Let’s talk about the ‘brutal flogging’ in the Madrasa school that recently got everyone outraged.
I grew up attending Madrasa schools to learn the Quran.
We called it Makaranta back then. Makaranta is Hausa for school. Anyway, I hated our Islamic teacher because he always flogged us with this very long and wiry cane that drew blood; especially when it stung our ears. The moment he called anyone one out to recite the Alphabets- “Kha, Ha, Jeem, Thaa, Taa, Ba, Alif…” (In Arabic, you read right to left); my brain would freeze.
Even though I knew the rest of the alphabets; the Imam’s constant whip often stopped the words in my throat. I would squeeze my eyes shut from the pain to come; so would be unable to read off the blackboard. I eventually learned to recite and years later; they still ring in my head from hundreds of thousands of times reciting them.
My impression remains same about what a Muslim school is. Hard lessons are learned for a lifetime, just so you never forget!
So, when my friend showed me the video of the Madrasa Islamic school flogging; first thing I said was, “They are beating them like they would in Makaranta!”
But my friend didn’t understand.
He said, “They didn’t steal or kidnap anyone. They were caught because they went to a party and drank alcohol!”
I said, “Oho!”
He was shocked “Oho. IUs that enough to warrant being brutally flogged!”
He glared at me like I was the one who ordered the flogging.
First off, I do not approve of the “brutal flogging.”
Nobody who flogs my child like that will get away with it. However, I honestly believe that when parents send their wards to certain schools such as the Madrasa variety; they expect certain modes of discipline meted out and they approve of it! In their minds, these will keep their wards on the straight and narrow path.
In my case, I and my sibs would come home with welts on our arms and legs…My parents saw, would ask why we were flogged. We would reply, “I couldn’t recite my alphabets” and they would nod and say something like; “Learn to recite your alphabets better, you play too much…When you know your Quran, you will grow up to be a decent Muslim. You will make paradise…”
Nothing like, “Is that why they want to mark you for life? Did you kill anyone to be so badly flogged? This is too much. Let’s go and meet them at school!”
I hated my parents for this and as soon as I was independent enough; I stopped going to that Makaranta all together. Also, I never used the cane on my own kids nor sat back and told them they deserved to be punished if they got flogged at school! I had my methods of discipline that worked just fine!
So, when I read reports about one of the students; who was also among the students caught, say; “As they flogged us on Wednesday, we believe we deserved the flogging as a form of discipline. We deserved it. But some of the students that were flogged went to post it on social media; and I told them not to. The way some of our parents called the Imam to express support is what good parents should do; because discipline will ensure that we don’t do that again.”
I went like, “Aha, I said it a few days back when the video was shown to me.”
Many parents think capital punishment like the type handed down at the Madrasa will keep their children on the straight and narrow…But they are wrong.
It breeds resistance, like it did me and my sibs and it breeds rebellion, like it will continue to; with more students willing to risk going to parties and participating in “un-Islamic” dances and drinks. It breeds a system that they will never learn to accept that forcing ‘ideals’ on people never truly works.
But what’s worse, it recruits more who will devise more vicious punishments to keep people shackled; just so they remain on the straight and narrow path to paradise. The vicious punishment can, sometimes, have deadly consequences.
It breeds fanatics who want to impose punishment on people who disobey their strict orders. We see them today and in their minds; they must flog righteousness into people to “help” them achieve the goal of reaching al Janna.
Now, isn’t that where we all want to go?