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Domestic Violence Series: Protecting Yourself from a Violent or Abusive Spouse

Domestic Violence Series: Protecting Yourself from a Violent or Abusive Spouse


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

Bismillah wal?amdulillah. To begin, I am an attorney licensed in both Texas and California, but I am not a specialist in family law, and I am not submitting this post as legal advice nor as a substitute for legal advice.

Rather I have come across some very useful and (sadly) necessary information for people — let's be frank, usually women — who have to seek the assistance of law enforcement to restrain a violent or abusive spouse (or former spouse).

The following information is from the website: www.texaslawhelp.org, and was provided to that site by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.

PERSONAL SAFETY PLANNING-Information provided by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid

SAFETY DURING AN EXPLOSIVE INCIDENT

  • If there is an argument, try to be in a place that has an exit. Avoid the bathroom, kitchen or any room that may contain weapons.
  • Practice how to get out safely. Know what doors, windows, elevators, stairwells, or fire escapes you would use.
  • Keep purse and car keys readily available.
  • Identify a friend or neighbor you can tell about the violence and ask them to call 911 if they hear a disturbance coming from your house.
  • Arrange a code word to alert your children, friends and family that you need help.
  • Plan where you will go if you have to leave home & a back-up place (even if you don't think you are going to need it).
  • In a dangerous situation, appease the abuser if possible to keep him or her calm. You have the right to protect yourself until you are out of danger.

Remember: You don't deserve to be hit or threatened!

SAFETY FOR YOUR CHILDREN

  • Talk to your children about a safety plan when you are not with them.
  • Tell your children's school and/or daycare who has permission to pick up the children.
  • Teach your children how to dial 911 for police and fire assistance.
  • Practice your escape plan with the children, if appropriate.

SAFETY WHEN YOU ARE PREPARING TO LEAVE

  • Abusers are more violent when they believe that the person they have abused is leaving the relationship. This is the time to be most cautious.
  • Get your own post office box so that you can receive checks and mail.
  • Open a checking or savings account in your own name at a different bank and try to get a credit card in your own name, to increase your independence.
  • Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important papers, extra clothes and medicine with someone you can trust so you can leave quickly.
  • Keep change for phone calls on you at all times. Using a calling card is not safe!
  • You can seek shelter and help by calling 1-800-799-SAFE. Figure out who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you some money.
  • If you have pets, make arrangements for them to be cared for in a safe place.
  • Review your personal safety plan often.

SAFETY AND YOUR EMOTIONAL HEALTH

  • The experience of being battered and verbally degraded by partners is usually exhausting and emotionally draining.
  • If you are thinking about going back to your abusive partner, talk to someone you trust about your options.
  • Have positive thoughts about yourself and be assertive about what you need.
  • Plan to attend a support group.
  • If you have to communicate with your partner, take someone with you for moral support & meet in a public place.

SAFETY IN THE HOME

  • Use different banks, grocery stores and shopping malls. Shop at hours different from those you used when residing with the abuser. Change your routine!
  • If you stay in your home:
  • Change the locks. Buy additional locks for the windows, and don't forget the patio door.
  • Tell your neighbors that the batterer no longer lives there, and to call the police if they see the batterer near your home.
  • Screen your calls.
  • If you move:
  • Never call the abuser from your home, or tell them where you live.
  • Request an unlisted number from the phone company.

SAFETY AT WORK OR IN PUBLIC

  • Carefully decide who you will inform at work about your situation.
  • Inform your supervisor, building security officers, and/or co-workers of your situation. If possible, provide them with a photograph of your abuser.
  • Arrange to have someone screen your calls, whether it is the receptionist, voicemail or a co-worker.
  • Have a safety plan to use when you leave work:
  • Ask someone to escort you to and from your vehicle or bus.
  • Park in a secure, well-lit area.
  • Use a variety of routes to come and go from home.
  • Think of what you would do if something happened on the way home.
  • Avoid isolated roads.

