Connect with us

Family and Community

The Youth Outreach Program of Muhammad (sal-Allahu ‘alayhi was-Sallam) Part 2

Published

Part 1 can be found here.

The last posting ended with discussing how the Prophet (saw) interacted with youth, and specifically showing an example of how he used positive reinforcement to impact their lives.

Another method that he used was to reward them for an action that they did. There is one very vivid example of this, a reward so great that we are still reaping the benefits of that gift.

Abdullah ibn Abbaas (ra) said told us that one time Rasoolullah (saw) went to use the toilet and he realized that the Prophet (saw) would need to make wudu, so he brought him some water and waited for him. When the Prophet(saw) came out he inquired about who brought the water, and then he immediately made this dua: “O Allah teach him this deen and its interpretation (ta’weel).”

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

From this dua he became so knowledgeable despite the fact he was only with the Prophet(saw) for barely 2 years. The reward from the Prophet (saw) was not materialistic as we may have expected, but one of positive benefit to the young man.

We see that this youth was rushing and racing to do good, a product of his environment. If he had not been in an environment of people who pray Tahajjud, of being given advice to worship Allah (swt), he may not have been in a position to serve the Prophet (saw) in such a manner. Moreover, what if he had not done this good deed? It is entirely possible that the Prophet (saw) would not have made this dua for him, a dua which we know was answered and the legacy of which we still seek knowledge from. He became a scholar that other sahabah looked up to and testified to his virtues.

We must pause, reflect, and ask ourselves a simple question: What do we really wish for our children? The Prophet (saw) was so elated at this simple act of kindness from this youth, that he made dua for the most important thing that he could – for him to have full comprehension of the religion of Allah (swt).

Take the example of Abu Hurairah (ra). There is not a single person who does not wish for their children to be as knowledgable as Abu Hurairah, to be loved like Abu Hurairah, to be as stringent with the sunnah as him – yet how few are the parents now who would accept his being poor and staying in the masjid, memorizing hadith all night long, as a sacrifice for that noble goal? What about accepting for our children to be pulled out of school for a couple of years to memorize Quran? Or sacrifice a Master’s degree for Islamic studies?

One way we can answer the question of what we really want for our children is to think about the dua we make for them. Are we supplicating to Allah to make them pious Muslims who will attain Jannah? To make them the type of children who can pray for us after our deaths, and their supplications be answered?

We have to break the mold of thinking that only the ‘less intelligent’ kids are pushed into Islamic studies. Abu Hanifah was approached by a man in the marketplace who asked him, who do you study with? He replied no one, I tend to my business. He told him, go and sit with the scholars, for I see signs of intelligence in you. Do we preoccupy ourselves with being this type of turning point in the lives of our youth? Or do we instead see signs of medicine, business leadership, and algorithm analysis?

Giving youth a reward does not have to necessarily be spiritual in nature. If we look back at the previous point of making a positive association, we can think of many creative ideas. For example, one memory I have of childhood is my father taking me by the sno-cone stand on my way home from school when I was very young. Even now, when I see a sno-cone stand, I cannot resist eating one, not just because I enjoy the taste of them (which I do), but becaues subconsciously it reminds me of those positive memories of my childhood.

Imagine now, a child who has a father that takes him to eat ice cream after Quran class. Or maybe they play basketball together at the masjid together after prayers. Even though it may not seem like a big deal, as that youth grows older, they will now have a positive memory associated with the act of going to the Masjid. Those from ‘back home’ can tell how this runs quite contrary to the memorable beatings some people used to receive at masaajid.

Some people may consider this to be bribing children, and how children should go to the masjid simply because they’re supposed to, so this is wrong. Sorry, but I flat out disagree. They are KIDS after all. They need a little enticement, and a little fun. These are the building blocks, especially in this society, that must be laid down in order for them to have that level of ikhlaas later on in life.

None of this should detract though, from the real lesson in this hadith – making dua for our youth, and especially our own children. We need to make it a constant practice to always be making dua for them. The dua of a parent for the child is one of the ones that is accepted, so we need to take advantage of it. Even if it is a simple “jazakAllahu khayr” when they do something good, do not belittle this act at all. Dua is the real weapon of change and success.

Coming up in Part 3 bi’idhnillah- How to make the youth feel like the center of the action.

Please also see this blog posting with some comments on Part 1 of the series.

