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Domestic Violence Series

Domestic Violence Series: A Hidden Evil and Muslim Communities


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

It is the extreme, sensational cases that make it to the front pages of the newspaper. We were all horrified when we heard of Nazish Noorani, a young mother killed by her abusive husband. What we don’t hear are the voices of the abused behind the closed doors of many homes across social, economic, ethnic, racial and gender lines. They exist in our community just as they exist in the non-Muslim communities. We see these men in our masjids, their wives suffering in silence at our picnics and our dinner parties. Domestic violence is, again, a human problem, much like sexual harassment.

By definition, domestic violence is a pattern of abuse – physical, sexual, financial, spiritual, emotional and verbal, including disparagement, blame, being ostracized, isolated and condemned. Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Not one incident but a pattern.   Men are victims too, 835,000 a year in the US alone, of physical, emotional and financial abuse.

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Many cultures think it is the man’s God-given right to hit a woman. According to Change from within: Muslim perspectives about Domestic Violence, even the term Domestic Violence is looked upon as suspect by many Muslims because it is reminiscent of “western feminists ideals and doesn’t occur in traditional Islamic texts”. Another reason that many do not publicly bring this issue up is because it re-enforces the stereotype that Islam is a violent religion. Others do not want to pry into ‘private lives’ except to tsk tsk over the plight of another.

In abusive situations where women are the victims, the ones who do gather the courage to tell are told by their families to go back to their abusers for the sake of family, honor, name, children, to be patient and forgive her spouse after the abuse.  Cultural narratives often define why many women do not seek help – i.e. thinking that your husband is Majazi Khuda, a metaphorical God – especially in the South Asian culture.  What is that? That is not Islam. That is Jahiliyyah (ignorance). Growing up, I heard that term, on the television as well as socially, enough times to think that it was a part of the dīn. So to me, it is not surprising that 85% of the women who did seek shelter in the U.S. from abusive marriages were immigrants (according to a survey of shelters by Peaceful Families project.) But this could also be because they could not afford to fly back to their countries of origin or did not have the same support system that indigenous Muslims may have.

Not all Muslim men who abuse their wives do it because they believe it is their Islamic right – many are not religious nor do they think religion is part of the equation.  What is especially troubling is when men who are aspiring to piety and learning about the dīn, engage in violence at home and think it is justified in the religion. These attitudes are disseminated by preachers who spew misogynistic statements like some women can only be controlled through striking or telling men that their wives are dirty beings from the dunya. They make religion hell for women and anyone who speaks out against this is deemed anti-Islamic. How do you think a man will act when he goes home after listening to one of these sermons?  We need to think. People are leaving the religion because of how some Muslims treat women, using ‘Islam’ as a weapon.

Have you ever heard in the sīrah of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), the Mercy to the World, that he ever struck anyone, wife, child, servant, ever? If you aspire to follow his Sunnah, be a husband like him. He was the living embodiment of the Qur’ān. We also know that this issue is dealt in Islam under the broader umbrella of prohibition of oppression and abuse. Allāh hates oppression, so we should hold on to our spouses in goodness, lifting each other spiritually or let them go.

We learn from our shuyūkh, who learned from scholars who have given up their lives for the dīn, sacrificing 20 or more years before making tafsīr of the Qur’ān, that laymen, both Muslim and non-Muslim, who bring up the verses in the Qur’ān suggesting that Islam condones domestic violence, need a reality check.  Ibn Ashur, the Grand Mufti of the Zaytuna in Tunisia in his tafsīr (Tafsīr al-Tahrir wa al-Tanwir) says that men should be punished by authorities when they have lost control of their hawwas and hit their wives, when they commit domestic violence, when they use a verse from the Qur’ān as a means to justify their anger, their rage. According to Ibn Ashur, it is the greatest irony that the verse in the Qur’ān  which came down to eliminate domestic violence is used to propagate domestic violence.

Renowned scholars say that any woman who is suffering from domestic abuse should go to the proper authorities and report her husband because he is committing a sin. If the Muslims won’t help her then she can go to anybody else who will grant her sanctuary.  In our dīn, even animals have rights and no one can humiliate or torture them so what about the daughters of Adam, the best of creation?

What should we do as a community?

We need to ask ourselves: do we know what to do if we are faced with such a situation?

What would we do personally if someone who was in an abusive relationship ever approached us for help? How can we be resources to our abused sisters? One of the many things that you can do is join our Khutbah about Domestic Violence Drive – commit your local masjid or mussalla Friday khuṭbah to this topic to spread awareness and start discussions in our communities. Conversations need to take place at the community level urging counseling, psychological and spiritual, for abusers and the abused.

We need to ask ourselves: do our masājid have counselors or ties to domestic violence shelters? For example, in a survey conducted by Peaceful Families most DV shelters have on average 35 mosques in the vicinity but only 12% have any ties to the shelter. Only 6% of imams have any domestic violence training.