CHECKLIST: ITEMS TO TAKE WITH YOU

IDENTIFICATION

  • Driver's license
  • Birth Certificate
  • Children's birth certificates
  • Social Security cards
  • Welfare Card
  • Health Insurance/HMO cards

FINANCIAL

  • Money/Credit/ATM cards (in your name)
  • Checking/ Savings account books

LEGAL PAPERS

  • Protective Order
  • Lease, rental agreement, house deed
  • Car registration and insurance papers
  • Health and life insurance papers
  • Medical records for your family
  • School/vaccination records
  • Work permits / Green Cards
  • Income Tax / IRA's
  • Passport / Visa
  • Divorce and custody papers
  • Marriage license
  • Mortgage / Loan payment books

OTHER

  • Medications
  • House, car, and office keys
  • Jewelry
  • Address book
  • Pictures of you, children & abuser
  • Sentimental items
  • Change of clothes
  • Children's favorite toys/blanket
  • Toiletries/diapers

REMEMBER: DON'T RISK YOUR LIFE OR YOUR CHILDREN'S LIVES FOR ANY OF THESE ITEMS. MATERIAL THINGS ARE REPLACEABLE… LIVES ARE NOT!

If you or the person you wish to advise are in the State of Texas, I highly recommend the pdf file from which the above information was copied. It is a succinct description of the law and legal avenues available to women who have reason to fear the actions of their spouses or former spouses. Also, it has fill-in forms that should be compatible with most computers.

But again, the information I copied and pasted is good for a person in many parts of the world, but the form itself will only help you in Texas, and Allāh knows best.

If your spouse beats you, or threatens you or your children or other loved ones with physical violence, or makes you afraid constantly, then please seek help. But a woman should not have to be beaten or physically hurt before she has access to help. You have a right to feel safe. If you are in doubt about whether your situation is abusive, you still have every right to ask for help. And if you are not being abused, but you know someone in such a situation, please do not wait until some terrible act takes place.

allah

About Tariq Nisar Ahmed

Bismillah walhamdolillah. May Allah accept my repentance and yours. I am an attorney, a stepfather, a husband, a son, and a Muslim. Studying Islam is a means, reflecting what I have learned is a must, and to Allah is the inevitable return. If you would like my help, know that Allah is the source of all aid. If you would like to contact me, try tariqnisarahmed at Gmail, LinkedIn, Twitter, or add me as a friend on Facebook.

44 comments

  1. Assalamu Alaikum,

    Be the best with your wives because that is what the Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered.
    But at the same time you have to let her know that she can’t cross certain limits. If she is hitting you, all you have to do in return is grab her hands tightly so she is not able to hit you. Once she can’t let go and realizes you are much stronger than her, she will automatically not try that again.

    So without even having to hit or abuse her, you make a point telling her to stop what is doing.

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    • you started out with wisdom, because you were borrowing from the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam. where did you get lost after that?

      as for what you offered from yourself, or without attribution, akhee, if you know a brother with marital problems, and you know him well, so well that you know how much force he would use executing your advice, then and only then (and in most cases not even then), would giving that advice be wise. and Allah Knows best.

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      • You are right Tariq.
        I didn’t realize that someone might use excessive force in following the advice. In fact, that thought didn’t cross my mind.

        A woman hitting a man is like challenging his manhood saying that you are physically weaker than me and can’t protect yourself. Behavior that is rewarded is the behavior that is repeated. Either he lets her hit him or he stops her. My advice was to use the latter and send a message not to do it again WITHOUT hitting her.

        I don’t believe that a husband should let her wife hit him in the hope that he will correct her later. Ideally, she wouldn’t hit him at all. But if she is doing it, he should defend himself without resorting to violence.

        This is not going to solve the real problem but at least it would put an end to the violence from the wife. Though I see your point that a man might resort to violence based on that advice.

        Allah knows best.

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  2. That was a very beneficial post. It is sad to see the extremely high numbers of people who know someone who has been abused! I consider myself blessed to be in that meager 12% that doesn’t know anyone! (or at least they didn’t tell me). May Allah help our community to have happy, fun marriages!

    In response to Brother F’s post, I hit Siraaj all the time (or rather, give him a punch in the bicep), but he never does any of this hand-grabbing nor do I think his manhood feels threatened in the least. You know what he does? He picks me up and puts me around his neck in the back and spins me until that tickly feeling in the bottom of my stomach in combination with my laugther makes me scream and then he tosses me on the bed. I think only a man who is truly secure with his manhood can manage that.

    By the way, I think couples need to be more aware of what “emotional” abusal connotates. So many people take the worst verbal treatment but think because there is no physical violence they aren’t being abused.

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    • Sister Olivia,

      There is a difference between the angry kind of hitting with the intention to humiliate and how you might hit your husband. I’m sure your intention is not to cause harm or humiliate him.

