A wealthy man went to Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) home to visit him. While they were speaking, the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) sat his grandchild, Hussain (AS) on his lap and started kissing him. The man was looking at the Prophet’s behavior toward the child in wonder. He said sadly “I have some children, but I have never kissed them.”
The Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) became upset and said, “What should I do when Allah has removed mercy from your heart”.
This short story explicitly reveals Islam’s emphasis on respectful and kind behavior toward children as the builders of society’s future. This short piece of writing is going to talk about kindness to children.
We are the ones who draw the picture of our children’s lives; it is our choice to draw a beautiful or an ugly one. A child, who lives in an integrated, peaceful, and kind family, undoubtedly enjoys a more lively spirit than his other peers who do not have the opportunity to live in such families.
Psychoanalytically speaking, you might have heard a lot about the role of kindness in upbringing children, as well as its impact on their future. Now let's take a look at what Islamic leaders have said about this issue.
If you have a child or know a child around you, you might find this saying of Imam Sadiq (AS) with regard to children interesting: “Love your children and be kind to them, and if you promise them, keep your promise, for they know nobody but you as their providers”. Imam Sadiq (AS), besides emphasizing kindness toward children, draws our attention to the importance of keeping our promise to children. As children, with their pure nature, are not yet aware of the concept of breaking promises, if the older ones commit this act, they will learn from them and copy their behavior. As a result, imitating this wrong deed will have damaging effects on the child’s spirit.
In another quote from Imam Sadiq (AS), he said: “The one who kisses his child, Allah will give him a reward in the hereafter, and the one who makes his child happy, Allah will make him happy in the resurrection day”. He also said: “Kiss your children a lot because each kiss will raise your statues in front of God”.
There are a lot of narrations and traditions about kind behavior toward children in reliable Islamic sources. In the end, it is noteworthy that the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) has emphasized a lot on playing with children in a very childish way as if you are a child yourself; this point of view is a modern psychological approach which our Prophet (PBUH&HP) mentioned 1400 years ago.
The holy prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said: “be close and friendly to your children and hug them”.
children's rights in Islam covers all the years of childhood and infancy and include all the needs of a child in the process of his/her growth
Having a good name is one of the important children's rights in Islam. This is because a good name affects one's mind. A child hears his name day and night; and consequently, the meaning of that name unconsciously strengthens those features which are implied in it.
Therefore, the first duty of a parent towards his/her child is to give him/her a good name at birth. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) has said: “It is the responsibility of every father to choose a good name for his child ".
According to the researchers, male circumcision reduces many possible diseases in a man's reproductive organ. As one of the children's rights in Islam, it is recommended that the boy be circumcised on the seventh day of his birth. But it is obligatory to circumcise before the boy reaches puberty [i].
Islam strictly recommends breastfeeding, as one of the most significant children's rights in Islam, besides every day more and more scientific evidence confirms the advantages of this act. Breastfeeding is one of the factors affecting the physical, psychological and ethical characteristics of a baby.
According to the Holy Quran: “Mothers shall breastfeed their children for two whole years…” (2:233). Therefore, it is considered a child's right to be breastfed until the approximate age of two.
It is narrated from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP): “For a child, there is no milk better than the milk of the mother” .
This theory has been proved that the human mind at the very beginning is quite blank, and it only gradually that starts using the faculties of sight, hearing, etc.
As it is noted in Holly Quran, “God has brought you from the wombs of your mothers while you did not know anything and He gave you hearing and sight and hearts that you may give thanks” (16:78)
Consequently, the atmosphere of family and society continuously influence the child's mind, although he/she is not aware of this process. Children are reflections of their parents. The best way to inculcate good behavior in children is to treat them with good grace.
It is emphasized in Islamic thought that children should be kept in a nice and respectful environment. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said: “Respect your children and behave them in a nice manner” .
