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  • Raya Shokatfard


Updated: Jul 4, 2020

By: Raya Shokatfard

Can people blame their own flawed character on negative childhood experiences?

Modern psychology has overwhelmingly proven true that much of the adults’ behavior has much to do with their childhood experiences.

Islam agrees but with some exceptions. It does not take much intelligence to realize that humans are sensitive and adaptable creatures. A child raised with love, affection and responsiveness from the parents, surely responds positively and grows up with proper manners, feeling secure, loved and satisfied in his/her adulthood in most cases.

On the contrary, an abused, unloved and uncared for child would most likely mirror his/her own experience in treating others likewise. Of course there are always exceptions to both cases.

As a volunteer for a domestic violence center in Northern California in 2002, I had to go through special training to understand the nature of domestic violence, its causes and cures. We were informed that according to a research nearly 95% of abused children grow up abusing their own children or spouses.

Don’t Mention God!

With this information, it seemed nearly impossible to train the abusing partner to behave properly and stop abusing those whom they were living with. In most cases, the abuser was a male abusing a female he was living with – majority not married, yet some with children.

We would repeatedly admit the same females into the shelter for the same kinds of abuses and this was even many times after the man had gone through court ordered rehabilitation program. Problem stayed the same until, in most cases, the woman ran away or got restraining order against him from the court.

We were ordered not to ever mention God or give religious advice because the government funding would stop if religion gets involved.

On the contrary, in many Islamic countries, the role of religion is considered the most effective device to solve such problems. In most cases, a knowledgeable religious person’s advice is sought off to solve such issues.

The Muslim Perspective

Islam is a complete way of life, covering all aspects of human needs. Marriage and family related issues is on top of the list. To begin with, Muslims are prohibited to get involved in acts of adultery and fornication. Any man-woman relationship has to be within the marriage fold.

It is probable that a spouse may have had an abusive childhood and is therefore behaving improperly as is the case with some western abusers. However, a closer look and according to my own experience of being a domestic violence trainer-consultant, most of the abusers had to deal with alcoholic or drug addict parents and grew up using similar substances, even though they hated their parents for using it and abusing them. They mirrored their childhood experiences with those they associated with in an intimate fashion.

In nearly majority of cases, the Muslim abuser did not have to deal with drug addict or alcoholic parents, although exceptions exist. The root of abuse, in most cases, comes from ignorance and lack of proper education and Islamic knowledge.

Such cases are much easier to remedy, as the abuser is reminded of God, His guidance and prohibitions. He is reminded of severe punishment of the Hereafter for hurting the innocent persons and is advised to repent and return to the way of pleasure of the Creator.

With proper and continuous support such persons make the change and return to a normal life, not for their own and family sake only, but to please God and as an obligation which must not be abandoned.

Sadly enough, there are still many cases in the Muslim world where the person treats others wrongly without even knowing the original cause or possibly blaming his/her own childhood upbringing as a factor. If he had the slightest interest to know God’s word on the matter, he would not miss the verse where God reminds the believer. He would know that on the Day of Judgment, people blame others for their own wrong doing, only to find that they would all face the torment of the fire and no one is excused as a result of another wrong doing to him. Everyone is accountable for what they did while living on earth.

God warns in the Quran:

{And no soul, as bearer of burden, bears (and is made to bear) the burden of another; and if one weighed down by his burden calls to (another for help to) carry it, nothing of it will be carried by that other, even if he be his near of kin. You can warn (in a profitable way) only those who stand in awe of their Lord though unseen (beyond their perception), and establish the Prayer in conformity with its conditions. And whoever is purified (of his wrong ideas or actions), is only purified for the good of his own soul. And to God is the homecoming.} (Fatir 35: 18)


Published on Reading Islam on Thursday, 30 January 2012

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