HOW often we resort to beating children for their small mistakes. What does Islam has to say about that? Sheikh Muhammad Nasiruddeen Al-Albani was asked if it was permissible for teachers to hit students to discipline them. His reply is an eye-opener for us:
As far as hitting the face, this is not permissible due to the statement of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “Do not hit the face and do not disfigure.” As for hitting a student in general to discipline, (let’s) mention the statement of the Prophet, “Command your children to pray when they reach the age of seven and hit them if they leave it off when they reach the age of 10 and separate them from each other in the beds.”
This Hadith is proof that it is not permissible for those in charge to hit a child, whether student or not, for not obeying commands until he reaches the age of 10. Without doubt, whatever knowledge any teacher wants to impart to his students will not be more important than saying prayer.
If the Prophet (peace be upon him) prohibited fathers from hitting their children for not praying, until they reached the age of 10, then with all the more reason, it is not permissible for those other than the father to hit children for something (lesser) than the salah until they reached the age of 10.
Thus, it is not permissible for teachers to beat children even if they did not obey him regarding the Salah. Which other thing is as important as the Salah?
I would like to also add that the age of puberty for girls and boys differ tremendously from country to country. I know that in general, in countries of warm climate, the hormones may mature at a faster rate; thus the age of Takleef (duty, obligation to observe precepts of religion) would be reached at an earlier age than it would be in a cold climate. So this rule should not be taken in general, but rather each country should look into this with more details. For example one should find out if that particular child has reached the age of puberty or not? So the ruling will be decided according to what predominates.
The Sheikh was then asked: “What if the child had bad banners?”
Sheikh Al-Albani replied:
Beating and spanking is not (allowed) at all. Instead the child should be advised. Sometimes words have a greater affect on people than hitting. And sometimes hitting does not help at all, rather it makes them persist in doing that.
The best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (peace be upon him). The child should not be hit as long as he did not reach the age of puberty.
Also, from the same Hadith mentioned previously, I understand it is wrong for fathers to command their children to pray before they reach the age of seven. This contradicts the command of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
It is alright if fathers take their children along with them to mosques for prayers. But as for commanding them, then this is in opposition to the Hadith.
The Sheikh was again asked: “Sheikh, regarding hitting, sometimes you find students leave their houses and have no manners, even good advice does not benefit them, so does hitting them fall into necessity?”
The Sheikh replied:
There is no necessity. Where is the necessity here? Can you comprehend that hitting would benefit when the One who created him (Allah, who revealed to the Prophet) said that do not hit him until he reaches the age of seven?
– Excerpt from the audio lecture “La Qushoor Fil Islam.”
Note: However, when this question was posed to Dr. Saleh As-Saleh in his paltalk class, “Understanding Islam,” he answered that it is permissible to spank for disciplining children if it is used as a last resort and done gently.