vendredi 16 mai 2008

It's all good

The reward and advantages for having memorised Quran are uncountable. What we do not realise is the memorising process in which children of the umma have to go through…

And it could go without saying, in traditional countries, like Mauritania, children get beaten up. It is part of the learning process. For them, it's like that, no other way...

I realised that quite early into my stay in Mauritania. And let me tell you, when they get beaten up, it is real!

The question that could be raise is, is that beating legal under Islamic law? I do not hold the definite answer, and I suppose there are differences of opinions among the scholars in that matter.
However, from what I have gathered, I’d say no.
Ibn Abi Zaid Al-Qayrawani in his famous book of Maliki jurisprudence, Al-Rissalat, says that a child should be beaten up (it is mandoob, not wajib!) if he refuses to pray at the age of 10. This ruling has come from a hadith of the prophet, Peace and Blessing be upon him, that said: “Order your children to pray at the age of 7 and beat them for it at the age of 10”. (Narrated by Abu Dawud, An-Nissai and Tirmidhi who said of it hassan sahih).
However even amongst the scholars of the Maliki madhab, we have for example Ibn Nafi’i, a student of Imam Malik I think, who forbid this beating on the ground that it is oppression since nothing is obligatory upon them (Sharh Rissalat of Sidi Ahmed Zarruq). The beaten should be light, no crying involved.
This is for prayer. It is arguably the only legal reason to beat a child.

However, I would like to bring here two important points. On one side, you have the nicest, most spiritual and easy going Mauritnians, that beat children. Once, in Twemret, I thought of a brother: “That person would never beat a child”. Few days later I saw him beating the ache up his little brother for not memorising fast enough.
And on the other side, the children are totally submitting to this beating and find it absolutely normal. I was once with a guy in Twemret memorising in the rocks, when he started to beat his little brother so hard I became heart broken and left the 13 year old kid crying out loud. When I saw the kid again, he told me I should not have left just because his brother was beating him up. I thought: “O yeh of course!”

Since that episode, I try to hold back my feelings and think nothing of it.

I now live in Nabbaghiya, in a room inside the Quranic school. A bunch of children come every morning from 5.30 to 8.30 and every evening from 5 to 7. Their numbers vary from only a few individuals to up to 30, all between the age of 7 to 13. And they get beaten up. No joke.
Their teacher, Sayyd, is really nice and soft mashallah. He is a close student of Shaykh Bah. You would not picture him beating children. But he does. Here it is a cultural thing, nothing big, like nowadays in the West, were hitting a child, even your own, is forbidden under law!

From time to time, when a kid feel his “time” is near. He just gets up and runs as fast as possible to the door and then run away in the village, usually with the Quran still in his hand.

The photo I posted just above is such an event. The small kid in the middle ran away with a red Quran in his hand. He tried to run as fast as possible on the sand, but the Quran in his hands slowed him downed considerably. The teacher sent two other students to catch him and bring him back, which they did with great pleasure. The kid on the right is actually the runner’s cousin.

I make it sounds horrible, although this particular event was actually hilarious!

I later on was told by one of the kids that in order to study the Quran, beatings is necessary.

So if nobody complain, why should I?

I have this photo as a wall paper on my desktop, and every time I see it, I can’t help my self not to laugh or at least smile.

Whatever we might think, I sometime regret not to have been beaten up as a child. With that methodology, one tends to learn fast!