Relationship with Children 2
Paying Attention to the Needs of Children
One of the most important factors for the mental and physical well-being of a child is nutrition and the other is hygiene. Thus providing for these needs of the child, guarantees his physical and psychological well-being for life. Many of the psychological and mental problems that surface in adulthood too, have their roots in unfulfilled childhood need and desires. Moreover, the mutual effects between the body and the spirit should never be taken for granted or neglected. There is no doubt that a sick body distresses the soul, while an unrestful soul causes physical disorders.
History has recorded that time and again, Hazrat Fatima (SA) would go hungry in order to feed her children. It is said that once, because of scarcity of water, the Muslims of Medina were facing severe problems. Like any other mother, Fatima (SA) was concerned about her sons Hassanand Hussain (AS) and took them to her father, the Prophet (SAW). She expressed her concern to her father saying that she was worried since her children were small and couldn"t bear the thirst. Seeing Fatima distressed, the Prophet (SAW) put his tongue into the mouths of his two grandsons. This immediately soothed Fatima (SA) and relieved her of her concern as well as satiated the extreme thirst of the two children. (Manaqibe Ibn-e Shahr Asheeb, vol. 3, p. 394)
Fatima (SA) loved her children so deeply andwas so full of compassion that towards the end of her life, she was very worried about her small children. Her main worry was that these children would be deprived of a mother"s love which no one else could probably be able to compensate for. Foreseeing the plight of her motherless children, Fatima (SA) suggested that her husband Imam Ali (AS) married someone who would take care of her children, after her demise. (Ibid., p. 362)
As we all know, Fatima (SA) was deeply-grieved after the demise of her father and it is said that a large part of her pain was because her children were deprived of the love and care of the Prophet (SAW) and their grandfather. Sometimes she would talk to them with a painful heart, saying:
"Where has your grandfather who loved you so dearly gone? The grandfather who showered you with love and affection and carried you on his shoulders. Where has your grandfather who was the kindest to you, gone? He wouldn't even allow you to walk on the ground and would carry you in his arms. Alas, I'll never see you all on his shoulders again!" (Ibid.; Biharul-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 181)
Play & Activity
Although Islam emerged from an ignorant society, lacking in civilized culture, however the Message of the Prophet (SAW) and his Traditions that were forwarded through him and the Infallibles (AS) are suitable for the people of all cultures and civilizations, at any period of time, since Islam deals directly with the common innate nature of man.
Play and activity for children had a very special and important place in the methods of child-upbringing of Fatima (SA). Physical and mental activity and stimulation are so important for the healthy overall growth of a child that even adults should involve themselves wholeheartedly in these activities, in order to enthuse and encourage the child.
During childhood, play is the best way in which a child relates with his environment and leads to the surfacing of the latent aptitudes of the child. At the same time, it has very positive effects on the physicaldevelopment of the child. Keeping these factors in mind, play and activity should never be neglected by parents or by the child.
It has been recorded that the Prophet (SAW) often involved himself wholeheartedly in play with his grandchildren. This shows that one of the very important tools of good parenting and positive upbringing of children is play and activity. Imam Ali (AS) and Fatima (SA) gave great attention to this childhood need and this was one of the secrets of the health and freshness of theirchildren.
It has also been found that in homes where children do not have an environment where they can play and express themselves, the effects of such an environment are very negative on the children.
Fatima (SA) involved herself actively in play with her children, always attentive and alert to the fact that her words and actions would play a very determining role on the development of the characters and personalities of her children. This teaches us the importance of using healthy language and expressions in dealing with children. Hazrat Fatima (SA) used play as a very important tool in developing the bodies and souls of her children as well as enthused and inspired them into greatness and bravery through these entertaining activities.
It has been recorded that while playing with Imam Hassan (AS), Hazrat Fatima (SA) would swing him, reciting poems like:
"My Hassan, grow up to be like your father and do away with oppression on the way of the Truth. Worship Allah Who Bestows upon us countless blessings and never befriend oppressors."
While play with Imam Hussain (AS), she would recite:
"You look just like my father (the Prophet) - you don"t look like your father (Ali)."
It is said that when Imam Ali (AS) heard these playful poems between Hazrat Fatima and her children, he would smile indulgently.
Our main purpose in glimpsing into the personal family-life of Fatima (SA) is to learn from her flawless and divinely inspired approaches in her inter-relationships within her immediate family as wellas in society. We can see very clearly through studying her relationship with her father as well as her children that in spite of all the hardships, problems and pains this great family suffered at the hands of the cruel, ignorant people of their times, within of the family, always they shared very warm, affectionate and joyful times.
In the same way that the Prophet (SAW) used to put aside all his pains and concerns while he was with his beloved daughter Hazrat Fatima (SA), Fatima (SA) and Ali (AS) too,always made time to pay due attention to the different needs of their children. All of these very scientific methods played a very major role in bringing up their children as the bravest and most powerful people in human history. It is also important to note the importance of timing in child-upbringing because as we all know, Hazrat Fatima (SA) had a very few years with her children, but these were the most crucial years that shape a child"s personality. She played her role as a mother most perfectly and efficiently, leaving behind for the world a legacy of great and powerful heroes like Hassan (AS) and Hussain (AS) and Hazrat Zainab (SA) who in times to come, shook up the roots of oppression and tyranny.
Thus far, we have gained invaluable insights into the importance and benefits of healthy inter-family relations through studying the life of Hazrat Fatima (SA) and her role as a daughter and a mother. Continuing on this topic, in our following issue, we shall look into the personality of this great lady and her social relationships - insha"Allah.