Home Quranet Chapter 5 What can we say to an abusive parent?
What can we say to an abusive parent?
Chapter 5

أَلَمْ يَعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللّهَ هُوَ يَقْبَلُ التَّوْبَةَ عَنْ عِبَادِهِ وَيَأْخُذُ الصَّدَقَاتِ وَأَنَّ اللّهَ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ (سورۃ التوبة, آيۃ 104)

Know they not that Allah doth accept repentance from His votaries and receives their gifts of charity, and that Allah is verily He, the Oft-Returning, Most Merciful? (Surah 9, Verse 104)

Sami is a quiet boy, who always sits at the back of the class and during recess stands in a corner. Recently his grades have dropped, he doesn't prepare his homework and does not participate in lessons. Today the teacher noticed that Sami is wearing a long-sleeved shirt even though it is a hot, dry day. She called him during recess and asked him to sit beside her. He looked frightened, sat down quietly and did not raise his glance.

Teacher: Aren't you hot?
Sami (glancing at himself): No.
Teacher: What's the matter?
Sami: Nothing.
Teacher: Nothing? Something is troubling you.
Sami: No, no, no (looks scared).
Teacher: Sami, I'm your teacher. I can see that something is troubling you. I only want to help you and see you smile, play and have fun with your friends.
Sami: I'm OK.
Teacher: The why don't you play with them?
Teacher: I don't feel like it.
Teacher: Every day you don't feel like it.
Sami: Yes, it's better like that... (starts crying). Why do you care about me? I'm not worth it. Nobody ask about me, I'm worth nothing, nobody loves me...
Teacher: I like you. You are a good, quiet pupil and I care about you.
Sami: But I'm not worth anything...My father always says so...
Teacher: (understands the secret of Sami's solitude, and why he is wearing a long-sleeved shirt). Can you roll up your sleeves a little?
Quietly Sami rolls up his sleeve as his tears fall... The teacher straightens the sleeves and is deeply upset. He runs out to the courtyard and she goes to the counselor's office.

The next day Sami's father is invited to the counselor's office.

Counselor: I just want you to look out the window. I want to show you something lost. (The father looks out and sees children running and playing happily). Do you see all the smiles outside?
Father: Yes, but why did you want to see me?
Counselor: Tell me first where your son's smile is?
Father: (looking out). I can't see him...
Counselor: You can't see him because he isn't there.
Father: But my son came to school today. He isn't absent.
Counselor: I'm referring to his smile, he didn't bring it.
Father: (looking at her quietly...) But where is he?
Counselor: Look in the corner at the end of the courtyard. He is a long way away which is why you can't see him.
Father: (looks at Sami and sees him sitting quietly alone). What's wrong with him? Why did you call me?
Counselor: He's lost his smile.
Father: What do you mean?
Counselor: Your child is suffering, he is alone because of your abuse. Because of the blows and the hurt you are inflicting on him - physical and mental. Because of you he is lost. Look at his classmates living their childhood and how you've thrown his childhood into the garbage can. I want to read you a verse from the Quran and please think about it: "Know they not that Allah doth accept repentance from His votaries and receives their gifts of charity, and that Allah is verily He, the Oft-Returning, Most Merciful?" "It is never too late to mend your ways," she told him. "You can repent and give your son back his smile. You can compensate him for the suffering you caused him."
Father: (sunk in thought): Thank you. You have enlightened me. You have given me back that child's father.

The father hastens out. The counselor looks out of the window and sees him going over to the corner where his son sits alone, but now she sees not the pain of a solitary child but the joy of a father and son who are reunited. The corner of pain has become a corner of renewed joy and the lost smile has been found.

Explanation: There are numerous cases in this world of battered children who lose all joy in life and childhood pleasures and live in a state of constant mourning and suffering. A child should be allowed to be a child, to enjoy his childhood, play and blossom. Childhood begins with birth. From the first a father must treat his son and daughter properly and not only when they are older. The parent should place the child at the center and view the world through his eyes, because the Quran commands him to nurture the child and respect him. Only a child who is given love by both parents can grow into an adult able to bestow love on his own family and surroundings and become a partner n a healthy society. Sami is a battered child. His father apparently beats him frequently and makes him feel that he has no value and is unworthy. That is the fate of battered children. The counselor was right not to reprimand the father or threaten him because to punish him as he punishes his child would not apparently prove effective. She did the reverse, told him that Allah loves those who repent. She addressed him with warmth and love and served as a model of how to treat others. Now we can only hope that Sami's father will learn from the counselor's generous conduct and give his son respect and meaningfulness. However, today the law requires the counselor or anyone who uncovers abuse of children to report it to the police, because the state authorities hold that it is their duty to protect children. In such cases the father could be punished severely.