Please explain about the harms of dealing with children severely and beating them.

Question: My husband is quick-tempered. He does not tolerate the noises and mistakes of our children; therefore, he does not treat them but with beating and severe punishments. He is like a military officer, our house is like a camp, and our children are like powerless soldiers. As for me, I am worried about the future of our unlucky family. I want you to write to these fathers about the harms of severity and beating the children that they may decide to live quietly and comfortably. What is the value of a life in such tension?

The answer: One of the fathers’ problems is that they have not learned their religion concerning education and the rights of the family. They think they possess the necks of their wives and the lives of their children. Children are deposits that Allah has entrusted parents with, and women are humans having rights and duties just as men have.

The state of this father, as an example, is very dangerous, and he will be blamed and punished severely for it on the Day of Resurrection. The least danger of this state is that the children who graduate from this “military camp,” will be quarrelsome, severe, and violent against people and even against their wives and children. The guilt of this is the father’s, and he will receive the curses of people as well.

Beating is one of the widespread wrongs of education. Islam has prohibited beating except in some exceptional cases. Beating should be utilized for discipline only and within the following guidelines:

1. A child should not be insulted and blamed; rather it is his wrongdoing that is to be criticized.

2. Parents should be certain of whether or not their child deserves punishment, according to whether or not the wrong was committed intentionally.

3. Before beating, parents should make their child understand the harms of his wrongdoing.

4. Parents should choose a suitable place, suitable quantity, and suitable means for punishment.

5. Before being punished, the child should know the reason for his punishment.

6. After punishing the child, parents should deal with him as normal, with love and mercy.

7. Punishment should be carried out secretly and not in the presence of others, and this will be more fruitful and positive.

Whenever my child commits a mistake, I beat him but this method is not working, what should I do?

Question: Whenever my child commits a mistake, I beat him a lot, but he still repeats his mistake obstinately though he suffers the bitter pain of beating and cries. I then punish him more severely than before, and he intentionally commits the mistake again and with more obstinacy, all the while looking at me as if to let me know that he does it intentionally. I do not know how to deal with him! Sometimes I fear that I will not be able to control my nerves when I beat him and I may cause him a permanent handicap in his body, and this will cause me great remorse besides the punishment of my Lord. Would you please tell me what I should do with him and with myself?

The answer: By beating him, you implant the mistakes in him more deeply. Extra beating and punishing do not lead the child to aught but greater obdurateness or physical hindrances and psychological complexes because the child, in return for being beaten and insulted, will defend his dignity and personality with all the physical and mental powers he has. His obduracy will continue until all his powers run out.

Do you want this? Certainly not! However, if you do not control your nerves, you may realize that which you fear, and then regret shall neither restore your child’s soundness nor inspire the soul in him again. Therefore, you should not destroy your child’s personality, dignity, and powers. The mistake he commits, whatever it may be, is less harmful than the harms you cause him. A mistake may disappear by advices or by the passing of time, but the physical and mental damage cannot be treated by advices or by the passing of time.

Besides, severe beating is not lawful in the Islamic Sharia. You have to keep this legal matter and the aforementioned fact in mind to give up your wrong manner of dealing with your child. You can follow another manner in educating him that is closer to the Sharia, reason, and peace of mind.

I remember a story of a young man who beat his father until he was about to die at his hands. One day I asked my father, ‘Why does he do so to his father?’ My father said, ‘He is just reaping what he sowed! He used to always beat his son when he was a child and did not think that some day things would change, that he would be weak and his son would grow stronger and avenge himself on his father in the light of the scenes he had kept in mind since childhood.’

You should give up angriness, severity, and beating. You should adopt the qualities of the true believers as Imam Ali (a.s.) has said, ‘The believers are easy and lenient’.

Dear brother, I would ask you to write down this saying (of Imam Ali) and hang it on every wall of your house so you can remember it whenever you become angry. I would also ask all those who disagree with others to hang this holy tradition before their eyes lest they follow the steps of the Satan when they are in disagreement.


