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This clip comes from the BBC series: Pilgrimage – The Road Through Portugal.

The Pilgrims reach the end of their long journey in the city of Fatima, one of the world’s largest Catholic pilgrimage sites. They go straight to the famous Sanctuary which was built and developed over nine decades on the field where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to three shepherd children. Dominating the square is the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, finished in 1953.

Su and Vicky visit the Chapel of the Apparitions, built on the very spot where the shepherd children said the Virgin Mary appeared. Here they are moved to see devout believers approach the chapel on their knees, praying for favours or fulfilling promises to the Virgin Mary.

Watch full episodes on BBC iPlayer.

Pilgrimage Moments: Arriving at the Fatima Sanctuary


Rita:        We're here. Look, guys, this is it. Oh, no. It's all we've got here. We did it! Flipping heck!


Narrator: Once a small rural village, Fatima is now a thriving city. At its center is the famous sanctuary. Covering a huge area. The sanctuary was built and developed over nine decades on the field, where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to the three shepherd children. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It's one of the world's largest Catholic pilgrimage sites. The Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary. Finished in 1953, dominates the square. And it's here. The pilgrims will join a crowd of tens of thousands for the candlelight procession tomorrow evening.


Rita:        Oh, this obviously takes thousands of people. Yeah.


Shane:     A big old gap. Oh.


Rita:        Well, I didn't know it'd be as big as this. It's magnificent. Look at it. Can you believe tomorrow night this is going to be chocker full of people? Yeah, I mean, this is really quite something else. Well done. Well done. We've done it. Well done.


Shane:     Good job.


Narrator: In the middle of the square in front of the basilica is the chapel of the apparitions. Originally a small wooden chapel built in 1919 on the spot where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared. It's now the heart and most sacred space of the sanctuary. As Sue and Vicki explore. Their attention is drawn by believers taking a path on their knees to the chapel, praying for a favour or to fulfill the promise to the Virgin Mary.


Rita:        I don't know how they managed it.


Vicky:     What are you saying Sue?


Rita:        That lady in the red, they're on their knees. And the guy there look because they're so devout. Oh, you're not being funny. The agony of it. No, no no no.


Vicky:     Can you see she's doing her rosary as she goes?


Rita:        Gordon Bennett, you'd be nearly dead, wouldn't you? The pain of it. And I suppose.


Vicky:     That's a part of it, you know, to show how dedicated they are. Their devotion.


Rita:        Yes, I think it's fantastic. This will live in the memory, seeing all these devout people walking on their knees. Whether you agree with it or not, it's quite, um, moving. Really?


Bobby:    It's a view, isn't it? That is a view. And the way the light is actually just shining on the basilica? Yeah. Absolutely gorgeous. The thing is.


Vicky:     It's it's like. I feel like it's more than just the visuals, but you could feel that there's something special here.


Pilgrimage Moments: Arriving at the Fatima Sanctuary

Video length - 03.33
Published date - Mar 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

This clip comes from the BBC series: Pilgrimage – The Road Through Portugal.

The Pilgrims visit the Carmelite convent where Lucia – one of the children who witnessed the miracle at Fatima – eventually lived as a nun until she died in 2005.

Bobby helps the Pilgrims to delve deeper into Sister Lucia’s story, and they meet Sister Anna Sophia, a Carmelite nun who had the privilege of knowing Sister Lucia in the final years of her life. She paints a vivid picture of Sister Lucia’s character, describing her as joyous, humble, and deeply humane.

However, Pentecostal Christian Shane finds it challenging to connect with Sister Anna Sophia’s account due to his belief that people should be free to pray directly to God without intermediary figures.

Watch full episodes on BBC iPlayer.

Pilgrimage Moments: Visiting the convent of Sister Lucia

Bobby:    We love our hills now, don't we now. We do love a good hill.


Sue:         A hill and a good start.


Narrator: Sue, Vicky, Millie, Shane and Bobby are going to a convent with an extraordinary connection to the sanctuary at Fatima.


Bobby:    So I think direction wise we are heading. So going up there but there will be a reward. This is the convent that Sister Lucia joined.


Narrator: Sister Lucia was one of three shepherd children from Fatima, who in 1917 reported seeing apparitions of the Virgin Mary who told them to pray the Rosary to bring peace to the world and end the Great War. Lucia's cousins Francisco and Jacinta died of the Spanish flu aged only ten and nine. Lucia dedicated herself to a religious life. She became a nun in 1926 and lived at the convent in Coimbra until she died in her 90s.


Millie:     When did she pass away? I think 2005.


Bobby:    2005 on 15th February. It became a national day of mourning. Oh, really? Portugal, she's like a mega, mega star.


Vicky:      Is it still a convent with practicing nuns and that?


Bobby:    It is. Yeah.


Vicky:      This is amazing. I've actually ever met a nun. The closest I've got is I watched Sister Act. Oh, it's very nice.


Narrator: The pilgrims make their way up to the Saint Teresa convent, which was Sister Lucia's home for 57 years.


Sue:         Look at this. Oh, look at it.


Millie:     What's he looking at?


Sue:         But there's a really big statue of Lucia. Oh it's of Lucia.


Bobby:    Yeah, we can see she went up to 98, so she.


