Is loss an excuse for aggression?
Chapter 1

إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ تَابُواْ وَأَصْلَحُواْ وَبَيَّنُواْ فَأُوْلَئِكَ أَتُوبُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَنَا التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ (سورۃ البقرة, آيۃ 160)

As for those who repent, reform, and proclaim, I redeem them. I am the Redeemer, Most Merciful. (Sura, The Cow, Verse 160)

Rami, a tenth-grade student is considered a particularly troublesome child. At school he respects no one, treats everyone with contempt, and is aggressive to the people around him. He also causes problems for his parents. He steals the family's car, cruises around and commits traffic offenses. Rami's parents are very worried, especially his mother whom he doesn't listen to and responds rudely to.

Rami hasn't always behaved like this. He used to be a somewhat quiet and introverted child until his cousin, whom Rami felt very close to, unexpectedly committed suicide. Since then, Rami has become a pampered child, sleeping during the day and awake at night, neglecting himself and his studies and exploiting his parents. They continue to feel sorry for him, while he threatens that if he doesn't get what he wants, he will commit suicide. The parents feel torn. On the one hand, they are afraid he will harm himself, and on the other, they are afraid that if they give in to all his requests he will also become a lost child. Rami has recently started to smoke without shame in front of his father and to hit his little sister. All requests to him to change his ways have made absolutely no impact.

The parents approached Rami's homeroom teacher whom Rami respected in the past. The teacher spoke to Rami about his falling grades and his behavior, but this made no impact. The teacher then opened the Quran and read to Rami verse 160 from the Sura, The Cow: "As for those who repent, reform, and proclaim, I redeem them. I am the Redeemer, Most Merciful."

Explanation: Without his cousin Rami is not the same child. It seems there was something in their close relationship that enabled Rami to contain his feelings and function properly. After the loss of his cousin, Rami possibly felt guilty and angry at himself that he didn't take care of him. Possibly he blames the environment for not taking care of him, and possibly he is angry with his cousin for having left him, and it is also possible that he has transformed his mourning and the depression he feels into anger and aggression towards the world. In any event, an attempt should be made to talk openly to Rami about his feelings, and to enable him, if he wishes, to express his pain and his anger. Only when he expresses his pain will he able to begin the process of gradually releasing himself from it. This therapeutic process will not be possible, however, without setting clear limits for Rami, and in this respect the quote of the appropriate verse from the Quran is vital for his recovery.