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In the Name of God بسم الله

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I've been wondering about this for a while now. People seem to have different definitions of child abuse. For the purpose of this thread I'm going to talk about physical and emotional abuse; I really hope there are no doubts as to which side of the line sexual abuse falls on.

 

My first question is, is there a 'line'? Depending on where you come from, the kind of childhood you had, what your parents believed in...your definition of child abuse can vary. So are there certain acceptable things and certain unacceptable things..or is this a matter of opinion? 

 

I know the general rules in sharia..being allowed to hit a child, for example, without the skin becoming red. But that is, I feel, very general. As far as physical abuse goes I suppose we could still distinguish where that line is, but not so much with emotional abuse. The factor of 'respecting your parents no matter what' (just respecting them in your heart, not behaving badly) also plays a part, which is why I'm asking this on SC. 

 

Being a little more specific, I'll outline a few scenarios and you tell me what you guys think - whether this would be considered acceptable, and if not, what is the degree of 'horror' you would rate it at.

 

 

1. Parents threatening to cut off a child's fingers if he/she doesn't cut nails, bringing a knife and everything and stopping only when the child has cried and begged.

 

2. Blackmailing a child. (If the child complains to the father about the mother calling calling him/her names, the mother will 'make sure Daddy knows what a bad kid you really are').

 

3. Hitting a child in a way that leaves a slight bruise that'll go away in a day or two.

 

4. Making siblings slap each other/themselves as punishment.

 

5. Locking a child in a room for hours when he/she is afraid of the dark.

 

6. Making a child feel like she should not have been born (unintentionally), or saying other hurtful things.

 

7. Forcing the child to do something that is just recommended in Islam, not obligatory (recommended fasts or prayers) by threatening to cut off education or using emotional blackmail?

 

8. Forcing a (13-14 year old) child to eat something they cooked because it got too salty/spicy as punishment.

 

9. Emotionally blackmailing an older child (14 - 15) to take care of a younger sibling - like holding a sixteen year old accountable for a twelve year old's misbehavior.

 

On a slightly digressive note, what if a child becomes disrespectful (says things like Stop this right now, you're acting crazy, snatching objects from the parent's hands like maybe something they were going to use to hit the child or a sibling with) in situations like numbers 3 or 6? Would this be warranted from a religious point of view, keeping in mind the Islamic theme to never hurt or disrespect your parents?

 

Sorry if it got a bit long! I'd really appreciate some input.

 

 

 

 

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Every one of those is abuse with the possible exception of number 3 if it is accidental.

In general any punishment done in anger or meant to harm is abuse. Punishment should be discipline - it should improve the person not hurt them.

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I recall an incident with Ayatollah Shahabadi, the teacher of Imam Khomeini. Once two of his children got into a fight and one of them hit the other, so Ayatollah Shahabadi took his guilty son to the side and made him recite a specific aya in the Qur'an (I don't recall which one). They repeated it multiple times and the Shahabadi explained the meaning of the aya in terms of how one should treat people with kindness and not be rough as Allah does not like such behavior.

 

He did not insult him, scare him or hit him. This is the sunnah of the Prophet (s) and that of the Ahl al-Bayt (as).

 

I do know, however, many parents that have done most of the things you've mentioned in the list above. I have also seen these kids who often grow up to be petty, jealous, lying, angry and scared. 

 

Ayatollah Jawadi Amoli says that lying is not in the fitrah of children, children learn lying from their parents at a very early age starting with false promises like "if you eat your food I will take out to play" etc. etc. 

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On a slightly digressive note, what if a child becomes disrespectful (says things like Stop this right now, you're acting crazy, snatching objects from the parent's hands like maybe something they were going to use to hit the child or a sibling with) in situations like numbers 3 or 6? Would this be warranted from a religious point of view, keeping in mind the Islamic theme to never hurt or disrespect your parents?

Sorry if it got a bit long! I'd really appreciate some input.

Would it be disrespectful to prevent a parent from committing an act of oppression? Seems the utmost respect to be willing to endure hardship to help them.

So long as bounds are not overstepped.

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I think the way we perceive abuse is an interesting subject. There are two elements: the intention of the 'abuser' and the experience or perception of the 'abused'. I think most people would agree that if a person intends to cause harm, or is negligent towards another who they have psychological and/or physical power and resposibility over, then that would be abuse. But what if the the person in the abusive role genuinely doesnt have an appreciation for the way in which their actions are harming another? the 'victim' is still experiencing it as abuse, but is it? and what if the abuser is intending abuse, but the victim doesnt experience it as abuse? can we still say they are an abused person or a victim? the way in which we project onto others experiences can have very little to do with how those people are experiencing those realities. I think sometimes societies can make abuse worse for people; collectively we give the message that if youve experienced certain kinds of situations, particularly abuse in childhood, that you are a victim and that you should be damaged and in pain because of your experience. You are expected to take the abuse on as part of your identity and to view what happened to you through the eyes of someone utterly helpless and at the mercy of another. In reality many people can look back at abusive situations and see how they werent completely powerless and how they exercised amazing skills and ingenuity in order to deal with the situation. Unfortunately, sometimes people can identify ways in which they were complicit in their own abuse and feel a lot of shame and guilt. Instead of helping the person to appreciate a more truthful perception of the reality of what took place and understand it and own it, society refuses to face the often complicated nature of abuse and insists on a black and white interpretation, which only serves to further the suffering of those who have experienced it.
 Context of abuse also seems to have an impact on how people experience it. Some kinds of abuse may be so normalised in a culture and people can view it as just a part of reality and so it can sometimes feel less personal and less of an injustice and emotionally charged in the memory. Also having salient examples of 'worse' experiences than your own can change perspective and lessen the emotional memory of an abusive experience.