Vicky:      Did nearly 100. I tell you, she had a good innings.


Sue:         Are we allowed to go up and look?


Vicky:      Yeah, let's have a look. For some reason, I didn't picture her with glasses.


Sue:         Oh, wow. I could be her sister. Look.


Bobby:    Hello.


Sue:         You look. She looks lovely.


Millie:     Yeah.


Sue:         98. Fabulous.


Narrator: It's a cloistered Carmelite convent, which means the nuns have very little contact with the outside world. Hello. Once the pilgrims have been let in. Bobby, the only Catholic in the group, shares what he knows about the story.


Bobby:    Obviously, we have Lucia there. Yeah, after she joined the convent. Yeah. Dedicated her life to Virgin Mary. And then here we have a younger cousins, Francisco and Jacinta, dressed in this sort of traditional Portuguese. Can you see what he's got in his hand? It looks like a crutch. I think it's a shepherd's stick.


Millie:     Mhm.


Sue:         No, they were the ones that died. Weren't they?


Bobby:    The cousins. Yes. It is sort of surreal to think our whole pilgrimage together, our journey, meeting all these people is all because of her and their cousins, their visions and how the story spread.


Sue:         But you know what I meant to ask you. Is there any documented evidence that they constantly were ridiculed by everybody else, saying they made it up? It's fantasy even.


Bobby:    Yeah. Even Lucia's mother.


Millie:     Yeah.


Bobby:    Um, beat her, saying rescind these visions that you had.


Millie:     But she didn't believe them. Yeah.


Bobby:    The mothers, they stopped making up these.


Sue:         Well, you see, it's so farfetched. It's like that term, you know. What about the fairies at the bottom of the garden?


Narrator: As Carmelites. The sisters can only speak two hours a day. But the pilgrims have been given special permission to meet a nun who knew Lucia during the last ten years of her life. Sister Ana Sofia. Hello.


Nun:        Welcome, welcome.


Millie:     I'm sorry for my ignorance, but what are the bars for?


Nun:        Yeah. Okay.


Sue:         Like us pilgrims when we're walking. No luxury, no nothing. Yes, it's the same.


Nun:        Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Bobby:    What was Sister Lucia like when you met her?


Bobby:    When Lucia had the apparitions as a child, Lucia's mother didn't believe and said, oh, Lucia tell everyone it didn't happen. What do you think about that?


Sue:         Yes that's true.


Vicky:      It's lovely to hear about from someone who actually met her. I feel like that's. Yeah, that's pretty impressive. You're amazing. Fantastic.


Sue:         Thank you. Thank you very much.


Nun:        Thank you. God bless you.


Sue:         Thank you very much.


Nun:        Have a nice travel.


Millie:     Yes, yes. God bless you.


Nun:        You pray for you. Thank you.


Sue:         Thank you so much. She was so good. That lady I mean terrific. I mean her answers and everything. She was.


Millie:     Really nice.


Narrator:  As a Pentecostal born again Christian sister Ana Sofia's account didn't resonate with Shane.


Shane:     The story was very interesting up until a point. Then it was like, I get what's going on here. I believe the, the, the intent is, is there, and the prayers and the praying for the people. And it's all very, very real. And they certainly believe it. But it's almost those prayers have no authority because they haven't a direct line to God. They're still going. They're still worshiping technically false idols, which is the only person meant to be worshiped as God himself. Not Mary, not Lucia, not Luke anything. The true route is direct to God, and anything that gets in the way is getting in your way.

Pilgrimage Moments: Visiting the convent of Sister Lucia

Video length - 07.01
Published date - Mar 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

This clip comes from the BBC series: Pilgrimage – The Road Through Portugal.

The Pilgrims continue their journey along the Northern Way, eager to delve deeper into the story of Fatima. Bobby enlightens the group by telling them about three shepherd children from the village of Fatima: 9-year-old Lucia and her younger cousins Francisco and Jacinta. On the 13th May 1917, they reported seeing a light descend from the sky and the appearance of the Virgin Mary, who told the children that to get to Heaven and to bring about world peace, they should pray the Rosary every day.

Over the next six months, the children reported seeing the Virgin Mary six times, including a final apparition on the 13th October, when they were promised a miracle. Word of the children’s visions spread rapidly, drawing a crowd of 70,000 people to witness what is now known as the Miracle of the Sun. It is said that the crowd saw the sun spinning in the sky, changing colour and size.

Fatima became a place of pilgrimage, and today it attracts over four million visitors a year.

Watch full episodes on BBC iPlayer.

Pilgrimage Moments: The Story Of the Fatima Miracle

Narrator: As the pilgrims continue to follow the Northern Way, they are keen to know more about its origins and connection to the city of Fatima.


Vicky:     Does anyone actually know the story of Fatima? Bobby does. Bobby does.


Bobby:    Yeah. So there was a girl called Lucia who was nine, and her cousins, uh, Francisco and Jacinta, who aged seven and six. And they had, like, a divine experience on the 13th of May, 1917. A light came down and a lady appeared before them, um. And the lady, the lady, the Virgin Mary.


Vicky:     So the lady.


Bobby:    The the lady. And she said to them an instruction, if you want to get to heaven, you've got to pray the rosary every day over the course of the next six months, they saw together the Virgin Mary like six times.


