Fasting in the month of Ramadhan is an act of worship which Allah ordained on all Muslims of sound health that have come of age. This was revealed in the Qur’an, where He says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint,-
-Sura Al-Baqarah, Ayah 183
Some of us learn to fast from early ages, others much later in life. For the average child who is being introduced to the Ramadhan experience for the first time, learning the art of self-deprivation and delayed satisfaction can be quite daunting. I specifically remember thinking this was a cruel punishment during my first fast. I could barely keep my eyes open during sahur, nearly drowning in my bowl of soup!
Upin and Ipin is an endearing story which follows the journey of the twins during Ramadhan in their traditional Malay society. It cleverly answers various questions that young ones may have about the holy month, and aims to provide them some solidarity in the form of two five-year olds passing through the same thing and soldiering on.
The show is split into six short episodes which address different aspects of Ramadhan. Each one begins with the twins laying a background for the story before the scene moves to the actual plot.
There is a conscious effort to highlight the traditions and morals which are part of the societal culture in this series, from dressing, to food, manner of greeting, etc. The stories are also replete with Islamic references, such as prayers to say at certain times and teachings from the Qur’an or sunnah.
Quite a number of interesting characters feature in the show, but we will only focus on the major ones who bring a unique dimension to the storyline.
UPIN & IPIN
Our main characters around which the entire story revolves. Upin takes more of the leading role between the two boys and is the initiator of most of their adventures or misadventures, as the case may be 🙂 Ipin is the second twin with a great sense of humor and a tendency to agree with his brother on everything in his comical, “Yes, yes, yes!” manner. He also has a love of fried chicken and can be seen holding on to the same drumstick through the episodes. You can tell them apart from the little coil of hair on Upin’s head and the slanted way Ipin wears his cap.
This is the twins’ grandmother. She is an elderly woman who is in charge of the household, as the boys’ parents are deceased. Opah is full of wisdom and imparts some moral or lesson in our free-spirited twins in every episode, which helps them understand and appreciate the values of Ramadhan better.
The elder sister of the twins, Ros is a feisty young lady who clearly dotes on her little brothers on the one hand, but is quick to discipline them with the other (Spoiler Alert: she dishes out some mean slaps!) Her no-nonsense, tough love attitude complements Opah’s more lenient approach to provide a balance necessary in the lives of growing children.
TIPS & TRICKS:
• The best time to start this series with your little one(s) is at the beginning of Ramadhan. It could provide a form of entertainment for them in those intense, seemingly endless hours during the day and also serve as motivation to complete the fast.
• Use each episode as a platform to launch discussions with your child on important aspects of Ramadhan such as sahur, iftar, taraweeh, eid, etc. Help them understand these topics and their relevance to the holy month.
• Engage the kids in beneficial activities like lectures, breaking the fast with family and friends, giving charity and even helping out in the kitchen to make them feel involved with the whole process.
• Encourage them to learn the prayers recited by the twins in the story, such as the dua to say before breaking one’s fast.
Upin & Ipin is a comical story which will get your little ones laughing their socks off as they follow the twins on their Ramadhan adventures. The simplicity with which the story is told makes it easy for children to connect and grasp the values which are subtly intertwined with the plot.
The phrase ‘catch them young’ is particularly important when it comes to fasting in the holy month. Even some adults never get used to the rigors of Ramadhan, but it is easier for children to learn new habits at the early stages of development. What this show provides is a fun, educational atmosphere for children to get the most out of their first Ramadhan.
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