The Prophet -prayers and peace of Allah be upon him- and how he treated children
The Messenger of Allah -prayers and peace of Allah be upon him- concluded that the best way to approach children is through specific planned disciplinary manners. Based on different aspects; knowledge, experience, practice, patience and understanding. Looking to this crucial period of life, childhood, the Messenger of Allah -prayers and peace of Allah be upon him- had drawn for it a scientific and educational course of conduct. It produced successful quick individuals, unique and eloquent leaders and rare genius scholars. Among the pivots of the Prophetic disciplinary course of conduct of child treatment is:-
Kindness with children and leniency when dealing with them:
Children tend to like most the one who is easy with them and treats them as if he is one of them; on the other hand they are repelled from the harsh, angry and frowning person, alert with serious humble one. The Prophet Muhammad (prayer and peace of Allah be upon him) acknowledged the attitude of this age and he treated them the way they liked to be treated. He tried to spread through them by his simplicity, joking and kindness important meanings in disciplining, upbringing and molding a successful personality.
It is narrated that Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “we were praying ‘Isha` prayer with the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace of Allah be upon him- when he prostrated Al-Hassan and Al-Hussain would jump on his back, when he rises with his head he picks them gently from the back and places them (on the floor) kindly, so when he returns (to prostration) they return to what they do, and when he ended his prayer he would put them on his thighs.” [Declared good by Al-Albani 3325 Al-Silsila Al-Sahiha]
«كنَّا نصلي مع رسول الله -صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم- العشاء، فإذا سجد وثب الحسن والحسين على ظهره، وإذا رفع رأسه أخذهما بيده من خلفه أخذًا رفيقًا، فوضعهما وضعًا رفيقًا، فإذا عاد؛ عادا، فلما صلى وضعهما على فخذيه» حسنه الألباني 3325 في السّلسلة الصّحيحة
A child could not comprehend matters like rights, duties, principles, foundations, morals and meaning of things, he understands it step by step through his life time. He is mistaken who treats children the same way he treats old people who already now the principles and rules. That’s why we find a lot of people mistreat children waiting for a child to be quiet, rational mature and dignified while he couldn’t.
A companion among the believing women called Umm Khaled narrates an incident happened to her during her childhood she still remembers, where she says: “I came to the Messenger of Allah - prayers and peace of Allah be upon him - with my father and I had a yellow dress on me. The Messenger of Allah - prayers and peace of Allah be upon him - said “Sanah, Sanah” (Sanah means nice in Ethiopian language), she said “then I went to play with the ring of the Prophet whereupon my father stopped me” then the Messenger of Allah prayers and peace of Allah be upon him said “leave her” then he said to me “Wear out and consume, wear out and consume, wear out and consume (he was supplicating for her to wear more clothes and consume)”.” [Reported by Al-Bukhari 3071]
«أتيت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم مع أبي وعلي قميص أصفر، قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: (سنه سنه). قال عبد الله: وهي بالحبشية: حسنة، قالت: فذهبت ألعب بخاتم النبوة فزبرني أبي، قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: (دعها). ثم قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: (أبلي وأخلقي، ثم أبلي وأخلقي، ثم أبلي وأخلقي)» رواه البخاري 3071
A very distinctive and expressing scene of what we need to say. The man comes along with his daughter to the Muhammad prayer and peace of Allah be upon him knowing that he loves children, also not feeling fed up or bored from meeting them, he smiles to them and be happy to receive them. Even more, the little girl bravely jumps on his back and play while he is laughing without boredom; he even supplicated for her and repeated his supplication three times for her.
In other occasions, he would carry a child –prayer and peace of Allah be upon him- during which the child urinates on his clothes, whereupon he calls for some water and he sprinkles it over his clothes without the need to wash it. This situation recurred where children would urinate over his clothes because of his love for children he carries them a lot, not only boys but girls also.
