I just wanted to know if it's haram for parents to hit their children because my parents always slap me if I do something wrong
It depends. Hitting anyone without a proper cause is not permissible, rather it is oppression.
But hitting is permissible when it is done for the purpose of تأديب i.e. educating and training the child regarding his obligations and prohibitions - in regards to the rights of Allah and the rights of the people. Beating would hence be a lesser harm which could prevent the child from facing much more serious consequences in this life and the next.
This has the following guidelines:
- other gentler methods (such as advising, scolding and warning) should be tried beforehand and deemed ineffective
- the parent's best judgement should be that beating will be effective in correcting the child's behavior
- the beating must not target the face, as hitting the face is forbidden
- it must be a light beating which does not cause bleeding or break bones etc.
In Islam, parents have guardianship over their children and are held responsible for educating them, as established by the texts:
يا أيها الذين آمنوا قوا أنفسكم وأهليكم نارا وقودها الناس والحجارة
O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones
— Quran 66:6 - protection from hell is achieved by training them to avoid sins
كلكم راع فمسئول عن رعيته ... والرجل راع على أهل بيته وهو مسئول عنهم، والمرأة راعية على بيت بعلها وولده وهى مسئولة عنهم
Everyone of you is a guardian and is responsible for his charges ... a man is a guardian of his family and is responsible for them, a woman is a guardian of her husband's house and children and is responsible for them.
إنما أنا لكم مثل الوالد لولده أعلمكم
I am to you like a father to his son, teaching you.
وأمر أهلك بالصلاة
And enjoin prayer upon your family
— Quran 20:132 - and other matters are analogous to prayer
إذ قالت امرأت عمران رب إني نذرت لك ما في بطني محررا فتقبل مني إنك أنت السميع العليم
When the wife of 'Imran said, "My Lord, indeed I have pledged to You what is in my womb, consecrated [for Your service], so accept this from me. Indeed, You are the Hearing, the Knowing."
— Quran 3:35 - because if they have the power to consecrate their children then by implication they also have the right to educate, restrict and discipline them, as noted by al-Jassas: ويدل على أن للأم ضربا من الولاية على الولد في تأديبه؛ وتعليمه؛ وإمساكه؛ وتربيته؛ لولا أنها تملك ذلك لما نذرته في ولدها
Its permissibility is proven by analogy with the texts permitting the use of beating in hudud and ta'zir - as parents are guardians over their children just like the rulers are guardian over their subjects:
الزانية والزاني فاجلدوا كل واحد منهما مائة جلدة
The [unmarried] woman or [unmarried] man found guilty of sexual intercourse - lash each one of them with a hundred lashes
والذين يرمون المحصنات ثم لم يأتوا بأربعة شهداء فاجلدوهم ثمانين جلدة
And those who accuse chaste women and then do not produce four witnesses - lash them with eighty lashes
أنهم كانوا يضربون على عهد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا اشتروا طعاما جزافا أن يبيعوه في مكانهم حتى يئووه إلى رحالهم
Those people who used to buy foodstuff at random (without weighing or measuring it) were beaten in the lifetime of Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) if they sold it at the very place where they had bought it, till they carried it to their dwelling places.
أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ضرب في الخمر بالجريد والنعال، وجلد أبو بكر أربعين
The Prophet (ﷺ) beat a drunk with palm-leaf stalks and shoes. And Abu Bakr gave (such a sinner) forty lashes.
لا عقوبة فوق عشر ضربات إلا في حد من حدود الله
No punishment exceeds the flogging of the ten stripes, except if one is guilty of a crime necessitating a legal punishment prescribed by Allah.
— Bukhari - which proves that beating is permitted for other than hudud
It is also proven by analogy from the texts on the permission of striking wives for nashooz - as parents are guardians over their children just like a husband is a guardian over his wives:
الرجال قوامون على النساء ... واللاتي تخافون نشوزهن فعظوهن واهجروهن في المضاجع واضربوهن فإن أطعنكم فلا تبغوا عليهن سبيلا
Men are in charge of women ... But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them.
واضربوهن ضربا غير مبرح
and hit them, but without causing injury or leaving a mark
It is also proven by the texts on Enjoining right and forbidding wrong, as beating is a means of doing it by using one's hand, and children are included in those who are to be forbidden from wrongdoing.
الذين إن مكناهم في الأرض أقاموا الصلاة وآتوا الزكاة وأمروا بالمعروف ونهوا عن المنكر
Those who, if We give them authority in the land, establish prayer and give zakah and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong.
من رأى منكم منكرا فليغيره بيده
Whoever among you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand
It is also proven by texts which specifically allow for striking one's children, such as:
مروا أولادكم بالصلاة وهم أبناء سبع سنين واضربوهم عليها وهم أبناء عشر سنين
Command your children to pray when they become seven years old, and beat them for it (prayer) when they become ten years old
عن عائشة، قالت جاء أبو بكر ـ رضى الله عنه ـ ... فعاتبني،وجعل يطعن بيده في خاصرتي
Narrated Aisha: Abu Bakr (my father) came ... he admonished me and struck my flanks with his hand
فيه تأديب الرجل ولده بالقول والفعل والضرب ونحوه وفيه تأديب الرجل ابنته وإن كانت كبيرة مزوجة خارجة عن بيته
In it is evidence that a man may discipline his child by his words and his actions and by beating and such. And that he may discipline his daughter even if she is an adult who is married and outside of the home
كان ابن عمر يضرب ولده على اللحن
Ibn Umar used to strike his son for making grammatical mistakes.
Hitting children in a moderate way as a means of disciplining children is not forbidden in Islam but rather discouraged than encouraged.
I found a good contribution on this topic here.
However, children should follow their parents also if they are not punished.
According to the hadith and this topic
Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention ), said: “Order your children to perform prayer when they are seven years old and beat them (for neglecting it) when they are ten.”[Al-Albaani: Hasan]
In my opinion, anything beside that is considered as child abuse and will only leave a negative impact on the child's health and this should be avoided at all cost, there are always other ways to settle things up.