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I think the way we perceive abuse is an interesting subject. There are two elements: the intention of the 'abuser' and the experience or perception of the 'abused'. I think most people would agree that if a person intends to cause harm, or is negligent towards another who they have psychological and/or physical power and resposibility over, then that would be abuse. But what if the the person in the abusive role genuinely doesnt have an appreciation for the way in which their actions are harming another? the 'victim' is still experiencing it as abuse, but is it? and what if the abuser is intending abuse, but the victim doesnt experience it as abuse? can we still say they are an abused person or a victim? the way in which we project onto others experiences can have very little to do with how those people are experiencing those realities. I think sometimes societies can make abuse worse for people; collectively we give the message that if youve experienced certain kinds of situations, particularly abuse in childhood, that you are a victim and that you should be damaged and in pain because of your experience. You are expected to take the abuse on as part of your identity and to view what happened to you through the eyes of someone utterly helpless and at the mercy of another. In reality many people can look back at abusive situations and see how they werent completely powerless and how they exercised amazing skills and ingenuity in order to deal with the situation. Unfortunately, sometimes people can identify ways in which they were complicit in their own abuse and feel a lot of shame and guilt. Instead of helping the person to appreciate a more truthful perception of the reality of what took place and understand it and own it, society refuses to face the often complicated nature of abuse and insists on a black and white interpretation, which only serves to further the suffering of those who have experienced it.

Context of abuse also seems to have an impact on how people experience it. Some kinds of abuse may be so normalised in a culture and people can view it as just a part of reality and so it can sometimes feel less personal and less of an injustice and emotionally charged in the memory. Also having salient examples of 'worse' experiences than your own can change perspective and lessen the emotional memory of an abusive experience.

Thank you for your input, you raise some very valid points.

Could you be a bit more specific, though? If you could apply your views to the examples I mentioned, and for the purpose of this discussion, let's assume the most common scenario: the child feels traumatized even after years, and the parent is not inherently 'evil'. I won't say the parent did it unintentionally, because you just can't do the things I mentioned 'by mistake'.

Would it be disrespectful to prevent a parent from committing an act of oppression? Seems the utmost respect to be willing to endure hardship to help them.

So long as bounds are not overstepped.

Seeing it as helping them is a great way to look at it, notme. But when would you say that bounds are overstepped? Could you give examples? Because in situations like these (or to give another example, Person X whose parent is being emotionally abusive in trying to stop their child from converting) parents are not going to go down without a fight, and the situation usually involves disrespect on the part of the child on some level.

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Overstepping bounds would be:

1. Anything beyond what is required to stop the abuse or oppression, or

2. Any action intended to "punish", hurt, embarrass, or degrade the abuser.

For example, to stop a parent from verbally abusing a child, telling them to stop and that what they are saying is untrue, unhelpful, whatever applies is fine. Calling them names in return is not.

Taking an object they are using to strike a child is fine, even restraining them if necessary, but hitting the parent probably is not.

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Except for 1 and 9, the other points don't seem abuse. The real world is a scary place. In many countries, people are killing each other and in countries where they are not literally killing each other, it's a cutthroat environment. I think parents should prepare their kids for the real world. I sometimes wonder how many DAYS I will survive in this world if God forbid something happens to my parents. 

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Thank you for your input, you raise some very valid points.

Could you be a bit more specific, though? If you could apply your views to the examples I mentioned, and for the purpose of this discussion, let's assume the most common scenario: the child feels traumatized even after years, and the parent is not inherently 'evil'. I won't say the parent did it unintentionally, because you just can't do the things I mentioned 'by mistake'.

 

 

 

I think a lot of the things you mentioned could theoretically be done without the intention to abuse. If people are taught in their families or wider cultures that various methods of instructing children are not only reasonable, but necessary in order to instill discipline, then they could be executed with the intention to discipline most salient in the mind, rather than from a desire to cause long term harm to psychological damage or to get some kind of sick power trip thrill. To create self discpline within your child is one of the most, if not the most, loving thing you can do for them. Most parents traditionally hold the notion that recieving discpline involves some level of temporary pain, whether emotional or physical or both. The line you talk about can be quite subjective. Some people genuinly believe that any kind of strike upon a child is abuse, no matter the intention or reality of the one being slapped. I used to get hit with a wooden spoon as a child as punishment sometimes; it was painful and humiliating but never have i considered it abuse, because i know i had loving parents who did it out of a desperate desire to instill discipline in me. If someone witnessed that nowadays in my culture, or heard of it taking place, they might well call the social services though.

