Friday, March 11, 2011

Domestic Violence

O you who have believed, indeed, among your spouses and your children are enemies to you, so beware of them. But if you pardon and overlook and forgive – then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. Your wealth and your children are but a trial, and Allah has with Him a great reward. (Qur'an 64:14-15)

Enemies of Islam try to imply that Islam condones domestic violence. They cite from the Qur'an:

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. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand. (Qur'an 4:34)

As usual, they are distorting the meaning of this passage and taking it out of context. It applies to the case of "Nushuz" (extreme defiance, contempt, lewdness) on the part of the wife and disregard for her marital obligations. It recommends a progression of strategies to try to reform her behavior: first admonition, secondly withholding affection, and only as a last resort, a symbolic light striking which according to Islamic jurists may not be in her face, must not leave any mark on her body, and has no more physical impact than a tap from a miswak (small toothbrush).

At the same time, those who attempt to distort this passage are overlooking many sayings of Allah and the Prophet Muhammad (salAllahu 'alayhi wa salam):

"How does any of you beat his wife as he beats a stallion camel and then feels that he may embrace her?" (Reported by Al-Bukhari) 

In fact, instead of condoning domestic violence, Islam, the way of life that brings peace through submission and surrender to the Will of The Creator, offers an entirely different picture of how husband and wife relations should be conducted. The Qur'an encourages a tenderness and empathy between the husband and wife:

It is He who created you from one soul and created from it its mate that he might dwell in security with her. And when be [i.e man] covers her [i.e has sexual intercourse with her], she carries a light burden [i.e a pregnancy] and continues therein. And when it becomes heavy, they both invoke to Allah, their Lord, "If you should give us a good [child], we will surely be among the grateful". (Qur'an 7:189)

Thus Allah has intended for husbands and wives to live together peacefully, to bear children and rear them properly, and to be grateful to Him for the blessing of their family life. Undoubtedly, for Muslims, the best examples of how families should communicate and interact can be found in the household of Prophet Muhammad (salAllahu 'alayhi wa salam) and his righteous companions (radiAllahu anhum) for Rasulullah (salAllahu 'alayhi wa salam), his relationships with his family were based on love and affection, not subordination and servitude. 

Rasulullah (salAllahu 'alayhi wa salam) demonstrated kind treatment of family members: 

Anas (raDiAllahu anhu) reported Rasulullah (SalAllahu 'alayhi wa salam) as saying: "He who wishes to have his provision enlarged and his term of life prolonged should treat his relatives well." (Reported by Al-Bukhari and, Muslim)

Reported Anas (raDiAllahu anhu): "I have never seen anyone more kind to his family than Allah's Messenger (SalAllahu 'alayhi wa salam)." (Muslim)

Prophet Muhammad (SalAllahu 'alayhi wa salam) taught men to be tolerant of flaws in their wives. He often reminded his companions of an ayat from the Qur'an:

"And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them – perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good." (Qur'an 4:19)

He (SalAllahu 'alayhi wa salam) enjoyed leisure time and allowed his family to have fun. Many hadiths speak of his running against A'isha in foot races and joking with her about who would win. He even allowed his very young grandsons, Hassan and Hussain, to play on his shoulders while he was making salaat.

Rasulullah (SalAllahu 'alayhi wa salam) permitted wives to have freedom of expression: 

It is narrated by 'Umar that once he shouted at his wife, and she retorted back, and he disliked her answering back. She said to him, "Why are you surprised at my answering you back? By Allah, the wives of the Prophet answer him back and some of them may avoid speaking to him throughout the day until the night." This talk frightened 'Umar so he went to his daughter, Hafsa (raDiAllahu anha) who was married to Rasulullah (SalAllahu 'alayhi wa salam) and asked, "Do any of you keep the Prophet annoyed until night?" She said "yes." (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

Prophet Muhammad (SalAllahu 'alayhi wa salam) encouraged generosity to enhance family ties and reduce resentment: 

He (SalAllahu 'alayhi wa salam) said: 'When a Muslim spends something on his family intending to receive Allah's reward, it is regarded as sadaqah for him." (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

Narrated Aisha (raDiAllahu anha) that Hind bint Utba came to Rasulullah (SalAllahu 'alayhi wa salam) and said, "O Allah's Messenger! Abu Sufiyan (her husband) is a miser and he does not give me enough for me and my children. Can I take of his property without his knowledge?" Rasulullah (SalAllahu 'alayhi wa salam) replied, "Take what is sufficient for you and your children in a reasonable way." (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

The Prophet (SalAllahu 'alayhi wa salam) demonstrated in action as well as words consideration of the feelings of others. We should never be so rigid with having our own way that we fail to consider the feelings of our family members. Even in a matter as important as salah, we find some room for flexibility and special consideration for the feelings of women and children. Rasulullah (SalAllahu 'alayhi wa salam) said:

"As I start salah, I wish to prolong it, but as soon as I hear the crying of a child I shorten it so as to make it easier for the child's mother." (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

Islam has offered marriage counseling to troubled couples for 14 centuries. 

