The anniversary of the birth of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is upon us. And this is an auspicious day, very appropriate for remembrance, regardless of whether any individual Muslim celebrates it or not.
In this day one wonders: What are people’s impression of this man whom Muslims hold so dear? Even within our communities, what do people think about the Prophet (pbuh)? What stories about him stick out in memory?
In an endeavor to answer this question, AboutIslam embarked on a journey of hard-hitting journalism through which we collected comments from a group of people known for unflinching honesty when asked their views: children.
Inspiring Words from Children:
“I like him because he did good deeds, helped people become Muslims, and he will be in the highest Jannah.” –Maryam, age 5
“Prophet Muhammad is Allah’s favorite person.” –Zimraan, age 5
“Prophet Muhammad is the greatest human being in the whole world.” –Habibullah, age 7
“I like the story of Prophet Muhammad when Angel Gibreel opened his chest and took his heart out. He washed it and took out the little part that was not clean and belonged to Shaytan. The angel cleaned his heart and put it back…” –Shadost, age 8
“I think Prophet Muhammad is the best prophet ever and I love him. It feels like he is a hero because he survived from his evil uncle. It would be awesome to have a real life hero like him now. He’s the best.” –Layla, age 7
“My favorite story of the Prophet Muhammad is about how he liked cats because I like cats.” –Hania, age 5
“He was very brave, and very strong, but he was not full of himself and he stayed humble.” –Yusuf, age 10
“The Prophet taught people about Allah and how to be a good person so that you can go to Jannah.” –Reema, age 9
“One time the Prophet’s wife Aisha lost something, her necklace I think, and the Prophet stopped the whole army and looked for her necklace so she wouldn’t be sad. Her father was mad at her for wasting time, but Prophet Muhammad said it was not a waste of time. I like that story because it shows how he loved his wife and wanted to … the things that were important to her were also important to him even if they were silly to other people.” –Ismail, age 11
“I want to meet him in Jannah insha’Allah.” –Maryam, age 4
Words from Grown-Ups: Instilling Prophet’s Love in Our Kids
Ismail and Maryam are children of one mother who wishes to remain anonymous and who has some advice for other parents. (Ismail and Maryam are not the real names of her children, and the mother will be called Isra in this article)
Isra tells AboutIslam: “My husband and I have been teaching our children about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) since they were young. Most Muslim parents do this. There is nothing unique about it.”
What is unique, however, is Isra’s approach. “We present him as he was: a human.” She and her husband believe that the way some Muslims talk about the Prophet (pbuh) borders on shirk. “We all know that the Prophet was a very special man. He was the closest to Allah. But he was a man, not a deity. It is important for children to know this.”
“I truly believe there is no better way to honor him and his legacy than to remind ourselves and our children that he was a person, like the rest of us,” Isra said. “This way, we can draw real life lessons from stories about him, rather than holding him up as an impossible standard.”
When asked for an example of what she meant, she provided, “Like when Muslims say things like ‘Don’t be sad or depressed – just trust in Allah.’ But what about when Khadija died? Or the Prophet’s son, Ibrahim? He was described both times as being incredibly sad. Teaching kids about stories like this shows them that it is okay to be emotionally vulnerable and that you can be sad and trust in Allah.”
Isra also pointed out the quote her son Ismail provided about the Prophet (pbuh). “That story is not abstract to him. He pulls lessons from it. He understands the importance of being loving to one’s wife and caring about the things she cares about.”
Indeed, what better way to honor the birth of our beloved Prophet than to truly instill in our children the values he held?
One hopes that future generations will see less perversion of his message, such as inflicting violence upon others in the name of Islam; and more of his true attributes, such as love for one’s fellow human and acceptance of differences.