Recently in our homeschool Quran class, as I was switching between kids to do their لوح (new material) with them for their hifdh, I was almost done with my 7-year-old when my 9-year-old came up to me. I’d sent him off to memorize his new ayah by himself and then come back to recite it to me.
“Mama,” he said, “I finished memorizing my new ayah. But you have to be proud of me for something that I tried to do, even it didn’t really work out. But I had the niyya, النية!”
“You had the niyya to do what that didn’t work out?” I asked him.
He replied, “I memorized my new ayah and read the following ayah and tried to memorize it, too. But there were big words in it so I didn’t want to memorize it wrong without checking it with you first. But I had wanted to memorize it by myself. You will hopefully appreciate my niyya just like the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم appreciated the niyya of Ja`far ibn Abi Talib and his group of men when they came from Habasha (الحبشة) to Khaybar to join the Muslims in the Battle of Khaybar (غزوة خيبر) but they arrived too late. By the time they made it to Khaybar, the battle was over and the Muslims had already won. But the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم still was so happy to see Ja`far and his soldiers that he told him,
“ما أدري بأيهما أنا أسر: بفتح خيبر، أم بقدوم جعفر!”
“I don’t know which makes me happier: the conquest of Khaybar or the arrival of Ja`far!”
I laughed and hugged him. “Yes, I’m very proud of you and I appreciate your good niyya, even if it didn’t work out. Just like the niyya of Ja`far, رضي الله عنه.”
We had learned this bit of seerah a long time before, but it resurfaced in his mind as the occasion called for in our daily life. Alhamdulillah, children have this amazing ability to learn new things and remember them and pull them out as necessary as they go about life.
So teach your children important things. The two most important things for anyone to learn are the Quran and the sunnah.