How often to we find older people walking passed children without even acknowledging their presence leave alone greeting them? Sometimes its even worse when not only are they totally ignored but a stern and sharp glare is given to them scaring the poor little things which leaves them wondering what wrong have they done now.In a strange way some even feel that in this way children are taught respect for elders! This is grossly wrong and if this was true then the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam would have been the first to implement this method!

When we look at the life of the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam we find that in his treatment with children regardless of them being his own or the children of Madeenah, too there is an example to follow.

Hadrat Anas Radiyallahu Anhu reported that he passed by some children and greeted them and said: “The Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam use to do this.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Meaning of this Hadeeth

Greeting children that have reached the age of understanding and older is from the pure Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, but sadly it has become a common practice amongst people nowadays not to greet any children by means of disregarding them. This opposes and contradicts the teachings of the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam as he would greet children and elderly alike.

Benefits derived from this Hadeeth

1)  Keenness of the Sahaaba to follow the Sunnah in every matter. Allah Almighty says: “Indeed in the Messenger of Allah Almighty (Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah Almighty.” – [Surah 33 Verse 21]

2)  It encourages humility and not giving us a reason to have pride by belittling those who are younger than us. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said: “And Allah Almighty increases His slave in honor when he forgives others.  And no one humbles himself before Allah Almighty but Allah Almighty will raise him in status.” – [Muslim]

3)  Instilling good character in children. When they see adults greeting them, they will inhabit this practice from a very young age of greeting others.

4)  This act of greeting children brings love and affection in the heart of the child. The child loves it when a person greets him or her and becomes extremely pleased especially if it is from someone older. This sometimes results in them not forgetting it.

Therefore it is essential for us to greet children if we pass by children playing in the streets, malls or sitting and selling things etc. This will bring about many benefits and not to mention following a beautiful Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam).

We say and accept that children are our future leaders who need to be groomed for the roles that await them. That smile or greeting to a child who you walk past or that sharp glare could well be that very first grooming process!

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