For Muslim Mums

Friday, August 11, 2006

Beating Your Child As Punishment?

Both a father and a mother play an intricate role in raising the child but the mother's role is an exceptional one. Islam doesn't take this role lightly; rather there are numerous hadiths in which the Prophet gave superiority to the mother. Not because a mother's role is better than a father's but rather because mother's role are unique to only a women which cannot be performed by a father. A mother holds her baby in her womb for nine months and bares the agonizing childbirth and yet welcomes this pain with joy upon arrival of her baby. The mother spends more time with the children and spends the whole day with them performing such tasks as bathing, feeding, helping them with their homework, taking them to different activities, attending school conferences, listens to problems and performs endless duties that a child or children may demand.

Have we ever thought why the Prophet offered a daughter or son a short cut to junnah through the obedience to his/her mother? Since the child spends most of the day with his mother, a mother has a profound influence in the upbringing of the child and is responsible for a safe and secure environment at home, free of any verbal or physical abuse. A mother is full of sacrifices: she neglects her sleep time, eating time or even bathing time. It has been said, that women are half the ummah, and they raise the other half. Allah gives a woman a soft tender nature and nurturing quality that no other human being can exhibit. However, we are human beings after all, and can snap anytime, man or women, given a frustrating situation. For example, a tired mother who has, after struggling for two hours, finally managed to put her two kids to sleep, is also in the process of cooking, doing laundry may be more prone to anger if her third child decides to jump on the bed. May be out of frustration and anger scream at him or in the extreme case hit him. However, there is no excuse for violence, especially with young children.

Before a certain age, the kids don't exhibit the same understanding and receptive minds as an adult. Thus a wise person should utilize other approaches rather than beating/hitting to discipline a child. The Prophet never encouraged beating. He trained and guided his sahabas with politeness and wisdom to become the best generation. How can one expect a child under the age of understanding to respond to violence positively? Beating a child is hardly ever a proper approach. Violence only aggravates the situation further, and makes the child responsive only to violence and embeds this evil act in their personality. Prophet was against violence. As a child, Aisha (r) was often busy with her play and was sometimes a little naughty. This provoked rebuke and sometimes even a slight beating from her mother. However, the Prophet was against any punishment and told her mother about as much. One day he found Aisha sobbing, standing beside the door. Upon this, the Prophet said to the mother "You have not cared for my request, Umm-Ruman." "She carries tales against me to her father," was the explanation from her mother. "No matter what she does," said the Prophet, "she should have no beating.

"Be a good role model: By practicing gentleness and politeness yourself as parents, you will raise kids who are gentle, obedient and polite in their demeaner. Salats, Saums are important but it is also important to have a good Muslim character. One might force a young child to pray by beating but he or she as a parent has also neglected to teach them proper Islamic Ikhlas and Adhab. As stated in one of the hadith: "If Allah wills good for the people of a household, He guides them to be gentle".

Control your anger. Try to control your anger by following the steps taught by Prophet: sitting down first and then laying down or by making wudu. Don't raise your voice with children. This is hard to do especially when the mother is angry. But with practice. Self-control, and anger controlling techniques prescribed by the Sunnah, this can be approached.

Reason with them first. Before any punishment or "time-out" is ordered, reason with them first. Kids are smarter then we think and do respond well to reasoning or explanations if they are presented in a polite and gentle manner.

Punishment: Beating as a punishment at this age should not be an option. Punishment should be in the non-verbal or non-beating form. For example, taking something away from your kids such as their crayolas for a day. Pick something that they use on regular basis so they will miss its absence and thus, will be more prone to change their behavior.

Consistency: lack of consistency in parent's actions, is usually one of the biggest culprits that results in child repeating the act of disobedience. No matter what punishment you choose, the parents have to exhibit tough love in order to achieve a long-term positive change in the kids behavior.

Flexibility and Playtime: As parents we should also learn how and when to be flexible. All the parents' time should not be devoted to disciplining the child. As matter of fact, constant scolding can actually make the child more immune and stubborn. So have the time set with your kids that actually involve you physically in playing and goofing around. With the playtime with your kids, they will know you are the authority figure while realizing that you are also their friend.

Though this article assumes that the mother spends most of the time with her children, however the rest of the time is spend with the father. Thus the father bares the same responsibility for providing the child with a safe environment. "Indeed Allah is gentle and love gentleness, and gives due to gentleness that which He does not give to harshness."


  • Assalaamu Alaykum!

    I came across this blog entry while doing a search for a hadith on google. Masha'Allah, this article your wrote is a blessing. I'll post your link on a sisters online forum: in the parenting section...insha'Allah, join us there sometime if you'd like!

    Jazakallah khair

    By Blogger Salihah סליחה صالحه, at 3:37 AM  

  • W'kum salam Salihah,

    I would like to clarify that I did not 'write' the articles in this blog, unfortunately.

    I browse around the net to look for good articles and I put them here for my own reference and to share with others. I normally put a link of the site I got these articles from at the top of the entry.

    Jazakallah for visiting my humble site.

    By Blogger halwafy, at 11:19 PM  

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