How was the prophet muhammad as the father?
One of the main objectives of marriage is to raise children and to ensure the continuation of the human generation. And this primarily depends on the father. The more careful and arduous a father is in raising his children, the more disciplined his children will be and the more peaceful the society will be.
A peaceful family environment is required to raise spiritually and physically healthy children. Fathers have a great responsibility in this matter. One should carefully examine the Prophet’s life as a father and deduce the right methods of raising children.
1. His Love and Affection to His Children and Grandchildren
Even though Allah’s Messenger (pbuh), who has been sent as a mercy to the worlds, loved and showed mercy to his ummah and even to the entire Creation, he especially loved children. Children of the age of ignorance, unloved and who had experienced no compassion, turned into the pupils of the society by means of the Prophet’s efforts and commitment towards them. Those little hearts, who had not been accustomed to hearing even a few nice words, to be loved and kissed during the age of ignorance, began to receive compassionate and loving care with the arrival of the Prophet (pbuh). Wherever the children saw him, they used to run to him and encircle him. He, in return, would care for each one of them, ask after their well-being, and play with them.
Below are some of the scenes which demonstrate the Prophet’s love for children:
When Umm Gulsum, the daughter of Allah’s Messenger (pbuh), passed away, he personally led the funeral prayer. Then he sat on her grave, and could not hold his tears back due to his profound love for his daughter. (Ibn Sa’d, VIII, 38-39; Ibn Hajar, al-Isabah, IV, 489) When the Prophet’s other daughter Ruqiyyah died, he again sat by her grave. Fatimah (r. anha) came to him crying and sat next to him. Allah Apostle (pbuh) wiped her tears with the edge of his cloak and consoled her. (Ibn Hanbal, I, 335)
When Fatima (r. anha) came to visit her father, he would rise to welcome her, hold her hands, kiss her and make her sit by him; and when he went to visit her, similarly, she would get up to welcome him, hold his hands, and kiss him. (Abu Dawud, Adab, 143-144) When the Apostle of Allah (pbuh) went on a journey, the last member of his family he saw was Fatimah, and the first he visited on his return was Fatimah. (Abu Dawud, Tarajjul, 21)
Umm Salama (r. anha) narrated:
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) called Fatima (r. anha) in the year of Mecca’s conquest and they had a private conversation. Fatima cried and then they had another conversation. This time, she smiled. When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) passed away, I asked her why she cried and smiled on that day. She said:
“First the Prophet (pbuh) told me when he was going to die and I cried. The second time he told me that I was going to be the patron of the women along with Maryam bint Imran in Paradise, at which I smiled.” (Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 60)
After the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) came back from an expedition, he was always welcomed by his children and he would also ask for his children who were not present at the time and followed closely their well-being. Ruqiyya (r. anha) had immigrated to Abyssinia with her husband Uthman (r.a.). For a while nothing was heard about them. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) went outside the city limits and asked people if they had any news about his daughter and her husband. A woman from the Quraish tribe came from Abyssinia. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) asked her, too.
The woman said:
“O Abu al-Qasim! I saw them.” Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) asked her:
“How were they?” She said:
“Uthman had Ruqiya mounted on a donkey and he was walking behind.” At this news Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) became very happy and prayed to Allah for their well-being. (Ali al-Muttaqi, XIII, 63)
When his son Ibrahim was born, Allah’s Messenger was very happy, hugged him and took him to Aisha. He showed his happiness saying:
“Look at him. Does he look like me?” (Ibn Sa’d, I, 137) He gave a slave as a present to Abu Rafi who had brought him the news about his son. (Ibn Abdilberr, I, 54) On the seventh day of his birth, he slaughtered a ram as Aqiqa, had his hair cut, and gave in charity the equivalent in the value of gold as the amount equal to the weight of his child’s hair that was cut. (Ibn Sa’d, I, 135; Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah, I, 49)
Anas b. Malik reported:
“I have never seen anyone kinder to one’s family than Allah’s Messenger (pbuh), and Ibrahim was sent to the suburb of Medina for suckling. He used to go there and we accompanied him. He entered the house, and it was filled with smoke as his foster-father was a bricksmith. He took his son Ibrahim and kissed him and then came back…” (Muslim, Fada’il, 63)
In his last visit to his son Ibrahim, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) was with Abdurrahman b. Awf. They went with Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) to the house of the blacksmith Abu Saif, who was the husband of Ibrahim’s wetnurse. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) hugged, smelled and kissed Ibrahim. Just then, Ibrahim took his last breath. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) began to shed tears.
