some of us are desperately in need of. Establishing an Islamic car routine from an early age will also ensure that our children will eventually accumulate alot of knowledge about Islam inshaAllah, and it also sends them the message that we should always remember Allah, even on our car rides.
What tricks do you use to keep car rides peaceful?
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