We need preachers like Imam Khalid Latif, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Shaykh Yasir Qadhi, Imam Zaid Shakir, Maulana Tariq Jameel, and Shaykh Abdullah Hasan, Brother Dawud Walid who frequently speak about this topic and have the knowledge to address this issue. Our own Shaykh Yahya has a post coming soon on the Sunnahs of Love. (Click on the links to hear their views on domestic violence and how to treat your spouses).

We need parents who raise sons who know how to treat women like the Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) treated the women in his family and teach our daughters to model that tranquility in their own relationships. We need teachers and counselors who can talk to young men and women about how to manage their relationships in ways that please our Creator and who teach young women to respect themselves and recognize signs of abuse. We need doctors and lawyers in our communities who can speak and educate their patients and clients. We need safe homes in our communities where victims/survivors can go. We need unique solutions that include community-based accountability because we cannot always rely on the police because of the anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and racist policies practiced by the authorities.

We cannot let traumatized men and women suffer in silence wondering: Who would speak to me, for me?  This is our tradition; this our duty.

Interview with Umm Yousef, a survivor and DV advocate

Researchers who have interviewed hundreds of abusers say that it is all about control. In this video, the abuser say that he would plan out exactly how he would treat his family seconds or hours before the incident. Many people who are not in an abusive relationship question why victims don’t leave, blaming the victim instead of the perpetrator.

Hope is one of the most common factors that experts see. Many women feel like they would be sinning if they leave. Dependency is another major factor. To find out more about this from a personal view, I interviewed Umm Yousef, who had the courage to leave her abusive marriage. She found shelter in My Sister’s House and urges you to support their work.

[Hena Zuberi]:  Many people ask, why don’t women leave or why do they keep going back to men who abuse them? What would you say to them?

[Umm Yousef]:  On average, it takes women seven tries to leave an abusive husband. In a way, I am lucky because I did it on the third try, but not before getting back together with my ex and making a baby. To understand why women go back, one has to understand and be aware of many factors including the very nature of the cycle of abuse, the effect of brainwashing, traumatic bonding (also known as Stockholm Syndrome) and the possibility of there having been inter-generational violence (i.e., abuse in a woman’s family of origin.)

Another huge reason for staying is fear. One aspect of that fear, in addition to fear of the unknown, relates to the studies that have shown time and again that THE MOST dangerous time for a woman is when she attempts to leave the abuser. Oprah did a show at one point encouraging women in DV relationships to take the threat assessment test that is used to access the threat level to elected officials. To counteract his loss of power and control over the woman, an abuser usually escalates the aggression and abuse, at times to the point of death or serious injury.

Ultimately, if a woman is contemplating leaving an abuser the most important thing is to have two kinds of plans:  an emergency plan if it gets out of hand before the victim is really “ready” and a more long term plan for stability. In one online forum I visited, women had whole bank accounts set aside for leaving their ex, were scoping out apartments, and planning their restraining orders. While this would give a woman the best chance of staying “out” of the relationship by making as clean of a break as possible, there are always those situations where a woman has to leave in the middle of the night with just the clothes on her back and her shoeless children. And that is where emergency DV shelters, friends and family play a vital role.

It bears mentioning that some of the other reasons women choose to stay in an abusive relationship can also include a partner’s promise to reform, shame, concern for her children, lack of support, exhaustion, gender-role conditioning, economic concerns, practicalities of the situation, feelings and personal beliefs.

When it is put that way sometimes it can put it in perspective and instead of the oft heard “why did you stay?” more people will be able to understand and empathize with how insurmountable an obstacle it seemed for her to leave. Even now, almost a year later, I still have the occasional desire to go back because it is familiar, and, as the saying goes, the devil that you know…

[HZ]:  Psychologically, how have you been impacted by the abuse? Do you see changes in yourself after getting out of the situation?

[UY]:  I think the biggest impact the abuse had on me was on my self-esteem and sense of self-worth. Secondarily would be the effect it has had on my children and my ability to bond and be a loving mother. I sincerely believe that the abuse exacerbated the post-partum depressions I had with all three of my pregnancies. After 10 years of emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual abuse I attempted suicide at the end of 2010. For many months during my initial attempt at divorce and after I separated for good I experienced anxiety and panic attacks. I have seen multiple therapists and counselors, social workers, psychiatrists, etc, including two marriage and family therapists and a trauma psychologist. Basically, what I have heard time and time again is that while I am “out” in the sense that I am no longer living with him it is far from over. Healing will take time, and in effect, because we have children together, I will never get completely free from the abuse. He will always have a link to me through our kids and will exercise that bit of power and control, continuing to use me as a target for his anger and aggression, from time to time.

[HZ]:  How prevalent is DV in marriages between American converts and men from overseas?

