I grew up in a very small village in Nigeria. And growing up, relatives would tell us stories of our ancestors, proverbs, the history of our town, etc. Most of the time, these just felt to me like stories that were told to pass away the time.
But as an adult now, I see those stories for what they were – teaching me about who I am and who we were as a community.
I think of stories in the Qur’an in a similar way. As a Muslim, you know that the stories in the Qur’an serve to teach the rest of us some lessons. But beyond that, they also tell us about who we are as Muslims.
These stories are how we know how Islam came to be, how the people who practiced before us did it, etc., and I think that this is a knowledge that we have a duty to pass on to our children.
We have a duty to help them learn about not just their cultural ancestors, but also about their Islamic ancestors. They should know what happened in the past in the history of Islam, and how we became who we are today.
Because it is when people don’t know who they are that it is possible for others to dictate to them who they should be.
Let’s teach our children the stories of the Prophets and their people so that they know where we Muslims are coming from. Let them be well informed about our history so that no one will try to sell them a different story.
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Effects of Teaching Kids about Stories from the Quran
If you wonder why we need to tell kids stories from the Qur’an instead of teaching them the Qur’an itself or how to speak Arabic, think of all the times that you’ve heard a piece of history that is incorrect.
Think of all the times that the world has changed the truth of a people, such that their descendants are led to believe a lie. Then you will understand the importance of telling our stories from the Quran.
If nothing, telling our children the stories from the Qur’an will help build their confidence in their deen. When the world tells them that Islam is a religion built by the sword, remind them of the Treaty of Hudaibiyyah. Remind them of all the times the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu allayi wa salam) was physically assaulted and he never retaliated.
Let them learn from the source so that they are not led to believe lies.
This is something that I believe we can do alongside teaching our children how to read the Quran. If anything, the stories also help them build a personal connection to what they are learning.
If you haven’t before, introduce Quranic stories as part of what you teach your child(ren) on a regular basis. Use the tafsir of the Qur’an or use child-friendly Islamic storybooks about stories in the Quran. So that they can grow up to be adult Muslims who are aware and confident of their history.