Will you give information about the Prophet's love of children?

Details of the Question
Will you give information about the Prophet's love of children?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

We see the best example of the compassion of the Prophet (pbuh) in his attitude toward children. The compassion and love of the Prophet (pbuh) toward children was really different.

When the Prophet (pbuh) saw a child, his blessed face would be covered in joy. He would hold that child, hug, caress, pat and kiss him.

He would greet each child he met and ask about his/her health. When he saw a child while he was riding an animal, he would make the child ride pillion and give him/her a lift. He would talk to children as if he was their friend and would give them advice according to their level of understanding.   

He was so closely connected with children that when he saw some children racing once, he ran with them to join their fun.

The Prophet was very keen on his children and grandchildren. He was a compassionate father and a merciful grandfather.

Hz. Anas narrates:

"I have never seen anybody more compassionate than the Prophet toward one's family. His son, Ibrahim, had a wet-nurse living in Awali, Madinah. He often went to see his son with me. He would enter the blacksmith's house, which was full of smoke, took Ibrahim and kissed him and smelled him; then, he would return." (Bukhari Adab, 18; Muslim, Fadail, 63)

The Prophet (pbuh) loved her daughter, Fatima, very much. Before he went on an expedition, he would always visit his daughter and when he returned, he would visit her first.  

When Hz. Fatima came to visit her father, he would stand up to welcome his daughter, kiss her on the forehead and make her sit next to him.  

Hz. Fatima had two sons: Hasan and Husayn. The Prophet (pbuh) loved these two grandsons of his very much. He held them, put them on his shoulders, carried them on his back, played with them and fulfilled their requests.

When the Prophet (pbuh) died, Hz. Hasan was seven and Hz. Husayn was six years old. That is, Hasan and Husayn were very young when the Prophet (pbuh) was alive.  

Some examples of compassion and love the Prophet showed to his two grandsons and hence to all children:

Once, the Prophet was reciting a sermon on the pulpit when he saw Hasan and Husayn enter the mosque slithering. He stopped the sermon, went down, held them and hugged them. He said, 

Allah Almighty said, "Your possessions and your progeny are but a trial.' (al-Anfal, 8/28; at-Taghabun, 64/15) It is so true. I could not stand seeing them on the ground." (Bukhari, Fitan, 20)

After that, he continued the sermon.

Hz. Anas narrates:

"I saw the Prophet (pbuh) reciting a sermon. Hasan was on his lap. He addressed the people and then bent down to kiss the child, saying, 'I love him.'" (Muslim, Fadailu's-Sahaba, 56)

Abu Said narrates:

"When the Prophet (pbuh) was in prostration, his grandson, Hasan, came and climbed on his back. The Prophet held his hand and stood up. He kept Hasan on his back until he bowed down for ruku. After standing up from ruku, he released Hasan; and Hasan left." (Haythami, IX/176)

Abdullah bin Mas'ud narrates:

"When the Prophet prostrated while performing a prayer, Hasan and Husayn came and climbed on his back. When the people who were there wanted to intervene, the Prophet signaled them not to intervene. After finishing the prayer, the Prophet (pbuh) cuddled them. He said, 

"He who loves me should love them too." (Haythami, IX/179)

Anas bin Malik narrates:

"Once, Hasan and Husayn arrived while the Prophet was in prostration and climbed on his back. The Prophet lengthened the prostration until they got off. The people who were there asked him,

"O Messenger of Allah! Did you not lengthen the prostration too much?" He answered:

"I avoided hurrying when they were on my back." (Haythami, IX/181)

Qatada narrates:

"Once the Prophet (pbuh) came over to us holding Amama, his granddaughter born of his daughter Zaynab, in his arms. He started to perform a prayer like that. When he bowed down for ruku, he put the child onto the ground and took her again when he stood up."

Abu Hurayra narrates:

"Once the Prophet (pbuh) came to us with Hasan on one of his shoulders and Husayn on the other. First, he kissed one of them and then the other. He continued kissing them like that."

