PROPHET MUHAMMAD صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم: A MERCY FOR CHILDREN
Children are special people. They have their own identity. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad ( صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم ) showed this through his behavior. He loved children and was always compassionate and merciful towards them. He showed his affection for them in many ways. He hugged them and patted them on the back. He touched their heads, combing their hair with his fingers.
The Prophet Muhammad ( صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) loved to play with children. He made them stand in a straight line, then he himself stood at a distance, spread his hands and told the children, “Come running to me. Whoever touches me first will get a prize,” they would all come, running and breathless. When they reached the Prophet ( صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم), they would fall all over him. He enjoyed this sport, gave prizes of dates and sweets to the winners and hugged and kissed the participants.
Say, "Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited to you. [He commands] that you not associate anything with Him, and to parents, good treatment, and do not kill your children out of poverty; We will provide for you and them… Quran Surah Anam 6:151
My Lord, make me an establisher of prayer, and [many] from my descendants. Our Lord, and accept my supplication. Quran Surah Ibraheem 14:40
Allah taught us a Dua for a good child: And those who say, "Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous." Quran surah Furqan 25:74
My Lord, grant me [a child] from among the righteous. Quran Surah Saffath 37:100
He used to kiss children and loved them very much. Narrated by Abu Huraira(R) that Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) kissed Al-Hasan bin `Ali while Al-Aqra' bin H`Abis at-Tamim was sitting beside him. Al-Aqra said, "I have ten children and I have never kissed anyone of them," Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) cast a look at him and said, "Whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully." Sahih al-Bukhari 5997 (Vol. 8: 26)
The Prophet Muhammad (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم ) was always pleased to see parents loving and caressing their children. He once said, “When Allah blesses people with children, and they give their children love and meet their parental obligation, Allah keeps them safe from the fires of Hell.”
In some prayers, the Prophet (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم ) read long Surahs. But if he heard a baby crying, he would read a short Surah and say a short prayer. This helped the mother to take care of her baby. He used to get into the spirit of childish games in their company. He would have fun with the children who had come back from Abyssinia and tried to speak in Abyssinian with them. It was his practice to give lifts on his camel to children when he returned from journeys.
Among the instructions given before the conquest of Makkah, one of the important ones was not to harm any child. Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم was worried for their safety and wellbeing even at a state of war. This shows the compassion he had towards children no matter what the situation was.
Today we are inundated with masses of statistics, books, researches, psychological studies, and ‘notice of caution’ in relation on how to raise successful, happy children, children with great self-esteem, most productive adults and the alike.
In recent times access to all this information is just a ‘click’ away. Needless to say each lesson taught us by The Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلمwas a valuable one full of wisdom. He educated us so as not to overlook even the smallest of things, He taught us the beauty incumbent in the ability to love, how to melt away all adversity with a merciful touch, and amongst many of the most wonderful things that He has taught us is that loving your child comes for free and simple. We have described all that we could find on how to achieve outstanding results in raising good children now it is upon us to practice all that we have learnt and shape the humanity in the most beautiful way.
Whenever the Prophet Muhammad (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم ) passed by children, he tried to be the first to greet them and say “Assalaamu Alaikum.” When riding he would let children sit on his camel or donkey. Sahih Muslim 2168
When children saw him, they came running. He greeted them warmly, picked them up, hugged them and kissed them. He loved giving them dates, fruits and sweets to eat.
Prophet Muhammad صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم never held back his love for the children and always expressed his fondness to them. He would pick up children in his arms, play with them, and kiss them. He played with them and took such keen interest in them.
Narrated Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him),Allah’s Messenger kissed Al-Hasan ibn `Ali while Al-Aqra` ibn Habis At-Tamim was sitting with him . Al-Aqra` said, “I have ten children and have never kissed one of them.” The Prophet cast a look at him and said, “Whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully.” Sahih Al-Bukhari 5997 (Vol.8:26)
In one hadith Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: I went along with Allah’s Messenger (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) at a time during the day but he did not talk to me and I did not talk to him until he reached the market of Banu Qainuqa`. He came back to the tent of Fatimah and said, “Is the little chap (meaning Al-Hasan) there?” We were under the impression that his mother had detained him in order to bathe him and dress him and garland him with sweet garland. Not much time had passed that he (Al-Hasan) came running until both of them embraced each other, thereupon Allah’s Messenger (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم) said, “O Allah, I love him; love him and love one who loves him.” The Virtues Of Al-Hasan And Al-Husain (RA), Sahih Muslim 2421
Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him), the servant of the Prophet, had another recollection: I never saw anyone who was more compassionate towards children than Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him). His son Ibrahim was in the care of a wet nurse in the hills around Madinah. He would go there, and we would go with him, and he would enter the house, pick up his son and kiss him, then come back.Sahih Muslim 2316
The above Ahadith also show how our Prophet used to give importance to children. This makes children realize their worth. Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم also used to pay attention to children and their interests/hobbies so that they feel important.