Abdurrahman b. Awf (r.a.) asked:
“O Messenger of Allah! Are you crying? Haven’t you forbid that?” The Prophet (pbuh) replied:
“O Ibn Awf! These tears are out of mercy.”
Then he wept more and said,
“The eyes are shedding tears and the heart is grieved, and we will not say except what pleases our Lord, O Ibrahim! Indeed we are grieved by your separation.” (Bukhari, Janaiz, 44; Ibn Sa’d, I, 138)
Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) ordered a rock to be brought to Ibrahim’s grave and placed it upon his grave. Thus, Ibrahim’s grave was distinguished by a sign. His grave was also the first one upon which water was sprinkled. (Ibn Sa’d, I, 144; Ibn Abdilber, I, 59)
How deep the love of Allah’s Messenger (pbuh), mercy to the worlds, was towards his son was! He showed all the necessary care, fulfilled his duties as a father, and could do nothing but shed tears out of mercy when his son passed away. He did not lose control and say inappropriate things. Even under such hard circumstances, he taught his Companions exemplary principles such as love for children, mercy, and how one should behave during such difficult times.
We observe in the Prophet’s life a similar love for his grandchildren. Of course, through his actions Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) gave a fundamental messages to a society which showed no obvious love for their children. Hawla bint Hakim (r. anha) reported:
“One day Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) went out of the house holding one of Fatima’s two sons. He was saying:
“Because of you, your parents have become stingy, cowardly, and ignorant. And you are the nice fragrance from Allah.” (Tirmidhi, Birr, 11; Ibn Majah, Adab, 3)
Bara (r.a.) said:
“I saw the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). He was carrying Hasan (r.a.) on his shoulders and saying:
“O Allah, behold, I love him. You too love him and love one who loves him.” (Bukhari, Fada’il al-Ashab, 22; Muslim, Fada’il al-Sahabah, 58, 59)
Ibn Abbas (r. anhuma) transmitted the following pleasant incident:
“Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) was carrying his grandson Husain on his shoulders. A man said:
“O my son! What a nice ride you have!” Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) told the man:
“What a nice rider he is!” (Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 30)
This tradition shows not only the Prophet’s love but also his esteem for his grandchildren. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) was also pointing out the place they were going to occupy in the future.
Our Prophet’s love and compassion for his children was at an exemplary level for his ummah. He sometimes took them on his shoulders and sometimes placed them on his stomach and thus entertained them. (Haythami, IX, 181) They sometimes climbed on the Prophet’s shoulders and back while he was leading a prayer in the mosque, but he did not stop them. Abu Hurairah (r.a.) narrated the following:
“We were performing the night (‘isha) prayer with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). When the Prophet (pbuh) prostrated, Hasan and Husain (r. anhum) climbed up on his back. When the Prophet (pbuh) raised his head, he took gently and put them down on the ground. When he went down for second prostration, they climbed up again. This continued until the end of the prayer. After the prayer, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) had his grandchildren sit on his knees. I went to him and said:
“O Messenger of Allah! If you would like, I can take them home.” Suddenly, a (miraculous) light shone. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) told them:
“Go to your mother!” The light continued to shine until they went into their house. (Ibn Hanbal, II, 513)
This way, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) taught his Companions love for their children.
Anas (r.a.) narrated:
“The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was asked:
“Which one of your family do you like the most?” He replied:
“Hasan and Husain”
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) used to command Fatima (r. anha):
“Bring me my sons” when they were brought, he would hug and smell them. (Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 30)
One day Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) was going to an invitation with his Companions. Husain was playing with his friends. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) moved forward and passed his Companions. He opened his arms and tried to catch Husain. Husain began to run and the Prophet (pbuh) tried to catch him. Eventually, he caught his beloved grandchild, held his head and kissed him. Then he said:
“Husain is from me and I am from Husain. Allah love the one who loves Husain …” (Ibn Majah, Muqaddimah, 11; Ibn Hanbal, IV, 172)
Abu Huraira (r.a.) narrated the following incident about the Prophet’s loving character:
“I was with Allah’s Apostle in one of the Markets of Medina. He left the market and so did I. Then he asked thrice,
“Where is the little one? Call me Hasan!”
