How many incidents that occurred in our childhood days do
we still remember up until today, be they happy or sad memories?
Think about your childhood and no doubt you will remember
the day you received a certificate of achievement at school,
or when someone praised you in a public gathering, and so on.
These are the sort of incidents that become imprinted in your
memory such that you can never forget.
We likewise remember the sad memories from our childhood,
such as a teacher chastising us, or a fight with a classmate,
or being humiliated by a family member. How often does the
good treatment of children not only affect them but also their
parents and families, and it earns their love and respect? It is
often the case that primary school teachers are contacted by
their pupils’ parents who thank them and express their love and
respect merely for the fact that they love and respect their children.
They may express their gratitude sometimes by words and
sometimes as gifts. Therefore, do not belittle smiling at a child,
winning his heart and exercising interpersonal skills with him.
I once delivered a lecture about the importance of prayer
to a group of children in a school. I asked them if anyone knew
of a Hadeeth concerning the importance of prayer. One of the
children responded saying, “The Prophet has said: “Between a
man and disbelief and polytheism is to abandon the prayer.’’ I was
so amazed by his response and his zeal that I instantly took off
my watch and gave it to him, although, my watch wasn’t anything
special. This incident encouraged the child to study more eagerly
and memorise the Qur’an, since he had felt self-worth.
Years passed by, I went to a mosque and was astonished to
discover that the Imam of the mosque was that same child. He
had grown to become a fine young man who had graduated from
the Shari’ah College, and was now working in a court. Although,
I did not remember him, he had remembered me. Notice how
love and respect developed in his heart due to a childhood incident.
I recall being invited to a wedding ceremony once where a
bright young man approached me and greeted me very warmly,
and then reminded me of his childhood memories of me when I
came to his school to deliver a lecture. Sometimes we even notice
children who have been treated kindly by someone bringing
their parents to him or her and introducing them in the hope
that the parents have the same love and respect for the man or
woman that they do.
I would not hide the fact that I am very kind and welcoming
of children. I make it a point to attentively listen to their sweet
conversations, even though they are usually of no substance. In
fact, sometimes I am extremely welcoming to them simply in
order to win the hearts of their parents.
I used to meet a friend of mine every now and then who
would have his son with him, and I would be extremely kind and
playful with the son. One day, this friend of mine met me at a
wedding party with this son. He greeted me and said, “What have
you done to my son? His teacher at school asked his pupils what
they would like to be when they grow up. Some said doctors,
others said engineers, but my son said: ‘I want to be Muhammad
You can sometimes notice the different ways in which people
deal with children. When a person enters a public gathering
with his son, he shakes everyone’s hand one by one, while his
son follows suit. Amongst the people are those who would completely
ignore the child, others would barely shake his hand, and
others would warmly shake his hand saying, “Welcome, young
man! How are you today?” It is the love of that person that will
be engraved in the heart of the child, as well as in the hearts of
The Prophet would display the best form of treatment
with children. Anas bin Malik – may Allah be pleased with him
– had a younger brother, and the Prophet would play with him
and nickname him Abu ‘Umayr. The child had a small bird that
he played with. Whenever the Prophet would meet him, he
would joke with him saying, “O Abu ‘Umayr, what happened to
al-Nughayr?” meaning, the bird.
He would be kind and playful with children. Whenever he
would meet Zaynab bint Umm Salamah, he would playfully say
to her, “O Zuwaynib! O Zuwaynib!” Whenever he passed by
children playing, he would greet them. Whenever he visited the
Ansaar, he would greet their children and place his hand on their
heads out of compassion. Upon the return of the Muslim army
from Mu’tah, the Prophet along with the rest of the Muslims
and their children met them on their way back to Madinah.
When the Prophet saw the children he said, “Take the children
and carry them, and please pass me Ibn Ja’far.” They passed
‘Abdullah bin Ja’far on to him and he held him in his arms.
One day as the Prophet was performing ablution, there
came to him Mahmud bin al-Rabi’ who was only five years old.
The Prophet took some water in his mouth and jokingly blew
it out in his face. (al-Bukhari)
Generally, the Prophet was lively and merry with everyone.
He would always try to make people happy. He would
always be easygoing with everyone so that people would not
become bored in his company.
A man came to the Prophet wanting a camel to ride on
for a journey or expedition. The Prophet said to him jokingly,
“I will give you an offspring of a camel.” The man became
surprised and thought of how he could possibly ride a camel’s
offspring that could not carry his weight. He said, “O Messenger
of Allah! What would I do with a camel’s offspring?” The Prophet
said, ‘Does a camel give birth to anything but an offspring?’
Meaning; I will give you a grown camel, however, no doubt, it is
still another camel’s offspring!
Once, he jokingly said to Anas, “O you, the possessor of two
A woman once came to the Prophet complaining about
her husband, so he said to her, “Is your husband the one whose
eyes are white?” The woman became worried and thought that
her husband had become blind, in light of what Allah said about
Jacob, “His eyes whitened from grieving so much...” meaning, he
became blind. She went back to her husband terrified and began
to look into his eyes carefully. He asked her what the problem
was. She said, “The Prophet said that there is whiteness in
your eyes!” The man said, “O woman! Did he not tell you that
the whiteness in my eyes is more than the blackness?” meaning;
everyone has whiteness and blackness in his eyes.
The Prophet would react positively to whoever joked or
bantered with him and he would smile. Once ‘Umar bin al-Khattab
came to the Prophet who was at that time angry with his
wives, due to their demanding of more allowance. ‘Umar – may
Allah be pleased with him – said, “O Messenger of Allah! If you
recall us when we were men of the Quraysh, we always controlled
our women. If any of our women were to ask for more allowance,
we would have jumped up and grabbed her neck! But
when we came to Madinah we found the women controlling
their men, so our women began to learn these tricks from their
women!” Thereupon the Prophet smiled. ‘Umar continued to
speak and the Prophet continued to smile.
We read in various Ahadith that often the Prophet would
smile till his molar teeth would show. He was indeed an extremely
kind and friendly companion. If we were to train ourselves to
embrace such skills, we would surely taste the sweetness of life.
A child is like soft clay that we shape according to our treatment