How to Respond to Bullying in Islam?

cara menyikapi bullying

Bullying behaviour happens all around us. Starting from the neighbourhood, workplace, school, to public places. It’s everywhere and anytime. Bullying behaviour is constantly in the spotlight, becoming an idea for writers of drama series and movies. This behaviour is certainly troubling for parents and social circles. We need to make efforts to stop this bullying behaviour. Alhamdulillah, Islam as a guide to life has regulated many things, including explaining how to respond to bullying. What does it look like?

How to Respond to Bullying in Islam

Bullying behaviour known to the public generally takes the form of physical abuse, bullying, hazing; “the strong attacking the weak”. When looking at the meaning of bullying, this behaviour can occur verbally, physically or psychologically, in the real world or in cyberspace. Whether done by individuals or groups. Mocking, insulting, threatening behaviours are also included in bullying.

However, this behaviour is more mentally harmful to the victim than the perpetrator. This is because every act of bullying aims to hurt, bring down self-esteem, and make the victim’s reputation worse in the surrounding environment.

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In Indonesia itself, we have a law on bullying, namely Law No. 35 of 2014 concerning amendments to Law No. 23 of 2002 concerning Child Protection. Also in the Criminal Code (KUHP), Article 170 of the Criminal Code on Brawling, Article 351 of the Criminal Code on Maltreatment and Articles 320 and 311 of the Criminal Code on Bullying committed in public places and humiliating a person’s dignity.

In Islam, bullying behaviour is certainly prohibited, even included as despicable behaviour. So, how to respond to bullying or bullying in Islam? In the Qur’an surah Al-Hujurat verse 11 Allah Swt says:

“O you who believe, let not one people make fun of another people (for) they may be better than those who make fun of them. And let not women (make fun of) other women, (for) it may be that the women (being made fun of) are better than the women (making fun of). Do not revile one another and call one another by bad names. The worst of calls is that of the wicked after faith. Those who do not repent are the wrongdoers.”

Bullying behaviour of any kind is certainly contrary to what Allah Swt wants, where Islam as rahmatan lil ‘alamin teaches its people to create peace and love among fellow humans. On the contrary, bullying as an act of violence will cause problems between people, hostility, hatred and revenge.

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Preventing Bullying

In the Journal of Hadith Science, here’s how to respond to bullying and prevent bullying according to Islam as stated in the Prophet’s hadith.

Providing spiritual awareness about preventing bullying behaviour

“A Muslim is one who saves all Muslims from his tongue and hands. And the one who migrates is the one who leaves all the prohibitions of Allah.” (HR Muslim no 6706)

This Hadith highlights the importance of a Muslim safeguarding the behaviour, life and property of fellow Muslims, and avoiding all that Allah has forbidden. There are two main points emphasised by the Hadith. Firstly, not hurting or harming fellow Muslims with words or physical actions. This includes not spreading slander or speaking ill of them. Second, abiding by the teachings of Islam and staying away from the prohibitions set forth by Allah. Hijrah in this case can mean abandoning actions or behaviours that are prohibited by religion, as well as improving oneself towards goodness and obedience to Allah.

Promoting co-operation and breaking the cycle of conflict

“Abdullah bin Umar RA said: ‘The Messenger of Allah said: ‘A Muslim is a brother to his fellow Muslim, not to mistreat him and not to be mistreated by others. And whoever fulfils his brother’s desire, Allah will fulfil his desire. And whoever relieves the distress of a Muslim, Allah will relieve his distress on the Day of Judgement, and whoever covers the ‘awrah of a Muslim, Allah will cover it on the Day of Judgement’.” (HR. Bukhari and Muslim).

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Eliminating inferiority complexes and honing assertive skills

Looking at the asbabun nuzul of the Qur’an surah Al-Hujurat verse 11, the verse relates to ridicule from women to Shafiyah bint Huyay bin Akhtab (one of the Prophet’s wives) of Jewish descent. The Prophet said to Shafiyah, “Why don’t you tell them that my father is Prophet Aaron, my uncle is Prophet Moses, and my husband is Prophet Muhammad?”

From this history, one of the preventive measures of bullying that can be done comes from oneself, namely with self-defence and the ability to express thoughts, choices and opinions clearly. Using good and understandable speech.

This is how Islam views bullying behaviour and provides ways to address bullying. No creature on Earth deserves to be bullied. We can protect our loved ones and our environment from bullying behaviour in the ways described above. May Allah Swt always protect us all from bad behaviour that harms ourselves and others at large.