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He did not insult him, scare him or hit him. This is the sunnah of the Prophet (s) and that of the Ahl al-Bayt  (as).

 

sure buddy! hadiths say u can beat ur child to PRAY, or in general u can hit "five or six times to discipline them!" dont worry cause it applies to slaves too!

 

[4403] 7ـ وبإسناده عن عبدالله بن فضالة ، عن أبي عبدالله أو (1) أبي جعفر ( عليهما السلام ) ـ في حديث ـ قال : سمعة يقول : يترك الغلام حتّى يتّم له سبع سنين ، فإذا تّم له سبع سنين قيل له : اغسل وجهك وكفّيك ، فإذا غسلهما قيل له : صلّ ، ثّم يترك حتى يتم له تسع سنين ، فإذا تمّت له علّم الوضوء وضرب عليه ، وأمر بالصلاة وضرب عليها ، فإذا تعلّم الوضوء والصلاة غفر الله (2) لوالديه إن شاء الله .

 

[ 34995 ] 1 ـ محمد بن يعقوب ، عن الحسين بن محمد ، عن معلى بن محمد ، عن الحسن بن علي ، عن حماد بن عثمان ، قال : قلت لأبي عبدالله ( عليه السلام ) : في أدب الصبي والمملوك ، فقال : خمسة أو ستة ، وارفق .

 

i dont agree obviously. but u shouldnt paint shia islam in such a humanistic light. ur just lying and convincing people its something it is not.

 

shia teachings are indefensible. why do u defend them? this stupid legalistic islam. just come to love god and other ppl, and everything will be clear to u. but dont make up stuff aobut "sunnah says this" and that.

 

muslim societies have some sick obsession with parents hitting kids. i dunno what it is that causes it and its widespread across all stratas. and then the stupid kids accept it and think it's good for their kids, and its perpetuated to the next generation! its a sickness!

 

heres some good advice from a shia ayatullah! dont beat ur kids in public cause the presence of others will harm them! not the beating itself! ok!

 

While reprimanding children, better don’t do it in the presence of others. Others’ presence might cause mental torture to the children and might harm them. If the beating is excessive, there is a Deet or fine prescribed in Islam for one who inflicts the punishment. Therefore, care must be exercised while beating the children to correct them. According to the Islamic Laws, if a person’s face turns black on account of the beating, the fine is six Gold Dinars (coins). If the face turns blue, three dinars and for a red face, a Dinar and Half.

 

http://www.coiradio.com/library/library/ethics/the_codes_of_training/74.htm

Edited by tearingmyhairout
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sure buddy! hadiths say u can beat ur child to PRAY, or in general u can hit "five or six times to discipline them!"

 

[4403] 7ـ وبإسناده عن عبدالله بن فضالة ، عن أبي عبدالله أو (1) أبي جعفر ( عليهما السلام ) ـ في حديث ـ قال : سمعة يقول : يترك الغلام حتّى يتّم له سبع سنين ، فإذا تّم له سبع سنين قيل له : اغسل وجهك وكفّيك ، فإذا غسلهما قيل له : صلّ ، ثّم يترك حتى يتم له تسع سنين ، فإذا تمّت له علّم الوضوء وضرب عليه ، وأمر بالصلاة وضرب عليها ، فإذا تعلّم الوضوء والصلاة غفر الله (2) لوالديه إن شاء الله .

 

[ 34995 ] 1 ـ محمد بن يعقوب ، عن الحسين بن محمد ، عن معلى بن محمد ، عن الحسن بن علي ، عن حماد بن عثمان ، قال : قلت لأبي عبدالله ( عليه السلام ) : في أدب الصبي والمملوك ، فقال : خمسة أو ستة ، وارفق .

 

i dont agree obviously. but u shouldnt paint shia islam in such a humanistic light. ur just lying and convincing people its something it is not.

 

shia teachings are indefensible. why do u defend them? this stupid legalistic islam. just come to love god and other ppl, and everything will be clear to u. but dont make up stuff aobut "sunnah says this" and that.

 

muslim societies have some sick obsession with child beating. i dunno what it is that causes it. but its widespread across all stratas. and the stupid kids accept it and think it's good for their kids, and its perpetuated to the next generation! its a sickness!

 

[ 34995 ] 1 ـ محمد بن يعقوب ، عن الحسين بن محمد ، عن معلى بن محمد ، عن الحسن بن علي ، عن حماد بن عثمان ، قال : قلت لأبي عبدالله ( عليه السلام ) : في أدب الصبي والمملوك ، فقال : خمسة أو ستة ، وارفق

 

"He said: five or six, and be gentle (wa-arfiq)"

 

If you're not living in a cave you'd have realised the need in this day and age to reinforce corporal punishment, unfortunately muslims cant use their heads these days and ape liberals without even thinking deeply over the subject.