So when Hasan came, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) opened his arms and Al-Hasan did the same. The Prophet embraced and kissed him and said,
“O Allah! I love him, so please love him and love those who love him.” Since Allah’s Apostle said that nothing has been dearer to me than Al-Hasan.” (Bukhari, Libas, 60)
Allah’s Messenger’s love could be seen when he performed the most serious works. For instance, once while the Prophet (pbuh) was giving a sermon, his grandson tripped and fell down entering the mosque. He stopped his sermon, went down the pulpit, and picked his grandson up. He then let his grandson sit on the pulpit and continued his sermon. (Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 30) Similarly, even during a big event like the conquest of Mecca, he let his grandson Ali, son of Zainab, sit with him on his mount and they entered the city together. (Ibn Athir, Usd al-Ghabah, IV, 126)
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) was also the most tolerant person towards the children’s misbehavior. This was the result of Prophet’s love for his children. The following narration reported by Anas b. Malik (r.a.) demonstrates this well:
“One day the angel of rain came to the Prophet (pbuh) with the permission of Allah the Almighty. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) told his wife:
“O Umm Salama! Shut the door behind us and do not let anybody in.”
Just then, Husain came running. Umm Salama (r. anha) did not want to let him in. But he pushed the door and went in. And then he sat on the Prophet’s lap. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) put him on his shoulder, kissed and rubbed his head. (Ibn Hanbal, III, 242; Haythami, IX, 187)
Once, Umm Fadl, the wet-nurse of either Hasan or Husain, appeared in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and left the boy on the Prophet’s lap. Just then, the boy relieved himself and because of this Umm Fadl hit the boy. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) warned her saying:
“You hurt my boy, may Allah have mercy on you!” and showed that one should be tolerant towards children. (Ibn Majah, Tabir, 10)
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) loved not just Hasan and Husain but also his other grandchildren. In fact Abu Qatada (r.a.) said that:
“I saw Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) leading prayers while his granddaughter Umama, the daughter of Zainab, was on his shoulders. When he bowed, he put her down, and when he got up after prostration, he lifted her again.” (Bukhari, Salat, 106; Muslim, Masajid, 41)
One day a rooster pecked at six-year old Abdullah’s face, Uthman’s son and the beloved grandson of the Prophet (pbuh). His face swelled up and he became very sick. He did not recover and later passed away. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) led his funeral prayer and Uthman (r.a.) placed him in the grave. Just then the Prophet (pbuh) while shedding tears said:
“Allah the Almighty shows His mercy to His servants who are merciful and soft-hearted.” (Ibn Sa’d, III, 53-54, VIII, 36; Baladhuri, Ansab, I, 401)
There are many reports about the love and concern that Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) showed towards his children and grandchildren. This concern was not just because of the blood kinship among them but also a manifestation of the requirement of his mission towards all humanity. Our children are the trusts of Allah the Almighty to us. We should follow in the footsteps of our beloved Prophet (pbuh) and pay more attention to our children’s education and discipline, and raise them with love in the service of humanity.
2. His Attention to Their Discipline
“Teach your children first the phrase
“La ilaha illa Allah or there is no god but Allah.” (Bayhaqi, Shu’ab al-Iman, IV, 398)
The family is the first door to a child’s education and discipline. The things that children see in their family stay alive in their minds and shape their personality for their whole lives. Imam Ghazali said:
“Children are trusts to their parents. Their hearts are pure and rough jewels. They are ready to accept everything given to them. If the right things and good manners are given to them, they grow up with such feelings, and make their parents happy both in this world and in the Hereafter. If they are not controlled and bad manners are taught to them, they become a trouble and burdon on others . The sin for such a bad end is upon their parents.”
