WHAT ISLAM SAYS ABOUT CHILDREN?
In Islam, children are considered a great blessing and a trust from Allah. The upbringing and care of children are regarded as important responsibilities for parents and guardians. Here are some key aspects of the status and treatment of children in Islam:
Blessing and Trust: Children are seen as a source of joy and blessings. The Quran mentions the concept of children as a gift and test from Allah. Parents are considered stewards entrusted with the care and guidance of their children.
وَٱلَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَٰجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّـٰتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍۢ وَٱجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا ٧٤
“And those who say, ‘Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.”
Kindness and Compassion: Parents are instructed to treat their children with kindness and compassion. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) set an example of showing affection and love to children.
عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ” مَنْ لَمْ يَرْحَمْ صَغِيرَنَا وَيَعْرِفْ حَقَّ كَبِيرِنَا فَلَيْسَ مِنَّا ”
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: Those who do not show mercy to our young ones and do not realise the right of our elders are not from us.
(Sunan Abi Dawood 4943)
Responsibility of Parents: Parents are responsible for the moral, ethical, and spiritual upbringing of their children. They are encouraged to instil Islamic values, manners, and ethics in their children.
“Each of you is a shepherd, and each of you is responsible for his flock. The leader is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. A man is the shepherd of his family and is responsible for his flock.”
(Sunan Abi Dawud 2928)
Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) interactions with children
Muhammad (ﷺ) had seven children, three boys and four girls. All of his sons, including Ibrahim ibn Muhammad, died in infancy.
Muhammad (ﷺ) also had an adopted son, Zayd (ra), who is said to be the object of Nabi (ﷺ) parental affection.
Nabi (ﷺ) also had two grandsons, Hasan and Husayn (ra), and three granddaughters, Umm Kulthum, Zaynab, and Umamah (ra).
Muhammad (ﷺ) used to let Umamah sit on his shoulders while he was praying. When someone expressed astonishment at the Prophet (ﷺ) when Nabi (ﷺ) kissed his grandchild, he responded, “what can I do if Allah has deprived your heart of all human feeling?”
Muhammad has been described as being very fond of children in general. What attributes this to Muhammad’s yearning for children, as most of his own children died before him.
- As in Salaah would shorten his Salaah by hearing the crying of a child:
عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ “ إِنِّي لأَقُومُ فِي الصَّلاَةِ أُرِيدُ أَنْ أُطَوِّلَ فِيهَا، فَأَسْمَعُ بُكَاءَ الصَّبِيِّ، فَأَتَجَوَّزُ فِي صَلاَتِي كَرَاهِيَةَ أَنْ أَشُقَّ عَلَى أُمِّهِ ”
“The Prophet (ﷺ) said, ‘When I stand for prayer, I intend to prolong it but on hearing the cries of a child, I cut it short, as I dislike to trouble the child’s mother.’ “
(Sahih al-Bukhari 707)
- He (ﷺ) comforted a child whose pet sparrow had died.
عَنْ أَنَسٍ قَالَ: دَخَلَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَرَأَى ابْنًا لأَبِي طَلْحَةَ يُقَالُ لَهُ: أَبُو عُمَيْرٍ، وَكَانَ لَهُ نُغَيْرٌ يَلْعَبُ بِهِ، فَقَالَ: يَا أَبَا عُمَيْرٍ، مَا فَعَلَ أَوْ، أَيْنَ، النُّغَيْرُ؟.
Narrated by Anas (ra:
“The Prophet, (ﷺ) came in and saw a son of Abu Talha’s called Abu ‘Umayr. He had a sparrow which he used to play with.” He said, “Abu ‘Umayr, what happened to (or where is) the little sparrow?'”
)Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 384(
- Once, Muhammad (ﷺ) was sitting with a child in his lap, and the child urinated over Nabi (ﷺ). Muhammad (ﷺ) never scold the child however washed it easily with love and compassion.
عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَضَعَ صَبِيًّا فِي حِجْرِهِ يُحَنِّكُهُ، فَبَالَ عَلَيْهِ، فَدَعَا بِمَاءٍ فَأَتْبَعَهُ.
Narrated by `Aisha (ra):
The Prophet (ﷺ) took a child in his lap for Tahnik (i.e. he chewed a date in his mouth and put its juice in the mouth of the child). The child urinated on him, so he asked for water and poured it over the place of the urine.
(Sahih al-Bukhari 6002)
Overall, Islam emphasizes the importance of nurturing a loving and supportive family environment where children are raised with care, guidance, and respect for their rights.