Silsila: 1. Prophet (s)

The first episode of our Silsila project is about the Prophet Muhammad (s) who is the source of all the knowledge that passed from Shaykh to Skaykh down to Maulana Shaykh Nazim (q).  

We learned that when Allah (s) created the light of Muhammad (s) he placed the light in a green lamp that hung in the heavens for a very long time.  

We leaned about a follower of the Prophet (s) who lived in his time but never saw him in person but knew him like a companion.  This reminded us of what we try to do when we follow the example of the Prophet (s) as though we see him.  

My son was very excited to hang the first medallion on the map and asked many eager questions about where the Prophet (s) was born and where he passed away.  

 The first link on our golden chain:

 
Please share your ideas for teaching children about the Awliya.

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Early Reader: My Turban

I have recently begun reading practice with my son who has been ready to read simple words for a few weeks.  Today I finished making his first early reader.  I did try to find something prefabricated but they were all a little too advanced with too many complicated sound rules.  I designed the text to mostly use the short vowel sounds where possible.  My hope is that after mastering this text he will be able to move on to learn more complex reading sounds.

The subject of the reader is his turban.  I chose to make the book personalized for him because I find that children are particularly motivated when the lesson is personalized to their experience and interests.

If you have ideas for early readers or reading development materials for young Muslims please share them with us.

There is now a eBook version with the artwork featured in this post and a print version with photographs instead of drawings.

 


The Blacksmith 

Sparks fly when you visit the blacksmith!

  
For our first visit to the blacksmith the children observed the crafting of a hammer and then got to take one home!

  
The children than took the new hammer heads to the carpenter to be mounted on a wood handle.

  
  

Before visiting the blacksmith we made an effort to teach the children about the extraction of metal from rock and the Islamic technology of making steal to strengthen the metal so it is not brittle.  

The children are young so we found some you tube videos to illustrate these complex ideas.  
We look forward to visiting the blacksmith and the carpenter again soon for another exciting project!

Please send us your ideas for traditional Islamic crafts with children!  

The Cobbler

After a piece of leather has been scraped and tanned it is ready to be cut into useful shapes to make shoes, belts and bags. 

For our first trip to the cobbler the children made belts with special interlocking pieces designed for children to use.  

   
 
Once the belts were assembled the hardware was hammered together.

   


The children modeled their belts.

   

The cobbler also made as a specialty backpack.

  

It was very exciting for the children to visit the cobbler and we hope to visit him again soon for another project!
  

Velum 

One of the first materials used to record the Quran was velum, a type is paper made from leather.

 
As part of our series on the history of paper we visited a leather scraping and treatment workshop and then a tannery.

The children learned about scraping the hides with traditional tools.  

 
They visited an ancient workshop. 
  
They softened the leather.

 
They visited a tannery where the leather is treated and coloured.

  
It was very exciting to learn about this process and we look forward to more projects to do with leather working and other traditional arts.  

Please send us your projects and ideas to help children learn about the rich cultural history of Islam.  

Paper Making 

Before paper making was a commercial process paper was made of many things like leather, bark, or papyrus. As part of our series on the history of paper we made paper from recycled paper materials.

We included non paper remnants to make it pretty.

  

We soaked egg cartons and other paper products that were finished.  

  

Once the paper pulp was soft we mixed it and placed it on a screen.

  

We pressed the water out as much as we could to aid the drying.

 

  

We enjoyed this paper making craft very much and hope to have more crafts on this theme in the future. 

Please send us your ideas for projects to help children learn about history and culture.  

Aloe Silk Mill

Among the many uses we know of for the aloe plant is the use of its fibers for textile weaving.  

We were able to visit an aloe silk mill to learn how the craftsmen extract, color and weave the threads.

 This is the harvested aloe plant.

  
The craftsman showed us the extracted fibers by tearing the plant.  


The boys were then able to see the loom in action.

    
The textiles were beautiful and the boys enjoyed modelling them.  
 

The Lawh 

The lawh is a wood board that is used to teach Quran.  This is a very old and traditional method where the student copies from the instructor and practices the passage by reciting until fully memorized.

   
  

The students use an ink made from olive pits.  The passages are erased with chalk and water and then placed in the sun to dry.  

  
 

The pen is made of bamboo.  

We were very happy to learn about this traditional method of learning Quran and were especially excited to still find the old materials to do so.  

Please submit your traditional family projects so that we can learn from you!

The Baker

After our visit to the Miller we are ready to make the bread.  We started by making the dough:

  
Then the children prepared to take their dough to the baker:

  
The baker allowed the children to put the bread in the oven:

  
When the bread was done he gave them the finished tray:

  
And of course they had to sample the rolls:

  
The children enjoyed learning about the traditional process of making bread in the old way.  They look forward to making another type of bread next time!

Please send us your traditional food ideas to share with children!  

The Miller

A good friend arranged for us to take our boys to the local grain mill.  We were planning to make homemade bread and wanted to see all the steps of the process.  

We started with buying the grain:

  
And then taking it to the mill:

 
And learning from the Miller:

  
We were so excited to have our freshly milled flour and we’re looking forward to making bread!

If you are able to visit a local crafts person and learn a traditional craft please send us your project.  We would love to see your ideas!