As a father Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) paid the utmost attention to his children’s discipline. He advised his followers to be concerned primarily with the discipline of their family members and said to the envoys that came to him:
“Go back to your families and teach them what you have learned here.” (Bukhari, Adhan, 18)
Parents should not neglect to pray for the goodness of their children. Their education needs to begin by prayer. Abraham’s (A.S.) following prayer for his children highlights this matter:
“Our Lord! And make us both submissive to You and (raise) from our offspring a nation submitting to You, and show us our ways of devotion and turn to us (mercifully), surely You are the Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful.” (al-Baqara 2; 128)
In another verse Allah the Almighty teaches the believers the following supplication:
“Our Lord! Grant unto us wives and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the Grace) to lead the righteous.” (al-Furqan 25; 74)
Giving a child a proper name is also among the important matters related to his education. Because a nice name repeated for the entire life will cause conscience awakening and develop a strong character. This is why it is said that “the name attracts the named.” In fact, someone’s character develops around the meaning of his/her name. Therefore, we need to give our children names which include the Divine names of Allah the Almighty, or the blessed names of our Prophet, or something that is a reminder of goodness and has a good meaning. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said that:
“The names dearest to Allah are Abdullah and Abd al-Rahman.” (Muslim, Adab, 2)
Ali (r.a.) said that:
“I used to love fights and battles, so I named my son Harb, or battle. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) came and asked:
“Show me my son! Which name have you given to him?” I said:
“I named him Harb.” He said:
“No, but he is Hasan.” When Husain was born, I named him Harb, too. Allah’s Apostle came and said:
“Show me my son! Which name have you given to him?” I said:
“I named him Harb.” He said:
“No, but he is Husain.” When I had my third son, I named him Harb again. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) came and asked:
“Show me my son! Which name have you given to him?” I said:
“I named him Harb.” He said:
“No, but he is Muhassin. I named my grandsons with the names of Aaron’s sons: Shabbar, Shubair, and Mushabbir.” (Ibn Hanbal, I, 98; Haythami, XIII, 52)
Another principle which affects the children’s spiritual development is to say a call for prayer into their ears before giving them names. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) recited a call for prayers into Hasan’s ear when he was born. (Abu Dawud, Adab, 106-107; Tirmidhi, Adahi, 16) This way, the first words that the child hears become the statements of the unity of Allah.
In the early years of their lives, children’s character and morality reach a certain level. Thus, family should be very careful during these years. Parents must not forget that every word they say leaves a deep impact on their children. Because of that, parents should alwaysendeavor to teach their children good things. When children began to talk, parents may also begin to teach them prayers and other necessary information. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh), in fact, recited the following verse seven times taught to a child from the sons of Abdulmuttalib who began to talk:
“Say: praise be to Allah, who begets no son, and has no partner in (his) dominion: nor (needs) he any to protect him from humiliation: yea, magnify him for his greatness and glory.” (al-Isra 17; 111) (Abdurrazzaq, IV, 334; Ibn Abi Shaybah, I, 348)
Following the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) we first need to teach our children about Allah the Almighty and give them proper education in accordance with the above mentioned verse. In other words, we should teach them that Allah is not like human beings, He has no helper and partner in creating and ruling over the creation. We also need to teach them that human beings should thank Him for His blessings.
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) stated in one of his sayings that:
“Teach your children to say as their first words “لاَ اِلهَ اِلاَّ الله” (There is no god but Allah)” (Baihaqi, Shu’ab al-Iman, VI, 398)
It is really difficult to teach children matters related to faith. Because the Islamic articles of faith, which consist of belief in Allah, angels, books, prophets, the Last Hour, and predestination, present a characteristic of believing in something unseen and unknown; whereas children want to learn such difficult matters through simple questions. They ask very simple but difficult questions that one needs to spend serious effort to get down to their level of understanding. Therefore, teaching such issues requires attention and cooperation with those who are competent.
After teaching our children kalimat al-tawhid (statement of the unity of Allah), we need to sew the love for Allah in their fresh and pure minds. For instance, issues like Allah’s love for their creation, His blessings, His ever-forgivingness, can be taught to them. As carried out today in some methods of teaching, children must not be scared of Allah. One should carefully avoid using statements like “Allah will punish you” or “you will be burned in the fire of Hell,” because such statements place in a child’s mind the idea of an angry God towards His servants.
After giving our children the love for Allah, we should place in them the love for our Prophet (pbuh). In order to achieve this we may follow methods like telling them about the life and morals of the Prophet (pbuh); have them memorize his sayings and give them rewards for every saying they learn. In this respect it will be useful to tell our children frequently about him and about his love for children.