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[ 34995 ] 1 ـ محمد بن يعقوب ، عن الحسين بن محمد ، عن معلى بن محمد ، عن الحسن بن علي ، عن حماد بن عثمان ، قال : قلت لأبي عبدالله ( عليه السلام ) : في أدب الصبي والمملوك ، فقال : خمسة أو ستة ، وارفق

 

"He said: five or six, and be gentle (wa-arfiq)"

 

If you're not living in a cave you'd have realised the need in this day and age to reinforce corporal punishment, unfortunately muslims cant use their heads these days and ape liberals without even thinking deeply over the subject.

 

yo, even ibn khaldun said 400 years ago that u shouldnt hit kids cause it screws them up. its not a modern argument.

 

it doesnt take much to see that hitting is wrong. but dont twist the religious tradition and claim it represents something it doesnt.

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yo, even ibn khaldun said 400 years ago that u shouldnt hit kids cause it screws them up. its not a modern argument.

it doesnt take much to see that hitting is wrong. but dont twist the religious tradition and claim it represents something it doesnt.

I really don't think it's about twisting anything. Being allowed to abuse children is not a part of Shia teachings. Those ahadith that are mentioned may or may not be true. Also, they may or may not be misinterpreted. We don't just take any hadeeth we hear and apply it literally to our lives. That is not our job. Our job is to follow the rulings by a Mujtahid, who has studied these (and countless other hadeeth on the subject) to derive his ruling. And mujtahid ruling says: you can only lightly beat your kid, and the skin shouldn't become red. Which, when you think about it, doesn't even count as beating.

muslim societies have some sick obsession with parents hitting kids. i dunno what it is that causes it and its widespread across all stratas. and then the stupid kids accept it and think it's good for their kids, and its perpetuated to the next generation! its a sickness!

Could you please not generalize? Not all of us believe in corporal punishment.

If you're not living in a cave you'd have realised the need in this day and age to reinforce corporal punishment, unfortunately muslims cant use their heads these days and ape liberals without even thinking deeply over the subject.

Again with the stereotyping?

Also, I guess I needed to first ask if people thought it was acceptable to hit their kids.

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yo, even ibn khaldun said 400 years ago that u shouldnt hit kids cause it screws them up. its not a modern argument.

 

it doesnt take much to see that hitting is wrong. but dont twist the religious tradition and claim it represents something it doesnt.

 

Hitting severely out of whim is indeed wrong, no ones denying that.  If you admonish and the kids don't understand reason (natural for their immature minds) then force is a very understandable resort that needs to be revived in the world. You should see how kids act to their parents now here in the UK, one word of advice and the kids telling the mum to shut up and running all over the place.

 

Our mosque is always having shouting children in the background, and we cant even hear the muhaadhara properly. Why? Because the dumb shias have gone down the path of leaving kids to themselves without any discipline. In contrast when I visit leeds grand mosque (sunni) the kids are the most disciplined and quiet angels you could  think of in a prayer room.

 

Why?

 

Because their parents aren't afraid to discipline them. Its a shame to what a degraded level we have come down to. Theres a very simple logic behind discipline that is universally understood across all cultures.

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Could you please not generalize? Not all of us believe in corporal punishment.

 

not about generalizing. its about culture and how beliefs and mindsets have shaped culture. and islam has a definite effect on overall culture and mindsets of people, especially ppl who dont follow islam strictly and just live in the society. so this is a tragedy.

 

 

Hitting severely out of whim is indeed wrong, no ones denying that.  If you admonish and the kids don't understand reason (natural for their immature minds) then force is a very understandable resort that needs to be revived in the world. You should see how kids act to their parents now here in the UK, one word of advice and the kids telling the mum to shut up and running all over the place.

 

i dont care about your country. im from a muslim country and muslim culture and and i see this prevailing sentiment of hitting, kicking kids everyday. its dumb to have some 50 year old mother hitting or kicking her kids cause of some minor infraction. but its common!

 

lets not get started about beating women or maids! i hear the shrieks when im on the street all the time FROM INSIDE THE HOME and u cant do anything cause its invasion of their privacy in our laws.

Edited by tearingmyhairout
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Hitting severely out of whim is indeed wrong, no ones denying that. If you admonish and the kids don't understand reason (natural for their immature minds) then force is a very understandable resort that needs to be revived in the world. You should see how kids act to their parents now here in the UK, one word of advice and the kids telling the mum to shut up and running all over the place.

Our mosque is always having shouting children in the background, and we cant even hear the muhaadhara properly. Why? Because the dumb shias have gone down the path of leaving kids to themselves without any discipline. In contrast when I visit leeds grand mosque (sunni) the kids are the most disciplined and quiet angels you could think of in a prayer room.

Why?

Because their parents aren't afraid to discipline them. Its a shame to what a degraded level we have come down to. Theres a very simple logic behind discipline that is universally understood across all cultures.

This is the other extreme end. Leaving kids completely to do whatever they want, or letting kids tell their parents to shut up when they give their kids advice is wrong, but the solution is not corporal punishment. Not according to me anyway. Can't we have a balance?

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not about generalizing. its about culture and how beliefs and mindsets have shaped culture. and islam has a definite effect on overall culture and mindsets of people, especially ppl who dont follow islam strictly and just live in the society. so this is a tragedy.