Vicky:     And everybody believed them. Yeah.


Narrator: The three shepherd children from Fatima claimed the Virgin Mary told them to pray the Rosary, to bring peace to the world and end the Great War. The children also said she promised that on her final apparition on October 13th, they would witness a miracle. Word of the children's vision spread and a crowd of around 70,000 gathered in the village of Fatima. What happened that day is now known as the miracle of the sun. It was reported that the crowd saw the sun spinning in the sky, changing colour and size. Fatima soon became a place of pilgrimage. The Catholic Church recognises the apparitions as credible, but it's not something Catholics have to believe. Today, the sanctuary attracts over 4 million visitors a year.


Pilgrimage Moments: The story of the Fatima miracle

Video length - 02.33
Published date - Mar 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

This clip comes from the BBC series: Pilgrimage – The Road Through Portugal.

The pilgrimage concludes in the city of Fatima, where tens of thousands gather every year on the evening of the 12th October for the famous candlelit procession to celebrate the Miracle of the Sun.

Bobby – the only Catholic in the group – has been given the honour of helping to carry the statue of the Virgin Mary from the Chapel of the Apparitions to the steps of the basilica. It’s an emotional experience for everyone as candles are lit, and departed loved ones are remembered.

Bobby reflects on his experience, and shares that he has decided to actively explore his faith in the future. The Pilgrims celebrate the end of their pilgrimage and their time together.

Watch full episodes on BBC iPlayer.

Pilgrimage Moments: The Candlelit Procession in Fatima

Bobby:    This is what we've been waiting, you know, the last two weeks. I know walking and old berges and meals and and blisters. This moment is all for this.


Vicky:     It is some view, though.


Bobby:    It is, isn't it? It is stunning, isn't it? Yeah. Really stunning. Every year.


Narrator: Over tens of thousands attend the famous candlelit procession to celebrate the miracle of the sun. It starts on the evening of October 12th and will carry on beyond midnight, along with a vigil, prayers and a mass.


Sue:        Hey, this is it, guys. We haven't got long to go.


Bobby:    Okay, I think the time has come. I'm gonna go.


Bobby:    Good luck. Wish me luck.


Rita:        I feel like you're, like, going off to, I don't know, like to graduate or something. Yeah.


Sue:        We'll be proud. We'll give you a great, big, fabulous loveliness. You're gonna smash it mate.


Bobby:    Oh thank you.


Rita:        Go on. Bob. So proud of you. Good luck Bobby. Yeah.


Rita         Enjoy it.


Narrator: Bobby is helping carry the statue of the Virgin Mary and is right at the front. They're taking the statue from the chapel of the apparitions to the steps of the basilica.


Vicky:     I feel like a proud parent and I know everything about that is so ridiculous. But he looks just so excited and so happy. And he's so. He is cute as a bunny in a bow tie, isn't he? So I'm just really thrilled to ribbons for him mate. That's what I am.


Sue:        All the mates that we've lost. Sadly, I feel a bit emotional. I am so.


Vicky:     Look. You looked amazing. You look great.


Bobby:    All this pilgrimage, I've learned that faith is something that can guide me and give me strength. This experience has been both life affirming and life transforming. I finally feel as if I've now taken this step to make faith something that I am choosing to actively explore and almost like metaphorically carrying the statue was almost. That was the moment where I took it on my shoulder and said, yes, I am actively choosing to put on this heavy weight and take one step forward at a time into the future. I've done it. We did it. Well done everybody.


Bobby:    364km.


Nabil:      Oh!


Sue:        Oh. It's tremendous. I can't believe it. It was a nice way to finish off. Yeah.


Pilgrimage Moments: The Candlelit Procession in Fatima

Video length - 03.48
Published date - Mar 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

This clip comes from the BBC Series: Pilgrimage – The Road to Santiago.

Patron of Humanists UK, Ed gives his fellow Pilgrims a description of what it means to be a Humanist. He says it is different to being just an atheist – someone who doesn’t believe in God – because you can be an evil atheist; Humanists strive to be good and have morality. The conversation turns to where goodness and morality come from: is it God? Do Christians have a monopoly on morality?

Watch full episodes on BBC iPlayer.

Pilgrimage Moments: A Humanist Explanation

Narrator: As a journalist. Rath wants to discover more about Ed's beliefs. Ed is a patron of humanists UK.


Raphael: So atheist was was something I thought that I discovered. And then Ed goes and throws a curveball with this humanist thing. So I mean, I don't know what a humanist is and whether it's the same as an atheist or a Christian.


Ed:          A humanist believes that one should live a good life. So without a belief in any otherworldly or supernatural being or presence, that one can still and one should still lead a good life.


Raphael: How does that differ from being an atheist then?


Ed:          There's nothing to atheism other than saying that there's no God. You know you can be an evil atheist, right?


Raphael: But a humanist is a humanist.


Ed:          Who believes that one should still strive to be good and we should still have morality.


Kate:       The stuff he's talking about, about moral compass and about wanting to do good. I think that the motivation to do that, I think, comes from God. That's what I would say. That's where we would differ.


Ed:          And that's and that's okay. And while I think she's a lovely individual.