While raising our children, our Prophet’s educational priorities have to be our priorities, too. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) would especially teach children the ritual prayer along with other matters related to faith. When Hasan (r.a.) was asked what he had remembered about the Prophet (pbuh), he stated the Prophet had warend him not to eat the dates of almsgiving and then added:
“I remember about him: the five daily prayers.” (Ibn Hanbal, I, 200)
Similarly, Hasan (r.a.) said that his blessed grandfather (pbuh) taught him the following supplication to recite during witr prayer:
“O Allah! Guide me among those whom You have guided, pardon me among those whom You have pardoned, turn to me in friendship among those on whom You have turned in friendship, and bless me in what You have bestowed, and save me from the evil of what You have decreed. For verily You decree and none can decree after You; and he has not humiliated whom You have befriended, nor has he honored who is Your enemy. Blessed are You, O Lord, and Exalted.” (Tirmidhi, Witr, 10)
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) leniently corrected the children’s mistakes that they made while performing prayer. (Tirmidhi, Juma’, 60)
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) advises us to be more stringent when educating children about prayer and separating children’s beds when they reached ten years of age. (Abu Dawud, Salat, 26) Therefore, ten is the age that children need to begin performing their prayers and their beds should be arranged separately. Even if children are the same sex, they have to sleep in separate beds. It is also necessary to have girls and boys sleep in different rooms. The instruction necessary for the age of puberty should be given in an appropriate manner.
Qur’anic education in early ages should not be neglected. Children’s ears need to be accustomed to the sound of Qur’an and their heart to the world of the Qur’an. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said that:
“Whoever learns the Qur’an in his early years, the Qur’an penetrates into his flesh and blood.” (Ali al-Muttaqi, I, 532)
After religious education, we should give our children vocational education, too. The Prophet’s freed slave Rafi’ stated that:
“I asked the Prophet (pbuh):
“O Messenger of Allah! Do our children have any rights upon us like we have upon them?” He said:
“A child’s right upon his father is to teach him how to write, swim, shoot, and not to feed him with anything but lawful food.” (Baihaqi, Shu’ab al-Iman, VI, 401; Ali al-Muttaqi, XVI, 443)
The Prophet’s other related sayings are as follow:
“A child’s right upon his father is to give him a good name, to wed him when he reaches puberty, and to teach him how to write.” (Ali al-Muttaqi, XVI, 417)
“… to bring him up in a respectful place in society and to teach him good manners.” (Baihaqi, Shu’ab al-Iman, VI, 401-402)
“Teach your boys how to swim and shoot arrows and to your girls how to spin yarn.” (Suyuti, II, 52)
In his (pbuh) other saying, Allah’s Messenger warns those who do not properly discipline their children about the questioning on the Day of Judgment:
“O the Day of Judgment, the servant will be brought and Allah the Almighty will ask him:
“O My servant! Did I not give you eyes, ears, property, and offspring? Did I not honor you and make you the chief and provide you the spouse and subdue for you horses, camels, and afforded you an opportunity to rule over your subjects?
The servant shall say:
“Yes, You did.” And then Allah shall say:
“Did you not think that you would meet Me today?” And he shall say:
“No, I did not.” Thereupon, He (Allah) shall say:
“Well, We now forget you as you have forgotten Me.” (Muslim, Zuhd, 16; Tirmidhi, Qiyamah, 6; Ibn Hanbal, II, 492)
On the other hand, it should not be forgotten that religious and moral discipline is the most useful legacy one can leave their children. This task is much more important than the others.
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said:
“A father cannot give his children anything better than good morals.” (Tirmidhi, Birr, 33)
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh), who paid attention to shaping a child’s character in the early ages, expressed in another saying:
“For a Muslim to teach good manners to his children is better than giving one sa’ in charity.” (Tirmidhi, Birr, 33)
Good morals are the best provision prepared for the Hereafter.
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) would carefully follow his children’s actions and be meticulous about their discipline. After he raised his daughters, he even followed their progress after their marriage. From time to time he gave them advise and warnings about peace and tranquility in their homes. Once Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) came to his daughter Ruqiyyah’s home. Ruqiyyah was washing her husband Uthman’s head. The Prophet (pbuh) said:
“My beloved daughter! Be nice to Uthman and treat him well; for morally he is theone among my Companions who most resembles me.” (Haythami, IX, 81)
We see in the life of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) that he was closely concerned with his grandchildren’s education. As known, it was forbidden for the Prophet’s family to eat from the property of almsgiving. In relation to this, here is a conversation that took place between him and his grandson Hasan (r.a.):
“Hasan (r.a.) took a date from the treasury and put it in his mouth. Allah’s Apostle looked at him and took it out from his mouth and said,
“Don’t you know that Muhammad’s offspring do not eat from what is given in almsgiving?” (Bukhari, Zakat, 57)
Hasan (r.a.) narrates from his memory as follows:
“I took a date from a pile given as alms and as I was chewing it, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) took it out of my mouth and threw it back into the pile. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) was told:
“What could happen to you from the single date taken by this little boy?”
