How to engage young children with the Quran

Helping Children build closeness with the Quran

Sadly many Muslims are disconnected with the Quran and simply have it in our homes as decoration. Sometimes it's only taken off the shelves during the blessed month of Ramadan. Maybe we’re intimidated by it or satisfied with any excuse we make up not to seek guidance from it.

Parents have a special task of working to instill interest in the Quran by their children beyond rote memorization. Most people have heard that "an idle mind is the Devil’s playground" and when we hear a child say “I’m bored” it tends to mean that they are usually not exerting themselves.

"What can I do to help my child connect more with the Quran" is a question we get often at Outstanding Muslim Parents. I hope to give you a few ideas that can help spark interest for your children which leads to them taking the initiative to go deeper bi ithnillah.

The Magnificence of the Quran cannot be adequately explained in a short blog post and I’ve heard many ulema who have studied the Quran their entire lives testify that we are still at a loss to understanding the full magnitude of the Speech of Allah. However, we should not lose hope because of that, we should actually be excited knowing that there is an ocean of wisdom Allah has gifted us with and it’s an honor to transfer the study of infinite wisdom to our children.

Here are some things that I’ve implemented and have taught other parents who have had success in engaging their children with the Quran. First, understand that about a third of the Quran is Allah speaking to us in narratives from which we are to gather lessons. One thing about humans and how we operate is that we may know or memorize a principle or idea but not fully understand it because we may have learned it in an abstract way. Stories or narratives on the other hand, allow us to feel emotion and causes us to visualize what's going on and since we tend to think in pictures, visualizing helps us anchor the idea or concept in a practical fashion which can be difficult to forget. We can utilize the power of the stories in the Quran to engage our children effectively.

Children tend to have a natural love for animals, for example, and enjoy hearing stories of them even if they are allergic to or are scared of the ones they're learning about. Stories in the Quran especially ones with animals or insects are a great place to start. 

For example, the Story of Prophet Sulayman (as) and the Ants in the Quran 7 (Surah an-Namal). Children love this story just like we do as adults and for many reasons. One major reason is that Allah is making us aware of how the animal kingdom works and we now know that other living beings like animals and insects do think and communicate with each other. I suggest reading the chapter with your young child and discussing what you learned from it. This story has helped me connect better with my sons when they felt the need to instantly crush and all ants when they would see them outside. I really like the approach that Soundvision shared in an article called 7 ways to bring alive the story of ants in your classroom. You can easily do a few of the suggested in your home.

Other stories of animals or insects include;

  • The crow that Allah sent to Adam’s son in order to show him how to hide the dead body of his brother.
  • The birds that Ibrahim (Abraham) had killed and divided upon the mountaintops and then Allah gave them life again.
  • The cow of Bani Israel that Musa (Moses) ordered to be slaughtered in order to disclose the identity of a mysterious murderer.
  • The wolf that was falsely accused of eating Yusuf.
  • The hoopoe bird of Sulayman that informed him about the Queen of Sheba.
  • The termite that ate the staff of Sulayman on which he was leaning while he was sitting dead on his chair. After the termite had eaten through the wood, the Prophet fell down and his death became known.
  • ‘Uzayr’s donkey whom Allah put to death for a hundred years and then gave it life once again, right in front of his owner’s eyes.
  • The fish that swallowed Yunus for a while and then threw him out to the land because he was among those who praise Allah.
  • The dog of the people of the cave that slept with them for three hundred and nine years.
  • Sulayman’s ant that had called the ants to escape to their dwellings, lest Sulayman and his hosts crush them, while they perceive not.
  • Abrahah’s elephant that was ordered to destroy the Ka’bah but was frozen in its place because of his fear of Allah and so he could not proceed.
  • The Mosquito. Surely Allah is not ashamed to set forth a parable even of a mosquito or anything above that. Surah al-Baqarah 26

Spend some time reading through these different stories with your child and in sha Allah they will become more interested and engaged at seeing how Allah relays these stories to us as guidance.

It’s fun way to teach and learn as it opens up the world of the magnificence of the Quran and it is a reminder to us of the Love of Allah for His creatures.

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jazakAllahu khayr,

Nazir binNaseeb

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