We said,

"O Messenger of Allah! It seems that you love them very much." He said,

"Yes, I love them very much. A person who loves them is regarded to have loved me. A person who hates them is regarded to have hated me." (Ibn Sa’d, VI/360; Ibn Hajar, al-Isaba, I/329)

Once, the Prophet was invited somewhere. On the way, he saw Husayn, his grandson. Husayn opened his arms and ran toward his grandfather but he suddenly changed his direction and ran away. He did the same things a few times. The Prophet ran after him and eventually caught him and hugged him. He said, 

"Husayn is of me; I am of Husayn." (Ibn Majah, Muqaddima, 11)

The Prophet did what the children wanted in order to please them and won their hearts.

Once, he was walking and Hasan was on his shoulders. When a man saw him like that, he said to Hasan,

"O child! What a nice mount you have!" The Prophet (pbuh) said to the man,

"What a nice rider he is!" (Ibn Hajar, al-Isaba, I/329)

Although he was a prophet, he was not ashamed of carrying a child on his shoulders; he was proud of it.

The Prophet (pbuh) was so compassionate and tolerant toward children that he would tolerate it when babies and small children wetted themselves; he would leave them as they were until they finished urinating.  

Hz Husayn, the grandson of the Prophet (pbuh), was with Umm Fadl, his wet nurse. Once, the Prophet (pbuh) went to see him. Umm Fadl narrates:

"I was breastfeeding Husayn. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) came toward me. He wanted to hold Husayn. I gave Husayn to him. He suddenly started to urinate on the Prophet. I stretched out my hand to take Husayn. The Prophet said, 'Do not interrupt his urination.' Then, he asked for a glass of water and poured on the place where he had urinated."

The Prophet could not stand it when a child started to cry. He wanted them to be silenced. It was very difficult for his love and compassion to allow children to cry.  

He often asked his wives not to allow Husayn to cry. He stated the following about silencing a child who was crying: 

"If a person takes care of a crying child until he keeps silent, Allah Almighty will give him so many bounties to please him in Paradise."

When he heard a child crying while he was leading a prayer, he would finish the prayer earlier so that his mother would take care of him.

When the Prophet (pbuh) led prayers in the mosque, mothers with small children also joined the congregation. One Companion narrates the following:

"Once, the Messenger of Allah led the morning prayer. He recited two short chapters in the prayer. When the prayer ended, Abu Said al-Khudri asked:

"O Messenger of Allah! Why did you perform the prayer much shorter than before?"

The Prophet (pbuh) answered:

"Did you not hear the sound of the child among the women at the back? I wanted to enable the woman to look after her child."

A child is shown the most compassion by her mother. It is stated in a hadith that mothers will get great rewards due to the compassion they show toward their children. An incident regarding the issue took place as follows:

Once, a poor woman and her two daughters visited Hz. Aisha. Hz. Aisha had only one date to give them. She gave the date to the mother. The woman divided the date into two and fed her daughters. When Hz. Aisha told the Prophet (pbuh) what happened, the Prophet said,

"To love children truly and to take care of them is a means of salvation from Hell for her."

The Prophet did not discriminate among children. He showed the same love and mercy he showed to his children and grandchildren to the children of his Companions too.  

Hz. Zayd's son Usama, the servant of the Prophet (pbuh) narrates:

"The Messenger of Allah used to put me on one of his knees and Hasan, his grandson, on the other; then he would hug us and pray as follows: 'O Lord! Show mercy to them! For, I am merciful toward them.'

Some people found it strange that the Prophet (pbuh) hugged and kissed the children of the Companions. They could not fully understand this nice characteristic, which they did not have. 

Once Aqra bin Habis saw the Prophet (pbuh) kiss Hz. Hasan and said,

"I have ten children; I have never kissed any of them."

Thereupon, the Prophet said,

"He who shows no mercy, will receive no mercy."(Muslim, Fadail, 65; Tirmidhi, Birr and Sila, 12)

Once, a Bedouin came to the Prophet and said,

"O Messenger of Allah! Do you kiss children? We do not kiss them."The Prophet (pbuh) said,  

"What can I do if Allah removed the feeling of mercy from your heart?"

