May 23, 2012

Physical violence in Marriages and how to deal with it - PART 1

By Farheen Naaz


When we read or hear the words domestic abuse, we often consider it as a thing which does not exist in today’s world and even if it does exist, muslims tend to believe that it has nothing to do with our ummah. It is high time we stopped living in denial and realize that our ummah and the world is being plagued by the problem of domestic violence. In no way is this to be brushed aside or considered a taboo subject anymore! It’s It is time to speak up and speak out against domestic violence.

It is surprising to see that people do not consider domestic violence as a problem. It has not been given the adequate attention that is necessary.which is due to it since long. First and foremost, we need to accept the reality of its existence and then devise ways to tackle it on a large scale. We seldom get to hear traumatic stories of survivors or people being oppressed because of this act, as it is considered stigmatic to even speak about it in the open. We need to make our sisters and brothers aware of this problem and deal with it right on!

According to the American Medical Association, ‘‘Domestic violence is an ongoing, debilitating experience of physical, psychological, and/or sexual abuse in the home.’’

Physical violence is very much a part and parcel of domestic abuse. Physical abuse includes pushing, shoving, choking, slapping, punching, kicking, and beating, assault with a weapon, tying up, refusing to help her when she is sick or injured, physically throwing her out of the house, throwing things at her etc. It escalates in frequency and severity as time ticksgoes by. It impairs the victim’s physical integrity and often entails in psychological consequences.

Domestic violence is often a cycle which continues; child sees father being an abuser towards his mother or him, grows up in that environment and accepts it as a part of life, then the adult in him provokes him to use the same methods of violence towards his family members. The trend is alarming and increasing, much to everyone’s disappointment. It often catches the victim unawares the first time it is experienced and can often be seen as a one-time act which may have been triggered by anger. If the act continues however, it’s definitely time to get help, for yourself and the violator!

Marriages turn sour for only the women folk when it comes to physical violence as a woman is considered to be physically weaker compared to her man and may not be able to tackle or revert back to the severity of the physical abuse. It takes a lot to stand up for yourself, but it is the right thing to do and totally worth it; your life, your body, your soul, your everything belongs to no one but Allah, hence, no one has the right to abuse you or cause harm to what is given to you by Allah Himself.

Muslim men tend to misquote and miscontextualize one particular verse of the Quran which is as follows:

‘‘Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear nushooz - [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.’’
(Surah An-Nisā' 4 : 34)

This verse charges men with the task of financially and physically protecting and caring for their wives and families, since Allah has made men physically stronger than women., which is the interpretation of most scholars. Women, in return for that care, should be careful in guarding their fidelity and morality at all times when no one can see them, in obedience to Allah. Instructions are then given regarding women who rebelliously ignore Allah's commands about sexual fidelity and become sexually disloyal to their husbands.

The husband is instructed first to admonish his wife (talk to her), and then to refuse to share her bed. Should those measures fail, the last instruction is often translated as "hit her," (or "lightly tap her," when the sunnah of the Prophet is considered). Some translators assert that it is incorrect to translate the word as "hit" at all, based on the Prophet's lifelong abhorrence of hitting women, seen in his statement, "Never hit the handmaids of Allah" (found in the hadith collections of Abu Daud, Nasa'l, Ibn Hibban, and Bayhaqi), and in his instructions in his last sermon where he restrict striking to a light tap (ghayr muharrib - without causing pain) only if the wife has become guilty of nushooz, obvious immoral conduct. The term nushooz is applicable to men as well.

This verse has been highly misunderstood and men as well as women often consider men as the ones in charge of their daily affairs and the men keep tabs on their woman’s life like a surveillance camera. Women often have to seek the husband’s permission to go anywhere, be it the grocery store or a place of gaining knowledge. The misinterpretation of this verse makes it a possible tool for control, violence and abuse. Such attitude is not taught by Islam.

Truth be told, many people misunderstand that this verse gives them the freedom to punish their wives physically, but seldom do they realize that the punishment is mainly for nushooz which is translated by scholars as immoral sexual conduct or immoral conduct related to Allah’s commands, both of which mean disobeying Allah and not His creation.!

Now that we have learnt the reality of our world and the truth about the misquoted and miscontextualized verse, let us deal with the problems of dealing with physical abuse in marriages in Part 2 of this article. As you finish reading this, I would like you all to pray for the strength of people who suffer silently in the name of domestic abuse. May Allah give them the strength to stand up for themselves. Please leave your thoughts and suggestions on dealing with this disease and how we can eradicate it.

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)


Thankyou so much for this wonderful uplifting article. I feel so so much better. 

its the 2nd time that i was pushed. this time an extra punch and 2-3 slaps were thrown in. it hurts. physically. my arm still hurts when i sleep at night.  he thinks i provoked him and he did the right thing. as a reflex i hit him back,several self defence...coz i thought he would keep on hitting me. i feel scared in my own home. i dont feel safe around him. everyone in the east blames the woman and talks about how *we provoke them*.....i understand that view but when his friend provokes him, would he punch n hit him?? a BIG NO! i believe we r hit easily coz we r physically weaker than them. men think twice before punching or slapping another man,coz half of the time they r afraid of being beaten back equally hard if not more.
May Allah give us all strength and guide us towards the right path. May he protect me and all of you as well. 

Thank you for the inspiring article. There are so many of us who suffer in silence from Domestic abuse. I have wished so many times to separate from my abusive husband, but have no where to go, no relatives or anyone who can be of any help to me......I am all by myself.......My husband has made me completely dependent on him financially and in every way. I am not allowed to step out of home, or look for work, or study. He verbally abuses me in public, in front of his friends, and his family. He has hit me, kicked me, slapped me, punched me, thrown me against the wall, various times... I am worried as I have a baby, and considering my child's future, makes me think hundred times before making any decision.......May Allah protect us all and help us in our difficult times, Aameen...

Thank you are the article. Unfortunately, it is just like all the other articles being written. Lots of talk about how wrong it is for a man to abuse his wife and children, but no real help for how to stop it. Do you really think just telling an abusive man, "Here, read this surah or hadith, and behave yourself" is going to make him change? This violence continues because other Muslim men allow it to continue. Our sheiks and Imams, brother and sons, need to be taught, or schooled, that this behavior is completely wrong and will not be accepted by the community. Then they need to do something about it. If we are told to correct a brother or sister when we see or know that they are doing something wrong, why do the men get silent about this one issue? 

And here you are telling  women that "It takes a lot to stand up for yourself, but it is the right thing to do and totally worth it; your life, your body, your soul, your everything belongs to no one but Allah."

Millions of Mulsim men truly believe that a woman's life, body, and soul belong to THEM - and will react so violently to being "stood up to" that the poor woman may even be killed because of it. It is irresponsible of you to be telling women to stand up to their abuser, unless of course, you are willing to take these women into your home and protect them. 

MK Grant, I don't think that the writer of this article is telling women to be irresponsible by standing up to their abuser, what it says is (women to look for help ) wether it is by telling someone that they trust or by informing it to the authorities or seeking whatever help that is available to them. That is what is meant by standing up for yourself by the writer, I think. Jazaakallah.

What attracted me to this article was the part of the title that said "and how to deal with it" and yet I didn't find any firm advice in there on how to deal with it.
I think it would be really good to have an article that explains to women in these situations what they can do about it. What choices they have. Many believe that they don't have a choice. Others want to make the choice to leave but don't know how and fear whether it is the right thing to do.
It isn't easy. It is estimated it takes a woman 7 attempts before she successfully leaves such a relationship.
This is a global problem in all races and religions.
How are we as Muslims going to help our women (and some men) free themselves from domestic abuse?

Asalaamalaikum. Actually this quote is misleading:

"Should thosethese measures fail, the last instruction is often translated as "hit her," (or "lightly tap her," when the sunnah of the Prophet is considered)."

It IS misleading because Prophet Muhammad peace& blessings be upon him NEVER EVER even 'lightly tapped' a woman out of discipline or setting her straight. NEVER. So it is NOT the Sunnah. This is proof enough to that the faulty translations of this verse from the Holy Quran is as you said ought to be banned, along with 'beat'. If we are to accept Islam based on the Holy Quran and Teachings of our beloved Rasulllilah salAllahu alayhee wasallam then we should understand that tapping a woman should not be a norm, but an exception- and as everything else in Islam- DONE WITH MERCY& COMPASSION, not with arrogance or demeaning the rights. Rasullilah salAllahu alayhee wasallam NEVER hit a child, NEVER hit a woman..NEVER. Shame on the abusers who don't have enough knowledge of this and wrongly justify their status of manhood by twisting the meanings of what the essence of Islam is when dealing with the women of their households.

There was an undercover report about this in Sweden last week. They went with hidden cameras to 10 most popular mosques and asked them four questions. You can read it here;
It is a long discussion and debate about it, because it's against the Swedish laws, too. But as someone said in one of the comments below; this is a global problem in all races and religions.

An interesting read,Noor :) 

Walekum as salaam wr wb, Muhajjirah

Thank you for reading and the input provided. Indeed, tapping is an exception and if the exception is exercised, it should be done with mercy and compassion. With love for your loved one. Never with the intention of hurting the person. 

As-slaamualaikum, Ummzakariyya

inshaAllah we intend to deal with that main concern in the next part of this article. Hope it helps all those in need of help. 
Of course it is a global problem being faced by all races and religions. What we wanted to elicit here is how it is not a part of our religion.  

JazaAllah khair for reading :) 

Dear Mk Grant, 

Thank you for your input. InshaAllah we intend to deal with the points mentioned by you in the part 2 of this article.  

84Ash, I pray that Allah gives you the strength and protect you from all sorts of evils!  

Could you please contact me personally on 


that's true, he wouldn't punch or hit a friend on provocation by the friend. And it's not just in the east that the society has the mindset of how a woman provokes the man to hit her or to rape her or to molest her. There is no dearth of such filthy thinking. Can you please contact me personally on 

JazakAllah khair for reading :) 

(please contact me) 

programs on proper behavior need to be built into our communities.  Built into our schools, programs offered to the community, pre-marital counseling services, stronger and stronger after marriage counseling services need to be a strong force in our communities.  New convert programs need to be enacted somehow.  Many people come into the faith with little to no knowledge or through a partner and never truly accept and explore the faith the way it should be.  Gaining proper knowledge is also important and is not easily understood by oneself.  There should be shadowing programs for new shahadas. 


May Allah give you the strength to do what is right and protect you. It's not just the thinking in east that a woman provokes the man, but it can be found in any part of the world. It's filthy to think that a woman provokes a man to beat her, to molest her, to rape her. But of course, he wouldn't hit his friend if he were to provoke him!

Ameen to your duas! 

Please contact me personally on

May Allah give you the strength to do what is right and protect you. It's not just the thinking in east that a woman provokes the man, but it can be found in any part of the world. It's filthy to think that a woman provokes a man to beat her, to molest her, to rape her. But of course, he wouldn't hit his friend if he were to provoke him!

Ameen to your duas! 

Please contact me personally on

JazakAllah khair for the amazing ideas which can actually WORK to solve this problem, inshaAllah!  


Thank you,i am trying to see what kind of advice that i could be providing my daughter and share her pain as well and a link such as this is worth following since her abusive husband is not getting any better.

Not just muslim men. 2 nights ago i had to listen to a chritian italian family upstairs, the wife being abused by her husband. We did not realise how bad it was, however after the 4th night we had to call the police and the husband was taken away. He was christian and WHITE. Not muslim. I live in the Uk and majority of abusive relationships i have seen and heard of come from the english non muslim population. Rarely hear or see a muslim woman being abused. It is not common in the communty i live in.

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