Seerat Box for Kids: A Meaningful Eid Gift

By Aaqib Anjum Aafi

ISLAM has focused a lot on the correct upbringing of the children. Traditions of Rasulullah ﷺ significantly discuss the duties of parents towards their children, and a true and correct upbringing is the major one. In contemporary times, where parents are occupied with their “work-load”, or their offices, they get very little time to spend with their children. This emotional gap between children from their parents often comes with the worst of repercussions. To address this burning issue, there have always been attempts made by many Muslim academics, activists and scholars, aiming to help parents in preserving the faith and belief of their children, at the least, by something, as little as a “vacation activity book”.

A few years ago, Sufyan Gigani, started publishing several age-group based activity books, from Gigani Publications, in Mumbai. This was hailed by scholars such as Mawlana Sajjad Nomani. Named as “Vacation Activity Journal”, Gigani’s endeavour received wide attention from Muslim parents. It comes differently for three age groups viz. 5-7, 8-10 and 11-16.

However, Gigani’s journal activity journal puts most of the load on the little kids, and doesn’t help much in bridging the parent-children gap. As the name of the vacation activity journal indicates, the little kids would play with the activity book and solve its puzzles when they were on vacations. Gigani, subject to his various other endeavours, was not able to take this further, and this stopped in the Ramadan of 2021.

In the early 2022, there came another such endeavour, called “Seerat Box”, aiming to bridge the gap between parents and the kids. Thought of by Zeya Ahmad Quadri, Seerat Box consists of eight major books that aim to instil Qur’ānic ideas in the minds of kids. These eight books include The Book of Faith, The Book of Kindness, The Book of Rhymes, Environment and Quran, and The Book of Two Holy Lands. Arguably, four of these books form all the idea on which this initiative has been based. The Seerat Box wants to keep the kids well informed about intricacies of time, and has thus included topics such as Earth, Space and Quran, Living Creatures of Quran, and Healthy Foods of Quran. If these eight topics are studied separately, they happen to form the primary basis of an upright Islamic society. In order to aid this idea, Zeya has taken Islamic stories from Amna Khursheed, and added two little story booklets to the Seerat Box, namely, “Mere Sohne Mohne Bacho” and My Dear Kids, interestingly, a similar name in two different languages. There is another booklet named “Our Beloved Prophet”, spreading over not more than ten pages.

Besides books and booklets, there are certain activities that kids need to complete under the supervision of their parents. The best the Seerat Box gives us besides a platform of making the minds of little kids, is its aid in bridging the gaps between parents and kids. According to Zeya, when his son was over one year old, he was searching for some material that he could utilise in his upbringing, but he failed to find anything meeting the standard of the time, making him realise a need to produce such a thing that could cover this gap. He believes that his first priority was that he wanted to tell his son who his Creator is, and connect him with the life of the Prophet from his early days without leaving anything beneficial and necessary from the modern age.

His search began with exploring material for the upbringing of his own son, and ended in the creation of “Seerat Box” aiming to help other parents as well in this noble endeavour of upbringing.

Zeya’s idea has basically been to take care of the contemporary standards with traditional ideas being taken care of as well. Zeya did not want his child to grow under the influences of the West and this was the basis of his idea behind the creation of Seerat Box.

The books of Seerat Box thus utilise all possible modern means that could be used to attract a child to some specific idea.

Seerat Box contains two booklets of stories which aim to entertain kids. These stories have been taken from the writings of Amna Khursheed. Zeya says that he skimmed over and about three hundred books of stories available in the market but they are quite old. The stories that had been published about three decades ago continue to be published without any slight modifications, thus they do not meet the ideals and standard of our time, and this is why something new was required. The elders in our families have had a habit of telling little stories unrelated to real world, such as about fairy legendary women. Due to these stories being world, it had become very difficult for children a number of things, and these required explanations, and sometimes a change in the complete story. The search to look for compatible stories led him to the blogs of Amna Khursheed. According to Zeya, “Amna is aware of the psyche of the children of this age and takes care of their behaviour in her stories. She tells stories in a very attractive and beautiful approach”. Amna is not widely acclaimed but Zeya’s thought that she should be appreciated and known around, taking inspiration from her stories, he decided to begin this through the Seerat Box.

Zeya Quadiri comes from Muzaffarpur, in Bihar. He received his primary education at his hometown, and received his higher secondary education from Jamia Millia Islamia. He has a B.Tech and an M.Tech from Dehradun. Having such an educational background, he has followed in the footsteps of contemporary necessities. He has avoided taking anything from Google Images or directly copy-pasting the stories. Any art that has been used in the Seerat Box, he has paid for it and purchased its license from the copyright holder. This is something that makes it unique, at least in the developing publication of Islamic books in India, most of which, in my opinion, do not take care of copyrights for the most part.

Limitations exist in every second thing but Seerat Box aims at inspiring a specific age-group. In my opinion, Seerat Box is a successful try in this and it should receive more significant attention. A few days are left for Eid al-Adha, and I feel good in calling this a “nice Eid gift”. It should be given a try!

The author is a biographical researcher and founder of Deoband Community Wikimedia. He goes on Twitter as @AnjumAaqib

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