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Question : #405 Category: Family Issues
Subject: Corporal punishment in Islam
Question: Does Islam allow corporal punishment of children by parents (e.g. is a parent allowed to smack a child's behind if the child isn't listening or slap their disobedient child)? Are there limits (to the amount of pain inflicted) and if so, what are they? If it is allowed, is there an age limit of the child after which it isn't allowed? If not allowed, is there kaffarah for parents?
Answer: Besides the guardian of the child or someone authorized by him, no one is allowed to physically punish a child when he commits a forbidden act or causes harm to others.

The guardian and someone authorized by him are allowed to discipline a child. [However, there are limits that must be observed:] the act of, say, hitting should be light, not agonizing, and should not be such that it leaves bruises on the childs skin; that it should not exceed three hits [in one instance]; and that also only when disciplining the child depends on corporal punishment.

Therefore, the elder brother does not have the right to hit the younger brother unless he is the legal guardian of the child or authorized by the guardian. It is not permissible at all to hit a school pupil without the permission of his guardians or someone authorized by the guardian.

In terms of age, it is not permissible to hit a baligh child (at the age of puberty) in order to prevent him/her from an evil act, except in accordance with the conditions of 'amru bil maruf wa nahi anil munkar' (enjoining in good and forbidding evil) with the with the permission of the religious authority. Based on obligatory precaution, a baligh child should not be hit at all.

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