Once upon a time, long long ago, there lived a native American Indian tribe on a piece of land. One day another tribe came to the area and asked the resident tribe if they could live beside them.
“We have plenty of space,” the resident tribal elders said. “Why not?”
So the new tribe settled down and the two tribes began to live side by side.
One day, a young man from the new tribe killed a dog belonging to the resident tribe. The resident tribal elders sat down to discuss what to do.
“They killed one of our dogs, let’s kill one of theirs in response,” suggested one.
“But they are our neighbours,” replied one.
“We don’t want to escalate the situation,” said another.
“Let us be patient in order to keep the peace, ” said one.
“It was only a dog,” said another.
So the resident tribe decided not to do anything about it.
A few weeks after the dog was killed, a man from the new tribe kidnapped a woman from the resident tribe and violated her.
“Had we killed one of their dogs when they killed our dog, they would never have touched this woman,” said the same resident tribal elder who had suggested that the tribe should have responded after the first incident.
The elders now realised their mistake. So they killed a dog from the new tribe and they killed the rapist. The new tribe never bothered the resident tribe again.
12 days ago, on 28 September 2016, Asad Khan, an 11 year old boy from Bradford, northern England, hanged himself after being bulled at his new school. In a statement issued after his death, she wrote:
“Asad, my eldest child, my everything. He was my greatest strength and support. He was no ordinary child, he was very bright for his age, he was sensitive, loving and a very lively child…”
Bullying is one of the most difficult dilemmas that a person can face in their life. It is a dilemma because there is no easy way out.
Either you do nothing, and allow yourself to be imprisoned by fear of the bully. Or you stand up to the bully and risk getting hurt in the process. You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
It is not only children that are victims of bullying. Women married to abusive husbands are victims of bullying. Foreigners new to a country are bullied by locals. Junior members of staff are bulled by senior members of staff.
I found three characteristics common to bullies:
- A bully can only exist when no-one stands up to him.
- No bully considers himself a bully.
- If you call a bully’s bluff, he crumbles, i.e. when you stand up to a bully, you find that he is just an insecure coward.
A few years ago, the 8 year old son of a friend was getting bullied on the schoolbus. The bully was bigger and bulkier than this boy.
His father did everything he could to stop the bullying. He spoke to the school headmaster, he spoke to the teachers, he even spoke to the bus driver. But nothing happened. Things only got worse.
One evening his son came home with a mark on his face where the bully had kicked him. The kick had just missed the boy’s eye. The father had had enough. He told his son,
“Tomorrow, when you see the bully, I want you to go up to him, take his glasses off, throw them on the floor and stamp on them until they break.”
So next day the son obeyed his father.
Almost immediately, the school phoned the father and asked him to come in to see the headteacher. The father of the bully was there. My friend simply told the headteacher that he asked his son to act because no-one had done anything to stop the bully.
“I am not going to wait for my son to lose an eye before someone does something about it,” the father said.
The bully was moved to another bus (there had been other complaints about him too) and the boy was never bullied again.
One of the most common phrases that I heard in prison was, “Don’t let anyone take your kindness for weakness.”
There are some who believe that not standing up to someone who bullies you or does you harm is some sort of divine act of worship that pleases God. This is a lie against God. No God asks His servants to tolerate those who do harm to them.
“Indeed He does not love the oppressors,” is a verse that comes not only in The Quran, but also The Bible, numerous times.
When white Christian slavemasters raped, tortured and mutilated the black slaves that they had kidnapped, they taught them that if they were patient then Jesus (pbuh) would be happy with them. By saying this, the slavemasters lied against God, lied against Jesus (pbuh) and lied against The Bible.
Men who batter their wives then justify their beatings by saying that God orders them to do this are not only bullies, they are liars as well. They lie against God and they lie against His Prophet (pbuh), who never raised a finger against a woman in his entire life.
So, whether you are being bullied at home, at school, in your workplace, on the street… be brave enough to stand up to the bully.
