Mercy at Play
The Prophet (Pbuh) was merciful with children at play too, even if the place where they played was on his back while he (Pbuh)was offering Salah. The worshippers in a congregational prayer led by the Prophet (Pbuh) once exclaimed, “O Messenger of Allah, you offered during your Salah a prostration which you so prolonged that we thought either something had happened or that you were receiving revelation!” He (Pbuh) said, “Nothing of this has happened, but my grandson made me his mount. I hated to hurry him until he had satisfied his wish.”2
Abu Hurairah said, “We were offering Isha’ (Evening) Prayer led by the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). When he (Pbuh) prostrated, (his two grandsons) Al-Hasan and Al-Husain would leap over his back. Upon raising his head, he (Pbuh) would take them gently off his back with his hand and place them on the ground. When he returned (to prostration), they returned (to leaping over his back), until he (Pbuh) seated them on his thighs at the completion of his Salah.”3
Boy or girl, there was no discrimination, as was made by the people of Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic Days of Ignorance). Abu Qatadah Al-Ansary narrated that the Prophet (Pbuh) used to pray while carrying Umamah, the daughter of his daughter Zainab. When he (Pbuh) prostrated, he (Pbuh) put her down, and carried her when he (Pbuh) stood up.4
The Prophet (Pbuh) would play with the children who came back from Abyssinia and try to speak in Abyssinian with them, as Umm Khalid, the daughter of Khalid bin Sa‘id, narrated, “Some clothes were presented to the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) as a gift. Among them was a black Khamisah (a silk or woolen striped garment). He (Pbuh) asked (his Companions), ‘Whom do you suggest we should clothe with this Khamisah?’ The people kept silent. Then he (Pbuh) said, ‘Bring me Umm Khalid.’ I was brought to the Prophet r, who dressed me in it with his own hands, and then he (Pbuh)said twice, ‘May you wear your dress out and tatter it (i.e. a supplication for a long life).’ He then started looking at the embroidery of that Khamisah, beckoning with his hand to me, while saying, ‘O Umm Khalid! This is Sana (beautiful in the Abyssinian language)! O Umm Khalid! This is Sana!’”5
The happiness of those merry little companions was happiness to the Prophet r. He (Pbuh) disliked seeing them anything other than joyful and playful. Anas narrated, “The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh)used to visit us. I had a little brother who had a Nughair (a little nightingale) he used to play with, but his Nughair died. One day the Prophet (Pbuh) came and saw him (Anas’s little brother) looking sad. He (Pbuh) asked him, ‘Why is Abu ‘Umair sad?’ They told him, ‘His Nughair with which he used to play died, O Messenger of Allah.’ He (Pbuh) said, ‘Abu ‘Umair, what did Nughair do?’”6
The Prophet (Pbuh)kindly tried to cheer the little child using the merry rhythm between the boy’s name and that of the little nightingale.
- Salah (Prayer), the second Pillar of Islam, is a fixed obligatory form of worship performed five times a day at prescribed times. Salah consists of Rak‘ahs (singular: Rak‘ah). Rak‘ah represents a unit of Salah and consists of one standing while reciting the Qur’an (Surat Al-Fatihah in every Rak‘ah and a portion of the Qur’an), one bowing, and two prostrations with a sitting in between for testifying to the Oneness of Allah and supplication.
- At-Tatbiq (Application), Hadith no. 1129. Al-Mukthrin (The Companions who narrated many Hadiths), Hadith no. 10246. As-Salah (Prayer), Hadith no. 486. Al-Libas (Clothes), Hadith no. 5397. Al-Mukthrin, Hadith no. 13557.
- Musnad Ahmad, Book of Al-Mukthrin (The Companions who narrated many Hadiths), Hadith no. 10246.
- Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of As-Salah (Prayer), Hadith no. 486.
- Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Libas (Clothes), Hadith no. 5397.
- Musnad Ahmad, Book of Al-Mukthrin, Hadith no. 13557.