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Major Sins in Islam (A case study Musbaudeen College of Arabic and Islamic Institute, Ganmo, Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State)

Few days back, a video showing some Arabic school students being beaten by other students of the same school was all over the social media. A female was also seen in that video among those being flogged. This incident was widely shared on some social media platforms Facebook included. Musbaudeen College of Arabic and Islamic institute, Ganmo became popular. News outlets wrote about it. Human rights groups showed their dismay. Individuals gave their opinions. The Kwara state government had to set up a committee. Some comments made by non-Muslims wasn’t that surprising though disappointing. I will be discussing briefly the Islamic point of view on corporal punishment, the call that corrupt students shouldn’t be given an admission, and the management of information respectively in this writeup.

Corporal punishment.

This is a type of physical punishment that has to do with flogging someone. Doctor Alfred Bassey, in his doctoral dissertation “Culture and attitudes regarding Physical Punishment of children in Akwa Ibom state of Nigeria” stated that African parents despite loving their kids still often discipline them using life threatening methods such as severe beatings, burning, strangulations etc. Those of us from this part of the world know this too well. Even though this is extreme, it cannot be affirmed to be an Islamic thing as some media outlets and individuals often try to portray it.

The Islamic view is that a father is permitted to discipline his child but certain things must be avoided. Hitting of the face or any sensitive part in the body like the private parts, stomach, throat etc., and physical Injuries must be avoided. This raised the question if any other than the father can beat a child, like his/her teacher? This should be with the permission of the father or guardian of the child. Some scholars said unless it is known in the culture/customs of a particular people that when a child is handed over to be taught by a teacher, the permission to discipline automatically comes with it. The teacher though must also follow the rules binding the father mentioned above when disciplining the child.

Since most of these positions taken are based on Ijtihad (independent reasoning) of scholars finding solution(s) to a legal issue, and won’t be deemed sinful if other permissible methods are applied, I will suggest that Muslim schools and teachers should consider using other methods in correcting the wrong actions of students under them. Afterall, the aim is to change for good the negative behavior of the student. There are many effective methods but for purpose of brevity, I will suggest the Reinforcement and Punishment method in this writeup. Reinforcement can be positive or negative. An example of a positive reinforcement is when you tell your students that if a certain task is completed, there is a certain reward that awaits them. So, students try to complete this task so that they get the reward. As simple as this sounds, it has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to teach a person a new behavior. Punishment is also positive and negative. A negative punishment is when you remove a pleasant stimulus to decrease a behavior. An example is taking away from a student what he likes, like a toy, a comic book, etc. So, a stimulus (the toy/book) is removed in order to decrease the exhibition of the bad behavior.

Most importantly, teachers should know that children misbehave for so many reasons. Ignorance about how to behave Islamically, Nutrition (hunger being part of this), home environment (an example is parents going through a rocky relationship/divorce), poverty, boredom or disinterest, need for attention, low self-esteem, biological (an example is autism and low learning abilities, and the list is long. Among the characteristics of a good teacher is to communicate clearly, show enthusiasm, have a good attitude and to be caring. Rather than scold bad students all the time, and appear to them as someone who is unapproachable, it is better to make them your friend. By virtue of doing this, you gain their confidence, they confide in you, you know their challenges and problems, and you become their role model. Someone they look up to and want to be. The Islamic school in question and its likes should please try to adhere to proper Islamic ways of doing things. They are after all ambassadors representing Islam and anything done wrongly by them will be wrongly related to the din in Allah.

Should wayward/corrupt students be denied admission?

The Arabic students were alleged to have attended a birthday party and drank alcohol. The instruction giving by Allah in relative to major sins is “to distance oneself from them. The word “الإجتناب” meaning to avoid or distance from is often used. In surah An-Nisah verse 31, Allah says:

إن تَجْتَنِبُوا كَبَآئِرَ مَا تُنْهَوْنَ عَنْهُ نُكَفِّرْ عَنْكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَنُدْخِلْكُمْ مُّدْخَلاً كَرِيْمًا


If you avoid the major sins which you are forbidden, We will remove from you your lesser sins and admit you to a noble entrance [into Paradise].

Allah used the same word (الإجتناب) when forbidding intoxicants and gambling in Surah al-Ma’idah verse 90: فَٱجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ (so avoid it that you may be successful.) The same word was used when He commanded us to shun the impurity of idolatry and words of falsehood in Surah al-Hajj verse 30. A similar word was also used by Allah when forbidding Zina (Fornication) in Surah al-Isra verse 32: وَلاَ تَقْرَبُوا الزِّنَا “And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse”.

In Sahih al-Bukhari hadith number 5066, the messenger of Allah addressed the youth thus “O young people! Whoever among you can marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty (i.e. his private parts from committing illegal sexual intercourse etc.), and whoever is not able to marry, should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power.”

From the verses on major sins, and the hadith of the prophet quoted above, it is clear that the safest way to avoid falling into sin is to avoid going near it. There is an old saying: Prevention is better than cure (الوقاية خير من العلاج). The heart is what controls the human body. The body parts (Mouth, legs, hands etc.,) obeys it. Therefore, if the heart is sick, two things are affected; the speech and action (deeds). Improper words and actions will be performed by such a person, and rather than bow to the commandments of his Creator, he follows his heart desires. Allah says in Surah al-Jâthiyah verse 23: “Have you seen he who has taken as his god his [own] desire, and Allah has sent him astray due to knowledge and has set a seal upon his hearing and his heart and put over his vision a veil? So, who will guide him after Allah? Then will you not be reminded?” This is why it is being said that sickness is of two types; that of the heart and the body (المرض‏ نوعان‏:‏ مرض القلوب، ومرض الأبدان وأشد منهما مرض القلوب). That of the heart is considered to be more dangerous. Reason is the worst any sickness of the body can lead to is death, while that of the heart is to an eternal misery/misfortune. While medical doctors treat body related illnesses, that of the heart is the responsibility of Islamic Scholars by the permission of Allah.

