Masjids & Mermaids

Fact: All living things can worship Allah SWT.

Does that mean Dora, Diego, Ariel and Curious George worship Allah? Well, why not? In our children’s minds, all these characters are living friends, comforting adventure companions. While many  make efforts to keep certain “influences” out of our homes and hearts, the reality is that even “non-tv watching”, masjid-going, homeschooled children are still infiltrated by the lure of Disney, Noggin and Sprout adventures.

The timeless debate lingers….should we let our children play with these princesses, octopuses and glitter ponies? Should they have charcterized  toothbrushes, stuffed toys and bed sheets?  I don’t know the magical answer to this question. What I do know is that all living things can worship Allah SWT.

Little ones don’t seem to understand theological arguments about good and bad role models. However, I think they are influenced when Dora gets ready for salah time or when  Curious George makes dua before eating his banana. The other day, Tinkerbell and my  3.5 year old made dua while combing their hair in the mirror.  Since we cannot have our children live in a bubble, I think it’s important to cautiously embrace the poor role modeling with creative ways of reinforcing good behaviors. 

The other day, my little ones built a masjid  with wooden blocks. This masjid was special  because it was made for creatures under the sea. Then we cut out Ariel Mermaid from our Disney coloring book ( gifts from the neighbors) and she visited the masjid with all her mermaid friends. They all made athan, prayed, swam and played. I hope five years from now, they remember we built masjids and worshipped Allah..

I don’t know what I’ll do when they hit the Hanna Montana craze…

Sharda Mohammed

Sharda Mohammed is a Canadian born mother of two young children. She has a keen interest in learning to foster leadership, self esteem and empathy in young children. She works part-time as a physical therapist.

About Mahaez
  • mahaezz

    What a beautiful way to approach these influences! I was thinking in terms of just keeping my children away, but I know that won’t last for long. I’m learning, jak!!!!

  • ummossama

    AA, dear Sharda

    I will have to disagree on this one. Although we can’t raise our children in a bubble we can make a choice as parents who we want to enter into our homes. Don’t see anything positive in letting Tinker Bell, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Little Mermaid in .

  • Hagar

    Oh, this post hit home for me. I’ve wrestled with this issue so much, still do.

    I know a sister who would have her girls give dawaa to their Barbies. :-)

  • fatima

    Jak Sharda. I’ve personally tried to keep my daughters away from Barbie, Disney princesses and all. But you’re right! They get presents from their relatives and they hang out with their cousins. And this is where my daughter picked up the term ‘sleeping beauty’ and ‘princess’. And even though she doesn’t fully know why it is, she likes the idea of princesses and brides etc. I try my best, but i can’t fully shield them.

    I also try to do the same thing with my daughters when reading English library books or books written by non Muslims. I’ll tell them that the kids in school are reading Qur’an, or the girl said her dua’a before she went to sleep. To me, it sounds weird coming out of my mouth, b/c my mind knows better, but my kids accept it fully, like its a fact of life. And I love that alhamdulillah.

  • TheLadyOfTheHouse

    I tend to agree with UmmOssama but I think the extent to which you see the toys themselves as bad influences depends almost entirely on the amount you allow your children to see/consume the heavily marketed media and other accessories that involve the doll. So, for example, if you buy a simple Barbie doll, maybe even a Barbie “princess” doll, if your child is not consuming all of the other media that defines the doll to her, she can be free to make up her own story for them. Barbie herself shouldn’t need da`wah because why do we need to assume that Barbie is not Muslim in the first place? Even if they are not dressed in a way that we would dress outside our homes, their story can be that they are inside their homes or at a sister’s only party, etc. The key is the media/marketing empire. Buy the toy, avoid the media!

    I make their dolls, animals, etc., say du`aa’ and read Qur’an in their own voices too. So when we make the bedtime du`aa’s, I may grab a stuffed duck, form his wings into “hands” for du`aa’, and “quack” out the du`aa’, all while remining them that animals worship Allah in their own ways and their own voices.