[UY]:  Unfortunately, from what I have seen, pretty frequent. I think this stems from a lack of proper understanding of Islam, lack of knowledge of a woman’s rights and a husband’s responsibilities, and a lack of guidance and support for new sisters. A Muslim man who comes to the USA, sometimes solely for the Green card, can get away with a lot more marrying a new Muslim whereas many things she may believe, or not even know to ask about would not be tolerated in an “Islamic” culture. An American woman’s idea of “feminism” also allows a man to take advantage of her financially for sure. I think mixed cultural marriages are more likely to be solid if they are built on a foundation of deep knowledge and understanding of the religion and a desire to implement its precepts. Unfortunately, I am the first to admit I did not do enough knowledge seeking before taking my shahādah, and as the years progressed and I came to know details of the religion, strengthened myself as a Muslim and began insisting on my rights, my marriage also got rockier.

[HZ]:  How would you explain the feeling of being abused to a person who has never suffered it himself/herself?

[UY]:  The best explanation or metaphor that I came across over the last few years after I came to understand that what I had experienced in my marriage was, in fact, abuse was a YouTube PSA (public service announcement) that shows a woman slowly struggling and drowning in a tank of water, and just as she is about to drown the water gushes out and she gets a moment of relief, only to have the tank start filling up again. That is how the cycle of abuse works and feels. In fact, women who have been in abusive relationships for a long period of time learn how to “relieve the tension” as it were and trigger the abuse in order to get that sense of relief, and they also of course try to prolong the period of calm after the storm. In this way women try their best to modify and change their own behaviors in an effort to better survive in the only way they know how, to live with and around the abuse, and to live through each incident.

[HZ]:  As a survivor, what advice can you give other women in similar situations?

[UY]:  Every woman is a survivor, the ones in their marriages and relationships, and the single divorcees. Every day women survive. The more important signpost I can place in front of a woman is not survival; it is the ability to thrive. If a woman is merely hanging onto each day, then that is not a self-loving way to be, so I can only suggest that each woman take a long hard look at her unique situation and experiences and see if she can find a way to thrive in her own way. Ultimately each woman has to make the decision to leave and make it work or stay and make it work for her. No one can tell her what the best thing to do is, and she knows her abuser more intimately than anyone else ever will, and only she can know how safe it is to do either of those actions.

One more thing I would have to add that is of increased concern for an American convert to Islam is the issue of dual nationality and dual citizenship for children born in the USA. Parental rights are strongly in favor of the man in Islamic countries and none of the so-called Muslim countries are signatories on the Hague convention, an international convention that attempts to prevent and aid in the persecution and return of abducted children. Converts married to dual citizenship men should be especially aware and mindful of this point because while abduction out of the state can be devastating, often international child abduction can be nearly forever.

Turning Point (New York)
Muslimat Al- Nisaa Baltimore, MD
Project Sakinah


Nour Domestic Violence (London)


AnNisa Hope Center (
Daya: Serving Families in Crisis (
Houston Area Women’s Center (


Niswa Los Angeles
Nisathe Bay Area, CA:

Apna Ghar
Hamdard Center

National Domestic Violence Hotline

Here is an updated list of Muslim organizations in the US on the Peaceful Families website.
Please add resources from your locality – we will add them to the list.

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Hena Zuberi is the Editor in Chief of She leads the DC office of the human rights organization, Justice For All, focusing on stopping the genocide of the Rohingya under Burma Task Force, advocacy for the Uighur people with the Save Uighur Campaign and Free Kashmir Action. She was a Staff Reporter at the Muslim Link newspaper which serves the DC Metro. Hena has worked as a television news reporter and producer for CNBC Asia and World Television News. Active in her SoCal community, Hena served as the Youth Director for the Unity Center. Using her experience with Youth, she conducts Growing Up With God workshops. Follow her on Twitter @henazuberi.



  1. AnonyMouse

    October 19, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    May Allah reward you for this much-needed article.

    “even the term Domestic Violence is looked upon as suspect by many Muslims because it is reminiscent of ”
    “western feminists ideals and doesn’t occur in traditional Islamic texts”.

    This is absolutely spot-on. Unfortunately, as I’ve recently discovered, in some cultures the “religious” guys actually use respected sheikhs as a weapon against their wives by threatening them that by not obeying their husband, or by asking for a divorce, attempting to leave, etc. these women will end up angering Allah and end up in Hell. There is simply not enough awareness about the sheer HARAAMness of domestic violence!

    The scholars and students of knowledge really must learn how to deal with cases of DV in their communities by providing the Islamic evidence against it and repeatedly reminding the men about the punishment that awaits anyone who transgresses the rights of a fellow Muslim or oppresses them – even and especially when that fellow Muslim is their wife!

    There also needs to be awareness that the ‘traditional advice’ of telling a woman to be patient and make du’a and consider her children more than herself, is simply not appropriate. Imagine if a local Imam is approached by a sister in the community, who reveals to him her dire situation, and after knowing full well the danger she’s in, he sends her back home to be further abused… Allah only knows the responsibility that this person will bear for the harm that has come to this Muslimah.