 

 

 

i dont care about your country. im from a muslim country and muslim culture and and i see this prevailing sentiment of hitting, kicking kids everyday. its dumb to have some 50 year old mother hitting or kicking her kids cause of some minor infraction. but its common!

 

lets not get started about beating women or maids! i hear the shrieks when im on the street all the time FROM INSIDE THE HOME and u cant do anything cause its invasion of their privacy in our laws.

I don't care about the freaks in your country either, im just talking about what Islamic law clearly states. Ibn Khaldun was speaking against excessive beating which muslims have historically agreed as bad. Three, five, six gentle hits is all ok, as long as the face or any other sensitive areas (like genitals) aren't targeted.

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And by 'generalizing', I mean that when you say 'Muslims do this' or 'Muslim societies do this' or 'Muslim culture involves beating up kids', it sounds like Islam advocates these things. That is not true! You're taking the actions of some Muslim communities and apply it to all Muslims.

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There is no one-size-fits-all discipline method. Each child-parent pair has a unique dynamic. The struggle for parents is to apply the correct discipline (teaching) to each child while maintaining fairness.

But in general parents who resort to force teach their kids that whoever is stronger is always right.

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Thanks for the link tearingmyhairout - i just wanted to expand it as it has lots more :)  http://www.coiradio.com/library/library/ethics/the_codes_of_training/74.htm

 

Physical Punishment

Lots of parents give physical punishment to their children in the interest of proper upbringing. Even some teachers too contribute to this attitude. They believe that the devils cannot be tamed with mere words. In the past a majority of people believed in this dictum. Those days the canes, chains and whips were considered important tools to be handy with a school. The parents desirous of good upbringing of their children never abstained from beating them when required. But most intellectuals consider this tyrannical method of upbringing as barbaric and harmful for the children. In most developed countries of the world there is almost a total ban on the physical punishment for correction of children.

 

A child cannot be reformed through physical punishments. Perhaps, it might have a temporary effect on the child, but will be very harmful in a longer run.

 

For example:

  • When a child is beaten, he gets habituated of bowing down his head to torture and force. He may perhaps start thinking that force is the only key to success. He starts thinking that when one is angry, he should beat. By giving physical punishment to the children, the parents set an example for them to adopt the tyrannical laws of the jungle in their future lives.
  • The children, who get beatings, develop hate and antagonism against their parents. The children never forget the harsh treatment they received at the hands of the parents. Such children might even become rebellious.
  • Repeated beatings can make a child timid and cowardly. The personality of the child can also be suppressed with physical punishment. He might later on become a victim of psychological ailments.
  • In most cases physical punishment seldom improves the child. It doesn’t create a wish in the child to correct his behavior. . He might perhaps show some momentary signs of change out of fear of the rod and the beatings, but is no guarantee that he will not repeat the same act again. His basic failing will persist in his subconscious mind. It will manifest itself later on in some other form.

One person says:

“My twelve year old son picked up some money from my wife’s wardrobe. When I came to know about this, I punished him with a stick. From that time, he never went near his mother’s wardrobe.

It is true that the boy did not pick anything else from his mother’s wardrobe. The father appears to have succeeded by meting out physical punishment to the child. But the matter was not so simple. The story proceeded further. The boy found other subterfuges to continue his bad activities. He started boarding the omnibus and avoiding to pay the fare to the conductor.

 

When his mother asked him to shop at the grocers, he would pinch the change. Later on it was learned that he has stolen money from his friends too. The conclusion of the story is that, when the child was beaten for one fault, he cleverly didn’t repeat that act. But his mind worked overtime, and he invented other methods of committing thefts.”[1]

One intellectual writes:

“The children who receive corrective beatings become weak and useless persons. Or, otherwise they turn into stubborn and deceitful persons...They seem to be taking revenge of the ill treatment received in their childhood.”[2]

Mr. Russell writes:

“In my opinion, physical punishment of children is not right in any way.”[3]  Islam too has termed physical punishment harmful and has prohibited it.

Hazrat Ali says:

“The intelligent person gets guidance through politeness, it is only the animals that cannot be corrected without beatings.”[4]

[1] Ruwan Shinasi Tajrubi Kudak, Page 263.

[2] Ibid., Page 266.

[3] Dar Tarbiat, Page 169.

[4] Ghurar al-Hikam, Page 236.

 

Imam Ja’far Sadiq says:

“Whoever whips another person once, Allah will shower the fiery whip against him.”[1]

 

The Prophet of Islam said:

“Use love and affection in education and upbringing and don’t have access to cruelty because a wise mentor is better than a cruel one.”[2]

 

One person said that he complained about his son to Imam Moosa bin Ja’far. The Imam replied:

“Don’t ever beat him! But maintain a distance from him, and this distance too should not be kept for too long!”[3]

 

Physical punishments are very harmful for the upbringing of the children and they must be avoided. But if there is no other way of correcting the child, adopt it as a last resort. Islam too permits this in certain conditions.

 

The Prophet of Islam has said:

“Ask your children to start offering prayers at the age of six years. If they don’t listen to your repeated warnings, you may beat them to become regular at offering prayers when they are seven years old.”[4]

[1] Wasaail al-Shiah Vol. 19, Page 14.

