When we first started SUHAYLA a few years ago, there were just a handful of resources around to teach Muslim children about Hajj. Alhamdulillah, we are blessed with so many more now: interactive and creative ways for your children to learn about this pillar of Islam. We've compiled our favourites below.
If you use any of these ideas or resources, please do tag us on social media @suhayla.co.za - we'd love to see how your family learns about Hajj together.
Children's Hajj Packages
Dear Muslim Child creates beautiful Islamic resources for Muslim children. One of the reasons we love her resources is because she includes stories, which is a truly wonderful way to learn (plus hers are so beautifully illustrated, mashaAllah!). Her Hajj package has two stories: the story of Zamzam and the story of Ibrahim sacrificing his son. The latter story deals with a sensitive matter but alhamdulillah it has been related in a child friendly manner. The story focuses on how Ibrahim (AS) was steadfast and patient and ultimately became Allah’s friend.
The 116-page Dear Muslim Child Hajj Package has 3 chapters: the importance of Dhul Hijjah, Story of Zamzam, and Hajj. It includes printables, crafts, illustrated poems, hands-on projects and, as mentioned, stories. The most endearing feature is the pack of illustrated letters to your child from a child who went to Hajj (one letter per each day of Hajj, accompanied with related activities).
To purchase the Dear Muslim Child Hajj Package, visit the following link.
Johannesburg-based mum, Faranaaz Gani Omar, has also created a printable Hajj activity booklet which may be purchased directly from her on her Instagram page.
Educational Books & Activity Books
If you have Migo & Ali: A - Z, the encyclopedia for Muslim children, a whopping 17 pages cover Hajj, including how Hajj is performed, the Ihram, the Prophet Ibrahim (as) and his sacrifice, the pertinent places (Mount Arafah, Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafah), the Kaaba, tawaaf, sa’ee and Zam Zam. Very limited stock remaining.
Migo & Ali: Love for the Prophets also covers the significance of Hajj, as it relates the story of Hajer RA and baby Ismaeel AS.
Both of the above books are brilliantly written by Zanib Mian, whose books are also stocked at SUHAYLAkids. She has also written the following explanation of the Day of Arafah, in a very child-friendly manner. Read it on the Muslim Children's Books blog.
In terms of activity books, Makkah and Madinah Activity Book and The Road to Hajj (limited stock) are jam-packed with fun activities, colourful illustrations and fascinating facts plus stickers, to teach your children about the amazing journey of Hajj.
Qurbani can be a tricky concept to explain to your children - we wrote about this a few years ago on our Instagram, visit the following link to read our post on this to guide your discussion with your child.
Storytelling to Capture the Spirit of Hajj
To quote Immy from @silkroadkeepsakes, "Before our children learn about the rules of hajj, they need to learn about the spirit of hajj. They need to learn that we visit the House of God because we LOVE Allah, and not (just) because we want our sins to be forgiven."
While teaching the rituals and significance of Hajj is of utmost importance, relating the essence of Hajj is a beautiful way to get our little ones yearning to perform this pilgrimage. This can be achieved through stories. Our favourites are Yan's Hajj, Going to Mecca and A Little Tree Goes for Hajj, so get these out if you have them in your personal collection (unfortunately all 3 got sold out this week).
Alternatively, if you have been for Hajj, gather together (perhaps around a fire or cosy under blankets) with popcorn and hot chocolate and relate your favourite moments from Hajj to your children. Describe the yearning you felt as you saved for this life-changing experience, or the awe-inspiring moment when you first laid your eyes on the Kaabah, or the intense tranquility you felt at Arafah, etc. If you haven't been for Hajj yourself yet (inshaAllah soon), consider calling older relatives who have been - it'll be a wonderful way to connect during lockdown, and they will really appreciate the opportunity to go down memory lane with your mini Muslims. Encourage your children to prepare for the call with questions they're interested in asking, to keep the conversation flowing.
If your children love audio stories, do listen to the Mamanushka Storytime entitled, 'Why did Allah ask Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son?' - we highly recommend it. Listen here.
