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AS A FATHER
Common people prefer to leave hoards of gold and property as legacy for their issues, but the Prophet's sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam imparted by his uniquely effective way of teaching that no amount of material wealth could ever equal to piety and virtuous conduct.
The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam is reported to have said in a Hadith narrated by Saeed Ibn Anas (R.A.),
"No father has bestowed upon his child a gift more splendid than good manners." (Tirmizi).
Undoubtedly, no human has practised on his own preaching more precisely than our beloved Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam.
The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam had in total three sons and four daughters, born to Hadhrat Khadija (R.A.) with the exception of Ibrahim who was born to Hadhrat Maariah (R.A).
All the Prophet's sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam children were a mirrored reflection of the teachings of their father. He served as an ideal example for other parents and was a thorough combination of all the qualities of understanding and discipline expected from a father. It has been stated regarding Fatimah (R.A.) that she herself accomplished all the household chores single-handed. This included making the food, baking the bread, sweeping the house and drawing water from the well. This hard work caused her hands to blister, her clothes to wear away and corns to form on her chest. Once she requested the aid of a servant from the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam to which he replied, "The orphans of the Battle of Badr are more needy than you," he then alternatively advised the recital of a numbered tasbih.
Subhaanallah, this portrays that although he cared for his family dearly, never did he sacrifice integrity, nor did he wield excess leniency in exercising the law of Allah. His mission as a just ruler was not affected by his devotion to his children, although his companions would willingly give preference to the Prophet's sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam household as a gesture of self sacrifice, devotion and respect. He behaved and lived like the average human being with his children and experienced all the emotional and physical strains and sufferings of a father, yet, accepted them with patience and perseverance and never lost temper on any worldly account.
According to Anas (R.A) at the time of the death of his son Hadhrat Ibrahim, tears began to fall gently from the Prophet's sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam eyes. Hadhrat Abdur Rahman Ibn Auf (R.A) proclaimed, "You too, (are weeping) Oh, Messenger of Allah?" The Blessed Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam replied, "The eyes weep and the heart grieves, yet we only utter what pleases the Lord, and we are grieved by your separation, Oh Ibrahim !"
He lived with his children, loved them, and played with them. He enjoyed with them moments of rejoicing and mourned at their pain and affliction, showing he was a man of flesh and blood and experienced bereavement at the loss of his dear ones. The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam never hesitated in showing ardour and affection upon his children. Each child was singled out individually and treated with a unique manner of care and concern. He raised the status of all children, particularly female children in both worlds, by abolishing the inhuman custom of burying daughters alive due to fear of poverty and misfortune. He declared the innocence of infants and bequeathed ideal instructions and guidance towards the upbringing of children, from the day they enter the world till they attain the stage of maturity and beyond.
Hadhrat Anas and Hadhrat Abdullah (R.A) have reported the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam to have declared, "Those dearest to Allah are the ones who treat their children kindly." (Bayhaqi)
The Prophet's sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam high status as a Prophet and head of state did not restrict him from accomplishing everyday activities with children and household. This fact of his simplistic lifestyle has excelled him as an eternal example for all fathers and husbands.
Hadhrat Buraidah (R.A) recalls an incident while the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam was addressing the people, Hadhrat Hasan and Hussain (R.A) - his grandsons, came running along in red shirts, stumbling as they walked. Upon seeing them Allah's Messenger descended from his pulpit, and lifted them and commented, "Allah has spoken the truth in saying your property and children are just a temptation, when I glanced at these two I could not resist from interrupting my speech." Despite his multifarious duties as a Messenger of Allah, the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam still found time to spend and play with his children. He was never a distant or neglecting father.
On another occasion Hasan or Hussain was standing on the Prophet's sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam foot. The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam asked him to remove it after which he playfully placed it on the Prophet's sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam blessed chest. The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam kissed him and remarked "Oh Allah I love him, you also love him." (Bukhari)
The atmosphere of the Prophet's sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam home was full of piety, affection and concern for each other's welfare. Through his love for his family he would not tolerate a temporary termination of bonds within close relationships.
The following incident portrays this aspect beautifully:
Whenever Hadhrat Ali and Fatimah ( R.A.) disagreed upon a matter, the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam would resolve the problem justly and ease the friction. Once the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam entered their home and settled their arguments and reunited them. He left the house in high spirits. When the people enquired the reason to his cheerfulness he proclaimed," I have just reconciled between two people I love dearly."
The Holy Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam successfully attempted with most equitable laws to build family relationships and to cement them with mutual love, kindness and discipline. He took into consideration the natural instincts of paternal love, at the same time reaching the child and guiding him towards the laws ordained by Allah. He laid down tremendous stress on not only their education but also for early formation of the child's character and conduct, according to the lines of faith.
For this reason he is the greatest of those who advocat the cause of children.