His companion Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari says: “I was blessed with a boy, so I came with him to the Prophet -prayer and peace of Allah be upon him- where he named him Ibrahim, he moistened his lips with a softened date and asked Allah to bless him.” [Agreed upon]
«وُلد لي غلامٌ، فأتيت به النّبيّ -صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم- فسمّاه إبراهيم، فحنكه بتمرةٍ، ودعا له بالبركة» متفقٌ عليه
The Messenger of Allah used to play with children even in the streets while walking. Ya’la Ibn Mura says: “I went out with the Prophet -prayers and peace of Allah be upon him- for a food invitation. Al-Hussain son Ali was playing in the street, whereupon the Prophet hurried in front of the people towards him to catch him while Al-Hussain running right and left to escape. Moreover, he used to take Osama Ibn Zaid and Al-Hassan Ibn Ali and place them on his thighs then he would tightly hug them and say: “O Allah have mercy on the as I have mercy on them.” [Reported by Al-Bukhari 6003]
«اللهمّ ارحمهما فإني أرحمهما» رواه البخاري 6003
Abu Qatadah said: “The Prophet -prayer and peace of Allah be upon him- came in and Umamah Bint Aby Al-‘Aas is on his shoulders, whenever he bows he puts her down and whenever he rises he picks her up.” [Reported by Al-Bukhari 5996]
«خرج علينا النّبيّ -صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم-، وأمامة بنت أبي العاص على عاتقه، فصلَّى، فإذا ركع وضعها ، وإذا رفع رفعها» رواه البخاري 5996
Mahmoud Ibn Al-Rabee’ says: I remember that the Prophet -prayer and peace of Allah be upon him- blew some water from his mouth on my face when I was a five year old child from a bucket. He still remembers how the Prophet -prayer and peace of Allah be upon him- blew the water from his mouth on his face as a kind of joke when he was only five years. [Reported by Al-Bukhari]
«عقلت من النّبيّ -صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم- مَجَّة مجَّها في وجهي، وأنا ابن خمس سنين، من دلو» رواه البخاري 77
When he -prayer and peace of Allah be upon him- hears a child crying while he’s praying he would lighten his prayer so the mother could finish prayer and carry him, see what he needs so he would stop crying. He said: “I rise up to pray, with the intention to elongate my prayer, thereupon I hear the cry of a child which makes me shorten my prayer disliking to make it hard on his/her mother.” [Reported by Al-Bukhari 868]
«إني لأقوم إلى الصّلاة، وأنا أريد أن أطول فيها، فأسمع بكاء الصّبيّ، فأتجوز في صلاتي، كراهية أن أشقَّ على أمّه» رواه البخاري 868
He -prayer and peace of Allah be upon him- used also to play with children and speak to them about their private matters even if they seem to some people as unimportant. Anas Ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) says: “The Prophet -prayer and peace of Allah be upon him- was best of people in manners, and I had a brother called Abu ‘Umair and I think he was weaned, when he meets him he says to him: “what happened to Al-Nughair” (his friend bird). [Agreed upon]
«كان النّبيّ -صلَّى الله عليه وسلم أحسن النّاس خلقًا، وكان لي أخٌ يقال له أبو عمير -قال: أحسبه- فطيم، وكان إذا جاء قال: يا أبا عمير، ما فعل النُّغَيْر؟» رواه البخاري
Honoring the child and respecting him:
The Messenger Muhammad -prayer and peace of Allah be upon him- he was keen when dealing with children to respect their personalities and selves, and keenness to transfer to them the best of understanding in its easiest form and means. Moreover, he wouldn’t scold them along the line a child narrates to us an incident happened with the Prophet -prayer and peace of Allah be upon him- this child is Abdullah Ibn ‘Amer, he says: “My mother called me once when the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace of Allah be upon him- was in our house, she said: “Hey, come here I will give you something”, then the Messenger -prayer and peace of Allah be upon him- commented saying: “what did you want to give him”, She replied “I will give him dates”, then the Messenger -prayer and peace of Allah be upon him- said: “If you did not give him anything (upon calling him) it would be recorded on you as a lie.” [Reported by Abu Dawûd 4991 and declared good by Al-Albani]
«دعتني أمي يوما ورسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قاعد في بيتنا فقالت ها تعال أعطيك فقال لها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وما أردت أن تعطيه؟ قالت: أعطيه تمرا، فقال لها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: أما إنك لو لم تعطيه شيئا كتبت عليك كذبة» رواه أبو داود 4991 وحسنه الألباني
So he -prayer and peace of Allah be upon him- warns her against lying to the boy or belittle his feelings, even if she calls him to give him something, but she won’t.