Allah’s Apostle replied:
“We are the family of Muhammad. We are not allowed to eat from what is given as alms.” (Ibn Hanbal, I, 200)
Here, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) did not confine himself to telling his grandson “do not eat the date” but he also took it and threw back into the pile. He then explained why he had done so. This is another important part of a child’s education. Children are usually prone to wonder the reasons for prohibitions. If the reasons are explained to them, they become satisfied. Children need to be treated like adults. When this is done, their characters will develop more heathily. Another significant point is that one should not see children as kids and treat them in a way that they will restrict their learning later. When they make a mistake, it should be corrected immediately in a proper manner. For instance, when Allah’s Messenger (pbuh), saw his stepson Umar b. Salama eating from different parts of his plate, he (pbuh) told him nicely:
“O my son! Mention the Name of Allah and eat from the dish with your right hand from where is nearer to you.” (Bukhari, At’imah, 2)
In other versions of this narration, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) begins his words by saying:
“O my son! Come closer to the table” which is the best manifestation of mercy and compassion in education.
Preparing children for a settled family life is closely related to the exemplar way of upbringing. One should teach one’s children to be attached to their homes, be considerate about the times of entering and leaving their home, and have their meals at home with their family. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) was concerned with what time his children returned and left their homes. For instance, he liked them to go back to their houses before the midday heat. According to a narration by Fatima (r.anha), one day Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) came and asked:
“Where are my boys?” She said:
“Ali took them out.” The Prophet (pbuh) went out and found them playing in a place called Mashruba. They had some dates in front of them. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) told Ali (r.a.):
“O Ali! Will you not take my sons home before the midday heat?” (Hakim, III, 181)
He also asked his followers to keep their children at home when night fell. (Bukhari, Bad’ul Khalq, 11; Muslim, Ashriba, 96)
Children who were raised under the Prophet’s care became excellent examples of manners and morals. They manifested the best manners all their lives. Hasan’s (r.a.) uniting approach regarding the issue of the caliphate, Husain’s (r.a.) martyrdom for the straight path and his noble behavior during that incident, Fatima’s (r. anha) chastity and modesty are the peak examples of good morals.
Here it would suffice to give an example from Fatima’s (r. anha) life:
“When she was on her death bed, she said to Asma bint Umais (r. anha):
“O Asma! I do not like the things done to women during their funerals. People place a cloth which does not hide woman’s body form.” Asma said:
“O daughter of the Messenger of Allah! Would you mind if I describe to you something that I witnessed in Abyssinia?” Then she asked for some palm branches, curved them like bows and covered them with a piece of sheet. (In a way she built a simple coffin.) Content with this, Fatima asked to be buried similarly. (Ibn Athir, Usd al-Ghabah, VII, 226)
In short, when we examine the life of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) as a father, we can see everything that we need to raise our children.
3. Preparing them for the Eternal Life
“O people of the House! Wake up for prayer “Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, and to purify you with a thorough purifying.” (Tirmidhi, Tafsir, 33)
The primary responsibility of a believer is to make preparations for the questioning of the Hereafter in the presence of Allah. This responsibility is not limited to the individual himself but also encompasses his family and relatives, too. Therefore, the head of a family should do everything he can to protect his family from all kinds of problems and to prepare them for the Hereafter. We observe this preoccupation in the life of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). For instance, when the following verses of thirty third chapter of the Qur’an were revealed,
“O wives of the Prophet! you are not like any other of the women. If you will be on your guard, then be not soft in(your) speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease yearn; and speak a good word. And stay in your houses and do not display your finery like the displaying of the ignorance of yore; and keep up prayer, and pay the poor-rate, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House, and to purify you a (thorough) purifying.” (al-Ahzab 33; 32-33) He stopped by Fatima’s house on his way to the mosque for a period of six months and told them:
“O people of the House! Wake up for prayer “Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, and to purify you with a thorough purifying.” (Tirmidhi, Tafsir, 33)
During some of the nights before dawn, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) would go to Ali and Fatima’s house and wake them up for tahajjud prayer saying:
“Aren’t you going to get up for the prayer?” (Bukhari, Tahajjud, 5)
In this respect, Ali (r.a.) narrated the following striking incident:
“Fatima was the most beloved one for the Prophet (pbuh) among his family. Due to using a grinder, she would get blisters in her hands; due to carrying water in water-skins, she would have wounds on her neck; and due to sweeping her house, she would have dust all over her. Once when some slaves were brought to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), I told Fatima:
“Why do not you go and ask for a slave from your father?”
