Today I had the opportunity to judge some original speeches written and performed by Muslim children at the Muslim Community Center (MCC). I heard third, fourth, and fifth graders speak about Prophet Muhammad (salla allahu alaihi wa salaam, peace and blessings be upon him) and his love for children. I thought that it was an excellent topic, not just for children, but for all Muslims. It made me wonder why it is so rare to hear a khutba about Prophet Muhammad (S)’s love for children.
Why did Muhammad (S) love children? He saw children as a blessing from Allah, Subhana wa Ta’ala (Glorified and Most High). He was sent as mercy to all mankind and that includes children. Also, he was very conscious of the fact that it was the youth of Arabia who would carry his message into the future. He knew that young children would remember him long after he was gone and transmit his stories to later generations.
How did Our Prophet (S) show his love for children? One story that many children shared with me today was the story of the racing children. Muhammad (S) stretched out his arms and told some children to race to him saying that he would reward them with prizes. The children quickly ran toward him, tackling him to the ground and falling all around him. Then the Prophet (S) joyously handed out sweets to the children. This shows that the Prophet (S) had a special place in his heart for children and that he knew how to make them happy.
This is not the only way that his love for children manifested itself. When he led prayer, Our Prophet (S) preferred to recite longer surahs and passages from The Holy Quran. However, when he heard a child crying in the congregation, he would shorten his recitation so that the child’s mother or father could attend to him or her. This shows that he cared about children, wanting to protect them from distress.
What did the Prophet (S) tell people about children? One of the most famous Hadith (Sayings of Prophet Muhammad) about children says, “He who does not show compassion to the young and respect to the elderly is not one of us.” (Collections of Ahmad and At-Tirmidhi). So the Prophet (S) believed that compassion toward children represented an essential part of the Muslim identity. Also, many children today cited the example of the man with ten children. Prophet Muhammad was kissing his grandchildren, Hadrat Hasan (radiallahu an, May Allah be pleased with him) and Hadrat Hussain (radiallahu an). One of the Companions said, “I have ten children and I have never kissed any of them.” Prophet Muhammad (S) declared, “He who does not show mercy will not receive mercy.”(Collections of Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim).
Why should we show love to children? It is part of the fitra, or the innate good nature of humanity, to show love to children. When we show love to children, we demonstrate one of the best aspects of humanity. A hadith, and I am unsure of the strength of this hadith, says that Allah loves us more than seventy mothers love their children. If Allah loves us so deeply, should not we love each other? By showing love to children, we are showing Allah gratitude for his love. The Prophet (S) set an example of compassion, mercy, grace, and love toward children. By showing love to children we are following the footsteps of the most noble man who ever lived.
In conclusion, Prophet Muhammad expressed his love for children in both words and actions. By showing our children love we demonstrate our humanity, our love for Prophet Muhammad (S), and our love for Allah (SWT).