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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.

Upbringing of children is one of the important duties enjoined by Allah on the parents. It is the parent’s responsibility to bring them up from earliest childhood and teach those virtues as well as good behaviors, values and morals, and refine their characters. This can be well understood from the words of the Qur'an and the Prophetic traditions, Allah Almighty says:

 

" يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ عَلَيْهَا مَلائِكَةٌ غِلاظٌ شِدَادٌ لا يَعْصُونَ اللَّهَ مَا أَمَرَهُمْ وَيَفْعَلُونَ مَا يُؤْمَرُونَ" (التحريم: 6 )

 

Translation: “O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded” [66:6]

It was narrated that Abd-Allah ibn Umar said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say: “Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock. The ruler is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. A man is the shepherd of his family and is responsible for his flock. A woman is the shepherd of her husband’s household and is responsible for her flock. A servant is the shepherd of his master’s wealth and is responsible for his flock.” He said: and I think he said, “A man is the shepherd of his father’s wealth and is responsible for his flock. Each of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock.” (Sahih al-Bukhari and  Muslim).

The method of bringing up children is one of the most important and essential matters. One of the controversial methods is the method of beating. Beating in Islam is a means of correcting the child's behavior particularly when the child is stubborn & disobedient . The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Teach your children to pray when they are seven years old, and smack them (lightly) if they do not pray when they are 10 years old, and separate them in their beds.” (Saheeh by al-Albaani).

So it is permissible only as last resort after all the efforts of advising by words has failed and all other ways have been tried. It is also subject to a number of rules which must not be overstepped by parents or teachers,  as follows:

·         It must be done as last resort only after all other ways have been tried and failed.

·         It must be done in private and not in public places or in front of people.

·         It must be done with the intent of disciplining the child for the sake of Allah, and not for revenge or torture.

·       It must be done in a way that doesn’t harm or injure them، and it should not be in delicate places, such as the face or on to a lethal site.

·       It is also not allowed to strike more than 10 times as the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "No Punishment exceeds the flogging of the ten stripes, except if one is guilty of a crime necessitating a legal punishment prescribed by Allah." (Sahih Al Bukhari)

·       It is prohibited to beat children less than ten years old.

·       The punishment with beating should be appropriate to the misdeed.

Thus, beating children is a sensitive issue requiring prudence and correct understanding before resorting to such educational method in order not to misuse it. Below are some pros and cons of beating children in light of Islamic education.

 

The pros:

-   It is a  useful means to correct the child's behavior if all other means fail. If a child knows that what he did is wrong but still insists on it and does not improve his behavior, hence,  beating becomes very useful to refrain him from committing the same mistake again.

-      It maintains the standing of parents, because excessive leniency in education fosters stubbornness, rebellion and lack of respect in a  child towards his parents; consequently, it becomes difficult to tame his behaviors with mere words. Therefore, the use of permissible beating maintains their standing as well as reminds him of the punishment of disobeying their orders.

It was narrated from Ibn Abbaas that the Messenger of Allah said: “Hang your whip where the members of the household can see it, for that will discipline them.” (classed as Hasan (good) according to (Al- Albani).

The Cons:

-      Severe beating hurts the child physically، especially if it is done using sharp tools or in sensitive areas of the body، such as face، neck, head, etc., and thus may cause   serious diseases, fractures or so.

-      Adopting beating as the only means of discipline fosters a sense of aggressiveness، hatred, disobedience, and rebellion of the child.

-      Violent beating may cause loss of self-esteem and self-respect. Thus, the child becomes spineless and may suffer from mental illnesses such as social phobia.

-      Adopting beating repeatedly without controls at all times to lose its influence and effectiveness over time. It makes the child is apathetic, i.e. he is no longer affected by or afraid of beating, which in turn increases his rebellion and disobedience.

 

Finally, a child is a trust in the hands of his parents.  The Islamic viewpoint on this matter is very clear. It is a balanced approach with neither exaggeration nor negligence, i.e. it does not prevent beating completely or consider it insignificant in upbringing. Rather, beating will be an effective and successful method in upbringing if used properly in accordance with the teachings of Islam. On the hand, misusing beating leads to negative consequences and harm which contradicts with the teachings of Islam. Thus, parents should not transcend the appropriate limits when they discipline their children using beating.

 

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