Many children in the UK will be heading back to school over the next couple of weeks, and of course parents are concerned about how to protect their physical and mental health during the ongoing pandemic.
Although we should implement any protections that are in our control - maintaining social distancing, wearing a mask etc. - it is important to remember that there is much that we can't control. We are limited in our abilities and dependent upon Allah to protect us, for no harm can befall us or our loved ones except by His Will.
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, 'If you were to rely upon Allah with reliance due to him, he would provide for you just as he provides for the birds. They go out in the morning with empty stomachs and return full'. [Tirmidhi]
He (saw) also said, 'People whose hearts are like the hearts of birds (meaning they rely on Allah or are soft-hearted) will enter Paradise'. [Muslim]
Thus, while teaching your children how to take care of themselves as they head back to school, it is also important to remind them to call upon Allah for help and trust in Him.
Ibn al-Qayyim said, 'Du'a is one of the most beneficial remedies. It is the enemy of calamity; it repels it, cures it, prevents its occurrence, and alleviates it or reduces it if it befalls. It is the weapon of the believer'.
With that in mind, we've put together a quick list of protective du'as you can teach your children to recite before they go back to school.
Firstly, teach your children to entrust their affairs to Allah every time you leave or enter the house, asking Allah to protect you all as the only One with the power to do so.
Du'a for leaving the house:
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ ، تَوَكَّلْـتُ عَلى اللَّهِ وَلا حَوْلَ وَلا قُـوَّةَ إِلاّ بِاللَّه
Bismi-llaahi, tawakkaltu 'ala-llaahi, wa laa hawla wa laa quwwata illaa bi-llaah.
In the name of Allah, I place my trust in Allah, and there is no might nor power except with Allah. [Abu Dawud]
Du'a for entering the house:
بِسْـمِ اللَّهِ وَلَجْنـا، وَبِسْـمِ اللَّهِ خَـرَجْنـا، وَعَلـى رَبِّنـا تَوَكّلْـنا
Bismi-llaahi walajnaa, wa bismi-llaahi kharajnaa, wa 'alaa Rabbinaa tawakkalnaa.
In the name of Allah we enter and in the name of Allah we leave, and upon our Lord we place our trust. [Abu Dawud]
Secondly, here are a couple of du'as they can recite to protect themselves and others from illness:
Du'a for protection from a sudden affliction
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الَّذِي لَا يَضُرُّ مَعَ اسْمِهِ شَيْءٌ فِي الأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي السَّمَاءِ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
Bismillaahi-Ladhee laa yaḍurru maʿa ismiHi shayʾun fil-arḍhi wa laa fīs-samaaʾi wa Huwa As-Sameeʿul-Aleem.
This du'a has been taken from the following hadith:
The Prophet (saw) said, 'Whoever repeats, "In the Name of Allah, with Whose Name nothing is harmed on earth nor in heaven, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing" three times [in the evening] will not be stricken with a sudden affliction until he reaches the morning. And whoever repeats this three times in the morning will not be stricken with a sudden affliction until he reaches the evening'. [Abu Dawud]
Du'a to avoid bringing harm to oneself or to other Muslims
اللَّهُمَّ فَاطِرَ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ عَالِمَ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ رَبَّ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَمَلِيكَهُ
أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ نَفْسِي وَمِنْ شَرِّ الشَّيْطَانِ وَشِرْكِهِ
وَأَنْ أَقْتَرِفَ عَلَى نَفْسِي سُوءًا أَوْ أَجُرَّهُ إِلَى مُسْلِمٍ
Allaahumma Faatira-ssamaawaati wal-arḍi, ʿAalimal-ghaybi wa-shahaadati, laa ilaaha illa Anta, Rabba kulli shayʾin wa-Maleekahu, aʿoodhu biKa min sharri nafsee wa min sharri-shaytaani wa shirkihi, wa an aqtarifa ʿalaa nafsee sooʾan aw ajurrahu ilaa muslim.
