GrowMama Blast from the Past: Drawing a Hadith

drawing

I recently moved a bookshelf into my kitchen, so that the children could have easy access to drawing paper, colored pencils, pastels, markers, glue, scissors, as well as all of their school books (you know, in case they feel like doing a math lesson on their own). Drawing at the table has become the go-to activity when mama is busy cooking, cleaning, or just plain cranky. While this has resulted in quite a few unwanted scribbles and way too many cap-less markers, it has also released an exciting flow of spontaneous creativity, discussion, and information processing around my kitchen table.

My two eldest daughters churn out anywhere from two to ten drawings a day (which means I have to find an organizing system for their artwork). I recently handed Iman, my five-year-old, a book from the library on how to draw horses (her favorite animal), with just a “Here, try this,” and she spent an entire morning drawing preschool versions of Arabian horses, while at the same time making pencil outlines for her younger sister to trace over. I wonder at their focus and concentration, which is baffling for children who usually never stick to any one activity for more than a few minutes.

One day we were discussing the benefits of dhikr, and talked about this hadith, “Whenever a group of people sit together remembering Allah, the angels surround them, Allah’s mercy envelopes them, and Allah mentions them in a better company.” When we had finished, as an afterthought I suggested to Iman that she try to draw what she understood from the hadeeth we had discussed, and challenged her to remember the three things that happens when people remember Allah (swt). This is what she came up with:

drawing1

After that experience, I quickly discovered that drawing could be an essential learning tool for learning Quran and hadeeth for children already fascinated by this simple art form. We often restrict Quran and religious studies to a one-way learning experience instead of an interactive one, maybe because we try to instill a sense of respect and a “hear and obey” mentality. However, respect comes after a true connection. Drawing stories and concepts can help children connect with the Quran and hadeeth and interact with the ideas and information they encounter in a creative, nonjudgmental process.

We drew pictures of Hajar and her son Ismaeel in the desert, the angels bowing down to Adam, and drew pictures representing Allah’s name “Ar-Raziq”, The Sustainer. I challenged her to draw the stories and hadeeth without trying to draw Allah or his prophets, since “we just don’t know what they look like.” That seemed very sensible to her, and she’s found plenty of ways around it. Once she’s finished, she narrates the story, verse, or hadeeth using her drawing as a guide.

I am enjoying immensely the drawing and storytelling around our faith.

(And of course, we don’t forget to draw pictures of current events!)

drawing21

Maha Ezzeddine

Maha is a homeschooling mother of four children (5 1/2, 4, 2, and 6 mos.) and lives in Houston, TX. She is an active MAS worker and enjoys reading, blogging, and working for Islam.

Editor’s note: This piece was originally published on growmama.com on Feb. 13, 2011

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  • Duaa

    This post is absolutely wonderful! Drawing is an EXCELLENT means to have children express their feelings and thoughts as well as a way to process the stories they hear and learn. Maha, I LOVE the angels drawing…that is definitely one to be framed!

    Another activity to try is to have kids draw pictures of their family. These pictures can be extremely revealing as to how they perceive the current family dynamics. When my baby was born, her older sibling drew a picture of the baby much larger than the other members of the family, almost looming over everyone else. Inadvertently, she seemed to be giving a message.

    Look for other clues too…hands/arms carry great importance in children’s drawings.

    I have dedicated a wall in our house for “Family Portraits.” Yet, none of them are photographs, just the kids’ family drawings that have progressed over the years!

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  • http://oldmuslimwomanintheshoe.blogspot.com Aishah

    Asalaamu Alaikum

    Drawing pictures of animals and people is forbidden in Islam. I only allow my kids to draw pictures of inanimate objects.

  • ummossama

    Love the drawing and the idea!

  • Kariman

    This is beautiful Maha. My friend, who teaches Qur’an to little children also has a specific drawing pad for each child. In the process of memorization, after she explains the surah, she gives each person their pad and asks them to describe what they understood. some draw and some write and some do a combination of both. I’m loving this idea!

  • http://marwaaly.com marwa

    Love, love, love!!! You’re so creative, masha’Allah. I wonder if I should have my college students do the same thing :D

  • Dalal

    Great point about true respect coming after a true connection. Drawing seems like the perfect way to learn something: your kids are emotionally engaging and actively interpreting the quran and hadith that way…very cool! and as a bonus you can collect their drawings into a portfolio for them to look back on when they grow up.

  • mountaineer mama

    very useful post. JAK.

  • Maliha

    Salamaat Maha,
    I love love love this post. I too, recently created an art nook in the kitchen and have seen a proliferation of art-work including caked up paint brushes and cap-less markers etc etc :p

    I love the idea of having them draw out concepts and the connections behind it. Jazaki Allah kheir for sharing!

    Duaa, I am curious what do arms/hands signify in children’s drawings?

  • Um Hadi

    Very nice ma sha Allah sister Maha – may Allah place barakah in your efforts and give you the strength to continue to raise your children according to Allah (swt) loves and being so creative about it as well.

  • nigella

    Salaam.

    Are we allowed to draw prophets(Islmaeel as mentioned in the post)? Also, someone mentioned drawing animals/people is “forbidden”…. can you elaborate please? I loved the idea except for the drawing prophet part(I’m not sure if it’s allowed, concerned).

    JAK sister.


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