      This is a very specific situation where a wife wants to degrade the husband by hitting him because she either perceives him to be passive or weak.

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      • That’s true. I was only trying to point out, using my poke-at-Siraaj humor (i love to see him squirm), that a man shouldn’t feel so insecure that he needs his wife to reaffirm his manhood for him through her behavior in an argument. i understand that the behavior in and of itself is wrong from the wife (the hitting), but her husband should want to stop her simply because of that: it’s wrong to hit another person, especially someone you love. I think he should have the confidence and leadership to extricate his manhood from the equation.

        Moreoever, if a woman is unleashing herself, the best thing he can do is something tender and loving. He can hold her hands, but then how about kissing them? The best thing to do in an argument is break the momentum. But if both partners are childish then they’ll never be mature in their marriage enough to participate in something like the spin-and-toss.

        And of course I only hit Siraaj’s bicep out of jest, and only when the occasion calls for it. It’s somewhat irresistible, like pinching a baby’s cheek.

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        • And I agree with you :-)

          The thing is relationships are very complex. The kissing approach works for a relationship that has love in it. But unfortunately, that’s the not case for many many marriages. One of my closest friend told me there is no love in their marriage. Friendship maybe, but no love.

          Sometimes there is so much built up anger in each person’s heart and if there was never a time that love existed in the marriage, then it is hard to fall back to love approach. Perhaps through mercy…..

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          • I wonder if a couple that has no love can conjure up some?

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          • I would hope so but things aren’t that simple. Even most marriages which start out as love, after 10-15 years the mercy overtakes the love aspect. I believe it’s the progression of a relationship that it brings out many different aspects — love, mercy, kindness, etc. — as time goes on.

            Love, to be honest, is very over rated. While it is an important component of a relationship, it’s not an essential one. A person’s relationship to Allah is more significant. Because when people love each other, even if they are not Muslim, they will treat each other well. But only a true God fearing person will even in a relationship without love treat his/her partner well out of the fear/hope of Allah (swt).

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          • Salaam,

            Wouldn’t you say this is a negative approach to marriage?

            I just wanted to ask generally to anyone reading, how does a man or women ensure they don’t end up with a abusive partner? Alhamdulillah, my father has never hit my mum, so the thought of going through it is worrying…

            As that’s pretty scary!

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          • well, umm kulthum, part of the problem is that people may be too insecure or too immature (immaturity is not about a person’s age, it is childishness in the sense of temper tantrums, etc) when they get married.

            as sister olivia’s original comment demonstrates, kindness and humor accomplish much good in a marriage.

            and there is a hadith of an instance where Umm al Mumineen Aisha got terribly jealous that another wife of the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam had sent food to Aisha’s house while there were guests of the Prophet there. she was overcome by jealousy and loudly overturned all the food. while we may have our opinions, the best opinion was obviously that of the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam. he just smiled and told his guests that “your mother is upset.”

            it wasn’t a threat to him in any way, and it did not trigger a fight between them. nor did he, sull Allaho alayhim wa sallam, so much as lay a finger on her.

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          • I’ve always found that Hadith jaw-droppingly amazing and powerful. The love, compassion, sweetness and forgiveness demonstrated by our beloved prophet, even in the must humble home interactions with one of his wives here moves me to tears over how kind it was to respond in that manner.

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          • In the end, we are all a product of our experiences. There is a perception that everything can be solved with kindness and mercy. As someone who has come across people where this approach has not worked or can’t be applied, I realize that realism of dealing with relationships.

            Until we do come across such instances where the theory breaks down, it is easy to hypothesize. If you are in a relationship where love, mercy, and kindness dominate, be thankful to Allah(swt).

            But don’t use a single experiences as a barometer of how all marital problems can be solved. Marriage is not about holding hands and walking off into the sunset.

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          • On the contrary, there is always benefit in citing specific examples, when the model is the perfect example of the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam. Whom Allah sent as a benefit and as a mercy to mankind. Whom Allah sent as a guide to help mankind leave every kind of darkness for the light of Allah.

            Rather there is no need for constant pessimism, no need for depression, and no need for people to abandon either hope or joy.

            Indeed this article is offered to remind abused spouses that they do not have to succumb to abuse nor to any of the evils that abuse brings. Alhamdolillah.

