This is an article about teaching the concept of haram and halal to children.
My children have recently developed an affection for Peppa Pig and her brother George from their TV program.
During a shopping expedition to Ikea this past weekend we found two little piglets in the childrens section and my boys wanted to take them home. At first I thought this was not desirable. Most Muslim parents are not fond of dogs and pigs and think of them as unclean animals and it is so with us as well. However, I do know that for children the profane often makes a much more interesting subject than the sacred.
So I decided that we would bring the piglets home, make their little outfits, and learn about haram and halal. We purchased felt pieces from the dollar store and traced out a little dress for Peppa and a little jumper for George. My son begged to stitch up the suit for George and then snipped the little hole for his tail.
I began by asking my boys why we are not supposed to eat pigs. My 6 year old surprised me by giving an intricate explanation of a worm that lives in pigs and makes humans sick. After his lecture on Trichinosis we discussed the words halal and haram and which animals fall into into either category.
My son then reminded me that it wasn’t nice to eat pigs because it makes Charlotte sad. My son saw the film Charlotte’s Web a few months ago and I agreed that Charlotte had launched quite a campaign to save Wilbur from a fate worse than bacon. Fortunately the boys did not ask why it is ok to eat Shaun the sheep and it isn’t ok to eat Wilbur the pig but I can do a lesson on the mercy of Zabiha another time for Eid.
I then told my children the story of how the pig was created on the ark of Nuh (a) from the sneeze of the elephant.
I am always waiting for little opportunities like this to teach my children something useful and memorable. Today I am pleased to say that I resisted the temptation to shun these little piglets instead of welcoming them into the collection of lessons that we need to teach our children about harmful and helpful things in their world.
Please share your ideas for teaching children about haram and halal.