The Prophet (Pbuh)did not follow the old recipe of scolding and blame in dealing with children’s mistakes. Rather, he (Pbuh)first asked for the reason, listened attentively, showed compassion, gave remedy, and then turned to Allah with a special supplication for the child.
Rafi’ bin Amr Al-Ghifari narrated,
“I was a boy who used to fell dates by throwing stones at the date palms of the Ansar. I was brought to the Prophet (Pbuh)who asked, ‘O my boy, why do you throw stones at date palms?’ I said, ‘To eat.’ He (Pbuh)said, ‘Do not throw stones at date palms, but eat from what falls beneath them.’ He then caressed my head and said, ‘O Allah, satisfy his belly (hunger).’”1
However little the child was, the Prophet (Pbuh)showed that his mistake must be clarified and corrected. Al-Hasan bin ‘Ali t once took a date from the dates given in charity and put it in his mouth. The Prophet interjected, “Kakh! Kakh!” to make him expel it, and then said, “Do you not know that we (the family of Muhammad) do not eat charity?”2 The Prophet (Pbuh)thus taught his grandson not to abuse the privilege of being part of the family of Muhammad (Pbuh).
In return, whenever children did something nice the Prophet (Pbuh) warmly thanked them for it. Ibn ‘Abbas placed for the Prophet (Pbuh)water for his ablution, so he (Pbuh) asked, “Who placed this?” On being told, he (Pbuh) said,
“O Allah, grant him comprehension of the religion.”3
In another Hadith, Ibn ‘Abbas narrated, “The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) embraced me and said, ‘O Allah, teach him the Book (the knowledge of the Qur’an).’”4
And as a repayment for the services Anas rendered to the Messenger of Allah, he (Pbuh) supplicated Allah for him, saying,
“O Allah, increase his wealth and children; and whatever You give him, bless it for him.”5
Yet discipline should be used with children when required, starting from the age of seven, to correct negligence of serious duties in life, as the Prophet (Pbuh)taught, saying,
“Command your children to offer Salah at the age of seven, and chastise them for (abandoning) it (Salah) at the age of ten, and separate between them in beds.”6
- Sunan Abu Dawud, Book of Jihad, Hadith no. 2253.
- Abu Hurairah, Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Zakah (Obligatory Charity), Hadith no. 1396.
- Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Wudu’ (Ablution), Hadith no. 140.
- Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-‘Alim (Knowledge), Hadith no. 73.
- Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Da’wat (Supplications), Hadith no. 5859.
- ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As, Sunan Abu Dawud, Book of As-Salah, Hadith no. 418.