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Though the narrative is often quoted in disicussion in this regard but i could not find the source and am therefore am unable to say anything regarding the authenticity of the report. [/quote]
This Hadith has been reported in [i]Sunnan Abu Da'ood [/i], No. 417, the chain of reporters is credible except for the fact that [i]Yahya Bin Mu'iin [/i] crticizes Abdul Malik Bin al-Rabee', one of the reporters.
This Hadith has also been reported in [i] Sunnan al-Tirmidhi [/i] No. 372 and [i] al-Daarmi [/i] No. 1395. According to Imam al-Tirmidhi, this Hadith is [i] Hasan Sahih [/i] (fairly authentic). In both these later sources, the word 'teach' has been used instead of 'command', the rest of the report is same.
According to the [i]Sharah [/i] of Abu Da'ood, this Hadith addresses the parents and guardians and pertains to both boy and girl. The purport of the report is that parents/guardians should teach their children initially and when they come to age in which they make sense of what 'admoniton' is all about, they should be admonished if they do not offer prayer. The Hadith though uses the word 'Darab', which means 'beat', this should be understood in the overall perspective of Islam generally and the character of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) particularly. I mean to say that neither Islam nor the Holy Prophet (pbuh) condones beating of anyone at an individual level. The [i] Shariheen [/i] has explained this word as [i] Darab Ghaira Mubrahin [/i],which means to hit without causing any injury. To my mind, it should be understood as admonition. When we usually warn our children, we often use words like [i] Agr Tum Nein Ye Naa Kia To Mein Tumhari Tangain Thoor Doon Gha [/i] (If you did not do this, I would break your legs), but the intention of breaking legs is actually not present.[/quote]