Recently I have seen an increase in what many call ‘islamic tarbiyah’ but I would call it child abuse. I know we all want the best for our children and few parents are just bad parents but we need to know what we are doing no matter how good our intentions are if it harms our child its not good.
One very recent example is one of a young girl who’s parents pray, fast Ramadan and dress islamically. This young girl was taught to pray from early years before she could talk she would copy her mother praying. Now almost a woman she has decided to pray and with her parents delight and encouragement she does an amazing job at keeping up with her prayers. Sometimes she forgets and misses a prayer even with her parents reminding her or she gets caught up with other things and before she realises the next prayer has come in.
Her Parents namely her father will slap her and scold her for such a thing telling her she will go to Jahenem and that if she doesn’t pray she is a kafir etc. The knowledge of such broke my heart as we know the hadeeth of the Prophet SallAllah-u-Alaihi-wa-Sallam said:
The difference between us and them (Kuffar/Non-Muslims) is that of salaah so whoever abandons salaah certainly commits kufr.
(Tirmidhi, kitab ul Iman, Declared Sahih by Imam Tirmidhi, Imam Nasai and Allama Iraqi, Minhaaj ul Muslimeen pg.80)
We hear and we obey the words of our beloved prophet but abandoning the prayer isnt when a child or even an adult forgets or becomes even a little lazy and careless. Intentionally not praying is a different story all together and not the topic here.
The father mentioned the hadeeth to beat your kids if they don’t pray after the age of 10. To my knowledge the father misses prayers regularly and many times misses the prayer in the masjid. Yet he feels he is capable enough of an example due to a 2 or 3 day Iman boost to beat this young girl for missing a prayer by accident or childhood carelessness. Even if the young one was rebellious and didn’t want to pray it would not be justifiable to hit her or scold her the way I was informed. Instead children should be taught to pray from the age of 7 years old. This doesn’t just mean the movements and what to wear or how to make ablution but about preparing the child as to why they should pray and who it is they are praying to. Tarbiyah of a child is a beautiful thing that includes soft sweet examples given with love and care. Our prophet SallAllah-u-Alaihi-wa-Sallam was the best of examples and conveyed Islam to his companion over a period of time with sweet words and beneficial reminders.
None of us would like someone to sit over our heads and every time we forget to pray someone was pulling our hair and scolding us or every time we forget to wear a certain thing we got scolded for it and made to feel smaller than an ant.
Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, SallAllah-u-Alaihi-wa-Sallam said, “All of the children of Adam are sinners, and the best of sinners are those who repent.” Source: Sunan Ibn Majah 4251
To parents who have kids that are obedient and attentive to their speech and accepting of the deen and its requirements I advise you to teach them with kindness and love build faith in their hearts with a strong foundation so it may flourish like a beautiful flower. The ‘beating’ of a child who doesn’t pray is for one who refuses to do so or is negligent in prayer and frequently rebellious. The ‘beating’ is not to hurt them with a mark or bruise as this is harram to harm anyone in such a manner unjustly but to smack with an open hand or a light stick such as miswak on a child’s hand or arm, somewhere the body and skin wont be harmed.
The objective isn’t to hurt them and if the light smack doesn’t work then there is no point doing it harder or aggressively since that is oppressive to the child. If a parent is soft and gentle with their children, speaks to them with respect and care then such an action of tapping them at times of wrong doing with a stern commanding voice is enough to bring that child into line. shouting, scolding with abuse or even swearing and hitting ( numerous slaps or hard ones) wont benefit that situation or the child it will only bring negative feelings from parent and child and actually increases the rebellion of that child.
If your children aren’t so inclined to your words or obedient to your requests then keep in mind what you are asking from them and how. Remember to plant the seed of what you would like from them and water it awaiting its growth. Not all children will learn straight away but they learn best by what they see. If your desire is to have a child who loves and obeys Allah then you must be the best example of that to your child and remind them nicely when they forget. Teach them the names and attributes of Allah teach them about who our Prophets are and find comprehensive ways for them to understand so when you ask them to pray they understand what they are doing.
Would you like to enter into a new job and be given a set of keys an outfit and a control board and just be left standing there with a huge book of instructions and the desired outcome without fulling understanding the method step by step and having someone to train and talk to you? any person would be full of anxiety and fear even if it was a job they received training for prior to that day. So I advise you to remember these are your children who Allah entrusted to you they don’t understand as we do because they have not experienced our years nor have they had the time to be able to comprehend.
Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah SallAllah-u-Alaihi-wa-Sallam said,
O Aisha, Allah is gentle and He loves gentleness. He rewards for gentleness what is not granted for harshness and He does not reward anything else like it.
Source: Sahih Muslim 2593