[2] Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 77, Page 175.

[3] Ibid., Vol. 104, Page 99.

[4] Mustadrak, Vol. 1, Page 171.

 

In another tradition Imam Ja’far Sadiq says:

“When the child is nine years old, teach him to do the Wadu (the ablution prior to offering prayers); order him to do the Wadu and pray. If the child doesn’t obey, beat him and make him offer prayers.”[1]

 

Hazrat Ali has said:

“As you reprimand your own son, so can you reprimand an orphan. And the occasion on which you might beat your son, you can beat the orphan on a similar occasion.”[2]

“If your slave disobeys Allah, beat him. If he disobeys you, forgive him.”[3]

 

One person came to the presence of the Prophet of Islam and said that an orphaned child was in his care. He wanted to know if he can beat the child to correct him. The Prophet replied:

“In a situation where you can beat your son, you may beat the orphan on a similar situation in his best interests.”[4]

1] Wasaail al-Shiah Vol. 3, Page 13.

[2] Ibid. Vol. 15, Page 197.

[3] Ghurar al-Hikam, Page 115.

[4] Mustadrak, Vol. 2, Page 625.

 

It is always better not to make access to the physical punishment of children as far as possible. And when it becomes necessary, make use of maximum restraint in the matter. The punishment must be well thought out and appropriate to the occasion.

 

One person asked the Prophet of Islam:

“The members of my family don’t obey me. How should I reform them?”

The Prophet replied:

“Forgive them!”

The man repeated the question a second, and a third time. The Holy Prophet gave the same reply; but then he said:

“If you wish to reprimand your people, then you must keep in mind that the punishment should not be more than their misdemeanour. You should also abstain from beating them on their faces.”[1]

 

Imam Ja’far Sadiq has said:

“If needed, don’t inflict more than five or six blows to your child or the servant and these blows should not be too severe.”[2]

While reprimanding children, better don’t do it in the presence of others. Others’ presence might cause mental torture to the children and might harm them. If the beating is excessive, there is a Deet or fine prescribed in Islam for one who inflicts the punishment. Therefore, care must be exercised while beating the children to correct them. According to the Islamic Laws, if a person’s face turns black on account of the beating, the fine is six Gold Dinars (coins). If the face turns blue, three dinars and for a red face, a Dinar and Half.[3]

[1] Majma al-Zawaid, Vol. 8, Page 106.

[2] Wasaail al-Shiah Vol. 18, Page 581.

[3] Ibid., Vol. 19, Page 295.

 

_________________________________________________

 

Physical punishment can be effective in getting rid of a "bad" behaviour. However, as stated above, the negative impacts and consequent “replacement” behaviours can be worse than the original bad behaviour.

 

Discipline means to teach, not to punish.  Most kids want to do well but need support and direction to find that positive path. Education is the key. Most learn from the models (actions) of others – parents, families and friends. A more comprehensive approach to discipline would be to take time to think about our own actions and make sure our children are exposed to the best “models” we can offer.

 

As for the nine scenarios above – I think all are abusive, especially those that terrorize or use emotional manipulation as the fear and insecurity the child feels will last a lot longer than any bad behaviour they may have had at one time. 

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Rsa, all the examples you gave are abuse if not physically then mentally they are. I think 1,2,5,7 cause the most damage in a child and can leave very deep scars in the child,mentally

This all will impact the child and will leave fear/anger in their heart. It's highly wrong to punish children in such ways, wether your muslim or not its just plain wrong...

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I've been wondering about this for a while now. People seem to have different definitions of child abuse. For the purpose of this thread I'm going to talk about physical and emotional abuse; I really hope there are no doubts as to which side of the line sexual abuse falls on.

 

My first question is, is there a 'line'? Depending on where you come from, the kind of childhood you had, what your parents believed in...your definition of child abuse can vary. So are there certain acceptable things and certain unacceptable things..or is this a matter of opinion? 

 

I know the general rules in sharia..being allowed to hit a child, for example, without the skin becoming red. But that is, I feel, very general. As far as physical abuse goes I suppose we could still distinguish where that line is, but not so much with emotional abuse. The factor of 'respecting your parents no matter what' (just respecting them in your heart, not behaving badly) also plays a part, which is why I'm asking this on SC. 

 

Being a little more specific, I'll outline a few scenarios and you tell me what you guys think - whether this would be considered acceptable, and if not, what is the degree of 'horror' you would rate it at.

 

 

1. Parents threatening to cut off a child's fingers if he/she doesn't cut nails, bringing a knife and everything and stopping only when the child has cried and begged.

 

2. Blackmailing a child. (If the child complains to the father about the mother calling calling him/her names, the mother will 'make sure Daddy knows what a bad kid you really are').

 

3. Hitting a child in a way that leaves a slight bruise that'll go away in a day or two.

 

4. Making siblings slap each other/themselves as punishment.

 

5. Locking a child in a room for hours when he/she is afraid of the dark.

 

6. Making a child feel like she should not have been born (unintentionally), or saying other hurtful things.

 

7. Forcing the child to do something that is just recommended in Islam, not obligatory (recommended fasts or prayers) by threatening to cut off education or using emotional blackmail?

