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Prophet's Gentleness with Children and His Joking with Them

Saturday 27/03/2010

The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), reached the highest degree of human perfection in all aspects. This includes his sublime morals with children, where he set the greatest example. No human being, neither a psychologist nor anyone else, could ever reach his degree of perfection. The Muslim should follow the example of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), as much as possible and according to his ability, including his gentleness and sense of humor with children. The following are brief examples of this gentleness: 

The First Example: His joking with Mahmood ibn Ar-Rabee’
 
In a Hadeeth on the authority of Mahmood ibn Ar-Rabee’, may Allah be pleased with him, he said, “When I was five years old, I remember that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) sucked some water from a bucket [used for getting water out of a well] with his mouth and spat it at my face.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
In this incident, the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), spat a  mouthful of water at Mahmood, may Allah be pleased with him, from afar either due to joking with him, or to bless him, as he would do with the children of the Companions. “This was due to joking and is a sign of high morals,” said Shaykh Ibn Baaz  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him.
 
The Second Example: His gentleness and friendliness with a group of children
 
In a Hadeeth on the authority of Jaabir ibn Samurah, may Allah be pleased with him, he said, “I prayed with the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) the first prayer [Thuhr Prayer], then he went to his family, and I went with him. He met some children [on the way] and started patting their cheeks one by one. He also patted my cheek, and I felt the coolness or fragrance of his hand as if he had taken it out of the scented bag of a perfumer.” [Muslim]
 
The Third Example: His gentleness with Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn, may Allah be pleased with them, in various situations
 
1-   In a Hadeeth on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, he said, “The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) kissed Al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, while Al-Aqra’ ibn Haabis At-Tameemi, may Allah be pleased with him, was sitting with him. He therefore remarked, ‘I have ten children, but I have never kissed any of them.’ The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) looked at him, and said:‘A person who shows no mercy will receive no mercy.’ [Al-Bukhari]
 
2-   In a Hadeeth on the authority of ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, she said, “There came a Bedouin to the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and said, ‘Do you kiss your children? We do not kiss ours.’ Thereupon, the Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: ‘What can I do for you if Allah has taken the mercy out of your heart.’ [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
3-   Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn, may Allah be pleased with them, were the dearest people to the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), as indicated in a Hadeeth on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, where he said, “I heard the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) say: ‘They are my two plants of sweet basil in this world.’ [Al-Bukhari]
 
The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), meant by these words that he was blessed with them as part of his share of this world. He used “basil” because children are normally smelled and kissed as if they are flowers and sweet basil.
 
4-   In a Hadeeth on the authority of Abu Bakrah, may Allah be pleased with him, he said, “I heard the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) addressing people on the pulpit. Next to him was Al-Hasan, may Allah be pleased with him, and the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) was alternately looking at him and at the people. He then said:‘This son of mine is a master and I hope that Allah will help him bring about reconciliation between two great Muslim groups. [Al-Bukhari]
 
Sure enough, Al-Hasan, may Allah be pleased with him, made peace between Mu’aawiyah, may Allah be pleased with him, and his followers and the followers of his father, ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib, may Allah be pleased with him. He gave up his right of the caliphate to Mu’aawiyah, may Allah be pleased with him, in order to spare the Muslims’ blood. [Al-Bukhari]
 
5-   In a Hadeeth on the authority of Al-Baraa’, may Allah be pleased with him, he said, “I saw the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) carrying Al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, on his shoulder and saying:‘O Allah! Love him because I love him.’ [Al-Bukhari]
 
The Fourth Example: His carrying a child on his back while prostrating
 
In a Hadeeth on the authority of Shaddaad, may Allah be pleased with him, he said,
 
The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) came to lead people either in the Maghrib or ‘Ishaa’ prayer, and he was carrying either Al-Hasan or Al-Husayn, may Allah be pleased with them. He put the boy on the ground and started the prayer by saying: “Allahu Akbar.” He made a long prostration, whereupon my father said that he lifted his head and discovered that the boy was there on the back of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) in his prostration position. Having found that, my father returned to his prostration. When the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) finished the prayer, people remarked, “O Messenger of Allah! You made a long prostration and we thought that something wrong took place or that you were receiving revelation.” Thereupon, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said:“Nothing like this took place. It was just that my son mounted my back, and I disliked making him get off before he was fully contented.”[An-Nasaa’i and Ahmad, Al-Albaani - Saheeh]
 
