How to Discipline Children the Islamic Way
By Grandma Jeddah
Common Discipline Views
I’d venture to say most of you reading this book were hit when you were young as a form of discipline. The norm in most societies today, both Muslim and non-Muslim is that hitting your child is necessary in order to raise him up properly. There is a new trend, however, which discourages hitting and encourages other forms of directing children toward proper behavior. This method is slowly penetrating parenting circles and households with children.
Many Muslims question this manner of disciplining. They believe discipline which avoids hitting children is something new from the West and not a part of our Islamic way. But in actuality, Islam promotes a form of upbringing and discipline that encourages alternative ways of correcting your child than hitting.
Why be Concerned with the Issue of Hitting
You may be wondering . . . why is this issue of hitting our children even relevant? It’s relevant because when we discipline our children, we want to make sure we are not transgressing against them. This is an important concern, because in our earnest attempt to correct our children, it’s possible we may be harming them.
Before I proceed further, I want to emphasize that I am not a scholar, so I can’t address this issue from a scholarly standpoint. I am speaking from knowledge
I have obtained from readings and lectures of those more knowledgeable than myself.
To determine what the Islamic way of disciplining is, I will use two sources. First, I will state reputable scholars’ opinions on disciplining children. Second, I will give examples of how the Prophet (saw) behaved around children.
Scholars’ Opinions on Hitting Children
The following was taken from an article in the Saudi Gazette1: Sheikh Muhammad Nasiruddeen Al-Albani (May Allah have mercy on him) was asked if it was permissible for teachers to hit students to discipline them. His reply is an eye-opener for us:
As far as hitting the face, this is not permissible due to the statement of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “Do not hit the face and do not disfigure.” As for hitting a student in general to discipline, (let’s) mention the statement of the Prophet, “Command your children to pray when they reach the age of seven and hit them if they leave it off when they reach the age of 10, and separate them from each other in the beds. “This Hadith is proof that it is not permissible for those in charge to hit a child, whether student or not, for not obeying commands until he reaches the age of 10. Without doubt, whatever knowledge any teacher wants to impart to his students will not be more important than saying prayer.
“If the Prophet (peace be upon him) prohibited fathers from hitting their children for not praying, until they reached the age of 10, then with all the more reason, it is not permissible for those other than the father to hit children for something (lesser) than the salah until they reached the age of 10. “Thus, it is not permissible for teachers to beat children even if they did not obey him regarding the salah.
“I would like to also add that the age of puberty for girls and boys differ tremendously from country to country. I know that in general, in countries of warm climate, the hormones may mature at a faster rate; thus the age of Takleef (duty, obligation to observe precepts of religion) would be reached at an earlier age than it would be in a cold climate. So this rule should not be taken in general, but rather each country should look into this with more details. For example, one should find out if that particular child has reached the age of puberty or not? So the ruling will be decided according to what predominates.”
The Sheikh was then asked: “What if the child had bad banners?” Sheikh Al-bani replied: “Beating and spanking is not (allowed) at all. Instead the child should be advised. Sometimes words have a greater affect on people than hitting. And sometimes hitting does not help at all; rather it makes them persist in doing that. The best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (peace be upon him). The child should not be hit as long as he did not reach the age of puberty. Also, from the same hadith mentioned previously, I understand it is wrong for fathers to command their children to pray before they reach the age of seven. This contradicts the command of the Prophet (peace be upon him). It is alright if fathers take their children along with them to mosques for prayers. But as for commanding them, then this is in opposition to the hadith.”
The Sheikh was again asked: “Sheikh, regarding hitting, sometimes you find students leave their houses and have no manners, even good advice does not benefit them, so does hitting them fall into necessity?” The Sheikh replied: “There is no necessity. Where is the necessity here? Can you comprehend that hitting would benefit when the One who created him (Allah, who revealed to the Prophet) said that [sic] do not hit him until he reaches the age of seven?” [Author’s note: Here when he says the age of 7, it appears to be an error, whereas before he mentioned do not hit until he reaches the age of ten, as mentioned in the hadith. And Allahu Alim.]
The Saudi Gazette adds a foot note to the article that says: Note: However, when this question was posed to Dr. Saleh As-Saleh in his Paltalk class, “Understanding Islam,” he answered that it is permissible to spank for disciplining children if it is used as a last resort and done gently.”
The above article is an excerpt from the audio lecture “La Qushoor Fil Islam.” You can find the link to the article by going to Google Search and typing in “La Qushoor Fil Islam.”
This ruling that hitting children under 10-years-old or prior to puberty is not allowed, given by Sheikh Albani, is a position that many Muslims are unaware of. The hadith many Muslims often refer to regarding disciplining their children is the same one the Sheikh addressed, directing to teach your children to pray at seven and hit them at ten if they do not pray. This hadith, however, has been used by many parents, teachers, and caregivers as a ticket to strike children at will, with no limitations.
The error of this thinking will become clearer when we discuss the issue of hitting further, with examples of the way the Prophet (saw) behaved around children. With these illustrations, you will begin to see that Sheikh Albani’s point about no hitting is quite relevant and vital for many parents who want to ensure they are disciplining their children properly, Islamically.
Order and read the entire book and view the entire video today, insha'Allah at: http://www.grandmajeddah.com/How-to-Discipline-Children-the-Islamic-Way-Video-e-Book-129.htm
Grandma Jeddah is the mother of 11 children and 13 grandchildren. She has taught hundreds of students for over 30 years at an Islamic school in Los Angeles, California.She is the author of, Discipline without Disrespecting: Discover the Hidden Secrets of How to Effectively Discipline Your Muslim Child--And Keep Your Peace of Mind while at It. Order her e-books at: http://www.grandmajeddah.com/