SHAFAQNA – Allah says in His Glorious Book: “Nor can goodness and evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: Then will he between whom and you was hatred become as it were your friend and intimate” (41:34). The Prophet (p.) also said: “Leniency and kindness are never added to anything without adorning it, and never removed from something without tarnishing it… Allah is kind and lenient. He loves kindness and awards it with what He does not award violence”.
Leniency and kindness
We have talked a lot about leniency and violence, but the brutal practices that are abundant in our community drive us to feel that the believers do not understand the significance of this Islamic virtue. They do not seem to know that Allah, the Most Exalted, hates violence in social relations, especially against the downtrodden and children, or even in political and social differences.
Violence is unlawful
Violence could turn into a beastly state that makes man more brutal than beasts, for beasts would not commit certain acts… Once, we heard news about a father who got disturbed by his daughter’s crying as he wanted to sleep… He did not think of a way to calm down this five-month old child, or even bring her a medication… He leaped like a beast and started to bang her head against the walls until the girl died. He even, as his wife testified, forbade the mother from taking the child to the hospital and claimed to the police that the father has the right to hit his child.
Although such an incident is rare, abusing children is common in our society in the form of beating them hard if they cry or refuse to do what they are told to, being the “efficient” method to silence them. Teachers in school, even Islamic ones, also beat the children, or resort to forms of violence that are more psychologically devastating than beating.
Violence is inherited
Although we have issued several Fatwas explicitly stating that beating children is unlawful, the problem still lags on even in Islamic schools. Teachers learn this attitude in their childhood from their parents who beat them. The household is the first school to teach violence, in which the parents beat their children who would, in turn, practice it when they become parents or teachers.
The whole world now is calling for respecting children. The UN has issued laws that regulate how to deal with children, most of which were called for by Islam… They even condemn child labor, especially in tough jobs that children could not tolerate. In our Islamic communities, abusing children is a common phenomenon, yet not all people are part of it. In this respect, traditions have it that “being unjust to the weak is the worst kind of wronging”. The weak person does not have any means to protect himself and could only look at you in confusion and pain.
Look at your child’s eyes when you hit him and see how much he resents this act… There are even those who would tell you, when you ask them to stop hitting their children: “It is none of your business… He is my son or daughter…” It is as if the child is a piece of furniture that he owns, but Allah, the Most Exalted, has ordained that the child is not the property of his parents. He is God’s trust that the parents are entrusted with. Therefore, let all parents and teachers who abuse children know that they will be treated as wrongdoers in the Hereafter. Let me tell you: fast and pray as much as you want; it will do you no good if you wrong the weak; for praying forbids evil, and there can be no more evil than this.
Marriage and violence against women
Then there is violence against women, whether a wife, a sister or a daughter. The problem is that some of us still carry the backward traditional idea that he has bought his wife like one buys a sheep. Everyone should ask himself: who gave him the authority on his wife. Is it the marriage contract? God says that they have equal rights and duties. The marriage contract means that both of the husband and wife have certain rights and certain duties, but it does not give anyone the right to be violent with his wife… The opposite is also true: If the woman comes from an influential family, she should not abuse her husband…
Violence is not restricted to hitting; it also includes insults and false accusations, which is a very serious crime that is punished severely. There is also the type of violence where the man kicks the woman out. Who gave him right? As long as the woman is his wife, he is obliged to provide for her, and this also means providing her with a place to stay in.
Religion is justice
Some would tell you: religion is something and dealing is something else. But we say that religion is justice, and he who is not just is not religious… You ought to look at religion from a humanistic and social point of view and do not restrict it to rituals, for it will do you no good to stay in the mosque all day long if you abuse your wife and children.
Then there is also the violence of crimes committed in the name of revenge in which innocent persons are killed just because they belong to a certain tribe or family. Justice implies that only the murderer is the one to be punished [and the means of such punishment should be studied well and wisely]. None of us is greater than the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (a.s.), yet he ordered his folk not to kill anyone but the man who assassinated him and not to mutilate his body.
Help one another unto righteousness and pious duty
The world regards our societies as backward, cruel and reactionary… It is backwardness that has resulted from another type of violence; the violence of partisan and sectarian fanaticisms that could materialize in a civil war. Resorting to violence will not serve the causes of social progress and peace. It will not enable us to face the other challenges too. We have to rid our societies of violence against women, children and any human whatsoever and live in a community where one respects the other and cooperates with him to ensure the welfare of both.