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Corporal Punishment, the ‘Good ol Days’ and the Shariah

Oct 26, 2017

Radio Islam Programming – 26 October 2017

The latest ruling from the High Court regarding corporal punishment has stirred a lot of discussion as many believe that it was the most effective form of discipline.

The High Court ruled that: “The common law defence of reasonable chastisement is unconstitutional and no longer applies in our law”

This means that even ‘reasonable chastisement’ is not outlawed.

Radio Islam International’s Molana Sulaimaan Ravat took this opportunity to discuss this matter in detail as far as the Shariah is concerned. Before we get into the hard hitting aspects, Moulana mention that his words does not indicate disrespect or dishonour.

“I am not sitting in judgement of the parents, teachers and Ulema of yesteryear. I genuinely believe that they were sincere…”

As Moulana touched on the issue of the ‘Good ol Days’, he stated that many long for it, thinking that it worked for them so it will work for everyone…

“many people talk about it nostalgically, as if the lack of corporal punishment is the primary reason why we see so many problems with the youth…but I personally don’t think that is the main reason”

The first point corrected was the misunderstanding of the Shariah perspective…

“People say that we don’t practice corporal punishment due to restrictions from the law but Shariah allows it, not allows but encourages…this is a huge misunderstanding”

“Sharia has given permission for corporal punishment, but not as the ideal and not as the first option”

Moulana Ravat made it clear that even when corporal punishment is permitted by the Shariah, there are very strict regulations. The regulations mentioned were:

* You cannot hit when you are angry because when you are angry you are driven by your emotions rather by the sincere intention to teach a lesson.

* You cannot hit on the face.

* You cannot hit in a way that will cause injury.

* You cannot hit in a way that will leave marks.

* You cannot use a big stick, some scholars have said it should not be bigger than a Miswaak.

“It’s more of a chastisement, more to give the child a slight shock”

Moulana mentioned the Hadith where mention is made of the rod, but how to use the rod is of vital importance.

“It (the rod) is limited to certain circumstances, it many ways it’s down the list of options…”

“The good old days that we speak about, in most cases, that ‘good hiding’ was in transgression of the Shariah”

Some believe that the ‘good hiding’ is the most effective method because it worked on them and they became good, respectful adults but Moulana Ravat mentioned that it did not always work out that way.

“Due to a severe hiding, there were many who became rebellious, there were many who had the potential of becoming Haafiz but they did not become Haafiz, there were many who had strained their relationship with their parents”

The discussion was concluded with a few vital points…

“Corporal punishment is not your first option, and even when it is permitted from a Shariah perspective, there are boundaries that cannot be overstepped”

So what is the ideal?

“The ideal is the conduct and character of Nabi S.A.W. The way he conducted himself with Anas R.A. is a perfect example. Did Nabi S.A.W. ever beat him up? Many of us favour corporal punishment because it is the easiest way out…we don’t want to study the Seerah of Nabi S.A.W. to learn alternate forms of discipline”

Catch Moulana Sulaimaan Ravat weekday mornings between 6 and 9am on the breakfast show, Sabaahul Muslim.

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