Kate:       Who thinks I'm.


Ed:          Wrong, I'm very good. No, I know, but here's the thing. It's not that I'm offended by that statement.


Kate:       Now, of course, but.


Ed:          It's this idea that Christians own those values.


Kate:       No, I don't think we own those values.


Ed:          When you use terms like Christian values of goodness. It makes it sound like they are Christian values. That fact is, they are just good values.


Debbie:   I know a lot of people that are totally hypocritical that go to church every Sunday and pray and say, I'm a really good Christian, and they're really horrible people.


Kate:       I absolutely agree with you. For me, that's not what going to church is about. And for lots of Christians that I know, actually going to church is about saying I'm a rotter. I'm not a good person. I've fallen short of all expectations and I'm trying to be better. And that's what when I go to church and pray,

that's what's in my mind. That's why I say, forgive me just a minute. So that's why when I say forgive me my sins, that's why I say that. Because I don't think. Because Christians don't think they're perfect. We are deeply flawed human beings.


Neil:        One of the philosophies of people who are Christian is that God empowered mankind to make decisions for themselves. So God doesn't sit up wherever you imagine he does and and wave a magic wand and make good people. That's not how it happens. There's really good, brilliant, great people who will never believe in God. And there's really amazing, God fearing people in positions of power who are out and out evil.


Raphael: I see myself as somebody who cares about people, cares about mankind, and I believe good's in everyone. And I'm an ignorant and I have no followers.


JJ:           Are you making up your own religion?


Raphael: Because I have, I have, I have no followers.


JJ:           Religion. Because that felt like it was casting his net out. I have no followers. But please, somebody follow me.


Raphael: I like Ed's stance. Humanist. What it stands for. Take God out of the equation and I think you've got a good belief. I think he's kind of on the right track. It's kind of more where I'd be leaning to than Christianity.


Ed:          I would hope that at least Kate and Heather understood my perspective and knew that I wasn't out to rid the world of religion. I don't have some Stalinist attitude to, you know, that we should burn down all the churches. I don't feel that way, and I just wanted to make sure that they knew that.


Pilgrimage Moments: A Humanist Explanation

Video length - 03.49
Published date - Mar 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

This clip comes from the BBC series: Pilgrimage – The Road to Rome.

The Pilgrims have reached the end of the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrimage route which finishes in Rome. Thousands of people have gathered in St. Peter’s Square to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis, but the Pilgrims have been granted a private audience with him, and the chance to ask the spiritual leader of more than a billion Catholics a question. Stephen takes the opportunity to explain that he’d come on the Pilgrimage looking for answers and faith, but that – as a gay man – he’d never felt accepted by religion, and still doesn’t. Then the Pope responds in a way that no one expected…

 Watch full episodes on BBC iPlayer.

Pilgrimage Moments: A gay man talks to the Pope

Narrator:   It's early Wednesday morning in Saint Peter's Square. The day of the week when thousands gather to listen to the Pope.


Mehreen:  It is packed with people. This is like a concert of a top celebrity, but magnified when you see this many people all to meet this man, you realise the significance of what we're about to do. We're about to go and meet this man. This is obviously a massive, massive deal.


Narrator:   Elected six years ago, Pope Francis is known for his humility and humour. The spiritual leader of more than a billion Catholics, he's gained a reputation for bringing change to the church and for his attempts to make the institution more tolerant and inclusive.


Lesley:      At the end of this two weeks of extraordinary pilgrimage, I'm going to be with the big man himself.


Dana:        I'm actually quite amazed that there's been space made to meet this privately. I think we're all kind of taken aback at that. So of course it is an honor.


Les:           It is just my average normal day. Meeting the Pope as you do.


Narrator:   It's very interesting that we've just done the veer and he's very much a believer in the veer. So it's it's nice to have it sort of I suppose we are. We're being blessed because we've been on the veer. I don't know.


Les:           I am feeling hugely apprehensive about this meeting. I know millions of Catholics around the world would give their right hand to be in this position, so I don't want to blow it. So I've got to be respectful, listen to other people's views and express my own opinions. Otherwise I'll not be true to myself.


Narrator:   While the vast crowd gathers and waits in Saint Peter's Square, the pilgrims file inside for their private audience with Pope Francis.


Stephen:    Steven K Amos.


Lesley:      I'm an actress. I'm 72.


Translator: You don't seem to be 72.


Lesley:      I know I don't do, I.


Dana:        At this difficult time for our church. We we long for truth. And we know what is very difficult. And pray for you each day.


Stephen:    Your holiness. I'm Les Dennis. My mother would be thrilled to know I had held your hand.


Narrator:   Incredibly, Stephen gets a chance to ask a question to the man who matters most.


Stephen:    I lost my mother three months ago. I buried my twin sister, who were both very religious. So me coming on this pilgrimage, being non-religious. I was looking for answers and faith. But as a gay man, I don't feel accepted.


Stephen:    Thank you. It was amazingly powerful, I think, for all of us. He gave us so much time. He didn't dodge anything. That's what I found was extraordinary.


Mehreen:  That was an absolutely fantastic experience. I think no one expected it to be quite as emotional.


Stephen:    I didn't know what I was going to say then.


