My Husband Disciplines Our Baby by Hitting him

27 November, 2018
Q As-salamu `alaykum.

My husband hit our 9-month-old baby on the butt, on the diaper, because the baby cries whenever he sees him. One day, he hit him harder than usual and I took the baby from him. He told me not to take the child away when he is disciplining him. He told me I did not know how hard he hit the baby because the baby cries all the time anyway.

How can you discipline a baby? A baby does nothing to be disciplined for. My husband further stated that if I did not like his tactics, we can divorce and have a custody (court) battle. I told him that he would not get the child in this country. He said it would be my word against his.

Should Muslims spank infants (newborn to three years) or hit them at all? Is it worth divorcing over?

Answer

In this counseling answer:

• Under no circumstance should anyone, Muslim or not, hit a baby.

• Encourage your husband to play with his son. Suggest they go to the park in the stroller or have your husband feed him.

• If your husband gets angry and takes it out on the baby, maybe he can seek counseling in order to help deal with his anger.

• Sit down together with your husband, when your son is sleeping, and discuss ways of caring for your son.


As-salamu `alaykum,

Under no circumstance should anyone, Muslim or not, hit a baby. Babies cry a lot because that is their only way of communicating their needs. You and your husband should check to see why the baby is crying. Maybe he is crying because he is hungry, tired, needs to be changed, bored, has gas, or wants a change of scenery.

Babies communicate to their parents, and if the parents are attentive they can usually figure out what is wrong. Has the baby been sick lately? Check with your doctor to rule out any physical problems.

At this age, babies want to interact more with loved ones and need physical contact that is positive. Encourage your husband to play with his son. Suggest they go to the park in the stroller or have your husband feed him. If your husband spends time with your son during quite times, when both are relaxed and not stressed out, he might enjoy parenting much more.


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If your husband gets angry and takes it out on the baby, maybe counseling is in order to help deal with his anger. Parenting should be a shared event between husband and wife. Sit down together with your husband, when your son is sleeping, and discuss ways of caring for your son. If your marriage is strong and you are communicating with each other this will benefit your son in the long run.

This question of whether or not to discipline a baby does not rise to the level of getting a divorce. Divorce is always a last resort in Islam.

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

About Hwaa Irfan
Late Hwaa Irfan, may her soul rest in peace, served as consultant, counselor and freelance writer. Her main focus was on traditional healing mechanisms as practiced in various communities, as opposed to Western healing mechanisms.