The Fifth Example: His love for Usaamah, may Allah be pleased with him
 
In a Hadeeth on the authority of Usaamah ibn Zayd, may Allah be pleased with him, he said, “The Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) would put me on [one of] his thighs and put Al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, on his other thigh, and then put his two thighs close to each other and say: ‘O Allah! Be Merciful to them, as I am merciful to them.’In another version, he,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “O Allah! Love them, for I love them.”[Al-Bukhari]
 
The Sixth Example: His carrying the daughter of Zaynab, may Allah be pleased with her, while praying
 
In a Hadeeth on the authority of Abu Qataadah, may Allah be pleased with him, he said, “The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) would pray carrying Umaamah bint Abu Al-’Aas, the daughter of his daughter Zaynab, may Allah be pleased with her. He would put her on the ground before prostrating and carry her again when standing up.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
The Seventh Example: His joking with Umm Khaalid in the Abyssinian language
 
In a Hadeeth on the authority of Umm Khaalid bint Khaalid ibn Sa’eed, may Allah be pleased with her, she said,
 
My father and I went to the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) while I was wearing a yellow garment. The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Sanah! Sanah!” [‘Sanah’ meant ‘good’ in the Abyssinian language] I then started playing with the seal of prophethood [in between the Prophet’s shoulders] and my father rebuked me harshly for that. However, the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Leave her,” and then invoked Allah thrice to grant me a long life: “Wear this dress until it is worn out and then wear it until it is worn out, and then wear it until it is worn out.” [The narrator added: “It is said that she lived for a long period of time, wearing that (yellow) dress until it turned dark due to prolonged use.”] [Al-Bukhari]  
 
It was said that no woman lived as long as Umm Khaalid, may Allah be pleased with her, did.
 
The Eighth Example: His shortening the prayer when a boy was crying
 
The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), would shorten the prayer if he heard a child cry. He did so out of mercy and compassion for the child and his mother. In this context, Abu Qataadah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated on the authority of his father that the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), said: “Whenever I stand for prayer, I wish to prolong it, but upon hearing the cries of a child, I would shorten it as I dislike to put his mother in distress.”[Al-Bukhari]
 
The Ninth Example: His greeting children
 
In a Hadeeth on the authority of Anas ibn Maalik, may Allah be pleased with him, he said that he passed by a group of boys and greeted them and said that, “The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) would also do so.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
The Tenth Example: His joking with Abu ‘Umayr
 
In a Hadeeth on the authority of Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, he said, “The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) was the best of all people in terms of morals. I had a brother called Abu ‘Umayr, who I think had been newly weaned. Whenever the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) came, he would say to him:‘O Abu ‘Umayr! What did An-Nughayr [a small nightingale that he had as a pet] do?’[Al-Bukhari] 
 
Abu ‘Umayr would play with that bird and was saddened when it died. When the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), saw him like this, he would ask him about the bird in a funny way, so as to cheer him up.
 
The Eleventh Example: His giving a child on his right side a drink before older people on his left
 
The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), gave a boy some drink before other older people because he was sitting on his right side. In a Hadeeth on the authority of Sahl ibn Sa’d, may Allah be pleased with him, he said,
 
Once a tumbler [full of milk or water] was brought to the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and he drank some of it. On his right side, there was a boy sitting. He was the youngest in that gathering. On the left side of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) there were old men. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) asked: “O boy! Do you allow me to give it [the drink] to the elder people [first]?” The boy said, “I will not prefer anybody over myself when it comes to my share from you.” So he gave it to the boy first. [Al-Bukhari]
 
The Twelfth Example: His not minding when a baby urinated in his lap
 
In a Hadeeth on the authority of Umm Qays bint Mihsan, she said: “Once I went to the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) with a son of mine who would not eat any food. The boy urinated upon him, whereupon he asked for some water and sprinkled it over the place of urine without washing it.” [Al-Bukhari]
 
And there are many, many other incidents to mention in this regard.

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