Mehreen:  My mother would have loved to shake your hand and that was that was lovely because she would've.


Katy:         It didn't really feel like, oh, this is the Pope. He felt like he felt like a real person.


Stephen:    You bless the Pope, Brendan blessed the Pope.


Lesley:      I feel like we missed a trick there. We actually said bless you to the Pope.


Narrator:   He had a lovely warmth about him, a lovely energy about him.


Mehreen:  And he just said that.


Translator: Yeah, he's the Pope. He'd have to, otherwise.


Narrator:   He wouldn't be in this position. He's got to have something special about him.


Greg:        It felt like a pressure cooker of emotion. And then when Steven asked his question, I just felt myself going to bits.


Les:           He used an amazing phrase. He said, adjectives that are used to describe people are meaningless because every human has his own dignity. And that is when I lost it. And to be frank, his candid and honest response blew my mind. That's what I've been searching for for a long time. Um.


Stephen:    Yeah.


Pilgrimage Moments: A Gay Man Talks to the Pope

Video length - 07.32
Published date - Mar 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

Humanism is a non-religious belief system. Humanists are people who shape their own lives in the here and now, because they believe it’s the only life we have. They make sense of the world through logic, reason, and evidence, and always seek to treat those around them with warmth, understanding, and respect.

And just like with other belief systems, they have important ceremonies too. Watch Ivy experience her naming ceremony, with the key features explained, while her parents discuss the Humanist principles they want to instill in her.

A film by Alastair Collinson.

Humanists UK

A Humanist Naming Ceremony

Video length - 08.12
Published date - Jun 2022
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4

Muslim Birth Ceremonies – Omaima has a new baby cousin called Jenna and is looking forward to babysitting duties. Before Jenna was born, Omaima went to visit parents-to-be Hawra and Mustafa to talk about their plans for the birth and the various traditions that Muslim families follow when a baby is born.

TrueTube films are designed for use in a number of ways. Some ideas of where this film could link to your curriculum are below:



Component 1: The study of religions: beliefs, teaching and practices –Practices - Worship - Islam - Shahadah: declaration of faith and its place in Muslim practice.

Component 1: The study of religions: beliefs, teaching and practices –Key beliefs - Authority - Islam - Risalah (Prophethood) including the role and importance of Muhammad



Area of Study 3 - Section 3: Living the Muslim Life - Islam - Shahadah as one of the Five Pillars: the nature, role and significance of Shahadah for Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, including reference to Surah 3: 17–21; why reciting Shahadah is important for Muslims, and its place in Muslim practice today.
Area of Study 1 - Section 1: Muslim Beliefs - Islam -RiSalah: the nature and importance of prophethood for Muslims, what the role of Muhannad teaches Muslims.



Component Group 1–Practices - Islam - The meaning of the Five Pillars: • Shahadah: sincerely reciting the Muslim profession of faith

Public acts of worship - The place of Shahadah in Muslim practice, including the first words uttered to a new born, for converting to the faith and said by/to the dying •Shahada has the only ‘non-action’ pillar



2.1 Unit 1 PART A - Part A Islam - Core beliefs, teachings and practices - Practices - The Five Pillars of Sunni Islam -Prayer/ Salat  Adhan call to prayer, praying at mosque and Friday Jummah prayer (Qur'an 15:9899, 29:45)  Praying at home, private prayer (Du'ah)  The preparations and intention for prayer: wudu and niyyah  The significance and symbolism of the different prayer positions that make a rakat (sequence of prayer) Obligatory Acts  Shahadah: the Muslim profession of faith in Allah and the prophet Muhammad; occasions when the Shahadah is recited, e.g. aqiqah ceremony, conversion to Islam  Zakat: paying an alms (or charity) tax to benefit others, what zakat tax may be used for, and additional charity (saddaqah)  Sawm: Fasting during the month of Ramadan. How and why Muslims fast during Ramadan and rules about halal and haram diet (Qur'an 2:183)



Component 3 (Route A): Study of a World Faith: Option 3: Islam:Practices: The Five Pillars of Sunni Islam: practices in Britain and elsewhere: Shahadah: the Muslim statement of faith: Qur'an 3:18

Muslim Birth Ceremonies

Omaima  I'm Omaima, and this is my beautiful new cousin, Jenna. She was born just a few weeks ago, so I'm still a little bit nervous when I hold her. She's so tiny and fragile. In a Muslim family like ours, how we begin our lives is important. We believe that we are born Muslims and we don't become Muslims later on in life. Before Jenna was born, I went to speak to her mum and dad about their plans for her birth.

Omaima  Hi, how are you?

Hawra     How are you?

Mustafa  I've really enjoyed married life. It's been a great opportunity to share all my thoughts, my ideas, uh, get a lot of support from my wife, but I'm now looking forward to the next stage of our married life and really bringing up a child. Teaching the baby things and caring for the baby, introducing them to our friends, and, and our extended family, and, and you know, I think that's going to be a really, sort of, special time.

Omaima  What's the first thing you do to welcome the baby to Islam?

Hawra     When the baby is ready the first thing that we will do is to read the call for prayer in Arabic. It's adhan and iqamah .Adhan is the first part of the call for prayers, is recited in the right ear of the baby, and the iqamah is recited in the left ear of the baby.