Yes, you might get hurt in the process, you might get in trouble, but you will get your life back and the bullying will stop.
And if you are a bully, stop now. Otherwise God will stop you Himself because God always sides with the victims. Not the bullies..
“I request everyone to stand up against bullying, no child deserves to be mistreated. It is a serious issue and many are a victim of it. Today it is my child, tomorrow it could be one of yours…” was the message that Asad Khan’s mother had to say after she lost her son to bullying.
Have you ever stood up to a bully? Share your stories below.
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On point. 👍
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Salam alaykoum Babar,
Thanks for taking the time and energy to tell this story and share your advices.
Much appreciated, barakallahu feek
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Thank you for reading my posts, Yacine, and for your comments, which are important to me.
really great article and very valid points. One of the things that is being noted as well is that most times the bullies target certain type. The types they think are vulnerable, eg new kid to the block, the school to the country etc. And if this person lacks self confidence. They pick on their week points. Calling someone fat, or black or what ever else. So as parents we need to make our kids feel like they are king of the world. My boys saw that I was dark skinned 5ft tall women. But, I was rather comfortable with who I was. If I am comfortable then in turn my kids are likely to feel the same. It doesnt always work. But, it really does help. If the bullying can be stopped prior to it getting physical too is better. It usually starts verbal. Be witty and have great comebacks. Someone called my son “you black” and he laughed at the guy and said “mate I do own a mirror”
But I totally agree with you barber, you have to stand up to bullies. At present most school policies (mainly in the western world) does not deal with it adequately.
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Thank you for sharing, Uma, very well said. You are right, self-confidence is a major part of protecting our vulnerable from bullying. “Make our children feel as if they are king of the world.” 🙂 I couldn’t say it better!
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Wow, awesome parenting advice in 1 sentence. Jkk
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I was bullied for in school for 2 years by several people. In my third year, I was in my German class. The teacher left the room and I was cornered by 5 people in the class.
They pushed me and made me look stupid. I had enough. The teachers and senior school management were aware and nothing happened .
So this time I mustered the courage to act
I picked up a chair and hit the main bully over the head, gave him some punches and kicks.
The teacher had arrived. I was taken to the Head of Year Office.
He asked me, did u hit x over the head with a chair?
I said yes .
He looked very astonished and did nothing. I went to my next lesson, ended the day and the news went around I hit this well-known bully.
Then on I never had problems ,even the ‘gangsters’ respected me for standing up for myself.
The reason I share this is because if you are bullied, ACT NOW. it doesn’t have to be a chair. It can be just a slap. It is enough to stop the spiral and you will not be in trouble.
Join your kids to local martial arts club. It may seem expensive, but the benefit will be lifelong. There’s way too much benefit to list here.
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Thank you for sharing this great story Arif. Something similar happened to me in school. I had a big fight when I was 16 and beat up this guy who used to bully my friends, but I never got in trouble for it because he was well-known for his bullying.
You are right, it doesn’t have to be a chair, just anything to let the bully know that you are no longer going to stand for it.
I bet you your life changed after you stood up to that bully?
Dhulm is Dhulm, Dhulm is Haram for everyone! Please see article I wrote: https://mylittlebreathingspace.wordpress.com/2014/08/23/dhulm-oppression-or-depression/
This was written after being bullied and harassed working for a Muslim charity.
Dear Mr Ahmad
I have just seen your interview with the BBC on youtube and I couldnt blink as it was so interesting and educational for me. I am sad that you had to endure such injustice and unpleasantness. I hope you will continue to educate others and to speak out about your experiences. Your words on bullying and the stories shared here really had a profound effect on me and I will remember it moving forward in my own life. You contribute to making me proud to be a muslim. I see a true warroir for peace and acceptance in you. May Allah give you the strength to continue your work for peace. Lots of good wishes and duas from South Africa
Dear Zeenath thank you for your comments, I am glad you found my writing beneficial. Thank you.