Praise be to Allaah.
Islam enjoins parents to
take care of their children and raise them well. Children will grow up on
what they hear, read and see in their home, on the streets and in school,
and whatever faults happen in their upbringing are because of faults in one
or all of these aspects.
What has happened with your
son, of his bad attitude towards you, may because of what he has seen and
heard at home of the problems between you and your husband, which led to
divorce, or it may be because of the influence of what he has seen and read
on the computer, or it may be the result of witchcraft done against him by
his father in order to take him from you. Any of these things is possible,
or it may be all of these reasons combined that has lead to this bad
behaviour of your son towards you.
Whatever the case, you have
to set things straight by looking for the causes that have led to these
problems, so that you can deal with the matter by dealing with the cause. If
it is because of your problems with his father, then you must make him
understand the reality of the situation and what happened [?} between you,
in a way that is appropriate to his age and level of understanding. If the
cause is what he hears, watches and sees on the computer then you must keep
an eye on whatever he is looking at, and it is essential to teach him to
make good use of the computer. If he does not respond, then you can forbid
him to use it altogether. If the cause is his father doing witchcraft on
him, then you can start to remedy it by using shar’i ruqyahs from the
Qur’aan and saheeh dhikrs of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah
be upon him). There is no reason why you shouldn’t take him to someone whose
religious commitment you trust, to treat him in the shar’i manner for such
You can find out whether
his father is really doing sihr (witchcraft) by finding out how he treats
others or what he really says to those who visit him and consult him.
Some of the scholars have
mentioned the signs of the saahir (practitioner of witchcraft) by means of
which anyone can discern the saahir from those who are good and righteous.
These signs are:
He asks the sick person for his
mother’s name, and some personal possession of the one for whom treatment is
sought, such as his hair or clothing.
He mumbles words that have no
meaning and that the listener cannot understand. The muttering may be calls
to the jinn or devils to come and serve him.
Another sign is that the saahir
does not attend Jumu’ah prayer or the five daily prayers in the mosque.
He is dishevelled and smells
bad, and he likes being in the dark and on his own.
He gives the sick person an
amulet (“hijab”) containing some mumbo-jumbo, squares or numbers.
To find out the truth, he
should have all or some of the characteristics. Thus you will know the truth
about him. It should be noted that you may be exaggerating in suspecting him
of witchcraft. You have to be fair in judging him, and fear Allaah before
making accusations and claims of which he is innocent.
But so long as you have
separated from him, we do not think that you should concern yourself too
much with your ex-husband and whether he is a saahir or not; rather what you
should do is focus on how to protect yourself and your son, and how to
fulfil your duty of raising this boy.
With regard to custody of
the child, it is known that the purpose of custody is to protect and take
care of the child. Hence a person’s right to custody is waived if he is
immoral or corrupt, or if he neglects him, or if he travels a great deal,
which would harm the child’s interests.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn
Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him):
It should be noted that
there is no text which gives precedence to either parent in general terms,
or chooses one of the parents in all cases. The scholars are unanimously
agreed that neither of them is specified in all cases, rather when there is
transgression of the limits or neglect, precedence is not to be given to the
one who will be like that (i.e., the parent who will transgress the limits
or be neglectful) over the one who is just and good and will do what is
It should be noted that the
period of custody extends until the child reaches the age of discernment and
independence, i.e., custody lasts until the child is able to discern and is
independent of his guardian, in the sense that he can eat and drink by
himself, and clean himself after going to the toilet by himself, and so on.
As he has reached the age
of 11, he should be given the choice of living with his father or with you,
so long as the choice is made by him freely, without any pressure or
compulsion, and so long as the reason for his choice is not that he will
never be told to pray or obey Allaah, or to do anything that is in his
religious or worldly interests, because his choice in this case would be
harmful to him. Many children care only about choosing the one who will
spoil them the most or give them the toys and games that they want, so in
that case he should not be allowed to have what he wants.
If it is proven that his
father is engaging in witchcraft, then it is not permissible for him to take
his son, rather he should be withheld from him until he repents sincerely to
If it is not proven that
the father is engaging in witchcraft, then the parents should cooperate in
raising their son, and pay attention to what is in his best interests, so
that their conflict will not be a cause of the children failing and being
See also the answers to
questions no. 8189 and
We ask Allaah to set all
your affairs straight and to guide your son to that which our Lord loves and
is pleased with, and to set his father straight and protect his religious
And Allaah knows best.