Fatwa: # 14968
Category: Character & Morals
Country: South Africa
Date: 12th March 2007


What is Mufti Saheb's view about hitting as a means of reforming naughty students.


What is Mufti Saheb's view about hitting as a means of reforming naughty students. We have head a few isolated news about such acts. How should these incidents be dealt with? In fact an email is being forwarded regarding such an act. How does mufti Saheb reconcile the status of the teacher with the acts of abuse mentioned?


Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatoh

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful 

At the outset I wish to point out to you that I initially referred your email to our principal Hadrat Maulana Mahmood Madni Saheb madda zillahu to investigate the background of your query in order to have more insight on the matter.

Alhamdulillah, your telecom discussion with him was useful. 

The core of Islam is respect for the Quran (being the word of Allah) and the Hadith ( being the word of Rasulullah (S.A.W). Islam teaches us to be respectful in all aspects of Life. The equivalent of respect in Arabic is Azmat which means to regard as great and with high esteem. A believer holds Allah, His Rasul (S.A.W), and all Islamic values in high esteem.

The relationship between the Ustaad and Student should be a one of respect based on love and not on fear. The Ustaad is a means of cultivating the Azmat of Allah, His Rasul and all Islamic values in the heart of his students. The student will grow up with the Azmat  in his heart and practice Islam with the respect and high esteem it deserves. The Ustaad will be rewarded for that and whatever good emanates from that, it will be a Sadaqa Jaariya (recurring reward) for the Ustaad. The Ustaad is also making an investment for himself for the Aakhira. The student is a means for that. He should also be thankful to the student for giving him the opportunity to sew his seed of knowledge in his heart. The  Ustaad should value that and appreciate his student. He too stands to benefit by way of rewards from Allah. For that he too should sacrifice and bear with the student. He is an adult with more experience in life. He should contain himself against any odds emanating from his student. He must have the Azmat of Allah and the Quran in his heart at all times. To the extent that he has Azmat of Deen in his heart, that will be passed over to the student. It is also part of the Azmat of Deen to respect students of Deen. They are the visitors of Allah and His Rasul (S.A.W). The walk on the wings of angels. All the creations of Allah make dua for them. If an Ustaad is conscious of the lofty position of his students, he too will treat his students with respect. If by chance he witnesses anything unbecoming of his student, he guides his student. The student has placed his confidence in the Ustad to be guided. The student will appreciate that guidance. If that now he does not appreciate due to mental immaturity, he will recall it later in life and appreciate the advice. No advice and good character of the Ustaad goes in vain.

It is sad to note the conduct of the Ustad in this email. According to Shariah it is haraam to hit a student of Deen. I have written about this before and attached is the article.

Hitting students as a means of Tarbiyat

Almighty Allah Ta’ala outlines the mission of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) on earth as follows: It is He (Allah) who sent to the Ummiyyeen (unlettered) a Prophet from among them who recites upon them His Aayaat (Qur’aan) and purifies them and teaches them the Kitaab (Qur’aan) and Wisdom.’ (Surah Aale Imraan Verse 164)

In a Hadith, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘I am sent as a teacher.’ (Ibn Maaja vol.1 pg.83; Beirut). Almighty Allah Ta’ala bestowed Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) with intellectual and phsychological skills to be a perfect teacher. Hadhrat Mu’aawiyah ibn Hakam (Radhiallaahu Anhu) narrates, ‘I have never seen and will never see a teacher better than Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). I take an oath in the name of Allah, he did not rebuke, hit nor reprimand me.’ (Muslim vol.5 pg.20; Beirut)

The first Madrasah in Islam was at the raised platform behind the house of Hadhrat Aaisha (Radhiallaahu Anha). The students of that Madrasah commonly known As-haab al-Suffa (Radhiallaahu Anhum) were the guests of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). He spoke about their virtues to others and fulfilled their needs. It was this love and affection that attached the Sahaaba with Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) and made it possible to derive benefit from him. The Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu Anhum), in turn, passed over their knowledge to the Ummah. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam)’s attitude towards his Sahaaba (students) was of care and love. He said, ‘I am to you like a father to his son.’ (Mishkaat pg.42; Qadeemi) He (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) also emphasised that a teacher should treat his students with care and respect. Hadhrat Abu Saeed Khudri (Radhiallaahu Anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘People from far and wide will come to you in order to study and understand Deen. You should treat them kindly.’ (Mishkaat pg.34; Qadeemi). Therefore, a teacher should embrace the opportunity by showing love to his students and plant in them his seeds of knowledge. Be thankful to the students that they have offered their fields (hearts) to plant in them your seeds of knowledge. If there are no students of Deen, who will learn Deen? especially in contemporary times when the world offers many other opportunities. They have sacrificed and come to you. Appreciate their sacrifices and sacrifice yourself behind them. Imaam Abu Yusuf (RA), the famous student of Imaam Abu Hanifa (RA), advised that treat your students with so much care and love that people regard them as your children. (Aadabul Muallimeen pg.13; Rahmaniyyah) Our pious predecessors used to serve students of Deen as though they were masters. In one instance, during a discourse of Moulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (RA), it started raining. The students picked up their books and ran to shelter. They left their shoes in the rain. Moulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi Saheb (RA) picked up the shoes of his students and placed them under the shelter. (Ibid)

However, if a student misbehaves and that interrupts his studies as well as the studies of his fellow colleagues, the teacher should apply wisdom and diplomacy in advising him. If the teacher treats such a student like his own child and makes Du’aa for the success of that student, Insha Allah, that student will be disciplined and will prosper in his studies. If the teacher is unsuccessful, he should communicate his difficulty with his administration or parent of the child. He should not resort to hitting the child as that may be a set back to the education of the child. How can the teacher fill the child’s container (heart) with knowledge by making a hole in that container (breaking the heart)? Furthermore, the teacher should be conscious of the implications and negative consequences of hitting the child.

It is indeed unfortunate that the need arose to establish a child protection unit. To a large extent, its establishment is due to our shortcomings. However, the child protection unit too may cherish the opportunity to disgrace Islam and its teachings by presenting a mole hill as a mountain. They should not be given such an opportunity.

If all possible methods of disciplining the child fails, then as a last resort one may punish the student with the following conditions:

1. The punishment should be to reform the child and not to give vent to one’s anger. If the teacher has no control over himself, how will be able to control his student?

2. It is not permissible to hit more than three strokes at once. (Shaami vol.1 pg.352; HM Saeed)

3. It is Haraam to hit on the face, damage the skin, break the bones and leave marks on the body. In such a situation, the teacher is liable for punishment.

It should also be remembered that Islam is also about respect and Azmat of Deen. The students and parents too should bear this in mind. The Ustaad is a human being. He is bound to err and an effort be made to correct him with respect. It is praiseworthy of him that he has apologized for his wrong. He has done that only because he realized his wrong. The parents will be placed in a situation of  pain for their child and Azmat of Deen they should find it in their heart to forgive the Ustaad and appreciate the hardwork he has done for their child thus far. The pain for the abuse is another investment for them and the child in the Aakhirat. This by no means should be taken as covering up the wrong of the Ustaad. You should meet the ustaad in confidence and offer your help to him. He is engaged in a lofty service. Win his confidence and let him present to you his difficulties. You could offer him some skills of anger management which will be useful for him and enhance the good work he is engaged in. For that you will be greatly rewarded in all his future endeavors.

And Allah knows best


Mufti Ebrahim Desai

Darul Iftaa

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