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 Praise be to Allah, the Lord of Creations, and Peace and blessings be upon our prophet Muhammad, the faithful and the honest.

Islam is a religion of mercy, kindness justice and respect. It is a religion concerned with rights and responsibilities of individual. 

Allah says:

"وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ" (21: 107)

"We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures." (21: 107)

Among those who have rights that must be fulfilled in Islam are children. Islam has commanded to deal with them on the basis of kindness, compassion, mercy, and love. Islam also denies and forbids abuse or use of violence with them in any way, and the best example ever regarding this issue is the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Allah says:

"لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا"

Thus, below are some of the prophetic traditions in respect of dealing with child abuse.

-      Killing of children

One of the greatest crimes that were committed during the Jahiliyyah ( the pre-Islamic period) is female infanticide. When a female baby was born it was considered a disgrace to the family, so she was buried alive. Allah says, denouncing this ignorant and heinous crime:

"وَإِذَا الْمَوْءُودَةُ سُئِلَتْ * بِأيّ ذَنْبٍ قُتلَتْ "(81: 8)

"When the female (infant), buried alive, is questioned -* For what crime she was killed;" (81: 8)

 

This cruel crime is contrary to the principles of Islam that based on justice and equality. In Islam there is no preference for either a male or female child. Therefore, after the advent of Islam, female infanticide is forbidden. Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, made this very clear on the night of Al-`Aqaba Pledge, while he was surrounded by a group of his companions, he said, "Come along and give me the pledge of allegiance that you will not worship anything besides Allah, will not steal, will not commit illegal sexual intercourse will not kill your children, will not utter; slander, invented by yourself, and will not disobey me if I order you to do something good. Whoever among you will respect and fulfill this pledge, will be rewarded by Allah. And if one of you commits any of these sins and is punished in this world then that will be his expiation for it, and if one of you commits any of these sins and Allah screens his sin, then his matter, will rest with Allah: If He will, He will punish him and if He will,. He will excuse him." (Sahih al-Bukhari)

 

Thus, the prohibition of killing children is clearly a fundamental principle in Islam. Not only that, but it also was stated by the Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him,  that female children are a blessing and that raising them to be righteous believers is a source of great reward., he said:

"He who is involved (in the responsibility) of (bringing up) daughters, and he is benevolent towards them, they would become protection for him against Hell-fire". [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

 

Lack of respect

 

 

Respect invites respect, and appreciation invites self-esteem. This is one of the most important needs of a child that must be respected by each Muslim. The Prophet was always respecting the rights of children, no matter how they were young, and treat them with appreciation like adult men.

 

Amr bin Shu'aib (May Allah be pleased with him)on the authority of his father who heard it from his father reported:

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "He is not one of us who shows no mercy to younger ones and does not acknowledge the honour due to our elders". Sahih (Al-Albani)

 

Also. It was narrated by Sahl bin Sa`d: Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) was offered something to drink. He drank of it while on his right was a boy and on his left were some elderly people. He said to the boy, "May I give these (elderly) people first?" The boy said, "By Allah, O Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him)! I will not give up my share from you to somebody else." On that Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) placed the cup in the hand of that boy. (Sahih al-Bukhari)

 

The essence of this story is that the prophet ,peace be upon him, respected the right of the boy in drinking before the others, although they were elders, but he asked the boy for his permission. Also, When the boy didn't give him the permission, the prophet respected his opinion and gave him the cup.

 

Discriminatory treatment

This is the most important factors of emotional instability of the child. Parents should not provoke jealousy among their children through discrimination in the treatment or  preference for one without the others. It may be  easy and simple for the parents, such as kissing or smiling to one of them without the others, but Islam commands justice and equal treatment for all even in the simplest things.

 

An-Nu'man bin Bashir narrated : "My father took me to the Prophet to ask him to bear witness to something that he had given to me. He said: 'Do you have any other children?' He said: 'Yes.' He gestured with his hand held horizontally like this, (saying): 'Why don't you treat them all equally?"

(Sahih/ Sunan an-Nasa')

In another narration he said:"Be afraid of Allah, and be just to your children" (Sahih al-Bukhari)

 

The use of violence and censure in dealing with their mistakes

One of the aspects of prophetic methodology in dealing with children that proves Islam's tolerance appears in his way of addressing their mistakes. The Prophet was dealing with the child if he made a mistake with respect, forbearance, and tolerance rather than blame and admonition. He used to use the direct dialogue to teach him the right behavior .  

'Umar bin Abu Salamah (May Allah be pleased with them) reported:

I was a boy under the care of Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), and as my hand used to wander around in the dish, he (peace be upon him) said to me once, "Mention Allah's Name (i.e., say Bismillah), eat with your right hand, and eat from what is in front of you." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

 

Narrated Anas ibn Malik:

I served the Prophet (peace be upon him) at Medina for ten years. I was a boy. Every work that I did was not according to the desire of my master, but he never said to me: Fie, nor did he say to me: Why did you do this? or Why did you not do this? Sahih (Al-Albani).

 

-      Insulting , humiliating, or abusing children.

 

 When a child used to be treated with humiliation and derision time and again, whether by words or actions, it reflects on his character later; that makes him carry the feelings of inferiority and shame. He would consider himself useless person. one of the  forms of a child abuse is to curse him: Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "Do not invoke curses on yourself or on your children or on your possessions lest you should happen to do it at a moment when the supplications are accepted, and your prayer might be granted." [Muslim].

 

In contrast, the prophet was treating them with kindness, mercy and respect through banter, kissing and playing with them.  

 

Narrated Ibn `Abbas: Once the Prophet (peace be upon him) embraced me and said, "O Allah! Bestow on him the knowledge of the Book (Qur'an). (Sahih al-Bukhari)

 

Abu Hurairah (May Allah bepleased with him) reported:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) kissed his grandson Al-Hasan bin 'Ali (May Allah bepleased with them) in the presence of Al-Aqra' bin Habis. Thereupon he remarked: "I have ten children and I have never kissed any one of them." Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) looked at him and said, "He who does not show mercy to others will not be shown mercy". [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

 

Also. It was narrated by Buraydah ibn al-Hasib:

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) delivered a speech to us; meanwhile al-Hasan and al-Husayn came upon there stumbling, wearing red shirts. He came down from the pulpit, took them and ascended it with them. He then said: Allah truly said: "Your property and your children are only trial" . I saw both of them, and I could not wait. Afterwards he resumed the speech. (Sahih/ Sunan an-Nasa'i)

 

 

Finally, the children are blessing from Allah . Allah expects us to treat them with respect, to nurture, love and educate them, and to fulfill their needs and rights. So, fear Allah in them and treat them as He commanded us, and as the Prophet , peace be upon him taught us.

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