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IslamiCity > Articles > The Prophet of the Little Ones Too
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Love for the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, the desire to win his approval and earn his praise, was sufficient motivation for the child companions to strive to do good.

The Prophet of the Little Ones Too
5/16/2012 - Religious Family - Article Ref: AJ1205-5089
Number of comments: 3
Opinion Summary: Agree:0  Disagree:0  Neutral:0  Ignored:3
By: Staff - Al-Jumuah
Al Jumuah* - 24-06


For mothers of young children, who have difficulty finding a quiet, undisturbed time to perform their own salah, the example of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, is extraordinarily heartening. He not only allowed them to be with him in the sacred moments of salah, but encouraged them to be there with him as they were, children. He made his salah with his granddaughter Umamah riding on his shoulders, and lengthened his sujood when his grandsons famously rode on his back. All of them became worshippers extraordinaire because they saw the most beloved of people to them immerse himself in worship, and with what joy allow them to participate at the youngest age in a manner appropriate to them. As children grew older, he let them accompany him in his late night vigils, adjusting their positioning, letting them see and hear him and participate with him in his most spiritual moments, and giving them a full glimpse of what a prophet, a man is like in his most emotional devotions to the Lord of All the Worlds.


Our own childhood memories of play and laughter bring back warm feelings, and those who played with us enjoy a special place in our most tender hearts. How wondrous is it that the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, delighted in the games of children! With all the dignity, nobility, and holiness of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, he felt none too lofty (though the most exalted of all men) to join heartily in their games, throw them over his shoulder, chase after them and, laughing, catch them. He took interest in their play, commenting to his young wife 'Aisha, before her age of consummation, about her toy, that he had never seen a horse with wings. She replied that this one was the horse of the Prophet Sulaiman, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, at which the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, smiled heartily at her imaginative mind.


This is the command of the Quran, and the order its injunction is vital: "Commanding good" precedes "forbidding evil." He is called in the Quran "basheer"-a giver of glad tidings-before the mention of "nadheer"-a forewarner. And his sunnah attests to the fact that he followed that implicit instruction, first calling to good, before forbidding evil.

With children, however, he was more apt to command good and demonstrate the behavior he wanted them to emulate, than he was to reprimand and forbid. All too often, we fall into the trap of saying: "Don't, " without taking the time to model the desired mode of conduct ourselves. There are dangers in saying "don't." Say it too often, and you risk reinforcing the very behavior you want to extinguish.

Love for the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, the desire to win his approval and earn his praise, was sufficient motivation for the child companions to strive to do good. And good they did. Our history bears witness to the bravery, generosity, courage, and moral principles demonstrated by those who were still children around the Messenger, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam.


The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, beheld the little ones and the young with esteem. This is demonstrated by the focused attention he paid to them whenever they were in his company, in the politeness with which he spoke to them, in the serious way he took their behavior, the responsibilities he accorded them in accordance with their abilities, the gentleness with which he merely implied any admonition, the importance and sanctity he bestowed to their play, participating in it himself, and the recognition he showed for the fact that they carried within them young souls, which he sought at every appropriate opportunity to inform and nurture along side his own. One ought not lose sight of the fact that this attention, in all its details, elevated this child Companions to special status among their adult peers. For the words, lessons, and accompaniment of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, were all like great medals of honor for life upon whomever he bestowed them. Thus he taught that childhood is a special and dignified phase of life and children are believers in their own right, not just adults-in-the- making.

A Legacy of Love

We judge a theory or philosophy by the result it produces. Abdullah ibn Abbas became known as "Al Habr wal bahr"-the sage of the ummah and the ocean of knowledge. His are the most esteemed explanations of the Quran until today, nor shall they be surpassed. When the perennial theme of the role of women in society comes endlessly up for debate, we forever have the ex- ample of 'Aishah, who set a standard of learned piety, female intellectual leadership, and community activism, not only for women, but for all believers. Anas ibn Malik grew up to be one of the foremost narrators of hadith. The list goes on.

But it is much more than knowledge that they have passed on. They lived the example of their Prophet-teacher. Their lives were that of ascetics, even when wealth was presented to them. They were the havens of the poor and destitute. They maintained their principled stance, even in the face of torture and oppression, never wavering from the moral path.

The Messenger, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, left us with one great lesson: That spiritual, moral training cannot be done without a close bond of affection between parent and child, or student and teacher. Love is the basis of learning, and emulation out of intuitive understanding its highest form. And from his love, his legacy lives on and on.

SOURCES AND RECOMMENDED READING: Riyadus Saliheen, compiled by Imam Nawawi Child Companions Around the Prophet (peace be upon him) - Darus Salaam Research Division Companions of the Prophet-Abdul Wahid Hamid.


Article provided by Al Jumuah Magazine, a monthly Muslim lifestyle publication, which addresses the religious concerns of Muslim families across the world.

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