Parenting is a noble and challenging responsibility, requiring guidance and wisdom to raise children upon the right path. As Muslims, we are fortunate to have the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a timeless source of inspiration for every aspect of our lives, including parenting. The Prophet’s (pbuh) exemplary character and approach provide valuable lessons that can guide us in nurturing our children with love, compassion, and Islamic values.
Leading by Example
Actions speak louder than words. Merely instructing our children about the importance of good behavior is not enough. We must show them through our own actions how to apply these teachings in real-life situations. By doing so, we cultivate an environment of love, respect, and righteousness within our families. This leads to a strong foundation for their moral growth and spiritual development. The influence of a parent who demonstrates a profound commitment to their faith and upholds the principles of Islam cannot be underestimated.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was known for his impeccable character and integrity. Children are highly observant and tend to imitate the behavior of their parents. By embodying the teachings of Islam in our everyday lives, we create a lasting impact on our children’s upbringing. When they witness us practicing honesty, kindness, humility, and compassion, they are more likely to internalize these values and incorporate them into their own lives.
Importance of Patience and Gentleness
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) demonstrated remarkable patience and gentleness, even in the face of adversity. He dealt with children and youth with kindness, understanding their vulnerabilities and needs. As parents, it is easy to get frustrated at our kids or lose our cool due to other chores that need more attention. It is inevitable that our children will make mistakes from time to time. However, it is crucial for us to remain patient and understanding, offering guidance and advice instead of constant admonishment.
Anas (RA) said, “I had the privilege of serving the Prophet (peace be upon him) for a decade, and throughout that time, he never uttered a word of impatience towards me or blamed me for any action or inaction.”
Similarly, we should exercise patience when dealing with our children’s mistakes and challenges, guiding them with love and gentleness rather than anger or harshness. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) exhibited remarkable patience and gentleness when dealing with children. He understood their innocence and tender hearts, and he would patiently listen to their questions and concerns. As parents, it is important for us to exercise patience and gentleness in our interactions with our children. We should strive to understand their perspectives, guide them through challenges, and respond to their needs with kindness and empathy.
Following the prophetic example, we should also regularly make supplications or dua for our children, because Allah (God) does not reject a parent’s sincere prayers on behalf of their offspring.
Empowering Children through Communication
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was known for his excellent communication skills. He listened attentively, empathized with others, and gave sincere advice. Effective communication is crucial in parenting, as it helps build trust and strengthens the parent-child bond. Taking the time to listen to our children’s concerns, opinions, and dreams fosters a healthy relationship and encourages open dialogue.
Balancing Discipline and Love
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) struck a delicate balance between discipline and love. He (pbuh) would play and interact with them, showing them kindness and tenderness. It is crucial for us as parents to shower our children with love and create a warm and nurturing environment where they feel safe and cherished. This love should be unconditional, regardless of their achievements or mistakes. He (pbuh) taught his companions the importance of discipline while ensuring it was combined with compassion and mercy. Similarly, as parents, we should establish clear boundaries and rules, but also shower our children with love, understanding, and forgiveness to create a nurturing environment.
There are many instances that show his kindness and gentleness, especially to the weak and the poor. Anas(RA), who was his helper, said: “I served Allah’s Messenger for ten years and he never said to me, ‘Shame’ or ‘Why did you do such-and-such a thing?’ or ‘Why did you not do such-and-such a thing?'” (Bukhari, 2038).
Communication and Active Listening
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was an excellent communicator who actively listened to others. He would give his undivided attention when someone spoke to him, showing genuine interest in their thoughts and feelings. As parents, we should emulate this practice by actively listening to our children, engaging in meaningful conversations, and creating a safe space for open dialogue. Effective communication strengthens the parent-child bond and fosters mutual understanding.
For example, despite his busy schedule, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) made a point of taking a genuine interest in their lives. A notable instance was when he went above and beyond to offer solace to young Abu Umair after the unfortunate loss of his pet bird.
Anas bin Malik (RA) said: “The Messenger of Allah s.a.w used to come to visit us. I had a younger brother who was called Abu ‘Umair by nickname (kunyah). He had a sparrow which he played with, but it died. So one day the Prophet s.a.w came to see him and saw him grieving. He asked: ‘What is the matter with him?’ The people replied: ‘His sparrow has died.’ He (the Prophet s.a.w) then said: ‘Oh Abu ‘Umair! What has happened to the little sparrow?'”
It was this empathy and compassion combined with active listening and guidance that pulled the young and old, men and women, the powerful and the powerless towards our beloved Prophet (pbuh) and his message of tawheed.
Parenting with prophetic wisdom means embodying the beautiful teachings of Islam in our interactions with our children. By following the noble example of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), we can raise children who are knowledgeable, compassionate, and confident in their Islamic identity. Let us strive to lead by example, exercise patience and gentleness, communicate effectively, teach through stories and examples, and strike a balance between discipline and love. May Allah guide us in our parenting journey and grant us success in raising righteous children who will be a source of pride and blessings for this world and the hereafter. Ameen.