In the life of the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam we see a perfect example of every role that he played in his life. He was a prophet of Allah Ta’ala but at the same time He was a husband, a father, a grandfather, a teacher, a counsellor, a commander in chief and many other roles were played by him. In every role there was excellence which made him worthy of emulation! In this article we explore the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallams role as a father and grandfather with the intent of inspiring us to follow in his footsteps when we are expected to fulfil the rights of these roles when they are placed on us thereby making the lives of the children around us more meaningful and valuable.

The Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam was an extraordinary husband, a perfect father, and a unique grandfather.  He was unique in every way.  He treated his children and grandchildren with great compassion and never neglected to direct them to the straight path and to good deeds.  He loved them and treated them tenderly, but did not allow them to neglect matters related to the Aakhirah. His concern did not revolve around their welfare in this world only but rather it extended to their welfare of the hereafter. In fact there was more concern for the latter than the former.  He showed them how to lead a humane life and never allowed them to neglect their religious duties or to become spoiled.

His ultimate goal was to prepare them for the Hereafter.  His perfect balance in such matters is another dimension of his divinely-inspired intellect.  Hadrat Anas Bin Maalik Radiyallaahu Ta’ala Anhu, the Messenger Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam’s helper for 10 years, says:

“I have never seen a man who was more compassionate to his family members than Muhammad (SAW).”

Muhammad (SAW) was a human like us, but Allah Ta’ala inspired in him such an intimate affection for every living thing that he could establish a connection with all of them.  As a result, he was full of extraordinary affection toward his family members and others.

All of the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa sallam’s sons passed away.  Ibrahim, his last son, died in infancy.  The Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa sallam often visited his son before the latter’s death, although he was very busy.  Ibrahim was looked after by a nurse.  The Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam would kiss and play with him before returning home.

When Ibrahim took his last breaths, the eyes of the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam started shedding tears.  Hadrat Abdur-Rahman Ibn Awf Radiyallaahu Anhu said:

“O Allah’s Messenger Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, even you (weep)!”  The Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam said, “O Abdur Rahman Ibn Auf Radiyallaahu Anhu, this is mercy that Allah Ta’ala places in the hearts of those whomsoever He wishes.”

Then he wept more and said:

“The eyes shed tears and the heart grieves, and we will not say except what pleases our Lord, O Ibrahim!  Indeed we are grieved by your separation.”

The Messenger Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam was completely balanced in the way he brought up his children.  He loved his children and grandchildren very much, and instilled love in them.  However, he never let his love for them be abused.  None of them deliberately dared to do anything wrong.  If they made an unintentional mistake, his protection prevented them from going even slightly astray.  He did this by wrapping them in love and an aura of dignity.  For example, once Hasan or Hussain wanted to eat a date meant for distribution among the poor as alms.  The Messenger immediately took it from his hand, and said:

“Anything given as alms is forbidden to us.

In teaching them while they were young to be sensitive to forbidden acts, the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, established an important principle of education.

Whenever he returned to Medina, he would joyfully carry children on his mount.  On such occasions, the Messenger Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam embraced not only his grandchildren but also those in his house and those nearby.  He conquered their hearts through his compassion.  He loved all children and all the children loved him.

He loved his granddaughter Umamah.  He often went out with her on his shoulders, and even placed her on his shoulders while praying.  When he prostrated, he put her down; when he had finished praying, he placed her on his back again.

The Prophet (SAW) showed this degree of love to Umamah to teach his male followers how to treat girls.  This was a vital necessity; only a decade earlier, it had been the social norm to bury infant or young girls alive because they were seen as ill omens.  Such public paternal affection for a granddaughter had never been seen before in Arabia.

The Messenger (SAW) proclaimed that Islam allows no discrimination between son and daughter.  How could there be?  One is Muhammad, the other is Khadijah; one is Adam, the other is Hawa; one is Ali, the other is Fatima.  For every great man there is a great woman.

As soon as Fatimah Radiyallaahu Ta’ala Anha, the daughter of the Messenger Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, entered the room where the Messenger Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam was, he would stand, take her hands, and make her sit where he was sitting.  He would ask about her health and family, show his paternal love for her and compliment her.

Fatimah Radiyallaahu Anha, knowing how fond he was of her, loved him more than her own self.  She always watched her father and how he called people to Islam.  She wept profusely when the Messenger  Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam told her that he would  soon be leaving the world, but her tears of sorrow turned to tears of joy when he informed her that she would be the first of his family to follow him.

This is the Prophet  Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam and his relation to children, A man respected by leaders, cherished and loved by children.

Today many are fathers but the type or kind of fathers we are is the big question? Like it was once said “ Anyone can become a father but it takes someone great to become a Dad!

The Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam has shown us how to be that doting Dad whereby the world will forget you after you’re gone but not your children!

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