What is Islam’s position regarding domestic violence?

logo DVWhat is Islam’s position regarding domestic violence?
Islam prohibits all forms of oppression and injustice (Qur’an 5:8; 4:135; 42:42-43). Muslims scholars agree that Islam does not allow any form of abuse.

I completely always understood that his behaviour was out of Islam. I was terrified he would kill me if I walked away as he told me so multiple times over the years. I only took the brave step to call the police as his violence became so of intense, the danger of remaining became as great as the danger of leaving. He acted as if he was on course to kill us all in my home. Staying was no longer a method of survival and I became fully aware of the very real danger I was in in my own home.

Will God be angry if I get a divorce or leave my husband if he is abusive?
God hates all forms of oppression. The Qur’an clearly allows divorce and provides details on the just manner in which a divorce should take place. Although Islam teaches that God dislikes divorce, he has not prohibited it. On the other hand, the Qur’an clearly prohibits injustice and oppression. The Qur’an has provided divorce as a peaceful solution (See Qur’an 2:227-242; 4:19 -21; 65: 1-8).

The Prophet Muhammad married a woman who had been divorced, reinforcing the acceptability of divorce in the Muslim community.

I asked him for a divorce multiple times but he quite liked his way of life why wouldn’t he? He literally had a slave therefore had no plans on letting me go. He was very happy being a dominator, oppressor and would not divorce me. Now I am free he still contacts me through the children wanting to remain with me, as he has plans to make me pay, of that I am completely sure.

Is abuse a punishment for past sins?
Numerous verses in the Qur’an serve as reminders that God will test each person in his or her lifetime in a multitude of ways (2: 155; 3:142, 3:186; 29:2).

Even the most righteous people will be and have been tested. For some people, their test may come in the form of an abusive spouse. Rather than believing that suffering through the abuse is a way to atone for past sins, a person who is being abused could focus on ways to overcome the test.

Overcoming the test might include remaining steadfast in one’s faith, continuing to pray, protecting oneself and one’s children from abuse, and seeking ways to end or escape the oppression and injustice.

This point is where Muslim women are judged for not leaving a oppressor yet many actually do seek help only to be told to be patient if their perpetrator cries his eyes out and begs for a second chance. I have always fully been aware of the fact abuse is not a punishment for past sins. I tried my best to end my oppression. When I took the very brave step to contacted the mosque the brothers were good enough to come out to my home and speak to him. They offered me a khula and they would marry me to another brother on the same day. However this made him madder and madder.

I approached the mosque about three times in the beginning, they never referred me to any services or followed up with support. I was a young revert to Islam, married to what they described as a madman. I stopped asking them for help as the situation got worse and worse.

I then contacted his family for help. His brother who was a illegal immigrant would come and talk to him. I believed his brother was against his behaviour, however when he went on to marry he was even more abusive than my perpetrator.

I contacted my brother in law as he was from the same country yet did not have the behaviour of my perpetrator. Nothing changed him, then I started to call the police.  After 12 years of abuse I finally made a statement and he spent a short time in prison. However when he got out he continued to stalk me until I took him back in my life.

All of brave footsteps to overcome my test made him more determined to exert his power and control over me through violence and threats to kill me and the children. He became so much worse and much more terrifying to live with. So please next time you hear of a victim putting up with abuse that you would never tolerate help them, refer them to a organisation that can help them. Do not blame them for staying, listen to them without commenting on how your husband is so good.

The community, mosque, family and friends who know what is going on please step up and offer actual support.  I was failed please do not fail the next victim who bravely steps towards you to ask for help.

After he went to prison I stopped asking for help from anyone as I firmly believed he would actually kill me and I had no means to get far away from him . He used weapons and totally terrified me into believing that he was insane and had no control over his actions.

Won’t God be angry that I am not obeying my husband?
Muslims must never obey anyone who is commanding a behaviour that is contrary to God’s teachings. When obeying a husband involves behaviour that is hurtful or destructive to oneself or others, a Muslim wife must remember that her primary obedience is to God. Muslim husbands should remember that their responsibility is to lead a healthy family unit in which all members are striving to implement God’s teachings, not to serve under the husband’s rule. Both husband and wife are directly accountable to God.

I only had to be accountable for my behaviour, I never felt that I was not obeying my husband as he was abusive beyond reason. I kept my home clean as it was never actually his home. I made beautiful home cooked meals for our children. He on the other hand never provided for us. He did not actually live with us as he never wanted to actually be a real Muslim husband. He would earn his money and keep it all to himself. He would always turn up and eat from our plates without contributing towards the cost. if I ever asked him for provision I was attacked.

After years of being insulted and abused by my husband, I feel repulsed by him. Will I be punished if I avoid intimate relations with my husband?
The Qur’an emphasizes the mutual rights of husband and wife in all areas, and specifically in the sexual relationship, which should be mutually satisfying (2:187; 4:1; 30:21).

A husband must take care of his wife emotionally and physically in order to exercise his right to intimate relations. If a spouse feels repulsed, it is important to explore appropriate options and interventions to remedy the situation.

My husband was completely aware that I was repulsed by him as I always tried to avoid him intimately. I would often refuse and he would become even harder to be around. However after intimacy he would also be more abusive and horrible leaving me feeling humiliated and used.

During intimacy he would make me as uncomfortable as possible. He used it as a method of breaking my spirit. I felt like I was dying inside. I would tell him and he ignored me. I was never allowed to say no. For me the sexual abuse was the worst part of the abuse he committed. Especially because I was abused by my father as a child. I live with PTSD as he ignited the memories.

Doesn’t the Qur’an instruct men to beat their wives if they are disobedient?
Verse 4:34 in the Qur’an prescribes a step-by-step process for husbands to address a wife’s behaviour if she is acting in a manner that would threaten the integrity of the family unit (such as promiscuous behaviour). The Arabic word that has often been translated as “beat her” also has many other meanings, such as “leave her.” Scholars who choose the translation of “beat” emphasize that it is symbolic and can leave no mark or injury. These scholars suggest that the husband might use the equivalent of a tissue or blade of grass to make his point. Abusers may take this verse out of context and forget the multiple teachings that emphasize equity, mutual compassion and respect in the marital relationship (Qur’an 4:1; 30:21; 42:38; 49:13; 65:6).

I never once thought that any of his behaviours were expectable. He would be violent aggressive swear and abuse me. then he would approach me in the day or night which is completely forbidden.

What does Islam say about ending abuse?
Islam holds its followers responsible for speaking out against injustice and doing whatever is possible to end all forms of oppression (5:8; 42:42-43). The Qur’an reminds victims of oppression that if they are powerless to end the oppression, God’s earth is spacious enough for them to find a place free of oppression (4:97).

Victims are judged within the community for not leaving. Yet when these victims present themselves are they provided with a Muslim refuge? No they are not. Are they referred to non Muslim refuges? I cant answer for others but I know I wasn’t. Is there any follow up to check the victim is not suffering? Again not in my case. I did not stay as a victim of violence by choice no one choses to be attacked, sworn at, sexually abused as if you cant say no then it is rape and I did not want to sleep with him very early in the relationship due to his behaviour towards me. My perpetrator made repeated threats to kill me if I tried to escape. I had nowhere to run to. So leaving and running was not an option. I feel there needs to be an awareness of the fear that the victim of domestic violence feels. When I first asked the community for help I was told to leave however it was not that simple as you need somewhere to run to. When I stopped asking for help it was assumed that there were no more problems. Finally when I finally got help from the police the community were shocked because I had given up trying to get help and became very ill in the process. Many people hadn’t seen me in years as I had became so sick and isolated.