I became very upset after I discovered
that one of my children had stolen something, and I am afraid that he may become a thief
in the future. What advice can you give me?
Praise be to Allaah.
A young child may steal for a number of reasons:
He steals because he does not know the difference between borrowing and
stealing, and the concept of personal ownership is not clear in his mind.
Some children steal because they are deprived of things that others
To take revenge on the parents or to attract their attention.
What do we advise?
Keep calm. Instead of rebuking him and putting him to shame, keep calm.
This situation is an opportunity to teach your child.
Advise and exhort the child. Explain to him the Islamic rulings
concerning stealing, and tell him that Allaah says in His Book (interpretation of the
“Cut off (from the wrist joint) the (right) hand of the thief,
male or female…)” [al-Maa’idah 5:38]
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) accepted
the pledge of women, when they made bay’ah (oath of allegience) to him, that
they would not steal, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“… that they will not steal…” [al-Mumtahinah
Remind your child that Allaah is always watching. Allaah says
(interpretation of the meaning):
“He is with you (by His Knowledge) wheresoever you may be”
And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“… Allaah is Witness to what you do.” [Aal
Tell him: Allaah can see you even if you steal something in secret,
far away from the view of people, because He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“He knows the secret and that which is yet more hidden.”
Confront the child: you have to confront the child with the reason and
motive for stealing. For example, you could say to him, “I know that you took candy
from the store, and that you took it because you felt that you needed it, but stealing it
was not the answer. Next time, if you want something, talk to me first. I know that you
want to be honest.” Try to make the child see how others feel – “If you
were in the place of the person whose property was stolen, how would you feel?”
Making the punishment severe, such as making the child return the stolen
property and apologize, or making him pay the value of the item if it has been damaged or
used up, whilst also depriving him of some privileges at home.
Supervising the child and not leaving him alone for a long time.
And Allaah is the Guide to the Straight Path.
See: Tanweer al-‘Ibaad bi Turuq al-Ta’aamul ma’a
al-Awlaad by Dr. Haamid Nahaar al-Mutayri, p. 37.