She went. When she arrived, she saw that the Prophet (pbuh) was conversing with some people and she turned back. The following day Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) came to Fatima and asked:
“My dear daughter! What was your need?” Fatima kept quiet and did not answer. I stepped in and said:
“Let me tell you O Messenger of Allah.” And I explained the situation to him:
“Fatima got blisters in her hands from grinding and wounds on her shoulders from carrying water in water-skins. When slave came, I told her to go and request a servant from you to get some rest.” Following my explanation, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said:
“O Fatima! Fear Allah, perform your acts of worship and do your family’s housework. When you go to bed, say subhanallah thirty three times, Alhamdulillah thirty three times, and allahuakbar thirty four times. Which makes a hundred in total. This is much better for you than a servant.” Thereupon Fatima (r. anha) said:
“I am content with Allah and His Messenger.” And the Prophet (pbuh) did not give her a servant. (Abu Dawud, Haraj, 19-20)
In another narration, it is reported that the Prophet (pbuh) also added:
“By Allah I cannot give you a servant while my Companions of suffa tie rocks to their bellies because of hunger and I have nothing to give them. I will sell these slaves and spend the revenue on them.” (Ibn Hanbal, I, 106)
It is really meaningful that the Prophet advised things that are provisions for the Hereafter to his daughter, who had asked for a worldly thing. Since righteous deeds will be the only thing left for the Hereafter, the Prophet’s guidance for his daughter in that direction is a very significant example for his followers as a method of preparing one’s household for the Hereafter.
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) warned his relatives including his daughter Fatima by saying:
“Buy yourselves from Allah. You can request from my property as much as you like but I cannot defend you before Allah.” (Bukhari, Manaqib, 13-14; Muslim, Iman, 348-353)
One day, when the Prophet (pbuh) came home, he saw that Fatima (r.anha) had a gold chain given to her by Ali (r.a.) as a present. He told her:
“O Fatima! Would you be happy to hear people saying that “the daughter of the Messenger of Allah had a chain made from fire?” And he left without saying anything else.
After which Fatima (r. anha) had the chain sold in the market. She bought a slave with her money and freed him. When the Prophet (pbuh) was informed of this he said:
“All thanks are due to Allah Who has saved Fatima from the Fire.” (Nasai, Zinah, 39)
Even if they are lawful things, worldly possessions may cause someone to go astray. And because of its heavy responsibility, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) preferred a pious life in poverty and he valued the afterlife more than the life in this world. A good example of this is as follows:
It was narrated by the freed slave of Thawban (r.a.):
“When the Apostle of Allah (pbuh) went on a journey, the last member of his family he saw was Fatimah, and the first he visited on his return was Fatimah. Once when he returned from an expedition, she had hung up a curtain on her door, and adorned Hasan and Husayn with silver bracelets. So when the Prophet (pbuh) arrived, he did not enter. Thinking that he had been prevented from entering by what he had seen, she tore down the curtain, unfastened the bracelets from the boys and cut them off.
They went weeping to the Apostle of Allah (pbuh), and when he had taken the bracelets from them, he said:
“O Thawban take this to so and so’s family. Hasan and Husain are my family, and I did not like them to finish up the good things in the present life that Allah the Almighty has bestowed upon them. O Thawban! Buy Fatimah a necklace made from bones and two ivory bracelets (for the children).” (Abu Dawud, Tarajjul, 21)
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) not liking his daughter and grandsons to be occupied with worldly adornments took the silver from his grandsons and gave it in charity for Allah’s sake, and bought a cheaper necklace for their mother. Fatima (r.anha) understood her father’s thinking and did whatever was necessary and appropriate for the daughter of the Prophet.
Another day, the Prophet (pbuh) did not enter Fatima’s house. When he was asked the reason, he said that he had not entered because of the ornamented curtains that hung at the door. When he was asked, what should be done, he replied:
“Send it to the family of so and so who are in need.” (Bukhari, Hiba, 27)
One day Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) ran into Fatima (r. anha) on his way. He asked her:
“O Fatima! What made you leave your house?” Fatima (r. anha) said:
“I came to this funeral parlour. I was saddened by what happened to them and offered my condolences to them.” The Prophet (pbuh) asked:
“Have you gone to their graves?” She replied:
“I fear Allah and I take refuge in Allah to go there after what you had commanded in this respect.”
