Treating children gently and both sexes with equality is at the core of the Prophet Mohammed’s teachings, today’s sermon reminds worshippers.
Islam lays the foundations to ensure well-being and happiness in all aspects of life, says the sermon. “For example, it devotes great care to family and children, and appoints parents to assume this responsibility.”
The Quran specifies parents’ roles: “Mothers may breastfeed their children two complete years for whoever wishes to complete the nursing [period]. Upon the father is the mothers’ provision and their clothing according to what is acceptable. No person is charged with more than his capacity. No mother should be harmed through her child, and no father through his child. And upon the [father’s] heir is [a duty] like that [of the father].”
Part of the parents’ responsibility lies in showing kindness to children, with the Prophet Mohammed offering the perfect example.
Anas Ibn Malik, who worked for the Prophet, described him by saying: “I have never seen anyone more kind to one’s family than Allah’s Messenger, may peace be upon him.
“No wonder then that He was keen on treating children fairly when He said, ‘fear Allah, and observe equity in the case of your children’.”
A father was sitting with the Prophet when his son arrived. He seated his son on his lap and kissed him. His daughter arrived a while later, but the father only seated her beside him. The Prophet turned to the man and pointed out he had not treated the two fairly.
The Prophet also stressed the merits and rewards involved in looking after orphans.
Sticking together his middle and index fingers, the Prophet said: “I and the one who looks after an orphan will be like this in Paradise.”