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Omar Usman is a founding member of MuslimMatters and Qalam Institute. He teaches Islamic seminars across the US including Khateeb Workshop and Fiqh of Social Media. He has served in varying administrative capacities for multiple national and local Islamic organizations. You can follow his work at ibnabeeomar.com.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. abdullah's mama

    November 13, 2007 at 11:38 AM

    I am not pro-bribing children, especially when it comes to associating dunya rewards with Islamic work. That said, I do not consider the examples mentioned above as bribing, because there are no expectations set up in advance, i.e. “If you do this, you will get that.”

    When the reward is given after the fact and has the element of surprise it reeks less of manipulating the child and it also encourages the child to do the action for its own sake because he doesn’t know that the reward is coming.

    However when a parent or teacher is constantly holding the carrot on the stick, then from my experience I feel that children just get into the whole rewards mentality and forget the larger picture.

    So anyway, all that to say that I really think there is a significant difference between a parent giving positive associations with good deeds (ice cream on the way home from the masjid) and a parent saying, “If you go to the masjid today, you’ll get ice cream.”

  2. ibnabeeomar

    November 13, 2007 at 12:18 PM

    thats a good distinction

  3. abdullah's mama

    November 13, 2007 at 12:25 PM

    I was going to add: jazakumullahu khairan for the blog linkup,

    and I found that a good read on this topic (from a non-muslim) is Punished by Rewards by Alfie Kohn. It’s more useful for teachers rather than parents although the ideas can always be applied for anyone working with kids.

  4. SH

    November 16, 2007 at 2:53 PM

    I really enjoy these paricular blogs about how the Prophet Muhamad (Saws) reached out to the youth….I’m really benefitting from them and trying to implement these now and in the future inshalla with my own children. Jazakallahu khayr for these beautiful insights on this topic that is much overlooked!

  5. Pingback: muslimmatters.org » The Youth Outreach Program of Muhammad (sal-Allahu ‘alayhi was-Sallam) Part 3

  6. zfnd

    November 25, 2007 at 6:03 PM

    JazakallahKhayr for the enjoyable and beneficial series.

    “What about accepting for our children to be pulled out of school for a couple of years to memorize Quran? Or sacrifice a Master’s degree for Islamic studies?”

    Some parents view studying Islam as a hindrance to their childrens’ secular studies which could jeopardize their ‘future.’ Unintentionally, when khateebs and shayukh compare the two, this reinforces the parents’ mentality.

    Any thoughts on correcting this misconception?

  7. ibnabeeomar

    November 25, 2007 at 8:12 PM

    zfnd, thats a great point regarding approaching the parents. unfortunately, this type of mentality is widespread. i think theres a few things to mention on this point.

    first, studying islam does not come at the expense of islamic studies – rather the 2 can and should be harmonized. there’s nothing wrong with a kid becoming a doctor for example, however, our goal is not to raise doctors, but children who utilize that skillset of treating people to help islam, and people who do not just run into medicine, but do so with a full grasp of what is allowed in their practice in regards to the shariah.

    theres many examples of ppl who were successful in both, for example imam shafi’ee actually was a doctor in his time of the physical body as well as of course an illustrious scholar of islam. in modern times, we see ppl like shaykh ali al-timimi who did a phd in cancer research, and degree work in biology/IT, while at the same time being well-learned in islam.

    there’s no reason we need to limit ppl to one or the other, be ambitious, shoot for both – but make sure that islam gets the priority. its especially important in making sure our youth dont go into haram occupations – like heading up their own mortgage companies or something.

    also, theres something to be said for the example of imam bukhari and his father. we know the legacy of bukhari, however, what’s often left unsaid is that he was able to do all of that via wealth left to him from his father. so while bukhari inshallah has a GIGANTIC sadaqah jariyah, what about the rewards his own father is gaining from that work??

    we need to frame it in that reference to parents – are your kids going to be the type to throw you in a nursing home when youre older? or are they going to take care of you and make dua for your forgiveness after you die? if you want the latter – they need deen in their life. period.

  8. Pingback: muslimmatters.org » The Youth Outreach Program of Muhammad (sal-Allahu ‘alayhi was-Sallam) Part 4

  9. Asiyah

    April 19, 2009 at 9:27 PM

    Mashaallah.Jazakum allahu khairaa.I always encourage my son to do good deeds and to expect reward from Allah swt.I will also pamper him with gifts whenever he does an outstanding job in reading salah or memorizing Quran etc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Trending