Class 6 – Disciplining Children

Class 6

The goal to raise a Muslim child should be distinct and different from the goals of raising children in general. There may be some overlapping between cultural and Islamic upbringing which is natural but the goal of the Muslim parent in raising Muslim children should be to raise righteous Muslims. That should be clear; to raise righteous Muslims. Not merely children who identify culturally with Islam because Islamic and Muslim children maybe at variants. Muslim culture may include many other things which may not be part of Islamic culture. Often, the goals people have set for themselves is to raise children who conform to the culture they have inherited. The message being sent across here is raising them in accordance with true Islamic culture. And as such they should be raised righteous Muslims. Parents should have high goals and expectations from their children. For a true Muslim, the highest goal is Paradise.

Abu Hurairah  reported: The Prophet ﷺ said, “Seven are (the persons) whom Allah will give protection with His Shade on the Day when there will be no shade except His Shade (i.e., on the Day of Resurrection), and they are:

  1. A just ruler; 
  2. A youth who grew up with the worship of Allah,
  3. A person whose heart is attached to the mosque,
  4. Two persons who love and meet each other and depart from each other for the sake of Allah,
  5. A man whom a beautiful and high ranking woman seduces (for illicit relation) but rejects the offer by saying; ‘I fear Allah’,
  6. A person who gives a charity and conceals it (to such an extent) that the left hand might not know what the right has given and
  7. A person who remembers Allah in solitude and his eyes wells up.” (Bukhari)

This should be our goal as parents; to raise children who will grow up worshiping Allah SWT. The reality is that most people have high expectations, which is purely focused on the dunya like pursuing medicine, law, engineering among other professions which would only earn them money and prestige. These goals are worth achieving from the academic perspective and are very much needed by the Muslim community for a healthy survival, especially in this time. However, they should not take precedence over the primary goal, i.e, paradise. Parents should desire paradise as the biggest goal for their children.

As Allah says in the Quran,

وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَاتَّبَعَتْهُمْ ذُرِّيَّتُهُم بِإِيمَانٍ أَلْحَقْنَا بِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ وَمَا أَلَتْنَاهُم مِّنْ عَمَلِهِم مِّن شَيْءٍ

And those who believe and whose offspring follow them in Faith, to them shall We join their offspring, and We shall not decrease the reward of their deeds in anything. (SURAH AT-TAUR 52;21)

Disciplining the child

It is essential to point out that bad behaviour in most cases is in accordance with a person’s whims and desires; hence the child will pick up bad behaviour with the slightest influence and the most insignificant of reasons. On the other hand, good behaviour means disciplining oneself and restraining oneself from whims and desires that detrimental to one’s own best interests. Good behaviour means following a path that is contrary to the whims and desires of the self, so it is a constructive process that requires effort and striving. 

A sound upbringing is one that instills good attitude and behaviour firmly in the child’s heart and mind so that he will be able to resist corrupt whims and desires, and he will not feel comfortable except with things that help him adhere to the path of righteousness and will despise anything that is contrary to good values. 

In order for the child to accept this good attitude and behaviour, it is essential to make that beloved to him. Love cannot be instilled by means of force and harshness; rather it needs the following: 

1. Kindness and gentleness 

  • There are a number of hadeeths in which the Prophet ﷺ teaches us to use kindness and gentleness when interacting with others, such as the following: 
  • Verily Allah loves kindness in all things.” (Bukhari). 
  • Whoever is deprived of kindness is deprived of goodness.” (Muslim)
  • When Allah wills good for the members of a household, He instills kindness in them.” (Ahmad, classed as Sahih by Albani)
  • There is no kindness in a thing but it adorns it, and it is not taken away from a thing but it makes it defective.” 

Children by their nature love the parent who is kind to them and helps them, and who cares about them, but that should be without yelling and getting angry, as much as possible; rather it should be with wisdom and patience. 

The child is at an age where he needs leisure and play; he is also at an age where discipline and teaching are appropriate. Hence everything must be given due attention, within moderation. 

Because children love kind parents, this love gives them a strong motivation to obey their parents. In the opposite scenario, if kindness is absent and there is violence and harshness, that will lead to alienation, which in turn will lead to stubbornness and disobedience, or the prevalence of fear which will generate an attitude of lying and deceitfulness in the child. 

2. Punishments

Kind treatment does not rule out the use of punishment when necessary, 

But it should be noted that punishment, when bringing up children, must be used wisely. It is not right to punish the child for every misdemeanour on his part; rather punishment is to be used when kindness is of no benefit and when advice, instructions and bans have been to no avail. 

Punishments should also be useful and of various forms like taking away a privilege (TV time), adding an extra chore to the child’s responsibilities etc.


Setting a good example cannot emphasised enough, this has been repeated under almost every topic and it is extremely effective in helping to reform a wayward child. If the parent is truthful, honest, noble, and chaste, the children will be raised on truthfulness, honesty, morality, nobility, and chastity. However, if the parents are untruthful, treacherous, immoral, miserly, cowardly, or mean, the children will be brought up on lying, treachery, immorality, cowardice and meanness. It is not sufficient for parents to set a good example in front of the child, thinking that they have discharged their duty, but they should link the child to the best example: the Prophet ﷺ, so that when he comes of age he has no leader example, or ideal except Muhammad ﷺ. Parents should also link their children to the example of the Companions of Allah’s Messenger, the following generation after them, and those who followed their steps, according to the words of Allah “They are those whom Allah had guided. So follow their guidance…” (Al-Ana’m 90)


If a child has two factors available to him, namely virtuous Islamic education and a righteous environment, he would be raised on true belief, and he would enjoy Islamic manners, and would reach the peak of virtue and personal noble traits.