Mustafa  (Mustafa recites call to prayer in Arabic.)

Mustafa  We start off with reciting that God is great. Allahu akbar. We recite it four times and then we declare that there is no God but Allah. So, Ash-hadu an-la ilaha illa Allah, which is recited twice.

Hawra     It can be read by anyone, but generally the dad is there, so he will be the first one to read. It's seen as a blessing for them and for the baby, uh, so people like being there.

Omaima  Do you know what you're going to call the baby?

Hawra     We have got a few names in mind, uh, and then we will decide on the day, I think. Uh, but in Islam, it's recommended to call the babies after the names of the 99 names of God. One of the 99 names is, uh, Raheem, and Raheem means, uh, merciful. There is a prophetic saying that says, uh, I think about 50% of a name of a child does affect the personality. So by giving them beautiful name like merciful, you would hope that child would be merciful to others when they grow up.

Hawra     There are lots of other traditions in Islam when the baby is born. Um, one of them is tahneek, putting something sweet in the mouth of the baby, be a bit of date or a bit of honey, and this means this baby would grow into, uh, someone with a sweet nature.

Omaima  What other things do people do when the baby is born?

Mustafa  If the baby is a boy, we will be, uh, going through a tradition that we have, which started from the prophet Abraham or Ibrahim, who was, uh, one of the messengers and the prophets of God. And, he, he circumcised his son, and that ever since, uh, our traditions is that we've continued this, um, this practice. And so, what we'll be organising is inviting a doctor to remove the foreskin of the penis, and this sort of resembles and signifies purity. Some people do it after three months, some people do it after six months. But usually it's between the first three years of the birth of the child.

Hawra     One of the traditions that, uh, Muslims practice when the baby is born is the aqiqah, which is done on the seventh day. Um, it's basically introducing the baby to the whole family, bringing everyone together, sharing a big meal. Traditionally, people slaughter an animal, but, uh, I wiil be just ordering some food from the restaurant, the easy way.

Mustafa  So I'm really delighted to have all our friends and family here with us today to share with you the joyful occasion that we have been very lucky that Jenna has blessed our lives.

Guest      Okay. Question number six. In the Holy Quran, Ayatul Mubahala was found in Surah Al-baqara. True or false?

Mustafa  So one part, of the aqiqah is to shave the hair of the baby and weigh it and find out the value of that weight in gold and its worth. And then it's seen as a really important blessing to give that to charity. And, so that's something that we would like to do. I'm not sure if Laura will let me shave the hair, the baby. As it's winter and it's going to be cold.

Omaima  We've had a really great day celebrating Jenna today. The food was amazing. The quiz was really good. My team nearly won, but most importantly, it was really nice to spend my time with my friends and family.

Omaima  Jenna has been given an amazing welcome to the world. Hawra, Mustafa and the whole family have done everything they could to make sure she is loved and looked after and brought up as a Muslim. I'm looking forward to babysitting her, just maybe not changing the nappies.

Muslim Birth Ceremonies

Video length - 06.30
Published date - Sep 2015
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

The Sikh Naming Ceremony: Naam Karan – Do you know what your name means, or how your parents chose it? Sikh names usually have special meanings, and they are chosen with the help of the Guru Granth Sahib – the Sikh holy book. Ajmeet goes to a gurdwara to find out exactly what happens at a Naam Karan – the Sikh naming ceremony.

TrueTube films are designed for use in a number of ways. Some ideas of where this film could link to your curriculum are below:


Component 1: The study of religions: beliefs, teaching and practices - Sikhism- Sikh Birth and Naming Ceremonies. - This covers the meaning of a Sikh birth and naming ceremony

Area of Study 1 - Sikhism - Section 3: Living the Sikh Life - Birth and naming rituals and ceremonies: the celebration and significance of Naam Karan and Hukamnama; the significance of Amrit sanskar (the initiation ceremony) for Sikh families, including reference to the Rahit Maryada Chapters 11 and 13; divergent understandings of these ceremonies between khalsa and non-khalsa Sikhs; the significance of the names Singh and Kaur in the naming and Amrit ceremonies, and for Sikh identity today.

No link to GCSE spec


2.1 Unit 1 PART A - Sikhism - Core beliefs, teachings and practices -Practices - Ceremonies  Naming a Sikh child – meaning and significance  The significance and use of the names Singh and Kaur  Sikh initiation ceremony (Amrit Sanskar) – importance and significance in a Sikh’s life and consideration given to the perspective of non-khalsa Sikhs  Meaning of the main features of the initiation ceremony 


Component 3 (Route A) - Option 5: Sikhism - Beliefs and teachings -Practices: The meaning and significance of birth and naming ceremonies ➢ The significance of Amrit Sanskar: (the initiation ceremony): Bhai Gurdas Var 3.11. The significance and use of the names Singh and Kaur

The Sikh Naming Ceremony: Naam Karan

Harinder   My name's Harinder. Har means God. I understand my name in full means he or she of all strengths.

Harchand My name is Harchand Singh Greval. Har is name of God, uh, Chand is a means moon and Singh is lion.

Harinder   This is my niece, Manpreet Kaur. Her name means the love of our hearts and minds.

