CIOG wants 'balanced' approach to disciplining children
-says whip must be final resort
Stabroek News
December 15, 2006

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The Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana (CIOG) is advocating a "balanced" approach to disciplining children.

Shaikh Moeenul Hack, in a statement outlining the Islamic perspective on the corporal punishment debate, says Islam allows discipline of children out of necessity. "In Islam, the whip at home or school, hanging on the wall is a warning sign," he explained. "This is balanced with the strict rules imposed by Islam that does not allow any abuse of authority by parents or teachers."

He noted the maxim that prevention is better than the cure, and in this vein he said Islam emphasises the correct example should be set by both parents and teachers. He added that a child is "a trust" in the hands of parents, and that their hearts are a "precious element" capable of easily forming impressions. As a result, he said parents must recognise their role as the first teachers of their children and by playing their parts ease the task of teachers at schools.

Hack said parents and teachers must be educated in alternative methods of disciplining other than beating, such as denying the child certain privileges.

Hack also said that it should be borne in mind at all times that using the whip is the final resort, and he observes that when this "extreme occasion" arises it has to be carried out within the limits of Islamic law. The first rule, he noted, is never to punish a child in a state of anger or emotion, when the intellect becomes clouded and proper reasoning is impossible.

He emphasised that whipping should not cause injury, inflict wounds, fracture bones, cause internal disorders or bruises. He cautioned that if this happens even by a single stroke, such a person would be guilty of oppression. He said too that sensitive areas should be avoided, like the face and hands. He added that repeated punishment is extremely undesirable as the effect is lost.

Hack noted that in order that children are disciplined and decent, parents and teachers among others must exemplify this discipline and decency and allow them to keep decent company. Corporal punishment, he said, is only allowed in cases of necessity and strict adherence to the rules. But he stressed that other forms of discipline must be pursued first.