Thus, the Prophet stated that the feeling of mercy and compassion can be seen the most distinctly related to love of children and compassion shown toward them. We learn from the Prophet that to love and kiss children make us gain great rewards:

"Kiss your children a lot because you are given such a rank in Paradise in return for each kiss that there is a distance of five hundred years between two ranks. The angels count your kisses and record rewards for you."(Musnad Zayd)

The Prophet did not discriminate among children of different religions related to compassion he showed toward them.

Once a Jewish child became ill. The Prophet (pbuh) went to visit him. He asked the child to become a Muslim. The child asked permission from his father to become a Muslim. His father allowed and the child became a Muslim.

This nice attitude of the Prophet during peace also continued during war. He advised his Companions not to kill children and asked them to treat children well.  

Once, a few children remained in the middle of a fight between two groups and were killed. The Prophet (pbuh) became very sorry when he heard about it. The Companions asked,

"O Messenger of Allah! They are the children of the polytheists. Why are you so sad? "The Prophet said,

"They remain as they were born. Never kill children. Every living being is clean when it is first created."

For, even if a child's father is non-Muslim, he is not regarded as responsible unless he reaches the age of puberty. They retain their innocence since they are born having the nature of Islam.   

We see the unique compassion of the Prophet (pbuh) shown to the girls too. Before Islam, daughters had no significance in the eye of their fathers. They regarded having a daughter as something bad. They did not want to marry their daughters off since they did not want their son-in-laws to be called "the son-in-law of such and such a man". They used to bury their daughters alive. They regarded this savage act as their tradition from their ancestors and applied it.

The Prophet (pbuh) regarded the killings of the poor innocent girls like this as a big murder and worked very hard to eliminate this evil custom as soon as possible. He was proud of having daughters and he gave the glad tidings that a person who brought up three (or two or one) daughters and educated them in an Islamic way would go to Paradise.  When a girl came to his presence, he would take care of her.  

When Khalid bin Said came to visit the Prophet (pbuh), he had brought his little daughter with him. The Prophet gave close attention to her since she was born in Abyssinia. The girl played with the seal of the prophethood at the back of the Prophet. Her father wanted to take her but the Prophet (pbuh) prevented her father so as not to offend the girl. Once, the Prophet had a piece of embroidered fabric. He summoned Khalid's daughter and gave it to her to make her happy.     

• • •
Jamra was a little child then. His father took her to the Prophet (pbuh) and asked the Prophet "O Messenger of Allah! Will you pray to Allah for her?"  The Prophet held her in his arms and prayed for her.

• • •
The reward for those who showed love and compassion toward their children is given even in this world. They enjoy the pleasure of loving a child and gain the love and mercy of Allah.   

Abu Hurayra narrates:

"Once, a man came to the presence of the Prophet (pbuh). He had his son with him. He often hugged his child and loved him. The Prophet asked him, 

"Do you show compassion to this child?" He said,
"Yes. O Messenger of Allah!"
"Allah will show you more compassion in return for your compassion toward this child."

The Prophet (pbuh) did not like those who discriminated between boys and girls. He warned those who did so and asked them to correct their mistakes. There was no difference between a girl and boy in his eye. Both needed compassion and love. 

Anas bin Malik narrates:

"Once, a man was sitting next to the Prophet. When his son arrived, he let his son sit on his lap. After a while, his daughter arrived. He made her sit next to him. The Prophet (pbuh) asked the man,

'Why did you not treat them equally?'"

• • •
Along with asking people to love their children equally, the Prophet asked them to treat them equally regarding, gifts, money, food etc given to the children.

Numan bin Bashir narrates:

"My father gave me something from his property. My mother said to me, 'If you do not make the Prophet a witness for this gift, I will not approve it.' Thereupon, my father took me to the Prophet to ask him to be a witness for this gift. When the Prophet was informed about it, he asked my father,

'Do you have any other children?' My father said,'Yes, I do.'
'Did you give the same amount to your other children?'
My father said no. Thereupon, the Prophet (pbuh) said,
'Fear Allah and treat your children equally.'

