allah, the exalted, says:
"and enjoin salat (the prayer) on your family, and be patient in offering them (i.e., the salat).'' (20:132)
"o you who believe! ward off yourselves and your families against a fire (hell), whose fuel is men and stones.'' (66:6)
298. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: al-hasan bin `ali (may allah be pleased with them) took one of the dates of the sadaqah (charity) and put it in his mouth, whereupon messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "leave it, leave it, throw it away. do you not know that we do not eat the sadaqah (charity)?''
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: this hadith emphasizes the following points:
1. sadaqah is not lawful for the prophet (pbuh) and his family. his family here means banu hashim and banu abdul-muttalib.
2. proper upbringing of children is extremely important. they must be prohibited by parents from such things which are indecent and unbecoming.
3. what is collected as sadaqah is a national trust. the houses and institution where it is collected and kept, should take strict care of its proper utilization. it is the duty of the custodians of sadaqat that they protect them and give them to the deserving people.
299. `umar bin abu salamah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: i was a boy under the care of messenger of allah (pbuh), and my hand would wander about in the dish. messenger of allah (pbuh) said to me "mention allah's name (i.e., say bismillah before you start eating), eat with your right hand and eat from what is near to you". i always followed this way of eating after this incident.
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: this hadith brings the following points into focus:
1. teaching good manners and morals to the children.
2. one must start his meals with bismillah (begin with the name of allah) and take his share of food from the side of vessel in front of him, if all are eating from one vessel. if there are many varieties of fruit on the table then one can choose freely.
3. if a child makes any mistake, he should be corrected right away because that proves more effective and is engraved in his mind and heart.
300. ibn `umar (may allah be pleased with them) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "all of you are guardians and are responsible for your subjects. the ruler is a guardian and responsible for his subjects; the man is a guardian of his family; the woman is guardian in her husband's house and responsible for her wards; a servant is guardian of his master's property and responsible for his ward. so all of you are guardians and are responsible for your subjects".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: this hadith ordains every individual in society, whether a ruler or ruled or even a woman who leads her life within the four walls of her house, to perform one's duties within one's own sphere.
301. `amr bin shu`aib reported on his father's authority that his grandfather (may allah be pleased with him) said: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "command your children to perform salat (prayer) when they are seven years old, and beat them for (not offering) it when they are ten, and do not let (boys and girls) sleep together".
commentary: this hadith highlights the following points:
1. the importance of the prescribed five daily salat (prayers).
2. when warranted by the situation, it is permissible to beat children for their proper upbringing and education. but this should not be in any case violent and aggressive. it should rather be done in a manner that the child does not suffer any physical injury and receives the right type of training. it is an absurd theory that children should be given a free hand, and leave alone the corporal punishment, they should not even be rebuked on doing something wrong. suitable punishment is essential for their proper training and education.
3. muslim jurists have written that like salat, other injunctions of shari`ah should also be instilled in the minds of children, and if possible, they should also be given practical training for their performance. for instance, they should be made to observe saum (fast) occasionally in accordance with their age and capacity during the month of ramadan, so that the importance of obligation of fasting is impressed on their minds in an early age. this exercise will prove very fruitful when they attain maturity. they will then be conscious that for a muslim, fasting in the month of ramadan is compulsory like the five daily salat.
4. a child generally does not attain maturity at the age of ten years, but nevertheless he does acquire some sense. it is, therefore, necessary that rather than putting children in one bed they are provided separate beds once they reach the age of 10, especially children of the opposite sex.
302. sabrah bin ma`bad al-juhani (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "teach a boy salat (the prayer) when he attains the age of seven years, and punish him (if he does not offer it) at ten".
[abu dawud and tirmidhi].
the narration in abu dawud is: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "order a boy to perform salat (the prayer) when he is seven years old".
commentary: obviously only such teachers and parents can persuade the children to perform salat who are themselves very strict about it. in the early period of islam, one could not even think of a muslim who ignored it. it is very unfortunate indeed that in the present-day muslim societies, a large majority of muslims are careless about this fundamental religious duty. in such a state of affairs who would instruct and persuade them to perform this religious obligation of the first order?