Making du’a is an intimate experience that when engaged in regularly, profoundly connects us to Our Creator.
It is extremely empowering and humbling to know that in the Quran, Allah says,
“And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.” (Surah Baqarah Verse 186)
Ramadan presents many opportunities where our du’as are readily accepted by Allah. The best way to prepare for these special times is to know what we want to pray for and then be reminded to pray for those things.
For some, a written list suffices. We may write in on a scrap of paper, or organize our thoughts in a special notebook. For others, simply relying on our memory is good enough.
When we want to encourage our children to increase their commitment to making du’a during Ramadan, we must remember that their age and learning style will contribute to how best they can be reminded.
The Visual Learner
Some children (and adults) are best triggered by looking at things, especially images. If your child is visually prompted, you can ask them to make a book with pictures of the various things they want to make du’a for during Ramadan. Each day, as they flip through the book, they can make du’a for the item on the page. The pictures can be hand-drawn, or in the case of young children, having photographs is particularly helpful.
The books can be made at home by binding loose sheets of paper together, or your child can use a blank journal and draw pictures inside. If you are using photos, an inexpensive photo album from the dollar store will also work quite well.
If your child is old enough to understand the concept of collaging, making a Du’a Board that they can hang in their room will also work well. Here, all of the things they want to pray for are represented on one large sheet. Children can use a bristol board to paste images, words and objects, or they can pin these things to a bulletin board or use magnets to stick them to a white board.
Essentially, look at what you already have and make it work for you!
The Sensory Learner:
Some children (especially children under the age of three and those with certain developmental delays) like to touch and feel things. For them to take in information and meaningfully make sense of their world, they must be able to manipulate things. In this case, a Prayer Pail (or Du’a Bucket) would work well!
To make a Du’a Bucket, use a small bucket, mug or container and fill it with things that you/your child want to remember to pray for. They can decorate the bucket if they wish. Children who can read may do well by writing the names of items on popsicle sticks. Other children may do better with little images being posted on popsicle sticks.
Instead of popsicle sticks, you can use rocks, glass beads, bottle caps or anything else that you find around your home. You can also use a mix of items, such as photographs of family members, or little toys to represent house, school, and so forth.
Please remember to keep the concept of du’a age appropriate. Start your children young. If a child understands the concept of “Thank You”, as do most toddlers, make an effort to make du’a with them daily with the simple concept, “Thank you Allah for_____”.
With my 18 month old, it’s a very simple process, that usually looks like this:
“Thank you Allah for Mama, Papa, Dada, Phopoo…”
“Thank you Allah for my eyes, ears, nose, fingers….”
“Thank you Allah for our home, food, toys, bed…”
(Yes, I also use this time to review other concepts, such as body parts, with my child).
With older children, introduce concepts like praising Allah (with His beautiful names), and asking for forgiveness. Explain to your children that du’a is a beautiful, private conversation between them and their Lord. They can ask for anything of benefit, and their first starting point when asking for anything, should be with Allah, even before asking their own parents.
If your child is old enough to prepare their du’as on their own, respect their privacy, however, if they are willing to share with you, I highly encourage you to take them up on the offer – it can be an incredibly emotional experience to know what your child prioritizes and wishes for.
I hope that you and your families are able to make more du’a this Ramadan. If this post was of benefit, please remember me and my family in your prayers.