    • Hena Zuberi

      October 22, 2011 at 2:04 AM

      Jazakillah Khayr Sister- this series is indeed needed but what I am finding is that many people just feel too uncomfortable commenting on this issue. It’s like we are crossing a boundary that shouldn’t be crossed. It is amazing how many great women resign to this way of life. May Allah SWT reward them with pious partners in the Aakhirah. I am so greateful to Umm Yousef for answering my questions so eloquently and truthfully. I have followed her online and witnessed her ups and downs and her faith in Allah is so so strong. MashaAllah.

      Verbal abuse can be just as debilitating as physical abuse- you see the scars in physical violence but emotional scars can ruin a persons life and personality.Haraamness fits the description perfectly.

      The reason why I think the shuyookh (especially in Muslims countries) are to ‘blame’ is that they hold power that no one else aside from maybe television holds. You can turnoff the TV but at a khutbah or dars they have a captive audience. The khutbahs that I did find from over sees overseas are so filled with vitriol against women that it so sad. If very respected shuyookh speak about women in such a derogatory manner, how can it not affect the psyche of the listener?

  2. Muslimah

    October 19, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    Nice article, masha’Allah!

    It would also be interesting to throw light on the abuse of young muslim girls by their fathers, brothers, or sometimes entire families, forcing them into marriages, denying the right to education, etc. eventually depriving them of the basic human rights of peace, love, mercy, justice and freedom that Allah has promised for all!!! All this under the pretense of the shariah — with parents calling themselves a child’s God in this world and messing up their lives because of the desire to have control and power over them.

    • melaika

      October 22, 2011 at 1:06 AM

      I second that, Muslimah

    • Hena Zuberi

      October 22, 2011 at 2:06 AM

      InshaAllah Sister, this is the start of the series we hope to address many pf these issues in the follow up posts. Please keep our writers in your duas. All good is from Allah SWT and any mistake I made I purely from my own nafs.

  3. Zari

    October 19, 2011 at 1:18 PM

    Assalamualaikum Sr. Hena,

    Jazakallahu khayran for this wonderful article. There is a lot going on in the Indian blogosphere with this month being the Violence Against Women Awareness Month. This is a tangential question, but I’d be grateful if you could point me to any resources that discuss the hadith, “If it were allowed to prostrate oneself in front of anyone except Allah, then a wife must bow down in prostration in front of her husband”. A lot of Sheikhs talk about how obedience is required from a good Muslim wife. I’ve heard that in one halaqa, the ustadha actually said, “Even if the husband asks you to lick dirt off his feet with your tongue, you must obey”. I believe that it’s these kind of statements that give (religious) men the authority that they can get away with domestic violence.

    I’d love to know your views on this.

    Jazakallahu khayran,
    (a big fan of yours since the niqab debate)-that was Sister Hebah-HZ

    • Zari

      October 21, 2011 at 8:56 PM

      I’m so sorry Sr. Hena! My sincere apologies.

  4. Deak Twon

    October 19, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    “Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.”

    I never understood this, even when I was desperate to leave my husband. I thought that Islamically, he has every right to control me however he felt like it. Hasn’t Allah given him power and control over me?

    So it took me several attempts before I left, but when I did, it wasn’t because I thought he was evil or because he was a bad person. I thought I myself was a horrible person for not being able to put up with the demands he made of me. Like, if every other woman is capable of being patient with their husbands, why can’t I? Why was my behavior changing such that I was angry and resentful and sometimes I couldn’t even stop myself from expressing those sentiments even when I tried. So I would feel even worse that he had done nothing wrong (from an Islamic stand point) while my own behavior couldn’t be justified.

    In the end, I chose to leave not because he had done anything which was directly haram, but because I could no longer “be patient” with a controlling husband.

    I still don’t think he’s evil, I think he’s simply doesn’t understand that just because Allah has given him the right to control his wife, that doesn’t mean he should use it. And if he does use it… well, my divorce is nearly finalized, Alhamdulillah.

    • Shahzad

      October 19, 2011 at 5:27 PM

      Assalamu ‘alaikum,

      There is a difference between a man’s position as a leader in his family versus a pathological need to control others. The latter is a character flaw and a sign of a weak man. And angers me that men and women have come to believe that such people are simply exercising the right that Allah has given them.


    • Hena Zuberi

      October 20, 2011 at 1:11 AM

      From Shaykh Hasan: SubhanAllah. There is a difference between to control and to maintain. Allah has charged the men to maintain the women, but this does not mean that they can control their wives as puppets on strings. When someone starts to control another human being they start to make the other person feel inferior and suppressed. The controller starts to feel that he has the ability to do what he desires to the other person. That feeling can manifests in most cases in subordination and engendering some sort of harm to the controlled, in most cases to show the superiority of the controller.

