LOVE IS LEARNED, there’s no doubt about it. And, just as racism and hate is taught by actions and words throughout a child’s life, so is love and forbearance.
In our communities, there is much love for all those material things in life – houses, cars, the latest and greatest gizmos. We teach our children to crave these things…but what I have noticed a lack of for many years, is the love of our Prophet. It is a love that is many times lost in the materialistic shuffle of daily life, and a love that is sadly lacking in both conviction and respect.
It is a love that has been overlooked, nay, rather overshadowed by trips to shopping malls, soccer games and the occasional movie.
It is a love that is scarcely taught nowadays, to the extent that it once was, and has really been neglected to a certain extent. Stop and think about it, really – when was the last time you made time to talk to your children about the beautiful life of the Prophet.
Have you too forgotten, or do you also need to learn to love the one who delivered the message of Islam?
Many of us fall into the latter category…. how can we teach our children to love someone we don’t know enough about? We can’t. But, this is not a dead-end road for any one of us…instead, it is a golden opportunity to open our hearts and our minds and strengthen our Iman by learning more about this great personality in Islamic history who helped change the world.
It is time for us to learn about him and understand – not just within an hour’s study circle or a Jumuah Khutba – but study in-depth to fully comprehend his life, trials and his legacy to our Ummah.
It is time for us all to learn to love.
With that, there are a few guidelines that we, as parents, can begin with and learn along with our children. Learning together as a family also sends an important message – because what is learned together as a family unit translates to children that it is something important and worthwhile.
Do as I Say and Do as I Do!
Children will pick up their parents’ cues lightning fast. If you tell them, from an early age – or at any age – that the reason you are doing so-and-so good deed, good action or behavior is because this is the Way of the Prophet, your child will grow up and remember it for a lifetime…and insha’Allah, they will also pass it on to others.
Plan Family Events and Fun Activities
Plan family events that revolve around learning about the Prophet.
There are many things to do that are family fun and a family lesson as well.
Horseback riding, archery and swimming – but also little things like having a foot race or carrying kids on your shoulders are actions that will remind our children of the Prophet and his great love of children.
Make More Out of a Meal
Cook a special meal once a month with the Prophet’s favorite food as the main dish.
Talk about the manners of the Prophet while dining and mention the great significance of the du‘a’ he made.
When cleaning up after dinner, talk about cleanliness in the home and its importance in our lives.
Appearance of the Prophet
While teaching your children about outer and inner beauty in their character, you can introduce them to some hadiths about the Prophet, which eloquently describe his appearance.
The Prophet had the most handsome constitution. Some compared his beautiful smile to a full moon…His nose was thin… His face was smooth…His beard was thick…His neck was the most beautiful…If the rays of the sun fell on his neck, it appeared like a cup of silver mixed with gold… The place between his shoulders was wide.
The Messenger of Allah was not excessively tall nor short. He was neither very pallid nor dark. He did not have curly hair nor lank hair. Allah commissioned him at the age of forty. There were no more than twenty white hairs in his hair or beard, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.
Walk the Same
Practice walking like the Prophet. Make it a backyard contest to see who can do it the best!
When he walked, he lifted his legs with vigor, leaned, slightly forward and placed his feet softly on the ground. He walked at a quick pace and took a rather long step. He did not take small steps. When he walked, it seemed as if he was descending to a lower place… (Tirmidhi)
‘Aishah describes his manner of speaking as follow,
The speech of the Prophet was not quick and continuous as that of yours. He spoke clearly, word by word. (Tirmidhi)
It was narrated that the Messenger of Allah was never excessive in speech and everything was expressed in a brief talk. In his speech, there was no defect of excess or brevity. The words came one after another like pearls. Whoever heard them remembered them. He was the sweetest in talk among his companions. He used to keep silent for long periods and not talk without necessity. His way was not to speak evil words and what he said was just.
Talk About Character
The Prophet was such a wonderful and giving person, undoubtedly the best role model for ourselves, for our children, and for humanity at large.
The Prophet always treated his servants with kindness and justice. Whatever clothes he wore or food he ate, he would give to them to wear and eat.
He was generous, beneficial, compassionate, forgiving, brave and mild-mannered. He always kept his word and was known as the trustworthy even to those who opposed the message he brought as a light to mankind.
Map It Out!
Get a map and talk to your children about the places that the Prophet traveled to and the events surrounding each area.
Check out your local area and find out where a similar terrain, such as a desert area, might be and visit them on a family vacation. Talk about how it must have felt traveling during the conditions at that time and the courage and strength of character it took to make those journeys.
Camp out with your family and narrate stories about the life of the Prophet over the campfire.
These are just a few ideas to get you going. The rest is up to you, and the possibilities to learn about the Prophet are endless.
Sharing this special love with your family is a blessing within itself, because doing so will strengthen you and your family’s Iman and it will most certainly bring your family closer.
And now, do you want to know what is the most marvelous thing that will happen when you embark on this journey? I’ll tell you: You will find out that the more you learn about the Prophet, the more your love for him will grow and never cease to exist.