We have to face our realities. 2020 did not come on the best of terms for most people around the world. The global covid-19 pandemic has impacted not only economies and businesses, but families and individuals too. Unfortunately, it also affects the vulnerable in our society the most.
It is our duty to help one another in the spirit of what our faith teaches us and also in the spirit of humanity, especially in the coming month of Ramadan. But this year, the fasting month will be a different one for Muslims around the world. If it’s usually that 1 month of the year where friends sometimes get together to have a good Iftar meal at their favourite restaurants or at each other’s homes, this year, everyone would have to break their fast at home with their families.
For some Muslims who happen to stay alone, this can be a particularly challenging situation. So it’s important that other fellow Muslims who know such individuals reach out to them and ensure not only their physical but their mental and spiritual well-being is taken care of.
Also, while in previous years Muslim families, especially the young, love to visit the night markets that usually spring up during the month of Ramadan to buy dresses for ‘Eid or just food and snacks for Iftar, most countries have to cancel these markets in light of the pandemic. Many such shops and markets have explored online channels to sell their goods.
What this means is that families this Ramadan have more time to spend at home on spiritual and educational activities.
But hey, who says all this has to be boring or unproductive? Here are some great activity ideas that will bring fun, cheer and wholesome goodness to every member of your household. We’ll group these activities into 3 main categories: Educational, Fun & Entertainment, and Spiritual, and split them into a trilogy of 3 articles.
- Quran Lessons
- Home Tuition
- Household Chores
Quran Lessons – Okay, you might say this should fall under the Spiritual category, but studying the Quran can be just as educational as studying other literature. There are also parables and stories told in the Quran which can be a source of entertaining moral lessons for the kids (we especially recommend the Surah Yusuf, which tells the beautiful life story of Prophet Yusuf [as], or Joseph as is known by the Western world).
For the adults and teenagers, studying a bit of Tafseer (Exegesis) can be enriching too. There are plenty of Tafseer books and lectures available online. But take it light at first if you’re new to it, and approach it like a curious explorer rather than a student forced into studying it. The idea is to make yourself and your family fall in love with the Quran.
One Advice: Don’t commit to a paid class unless you’re really sure you want to commit time, energy and money to it, otherwise it’d be a waste of time and does not do justice to the Quran. With the study of the Quran, there is no rush – you can take your time. Let your affinity for it arise naturally and organically.
Home Tuition – The word ‘tuition’ has different meanings in different countries, but in Singapore and Southeast Asia, it refers to tutoring, or the practice of engaging someone – who may or may not be a school teacher, sometimes they’re University or College students themselves – to help younger students with their lessons and studies, outside schooling hours.
For many countries, schools are most likely closed due to the ongoing pandemic. Some countries like Singapore institute online home-based learning (HBL) for all students. What about extracurricular tutoring? This has gone online too.
There are many ways and approaches to this – usually in normal circumstances, the tutor comes to the home of the student and conducts the tuition session for 1-2 hours and gets paid an hourly rate (home tuition), or the student goes to the tutor’s home, or to a tuition centre, or it can all be conducted online.
Recently there’s a spike in demand for classes and lessons to be conducted online, usually via Zoom, Skype or Google Meet, because of the ongoing public health crisis. Many of these home tuition services in Singapore are now adapting to the situation and offering their private tutoring online too.
You can consider these services since for many parents having to help their children with home-based learning from school, they’d be exhausted to even think of extra tutoring after school hours besides thinking about their work too.
Household Chores – How can household chores be educational? Why not? If you’re used to having domestic helpers at home doing all the household chores, or if it’s usually something only the women in the house do, then it’s time for an education!
The Prophet (saw) taught that household chores should be shared among all members of the household. He mended his own clothes, cleaned up the house, fixed his own footwear and tended to the livestock. Even when his family hired helpers, they still distributed the workload equally among themselves and the helpers!
Of course every family’s situation is unique and the family of the Prophet (saw) is a role model and example, but we can still turn this into a learning opportunity to improve ourselves this month of Ramadan. If some members of the family are not used to doing the cooking or the laundry or the cleaning up, and not having the skills to do so is an excuse, then this is a good time for them to learn hands-on from the experts!
Cooking is especially one of the household activities that is both fun and educational – especially for kids. Get the kids to help out while the master chef of the house cooks up a meal and they will eventually learn to cook themselves. Allocate easier tasks such as marinating the meats or washing the vegetables. For the older children who can handle it, get them to help cut the meats and vegetables as well.
This will be a “Trilogy” of Articles. In the next parts, just to give you a teaser, we’ll elaborate on our activity ideas under the category of Fun & Entertainment, followed by Spiritual! Stay tuned!
2. Fun & Entertainment
- Hands-On Play
- Art & Crafts
- Media Discussion & Review
- Quran Reading
- Family Congregation Prayers
- Watching Islamic Lectures Online