      How can Allah allow men to suppress and make their wives feel low or inferior? Husband and wife should be equal partners, sharing each other’s grief, pain and happiness. When the wife feels that she has to be patient and that this is something encouraged in Islam (in this instance), then the marriage transforms from being a partnership of mutual love and respect to a dictatorial liaison. And this is something that Islam came to abolish. Wallahu ‘alam

      • Shamsa

        October 20, 2011 at 4:27 PM

        Who is to say what constitutes “maintanence” and what would be categorized as “control”? It is not a wife’s place to judge her husband’s intention, so how does she recognize if she is being abused or she is simply being protected?

      • ANMB

        October 22, 2011 at 11:55 AM

        Very interesting article by another Islamic Scholar in Mumbai:

        Islam prohibits `marital rape`
        By [Sheikh] Asghar Ali Engineer

        May 1, 2009

    • Sabeen Mansoori

      October 20, 2011 at 7:53 AM

      Allah (swt) gave no one the ‘right’ to oppress another.

  5. Umm Sulaim

    October 20, 2011 at 1:09 AM

    Good to hear the views of a woman who left her abusive marriage, though after 10 years. That is one less murder victim.

    Briefly, some brothers asserted my desire for Khul’a was ‘seeking permission’ for divorce and hence my ex had the right to turn it down. I went home, called on Allah The Most High, “You gave him authority over me. You have authority over him. MAKE him issue that divorce.”

    Meanwhile, I brought the marriage to a stand-still and embarked on a full-scale rebellion. I severed all communication with him, though we still slept in the same room. I have a policy not to act contrary to my pleas to Allah; putting up with the abuse was hence out of the question. Of course, I was careful not to do anything that could remotely lead to more abuse.

    4 weeks later and after 8 months of marriage, he uttered divorce.

    Indeed Allah, my Rabb has power over all things,
    Umm Sulaim

  6. Zahra

    October 20, 2011 at 10:42 AM

    This is a timely and very well-written article, jazaki Allahu khairan sister Hena!

    “According to Ibn Ashur, it is the greatest irony that the verse in the Qur’ān which came down to eliminate domestic violence is used to propagate domestic violence.”

    Is more commentary available on this verse? I think that can be a very practical, educational project for our community – having reliable scholars comment on this verse and make the tafsir well-known to the community.

    Secondly, there is also a Muslim women’s shelter in the Bay Area, CA:

    • June

      October 20, 2011 at 7:25 PM

      Assalam alaykum,
      When I was first researching Islam I, having grown up with a mother who is a feminist, researched the women’s issues first. If I am not mistaken, when they say “According to Ibn Ashur, it is the greatest irony that the verse in the Qur’ān which came down to eliminate domestic violence is used to propagate domestic violence” the are referring to Sura 4:34, yes?

      Dr. Mohsin translation: Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allâh has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allâh and to their husbands), and guard in the husband’s absence what Allâh orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husband’s property). As to those women on whose part you see ill¬conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful), but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allâh is Ever Most High, Most Great (34)

      This, of course, bothered me at first so I did some research on it. I found this commentary to be the most helpful. And on the related note of the man’s role to maintain his wife I found this commentary. It’s clear the man has “control” to some extent but certainly not to the point of controlling every minute of the wife’s day under the threat of shouting, hitting, or other punishment if she goes out of line.

      Though I am still curios about commentary on the hadith about a woman prostrating before her husband if it was allowed, as the poster “Zari” mentioned.

      • ANMB

        October 22, 2011 at 12:06 PM

        One opinion of the word “darraba” and it’s translation that should be more seriously considered:

        Furor over a five-letter word

        • ANMB

          October 22, 2011 at 12:12 PM

          And I cannot help but wonder if Dr. Lalah Bukhtair’s translation of “darraba” is more accurate:

          Furor over a five-letter word

          And it is interesting that an ISNA representative wanted to ban the book, and Dr. Ingrid Mattson responded:

          The Islamic Society of North America through it’s President Ingrid Mattson, issued a statement supporting Dr. Bakhtiar’s translation. Read more [ ]


          • ANMB

            October 22, 2011 at 12:25 PM


            “It should be noted, in fact, that Bakhtiar’s interpretation of Qur’anic verse 4:34 is not new, although we do not deny that she arrived at her position independently. A similar interpretation was offered by Dr Abdul Hamid Abu Sulayman, Rector of the International Islamic University of Malaysia, in a 2003 special edition of “Islamic Horizons,” ISNA’s flagship publication. It is unfortunate that many Muslims are unaware of the depth and sophistication of Qur’anic exegesis. ISNA is committed to rectifying this lack of knowledge and expects our administrators to promote ISNA’s values and mission.”


  7. A.Stranger

    October 20, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    “even the term Domestic Violence is looked upon as suspect by many Muslims because it is reminiscent of ”
    “western feminists ideals and doesn’t occur in traditional Islamic texts”.

    Firstly Jazake Allah Khair for addressing this issue and Umm Yousef for talking about your personal experiences.

