Salaam dear young friends, and we join you this week in the month of the grief that moistens our eyes and saddens our hearts, yet keeps our spirit beaming, thanks to the life-inspiring mourning ceremonies of Muharram and the next month of Safar.
This is our humble tribute to the Immortal Martyr of Karbala, Imam Husain (AS), who taught us how to hold our heads high but refuse allegiance to the forces of tyranny even if it means the cutting of our heads.
Let us study what Karbala, Muharram, and Imam Husain (AS) teach our youngsters.
There is a wide-reaching need for our children to be educated about the tragedy of Karbala, the Ahl al-Bayt or blessed household of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), and general topics about Islam. In fact, many of the challenges our youth face in their adolescent years and early adulthood can be minimized if our communities put in place systems and consistent initiatives for children about Islam.
The children need accurate Islamic facts and information. Most effective programs are not those with the most money. Families, schools, and centres ought to transform the way we teach children about Imam Husain (AS) and the events of Karbala, for instilling hope, perseverance, and faith in God. Here are some ideas:
Focus on character: teach children about the many great qualities of Imam Husain (AS) and his companions so that children can understand why we mourn their martyrdom and disassociate with their enemies.
It suffices to share with them that Imam Husain (AS) went to battle to save Islam and he was martyred in the way of God. It is also necessary to review current curriculum to see how many details are provided.
If not properly taught why the cruel forces of Yazid slaughtered children in Karbala, today’s children may come to their own conclusions which may or may not be positive images of Islam as a whole.
So we all should get involved. There are many great initiatives such as passing out water bottles during the mourning ceremonies or completing volunteer work. These are great ways for children and teens to honour Imam Husain (AS) and establishing a practical life connection to an event that may not seem relevant to a young child otherwise.
Please do teach children the proper manners of mourning and how to behave at a service or programme in memory of the Immortal Martyrs of Karbala.
Younger children should ideally have a separate setting where the topic can be discussed in an age appropriate manner, however, if they are with the adults, please be mindful of them. We are after all, growing the next generation of Muslims and they have many rights too.
These are some of the points to note in these months of mourning.