Aman       My name is Aman Chopra and my name is meaning is, uh, you know the peace. It's a peaceful environment, we can say that.

Harinder   This is my daughter Pia Kaur, and her name means beloved.

Ravinder   My name is Ravinder. Ravinder, Rav means son. And inder means God, so it the son of God.

Ajmeet     My name is Ajmeet Singh. Ajmeet means today's friend and Singh means lion. It lets everyone know that I'm a Sikh. When I was just five days old, my parents brought me to the Gurdwara, the temple, and I was named in a special ceremony called Naam Karan, which means name making. Obviously I can't remember it, so I've come to the Gurudwara to find out exactly what happens.

Ajmeet     Babies are brought here because it's the centre of the Sikh community, and because this is where the Guru Granth Sahib, our holy book, is kept. It plays a very important part in the naming ceremony. My friend Harjinder Singh explains.

Harjinder  Whenever you enter the diwan hall, as we call it, or the prayer hall, if you want to say it in English, you always see a throne like contraption at the end of it. It is a throne, and on that throne sits the holy book. When it's not in use, when it's not being read, it is covered by by wonderful kapre, by wonderful cloth. We sit on the floor. The guru sits a bit higher.

Ajmeet     Can you tell me a bit about the history and the importance of Guru Granth Sahib Ji?

Harjinder  The Guru Granth is the most important item in Sikh teachings. The guru, the teacher, granth, book, is our Pope, our bishop, our, even our king. So whether you are dealing with a name giving ceremony, as we're discussing today, or it is about a death or a or a marriage or what have you, the central point in the ceremony is always going to be the guru grant. The granthee, the man who looks after the grant, the book. In other words, he puts the Guru Granth Sahib on its side and opens it at random, and then the hymn that you find on the top left hand side of the page is the hymn that leads that that ceremony or that day.

Ajmeet     This is Pritpal Singh, Gurmeet Kaur and their baby daughter Garnaev Kaur. Garnaev had her naam karan here just a few weeks ago. There is no set time for the naming ceremony to take place, but it usually happens as soon as possible after the birth. So what did you do on the day of your daughter's naming ceremony?

Pritpal      In a Sikh household, when a baby is born, when the both the mother and the child, they are healthy enough, they are good enough to go to the local gurdwara, we just go there and to have the naming ceremony done.

Ajmeet     The whole family went to the gurdwara to introduce the new baby to the community and to present her to the Guru Granth Sahib.

Ajmeet     We all bow to the book to show our respect, and it's never too early to learn.

Pritpal      We offered a Ramallah, a piece of cloth, to Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy scriptures.

Ajmeet     The family usually gives a gift. It might be food for everyone at the Gurudwara to share, or a donation of money. Pritpal's family gave a Ramallah that's a cloth which is used to wrap up the Guru Granth Sahib to protect it when it isn't being read. The Granthi opens the Guru Granth Sahib at random, and the first letter of the first word on the page will be the first letter of the baby's name.

Pritpal      We were blessed with at this time Gur poorai kirapaa dhhaaree, so the letter was G, at the end we decided Ganeev which means a priceless worth. The first letter is Ganeev and the full name is Geneev Kaur.

Ajmeet     Sikhs are also given the names Singh and Kaur.

Gurmeet  Sikhism believes in equality. Our 10th guru gave a boy's name Singh, which means lion and the girl's name Kaur, which means princess.

Pritpal      That'll be very important because then the people will not get discriminated because their background or their, uh, class status by the surname. At the end, uh, of the ceremony we had, we were blessed with the Karah Parshad, which is a holy, uh, food. Um, and, uh, it's like a small pudding, very sweet, but delicious.

Ajmeet     The sweet taste is a reminder of God's blessings. Everyone is given a piece of karah parshad from the same bowl to show that we are all equal and all part of the same community, which we call the Sangat. And that's the Naam karan. Sikh names are special because they're chosen with the help of the Guru Granth Sahib, and our names show that we are all part of the Sikh community, just like little Geneev Kaur.

The Sikh Naming Ceremony: Naam Karan

Video length - 06.32
Published date - Jan 2014
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

Christian Marriage – Emily’s mum recently got married, and it got her thinking: what does marriage mean for Christians? So with the help of her mum, her new step dad and the vicar who performed the ceremony, Emily talks us through the wedding video.

TrueTube films are designed for use in a number of ways. Some ideas of where this film could link to your curriculum are below:



Component 2: Thematic studies -Theme A - Relationships and families - The nature and purpose of marriage.



Area of Study 3 – Section 2 - Living the Catholic life - Christianity - The importance and purpose of marriage for Catholics: the significance of marriage in Catholic life; Catholic teachings about marriage, including Not Just Good, But Beautiful by Pope Francis; divergent Christian, non-religious (including atheist and Humanist) attitudes to the importance of marriage in society, including the sanctity of marriage, a lack of importance, cohabitation and the Catholic responses to these attitudes.

Area of Study 1 – Section 2 - Family life - Christianity - The importance and purpose of marriage for Christians: Christian teachings about the significance of marriage in Christian life; the purpose of marriage for Christians including Mark 10:6–9; divergent Christian and non-religious (including atheist and Humanist) attitudes to the importance of marriage in society; including the sanctity of marriage, a lack of importance, cohabitation and Christian responses to these attitudes.