After leaving the presence of the Prophet, my father annulled the gift he had given to me."

We see this equal treatment more clearly regarding the deeds of the Prophet (pbuh). The following incident may seem simple but it is very remarkable in terms of being an important and permanent criterion. 

Hz. Ali narrates:

"The Prophet came to visit us. He stayed in our house that night. Hasan and Husayn were sleeping. Hasan woke up and asked for some water. The Prophet got up and brought a glass of water to him. Meanwhile, Husayn woke up and reached out for the glass to drink water. The Prophet did not give the water to Husayn. He gave it to Hasan first. Thereupon, Fatima said,

'It looks as if you love Hasan more than Husayn.'

The Prophet said, 'No. Hasan asked for water first.'"

We see from what we have mentioned so far that the Prophet gave special importance and value to children; we learn the most useful and practical knowledge about child education from him.

The religion of Islam gives great importance to treating orphans well and protecting their property. The Quran orders the protection of orphans directly or indirectly in twenty-one places. One of those verses is as follows:

"Those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, eat up a Fire into their own bodies: they will soon be enduring a blazing Fire." (an-Nisa, 4/10)

What is meant by eating up the property in this verse is not protecting their property and to grab what belongs to them. It does not mean not eating something offered by orphans when you visit their house. Hz. Prophet mentions in one of his hadiths that eating up the property of orphans is one of the seven major sins that destroy man. (Bukhari, Wasaya, 23)

An orphan cannot manage his property; so, his property is managed by his guardian. His personal affairs are managed by one of his relatives. The guardian cannot spend his money on things that are certain to be lost.  

When an orphan reaches the age of puberty, his property is delivered to him. If it is seen that the orphan lacks the ability to manage his property when he reaches the age of puberty, his property is not delivered to him until he becomes 25 years old. After that age, he manages his property himself.

To eat up the property of orphans

According to Islam, it is definitely haramto eat up the property of orphans and it is one of the major sins.  There are several verses and hadiths expressing it clearly. Allah Almighty states the following in the Quran:

"Those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, eat up a Fire into their own bodies: they will soon be enduring a blazing Fire." (an-Nisa, 4/10)

"And come not nigh to the orphan's property, except to improve it, until he attain the age of full strength; give measure and weight with (full) justice." (al-An'am, 6/152)

The Prophet (pbuh) states the following in a hadith:

"Avoid seven sins that destroy individuals and nations." The Companions asked,

"O Messenger of Allah! What are they?" The Prophet said,

"Associating partners with Allah, killing a person that Allah disallows killing - except the ones that are killed for good reason - , usury, eating up the property of orphans, escaping from the war while fighting the enemy, accusing a married and innocent woman of adultery." (see. Riyadu's-Salihin Trnsl. III/184)

That is eating up the property of orphans is one of the sins that destroy individuals and society. When one thinks reasonably, he will see clearly that it is very bad to eat up the property of orphans. It is stated by verses and hadiths that those who eat up the property of a small child whose parents died, who was left alone at a very young age needing help, who cannot manage the property he inherited and who is hopeless will be sad in this world and punished severely in the hereafter. 

Let alone eating up the property of orphans, the religion of Islam orders people to protect orphans and their property. Allah states the following regarding the issue:

"Therefore treat not the orphan with harshness; Nor repulse the petitioner (Unheard)."(ad-Duha, 93/9-10)

The Prophet (pbuh) states the following about those who protect orphans and who undertake the management of their property:

"I and a person who undertakes the management of an orphan's property will be like this in the hereafter."

Then, he showed his index finger and middle finger in the shape of V." (Riyadu's-Salihin Trnsl. I/308)

Eating up the property of orphans is an evil deed; on the other hand, protecting orphans is such a good and charitable deed. Therefore, it is a religious and humane duty to look after and protect the orphans around and to manage their property until they become old enough to manage their own property.

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