Allah instructed true believers to repent in totality from Sins. “O you who have believed, repent to Allah with sincere repentance….” Surah at-Tahrim verse 8. Repentance has its clauses and conditions for it to be effective. Remember, the prophet recommended marriage to prevent Zina, yet, some married men still fornicate. They prefer to satisfy their heart desires rather than be submissive to their Creator. This is clear that for some, the ONLY cure to Zina is not marriage. As for alcohol, it is an addiction. Even if going for a therapy can help, it’s not a guaranteed and final cure. We have seen celebrities hooked to drug and substance abuse go for therapy only to go back to it. Billy Holiday, Marilyn Monroe, Eugene “Big Daddy” Lipscomb, Bruce Lee (died from Prescription drug overdose and not expansion of muscles like most of us believed when we were kids), Elvis Presley, Eddie Guerrero (the famous WWE wrestler), Chris Kelly, Verne Troyer, Whitney Houston, and the list is long. Now let us look at those celebrities who needed no therapy to change their lifestyle for good just by submitting their hearts to Allah. We all know the hit singer LOON born Chauncey Lamont Hawkins who signed a contract with the Bad boys records owned by Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs. He is now Amir Junaid Muhadith. Accepted Islam in Dubai 2008, left his Music career and never went back to his lavish and rich lifestyle where drugs and alcohol was abused, and pretty ladies available to fornicate with! Same was Napoleon, who was a member of the Outlaw Immortalz hip hop group founded by the Late Tupac Shakur. He is now Mutah Wassin Shabazz Beale, accepted Islam in 2001 and now a motivational speaker who lives in Saudi Arabia. He immediately gave up hip hop seeing it as incompatible with Islam and forsake the use of alcohol and drugs.

Islam is not against science. What it will not permit is to suggest that it has no role, or limited role in the existence and development of man and the society. Mamoon, the son of the famous Abbasid caliph Haroon Rasheed was among the earlier Muslims who embraced science and art. It was during his caliphate that the famous scholar Muhammad bn Musa al-Khwarizmi, in a competition Mamoon sponsored, wrote a book on Algebra. Muslim scientists should know that while they are more peculiar about possibilities, Muslim scholars are more concerned about permissibility. No Islamic scholar will issue a fatwa on what he has no knowledge about. Even if medicine says something is possible to be done in a particular way, Islam will ask questions about the procedures and see, by direct evidence, or analogical deduction if it is permissible or not. That is why scholars have legal rulings for one who is brain or clinically dead, Surrogacy, artificial insemination and In vitro fertilization (IVF) etc. In a nut shell, Islam dictates the rules. In the Islamic world, there are well known Permanent committees for scholarly research. Scholars with reputable records are chosen and they will never issue a legal verdict based upon ignorance. There are some scientific discoveries of over six years ago still being deliberated upon (based on the Shari’ah) as I write.



Finally, how we manage information in Islam is very important. The pen is an effective weapon to be used to defend Islam. In a battle, tactics are required. The way some Muslims took to the social media without any firsthand information about the video showing the students being beaten is disappointing. As Muslims, we should ask ourselves why Islamic scholars and students of knowledge don’t speak immediately an issue comes up. I saw so many posts written on this incident by Muslims. Is it not better to seek out where this took place and try to make corrections first? A brother even claimed that the students drank alcohol because the school’s education is not based upon proper teaching of the Qur’an and sunnah and that they are Sufi inclined. We must learn not to speak with emotions. The prophet is the best of teachers and yet, some of those who saw him, heard and learned from him still fornicated, drank alcohol, and even took what was not theirs. Some were hypocrites who pretended to accept his teachings. A clear evidence that these teachings had no positive effect on them. Were his teachings not based upon the Qur’an and sunnah?


On Monday 9th august 2021 Yahaya Nuhu Aliyu, a 13-year-old JSS 2 student in a secondary school in Abuja fell sick. He went to the school clinic but was allegedly turned back because he had not eaten so giving him drugs won’t be advisable. He returned back to class. His teacher, one Mrs. Gibson demanded from him his assignment and allegedly beat him for failing to provide it. The boy died. Four students tried lifting him up but it was too late. How many heard about this incident? A dead student beaten by a teacher should trend more than students beaten but still alive. Imagine if an Edward John was beaten to death by a Mrs. Muhammad? Where are the human right activists writing and protesting when these Muslim students were beaten? Until we realize how to manage our issues, and see each other as Muslims who are brothers and sisters first, and know that the kuffar do not care about our rights but disturbed about the teachings of Islam, Muslims will continue to be at the receiving end.

When an ignoramus keeps quiet, and refrain from speaking about what he knows not, he will know peace. His mistakes will be minimized and his rewards increases. This is my candid advise for those Muslims who speak about almost everything without having the required Islamic knowledge.

قال الحافظ المزي رحمه الله : “لو سكت من ﻻ يدري، ﻻستراح وأراح، وقل الخطأ، وكثر الصواب”.

تهذيب الكمال ( 362 / 4).

Musa Ibrahim-Katsina,

Mudeer Daarul Imaam Al-Layth International schools, Lagos Nigeria.

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