Written By: Faqihuddin Abdul Kodir

Prophet Muhammad’s Hadith is the second source in the formulation of Islamic teachings, which must always be associated with the first source, namely the Qur’anic verses. Regarding the household issues, including childcare, there are four pillars that must be considered by husband and wife or father and mother. That is a commitment to a strong bond of promise as the mandate of Allah swt (mītsāqan ghalīzan, QS. An-Nisa, 4:21); the principle of pairing and sharing (zawāj, QS. Al-Baqarah, 2: 187 and ar-Rum, 30:21); treat each other well (mu’āsharah bil ma’rūf, QS. An-Nisa, 4:19); and the habit of sharing together (musyāwarah, QS. Al-Baqarah, 2: 233). 

These four pillars become the foundation that household and family must be managed together, by husband and wife or father-mother, to reach the peak of goodness that is felt and enjoyed together. With the inspiration of these four pillars, of course, parenting is a shared mandate and responsibility, husband and wife, or father and mother. Togetherness between the two parents in this mandate and responsibility is also clearly mentioned in the following hadith text:

عَنْ أَبِى هُرَيْرَةَ رضى الله عنه قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِىُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم كُلُّ مَوْلُودٍ يُولَدُ عَلَى الْفِطْرَةِ فَأَبَوَاهُ يُهَوِّدَانِهِ أَوْ يُنَصِّرَانِهِ أَوْ يُمَجِّسَانِهِ (رواه البخاري)

Meaning: From Abu Hurairah ra, said: The Prophet said: “Every child born is in a holy state, so both parents make him a Jew, Christian, or Magi”. (Sahih Bukhari, Number: 1401).

This hadith text confirmed that the mandate and responsibility in children’s education are on the shoulders of both parents. Child education is just one of the more general parenting work. If drawn deductively, other parenting work, such as bathing and changing children’s diapers, give drink  milk, bathing, changing clothes, accompanying play, etc., as part of children’s education, is also the mandate of both parents. Through this children care activity, usually children will also internalized the life values ​​from their parents, both from mother and father. On the other hand, child care is also part of the good deeds affirmed by the Prophet, to be carried out by husbands and fathers to their families. On various occasions, the Prophet often make the father-husband always treat well to his family, wife and children. This is the main step that must be ascertained from family life. That is the moral and behavior of a person towards his family. Because home is becomes the first field to practice human values ​​taught by Islam.

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ قَالَتْ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم خَيْرُكُمْ خَيْرُكُمْ لأَهْلِهِ وَأَنَا خَيْرُكُمْ لأَهْلِى

From Aisha, she said that the Prophet PBUH said  “The best people among you are who have the best attitude in treating their family, and I am the  best among you in treating the  family “ (Sunan Turmudzi, no. hadith: 4269).

Home is the first school where a child will see how his father has relationships, attitudes and behavior towards his mother. Likewise, the mother’s relationship with father. The relationship between these two parents will be internalized by a child, make an impression, and influence his or her way of thinking and acting until their adulthood. Then it will become their attitude as spouse, husband and wife partner or father and mother. And so the learning cycle continues to spin and hereditary through the family. If what is received and absorbed by a child is good, then goodness will be planted in his life later as an adult. For himself, his family, society, nation, and global population of the world. Vice versa.

Father’s responsibility to educate children as stated in the first hadith text and the man / husband’s mandate to do well to the family as mentioned in the second hadith text, is only possible if a father involves in childcare work. Especially in critical times, the first months of birth, where the mother is still experiencing fatigue, weakness, and pain due to giving birth process. Thus, childcare is in addition to being a form of good deed by a man as a husband to mother and child, as well as a form of children’s education regarding the values ​​of affection from the father.

We don’t have a sufficient track record of the Prophet’s family life when he still live in Mecca and when the four of his daughters were born and raised there, namely Zainab, Umm Kulthum, Fatimah, Ruqoyyah, but we can learn a lot from the hadith texts, about how the Prophet often playing, carrying, and chatting with his grandchildren namely Umamah, daughter of Zainab, and Hasan and Husein, sons of Fatimah, ra. These texts can be an inspiration for how men / fathers are encouraged by Islam to engage in household work, including childcare. 

There is an example of Prophet Muhammad regarding childcare. That is the story recorded by Imam Bukhari in his Sahih concerning the Prophet’s grandson, Umamah bint Abi al-Ash, ra which the king carried during prayer.

عن أبي قَتَادَةَ رضي الله عنه قَالَ: خَرَجَ عَلَيْنَا النَّبِىُّ – صلى الله عليه وسلم – وَأُمَامَةُ بِنْتُ أَبِى الْعَاصِ عَلَى عَاتِقِهِ، فَصَلَّى فَإِذَا رَكَعَ وَضَعَهَا، وَإِذَا رَفَعَ رَفَعَهَا. (رواه البخاري في صحيحه، رقم الحديث: 6062، كتاب الأدب، باب رَحْمَةِ الْوَلَدِ وَتَقْبِيلِهِ وَمُعَانَقَتِهِ).

Meaning: From Abu Qatadah ra, said: “One time the Prophet (pbuh) came out holding Umamah the daughter of Abi al-‘Ash on his shoulder. He prayed (in carrying the grandson). When he prostrated, he lowered the princess, and when he stood up he lifted it again to his shoulder. (Sahih Bukhari, Hadith No.: 515).

