Instilling Love of the Prophet ﷺ in our Children
By Ukht Husni
Khalid ibn Ma’dan said that a group of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah said, “Messenger of Allah! Tell us about yourself.”
Rasulullah ﷺ replied, “Yes, I will. I am the answer to the supplication of my father, Ibrahim, when he said, “Our Lord, send among them a Messenger from among them.” (2:129)
While I was out with my foster brothers behind our tents herding some animals of ours, two men wearing white garments came up to me. They held me fast and split open my chest from my throat to my lower belly. Then they took out my heart and split it open. Then they extracted a black drop from it and threw it away. Then they washed my heart and chest with that snow until they had cleaned it.
Then one of them said to his fellow, “Weigh him against ten of the community, so they weighed me against them and I outweighed them.
Then he said, “Weigh him against a hundred of his community,” so they weighed me against them and I outweighed them.
Then he said, “Weigh him against a thousand of his community,” so they weighed me against them and I outweighed them.
Then he said, “Leave him. If you were to weigh him against all of his community, he would still outweigh them all.”
Then they embraced me and kissed my head and kissed me between my eyes. Then they said, “O beloved, do not fear! If you only knew the blessing that this meant for you, you would be delighted!” Then they said, “How honoured you are with Allah! Allah and His angels are with you.”
Reading about stories like this on the Prophet is just one of the many ways we can learn more about him. And sharing these stories, especially with children, is important. Rasulullah ﷺ was a living, walking example of everything we aspire to be and hope our children to be as well. When we first become parents, we automatically have the desire to raise them to be the best they can be. Who else would be a better role model for them other than our Prophet ﷺ, who was sent to perfect the noble traits of character?
However, the problem comes when we, as parents, don’t know the Prophet ﷺ well enough to teach our own children. What do we do then?
Even before becoming a parent, I always questioned, how am I supposed to love someone I don’t know? Well, you can’t. So, to put it bluntly, you need to learn about him in order toget to know him better. There are many ways we can do this, and it is from Allah’s mercy that He provides us with different options to pursue this blessed knowledge:
The easiest way to know about a person who is no longer around is to read about him. The Prophet’s biography is known as Sīrah and alhamdulillah, our scholars have written plenty of books on Sīrah that we’re almost spoilt for choice.
Here are some titles (in Malay) you could consider for your own reading:
1. Muhammad: Riwayat Hidup Berdasarkan Sumber Terawal
2. Nabi Muhammad ﷺ dalam al-Qur’an
4. Warkah-warkah Nabi Muhammad
5. Bughyatil Suul fi Tafdhilirrasul
6. Asy-Syamail al-Muhammadiyah
If you are learning alongside with your child, it’d be ideal to read aloud with them books on Sīrah written for children. My favourite is 365 Days with Prophet Muhammad published by Goodword books. Although it’s written for children, it contains so many loving details of our Prophet ﷺ that it benefits both parent and child.
Have their hearts attached to the Prophet ﷺ by sharing his stories with them. Share the story of the old woman who made a habit of throwing rubbish on the Prophet ﷺ and how he responded to her in kindness. Tell your children that the Prophet ﷺ used to be kind, so be kind like him. There are a wealth of stories out there and with each story, may it increase our love for him and help us emulate his noble traits.
If you are pressed for time and are always on the move, audiobooks are a great way to fill your time in between. Many of the English sīrahs have been made into audiobooks and are easily found online.
Alternatively, there are also apps like Miraj Audio that cater to Muslim children which provide audio readings of many events from the Sīrah. Try the ‘Sad Camel’ which is available as a free sample from their site.
3. Attend Sīrah Lessons
Learning from a teacher is one of the best ways to get to know our Prophet ﷺ, especially if there is a chain of transmission from student to teacher all the way to our Prophet ﷺ. In these lessons, the teacher would also normally base their lessons on a book of Sīrah.
It’s important to have access to teachers, especially since there have been many misunderstandings about our Prophet ﷺ, some of which may have been propagated by those who are not familiar with the culture and context of that time.
Today, we are also very blessed to have easy access to such lessons online, although it is greatly recommended to take such lessons from trusted teachers.
Just last week, our hours were filled with attending lessons taught by someone who practices what she preaches, someone who takes the sunnah very seriously and follows it to the T.
SubhanAllah, in one of her talks, she also addressed the issue of raising children to love our Prophet ﷺ. Her advice was that we (i.e. the parents) have to walk the talk. Children follow our actions more than our words. So if we want our children to love and follow the Prophet ﷺwe also must love and follow the Prophet ﷺ. And loving our Prophet ﷺ is easy because he IS lovable.
If we find ourselves falling short, we should search for the company of people who have the nur (light) of our Prophet ﷺ so that our children can see living examples of people with extraordinary character.
If all this still seems daunting or hard to grasp, remember, start with great intentions and InshaAllah Allah will the ease the way for us and our families to love and connect with our beloved Prophet ﷺ.
Ukht Husni is made up of sisters Hanan and Hafeezah Alsagoff. They run Homely Hammock — publisher of Islamic books for children.