‘Read! In the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who Created-‘
(Surah Al Alaq, verse 1, the first Revelation)
Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh, my dear brothers and sisters.
My sons were with some children in a pet store recently and I had the opportunity to observe certain differences in behavior between the two sets of children.
When the kids were looking at the birds in their cages, it became quite rowdy with the children raising their voices at the screeching birds. But Adam started cooing gently to the birds and said, ‘Assalamualaikum’ to a few and things started to calm down again. What was beautiful was seeing the other children follow Adam’s example and they, too, started saying ‘Assalamualaikum’ to the birds.
We, in Islam, have many references to remind us of our children’s inherent need of preferring good over bad. In the hadith, ‘children are born in a state of fitra and it is their parents who make them…’ or in the Quran, Surah Al Hijr, verse 29
‘When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit..’
I do expect Adam and Daniel to set the right example to other children because I had taught them to behave as khalifah. In the car, after a trip to collect the jewelry I had sent in to be fixed, Daniel said that he wanted to buy me a diamond ring. I told him that I didn’t need him to buy anything for me but Adam, said that it was just to show appreciation for me. (Masha’Allah! What sweet kids…)
I explained to the boys that the best way for them to show appreciation for me is by teaching and showing others the good behavior I had taught them. I reminded them of the hadith which tells us the three things that will reach us even after we are in the grave; the du’a of a child for their parents, the amal jariah (good deeds) we had done for others and beneficial knowledge that we taught to others.
Adam and Daniel show khalifah behavior not because I told them but because I showed them. Saying ‘Assalamualaikum’ to animals is something that I will always do, sometimes even reciting Al Quran or saying dzikr at them. They are Allah’s creations and they do make prostration to Allah so why shouldn’t I show gentleness and love to them as His creations..?
Children follow good example more readily than wrong behavior. The standard of behavior we set for them must be based on Al Quran and Sunnah because it is already inherent in them. It is then that you will see their great khalifah potential and subsequent behavior come forth.