            Akhhee, “F,” neither abandon your intellect nor restrict the scope of your hope in the Mercy and Compassion of Allah, and the solace and refuge He offers to you, me, and every one. May Allah be pleased with you and with all of us.

            Let’s stick a bit more closely to the topic of this article.

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      • ‘F’ – what are you trying to say? Sorry, I’m trying to understand what you are trying to promote and put forward?

        Perhaps I’m not understanding…

        Someone sent this to be today: http://www.zohrasarwari.com/books.php – The first book, I guess this can help such a person.

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    • “I think only a man who is truly secure…”

      LOL, just for the mental image of Siraaj spinning someone WWE style (and I prefer my long-beard-Siraaj mental image for this contemplation).

      jazak Allah khayr for that. also, I agree 100% that we need to explain to people the seriousness of emotional abuse.

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      • the kids often used the beard against him. now that its trimmed he’s utterly invincible in family throwdowns.

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        • “I think only a man who is truly secure…”

          LOL, sorry, still laughing. I read your first comment to my wife, and she started laughing, too. she said that you expressed exactly why she punches my biceps. but I can’t lift her over my head, so it takes more than being secure in masculinity to do the helicopter toss. mashaAllah siraaj’s physical fitness is as admirable as his humor.

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    • I agree with you on the emotional abuse part. I think SO much emphasis is put on physical violence that we forget to warn people about the emotional and verbal abuse that may be happening, with or without physical abuse. I know of someone whose husband belittles her and seems pretty controlling, which has definitely affected her self-esteem. But, I feel she she doesn’t see it as abuse, but rather as “usual marriage stuff” from a “typical husband.” :/

      And you may know someone being abused, but they just haven’t told you. It’s not something you chat about over coffee. The women I know didn’t tell even their closest friends.

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  3. The problem with helping a woman in an abusive relationship is that they ultimately go back to their abusive spouses. I know two women who asked for help when they were fleeing their abusive spouses, and people did help (it became a police case about armed assault).

    After a few months, in both cases, the women were back with their spouses as if nothing has happened (“oh just a little mis-understanding”). And in fact, they cut off relations with their friends who helped them, because in their words “these are not true friends who broke up a house”.

    So be careful when you want to help someone fleeing an abusive relationship.

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    • I agree that people should tread carefully before intervening in some way between two spouses. and that is why the advice that shaykh Yaser Birjas once gave me comes to mind. as imam of several masajid, people would often come to him with complaints about their spouses, both husbands and wives.

      he would not make up his mind about the situation at all until he had at least heard from both spouses.

      and that makes much sense to me because too often, especially in America, Muslims and nonMuslims alike are ready and willing to offer an opinion/fatwa/or condemnation on any issue or any incident or any person. people will pass judgments at the drop of a hat, and do so without remorse, as though each of us were all-knowing and all-wise. and of course we are much, much less than that.

      here is a case-study for you: a man and his wife have a huge argument, and he leaves her for a whole month– he lives in a different part of the house and won’t approach her. when he finally does, she asks him why he came back so early.

      now if you have been busy forming your opinions and questions about this couple, know this: no one asked you. indeed this “couple” was none other than the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam and his beloved wife Aisha radi Allaho anha.

      so we need to understand that this article is not encouraging people to interject themselves into the lives of neighbors and friends or relatives. perhaps we also need an expert, a social worker or other guest writer, to write an article on spotting signs of abuse versus merely signs of a couple that argues — something that happens in healthy marriages, like the Prophet’s, too.

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  4. There is definitely a need to help women who are in these situations, but let this be a lesson that educating a woman abuse begins with shes a little girl. Not only should she (or her male siblings) not be a abused, but a girl has to be taught from the cradle her value and not to let anyone trample on that.

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  5. There are men who hit without excessive provocation. Sometimes it will be bilateral wherby the woman hits her male partner and he returns the blow with greater force. However, in my own case, I have experienced violence for merely politely disagreeing over extremely trivial matters. It is incredibly hard to leave an abusive relationship (I have tried on several occasions) but have always returned because of the extreme guilt that it always provokes in me. Ten years ago I would have looked upon a woman such as myself as mad, and whilst I do see that it is damaging to my children and probably to my mental health, I feel that the constant mood swings to which my husband has subjected me to have altered my psychology.

    Please make dua for me.

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    • may Allah safeguard you and your family, and guide you and all of your family including your husband.

