Scary bedtimes, warm snuggles and saying Bye Bye Beasty!
Teaching your child the best weapon against that Beasty, Shaytan!
Who as a child didn't ever have bedtime fears or still doesn't enjoy snuggly warm cuddles before bed? Those hugs and kisses given in the last moments before nodding off to La la land provide a much needed assurity and sense of security from mummy and daddy and help kids feel safe during those 'scary' dark hours of the night. While I was working on pages for Bye Bye Beasty, I was looking back at my own childhood and bedtimes and reflecting on how it was for me. I smile now as I remember our nightly routine of giving hugs and kisses, wishing mum and dad 'Shab Bakhair' (goodnight) and very obediently going off to bed. It was always a warm, loving moment that sent us off to sleep 'soundly'. Without a doubt, what every child needs, especially if you were one like me who was a fraidy cat, even though I had 2 sisters to share a room with! Being the middle girl who would never 'settle down' and was forever giggling with the youngest makes me laugh now (and feel sorry for the eldest who would tell us a million times to shush) and reminds me to lighten up about my own very lively boys who never go to bed quietly and come with every excuse in the book about why they cant sleep just yet!
Why did I write and illustrate Bye Bye Beasty?
As a child, at bedtime I was scared of what lurks in the darkness and what would happen if I closed my eyes. Hiding under the duvet (leaving a peep hole to spot the 'dangers', only to feel too hot and having to come out for air! Listening out, waiting for any sound, that needed a reasonable explanation and if I didn't find one the fear would build till I would have to run to my parents bed. Even though I had my two sisters in the same room, on some nights, I would feel terrified once lights were out. I can look back and laugh at some of it now, but as a child it was not funny!
The only thing that would give me enough relief was thinking about Allah (God) and saying some surahs for protection (the three Kuls and Ayat ul Kursi). At first, It didn't take away the fear straight away but it gave me a tool to feel a bit safer. In time that reliance, relationship and trust in Allah built and it was always the go to thing and made me feel incredibly safe and still does!
Ayat ul Kursi, The Verse of The Throne was one of the longer surahs from the Quran which I was taught. I learnt through repeating it with my mum, over several days/ weeks and it felt like a big achievement for a little girl to have learnt it by heart. I was taught with patience and love which only increased my positivity for learning it.
So, this book came from wanting to help other children or parents struggling with children's fears at bedtime and is designed to help lickle ones learn about reliance on Allah in times of fear and to find calm through it! It has a click, listen and repeat method to practice and learn Ayat ul Kursi. Hopefully, becoming a bedtime practice to last for life to help calm their fears and shoo away that Beasty Shaytan and hopefully get a sound nights sleep.
Finishing Bye Bye Beasty took me longer than I expected it to, simply from life getting in the way to practical difficulties of finding resources to put it together. Completing the illustrations was the easy part for me, and the most enjoyable! But because I wanted this to be an audio learning tool and for me the first of its kind, it was a learning project for me and since it had an Islamic base I had to make sure I do it right! From finding the right child to recite for the Audio and making sure the tajweed was correct, to simplifying the translation for children to understand the meaning of the verse and working on it with a scholar., all took time and patience.
I had help from kind hearted people along the way who made it possible for me to complete this book through patient guidance and inputting of their skills. I am incredibly grateful for it, without them I couldn't have done it. I know that sounds cheesy but its true.
I hope your child benefits from the story!
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