I have wicked sons who cause problems for neighbors and passers-by; what can I do as their father?

Question: My sons are wicked. Whenever they go out in the street, they cause troubles to the neighbors and passers-by. Would you please instruct me with how to deal with them? I have been ashamed of myself for being their father.

The answer: These phenomena often arise due to previous reasons and previous neglect in educating the children. Now, it is too difficult for the children to change in a short time. However, following these points can help you to decrease the problem:

1. You should talk to them about the religious and worldly rights of people, relate to them some stories, and bring them some social films and cassettes of religious lectures about the subject.

2. You should tell them that evil will return to its doer someday, and surely Allah will punish the wrongdoer.

3. You can ask some notable persons to advise them in a wise way. They may make friends with them gradually through presents, invitations, and picnics to guide them little by little.

4. You have to apologize to whosoever your children may have harmed and pray to Allah to forgive you for being negligent in educating your children.

5. You may arrange with some good boys in your neighborhood to befriend your children and contact them most of the time.


I feel my teenaged son is argumentative; what do I do?

Question: My son, who is fourteen years old, is too opinionated. He argues over every subject I discuss with him to the extent that sometimes I feel I dislike him, whereas he was not like this before.

The answer: This state is one of the results of adolescence and it will continue in your son until the age of eighteen or after that. You should tolerate him in this period. When you order him to do something or forbid him from something you have to justify your ordering or forbidding with logical reasons. You should not expect him to respond to you immediately. You should leave him free if he is not somehow harming himself or destroying his future. You should give him enough time to ponder over your advices.

In this way, you will win him over in the long range. When he becomes an adult, he will appreciate your wise manner of treating him during his adolescence. Your advices and instructions to him will remain as good lessons in his life with which he can treat his own children correctly in the future.


How do I deal with my teenager having unIslamic behaviors and interests?

Question: My fourteen-year-old son likes listening to songs, watching foreign films, and imitating western fashions. Besides, he is lazy in performing his religious obligations. How should I deal with him?

The answer: Man often, especially in the transitional period from childhood to youth, becomes involved in some slips and sins. Perhaps he does not intend to commit them willingly, but because of the Satan’s incitement, he goes towards those prohibited things just for a change, out of curiosity, or as a new experiment.

If you follow the three steps mentioned below, you will be successful in guiding your son and rescuing him from the swamp of sins; otherwise, you will make him continue his sins if you follow the wrong manner of dealing with him.

To behave wisely, you should tolerate your son’s mistakes in this stage of his life because they will come to an end. You should remember that Allah is merciful to His people and He forgives their sins.

Here are the three steps:

First, you have to make friends with him and show him your love and kindness. You can go out with him to buy for him what he needs of clothes and other things. Always smile at him, and consult with him on some affairs with which you entrust him. Continue doing this until you become certain that he trusts you and begins obeying you sincerely.

Second, you have to prepare for him some alternatives, such as religious oratorios instead of songs and Islamic films instead of foreign films. Talk to him about the harms of imitating westerners. Tell him that nowadays many western people have begun imitating Islamic conducts because they find in them gravity, purity, and high morals.

Third, you have to take him with you to the mosque, to religious meetings, and to the meetings of the Ulama’. You have to acquaint him with good youth so he can befriend them.


How can I make my children love reading so that books and knowledge can be an important part of their interests in life?

Question: How can I make my children love reading so that books and knowledge can be an important part of their interests in life?

The answer: First, you should make your children find this interest in you. It means that you should read books before them, bring good books home with you, care for new cultural publications such as religious and scientific books or magazines, and let them notice this clearly in you.

Second, you should tell your children about what you have read and talk to them about the facts, wonders, and attractive tales you have read.

Third, when you reply to their questions, you may refer to books to obtain the answers to their questions, and, at the same time, tell them that they can learn many things by referring to books.