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    • assalamu alaikkum warahmathullahi wabarakathuhu,
      May Allah,subhanata’ala ease your situation, reward your patience and bless your marriage with peace and tranquility and make it a successful one in this world and in the next world as well.inshaaAllah.

      In an abusive relation the abuser makes the one who is abused feel guilty of everything thats happening. The abuser will say something that will make the person think that all is victim’s own fault. It will take many years to understand that it is not victim’s fault and to realise that he/ she is being abused and that he/she should have escaped in the beginning of the relation itself. But by that time , he/she would have had children and so forced to stay in the relationship.

      Talk to Allah,subhanata’ala. He will be the one and only one who can help you. Try to talk to your husband ,tell him how it hurts you physically and mentally when he hits you , how shameful it is for a man to hit a weaker person. And if anyone know about this how they will look down upon him and above all remind him ALLAH,subhanata’la is watching him as he is hitting you.

      May Allah,subhnata’la give you a happy and peaceful marriage.

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  6. Theres just not physical abuse out there.. i feel like more of us deal with emotional abuse and no one talks about it. I eventually had to leave because of emotional abuse. Its the worst since no one can see it.

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    • Hi! In case it helps, there’s a good book “Emotional Blackmail” by Susan Forward on dealing with people who try to control others (whether consciously, or as patterns of interaction driven by unexamined, probably ‘painful’ insecurity).
      Especially after exiting a stressful situation (but regularly/daily anytime really, perhaps best as a part of a communion with Allah), I would say it’s also important to consciously process emotions that have come up. The process of writing can be very useful in this as a safe form of raw expression and for inspiring reflection on. In the ‘Love Letter’ form & approach described by John Gray, it may also become an important healing communication to yourself or/and another person. It does this by getting through resentments etc and enabling a loving connection, and might be a good first step in the “conjuring” that Olivia asks about. (Subsequent steps being acts of kindness – “Love is a verb too; the feeling follows action”(~Covey), plus encouraging each other to also each be your own best friend – for probably Allah is the only other who can know & love you as completely as you can.)
      Salaam & Best wishes

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      • Assalamualaikum.

        I’m still struggling with the effects of emotional abuse. And you’re right, no one talks about it, which makes it that much more harder to resolve.

        Even when we talk to westerners or read their books, they have no Islamic background and therefore cannot see our perspective. They cannot distinguish between a man being controlling and a man doing his job and asking his wife to obey him.

        On the other hand, when these issues are taken to the shuyookh, they generally come to the same conclusion: the woman is not patient enough, or she is complaining that her husband is too “religious”. (I never did understand that second one, if a person is “too religious” shouldnt that draw people towards them, not away from them?)

        I am still confused as to what constitutes emotional abuse, from an Islamic persective. Can MM please write about this issue?

        Thank you

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        • Good request!
          For what it’s worth meanwhile, in the context of an existing marriage I might just comment: to love or lead people successfully, one needs to understand them. That necessitates listening/communication. (Particularly sharing without the corrosion of fear or anger that may cause one to ‘hide’, or intrusion of I-can-fix-that plans).
          Anyway, may Allah, subhnata’la bring sweet blessings to you & your family.

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          • Salaam,

            “I am still confused as to what constitutes emotional abuse, from an Islamic perspective. Can MM please write about this issue?”

            Hmm, that’s interesting! Brilliant question mashaAllah. I would like to read on this too inshaAllah. Also, it goes both ways for men and women – hence, how do you deal with both sides?

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        • “I am still confused as to what constitutes emotional abuse, from an Islamic persective. Can MM please write about this issue?”
          ^An excellent question that I wonder about too. I’m looking forward to an article like that here!

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        • They cannot distinguish between a man being controlling and a man doing his job and asking his wife to obey him.

          Ideally, there should be no need for him to ask his wife to obey him. In this case, it is either him who is on the border of being abusive or it is the wife who is very defiant. The law that the wife should obey her husband is there so that the wife knows her job, not so that the husband throws that to her face. Imagine a wife who would tell her husband: “Can you buy me this? Your job is to spend on me”.

          Once I heard that, somebody who is in an abusive relationship might leave, then go back to him then leave then go back to him and so on. But every time she leaves, she is that nearer to the definite break, just like somebody who tries to quit smoking. Few stop the first time they try but, finally, they do it.

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          • Ideally, there should be no need for him to ask his wife to obey him. In this case, it is either him who is on the border of being abusive or it is the wife who is very defiant.

