Commitment - Bismillah

There is no formal commitment ceremony for Muslim children because they are considered to be born Muslim. At the age of four they have a Bismillah ceremony. This recalls the time when Muhammad first received the command from the Angel Jibril to receive the first words of the Qur'an.

The child is dressed in traditional clothing, or their best clothes, and he or she sits in front of the Qur'an and recites verses from it.

Parents, relatives and friends then pray that the child will grow up in full knowledge of the Qur'an. They share sweet food to represent the sweetness of the Qur'an.

After the ceremony, the child learns to perform wudu and to take a greater part in the prayer life of the Muslim community. The child also continues to learn and to live by the Qur'an to a greater extent.

Religious education - madrasah

A madrasah is an Islamic school where lessons are given on the Qur'an, the history of Islam and the Arabic language.

Other subjects are also taught to ensure that pupils have full access to what they need for life. Boys and girls are taught separately but in an environment where the Islamic religion is accepted as central to all aspects of life.

A child taught in a madrasah is more likely to be aware of the demands of living a full Muslim life. They will be guided in their study of the Qur'an, which will remain with them through life.