Fourth, you can take your children to the library to see scenes of great volumes in order so that books can take roots in their minds. At the same time, you can talk to them about the great advantages of those books and their roles in achieving the happiness of man and society, and how the authors have strived day and night to present those books to their readers to illuminate their ways towards goodness and happiness.

Fifth, when your children finish reading a book, you can ask them to tell you what they have understood from that book, and you may encourage them by offering them some gifts.

This is if you yourself are interested in reading; otherwise, you can talk to them about the advantages of reading books and show them that you are very sorry because, for certain reasons, you have had no opportunity to read books and you do not want your children to be sorry like yourself in the future.


Would you please give us a summary of the Islamic opinion about education?

Question: Western and eastern scholars have written many books and detailed studies on education, and Islamic scholars have also written much on this subject. Would you please give us a summary of the Islamic opinion in this concern?

The answer: In spite of what has been said about education by scholars, whether concurring or conflicting, I think that what the Prophet (S) and his progeny (a.s.) have said is the most correct because they are connected, in their sayings, with the Aware Creator, the Lord of the Worlds, Who has sent to us His prophets to purify and teach us. It is the Islamic education that is derived from the Holy Qur’an and the sayings and actions of the Prophet (S) and his progeny.

Allah says, (Even as We have sent among you a Messenger from among you who recites to you Our communications and purifies you and teaches you the Book and the wisdom and teaches you that which you did not know).

Imam Ali (a.s.), the master of the eloquent, the leader of the intellect, and the pioneer of the pious, showed the goal of the prophets’ missions by saying, ‘And sent to them His prophets, one after the other, to take from them the covenant of His nature, remind them of His forgotten blessings, argue against them with delivering the missions, and move the hidden secrets of minds…’.

Allah has created man for an exalted goal and He knows what He has created. He knows what benefits His creatures and makes them happy and what harms them and makes them wretched. Allah has created man from a spirit, then clothed him with the body, placed in him the will, and granted him the blessing of freedom to choose on his own one of two things: either good or evil.

Allah the Almighty says, (Have We not given him two eyes, and a tongue and two lips, and pointed out to him the two conspicuous ways?)

Allah also says, (Surely We have shown him the way: he may be thankful or unthankful).

The task of the prophets, imams, sincere clergymen, and all the followers of this straight path comes to form the conduct of man and guide him to the path of goodness. However, if man, after that, wants evil for himself, he himself is to be blamed. Allah says, (Say: Every one acts according to his manner; but your Lord best knows who is best guided in the path).

This care clearly shows that Allah loves man, has dignified him, and prefers him to most of His creatures. But, has man been sincere to this honor and preference?

Proofs and evidences show that man, as Allah has described him, is unjust and ignorant, except those who believe in Allah and have been granted knowledge. Allah has elevated such people to confirm that He rewards man for what he chooses for himself; if he follows the path of guidance, he will live happily in this world and be rewarded with the bliss of Paradise in the afterlife, but if he goes astray, he will live wretchedly in this life and be rewarded with the Fire of Hell. There will be degrees and differences among the people of Paradise and the people of Hell according to their level of guidance or deviation.

Allah says, (And the soul and Him Who made it perfect. Then He inspired it to understand what is right and wrong for it. He will indeed be successful who purifies it, and he will indeed fail who corrupts it).

And this is from the theophanies of the wisdom, justice, and power of Allah in man’s life before he is created, in the womb, and after birth.

If parents and educationists care greatly for children, the children will grow positively and their hidden powers will take their courses in the right paths.

Imam Zaynol Aabidin (a.s.) says in his supplication, ‘O Allah, support me in bringing them up, educating them, being dutiful to them….’

Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘Everyone is born on the Divine Nature, but his parents make him either a Jew, Christian, or a magus.’

Parents should know that their child, when born, is pure and innocent in nature, such is (the nature made by Allah in which He has made men). Let the parents be careful in how they deal with this pure nature!

