A Muslim strives to display good character and manners. A Muslim does not cause harm and always tries to be kind, tolerant and merciful towards others.
Today, bullying, undermining others and being disrespectful to them has become a major problem in our society. From abusive behaviour on the school playground to undermining classmates on social media, bullying is a widespread problem that can affect one's mental and emotional health.
What is bullying
Bullying is when a child or a group of children abuse their power to hurt or intimidate others. Bullying can be hurtful and aggressive, and its harmful effects are often seen in the behaviour of the victim who becomes insecure, feels degraded and loses confidence.
What are the different types of bullying?
Bullying can exist in many forms. There are 4 main types of bullying:
Verbal - name-calling, mocking, intimidating, humiliating or threatening;
Physical - pushing, scratching, tripping, biting punching, spitting or hitting. It also includes actions that deprive someone of his personal belongings, such as taking items without permission, stealing, intentionally damaging an item, etc.
Psychological & emotional – gossiping, spreading rumours, tale carrying, isolating or excluding someone from a conversation or activity;
Cyberbullying – bullying and manipulation through social media
Who is a bully?
Bullies have an insecurity about themselves due to some disruption or imbalance in their life or family structure. Bullies have a need to control others and want to hurt them. They lack self-control, empathy and sensitivity.
Bullies attack the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of others to feel better about themselves. They also use past incidents or secrets to embarrass a person in front of other people. They bully people they feel inferior to, as an attempt to knock them down to their level, or they bully someone else to get other people's attention.
Why do bullies bully others?
When a person is spiritually weak, feels emotionally challenged, or has not developed good character and lacks tarbiyat (self-development), he or she looks for comfort, solace and security by undermining others. A bully cannot see others progressing, doing well or being happy. A bully gives expression to his inner weaknesses and lack of good character. A bully is in need of guidance and assistance.
What to do if you are being bullied
As a result of bullying and harassment, you may feel threatened, frightened, and disconnected from school. Keep in mind, bullies are cowards and they pick on those whom they perceive as weaker.
The following approach can help you to effectively handle someone who may be bullying you:
Say something positive to yourself. Remind yourself of your positive attributes.
Tell the bully how you feel, why you feel the way you do, and what you want the bully to do. Learn to do this with a calm and determined voice. Say, for example, "I feel hurt when you call me names because I have a real name. I want you to start calling me by my real name."
Don't reward the bully with tears. The bully wants to hurt your feelings, so act like his name-calling and taunts don't hurt. This you can do by agreeing the bully is right. For example, when the bully calls you "fatty," look him in the eye and say calmly, "You know, I do need to start getting a good diet." Then walk off with confidence. You have lost nothing but cleverly walked away from a potential bullying situation.
Disarm the bully with humour. Laugh off his threats and move away from him.
Try to deal with a bully with confidence and prevent a difficult situation from escalating. Use your best judgment, and follow your instincts. Do not be passive. Put up a brave front and show the bully you are not weak.
Don't expect to be mistreated. When walking toward a group of friends, think of them as being nice to you and do your best to be friendly. Importantly, treat others the way you want to be treated. Stand up for other students who are bullied, and ask them to stand up for you.
Always report incidents of bullying to your teacher or parents. Make sure they are fully aware of what is happening.
What should I do if I am a bully?
If you are a bully or have a tendency to bully others, then it is imperative for you to do a self-introspection. These are some helpful questions you should ask yourself,
Why do you feel the need to bully others?
Do you understand that your actions are hurting someone?
What did you want to achieve?
What steps must I take to change my behaviour so that you I do not hurt anyone?
A bully must learn the following
- To accept responsibility of one's behaviour
- To reflect – Allah Ta'ala is watching me and is aware of my every move. I will be accountable to my Creator on the Day of Judgement
- To feel regret and remorse and make sincere Taubah (repentance)
- To seek help and guidance on why I am bullying others
- To be humble and seek forgiveness and avoid such behaviour in future.
- To build friendly relationships with your friends and peers.
A Muslim is never a bully
The conduct of believer is one of tolerance, forgiveness and understanding. The Qur'an says, “Obey Allah and His messenger and do not fight among yourselves, lest you should lose courage and your strength diminishes. Be patient. Verily, Allah is with the patient.” (Surah Anfal V 46)
To get along with others and keep people together one must exercise patience over their provocation and ignore their negative comments as far as possible.
There are numerous Ahadith where arguing is discouraged, and glad tidings are given for one who quells or walks away from an argument.
Hazrat Anas t narrates that Rasulullah r said, "…Whoever forsakes an argument, even when he is right, a palace will be built for him in the middle of Jannah …” (Tirmizi)
The Noble Quran calls on us to adopt good conduct: “Allah commands justice, good conduct, and kindness to relatives, and He forbids immorality, bad conduct and oppression.” (Quran: 16:90)
Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, Allah Ta'ala says: “My servants, I have made oppression unlawful for Me and unlawful for you, so do not commit oppression against one another.” (Muslim)
May Allah Ta'ala grant us good character and protect us from causing harm to others.