Imagine what would happen if your father sent you on an errand and you went off, to a field to watch a football game? Then, imagine what would happen if your father was to come up to the field and catch you at the field, watching the game? Are you imagining the instant slaps on your ears or the knocks on your head or one deserved beating that is sure to come to you when you get back home?
All of the above are not hard to imagine ... Or are they? Anas narrated ibn Malik (RA) "Allaah's Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) had the best disposition amongst people. He sent me on an errand one day, and I said: By Allaah, I would not go. I had however, this idea in my mind that I would do as Allaah's Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) had commanded me to do. I went out until I happened to come across children who had been playing in the street.
In the meanwhile, Allaah's Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) came there and he caught me by the back of my neck from behind me. As I looked towards him I found him smiling and he said: "Unays, did you go where I commanded you to go?" I said: Allaah's Messenger, Yes, I am going. Anas further said: I served him for nine years but I know not that he ever said to me about a thing which I had done why I did that or about a thing I had left as to why I had not done that." (Muslim)
Now, this is not an encouragement for you to go and play rather than run the errands of your parents. No, it is just to show the contrast between how other people deal with children and how the Prophet [peace and blessings be upon him] related with them. He was so easy, gentle, kind but firm with children that Anas [RA] further said I have never seen a man more kind with children than the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). (Muslim)
1. He would pray for them. He would pray for them, as against what some of our parents do nowadays. Narrated Anas ibn Malik (RA): My mother Umm Anas came to Allaah's Messenger (peace be upon him). And she prepared my lower garment out of the half of her headdress and (with the other half she covered my upper body and said: Allaahs Messenger, here is my son Unays; I have brought him to you for serving you. Invoke blessings of Allaah upon him. There upon he (the Prophet) said:
"O AIlaah, make an increase in his wealth, and progeny." Anas said: By Allaah, my fortune is huge and my children and grand-children are now more than one hundred. (Muslim)
Just imagine that this is first meeting between him and Anas (RA). Even when there was no request, the Prophet [peace and blessings be upon him] would make dua for the children around him. Narrated Ibn Abbas (RA): Once the Prophet embraced me (pressed me to his chest) and said,
"O AIlaah, teach him wisdom (i.e. the understanding of the knowledge of Quran).(Bukhari)
Also, Usamah bn Zayd (RA) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to take him and Hassan (RA), and he would say, "Oh Allaah! Love them both, for I love them." (Bukhari)
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) stressed in words and in deeds on the kindness towards children and avoiding hard-heartedness when dealing with them.
2. He would teach them to pray. He would encourage the children to pray with him; that way they will learn how to observe salaah from the best teacher. Narrated Ibn Abbas: I stayed overnight in the house of my aunt Maimuna bint AI-Harith (the wife of the Prophet) while the Prophet [peace and blessings be upon him], was there with her during her night turn. The Prophet [peace and blessings be upon him] offered the Isha prayer (in the mosque), returned home and after having prayed four Rakat, he slept. Later on he got up at night and then asked whether the boy (or he used a similar word) had slept? Then he got up for the prayer and I stood up by his left side but he made me stand to his right and offered five Rakat followed by two more Rakat... [Bukhari]
3. He Showed Them Mercy. Aishah reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) kissed AI-Hassan and AIHussain, the sons of Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) while AI-Aqra bin Habis AI-Taimi was in his audience. AI-Aqra said: I have ten children, none of whom I have ever kissed. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) looked at him and said:
"Those who do not show mercy to others will not be shown mercy". (Bukhari).
Also Aishah narrated: "A Bedouin came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings be upon him) and said: You kiss your children, while we do not kiss them. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
"I cannot help that AIlaah has removed mercy from your heart".(Bukhari)
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was a practical example for children. It was reported by At- Tirmidhi and others on the authority of Abdullah bin Buraidah from his father (may Allaah be pleased with him and his father) who said: "I saw the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings be upon him) while he was delivering a sermon. AI-Hassan and AI-Hussain (may Allaah be pleased with them) came wearing red garments and stumbling while walking.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) descended AI Mimbar (the pulpit) and carried them and put them in front of him. He then said: "Your property and children are only a trial. I saw these two boys stumbling in their walk and could not help stopping my sermon and raising them". AI-Nasai and AI-Hakim narrated: "While the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was leading people in prayer, AI-Hussain came and rode on his neck while he was prostrating himself.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) prolonged prostration, until they (the worshippers) thought there was something wrong. When prayer finished, the people said: You prolonged prostration, O Messenger of Allaah, until we thought that there was something wrong with you. He replied: "My son rode on me i.e. rode on my back, and I disliked disturbing him until he satisfies himself (and gets down)". It was narrated in the Bukhari and Muslim from Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "I enter into Prayer intending to prolong it, but when I hear a baby crying, I shorten it as I know how his mother is anxious about his crying".
