A few weeks ago we took a day trip to Abu Dhabi. I have always believed that travel was an essential component to a child's education, but now I am slowly starting to see the difference it is making in my children. While at Abu Dhabi we visiting the Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque. This was actually the first time my kids and I have experienced a mosque of this magnitude, grandeur, and beauty. Until this point we have been traveling around Europe and have only been able to see beautiful Cathedrals and churches, but to actually come face to face with a holy place our your background and religion is an incredible feeling. One that makes you feel proud and thankful to be who you are and to know that you are not alone, when sometimes it easy to feel that way, even though it is a known fact that there over 1 billion Muslims world wide.
Since arriving in Dubai my kids have become obsessed with Masjid's (mosques). They never fail to point them out as we pass them, and if you have ever been to Dubai, then you know that you will pass a mosque every 2 minutes :). We were able to pray inside the Grand Mosque, explore, and take in the beauty, and the smells of the incense. Children reading Quran and praying besides their parents. Even the bathrooms were made of marble stone and had flowing fountains for making Wudu (the cleansing ritual before prayer). Its a shame that in the USA we weren't able to be in such amazing homes of worship.
But being here was important in solidifying our roots and beliefs as a family. It is something tangible to show my kids that our religion is beautiful, it is serene and peaceful, and clean and demands attention. And I didn't have to sit down and giver my kids a lesson on these facts or a lecture. All they had to do was observe, and use their 5 senses to gain an understanding of these important concepts and to gain a respect for their identities. Hopefully, our next stop will be Mecca and Medina inshaallah. Religion is something that is often very abstract for children. But as Muslims, we live our religion day in and day out. We praise and seek guidance in our creator in everything we do and every thought that we have. The daily obligations are easily seen and learned so that it becomes apart of the children as they grow up. It becomes a natural habit for example to pray 5 times a day. But there is a bigger picture to paint, and by seeking out these kinds of experiences and taking these sorts of trips aids in instilling this larger message in a child's mind.