    I have to point out the above quote, yes in conservative and lacking proper Islamic education circles that is perhaps the mentality, but most definitely not an Islamic on.

    Even those who are pursuing religious education tend to think that this topic is addressed by “Modern scholars”. But that’s not true. When we have such an approach, the onlookers tend to think that Islamic is backwards and allows abuse and it is the modernised individuals who are doing what is right and condoning Domestic Violence.
    Sheikh Abu Bakr Al Jaza’iri is a Khateeb at Masjid Al Haram and he is around 90 years old, MashaAllah – may Allah preserve him. In his tafseer of Surah Al Majadalah he referred to this issue directly, over and over again. And I am ashamed to say this but I was impressed that someone as old as him would talk about this, someone who comes from a very un-westernised society. And this is PROOF, that our true Islamic Scholars (with correct Aqeedahs) don’t accept domestic violence, but they condone it.

    As for scholars telling sisters to be patient, of course Muslims have to have Sabr.
    Patience is not a moral characteristic that makes life difficult for a believer but it is an act of worship that ALLOWS the believer to get through the rough time with sanity intact. And scholars do advise to seek help. Patience is advised for the women’s internal well being. And it goes hand in hand with seeking help from a third party.

    I pray non of our sisters in Islam have to ever go through something like this.

    • Dawud Israel

      October 20, 2011 at 4:03 PM


    • Hena Zuberi

      October 22, 2011 at 2:42 AM

      I think the study was referring to the actual term ‘domestic violence’ instead of the concept. It could be the results they recieved from the people they surveyed- those are not my thoughts at all.
      The Grand Mufti I quoted was born in 1879, so you are absolutely right that this is not a new or modern approach to the din. This is an age old problem and the Qur’an was send down to abolish it.

      JazakAllah khayr for your wise comments.

      • A.Stranger

        October 26, 2011 at 12:59 AM

        Oh no! I didn’t mean you! I meant the general mentality that people tend to have towards this term, or even concept. :) MashaAllah you did a great job sister :)

  8. Haleh

    October 20, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    Jazakillah khair for starting this Domestic Violence Awareness. It plagues all societies and the number one way to address it is through knowledge. MashaAllah a well written article!

    A special thanks to Um Yousef for sharing her personal story and giving sound advice.
    May Allah help all those in oppressive relationships.


  9. aliya

    October 20, 2011 at 6:05 PM

    i wonder how men would cope with getting beaten up all the time and living in fear?…
    Patient much? LOL

  10. Abdullah

    October 20, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    • A.Stranger

      October 22, 2011 at 3:36 AM

      This is so sad! And it’s absolutely despicable how it’s been done “in the name of Islam”.

  11. Yahya Ibrahim

    October 20, 2011 at 11:46 PM


    If there is one thing that the Prophet (s) demonstrated in his 40+ years of married life to 13 different woman, i might add, is that loving your wife is the Sunnah.

    That is quickly followed by the Sunnah of Divorce.

    The Prophet (s) divorced more than one of his wives. Hafsa (ra) the daughter of Umar (r) was returned by Allah’s instruction on account of her faith.

    Divorce is not shameful.

    It surprised me to see so few comments on such an important piece…in particular the silence from the brothers.

    I believe Sr. Hena alluded to a new post of mine coming out titled the Sunnah of Love.
    Please read it insha Allah.

    yahya Ibrahim

  12. Umm Sulaim

    October 21, 2011 at 5:23 AM

    No one is ALLOWED to prostrate to another. It is an excellent idea to read up on it to clear up doubts and misconceptions.

    My surprise is at the silence of women. They are usually the victims of domestic abuse. I’m particularly interested in reading the views of women regarding what is happening to them and WHY it is happening.

    Patience is until Allah makes a way OUT OF DISTRESS, and not a passive resignation to fate. And by out of distress, I meant out of distress ALIVE AND WITH MINIMAL TRAUMA. I just thought I should clarify that to avoid misconceptions I support women being sent to Jannah via courier service (murder).

    Umm Sulaim

  13. Farhan

    October 21, 2011 at 10:01 AM

    I will NEVER be a domestic abuser.

    • umm abdullah

      October 21, 2011 at 11:32 PM


  14. Amad

    October 21, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    Men who beat their wives are cowards. There is no other word to describe it.

  15. ANMB

    October 22, 2011 at 11:33 AM

  16. ANMB

    October 22, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    MOSAIC: The Tool That Could Save Your Life
    The Oprah Winfrey Show | April 15, 2010…

    According to security expert Gavin de Becker, a woman dies every four hours in the United States at the hands of her boyfriend or spouse. Gavin also says these crimes are often predictable and preventable.

    To combat domestic violence, Gavin has developed a potentially lifesaving tool called MOSAIC. This online assessment is free and protects the user’s identity.

