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Domestic Violence – A Societal Imperfection With No Place In A Perfect Religion

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Here is a guest article entitled, “Domestic Violence – A Societal Imperfection With No Place In A Perfect Religion” by Asma Hanif, contributing writer for Muslim Link.

violence.jpgPeace is the absence of violence. In order to make peace with others, one must first have peace within themselves.

Domestic violence is an affliction disruptive to the peaceful co-existence of husband and wife. Such disruptive states infringe not only on the immediate family, but also the Islamic family community at large.

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Domestic violence does exist within the Muslim community. One may consider this existence an imperfection within a perfect way of life, or a paradox in which imperfect humans behave imperfectly. However it is viewed, it’s presence cannot be denied.

Dr. Pamela Heath, Medical Director of Muslimat Al-Nisaa, states “Domestic violence within the Muslim community is difficult to quantify due to under-reporting. It would not surprise me if non-Muslim physicians over-estimate it and Muslim physicians under-estimate it. Neither is doing any good for the victims or the image of Islam”.

We cannot hope to attain a peaceful existence until we acknowledge both on an individual level and at a community level that abusive behavior does exist within Muslim individuals and within the Muslim communities.

Admittedly the world is full of problems, ranging from homelessness and domestic violence, to drug addiction and fornication.

If we fail to acknowledge these real world problems, then we allow them to carry over into our Islamic way of life, and subsequently fail to circumvent the human imperfections which created them.

However, domestic violence cannot be justified under the guise of human imperfection — a cornucopia of experiences, mistakes and illusions relative to man’s reliance on his own unguided opinions and desires. Therefore, regulation of actions cannot be by our own judgment, but by choosing to be guided by the Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) without any consideration of one’s self.

Communities which fail to discourage violence and persecution in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah will also fail to provide shelter and social services for its victims. In these communities, open harassment, or other harmful acts against innocent individuals not only continue unopposed, but they flourish.

Within the conceptual framework of Islam, a perfect religion, there can be no tolerance of domestic violence. Such tolerance signifies a passive acceptance of domestic violence as well as an injustice which one is unwilling to prevent. Failure to be proactive in the face of domestic violence can be understood as a magnanimous indulgence shown toward the perpetrator without the moral determination to externally disapprove of the action.

This kind of tolerance implies indifference towards right and wrong and in principle, a countenancing of this imperfection.

Hence, it is clear that tolerance of domestic violence is a failure of every man to recognize their religious, moral and ethical obligations. Truly, “Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn!” Robert Burns.

Intolerance of domestic violence should be a prominent characteristic of believers, nationally and internationally . Further, for the safety and protection of those victimized by their and our silence, including the ‘covering of faults’, perhaps there should be the establishment of some degree of universal recognition of abusers.

Allah (Subhanahu w taala) Says: “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” (Quran, Surah V:3)

Allah (Subhanahu w taala) completed His favor on us with a ‘perfect’ way of life, if there are any imperfections in creation, it is due to disobedience to Allah (SWT). Even though there exist many examples of imperfections in society, none exist as flaws in Islam. When we utilize the Quran and Sunnah as our criteria it serves to purify mankind from all imperfections.

Inherent within this perfect religion are ayaat and hadith which should touch the hearts and conscience of the ummah compelling them to leave behind apathetic behaviors and move aggressively toward the elimination of domestic violence as a social ill within the Muslim community.

If we don’t have the desire to make things better, then things will never get better.

Domestic violence has to be resolved in the context of Islam. Those who know Islam, understand Islam, and love Islam must become proactive in keeping ‘peace’ within this perfect religion.

The paradigm of thought cannot simply be the abhorrence of domestic violence, but must also include the enforcement of the tenets of justice contained within Islam, a Perfect way of life. Protecting victims should be a simple matter of adherence to the Quran and Sunnah. However, preventing abuse requires active work by the community at many levels.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Elzaharna

    August 21, 2008 at 6:53 AM

    Sr. Asma Hanif is also the director of Muslimat An-Nisaa. They are doing really great work masha’Allah, but unfortunately don’t get a lot of support. Check out their website at http://www.mnisaa.org

  2. MR

    August 21, 2008 at 11:13 AM

    Communities which fail to discourage violence and persecution in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah will also fail to provide shelter and social services for its victims. In these communities, open harassment, or other harmful acts against innocent individuals not only continue unopposed, but they flourish.

    That’s basically our 1st generation Arab and Desi communities. The 100% Pakistani or 100% Egyptian masjids.

  3. Amy

    August 21, 2008 at 1:38 PM

    Thank you for standing up on this important issue. Truly domestic violence has no place and must be condemned.

  4. iMuslim

    August 21, 2008 at 6:01 PM

    This entry has been sat in my feed reader for a while. It is such an emotive topic, I had to prepare myself to read it. Not much more can be added to what has already been said. Domestic violence and oppression has no place in an Islamic household. The end. May Allah protect all families from it, ameen.

  5. Alima

    August 22, 2008 at 12:40 PM

    Subhan’Allah, imuslim ya i had to prepare for this one. Allah has protected me from it and my family alHamdulillah, may Allah continue to protect me. Though i know sisters who have been through this and It only breeds hate and negative feelings.

    May Allah protect all families from it. Ameen.

  6. Anonymous

    August 23, 2008 at 12:35 AM

    “Those who know Islam, understand Islam, and love Islam must become proactive in keeping ‘peace’ within this perfect religion…”

    The irony is that MANY abusive people (we know women abuse as well as men, hence the usage of the word ‘people’), know and understand and probably love Islam themselves…Allahu Aalam but I do not believe anyone can be inherently bad; many abusers have deep set issues which need to be resolved, and we have to focus on this as well.

    The problem is that many victims of abuse recognise that these issues are there, and therefore allow emotions like pity and empathy to cloud their judgment – i.e. they stick it out often to their own detriment and the detriment of the abuser.

    Women in these situations need to realise that by walking away, they may actually be giving their marriages a proper second chance. By staying, the cycle can only continue. Obviously there have to be conditions for a reconciliation, like rehabilitation, counselling, a contract, etc.

    I walked away from an abusive marriage, and it was the best thing I ever did for myself, my ex-husband and my child. He requested a reconciliation thereafter, and we did give it a try, during which time, he never laid a hand on me. However, in our case, we realised during our reconciliation that we quite simply did not want to be married to each other, and again, I took the giant step of requesting a divorce, which he eventually agreed was the best thing for us.

    I have no regrets Alhamdulillah. I may be ‘husbandless’ and yes, it becomes difficult at times, but better ‘husbandless,’ than ‘married and miserable.’

  7. Hala

    February 17, 2010 at 6:24 PM

    everytime this topic comes up i hesitate before even reading about it, it seems from the comments that everyone agrees this has no place in islam, although some cultures seem to be i dont know accepting of this issue , i think this is a hugely worldwide issue the thing that bothers me is when an ayah of the quran in surah nisa is used to justify teh most barbaric of actions
    salaamz
    hala

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