As a first generation Muslim in the UK, Ramadan was perceived then as a month of fasting, and when everything changed. My late Mother was the family gatekeeper, and as the first day of Ramadan approached, she would enter the lounge where my siblings and I were gathered, switch the television set off, unplug it from the mains, and then place a big white sheet over the set. The whole commotion culminated in my Mother saying “This is the Shaytan and Ramadan starts tomorrow”. She followed up by aggressively saying that watching television was forbidden. My Mother’s intention was well-meaning, however as my knowledge of Islam and parenting increased later on in life, I understood that perhaps this was not the best approach. It left my siblings disgruntled as we simply didn’t understand the spiritual meaning of Ramadan and what our Mother was trying to achieve.
As a parent myself, I have reflected back and tried to rectify and build upon the shortcomings of my Mother (which was through no fault of her own but simply down to lack of education and ignorance). As a Muslim parent I have endeavoured to educate my children with the teachings of the Quran and also more relevantly the significance of Ramadan, when the Quran was revealed and conveying that Islam is “a way of life”. My children understand that Islamic knowledge and guidance is absolutely key for them to becoming a good Muslim. They know that Islam is not a bolt on or a temporary measure, Islam is a holistic framework based on the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
With Ramadan tapping at our heals, Alhumdulillah! My children and I have already had our annual Ramadan conversation about our meal preparations and things we will do to make the month more enjoyable and rewarding. This is because my children have the knowledge and understanding of Islam and Ramadan. We don’t need to talk any more about abstaining from worldly attractions such as Television because this has already been engrained into their knowledge at an early age through their Islamic education.
I was not fortunate enough to have gained relevant knowledge at an early age, I believe that every Muslim parent has a responsibility to impart their knowledge to their children. Once Islam is understood, observed and appreciated, it becomes a way of life.