Mission Possible: Teen Da'wah
Some parental strategies and techniques for success in presenting da'wah to their children.
Do you get the feeling that every Islamic oriented discussion with your teens is falling on deaf ears lately? If so, you're not alone, but it may not be as bad as you think. Many children feel an exaggerated sense of independence when they reach adolescence.
As a result, they may feel they no longer need their parent's intervention or advice; perhaps feeling their parents are old-fashioned or out to touch. Sound familiar? For us, as parents, to get our point across, it all comes down to simply this: technique. You may feel as if you are taking one step forward and two steps back, but it's possible that you just need to overhaul your method and revise your strategy.
Timing is Everything
It's true. Timing can really make all the difference. If you try talking to your teens in the midst of them running out the door to go to a friend's house, chances are they will absorb less than 5% of what you just said. Their focus at that point in time is getting where they want to go, as fast as humanly possible.
Picking the right time to talk about Islam is really an essential part of making da'wah (call to Islam) to them. We all have to think back and consider how our state of mind was when we were a teen. Try to remember the type of things that really made you stop and pay attention. Try to think of someone who really made an impact on you, someone you really listened to, what was their technique - what did they do that made a difference?
As ironic as it may sound, the dreaded family outing can be a great time for da'wah. While, for the most part, many teens would rather be doing almost anything other than spending a few days isolated with their parents and siblings, an outing may be just the thing you need. Free from distractions of school, friends, computers and phone is where you'll get the most time to spotlight and highlight Islam.
By simply taking a trip to the local wildlife reservation or nature area can be a wonderful opportunity to point out the fascinating miracles of Allah (SWT). A change of scenery in beautiful surroundings usually has a positive impact on everyone in the family, giving everyone a chance to stop and smell the rose, figuratively and literally speaking.
Finally, Ramadan is a prime time to give da'wah to your teens. It is a time when everyone in the family is more focused on Islam. Between fasting and the Taraweeh Salah (night prayer), it softens our hearts and gives us all time to reflect. Ramadan is an ideal time to get your teen involved at the local Masjid and with the Muslim community.
Search out and find projects for them to do, and tasks to accomplish. Although some teens may be uninterested at first, but by the time Ramadan is over there's a good chance that they will be thankful for the time they spent working for the sake of Allah (SWT) and will remember it for years to come.
Keep it Short and Sweet - Children young and old have short attention spans and easily be distracted. The less time you spend talking, the more effective your point will be.
Make it Relate - Use examples they can relate to in their daily life. Point out situations as they arise and how they relate to Islam. Don't miss an opportunity to point out blessings, miracles and lessons. It is easier to understand and remember things that are directly related to one's own personal experiences or something that they have noticed in themselves.
Start and End on a High Note - Be positive in your approach. Many times we all get overly critical or nit-picky with our kids. It's really easy to do without even realizing it. It is truly important for them to know that we love them and are proud of them.
And it is crucial that we take the time to point out the good things that they do, as well as the bad. For example, if they carry out a good deed, relate it to Islam and point it out. Explain the importance, rather, the magnitude of their actions and the rewards they will receive for those good deeds. In addition, focus on the rewards in Islam equally as much as the punishments.
Draw attention to the halal (lawful) equally as much as the haram (prohibition). Often, we concentrate on the negative much more and sometimes leave the positive as an afterthought or leave it out altogether.
Family Outings - Do some research before the next outing and have your kids look up the miracles in the Holy Qur'an that deal with nature (bees and plants etc.). Then on your outing, have a scavenger hunt to search for those miracles.
Ramadan - This year, instead of staying at home every evening, go to Masjid and serve Iftar (breakfast) to others. Seek out the needy Muslims in your surrounding area and help your teens assemble food baskets, drive them around and let them distribute it to the needy Muslims themselves.
Community - Having your teen directly involved in activities is one of the most effective methods of da'wah. Get your teen to help organize the next convention or seminar at your local Masjid. A group of teens can visit the sick and elderly Muslims in the community. Teens can even organize a weekend camping event with their friends, a few parents and someone knowledgeable in the community to give short talks between activities.
This Mission is Yours
Each of us stops and wonders how the children we raise will turn out as adults. Often we're perplexed which way is best to relay the message of Islam in a manner that will bring successful results. We want to prevent our children from having to learn things the hard way, and shield them from the harmful situations of this life.
More importantly, we're striving to protect them from the Hellfire and make their path easier to Jannah (paradise). This is why we teach them, it is why we want them to listen and understand.
One of the most difficult missions for any parent is to get their children to really listen, understand and heed their advice. It is not an easy mission, as Allah (SWT) tells us: "And know that your possessions and your children are but a trial, and that surely with Allah is a Mighty Reward." (Holy Qur'an 8: 28)
We are, InshaAllah, all attempting to fulfill our goal as parents and Muslims in one of our most trying tests in this life. The more effective methods we use to impart the importance of Islam to our children in their daily lives, the more likely they will be to be among those who enter Jannah and make Du'a (supplication) for us when we are gone.
[From: Al Jumu'ah Vol. 13 Issue 7]