Then Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said:
“If you had gone to the grave with them, you would not have seen Paradise.” (Nasai, Janaiz, 27)
This way, he asked his daughter to abstain from inappropriate behaviors and to take every step in her life thinking of the Hereafter.
As known, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) had forbidden visits to the cemetery in the early years of his mission; but after faith in the unity of Allah settled in people’s hearts, he permitted it. However, women’s cemetery visits are not deemed very appropriate according to Islam; and they are only allowed conditionally. Provided that they do not wail, tear out their hair, show too much respect to the graves, and if there is not fear of mischief, their visits are permitted.
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) would also check and warn his children about their cloths, too. (Ibn Majah, Libas, 13)
Certainly praying is one of the best ways to get ready for the Hereafter. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) from time to time taught his children some supplications. Below is one of those supplications that he taught to his daughter Fatima (r.a.), which guides people who are preoccupied with the eternal life to take refuge in Allah:
“O Allah, the Ever Living and the Self-Existing One! With Your mercy I take refuge in You and ask for Your help. Correct all my actions and do not leave me with my inner self even for a single moment.” (Hakim, I, 730)
Raising a child in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) and teaching him/her good manners is happiness not only for him/her but also for his/her parents. As informed by the Messenger of Allah (pbuh):
“A servant’s rank will be raised after his death.
The servant will say:
“Dear Lord! Why have I got this reward?”
Allah the Almighty will tell him:
“The righteous and good child (whom you left behind) has prayed and asked forgiveness for you.” (Ibn Majah, Adab, 1; Ibn Hanbal, II, 509)
Every soul will certainly taste death. As it is stated in a verse: “Truly you will die (one day), and truly they (too) will die (one day).” (al-Zumar 39; 30) Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) too left this world and went to the Hereafter. In this mortal world every believer has to hold on to the deeds that will save him in the Hereafter. By personally performing righteous deeds our beloved Prophet (pbuh) not only prepared himself for the Hereafter but also guided everybody around him to the straight path. Sometimes he checked whether his family members were performing tahajjud prayers and sometimes he checked the length of their clothes, warned them about worldly possessions, and directed them to the acts of worship, expressed care about the lawfulness of their food and drinks, in short, he did everything to keep them on the the right path to Allah.
We should not forget about death and the Hereafter by falling into the temporary desires of this world and we will prepare both ourselves and our family for the eternal life. How eloquently Muhammad Asad Erbili states this in one of his poems:
Câhınla sakın Hâlık-ı âgâhı unutma
Bağla kemer-i hizmeti Allah’ı unutma
Aldanma şu tahta sonraki çâhı unutma
Ey gâfil uyan rıhlet-i nâ-gâhı unutma
Yol korkuludur korkusu çok râhı unutma
“Do not forget the Almighty Creator by getting drawn into the ambition of rank and position
Put the belt of service on and do not forget Allah
Do not be deceived by the life of this world and forget the hole (grave) at the end of it
O Heedless! Come to your senses and do not forget the immediate migration or suddenly approaching death
The path or death and what is after are frightening, do not forget this scary road!”
 For further information see the section about “the Prophet’s Treatment of Children”
 Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) suffered from all the kinds of pains that a person may suffer from. He lost six of his children during his lifetime. Three of his children and some of his grandchildren passed away at a very young age. Even though he loved his children very much, he did not show any disappointment in his fate, but rather acceped it with patience.
 The “aqiqa” is the term used for an animal sacrificed for a new born child on the seventh day after the birth. After the aqiqa the child was given a name and had his hair cut. (Tirmidhi, Adahi, 21) It is recommended for the one who can afford it, to sacrifice an animal permitted to eat like a sheep or goat on the seventh day after the child is born. The aqiqa can be sacrificed on the fourteenth or twenty-first day after the birth. As the aqiqa is being slaughtered, it is said: “In the name of Allah! By Allah! O Allah! This is an aqiqa slaughtered for Your sake.” Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) asked a leg to be sent to child’s midwife, and to cook he rest without breaking the bones. Then he adviced people to eat from it and have others eat from it. (Bayhaqi, Sunan al-Kubra, IX, 302)
 These Aramaic names are the equivalent in meaning to Hasan, Husain, and Muhassin. (Cebecioğlu, Tasavvuf Terimleri, p. 669-670)