What do pious and expert scholars say about the question of domestic violence against women?
Domestic violence is condemned in Quran and sunnah. Its regarded as Zulm, cruelty and injustice perpetrated by evil doer. What is Domestic Violence? Domestic violence is a pattern of controlling behaviours that one partner uses to get power over the other including: physical violence or threat of physical violence to get control, emotional or mental abuse and sexual abuse. I will endeavour to explain the following three issues concerning domestic violence:
1. How to educate the perpetrators so they can learn to overcome their abusive behaviours; develop moral values of kindness, justice, forgiveness and patience.
2. How the victims can be empowered by the resources of faith, hope, courage and divine justice. This will help them to find healing and restoration.
3. What society must do to tackle DVA
- 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
- 33% of American women (25% globally) will experience DV in their lifetime.
- Only 25% of physical assaults are reported to the police.
- Cost to society; £15.7 billion a year [Sylvia Walby of the University of Leeds (2009)]
An abused woman lives in fear, unable to predict when the next attack will come. She may become isolated from friends and family, and increasingly dependent on her abuser. In these circumstances it can be very hard to make sense of what is really happening. Over time her self-esteem may be worn down. She may start to believe her abuser’s insults. She may blame herself for the abuse or deny that it is taking place. She may ignore it, hoping that her partner -the man she loves – will change.
Abused women are not weak, submissive victims. It takes huge strength to live with an abusive partner. Women must be strong and resourceful, adopting all kinds of coping strategies to survive each day.
Islam harshly condemns domestic violence
What is the purpose of Islamic law, teachings and practices? Muslim scholars long ago established that the objectives of sharia, or Islamic law is to protect five very important areas of human life. These are life, mind, religion, property and family. Every human being has these fundamental rights which are God-given they are inalienable. No human being can be deprived of them. In this respect objectives of sharia parallel the American declaration of Independence: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
‘Then the King will…say… “I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.” Then they will reply, “Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?” And He will answer, “I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me”‘ (Matthew 25:41-45).
The bottom line is that abusive behaviour is never acceptable, whether it’s coming from a man, a woman, a teenager, or an older adult. You deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe.
Allah, the Exalted, says:
“The evildoer will have no friends, nor any intercessors to be heeded” (40:18)
“The evildoers will have no one to help them” (22:71)
 عن جابر: أن رَسُول الله قَالَ: «اتَّقُوا الظُّلْمَ؛ فَإنَّ الظُّلْمَ ظُلُمَاتٌ يَوْمَ القِيَامَةِ. وَاتَّقُوا الشُّحَّ؛ فَإِنَّ الشُّحَّ أهْلَكَ مَنْ كَانَ قَبْلَكُمْ. حَمَلَهُمْ عَلَى أنْ سَفَكُوا دِمَاءهُمْ، وَاسْتَحَلُّوا مَحَارِمَهُمْ» رواه مسلم.
Jabir bin ‘Abdullah t reported: The messenger of Allah said, “Beware of injustice, for it will be darkness on the Day of Judgment; and beware of greed because it destroyed those who were before you, it led them to shed blood and treat others unlawfully.”
 عن أَبي موسى قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُول الله: «إنَّ الله لَيُمْلِي لِلظَّالِمِ، فَإِذَا أخَذَهُ لَمْ يُفْلِتْهُ»، ثُمَّ قَرَأَ: ﴿وكَذَلِكَ أَخْذُ رَبِّكَ إِذَا أَخَذَ الْقُرَى وَهِيَ ظَالِمَةٌ إِنَّ أَخْذَهُ أَلِيمٌ شَدِيدٌ﴾ [هود (102)] مُتَّفَقٌ عَلَيهِ.
Abu Musa t reported: The messenger of Allah said, “Allah gives respite to the oppressor. But when He seizes him, He does not let him escape.” Then he recited, “Such is the seizure of your Lord when He seizes the (people of) towns while they are doing wrong. Verily, His seizure is painful (and) severe” (11:102).
 عن معاذ قَالَ: وَاتَّقِ دَعْوَةَ المَظْلُومِ؛ فإِنَّهُ لَيْسَ بَيْنَها وَبَيْنَ اللهِ حِجَابٌ» مُتَّفَقٌ عَلَيهِ.
Mu’adh t reported that the messenger of Allah said; Beware of the supplication of the oppressed, for there is no barrier between it and Allah.”
 عن عبد الله بن عمرو بن العاص رضي الله عنهما عن النَّبيّ قَالَ: «المُسْلِمُ منْ سَلِمَ المُسْلِمُونَ مِنْ لِسَانِهِ وَيَدِهِ، وَالمُهَاجِرُ مَنْ هَجَرَ مَا نَهَى اللهُ عَنْهُ» مُتَّفَقٌ عَلَيهِ.
‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘as t reported: The Prophet said, “A Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hands others are safe; and a Muhajir (Emigrant) is the one who avoids the wrong that Allah has forbidden.”
In conclusion, cooperation and complementary gender relationships leads to the fulfilment of humankind’s mission on earth: the healthy partnership between men and women as vicegerents or God-agents on this earth.
I have been consulted on the few occasions by young women having marital problems my approach was of both mending the relationship and tackling the abusive husband, telling him and teaching him how to improve his character and taking his responsibilities seriously this has proved to be a useful approach. I would certainly encourage imams not to be bystanders if they are aware of domestic violence in any of their member of congregation.
Speak up if you suspect domestic violence or abuse
If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, speak up! If you’re hesitating—telling yourself that it’s none of your business, you might be wrong, or the person might not want to talk about it—keep in mind that expressing your concern will let the person know that you care and may even save his or her life.
And Allah knows best.
Dr Musharraf Hussain Al-Azhari
Director of British Fatwa Council