Is it true that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) visited a Jewish child when he was ill?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The incident mentioned in the question took place as follows:

There was a Jewish child who served Hz. Muhammed (pbuh). Once he became ill. The Prophet (pbuh) went to visit him. He sat down by his head and said to him, ‘Accept Islam!’ The boy looked at the face of his father who was beside him, to find out about his view. His father said, ‘Accept Abul-Qasim’s call’. The boy accepted Islam.

Thereupon, the Prophet (pbuh) said,

Praise be to Allah who has saved this boy from Hell.

Then, he left. (Bukhari, Janaiz 80)

In the narrations of the hadith in Bukhari (Marda 11) and Abu Dawud (Janaiz 2), it is not stated that the Jewish child served the Prophet (pbuh). It is generally accepted that the child had not reached the age of puberty yet. As a matter of fact, the word ghulam indicates it.

In the narration of Abu Dawud, the last sentence is as follows: “Praise be to Allah who has saved this boy from Hell through me.”

The Prophet (pbuh) showed courtesy and humility and went to visit the Jewish child, sat at the bedside and asked how he was. In the hadith, it looks as if he wanted the child to become a Muslim as soon as he sat but the first thing a person who visits an ill person will do is to ask about his health, to pray for him and to wish him a quick recovery. Among those usual deeds, the most remarkable ones for Anas, the narrator, were that the Prophet sat at the bedside of the child and, when it was due, he advised the child to become a Muslim. Therefore, he narrated only those two things.

The hadith shows that visiting ill people include non-Muslims too and that such human relations are a suitable opportunity for conveying the message of Islam. In addition, the hadith shows that religion can be advised to the children who have not reached the age of puberty yet (ghulam). The Prophet (pbuh) did not discriminate against any children due to religion in terms of compassion. Therefore, he showed compassion to the children of non-Muslims too. During the war, he advised the Muslims not to kill children and warned them to treat children well.

As a matter of fact, a few children were killed during a war when they were caught between two parties. The Prophet felt very sad. The Companions said,

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

“They are in the same state as they were born. Never kill children. Everybody is clean in first creation.” (Musnad, 3/435)

Islam's approach to children is based on the understanding of love, compassion and tolerance because the child comes to the world with a pure nature and without sin. He is not regarded religiously responsible before he reaches the age of puberty. The new born baby is dependent on the parents up to a certain age and is in need of the help of the people older than him. Therefore, the child can develop a solid personality to the extent that he is taken care of. In this respect, the Prophet's approach to children and his advice for their upbringing is remarkable.

The Prophet nurtured a deep love and compassion for children at every stage of life, took them seriously and acted humbly toward them; he solved their problems and led them to do truth. Some of his recommendations are as follows:

"He who has a child should act like a child when he plays with him." (Daylami, 3/513)

"Treat to your children and teach them good manners." (Ibn Majah, Adab, 3)

"If a person calls a child saying, 'Come here, I will give you something' and if he does not give him anything, a sin of lying is recorded for him." (Musnad, 2/452)

"Fear Allah and treat your children justly." (Muslim, Hibat 13)

"If a person has a daughter and does not bury her alive, does not despise her and does not prefer his son to her, Allah will send him to Paradise." (Abu Dawud, Adab, 121)

"If a person brings up two daughters and educates them until they grow up, I will be next to that person on the Day of Judgment." (Muslim, Birr, 149)

"Do not curse yourselves; do not curse your children; do not curse your wealth. It may coincide with the time when prayers are accepted and Allah may accept your curse." (Muslim, Zuhd, 74)

“A man was sitting near the Prophet (pbuh). A boy came and the man kissed him, placing him on his lap. After a while, a girl came. The man made her sit next to him. Thereupon, the Prophet (pbuh) criticized the man by saying, 'Why did you not treat them equally?’” (Kandehlevi, M. Yusuf, Hayatu’s-Sahabe (translated by Ahmet Meylani) İst. 1980, Vol. III, p. 46)

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