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Educating Children with the Guidance of the Prophet

Abu Huraira said the following: Hasan, Ali's son, placed a date that was designated as sadaqah (alms) in his mouth.

Seeing this, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) ordered: "No, no! Spit it out! Don't you know that we do not eat things that are to be given as sadaqah?

 

 (Bukhari, Zakat 60; Muslim, Zakat 161)

 

This incident had taken place in the Al-Masjid Al-Nabawi, where Prophet Muhammad was checking the distribution of dates that had been collected as zakat (yearly alms). In order to understand the Prophet's reaction to Hasan's action, it is necessary to comprehend that the "Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) considered sadaqah to be haram (religiously forbidden) for his family", and according to other accounts related to this issue, the reason of this was the fact that the sadaqah was the dirt of people" (Muslim, Zakat, 168).

Zakat means cleanliness. By giving zakat, a person displays a stance against an inclination to worldliness. First of all, the desire to make a sacrifice the blessings that have been granted to us by Allah, the giving of this amount, again determined by Allah, to the poor is an act that requires courage. Zakat is conducive to cleansing the heart and the mind materialistic filth which blinds us to the humane characteristics. The giving of zakat is a confirmation that a person has a good character. In this respect, zakat and the sadaqah were described as the dirt of the people.

This hadith (saying of the Prophet) also shows us how Prophet Muhammad disciplined his grandson and took care of him. It is understood that education received in the early ages is as if carved in stone. It does not fade away even though the years pass. The most significant task that has utmost priority in the education of the child is that of the family. In order for the child not to move away the roots of family life which has disintegrated and become trivialized by modern life, to ensure the effective function of each individual within the family, and an example of what can be done to give life a better meaning are all provided within this hadith. An example of the relationship of elderly family members to their grandchildren is that when conveying values and beliefs to the new generation, the perception of morality that is possessed by these elderly relatives seems more meaningful when the quality of that magical relationship (grandfather, grandmother - grandchildren) in the modern nuclear family structure and the life of very busy parents are taken into consideration.

When the hadith is evaluated in terms of religious education, such conclusions may be drawn:

  • It is the family that is primarily responsible for child education.
  • The elderly members of the family must keep them away what is haram.
  • When the child makes a mistake, such approach as "He is still little, he will learn in the future" should not be embraced and inappropriate behavior should be corrected without a loss of time. It must not be forgotten that habits occur with repetition.
  • When communicating with children, a language which they can understand must be used.
  • A behavior should not only be forbidden, but the reason for this should be explained as well.
  • Parents should be careful that the first information they give is correct, especially on religious issues.
  • Not all information, but only correct information should be given to the child, in accordance with their age.
  • The children must participate occasionally in the gatherings where elder family members are present and in this way they can learn ethical behavior by means of observation.

 

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