The Prophet (pbuh) treated everyone with utmost kindness. He did not subscribe to the pre-Islamic macho notion that expressing tenderness to children or showing kindness to women was a sign of weakness. On the contrary, he publicly expressed his affection for children.
According to an authentic Hadith narrated in the Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Allah's Messenger kissed Al-Hasan ibn Ali while Al-Aqra bin Habis Al-Tamim was sitting with him. Al-Aqra said, âI have 10 children and have never kissed one of them.â The Prophet cast a look at him and said, âWhoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully.â
In another incident, Mother of Believers Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that a Bedouin visited the Prophet (pbuh) and said, âYou kiss the boys. We don't kiss them.â The Prophet (pbuh) said, âI cannot put mercy in your heart after Allah has taken it away from it.â (Saheeh Al-Bukhari).
One of the Prophet's closest young companions, Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him), said: âI never saw anyone who was more compassionate toward children than Allah's Messenger. His son Ibrahim was in the care of a wet nurse in the hills around Al-Madinah. He would go there, and we would go with him, and he would enter the house, pick up his son and kiss him, then come back.â (Muslim)
The Prophet's (pbuh) affection was not limited to his immediate family circle. For instance, he used to play with Usama bin Zayd, a child of Abyssinian origin, and his grandson Hasan, holding them together.
âThe Messenger of Allah used to put me on one of his thighs and put Al-Hasan ibn Ali on his other thigh, and then embrace us and say, 'O Allah please be merciful to them, as I am merciful to them.ââ (Al-Bukhari)
The Prophet's (pbuh) treatment of baby girls was also a benchmark in the ancient times when a girl was viewed with scorn. The âreal menâ in those days would rather kill a baby girl than allow her to grow up in their homes. However, the Prophet (pbuh) challenged this inhuman attitude and used to play with them in the same way he would with male children.
Abu Qatadah Al-Sulami reports: âThe Prophet (peace be upon him) prayed carrying Umama bint Zainab, a granddaughter: When he was standing he carried her, but when he prostrated himself, he put her on the floor.â (Al-Bukhari)
According to another report, âWhen he bowed in ruku he put her on the floor, and when he arose from prostration he carried her.â (Muslim)
The Prophet (pbuh) said, âI start the prayer intending to prolong it, but on hearing the cries of a child, I shorten the prayer because I know that the cries of the child will incite the mother's passion.â (Al-Bukhari)
Another incident reported by Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) demonstrated how tender the Prophet (pbuh) was with babies. A child once urinated on the Prophet (pbuh) but he neither complained nor made a fuss. He simply cleaned his clothes by pouring some water over the soiled place. (Al-Bukhari)
The Prophet (pbuh) would have fun with the children who had come back from Abyssinia and tried to speak in Abyssinian with them. It was his practice to give lifts on his camel to children when he returned from journeys.
The Prophet (pbuh) also used to pay attention to children and their hobbies.
Anas bin Malik narrated: âThe Prophet (pbuh) used to mingle with us to the extent that he would say to the younger brother of mine, Father of Umair what did you do with Al-Nughair (a pet bird).â (Muslim)
The Prophet's (pbuh) audience included kings, warriors and wise men. Yet he found time to cuddle babies and have fun with children. This is how a true Muslim should be because the Prophet (pbuh) is the role model and he made the lives of children he interacted with pleasant. ¬