O Allah, Originator of the heavens and the earth, Knower of the unseen and visible, there is no true god but You, Lord of all things and their Sovereign. I seek refuge in You from the evil of myself and the evil of Shaytaan and his (encouragement to commit) idolatry, and from bringing evil to myself or to another Muslim. [Tirmidhi]
Thirdly, during these stressful times, it is also important to lighten your children's hearts and take care of their mental health. These du'as will help them if they are feeling worried about going back to school:
Du'a for anxiety (and other worries!)
،اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنَ الهَمِّ وَالحُزْنِ، وَالعَجْزِ وَالكَسَلِ وَالبُخْلِ وَالجُبْنِ
وَضَلْعِ الدَّيْنِ وَغَلَبَةِ الرِّجَالِ
Allaahumma, innee a'oodhu biKa min-al-hammi wal-hazni, wal-'ajzi wal-kasali, wal-bukhli wal-jubni, wa ḍal'i-ddayni wa ghalbati-rrijaal.
O Allah, I take refuge in You from anxiety and sorrow, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debts and from being overpowered by men. [Abu Dawud]
Du'a for feeling restless or apprehensive during sleep, or being afraid to go to sleep:
،أَعُوْذُ بِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ التَّامَّاتِ مِنْ غَضَبِه ِِ وَعِقَابِهِ
وَشَرِّ عِبَادِه وَمِنْ هَمَزَاتِ الشَّيْاطِيْنِ وَأَنْ يَحْضُرُوْنَ
A-'oodhoo bikalimaati-llaahi-ttaammaati min ghaḍabiHi, wa 'iqaabiHi, wa sharri 'ibaadiHi, wa min hamazaati-shayaateen wa an yahḍuroon.
I take refuge in the perfect words of Allah from His anger and punishment, and from the evil of His servants, and from the taunt of devils and from their presence. [Abu Dawud]
Fourthly, here's a du'a you can make yourself to protect your children as they head back to school:
Du'a for protecting children
أُعِيْذُكُمَا بِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ التَّامَّةِ، مِنْ كُلِّ شَيْطَان ٍ وَهَامَّة، ٍ وَمِنْ كُلِّ عَيْن ٍ لامَّة
U-'eedhukumaa bi kalimaati-llaahi-ttaammati, min kulli shaytaanin, wa haammatin, wa min kulli 'aynin laamma.
Ibn Abbas related that the Prophet (saw) used to seek refuge in Allah for Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn (his grandsons), saying, 'Your forefather (i.e. Ibrahim) used to seek refuge with Allah for Ismail and Ishaaq with this [supplication]: "I take refuge in the perfect words of Allah from every devil, and vermin, and from every evil, harmful, envious eye"'. [Bukhari]
Finally, in addition to their health, you and your children may also be concerned about how their education has been affected by months away from a classroom. Here are a couple of du'as they can recite to help them study:
Du'a for increasing knowledge
رَبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا
Rabbee zidnee 'ilman.
O my Lord, increase me in knowledge. [Qur'an, 20:144]
Du'a for a difficult task (e.g. studying a difficult topic)
اَللَّهُمَّ لَا سَهْلَ إِلَّا مَا جَعَلْتَهُ سَهْلاً وَأَنْتَ تَجْعَلُ الْحَزَنَ إِذَا شِئْتَ سَهْلاً
Allaahumma laa sahla illaa ma ja-'altahu sahlan wa Anta taj'alul-hazana idha shi'ta sahlan.
O Allah! Nothing is easy except what You have made easy. If You wish, You can make the difficult easy'. [Ibn Hibban]
May Allah protect you and your loved ones from illness, stress and hardship, ameen.
While reciting the above du'as, don't forget that giving charity is also an essential protection against calamity. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, 'Rush to give charity, for indeed calamities cannot go beyond it' [Tabarani].
You can learn more in our previous article about the power of charity during a crisis.
As children around the world begin the academic year, some online and some in school, why not give some Sadaqah towards needy children to support them while protecting yourself from calamity? You can sponsor an orphan, donate a school kit or feed schoolchildren in war-torn Yemen.
May Allah put barakah in whatever you spend for His sake, ameen.