In the build up to the days of Hajj, teach your child the Talbiyah (Labbayk Allahuma Labbayk...), and immerse your home with the beautiful sounds of little ones singing it. We recently launched the sweetest Ka'bah Keyring which recites the Talbiyah - a great way for your children to learn the Talbiyah.
Hajj Story Stones
We're huge fans of story stones - they're basically pictures painted onto smooth pebbles, to be used in storytelling. These can be used for Hajj, for children to put the rituals in order and learn about each step of the Hajj process through a narrative.
Below is a video tutorial by Handmade Beginnings, showing how to recreate this at home.
Learning Through Crafts
The internet is abound with amazing creative crafty Hajj ideas. It can be an amazing bonding activity for you and your children - consider doing 1 a day or every alternate day during the 10 days of Dhul Hijjah, or set up a crafts station at home on Eid-ul-Adha. Listed below are some links to check out for Hajj craft ideas:
Hello Holy Days (her page lists a number of crafts, including the DIY pompom Kabah below)
Pointillism refers to a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image. This style lends itself well to dotting pilgrims around a Kaabah, and is simple enough for toddlers to do using finger paint. Pictured below is a simple example which we did a few years ago at a Hajj party we hosted, as well as a beautiful example from Kitab Kids. Simply draw the Kabah at the centre of your page and, using finger paint or a paintbrush, dot the pilgrims circumambulating the Kabah during tawaf. Use different colours to signify the diversity of our Ummah. Discuss the diversity represented and also our unity, as one Ummah, manifested in our devotion towards Allah as we gravitate to His house annually during Hajj.
We're definitely trying out the 'Salty Tawaf' by Dear Muslim Child (inspired by Up A Notch Gifts) - all you need is paper, craft glue, salt and food colouring (water colour paints work well too) - view the step-by-step instructions here.
Paper / Nature Mosaic Kabahs
We love this simple craft by Zayneb (Brb Raising Kids), incorporating nature. If your kids love cutting and gluing, consider the mosaic Kabah (it doubles as a great activity for fine motor coordination). Use the opportunity to discuss the Kiswah (kabah cloth), and have a look online at how this has changed over the years (this article discusses it). Consider watching a video on YouTube of the changing of the Kiswah which takes places annually on the Day of Arafah (see this video from the Day of Arafah during Hajj 2019).
This craft by Red Tent Toys is a splendid (and really simple) way for your children to experience gazing at the 'Ka'bah' (albeit just a picture), especially since we won't be able to visit anytime soon. We can highlight to our little ones Allah's ultimate generosity in rewarding us for simply looking at the Kabah (as per ahadith), which is considered a form of worship. Instructions for this craft may be found here.
For a sensory activity, consider building your own model Kabah using homemade clay. Bibi (from Bibi's Blog) did a fantastic one with her kids, as pictured below. Check out her blog for more Hajj activity ideas!
We've shared this in previous years, and it works well with a group of children, so it may not be as ideal during a lockdown Eid away from extended family, but perhaps your children will enjoy doing it together, or you could consider recreating it on a smaller scale using our Hajj peg dolls.
The Hajj simulation is an excellent and fun way to get your mini Muslims excited and learning about this integral part of our beautiful religion, all through play. It involves pretend play, dress-up (wearing their ihrams), singing (the talbiya / Labbayk Allahuma Labbayk...) and of course, drama / role play (a series of actions mimicking the step-by-step process of performing Hajj).
Set up dedicated sections in an open area for your children to simulate Hajj. From being in a tent in Mina (use an actual tent or teepee if you have), to walking to Arafat, collecting pebbles at Muzdalifah (include some counting here!) and then stoning the Jamaraat. Pretend-play by 'snipping' / 'shaving' their hair and performing Qurbani (using plastic knives and soft toys). Perform Tawaf using a 'Kaaba' (a box or table covered with black cloth and gold decor works well), not forgetting to kiss the 'black stone' and drink Zam Zam thereafter. Set up two little hills as Safa and Marwa for them to perform Sa'ee. Keep the instructions simple, but also try to link it to the meaning behind the rituals.
If your children start fighting (as children do), remind them that we cannot quarrel while on Hajj or they'll have to pay Damm to avoid being disqualified!