One of the most important and effective means of raising a child on belief and preparing him morally, psychologically, and socially, is by advising him in a rightly and kind manner.

Allah said,

  • And (remember) when Luqman said to his son when he was advising him: “O my son! Join not in worship others with Allah, Verily joining others in worship with Attdh is a great Zulm (wrong) indeed.” (Luqman, 13)
  • “Verily, therein is indeed a reminder for him who has a heart or gives ear white he is heedful” (Qaf, 37)
  • And remind (by preaching the Qur’an, O Muhammad £jfc) for verily, reminding profits the believers.” (Adh-Dhariyat, 55)
  • And how can you know that he might become pure (from sins)? Or he might receive reminder and the reminder might benefit him?*’ { Abasa, 3-4)

Reminders and sound advice has been the most effective form of Dawah to people of all ages. The Messenger ﷺ took interest in giving advice, and directed educators and callers to the way of Allah to give admonition, and called upon every Muslim to be a caller to Allah everywhere he goes, so that whoever has a good heart would be influenced positively by his admonition and guidance. In this way he may save, through calling and giving admonition, people who are involved in pre-lslamic practices, debauchery, loss, and misguidance. Following are the most important of his directives & concerning giving advice, admonition, and calling to the way of Allah:

The Prophet ﷺ said, “Religion is advice,” They asked, “For whom?” He ﷺ said, “For Allah, His Messenger, the leaders of Muslims, and their commoners.” (Muslim)

The Prophet ﷺ gave advice in various manners

  • Advice with humour, a man came to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ asking him for a camel from charity so that he may carry his household things on it. The Messenger ﷺ said, “I will give you a baby camel”. The man said, “O Messenger of Allah, what can I do with a baby camel?” The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “And do female camels give birth except to baby camels?”
  • Advice by asking questions. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Do you know who is bankrupt?” They said, “A bankrupt to us is who has no dirham or property.” He ﷺ said, “A bankrupt in my nation is he who comes on the Last Day with prayer, fasting, zakah, and hajj, but he had sworn at this (man) and slandered that, devoured someone’s money, shed the blood of another, and beat someone. This man will be given from his good deeds, and that man will be given from his good deeds. If his good deeds are spent before he pays his debts, he will take from their bad deeds, which will he added to his, then he will be thrown into the Fire”. (Bukhari & Muslim)
  • Advice by giving examples. Sahl bin Sa’d said: “We were with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ in Dhul-Hulaifah, when we saw a dead sheep lifting its leg (because of bloating). He ﷺ said: ‘Don’t you think this is worthless to its owner? By the One in Whose hand is my soul, this world is more worthless to Allah than this (dead sheep) is to its owner. If this world was worth the wing of a mosquito to Allah, the disbeliever would not have a drop to drink from it.’” (Ibn Majah)


Dealing with the child tenderly and mercifully is the basis: Al- Bukhari narrated in Al-Adah AI-Mufrad that Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “Be tender and avoid violence and obscenity,”

Taking into account the nature of the child to be punished: Children vary concerning intelligence, flexibility, and responsiveness. Their temperaments also differ, they can be quiet, peaceful, and the moderate, or nervous and violent.

Many scholars of Islamic education, including Ibn Sina, Al-Abdari and Ibn Khaldun, are of the opinion that an educator should not resort to punishment except in case of extreme necessity, and not to resort to beating except after threatening and intercession. The intention is to reform the child and to form him morally and psychologically.  In his book “Muqadimah” (Introduction), Ibn Khaldun states that excessive violence towards the child develops in him a weak will, cowardice, and escaping from life’s responsibilities. Among his statements is the following;

‘The one who was brought up with violence and submission, whether a learner, a Mamluk, or a servant, humility will seize him, will make him displeased, inactive, and lazy. It will force him to lie and be cunning for fear of hands stretching out to subdue him. It will teach him trickery and deception which will become habitual and such qualities will spoil his humanity.”

Gradation from the lighter punishment to more severe punishment: the Messenger ﷺ outlined to educators clear methods for dealing with a child’s bad behaviour, making him polite, and setting his behaviour alright.

According to scholars, the following rules should be enforced while giving physical punishment

  1. That the educator should not resort to beating except after using all the aforementioned methods of discipline and reproach.
  2. That he should not beat when he is in a state of anger lest he should inflict harm on the child.
  3. That he should avoid beating vulnerable places such as the head, face, chest, and abdomen, in conformity with the saying of the Prophet ﷺ, “and do not strike the face” (Abu Dawood)
  4. That he may not beat a child who in under ten years of age, according to the aforementioned Hadith: “Command your children to pray when they are seven years old, and beat them for not performing it when they are ten.”
  5. If the wrong deed is done by the child for the first time, he should be given the chance to repent for that which he committed and apologize for what he did. He should be given the chance for people to intervene and prevent the punishment in return for a promise from him that he will not do this wrong deed again. 

So raising children should be a balance between encouragement and warning. The most important element of all is making the environment in which the children live a good one, by providing the means whereby they may be guided; this means that their educators should be religiously committed, including their parents. 


Raising good and righteous children not only has a lot of worldly benefits but also is one of the few acts which you can reap rewards of, even after your death.

The Prophet ﷺ said,

  • When a man dies, his acts come to an end, but three; recurring charity, or knowledge (by which people) benefit, or a pious child who prays for him (for the deceased).” (Muslim)
  • “One of the good deeds continuing to give reward for its causer after death is to raise a pious child. After parents died, praying of such a child reaches to his parents.” (Muslim)
  • “Verily, Allah Almighty will raise the status of his righteous servants in Paradise and they will say: O Lord, what is this? Allah will say: This is due to your child seeking forgiveness for you.” (Musnad Aḥmad, classed as Hasan (fair) by Al-Albani)


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