Anas bin Malik [ra] narrated: The Prophet used to mingle with us to the extent that he would say to the younger brother of mine, “O father of Umair! What did An Nughair [your sparrow] do?” Sahih al-Bukhari 6129 (Vol.8:150)
On the authority of Abdullah bin Abbas, we said: One day I was behind the Prophet and he said to me: “Young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice]: Be mindful of Allah, and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of Allah; if you seek help, seek help of Allah. Know that if that Nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that Allah had already prescribed for you, and that if they gather together to harm you with anything, they would harm you only with something Allah had already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried” Jami at Tirmidhi Vol. 4: 2516
The Prophet’s love for children was not restricted to his children and grandchildren. The scope of his mercy and affection embraced all children, and he showed the same interest and gentleness to other children. Usamah ibn Zaid (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates: Allah’s Messenger used to put me on (one of) his thighs and put Al-Hasan ibn `Ali on his other thigh, and then embrace us and say, “O Allah! Please be merciful to them, as I am merciful to them.” Sahih Al Bukhari 6003(Vol. 8: 32)
The Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم was always concerned about everyone’s thought and feeling. The following hadith narrated by Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) proves his thoughtful character: The Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم said, “(It happens that) I start the prayer intending to prolong it, but on hearing the cries of a child, I shorten the prayer because I know that the cries of the child will incite its mother’s passions.” Sahih al-Bukhari 709 (Vol1:677)
The Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم was always patient and considerate with children and took great pain not to hurt their tender feelings.
Narrated Abu Qatadah: “The Messenger of Allah came towards us while carrying Umamah the daughter of Abi Al-`As (Prophet’s granddaughter) over his shoulder. He prayed, and when he wanted to bow, he put her down, and when he stood up he lifted her up.” Sahih Al-Bukhari 5996 (Vol. 8: 25)
In a another hadith, Narrated Umm Khalid: I (the daughter of Khalid ibn Said) went to Allah’s Messenger with my father and I was wearing a yellow shirt. Allah’s Messenger said, “Sanah, Sanah!” (`Abdullah, the narrator, said that sanah meant “good” in the Ethiopian language). I then started playing with the seal of prophethood (between the Prophet’s shoulders) and my father rebuked me harshly for that. Allah’s Messenger said, “Leave her.” The Prophet, then, invoked Allah to grant her a long life thrice.Sahih Al-Bukhari 3071 (Vol.4: 305)
Mahmood bin Rabi (RA) narrated: When I was a boy of five, I remember The Prophet took water from a bucket in his mouth and sprinkled it on my face. Sahih Al-Bukhari 77 (Vol.1: 77)
The Prophet’s tolerance towards children was unmatched. It is clear from this Hadith: Narrated `A’ishah (RA): The Prophet took a child in his lap for Tahnik (i.e. he chewed a date in his mouth and put its juice in the mouth of the child) and then the child urinated on him, so he asked for water and poured it over the place of the urine. Sahih Al-Bukhari 6002 (Vol.8: 31)
Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم used to teach children that failure doesn’t exist. Narrated Anas (RA): I served The Prophet for ten years, and he never said to me, “Uf” (a minor harsh word denoting impatience) and never blamed me by saying, “Why did you do so or why didn’t you do so?” Kitab Al-Adab, Sahih Al-Bukhari 6038 (Vol.8: 64)
In a similar hadith narrated by Anas RA reported: “I served the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) for nine years, and I do not know (of any instance) when he said to me: Why you have done this and that, and he never found fault with me in anything.” Sahih Muslim 2309
We must also become a mentor and help the child believe in his or her ability to succeed no matter how long it takes!
Many of the inappropriate behaviors of young children can simply be ignored or disregarded. The Prophet is our best example in this regard.
Anas bin Malik RA said: “The Messenger of Allah had the best disposition among people. One day he sent me on an errand and I said, ‘By Allah, I will not go,’ but it was in my mind that I would do as the Messenger of Allah had ordered me. I went until I came upon children playing in the street. Then the Messenger of Allah arrived and he caught me by the back of my neck from behind. As I looked at him, I found him smiling, and he said, `Unays (nickname of Anas), did you go where I asked you to go’?’ I said, `O Messenger of Allah, yes, I am going.”‘ Sahih Muslim 2310 a, 2309 e
Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم made emphasized that Muslims should be conscious to treat their sons and daughters justly: “Be afraid of Allah, and be just to your children.” Sahih al-Bukhari 2587(Vol3: 760), Sunan Abi Dawud 3544 and Sunan an-Nasa'i 3687
The Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم used to give them attention. Whenever they had something to say to them he used to listen intently and not turn his face away from them.
The love and affection for children that was displayed by the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم was not restricted to gestures only. Rather he made efforts in grooming the children’s personalities and making them a responsible member of the society.
He used to take children to gatherings and let them sit with grown-ups to increase their understanding and wisdom. The followers of the prophet used to bring their children with them when they went and sat with the Prophet. One of the hadith that describe this was narrated by Mu’aawiyah ibn Qurrah from his father, who said: “The Prophet used to sit with a group of his Companions. One man had his little son with him; the prophet would bring the child from behind and make him sit in front of him…” Sunan an-Nasa'i Vol.3:2088
He used to teach them good manners and etiquettes. In a hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah, Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم has said : “The young should greet the old, the passerby should greet one who is sitting, and the small group should greet the larger group.” Sahih Al Bukhaari, 6231(Vol.8: 250)
He gave children the praise and respect they deserve in front of others. This is made clear by the following hadeeth: Sahl ibn Sa’d said that the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم was brought a cup and he drank from it. There was a boy, the youngest of all the people, on his right and some elders on his left. He said, “O young boy, will you allow me to give this to these elders?” The boy said, “I will not give away my share of your blessings to anyone, O Messenger of Allaah,” so he gave the cup to him. Sahih Al Bukhaari, 2180
He taught them sports. He always avoided humiliating them, especially in front of others, never belittling their ideas, and encouraging them to take part by Consulting them and asking for their opinions Prophet gave them responsibilities in accordance with their age and abilities