Component Group 2–Religion, philosophy and ethics in the modern world from a religious perspective - relationships and families - religious teachings about the nature and purpose of families in the 21st century, sex, marriage, cohabitation and divorce. Issues related to the nature and purpose of families; roles of men and women; equality; gender prejudice and discrimination.



PART B- Theme 1: Issues of Relationships - Relationships



Component 1 (Route A) Religious, Philosophical and Ethical Studies in the Modern World - Christianity - Theme 1: Issues of Relationships - Relationships -The nature and purpose of marriage as expressed through Christian marriage ceremonies in Britain and teachings: Mark 10:6-8 and the Church of England Synod

Christian Marriage

Emily         Hi. I'm Emily. Last week my mum got married at our local church. It was a great day. I was a bridesmaid and got to wear an amazing long, like, dress. But I want to find out what the ceremony really meant and why marriage is important for Christians like my mum.

Emily         I've come to speak to my mom and stepdad to ask them questions about why it was important for Christians to get married.

Katrina      We wanted to show our commitment in front of God, our friends and family.

Emily         Were you nervous before the wedding?

David        I wasn't nervous. I wasn't nervous at all.

Katrina      He was nervous.

David        I was nervous. You keeping me waiting for 25 minutes, didn't make me nervous at all.

Emily         What was your favourite part about the wedding?

David        Walking down the aisle together.

Katrina      Yeah. Yeah, I think that-

David        On the way out

Katrina      I think that was nice actually, being because we were separate to begin with, and then we combined and walked down the aisle ourselves. So yeah, I quite enjoyed that.

Emily         This is the church where my mum got married. Traditionally, the bride walks up the aisle to meet the groom who is waiting with the vicar and the best man.

Penny Sawyer My name is Penny Sawyer. I am the vicar here at Saint Albans Church in Dagenham.

Emily         After the vicar welcomes everyone, we say a prayer and sing a hymn.

Penny Sawyer In the presence of God, father, Son and Holy Spirit, we have come together to witness the marriage of David and Katrina.

Emily         Why is it important for Christians to get married?

Penny Sawyer Christians look to the Bible as their, sort of, the text that teaches them how to do things, and if you remember right at the beginning of the Bible in the book of Genesis, God creates Adam, and Adam is very lonely, so God creates Eve to be a partner and and a helpmate and to go through life together. So, that's really the foundation of family life that a man and a woman come together and they live their lives faithfully together.

Emily         After the prayers, the vicar stands here and tells us a little bit about what marriage is.

Penny Sawyer It enriches society and strengthens community. No one should enter into it lightly or selfishly, but reverently and responsibly in the sight of Almighty God.

Emily         I know usually brides get married in white, but my mum got married in red. Does that matter?

Penny Sawyer That doesn't matter at all. The most important thing is that you have the man and the woman who wants to be married, and you have two witnesses. So actually all you need is five people minimum, but you had a big family wedding, didn't you? With lots and lots of people.

Emily         After that there is a Bible reading. My uncle read a passage which talks about how people should behave when they're in love, and how they should treat each other.

Emily's Uncle  Wives, understand and support your husbands by submitting to them in ways that honour the master. Husbands, go all out in love for your wives. Don't take advantage of them.

Emily         Then the vicar gives a sermon. Penny talked about love and marriage.

Penny Sawyer Marriage is a gift from God to all of us. Couples are intended to find delight in each other.

Emily         Now we move on to the really exciting bit. The vicar turns to the couple and asks them to hold hands and vow that they love each other and will look after each other.

David        I, David Vincent Humber.

Penny Sawyer Take you, Katrina Anne Emerson.

David        Take you, Katrina Anne Emerson.

Penny Sawyer To be my wife.

David        To be my wife.

Katrina      I Katrina Anne Emerson.

S4              Take you, David. Vincent. Tumba. Thank you. David. Vincent. Thank you. To be my husband.

Penny Sawyer Take you, David Vincent Tumba.

Katrina      Take you David Vincent Tumba.

Penny Sawyer To be my husband.

Katrina      To be my husband.

Emily         Why do Christians use wedding rings?

Penny Sawyer Just because it's traditional. You don't have to have wedding rings, and sometimes just the bride will have a ring, not the groom. Um, it's quite symbolic because it goes round and round and round forever, so it's a sign of everlasting love. Heavenly father, by your blessings. Let these rings be to David and Katrina, a symbol of unending love and faithfulness.

Penny Sawyer Katrina. I give you this ring.

David        Katrina. I give you this ring.

Penny Sawyer As a sign of our marriage.

David        As a sign of our marriage.

Emily         They are pronounced husband and wife, and they normally kiss.

Penny Sawyer In the presence of God, and before this congregation. David and Katrina have given their consent and made their marriage vows to each other. They have declared their marriage by the joining of hands and by the giving and receiving of rings.

Emily         When the ceremony is over, family and friends got together to have a party. Often speeches are made and there was a wedding cake, but today I've learned that the most important thing is that God is there to blessing the couple and their love for each other. For me, it's great because I have an even bigger family.

Christian Marriage

Video length - 6.23
Published date - Dec 2013
Keystage(s) - 2 and 3