Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
17 January 2014 / 15 Rabiulawal 1435
Emulating The Prophet’s Way Of Educating Family
Dear blessed Friday Jemaah,
Let us heighten our takwa towards Allah s.w.t. Take advantage of the age that He has given to us to be consistent in heeding all of Allah’s commands and avoiding what is prohibited upon us. Let us emulate our beloved Prophet, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. in all of our affairs, both worldly affairs and religious affairs, as Allah s.w.t. says in surah al-Ahzab verse 21:
Which means: “There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah often.”
My dear brothers, Rasulullah s.a.w. said:
Which means: “Teach your children to guard their prayers and nurture them to do good deeds, and verily doing good deeds will become a habit for them.” [Hadith narrated by at-Tabrani]
This hadith is a beautiful reminder for us, at a time when our children are facing all sorts of challenges and various temptations that can affect their lives and their faith. It reminds us that we need to ensure that the hearts of our children are nurtured to love what is good and to inculcate performing good deeds as a habit, something that should come naturally for them.
Rasulullah s.a.w. did not just leave behind advice and guidance on how to educate our children, but Rasulullah s.a.w. himself showed us the example through his ways of bringing up his family. When we study them, we will realise that often Rasulullah’s methods did not involve any use of force or coercion, but through good examples and gentle mannerisms. Here, I will share several examples which we can reflect upon through several hadith that have been narrated.
First: Early exposure to the teachings of Islam and an environment that encourages ibadah (acts of worship).
There are many sahih hadith which tells us that Rasulullah s.a.w. brought his grandchildren Hasan, Husain and Umamah binte Abi Al-‘As to the mosque when the Prophet s.a.w was leading fardhu prayers at the mosque. That was how he exposed them to the obligation of prayer, so that it will eventually become a part of their daily lives.
Wouldn’t it be beautiful if we are able to expose our children to acts of worship such as solat from a very young age, and make it a habit for them? When they look at us and observe what we normally do, they will insyaAllah be motivated to do the same. And not just acts of worship, but we should also demonstrate to them good akhlak and acts of kindness that they can imitate. This is in line with studies on children’s psychology where children learn through observational learning from as young as a year old. Thus, when children want to join us and imitate us during prayer, we should not chase them away; instead we should work hard to ensure that they will always be encouraged and facilitated in their efforts to be close to the masjid and to be close to Allah s.w.t.
The second example: Teaching them about what Islam forbids, with clear and detailed explanations as to why they are prohibited.
It is narrated in Sahih Bukhari and Muslim that when Hasan, the grandson of Rasulullah s.a.w. took one date from a bunch of dates which was given in charity to the people, Rasulullah s.a.w. quickly took the date out of Hasan’s mouth and said to him: “It is not halal for us (because it was given to charity)”.
Here, we have been taught the best way to stop a child from doing something that is not allowed or prohibited in Islam, and that is to give a clear explanation as to why it is not allowed.
Sometimes, what is needed is just a gentle reminder. Even so, sometimes the Prophet s.a.w will be firm for the sake of justice, and obviously he will not lighten the error of his own family members if they commit an offense. We can learn this through a hadith which says:
Which means: “By Allah, if Fatima, daughter of Muhammad, were to steal, I would have her hand cut off.” [Hadith narrated by Bukhari and Muslim]
As parents, we need to know our children’s friends, the people they mix with, what our children are up to and the activities they are involved in. Often, we hear parents lamenting that they regret what their children have done, and complain that they do not know what their children do outside the home. We should realise that it is our duty as parents to find out about what our children are up to.
Third: Build a close relationship with your children through displays of affection in our words and acts. Indeed, this was the most important approach showed by Rasulullah s.a.w. who was very loving towards children. Anas bin Malik r.a. said:
Which means: “I have not met anyone who was more loving towards children than Rasulullah s.a.w.” [Hadith narrated by Muslim]
It was narrated that Rasulullah s.a.w. often carried and kissed his children and grandchildren. By fostering a close relationship with our children from a young age, they will be very close to us and will easily emulate and learn from us.
May we be able to truly follow Rasulullah s.a.w. in our lives, and succeed in inculcating love towards the Prophet s.a.w. in our hearts, as well as in the hearts of our children. May Allah s.w.t. grant us hidayah (guidance) in fulfilling our responsibilities towards our family, and may we be able to build a family that is successful and tranquil (sakinah). Amin Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.