  17. ANMB

    October 22, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    Suzette Haden Elgin’s
    Verbal Self Defense Home Page

  18. ANMB

    October 22, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    Chastising Women:

    A Means to Resolve Marital Problems?

    AbdulHamid A. AbuSulayman1

  19. UmmH

    October 24, 2011 at 9:03 AM


    I currently live with abuse – my husband does not allow me friends, to go out alone without him watching like a hawk, believes he can dictate how I dress or speak. Anytime, he gets angry with me (like the other day when I wished to hold onto a small amount of MY money for myself) he yells and lectures me about how horrible I am- how I should be thankful I have him (as no one else would have me), how I don’t care for my children, and on and on. This line of verbal assault typically lasts hours and can start for something as simple as me not turning off the computer fast enough to address is sexual needs. Of course it always ends with him wanting to get his sexual needs met, to make up, and the whole time I am dead inside becuase if a man loves you he wont treat you like trash and then climb on you after like nothing happened.

    Now, who do I go to? Here in my town in the USA – the Imam doesn’t speak a lick of English – plus I know I would be told to be patient – he is the man – he CAN dictate who I spend time with (even to make it so I have NO support – it was in the Prophet’s last sermon don’t you know) and limit me outside of the home (like making it impossible for me to volunteer etc). I had to reach out to strangers essentially to seek support, and always in the back of my head feel guilt for my hubby’s favorite rant how everyone is out to get him for being Arab – so the poor guy doesn’t have a fighting chance. The message being these strangers don’t CARE about me but simply want to break up a Muslim home…..

    Ladies, don’t put up with this. As I type, I think I better get off quick and start cleaning the hard drive before he checks out my computer – and it ain’t healthy. He may not hit me, but frankly I would rather he did. You should have more articles for women like me who cant save money. can’t call someone easily, who have no support whatsoever. The ones who are under constant watch. I currently plan to contact a Muslim brother within the community that is American and should understand both sides to negotiate a seperation/divorce that wont involve restraining orders, but can’t help fearing he will give me the same line of “have more patience”. I am broken to the point, it is difficult to meet the needs of my children much less myself and I recognize that.

    Dear strangers, I add you to my list of support – please keep me in your dua.

    • Umm Sulaim

      October 24, 2011 at 12:08 PM

      My dear girl as-Salam alayk,

      May Allah be with you.

      There are many issues on my mind which I shall refrain from revealing for the simple reason I do not get involved in other people’s relationships.

      I wish I could offer other forms of assistance: housing, finances, etc. But you are in the US; you would have been welcomed in my home while you sort yourself out.

      If you do eventually get a divorce from him, I shall be here, In Sha Allah with full moral support.

      It is a pleasure to read a woman actually KNOWS what is happening to her hurts her. Your options may include advice from social services and lawyers. You might want to check the internet for free online advice; only be sure the site is genuine.

      Of course, I say remain patient (see my comment above). And may Allah be with you and your children.

      Umm Sulaim

    • Sunshine

      October 24, 2011 at 2:57 PM

      Sounds like my ex exactly.

      Hang in there, Allah will make a way out for you InshaAllah.

    • mimi

      October 24, 2011 at 3:20 PM

      Assalamu’alaikum UmmH, I’ve recently started praying Tahajjud regularly and will pray for you and your family :) Please stay strong and don’t lose hope.

    • ANMB

      October 24, 2011 at 4:51 PM

      as salaam ‘alaikum UmmH,

      Please contact Peaceful Families for more information:

      PFP is a national organization devoted to ending domestic violence in Muslim families by facilitating awareness workshops for Muslim leaders and communities, providing cultural sensitivity trainings for professionals, conducting research, and developing resources. More about our programming.

      Peaceful Families Project
      P.O. Box 771
      Great Falls, VA 22066
      Email: info
      Phone: 703.474.6870
      Please note that we do not provide direct services.

      If you are experiencing domestic violence in your home and need assistance, please contact one of these locally based groups [ ] that provide direct services so they can assist you.

      You may also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE.

      I would also suggest that you read the various links in the comments of this article, that may be beneficial for you as you find your way, insha’Allah.

      May Allah (swt) make it easy for you.


  20. ANMB

    October 25, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    Egypt sheikh backs women’s right to beat husbands
    By AFP
    Monday, 27 October 2008 4:54 PM

    Sunni Islam’s highest authority has approved a woman’s right to fight back if her husband uses violence against her, Egypt’s Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper reported on Monday.

    The declaration by Sheikh Abdel Hamid Al-Atrash, who heads Al-Azhar University’s committee for fatwas or religious rulings, comes after similar rulings by religious leaders in Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

    “A wife has the legitimate right to hit her husband in order to defend herself,” Sheikh Abdel was quoted as saying.

    “Everyone has the right to defend themselves, whether they are a man or a woman… because all human beings are equal before God,” he said.

