Domestic Abuse & Islamic Teachings
Domestic abuse and violence occurs in all societies regardless of culture, ethnicity, religious background or socio-economic status. This guide has not been produced because Muslims are more likely to be victims of domestic abuse than those belonging to other communities. Instead, the aim of the guide is to remind Muslims of the teachings and practices of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) so that such un-Islamic practices do not take place in Muslim hous
In his 38 years of married life, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) never abused any of his wives and was extremely gentle and compassionate with his family. In fact, one of the companions is reported to have said: “I have never seen anyone more kind to his family than Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him).” [Sahih Muslim]
Women as well as men can be victims of domestic abuse, depending on which spouse is in a dominant position in the marital relationship. Domestic abuse manifests in various forms, most commonly as physical violence, but also as emotional abuse and financial control.
Domestic abusers make excuses for their violent conduct by citing frustration to financial difficulties, problems with children, family members or colleagues, cultural pressures or an inferiority complex and they let out this frustration by abusing their spouses. In order to justify their detestable actions, sometimes, they distort the meaning of a particular passage in the Qur’an and take it out of context.
Islamic view on Marital Relations
In fact, far from condoning domestic violence, Islam offers an entirely different picture of how marital relations should be conducted. Allah Almighty says in the Qur’an that when men retain their wives in marriage it should not be to take advantage of them; rather kindness and affection should be the mark of their relationship: “Retain them in kindness or release them in kindness. But do not retain them to their hurt so that you transgress (the limits). If anyone does that he wrongs his own soul. Do not take God’s instructions as a jest” [Qur’an 2:231].
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has equated perfect belief with good treatment to one’s wife and it has been recorded numerous times as one of his Sunnahs. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has said: “The most perfect believer is one who is the best in courtesy and amiable manners, and the best among you people is one who is most kind and courteous to his wives” [Sahih Tirmidhi].
Domestic abuse or violence not only brings the whole institution of marriage into disrepute but can also lead to young Muslims leaving Islam altogether because they perceive that the Muslim community has failed to live up to the Islamic promise of protection, peace and kindness.
The role of the Community in preventing Domestic Violence
Domestic violence must be dealt with in an appropriate way in order to educate, provide assistance and prevent future occurrences to those suffering from it. This devastating social crisis affects men, women and children across the UK and hinders their physical, social and psychological functioning. Domestic abuse can only be properly dealt with if members of the family as well as the whole community realise the grave effects domestic abuse has and are sincere in their resolve to eradicate it.
Mosques can also play a key role in promoting Islamic family values amongst the Muslim community. Young men and women should be educated about their respective rights and responsibilities in marriage so that it is instilled in them that tension at home or at work must not result in domestic abuse and violence. The aim of a married couple aim should be to develop a healthy, nurturing and abuse-free family life.
Finally, a person who resorts to domestic abuse must also realise that they are not only destroying their family life but are also going against the teachings of Islam. They should endeavour to understand and adopt important life skills, such as anger management, communication skills, stress management, decision making and problem solving skills, that can help to prevent domestic violence, and also aim to strengthen their relationship with their Lord so that they can finds inner peace and harmony.