Before Ramadan, we had a small halaqah where we (the adults and kids present) discussed the idea of intentions for fasting. My husband pointed out that one way to maximize rewards in Ramadan is to stack up your intentions. So a person intends to fast because Allah ordered it, and because he seeks Bab ar-Rayyan, and because she wishes to distance herself from the fire, and, and….
The next day, I asked the kids: what if we could create an Intention Multiplier Machine? You take a simple intention: “I am fasting,” and then add on any number of variations.
You do have to be careful not to have conflicting intentions. So for example: “I am praying for Allah,” and, “I am praying because I want others to think I’m a good Muslim.”
The discussion about rewards came up: what if you are promised a reward like some money for fasting or for completing Qur’an reading?
That led to me to discuss my concerns with the idea of rewards–I dislike them for this very reason: that they lead divided intentions and can detract from iklaas (sincerity).
The recording of our discussion can be accessed here at this link: Intention Multiplier Machine Podcast.
This is a good example of a type of discussion I will have with my kids after we have learned some material. A first session would include the discussion of the topic using the relevant verses from the Qur’an or statements of the Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam). After that, we will have a session like this one where we mind-map the concept or come up with some other graphic organizer for the content.
In an activity and discussion like this, I am looking for:
- the ability to use what they have learned in the past and apply it to novel situations
- the ability to synthesize their knowledge and come up with ways to organize it and relate it to other areas
- the ability to “think outside the box” and expand their thinking on a subject
I was touched by how my son came up with the point in the bottom of the picture. He was reflecting on the fact that I could not fast due to my health, and so he said that one intention he could make was to be grateful for the ability to fast, since others could not do so. So the actual act of fasting in itself is done out of gratitude and appreciation for one’s health.
Do you have any other ideas for intentions to add to the list? If your kids listen to the discussion, please share their feedback!