Disciplining the Young

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Imam Abu al-Faraj ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Ali ibn al-Jawzy (r.a.) wrote, in Thib ar-Ruhani, that the best of discipline is that which is done at a young age.  On the other hand, if a boy is left to his own characteristics, and matures possessing these characteristics, then changing him would be difficult.

A poet said, “If you straighten the branches they will straighten up, but wood does not soften if you bend it.”

Discipline benefits children gradually, but it will not benefit those who have aged.

Perseverance in discipline is a significant principle, particularly in regard to children as it benefits them in that good becomes a habit to them.

A poet said, “Do not neglect disciplining a child, even if he complains of the pain of exhaustion.”

Know that a doctor considers the age of the patient, his place, time and then he prescribes the medicine.  Likewise discipline should be suited to each child, and the signs of the success or failure of a child can be noticed from a very early age; a clever child is stimulated by learning, and the unintelligent is not availed by learning similar to the way a camel tamer does not become intelligent by practicing sport.

A man once told Imam Abu ‘Abdullah Sufyan ibn Sa’id ats-Tsawri (r.a.), “We hit our children if they do not pray.”

Imam Sufyan ats-Tsawri (r.a.) told him, “You should rather give them glad tidings.”

A Shaykh Zubayd al-Yafi used to tell the boys, “Whoever prays will have five walnuts.”

Shaykh Ibrahim ibn Adham (q.s.) said, “O Son!  Seek the knowledge of ahadits.  I will give you one dirham for every hadits that you hear.”  So, on account of this, his son started to seek knowledge of ahadits.


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