            Nouman Khan had said that in general, “The more orders a man gives his wife, the closer he is to divorce. Not the other way around”. I think I’m starting to see why

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  7. I really appreciate this post as I know many people who are in abusive relationships and grew up with one as well (father abusing mother). I hope we can get more articles on MM about this on such topics as avoiding it from happening in the first place, eventhough its inevitable, there are MANY cases where the women would get signs before marriage or even hear things about their future husband and problems with anger and controlling behaviour.

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    • Another issue would be the role of the children in such a conflict. You obviously don’t want your parents to be divorced but at the same time cannot continue to see your mother and family in general suffer due to the abuse.

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  8. many times in the muslim community women live in abusive homes because they are fead this idea of a good muslima who has “patience” with her husband. This patience than is equiated to standing by him as he hits her, cheats on her, degrades her, scares the kids, beats them so on and so forth.Islam came to liberate women from such opression of mind and body not to subject us to it. From all the abusers I have known( and I know quiet a few sadly). Once an abuser….always an abuser.
    Most of the time people go back to the abusive spouse as they are victamized not only by the spouse to beileve that they the victim cant do anything for themselves but even the muslim community ( the family and friend sof th evictim) push the couple to work it out. Its is so sick to watch and see the amount of sisters whose husbands have came, beat them up, cheated on them and so much more given chances again and again by their own community. The abuser has a mental control on the victim, one which is so hard to overcome.
    May Allah protect all our sisters in such situations.

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  9. Thanks for your useful information.

    This topic is a very complicated one and anyone tries to undermine that and simplify the matter into a “black and white” issue has not really done justice and most likely will not make matters any better for either the victim or the aggressor. Why?

    Because one must understand that violence/aggression is a deep routed problem that primarily stems from imbalanced upbringing, societal stress, cultural affects, psychological problems, and perhaps alcohol and pornography, lack of religiosity/faith, life traumas/history, etc.. Also, this aggression is in different degrees in different relationships. For example, for some it could be once every year, or once every month, etc. Depending on the severity, rate of occurrence, intensity, etc. one should make proper judgement/assessment and seek proper help and without any doubt, there is never an excuse for any type of abuse.

    In some marriages, in spite of the violence, love may exist in the hearts of the aggressor and the victim. Sometimes, when all these causes are triggered simultaneously, it causes a “snap” where the person loses his abilities to control him/herself, the end result is usually violence/aggression of some sort.

    Remember it is very easy to make a judgement on such issues when it is happening to someone else, but, for a minute, imagine this happened (God forbid) to a direct family member, a loved one, a relative, a close friend. It would definitely be more difficult to judge when people whom you love are in such a situation. May Allah ta`ala protect us all from violence/aggression. Ameen.

    Sometimes, divorce may be the solution, other times, as difficult as it may be, family members need to help the victims/aggressor by supporting them by ensuring them a healthy social and psychological well-being. How? It would depend on the situation, but mainly by trying to provide them a healthy environment, being involved with them, engaging them in useful activities, good friends, praying for them, etc. This can help reduce tensions. Therapy may not work for everyone and most likely, most aggressors probably believe they are not in need of it and if they did, they would be too embarrassed to get it.

    So as a general rule, I believe those who know of victims of DV, should try their utmost to understand the situation very carefully before offering help, we do not want to make a situation worse than it already is.

    Abu al-Darda reported the Apostle of Allah (s) as saying: “Shall I not inform you of something more excellent in degree than fasting, prayer, and sadaqah? The people replied: Yes, Prophet of Allah! He said: It is Islah — putting things right between people; spoiling them is the shaver (destructive).” [Sunan Abu Dawood; vol. 3, #4901]

    wallahu A`lam..

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    • “So as a general rule, I believe those who know of victims of DV, should try their utmost to understand the situation very carefully before offering help, we do not want to make a situation worse than it already is. ”

      I disagree. By the time one understands the situation “very carefully”, who knows what would have happened to the victim. I would hate to stop anyone from simply offering help if they think it is needed. If it isn’t needed, then they only need to decline the offer.

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  10. As both Muslim and nonMuslim social workers/ activists have noted, physical abuse is almost never isolated. It comes hand in hand with emotional abuse, which plays a huge part in the abused spouse coming back to her abuser due to the emotional blackmail she suffers from. The feelings of guilt and wondering if she’s doing the right thing in keeping her children away from their father is something commonly felt by MOST abused women.