    Over the last few days, Saudi Sheikh Abdel Mohsen Al-Abyakan stressed the fact that a wife should resort to “the same kind of violence” as her husband used against her, whether it be with a leather strap or a wire cable, the paper said.

    Turkish Sheikh Fathallah Julun went one step further and ruled that a woman should return the violence with interest.

    “She should give back two blows for each one received,” the paper quoted him as saying.

    Rights groups quoted by Amnesty International say that 35 percent of Egyptian women killed per year die as a result of domestic violence.

  21. ANMB

    October 26, 2011 at 8:52 AM

    SubhanAllah. And is it any wonder that the cultures that deem “abuse” as “correcting women” and justify it with Islam, that it also affects the children in Islamic educational settings?!?

  22. ANMB

    October 26, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    Excerpt from article:

    What IS going on in Britain’s mosque schools? Beatings, humiliation and lessons in hating Britain
    Last updated at 1:36 AM on 25th October 2011

    . . .

    In 2006, Dr Siddiqui, then leader of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain — a forum set up back in the Nineties to lobby and campaign on issues affecting Muslims — accused local imams of not taking their duty to protect children seriously.

    Anyone with ‘less than a fistful of beard’ must be avoided ‘the same way you stay away from a serpent or a snake’, some children were instructed. Non-Muslims were referred to as the ‘infidel’

    His concerns were spelled out in a damning 35-page publication, Child Protection In Faith-Based Environments:

    ‘The Muslim community,’ he wrote, ‘is at present in a state of denial — denial of the fact that child abuse takes place in places of worship including mosques and madrassas and families. It is a taboo subject.

    ‘There is very little discussion taking place in the community on the subject at any level. Hence, when such a crime is committed, the victim knows no one to turn to and the abusers are answerable to no one.’

    . . .

  23. Nina

    November 13, 2011 at 5:42 AM

    Excellent. I was a victim of domestic violence for 14 years. I got out

  24. zakir

    September 5, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    Mashallah, good article. I was specially impressed with the comments shared.

    While definitely agreeing on the major abuse of women in Islam, I think we should also highlight abused and battered husbands in Muslim communities. These cases remain much more secret because a Muslim husband is supposed to be a strong character and he is never seen as a weak one battered by an abusive Muslim wife.

    I am writing this after seeing a few cases first hand.

    As a community, we should help and support abused wives as well as husbands.

    May Allah help us build healthy relationships.Ameen.

  25. color

    February 8, 2013 at 7:10 AM

    As Salaamu Alaikum, I sit here in front of my computer telling the short story of my life. the constant belittleing, calling me Dunya, all I evrer wanted to do was practice Islam peacful and meet some one who was to take care of me turned into me takeing care of him and separte from me if I didnt do what he wanted me to. I have to stop because I’m not strong enough to type the story

  26. Nemat

    September 14, 2013 at 1:46 AM

    Dear sister,

    “Patience is until Allah makes a way OUT OF DISTRESS, and not a passive resignation to fate. And by out of distress, I meant out of distress ALIVE AND WITH MINIMAL TRAUMA. I just thought I should clarify that to avoid misconceptions I support women being sent to Jannah via courier service (murder)”.
    I will keep you in my duaa, oh beloved sister. Never believe that a man has the right to control you or oppress you. InshaAllah u find a way out of this. So theres no Imam in ur communtiy that can help?

  27. Sana

    November 7, 2015 at 9:49 PM

    Speaking about DV is such an easy thing to do. Doing something about it, is a whole other thing. I see too many Imams speak out about this topic, but they are hands off when it comes to protection of survivors. We must be responsible for what happens within our communities. Restraining orders are placed against abusers, and being an attorney myself, I am shocked at how communities and Muslims stand with perpetrators of domestic violence. Please ask the victim personally what their order looks like, so that one is not assisting in the crime of violation of a restraining order. Nobody is above the law.


    November 3, 2016 at 3:36 PM

    islam wants us as muslim brothers to be leader in our home, “leader”, which means someone others can see as a good example, but most muslim brothers chose to be a bad example, and people are using them to judge others. i am a Muslim and im proud to be one. alhamdulillah

  29. anonymous

    November 19, 2020 at 1:49 AM

    This brought tears to my eyes. Years ago, my husband thought it was his right to put me in my place through physical abuse. I never told anyone, because it was a matter between us, a shameful matter. His mother lived with us, she knew, because he did it in front of her to show her he was in control. One day, one of our fights got out of control, and I called my mother to complain. She came over with my brother to calm things down. When she walked in, the first person she met was my husband, and he started yelling about how I was beating his mother (I had pushed her in anger, and she had lost balance and fallen). This made me angry, so I that was the first time I told anyone that he had been beating me. My mother’s response? To nod sagely, and feel pride that her son in law was in control of his house. My brother at least suggested that beating your wife was not a good thing. My brother’s disapproval was enough to stop my husband from further abuse, but the pain of what I suffered, and my mother’s tacit approval, stays with me forever.

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