Also, when the Prophet -prayer and peace of Allah be upon him- sees a child that needs to be disciplined then he will deal with them tenderly and kindly without shouting at them or scolding them. Omar Ibn Aby Salamah: “I was a little boy sitting on the Prophet’s -prayer and peace of Allah be upon him- lap and my hand is all over the plate, then the Messenger of Allah -prayers and peace of Allah be upon him- said to me: “O boy, say ‘Bismillah’ (In the name of Allah), eat with your right hand and eat from what’s in front of you.” [Agreed upon]
«كنت في حجر رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وكانت يدي تطيش في الصحفة. فقال لي: يا غلام! سم الله، وكل بيمينك، وكل مما يليك» متفقٌ عليه
The Prophet -prayers and peace of Allah be upon him- tried to raise children through his teachings and conduct on real manhood and sense of honor since an early age. He used to give them ascending doses from these attributes through recurrent and dispersed situation, for instance he would settle Abdullah Ibn Abas and Abdullah Ibn Omar in his gathering with his companions to learn and mature. Abdullah Ibn Omar narrates saying: “We were at the Prophet’s house -prayers and peace of Allah be upon him-, he got out palm pith, the he said: “Among the trees a tree that is like a Muslim (what is it)?” I wanted to say the palm tree, but I was the youngest among them all so I kept quiet. The Prophet -prayers and peace of Allah be upon him- said “It is the palm tree”.” [Agreed upon]
«كنا عند النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فأتي بجمار، فقال: إن من الشجرة شجرة، مثلها كمثل المسلم. فأردت أن أقول: هي النخلة، فإذا أنا أصغر القوم، فسكت، فقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: هي النخلة» رواه البخاري
He also taught Abdullah Ibn ‘Abass when he was riding behind him on his mount great meanings through simple words, he prayer and peace of Allah be upon him told him: “O boy, I will teach you some words, Guard Allah (carry out his orders) and he will guard you….etc” Till the end of the Hadith. [Reported by At-Tirmidhi 2516 and authenticated by Al-Albani]
«يا غلام، إنّي أعلمك كلماتٍ: احفظ الله يحفظك...» رواه التّرمذي 2516 وصححه الألباني
The Prophet -prayers and peace of Allah be upon him- went the extra mile when he respected children in a community that doesn’t give children much of attention. One of them would sit on his right, another would be admitted before the elders of people etc….Sahl Ibn Sa’d says: “The Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace of Allah be upon him- had something to drink, so he drank and there was a boy on his right and elders on his left so he asks the Boy “Do you give me permission to give them?” the boy replies, “No, by Allah, I wouldn’t give my share from you to anyone”.” [Agreed upon]
«أتأذن لي أن أعطي هؤلاء؟ فقال الغلام: لا. والله! لا أوثر بنصيبي منك أحدًا، فتله في يده» متفق عليه
The Prophet - prayer and peace of Allah be upon him respected both matters, the right of the child of permission, and the right of the elders where he asked the boy to disclaim his right for them, but when the child insisted not, he didn’t admonish the kid nor he scolded him, rather he gave him his right.
Protecting the child’s familial and social rights:
The Messenger prayer and peace of Allah be upon him observed the right of a new born in his known, confirmed and testified on lineage by a declared authentic marriage, while he forbade bearing children from relationships out of wedlock, to protect them from future problems that may arise, moreover, purifying the society from fornication, corruption and mix in lineages.
He stressed -prayers and peace of Allah be upon him- on the right of the child upon his father to choose for him a mother with a good character, his right upon him to choose a good name that isn’t odd or mocked, his right for natural breast feeding, his right to grow in a balanced environment and relatives surrounding him, his right of being brought up on faithful basics, his right to be guarded against sexual and homosexual violation and being taken advantage of, enslaved and being a subject of trade.
Also the Message of Prophet Muhammad -prayers and peace of Allah be upon him- emphasized on the right of the child in inheritance and will, also stressed greatly on the right of an orphan in care and protecting, and his money to be preserved, and the society to protect him, be kind to him, take care of him and to secure fully.