4. He taught them noble characters: The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) encouraged parents and guardians to be good examples for children, so that may acquire good qualities and noble characters from an early age.
Staying Away from Haram: Narrated Abu Huraira (RA): Dates used to be brought to Allaahs Messenger immediately after being plucked. Different persons would bring their dates till a big heap collected (in front of the Prophet). Once AI-Hasan and AI-Husain were playing with these dates, one of them took a date and put it in his mouth. Allaah's Messenger looked at him and took it out from his mouth and said, "Don’t you know that Muhammad offspring do not eat what is given in charity?" (Bukhari)
Leaving that which is doubtful: Narrated AI-Hasan ibn Ali (RA): "I have retained in my memory these words of Allaah Messenger (peace be upon him), "Leave what causes you doubt and turn to what does not causes you doubt. (Tirmidhi)
Truthfulness: Abu Dawud and AI-Baihaqi narrated on the authority of Abdullah bin Amir (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: "One day, my mother called me, while the Messenger was present in our house, and said: 0 Abdullah! Come! I want to give you something. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: What will you give him?" She said: I want to give him some dates. He said: "If you did not give him anything, it would have been recorded as a lie on your part".
Justice: AI-Bukhari and Muslim narrated on the authority of An-Numan bin Bashir (may Allaah be pleased with him and his father) that his father took him to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and said: I have given my son this servant as a gift.
The Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said to him: "Have you given to your other children a similar gift?" He said: No. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "Then take back your gift!" In another narration he said: "Bashir! Do you have other children?" He said: Yes. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "Have you given them the like of him?" He said: No. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "Then do not expect me to witness this; I do not witness injustice" or he said: "Seek a witness other than me". He then said: "Will you be pleased if all of them will equally be kind to you? "He replied: Yes. He said: "Then do not do that. These narrations represent an asset to be resorted to, in order to inculcate justice in the hearts of parents since injustice is always a cause of enmity. The result of hatred is that the children will lose the right way.
5. He gave them their rights in Islam it is usual for good thing in Islam to be done with the right hand and started on the right side. So what happens if there is a kid on the right and an elder on the left? Narrated Sahl bin Sad (RA): A tumbler (full of milk or water) was brought to the Prophet [peace and blessings be upon him] who drank from it, while on his right side there was sitting a boy who was the youngest of those who were present and on his left side there were old men. The Prophet [peace and blessings be upon him] asked, "O boy, will you allow me to give it (i.e. the rest of the drink) to the old men?" The boy said, "O Allaah's Messenger! I will not give preference to anyone over me to drink the rest of it from which you have drunk." So, the Prophet gave it to him. (Bukhari)
6. He gave them a sense of belonging. Narrated Abdullah ibn Jafar: When Allaah's Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) came back from journey, the children of his family used to accord him welcome. It was in this way that once he came back from a journey and I went to him first of all. He mounted me before him. Then there came one of the two sons of Fatimah and he mounted him behind him and this is how we three entered Medina riding on a beast. [Muslim]
7. He was not too proud to greet them It was narrated in Bukhari and Muslim that whenever the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) passed by children, he would greet them and talk to them. These are examples of the Prophets mercy towards children. Despite his many engagements and the heavy tasks of Dawah, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was never negligent in showing mercy to children.
On disciplining them The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) ordered people to discipline their children and inculcate good manners in them. Beating is however, to be the last resort when all other means of correction had failed. To divert children from the evil ways is a double protection for them from corruption. Imam Ahmad narrated in his Musnad from Abu Rafi bin Amr ([RA] that he said: "I was throwing pebbles at palms that belonged to the Ansar. The people brought me to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) who said: "Young boy! Why do you throw pebbles at the palms?" I answered: I want to eat dates. He said: "Do not throw pebbles at dates. Instead, eat of the falling dates under the palms. "He then patted on my head and said: "O AIlaah! Let his belly feel satisfaction ". Thus, it is expected that the children may commit unintentional mistakes, which should be corrected, rather than ignored.
Unfortunately, many parents and guardians either deal harshly with children when they do something wrong, which is contrary to the Islamic education, or ignore such mistakes even it is dangerous and harmful. This spoils the morals of children punishing children without violence, when instructing them is impressive and is indelibly printed on their minds. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
"Beat them on account of neglecting it (Prayer) when they are ten years old". (Abu Dawud).
He also said (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "...and afford your children according to your means, and do not neglect your stick with which you instruct them. Let them fear you for AIlaahs sake". AI-Bukhari narrated in AI-A dab al-Mufrad on the authority of Ibn Abbas (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) ordered that a whip should be hung in the houses. From all that has been narrated about the Prophet [peace and blessings be upon him] in the way he dealt with people especially the children companions in this case, we surely would see that he is the best thing that ever happened to mankind. May Allaahs peace and blessings be upon him, his household, companions and those who follow him until the Day of Judgement [Aamin].
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited