Jun 26, 2012

Physical violence in Marriages and how to deal with it – Part 2

By Farheen Naaz

Yes, physical violence is a REALITY in today’s world. Today’s world, which is super-fast in everything and promises lots of fortunes, still harbours this alarming act of physical violence.

In the Part 1 of this article we have seen how a verse from the Quran can be misquoted and miscontextualized to lead to an evil-like physical violence in marriages. Let us now look at some of the ways in which we can deal with this problem.

Once someone gets involved in it, it keeps repeating and you seem to be falling deep into the vicious circle without any way to come out. What we need to do is to realize where our faith lies, what our priorities are and if we are treading on the right path.

Most of the time, the one being abused says to himself/herself, "Maybe I should be more patient, maybe Allah is testing my sabr through this, maybe this will help me increase my sabr levels." But what we fail to realize is that, the concept of patience, of sabr, doesn’t exist with regards to abuse at all! Abuse is a form of oppression and there is no need to create the bubble of having patience or sabr while you’re being oppressed. Sabr is the greatest virtue a believer should have whereas patience is consistency and perseverance in our actions and thoughts. Being passive about something is not being patient or it does not mean that one has sabr. Being patient against oppression is not Islamic.

Allah doesn’t approve of oppression. We, as Muslims, as humans, as civilized members of this society, are not supposed to oppress one other under the pretext of anything.

Prophet Muhammed sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said in a hadith:
If you see something wrong, try to change it with your hand. If you cannot, speak out against it. And if you cannot, then at the very least feel that in your heart and this is the weakest level of Iman (faith).” (Sahih Bukhari)

And in another hadith Prophet Muhammed sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam says:
Help your brother whether he is an oppressor or whether he is being oppressed.” (Sahih Bukhari)

It is evident from this hadith that if someone sees any form of oppression, it is their duty to help the one being oppressed and the one who is oppressing. Abuse is just another form of oppression. We can help the abused by giving them a safe life and we can help the abuser by getting him/her psychological help which will enable them give a thought to their actions.

We should always remember that abuse has a negative effect on our imaan. Our life starts revolving around things other than Allah. The one being abused starts fearing the abuser. We should never fear or think about another person or another thing more than Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala. Don’t be worried about standing up to your oppressor because Allah says in Sural Al-Imran:

"But Allah is your protector, and He is the best of helpers." (3:150)

Gain back your trust and faith in Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala. Have complete trust that He will take care of you no matter what.

If you have the fear of standing up then consider this; everything Allah gave us is our amanah. We have to return to Allah some day. Hence, it is our duty to take care of what Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala has given us. Take care of yourself. Not just your physical self, but your psychological self as well. A major part of taking care of yourself is to protect yourself from being harmed and from being abused. Your eyes, ears, face, hands, vision, strength, health - each part of your body, each tiny ounce of a feeling of eemaan, of security, of dignity; belongs to Allah. Take care of yourself. Your body is to worship Allah. You are not someone’s punching bag. Ask your abuser to get a punching bag if h/she s/he thinks so!

Yes, you might say it is indeed easy to say so but it is difficult to do so. For that I can just say, have trust in Allah, consider where your life is going, and consider what you are in this world for. Surely it is not to serve as someone’s punching bag. Being quiet and staying patient, enduring it all is definitely the worst advice ever if you are in an abusive marriage/relationship. It is time to move out when you are more afraid of your spouse rather than of Allah.

Seek refuge in Allah. Ask Allah to give you the strength to do what is the best for you and also for your children, if you have any. The worst affected in abusive marriages are children. They learn from what they see. They might consider it a part of the way to live.

Allah says in the Quran,: "For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease." (94:5)

And your ease may be in the form of your ability to deal with your hardship of being abused.

A few more points which can help us deal with physical violence in marriages are:
  • Educate and empower yourself as well as your children that it is not acceptable to be abused. 
  • Don’t convince yourself that it is not going to happen again or that the person will change with time. You know it very well that if it happened once, twice, thrice; it will keep happening all your life unless you get some help. It is a problem which needs counselling. 
  • Most importantly, ask Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala to help you. Every step that you take should be because of Allah and not because of your whims and fancies. Pray Istikhaara. If you believe in Him, He will bring help for you from places you never imagined you could get help from. 
  • Talk to someone about it. Being silent will do you no good. It will only take you deeper and deeper into the pit. 
  • If your family members or extended family members don’t believe you or ask you to be patient, then please confide in someone other than your family members and ask them to get external help. 
  • Your decisions should be made on the principles of Allah rather than on bad advice by someone. Do not keep on bearing something which you don’t deserve. 
  • If things get too tough, there are many women shelters out there. Go to one of them until things work out for you. Do not for once worry about your financial needs. Allah will never want bad for any believer. There is nothing wrong in wanting to break away from an abusive marriage and wanting the best for yourself and your children. 
  • Conduct seminars about it. Awareness, awareness and more awareness is the key. Ask your local imam to give a khutbah on it. 
Muslimahs need to take initiatives to get to know their faith. They need to get educated and open their eyes to this beautiful world and also take up the responsibility of educating other women about their faith, their rights and duties. There is much more to the world than obeying any human’s orders which are not even in accordance with Allah’s commands. 

‘Domestic violence is a REAL phenomenon. It is wrong. It needs to be spoken about. We have brushed it under the carpet for too long. We have kept quiet for too long. We have bruised members of our Ummah enough. It is time for a change! Stop being in-denial!’’ – Nour DV Organization (UK)

May Allah help all those going through abusive marriages. May you be blessed and not stressed! Ameen!


Salaam Aleikum, excellent advice..May I expand upon the depth of teh problem, it is a vicious cycle that becomes deeply confusing and difficult to get out of and the answers are not simple and as Muslimahs do we follow the non Muslim belief set about domestic violence? Shelters are not easy to get into and It does not seem that there are enough. I think women need to be more of a support to each other and less competitive with one another. Thank you for opening the discussion on this difficult issue plaguing the community

Assalamu alaikum, 
Every man must understand and admit that they are NOT the OWNERS of their wives rather both themselves and their wives are OWNED BY Allah swt, they are SLAVES themselves NOT MASTERS.
Husband and wife has rights on each other.They are partners to each other.
lot of awareness need to be made especially in the subcontinent.
Islam gives Women lots of rights.Don't let some social evils take that out from us.

Jazak Allah Khair for these articles!

a majority of the people, amazingly many women too feel that dowry is the haq of the grooms parents and the bride has to stoop before any attrocity committed against her. I wish more people would read this.

DV is not just physical but emotional and verbal. While men may engage in the former, women engage in the latter with little ramification or consequences.

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