Disciplining Pupils

Advice of Hadhrat Mufti Mahmood Hassan Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Alayh)[1]


Respected Mufti Sahib,

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-raḥmatullāhi wa-barakātuh

Occasionally it becomes necessary to discipline the pupils. Is it permissible to hit a child for this purpose? Some children just cannot learn in any other manner.


Respected Brother

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-raḥmatullāhi wa-barakātuh

Imam Ghazali (RA) has written that the favour of the Ustadh upon the student is indeed tremendous. However, the student has done a great favour to the Ustadh for having presented his heart to the Ustadh to sow the seeds of his knowledge therein. Thus by means of the student, the knowledge of the Ustadh will spread. Had it not been for the student, the knowledge of the Ustadh would have been buried with him.

The students of Deen are the guests of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam). They should therefore be treated accordingly. At times he may err and the need may arise to discipline him. The example of the student in such a situation is like that of an extremely expensive garment that has been soiled and needs to be cleaned. It is obvious that great care will be taken in cleaning the garment so that it is not damaged in any way. The purpose of washing the garment is merely to clean it so that it may be worn again, salaah could be performed therein and one may prostrate in gratitude to Allah Ta‘ala on the garment. Likewise the student has to be disciplined, but with great care so that the disciplining does not cause more harm than good. Ponder over this deeply. Also ponder over the following: “To whatever extent the student errs and angers me, I have erred to a much greater extent with regard to the commands of Allah Ta‘ala. IfAllah Ta‘ala descends His wrath on me, what will become of me?” Also remember that each child will only gain that much which is decreed for him. Hitting the child will not change that decree. May Allah Ta‘ala help you. Aameen.

[1] (Hadhrat Mufti Mahmood Hasan Gangohi raḥimahullāh His life and works, Publsh. Ta’limi Board, KZN, Pg 252,253)