This Hadith is not only narrated by Imam Bukhari. But also Imam Muslim in his Sahih (Hadith no. 1240, 1241, 1242, and 1243), Imam Abu Dawud in his Sunan (Hadith No.: 918, and 921), Imam Nasa’i in his Sunan (Hadith no.: 719, 835, and 1213), and Imam Malik in al-Muwatta (no. Hadith: 415).

This shows how its exemplary story is well known by Hadith scholars. It may be that we are confused about how to practice this example. Or because we do not understand the meaning of the Prophet’s example the aforementioned. On the one hand, we want calm in prayer, as recommended, but on the other hand we are also taught to be involved in caring for and making children happy. But certainly, this text gives an illustration of how a man, either as a grandfather or father, in Islam must be actively involved in caring for and raising children.

Another similar story is that when the Prophet was preaching, two grandchildren passed by, Hasan and Husein, then the king paused his preaching, carried him and took them to the pulpit. (Sunan Turmudzi, no. 4143; Sunan Nasa’i, no. 1424 and 1526; and Musnad Ahmad, no. 23461).

عن أَبِى بُرَيْدَةَ يَقُولُ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَخْطُبُنَا إِذْ جَاءَ الْحَسَنُ وَالْحُسَيْنُ عَلَيْهِمَا السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْهِمَا قَمِيصَانِ أَحْمَرَانِ يَمْشِيَانِ وَيَعْثُرَانِ فَنَزَلَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم مِنَ الْمِنْبَرِ فَحَمَلَهُمَا وَوَضَعَهُمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ (سنن الترمذي، سنن النسائي، ومسند أحمد).

That: From Abu Buraidah, told me: times when the Prophe, while we were talking, we hung up, then came Hasan and Hussein were wearing red clothes and fell. The Prophet descending from the pulpit, carrying and carrying them in his (prophet)’s lap. (Sunan Turmudzi, no. 4143; Sunan Nasa’i, no. 1424 and 1526; and Musnad Ahmad, no. 23461).

Another story that is almost similar. When the Prophet prostration in the congregational prayer at the mosque for a long time. One of the friends woke up from prostration. Fearing something happened to the Prophet. People saw that there were Hasan and Husein were riding on the shoulder of the Prophet. When finished praying, the companions asked: Your Majesty, you had prostrated for a long time, we were worried. The Prophet said: “No, this is because my grandchildren riding the brain on prostration”.

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ شَدَّادٍ عَنْ أَبِيهِ قَالَ خَرَجَ عَلَيْنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِى إِحْدَى صَلاَتَىِ الْعِشَاءِ وَهُوَ حَامِلٌ حَسَنًا أَوْ حُسَيْنًا فَتَقَدَّمَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَوَضَعَهُ ثُمَّ كَبَّرَ لِلصَّلاَةِ فَصَلَّى فَسَجَدَ بَيْنَ ظَهْرَانَىْ صَلاَتِهِ سَجْدَةً أَطَالَهَا قَالَ أَبِى فَرَفَعْتُ رَأْسِى وَإِذَا الصَّبِىُّ عَلَى ظَهْرِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَهُوَ سَاجِدٌ فَرَجَعْتُ إِلَى سُجُودِى فَلَمَّا قَضَى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم الصَّلاَةَ قَالَ النَّاسُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّكَ سَجَدْتَ بَيْنَ ظَهْرَانَىْ صَلاَتِكَ سَجْدَةً أَطَلْتَهَا حَتَّى ظَنَنَّا أَنَّهُ قَدْ حَدَثَ أَمْرٌ أَوْ أَنَّهُ يُوحَى إِلَيْكَ قَالَ كُلُّ ذَلِكَ لَمْ يَكُنْ وَلَكِنَّ ابْنِى ارْتَحَلَنِى فَكَرِهْتُ أَنْ أُعَجِّلَهُ حَتَّى يَقْضِىَ حَاجَتَهُ (سنن النسائي ومسند أحمد).

Meaning: From Abdullah bin Syidad, from his father, said: That the Prophet one time leaved the house to pray Isha, while he was carrying Hasan and Husein. When he came forward (became a prayer leader), Hasan and Husein were revealed. Then starting takbir to start the prayer. Prayer began. When prostration, he did it for a long time “. My father then said: “I lifted my head, I saw that there were the children who were riding on the back of the Messenger of Allah when he prostrated. Then I bow down again. When the prayer was over, the Companions asked: “O Messenger of Allah, you prostrated for a long time, until we were afraid of something happening, or there was a revelation that came down to you “. The Prophet replied: “All that did not happen, but my grandson climbed (my back), so I did not like to speed up (prostrate) until he finished his wish”. (Sunan Nasai, no. 1149 and Musnad Ahmad, no. 16279 and 28295).

In the hadith texts above, shows how deep is the example given by the Prophet, even when prayers where we were asked to be special, even though we are still taught to make children happy. Happy children are part of childcare. If this is done by the Prophet, as a man, then every man, especially one who is a father, is the person most required to be involved in childcare.

Moreover, the hadith texts above also provide inspiration that carrying, caring for, and accompanying children to play, are part of the example of the Prophet’s Sunnah. So, those who do childcare work, whether done by father or mother, are those who are practicing the noble values ​​of Islam and the example of the Prophet. They, both men and women, should be appreciated and supported by the social system, culture, religion and state policy. Parenting together, between father and mother, as mentioned at the beginning of this paper, is part of the implementation of the four pillars of marriage that have been outlined by the Koran. Wallahu a’lam.

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