One simple thing that you as a parent can do in Ramadan with young children is to have a daily Ramadan hadith or ayah. This can be discussed in a brief family halaqa that is literally five or ten minutes in duration, or longer if your children are more interested and the discussion takes off organically.
My husband and I have done this for a couple of years now with our kids alhamdulillah. Some days we miss it, but we try to make up for it on the following days. This relaxed family time is a wonderful bonding time for parents and their young children, and it’s also a fun and easy way to engage children too young to fast in Ramadan.
What I did a few years ago was simple: I took a bunch of index cards and cut them in half. I made thirty of these little cards. On each piece of paper, I wrote down a hadith or an ayah pertaining to Ramadan. Each day, we have one of the kids (in rotating order, to avoid fighting!) pick one of the cards to read aloud in Arabic. My 8.5-year-old reads them, my 6.5-year-old struggles to sound out the first few words when it’s his turn, and my 5.5-year-old and 3-year just listen when it’s their turn to pick.
A few days ago, we read the hadith: “تَسَحَّرُوا فَإِنَّ فِي السُّحُورِ بَرَكَة. “.
“Have suhur, for certainly in suhur there is baraka.”
“What does baraka mean?” I asked the kids. We had talked about this concept before.
“It means that Allah puts a lot of results from a little bit,” one of them said.
“Yes, that’s right,” I confirmed. “Remember the story of when Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was digging the trench to protect Madina with the Sahaba before غزوة الخندق, the Battle of the Trench?
The Muslims were so poor that many didn’t have any food. Some had barely any clothes to wear. The Prophet himself, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, had not eaten anything in three days and was so hungry that he had to tie a rock on his belly with a rope, to ease the pain of hunger! Isn’t that heart-breaking?
Then one Sahabi went home to his wife and asked her, “Do we have any food to eat at all?”
She answered, “We only have a tiny amount of dough to make a little bread, and a small goat that we can slaughter for meat. But it’s not much.”
He left and went back to the Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam. Leaning close enough to whisper in his blessed ear quietly, the Sahabi told the Prophet, “Ya Rasul Allah, we have enough food to serve a meal for you and three or four others today. Can you call three or four of your companions to come to my house to eat?”
The man was very careful not to be overheard by others surrounding them, since the food he offered was not enough to invite more people. But he still wanted to offer what he could.
At hearing his whispered words, the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam turned around and in a loud, ringing voice called out to all the men who were digging the trench, “A meal! Come, all of you, to eat!”
The Sahabi was surprised and ran back home, telling his wife, “Rasul Allah has invited the entire Muslim army to eat!! Do we have any more food at all??”
She said, “No. There is no other food. Did you tell him that it’s only enough for three or four men?”
“Yes!” her husband answered.
“Then Allah and His messenger know best,” the wife answered serenely, with full tawakkul.
Soon, a few hundred Muslim men, sweaty and exhausted and hungry from the hard labor of digging a massive trench in preparation for battle, came to the Sahabi’s modest home for the promised meal.
Prophet Muhammad salla Allahu alaihi wa salla offered to serve the food himself. There was a small tannoor oven where a small number of loaves of bread were baking, along with a single pot where the meat of the tiny goat was simmering. With his blessed hand salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, he served each person a generous plate of hearty meat with fresh bread.
Every single man was served. Each person ate his fill. Not one person went hungry.
This is the meaning of baraka: Allah takes something small (like a meal meant to only serve three to four people) and increases it in a special way so that it yields a lot more than expected (such that several hundred eat until they’re satisfied).
When a person has taqwa of Allah and loves Him and tries their best to obey Him in all things, Allah blesses them by putting baraka in what they do!
Suhur is something that the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam has told us has baraka. If we eat a meal, even if it’s small, before fajr comes in and fasting beings, we will feel the baraka of that all throughout the day inshaAllah.
Isn’t baraka amazing?”