Although there is no compulsion on children to do religious duties, it is praised to gradually give children religious training. The impressions gained in childhood are very difficult to erase, and if respect and love of religion are infused into his/her mind in childhood, he/she will always remain attached to the religion.
In this stage, the best way of familiarizing the child with religious teachings is performing religious duties in front of him; children are the mirrors of their surroundings.
Imam Baqir (AS) said: “When the child reaches three years, teach him seven times to recite la ilahailla ' llah (there is no God but Allah). Then leave him at that till he is three years seven months and 20 days old; then train him to say Muhammad-un rasul-u 'llah (Muhammad is the messenger of Allah). Then leave him at that till he completes four years. Then teach him seven times to say Salla 'llahu ala Muhammadin wa aali Muhammad (Peace be upon Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad). Then leave him at that till he reaches the age of 5 years; then ask him which one is his right hand and which one is the left. When he knows it, then make him face Qiblah [i] and tell him to do prostration (Sajdah)” .
This is to continue until he is six years of age. Then he should be told to pray and taught The Bowing (Ruku) and Prostration (Sajdah).
Through mentioned methods, the children learn their religious duties without coercion and feeling any burden upon themselves.
[i] Imam Sadeq (AS) said: "Circumcise your sons when they are seven days old as it is cleaner and the flesh grows faster and because the earth hates the urine of the uncircumcised" .
- Al-Hurr al-Aamili , Wasail al-shiah, vol. 2, p. 618.
- Al-Kafi Al-Kalini, Abu-Ja'afar Muhammad Ibn-Yaqub. Al-furu'min al-kafi. Vol. 6 Tehran: Dar al-kutub al-islamiyyah. 1981:34.
- Mirza Hussayn Nuri ,Mustadrak al-Wasāil, vol. 15, p.156.
- Muhammad Muhammadi Rayshari,Mizan al-Hikmah, vol, 1 , p. 7109.
- Ibn-e Fazl-e Tabarsi,Makarim Al Akhlaq, p. 115.
“And of His signs is that He created for you mates from your own selves that you may take comfort in them, and He ordained affection and mercy between you. There are indeed signs in that for a people who reflect”(30: 21).
One of the main objectives of marriage from the Islamic point of view is for the couples to find peacefulness. Peace is the very result of considering Allah in mind in every second of life. Being compassionate is a skill that couples should develop in order to make a better life. Islam aims to teach this skill to its followers and all other human beings.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said: “when a man expresses his love to his wife, the effect of such loving words will never fade from her heart”.
These words were uttered by the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) in a society in which women were not considered to deserve the least human rights. Moreover, it shows that Islam believes in the importance of expressing feelings to strengthen couples’ relationships and the idea of being compassionate.
Our fourth Imam, Imam Sajjad (AS), said: “It is your wife’s right on you to know that she brings calmness to you and she is a gift from Allah. Then, cherish her and treat her with kindness and tolerance”.
These sayings show the special attention of Islamic leaders to family and its role in the formation of society. It can be concluded that regarding the issue of being compassionate, building a peaceful society depends on having healthy and competent families.
The motto of Islam is, “First build your personality, then your family and finally your society”.
Imam Sadiq (AS) said: “The more one increases his/her kindness to his/her spouse, the more his/her faith will increase”.
What is the belief behind this large amount of recommendations on being kind and expressing feelings? How can Islam be blamed for promoting violence?
To finish this article, It would be interesting to narrate a short story from the early Islamic era:
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) ennobled one of his loyal companions, named Sa'dIbnMa'az, in his funeral. Watching this scene, his mother said: “Oh my son, enjoy heaven”. Prophet (PBUH&HP) said to Sa'd’s mother: “Do not prejudge. Your son is suffering in his tomb”. Other companions asked in wonder, “why is he suffering in his tomb while you respected and ennobled him this much? He added because he was bad-tempered with his family.
Allah is Unique in Kindness. Kindness is a sign of wealth for which you sometimes do not need to spend a penny, but it is more valuable than large amounts of money.