 

8. Forcing a (13-14 year old) child to eat something they cooked because it got too salty/spicy as punishment.

 

9. Emotionally blackmailing an older child (14 - 15) to take care of a younger sibling - like holding a sixteen year old accountable for a twelve year old's misbehavior.

 

On a slightly digressive note, what if a child becomes disrespectful (says things like Stop this right now, you're acting crazy, snatching objects from the parent's hands like maybe something they were going to use to hit the child or a sibling with) in situations like numbers 3 or 6? Would this be warranted from a religious point of view, keeping in mind the Islamic theme to never hurt or disrespect your parents?

 

Sorry if it got a bit long! I'd really appreciate some input.

 

You don't have to say bad things, or use violence to cross the line of serious child abuse. All you have to is to not love it enough...

 

No child should be hit, spanked or treated in any way you have described. Islam also says that all of the above is bad as a way to raise a child. Then there are children, just like adults that have been influenced in such a way that they are aggressive towards the love and understanding from a parent. In these rare instances, one can find one self unable to turn the child around without using some form of punishment for the child's behavior. Is it abusive ? Yes it is. But it is also abusive to put a criminal in jail. We stile have to put the criminal in jail, because he came to a point where he refused to be considerate towards others.

 

The problem is that many parents do not understand and do not see that the child is trying all they can to cooperate. The parent just look at the lack of result and think that it is because the child is not trying, and then starts to punish. This is a mistake - and the Qur'an is clear about that also.

 

I made many mistakes with my oldest children, i punished them and regret so many things i have done. With my younger children, i have never punished them and never had to be abusive in any way. It is possible, and very rewarding both for the child and the parent

 

The reason i was able to avoid any such things, was due e to lucky circumstance. I am not against punishing a child completely. I am just saying that it is extremely  damaging to a child to be punished, so I refuse to do it - until there really is not other thing to do to turn the child around. But i have until this day - never seen a child that would go against their parents if the parents respect the child like i am encouraging everyone to. A child that disrespects their parents are always a result of a disrespectful parent !! If you don't agree, you can not see your self.

 

As far as the Qur'an - it is completely against abuse of a child - like i have said. But in extreme situations, - in very rare cases, we have no choice. The fact is on the other hand, that it is usually the result of the parent failing ... so the parent is to blame, but the only way to rectify is to punish the child for a behavior the parent is at fault for - but that the child is doing.

 

Something to keep in mind !

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Treat your child as one that does not know the difference between god and evil - they simply look at what you do... and do not understand why. You hit - they hit, you smile they smile, you punish they punish, you abuse - you disrespect - then your children will do the same.

 

Simple as that --- you lift your hand, and your child lift his.... you can NEVER tell a child what to do, you must do it and wait for the child to COPY you !

 

Anybody that does not understand that - is a child abuser because anything else is child abuse - because a child does not understand like an adult does. Not intentionally - but all the same, it is only damaging to the child, therefore the word abuse (per definition found int the first post)

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I was beaten, slapped, burned and called dump and useless over and over..lol with time you get desensitized  to it honestly.  I think the abuse is when you are hit without understandable reason even after you grow up.

 

I don't mind beating kids, a slight tap on the hand when they stretch their hands to electricity or fire. Or when they take what's not theirs although you've explained to them numerous times not to. It dose not hurt them physically nor emotionally.  I hate to scare them though, that's an abuse of power over a child. We are given authority over them to protect them and raise them, scaring them (not warning them, not telling them scary fairy tales but actually making them pee in their pants) is worst sort of abuse, just second to disabling physical injury.

There is a hadith about it"whoever gazed to believer to scare them, Allah will scare him in the day where there is no safety but HIs safety" Since children are the beloved of the most merciful, i think this hadith should be applicable on them.

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Education is the key. Most learn from the models (actions) of others – parents, families and friends. A more comprehensive approach to discipline would be to take time to think about our own actions and make sure our children are exposed to the best “models” we can offer.

 

As for the nine scenarios above – I think all are abusive, especially those that terrorize or use emotional manipulation as the fear and insecurity the child feels will last a lot longer than any bad behaviour they may have had at one time. 

 

That's very wise:) Thank you.

 

 

I recall an incident with Ayatollah Shahabadi, the teacher of Imam Khomeini....................................................

 

 

I do know, however, many parents that have done most of the things you've mentioned in the list above. I have also seen these kids who often grow up to be petty, jealous, lying, angry and scared. 

A beautiful anecdote! And very true about the kids that grow up to be like that. The enormity of the struggle it takes for those kids to grow up 'normal' is highly underestimated.

 

 

The problem is that many parents do not understand and do not see that the child is trying all they can to cooperate. The parent just look at the lack of result and think that it is because the child is not trying, and then starts to punish. This is a mistake - and the Qur'an is clear about that also.

 

I made many mistakes with my oldest children, i punished them and regret so many things i have done.

Very true, and the fact that you regret it counts for a lot.