Rasulullah (SalAllahu 'alayhi wa salam) avoided getting angry with his family members even in the most stressful situations. Prophet Muhammad (SalAllahu 'alayhi wa salam) emphasized control of one's temper and taught effective ways to curb anger.

He advised his companions (raDiAllahu anhum) that if they found themselves becoming angry while standing, they should sit down, and if they become angry while sitting, they should lie down. (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Rather than getting embroiled in quarrels with escalating tempers, he avoided getting angry, sounding accusatory, judgmental, or focusing on blaming. Instead, he would first try to express concern about the problem, gather all the facts, and then calmly try to analyze the best solution.

Consider the incident of the slander against a wife of Prophet Muhammad (SalAllahu 'alayhi wa salam), A'isha (raDiAllahu anha), who was inadvertently left behind during an expedition and was brought back to the group by a man named Safwan. Evil people started rumors against A'isha's honor, but Prophet Muhammad (SalAllahu 'alayhi wa salam) never accused A'isha of the slander and never became a typical outraged husband. While the rumors were spreading, Prophet Muhammad (SalAllahu 'alayhi wa salam) visited A'isha in her parents' home, sat down, and quietly said:

"O Aisha, I have been informed of such and such a thing about you, and if you are innocent, Allah will reveal your innocence, and if you have committed a sin, then ask Allah's forgiveness and repent to Him, for when a slave confesses his sin and then repents to Allah, Allah accepts his repentance." (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

Clearly, Islam encourages kind treatment of family members. Likewise, these examples illustrate what Prophet Muhammad (SalAllahu 'alayhi wa salam) meant when he said: 

"The best of you is he who is best to his family, and I am the best of you to my family." (Mishkat, hadith #2 chapter 35)

Moreover, Islam for fourteen centuries has offered marriage counseling as sensible advice for couples who begin to feel that they are incompatible. 

And if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it between them. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Acquainted [with all things]. (Qur'an 4:35)

Finally, if all efforts to resolve the tensions in the home fail, Islam allows a peaceful dissolution of the marriage.

And if a woman fears from her husband contempt or evasion, there is no sin upon them if they make terms of settlement between them – and settlement is best. And present in [human] souls is stinginess [i.e holding on to self interests]. But if you do good and fear Allah – then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted. (Qur'an 4:128)

Most importantly, husbands and wives should turn to Allah to bring harmony to their marriages because He hears and responds to their prayers.

Consider the case of Khaula bint Thalaba (raDiAllahu anha), the wife of Aus ibn Samit. Her husband tried to divorce her by a pagan custom of Zihar (see glossary), an unjustifiable excuse to be freed from the marriage commitment. She prayed to Allah, and a revelation was sent to Rasulullah (SalAllahu 'alayhi wa salam) on her behalf:

Certainly has Allah heard the speech of the one who argues [i.e pleads] with you, [O Muhammad], concerning her husband and directs her complaint to Allah. And Allah hears your dialogue; indeed, Allah is Hearing and Seeing. (Qur'an 58:1)

Of course, we cannot receive new revelation for our problems today because the Qur'an is complete and sealed as the Final Revelation. Nevertheless, if we study the Qur'an, make dua, and make istikhara with open minds and totally submissive hearts, Allah will guide us for important decisions and issues in our family life. Ultimately, we must bear in mind, that as much as we may love our families, our love and commitment to Allah (Subhan wa Ta'la) must be even greater. 

To summarize, families in the West today face enormous challenges and can benefit from the instructions of the Holy Qur'an and the example of Prophet Muhammad (SalAllahu 'alayhi wa salam) who was an ideal family man. From this guidance, families can reflect the truth of the following words: 

"And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought." (Qur'an 30:21)

Adapted from Source: Domestic Violence


Anonymous said...

Sorry could not read all of this post as bit long when baby climbing all over you! lol but the problem with domestic violence is seen as taboo still in this day and age. Lots of sisters are suffering with it and imams and brother's know of sister's in the abusive situations and no one get's involved and tries to advise and help!
May Allah help and Protect those in these sad situations and curb the abusers. Ameen

fauzan said...


fauzan said...


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