In other words, a child is like gold and silver. A skillful goldsmith is able to mold any of these metals in the best way.

Please ponder on the questions and answers in this chapter about educating the children who will be, after a few years, masters of their own families and of society, and then see what kind of masters you want!

Would you please guide me as to what are the most important manners I need in educating my children?

Question: Would you please guide me as to what are the most important manners I need in educating my children? I am very concerned to make them good believers following the true Islam and serving the society. I want to be proud of them in this world and in the after world.

The answer: May Allah bless you for this high determination. I pray to Allah to make you successful in achieving your goal and it is not difficult for Him. However, this task has some conditions, such as the following:

1. You have to read about the details you will need in the religious books of education because they will open the doors for your ambition.

2. You have to consult with someone regarding the educational questions and cooperate with him in the tasks that require more than one person.

3. You should try to discover in your children their distinguished talents and then try to direct them in a way that pleases Allah the Almighty.

4. You have to always show your love to your children and regard their wills, and when your will conflicts with theirs, you have to discuss the matter leniently with them, determine the important and the more important things, and then agree with them on the best possible solution.

5. Smiles and cheerfulness have a great influence on man’s success and happiness. Try your best to plant these things in your children, and the best artist is he who wipes away a child’s tear to draw a smile and delight on his countenance.


Would you please advise me as to how to deal with my children when they make mistakes?

Question: I have four children. I am retired and I cannot tolerate seeing their mistakes. Would you please advise me as to how to deal with them when they make mistakes?

The answer: The mistakes may be intentional or may not be, as when they are committed because of the lack of full experience or immaturity. A successful father has to distinguish between these two kinds of mistakes and react accordingly. In any case, the father should strengthen his children’s personalities by injecting knowledge and intellect in them on every occasion and should make his children understand the consequences of committing mistakes and the suffering of regret. The father should instruct his children in a lenient way full of love and kindness and away from coercion and compulsion. The father has to make friends with his children to gain their love, and then his advices will have a good influence on them.

If you want this, you have to be lenient in dealing with your children. You must give the mistaken one an opportunity to reflect and review his situation and must not attack him severely and in deliberately, for then you will cause him to respond in the same way, turn his back on you, and hate you forever. You should keep in mind that the mentality of the youth is like glass, which if broken, one will have to face many difficulties to mend. Therefore, it is very necessary for you to follow wise manners in advising and criticizing your children. When you want to make them understand that they have committed a mistake, you should talk with them leniently about the harms of mistakes and sins and teach them ways of giving up or avoiding mistakes and sins and the advantages of that. With such a quiet method of blaming, you will make them understand their responsibilities, and they will then give up erring.

If you follow these important points for a short period, you shall not find yourself in need of being angry at your children when they commit mistakes, especially when you remember that Allah becomes angry at you if you commit a sin intentionally, and He forgives you if you repent sincerely. Let your morals towards your children be like the morals of Allah towards sinners in both cases!


How do we cure drug addiction and how do we deal with the many problems caused by it?

Question: My son is a drug addict. He has troubled us with problems that we never imagined would someday occur with him. What is the cure? What is the required conduct we should follow with him that pleases Allah? And how can we raise our heads before people?!

The answer: It is supposed that you could have managed his affairs before this fall. However, since the calamity has already taken place, the first possible solution is to adapt yourselves to it, but this is not the cure for addiction as you may think. However, what doctors suggest can be tried.

As for dealing with a drug addict, it differs from one to another. Sometimes, it would be better to deal with a drug addict kindly, and sometimes severity is required so that others are not encouraged to walk in the same way. In general, you have to be wise and moderate in dealing with your addicted son, for it is the closest way to righteousness and the reward of Allah.

A manner of suppression or severance does not solve the problem at all; rather, it complicates it. A reasonable person is he who acts according to the reality and limits the area of the calamity that has afflicted him and tries his best to not let others fall. Islam has taught us that “a believer is not stung from the same hole twice”.