 

 

As far as the Qur'an - it is completely against abuse of a child - like i have said. But in extreme situations, - in very rare cases, we have no choice. The fact is on the other hand, that it is usually the result of the parent failing ... so the parent is to blame, but the only way to rectify is to punish the child for a behavior the parent is at fault for - but that the child is doing.

 

Not sure I agree with the last sentence. I mean, I can understand how it can reach a very difficult point due to the parent failing...but your method of rectifying it seems to me to be the case of two wrongs making a right. Is this because I don't have children? As Shakespeare puts it:

He bears the sentence well that nothing bears.

But the free comfort which from thence he hears.

 

Or are there people out there who've raised children without any kind of abuse?? Anyone?

 

I was beaten, slapped, burned and called dump and useless over and over..lol with time you get desensitized  to it honestly.  I think the abuse is when you are hit without understandable reason even after you grow up.

 

I am really sorry. No child, or grown up for that matter, should ever have to get desensitized to that.

 

In the last sentence you mention 'understandable reasons' for physical abuse, did I get that right? Could you elaborate on understandable reasons, preferably with examples?

 

 

I don't mind beating kids, a slight tap on the hand when they stretch their hands to electricity or fire. Or when they take what's not theirs although you've explained to them numerous times not to. It dose not hurt them physically nor emotionally.

I doubt anyone would consider that beating :)

Except for 1 and 9, the other points don't seem abuse. The real world is a scary place. In many countries, people are killing each other and in countries where they are not literally killing each other, it's a cutthroat environment. I think parents should prepare their kids for the real world. I sometimes wonder how many DAYS I will survive in this world if God forbid something happens to my parents. 

So it's okay to make siblings hit each other as punishment because the world is a big dark scary place and children should practice The Art of War on one another? Did I get that right?

I used to get hit with a wooden spoon as a child as punishment sometimes; it was painful and humiliating but never have i considered it abuse, because i know i had loving parents who did it out of a desperate desire to instill discipline in me. If someone witnessed that nowadays in my culture, or heard of it taking place, they might well call the social services though.

Thank you for sharing that. Your view on abuse seems very lenient - you talk about it being done unintentionally and even with good intentions. And coming from someone who was caused pain and humiliation as a child, it is all the more unusual. I won't lie; there's a part of me that's envious of your acceptance, although I still can't say I agree that humiliating a child, or anyone for that matter, is ever excusable no matter how 'good' the intention behind it.

 

 

To everyone else, thanks for sharing!

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I've been wondering about this for a while now. People seem to have different definitions of child abuse. For the purpose of this thread I'm going to talk about physical and emotional abuse; I really hope there are no doubts as to which side of the line sexual abuse falls on.

 

My first question is, is there a 'line'? Depending on where you come from, the kind of childhood you had, what your parents believed in...your definition of child abuse can vary. So are there certain acceptable things and certain unacceptable things..or is this a matter of opinion? 

 

I know the general rules in sharia..being allowed to hit a child, for example, without the skin becoming red. But that is, I feel, very general. As far as physical abuse goes I suppose we could still distinguish where that line is, but not so much with emotional abuse. The factor of 'respecting your parents no matter what' (just respecting them in your heart, not behaving badly) also plays a part, which is why I'm asking this on SC. 

 

Being a little more specific, I'll outline a few scenarios and you tell me what you guys think - whether this would be considered acceptable, and if not, what is the degree of 'horror' you would rate it at.

 

 

1. Parents threatening to cut off a child's fingers if he/she doesn't cut nails, bringing a knife and everything and stopping only when the child has cried and begged.

 

2. Blackmailing a child. (If the child complains to the father about the mother calling calling him/her names, the mother will 'make sure Daddy knows what a bad kid you really are').

 

3. Hitting a child in a way that leaves a slight bruise that'll go away in a day or two.

 

4. Making siblings slap each other/themselves as punishment.

 

5. Locking a child in a room for hours when he/she is afraid of the dark.

 

6. Making a child feel like she should not have been born (unintentionally), or saying other hurtful things.

 

7. Forcing the child to do something that is just recommended in Islam, not obligatory (recommended fasts or prayers) by threatening to cut off education or using emotional blackmail?

 

8. Forcing a (13-14 year old) child to eat something they cooked because it got too salty/spicy as punishment.

 

9. Emotionally blackmailing an older child (14 - 15) to take care of a younger sibling - like holding a sixteen year old accountable for a twelve year old's misbehavior.

 

On a slightly digressive note, what if a child becomes disrespectful (says things like Stop this right now, you're acting crazy, snatching objects from the parent's hands like maybe something they were going to use to hit the child or a sibling with) in situations like numbers 3 or 6? Would this be warranted from a religious point of view, keeping in mind the Islamic theme to never hurt or disrespect your parents?

 

Sorry if it got a bit long! I'd really appreciate some input.

All of the above are abuse and WILL leave long-lasting scars on the said child, I speak from experience and I have seen what it does to others, those scars still remain in adulthood. Now spanking as punishment should be done as a last resort and should be done only to two year olds that don't listen. Otherwise, people should use discussions and firm words as punishment when exercising their authority as a parent with physical punishment at a minimum.

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