Praise be to Allah.
What is meant by bullying is repeated physical and verbal aggression, which the bully – boy or girl – usually does to others of the same age or younger. The bully relies on his physical strength or his friends or “gang.” In addition to that, he takes advantage of the weakness of his victim, or the victim’s being on his own.
This phenomenon, unfortunately, is becoming widespread in schools and neighbourhoods, and it usually causes grave physical and psychological harm to the victim. Sometimes the negative impact of that may push the victim to suicide, if no one is alerted to his situation and daily suffering.
In order to solve this social problem, after seeking the help of Allah, may He be exalted, it requires the participation of all those connected to the situation, in particular:
The family of the bully:
The family that is affected by this phenomenon should get in touch with the family of the bully and remind them of Allah, may He be exalted, and what He has enjoined on them of taking care of disciplining their children and keeping them away from bad manners and bad behaviour.
Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are [appointed] angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded.”
Shaykh Muhammad al-Ameen ash-Shinqeeti (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
The man must enjoin his family – his wife, his children and so on – to do what is right and forbid them to do what is wrong, because Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning), “O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire…” And the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Each of you is in a position of trust and is responsible for what he is entrusted with…”
End quote from Adwa’ al-Bayaan (2/209).
They should warn them [the bully’s family] of Allah’s punishment in the hereafter, because of their failing to advise their children and restrain them from wrongdoing, for this is neglect and approval of aggression, which is negligence in raising children.
It was narrated from al-Hasan that ‘Ubaydullah ibn Ziyaad visited Ma‘qil ibn Yasaar during the sickness of which he died. Ma‘qil said to him: I am going to tell you of a hadith that I heard from the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). I heard the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) say: “There is no person whom Allah puts in charge of others, and he is insincere towards them, but he will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (7150) and Muslim (142).
They should also beware of bad consequences if they do not put an end to the aggression and transgression of their children, for the requital matches the deed, as is indicated by the Islamic texts and by people’s experience.
What all fathers and mothers must do is strengthen the religious deterrent in their children and raise them with sound creed and good characteristics such as tolerance, respect, good manners, love of others, and keenness to help them and be cooperative, and so on.
The family of the victim:
The child’s parents should pay attention to his situation and not neglect him or leave him without any care on the grounds that he should learn to solve his own problems and not be dependent on others.
It was narrated from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Each of you is in a position of trust and is responsible for what he is entrusted with. The ruler of the people is in a position of trust and is responsible for them. A man is in a position of trust over the members of his household and is responsible for them. A woman is in a position of trust over her husband’s house and children and is responsible for them. The slave is in a position of trust over his master’s wealth and is responsible for it. Each of you is in a position of trust and each of you is responsible for what he is entrusted with.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (2554) and Muslim (1829).
In particular, in many cases the victim of bullying does not express himself and is introverted, so he hardly tells anyone of what is on his mind. Parents should have a relationship with him that goes beyond the limits of parenthood to friendship, so that the child will be able to express himself to them and will have the courage to speak of his thoughts and his problems. The parents should also visit their son’s school from time to time to find out how he is doing. It is also important to choose good friends for him and allow him to invite them over to the house from time to time, so that they can do some leisure activities or hobbies or homework together. This will make the child more outgoing and will also help him to become close friends with the others, which will protect him from the aggression of the bullies.
Parents should also train their children in self defence, which increases physical and psychological strength, increases self-esteem and will keep the bullies away from them. At the same time, parents should also remind children that the aim of the sports is not to be violent and aggressive towards others; rather the aim is to improve physical health and strength, in addition to developing the ability to defend oneself if necessary.
It is also important to communicate with the imams and khateebs of mosques, and with satellite channels, to remind them to discuss this issue and warn against aggression towards people in word and deed, and to note that the one who does that is deserving of punishment in the hereafter as well as punishment in this world, and so on.
Parents and guardians of other children in the same school or neighbourhood:
It is good to communicate with them and alert them to the seriousness of this problem, and advise them to work together in raising children to support the one who is mistreated and try to restrain the aggressor, and not to remain content to be mere bystanders, watching what is going on, for that is an attitude which is forbidden by Islam.
It was narrated that Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Help your brother whether he is a wrongdoer or is wronged.” A man said: “O Messenger of Allah, I can help him if he is wronged but what if he is the wrongdoer, how can I help him?” He said: “Stop him or prevent him from doing wrong. That is how you help him.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (6952).
It was narrated that al-Bara’ ibn ‘Aazib (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) enjoined seven things upon us and he forbade seven things to us. [He commanded us] to visit the sick, to attend funerals, to say Yarhamuk Allah (may Allah have mercy on you) to one who sneezes, to return the greeting of salaam, to help the one who has been wronged, to accept invitations, and to go along with a vow made by another. Narrated by al-Bukhaari (2445) and Muslim (2066).
It is also good to contact the school administration to discuss with them ideas and solutions to eliminate this problem or reduce its impact.
And Allah knows best.