The Prophet’s Tender Love & Care for Children

Habeeba Husain

Who better for Muslims to look to as a role model than the one whose every step and every breath pleased God? The Prophet Muhammad (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) led a life Muslims across generations and countries try to exemplify in many spheres of life from food to finances to faith. What sometimes is overlooked, however, is his immense kindness and tenderness towards children. As dedicated as the Prophet (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) was to his family and to his Companions, he did not dismiss the rights of children in the community.

In one narration, the Prophet (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) said, “Be kind to your children, and perfect their manners” (Sunan ibn Majah). In another account narrated by his wife Aishah, “Some Bedouin people came to the Prophet (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) and said: ‘Do you kiss your children?’ He said: ‘Yes.’ [The Bedouin] said: ‘But we, by Allah, never kiss (our children).’ The Prophet (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) said: ‘What can I do if Allah has taken away mercy from you?’” (Sunan ibn Majah).

There is a place for discipline, but there needs to also be a place for kindness and love. In these narrations the Prophet (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) reminds us of that with his words. But it does not end there, for of course he was a man who practiced what he preached.

A female companion narrated an account from her youth about the Prophet (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him). Her father took her with him to go to see the Prophet (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him), and she started to play with his ring. Her father stopped her, whereas the Prophet (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) allowed her to continue, thereby showing his kindness to children and leaving them be to play (Bukhari).

Another companion named Anas narrated, “I served the Prophet (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) at Medina for ten years. I was a boy. Every work that I did was not according to the desire of my master, but he never said to me: Uff, nor did he say to me: Why did you do this? or Why did you not do this?” (Sunan Abi Dawud). This shows how merciful the Prophet (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) was even to a child who may have made some errors in taking care of chores. These days, we are quick to scold and show our frustration to children for their mistakes, but this is quite contrary to how the Prophet (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) treated the youth during his time.

The Prophet (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) would also give children importance. Oftentimes today we see adults dismissing children or ignoring them when they want to share a story. We are too busy with our own lives to pay attention to the matters of children we deem trivial. If we walk into a room, we will often greet the other adults, but we pass over the kids. This is very unlike the example Muslims try to follow. In one narration it is said, “The Messenger of Allah (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) came to some children who were playing: He greeted them” (Sunan Abi Dawud). Additionally, not keeping promises made to children is highly discouraged.

One common scenario is a crowded mosque during a service like Eid or the Friday prayer. These gatherings draw large numbers of Muslims, including women and children. While they are not required to attend the prayers, many enjoy being able to feel a part of the community. At the same time, other mothers especially with young children feel discouraged due to prior encounters with congregants making comments about disruptions. But in an ideal mosque gathering, congregants would follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him). In one narration he said, “When I stand for prayer, I intend to prolong it but on hearing the cries of a child, I cut it short, as I dislike to trouble the child’s mother” (Bukhari). Instead of blaming the mother, the Prophet (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) actually opted to look out for her and her child.

In another famous incident, the Prophet (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) was leading the prayer. He had made the prostration extra long, and only after the prayer was completed did the congregants realize why. His grandson had actually climbed on his back while he was in the prostration and in order to not disturb him, the Prophet (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) waited until he was done to rise from the prostration (Sunan an-Nasa’i). This highlights what concern and care the Prophet (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) had for his grandson. Unlike many today, he did not get impatient and angry with the child, but let him play until his heart’s content.

It is with this type of love, care, and tenderness Muslims are encouraged to treat children. We often get labeled as being harsh and strict in the media, but there is quite a soft side to us—exemplified best by the Prophet Muhammad (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him) himself.

2018-07-19T17:09:46+00:00 July 19th, 2018|Prophet Muhammad|