    Amongst Muslims, unfortunately, the abuser will many times use Islam as a weapon to wield over the woman by telling her that it’s her fault for not being patient, for not obeying him, etc. and that for her to tell anyone else about the “private” situation at home is a sin…. and THIS is what must be combated publicly.

    It is absolutely imperative that imams and mashaayikh in their local communities make it absolutely clear to men that such excuses are utterly intolerable; to use the words of Allah and His Messenger (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) as a means of oppressing someone else is a complete corruption of our beautiful, perfect Deen.

    Women, on the other hand, should also be fully aware of their rights and the extent of the rights that their husbands have over them; once a man begins to abuse her in any way, she has the right to seek a divorce! And this is not bad or evil or unIslamic; the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) granted divorce to a woman who merely found her husband physically unappealing. How much more so for a woman who was being physically harmed by her husband?

    As a community as a whole, Muslims MUST overcome their tendency to label divorce “shameful.” There is a reason that Allah permitted it in the Deen – many times, in many situations, it is better for everyone involved (man, woman, and children) to finally split up rather than stay together in misery and simply allow the physical and emotional damage to increase.

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    • Nice comment.

      “Women, on the other hand, should also be fully aware of their rights and the extent of the rights that their husbands have over them; once a man begins to abuse her in any way, she has the right to seek a divorce!”

      I think this was my problem.I had no idea what my own rights were and when I asked, I was told that I was only thinking of myself.

      Others told me that I did not, in fact, have to obey my husband in everything, but only that which was “reasonable“. And where is this list of what is reasonable and what isn’t? I never found it.

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  11. We all know know that Domestic Violence can come in two forms – Physical or Emotional.

    Most men are perpetrators of physical violence, women are perpetrator of emotional violence. I don’t think women like to admit this or try to justify their behavior in some way. But then it makes them no different than those men who come up with a thousand excuses for physical domestic violence.

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  12. As salamu alaykum. To everyone with a comment stuck in review, my apologies. I had no idea the article had been republished till I saw a flood of emails. InshaAllah, I hope to review the comments in the next 48 hours. Jazakumullahu khayran for your patience.

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  13. May Allah protect us from violence. By spreading awareness and educating we can minimize it. Thanks for sharing such good article.

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  14. Assalamua alaikum,

    It is brave that you addressed the problem. However, it does not recognize that many Muslim communities have a hard time admitting and addressing a woman’s right to divorce and not to be abused. We have only touched on what abuse really is. Men, in general, and many women perpetuate the shame to women in divorce, and the failure of the community to hold men accountable for mistreating women, cheating on women, deceiving women and intimidating women. Too often this is done in the guise of being “Islamic” and this harms both the victims and the community.

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  15. My thanks to the other MM moderators who addressed the pending comments for me. Jazakumullahu khayran.

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  16. Is there ANY situation in which a husband might ask her wife to do/not do something and the wife disagrees, and the husband might give a Islam as a reason/excuse/rationale, in which you would not call it abuse or misusing religion. How about we go through a mental exercise. A husband’s request:

    a) to take the kids to see his folks where they are engaged in extreme bid’a such as asking du’a or sacrificing at shrines (for someone from a Muslim family), or engaged in open idolatry/polytheism (for converts)
    b) for the wife not to go see her best friend (female)
    c) for the wife not to spend too much, so he can take a few months off to study with shuyookh instead of working
    d) to help him teach the kids
    e) to not be in social situations where a man who was previously engaged to, was married to, or had a relationship before she took to the deen (for converts)
    f) not have the kids around in situations where the wife’s family or friends are engaged in extreme bid’a such as asking du’a or sacrificing at shrines (for someone from a Muslim family), or engaged in open idolatry/polytheism (for converts)
    g) to have the kids with his folks in which the above mentioned is not happening.

    If you haven’t noticed, I have listed requests that to most people start out as unreasonable to where (hopefully) you have the husband doing his job. In fact, the wife should be as vehement in the later things if the situation were reversed.

    I think to some people, ALL of these can be signs of a controlling/mean/emotionally abusive husband. This is why you need things like mediation, and there are situations in which the husband does need to say that he has a right to be obeyed in these situations. I’d really hope people would think through and answer these questions so we at least know what we are talking about.

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