Domestic Violence 1/2

Domestic Violence Domestic violence is a social disease which plagues not only the nation, but our communities as well. It's vital for us, as believers, to re-evaluate the problem as we see within our communities and walk in the footsteps of the Prophet (pbuh) and his family (p) in eradicating the abuse.

Audhu billahi minash-shaytanir-rajeem Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim wa bihi nastaeen wa Sallal-lahu allahumma alaa Muhammadin wa aali at-tahereen. This is part one of a two part discussion of domestic violence within the Muslim community for Imam and Islam weekly.

In our discussion for today, inshaAllah I want to reflect a little bit in regards to the social disease and problem of domestic violence as it is present within this country, but even more specifically within our Muslim communities.

Data and statistics state that one in every four women will experience physical violence by their intimate partner during the course of their lives, and one in every seven men. While other statistics state that 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States of America. Often times when we reflect upon the notion of domestic violence, we feel that it is a reality that is not present within our communities, for we are Muslims, we believe in God and we believe in the Prophet sallal-lahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam.

The data and the reality on the ground, rather, shows a very stark difference. Unfortunately, every single day, women are being physically abused by their husbands, by their brothers or their fathers or by other members within their family, leading to a whole host of other challenges and obstacles within the home and external too. And naturally, it becomes our responsibility as believers who are meant to walk in the footsteps of the Prophet, sallal-lahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam, towards speaking out against and combating this notion within our households and within our communities more broadly.

In a narration from the Prophet, sallal-lahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, He states, the best from among you are those who are best to your women. And naturally, then it becomes the responsibility of husbands, of fathers, of leaders within the Muslim community, within the mosque community and even within their own households making sure that we are striving toward combating this social reality that is present.

Because how could it be acceptable that a believer, someone who prays to Allah Subhanah wa Ta'ala, five times a day, someone who claims he has love and adoration for the Prophet, alayhis salaam, and his family, Ahlul Bayt peace and blessings be upon them, to then go and turn and be physically or sexually abusive to his spouse or to his children. And obviously, the same goes because many men are also victims of domestic based violence within their homes.

When we talk about this as an issue within the Muslim community, again, the data and the statistics are all microcosm of that which is illuminated within our own communities. There is not a week that goes by in the work that I do, whereby a woman does not come to me and tell me about the challenges and obstacles that they are encountering within their own households.

And often times many people, they utilize the religion of Islam and they utilize certain tenants within the tradition or certain ahadith within the tradition in order to demonstrate the acceptability of being abusive to their spouse. And that in itself is incredibly problematic, because for someone to utilize religious text in order to be abusive toward those who they are intimate with, this is a definition of spiritual abuse, is founded within the textbooks of experts within the field.

And it is also forbidden, according to Islamic law, for someone to go and strike any individual, let alone their own wife or their own daughter or their own mother. And furthermore, as believers and followers of Ahlul Bayt, alayhimus as salatu wassalaam, we often recollect stories and the tragedies of the most noble women, those who come from the holy household of Ahlul Bayt alayhimus salaam who went through physical abuse in order to mourn them, in order to grieve over them and we see them as symbols of value and of virtue within our tradition.

How can we truly grieve over them like that of Lady Fatima, like that of Lady Zaynab, peace and blessings be upon them and then at the same time be as abusive toward those within our own household?

In this discussion, I just want to shed a little bit of light in regards to our responsibilities moving forward and in part two of this discussion to reflect upon one of the most commonly misunderstood Ayat of the Holy Quran which is often defined as the verse of wife. We shall talk about it next week.

But very, very briefly, let me just sort of make these quick bullet points:

Number one, it is absolutely forbidden for anyone to perform any act of violence against members of their family. Undoubtedly, according to scholars of Islamic law, but even more broadly, on an ethical, moral standpoint, it is absolutely unlawful to do such a thing.

Number two, for someone to utilize religious texts in order to validate their abuse of their spouse or the member of their family, again, they are committing another act of, sort of, disrespect toward our religious tradition.

Thirdly, walking in the footsteps of the Messenger of God, sallal-lahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam is not only in regards to matters of the law, but it also transfers toward matters of etiquette for the Prophet, sallal-lahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam in the famous narration he says: " Innamal mu'iththu le uthammin makarimal akhlaq" (6:25) that I have been sent with one responsibility, and that is to perfect the etiquette and the character of my community.

Thus it becomes our responsibility then, number four, toward walking in those footsteps of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa aalehi wassalam and supporting the most vulnerable within our communities. Often times women or victims and survivors of domestic violence and abuse. We need to come to the forefront, to not only calling these trials out and seeking to weed out this problem within our households, but more than that come toward the support by raising money in support of these people, by coming to the forefront and building the shelters and the clinics that we so desperately need within our communities.

Walking in the footsteps of Ahlul Bayt, alaihimus salaam, is not limited toward prayers or fasting during the month of Ramadan, performing a Hajj pilgrimage or going toward visiting their shrines and Mausoleums. It requires a commitment to action, commitment to community, a commitment to making a difference. We pray, to Allah, Subhanah wa Ta'ala, for tawfeeq and to give us the ability to be those difference makers, which this world so desperately needs.

Al-Hamdulillahi rabbil aalameen wa sallallahu alaa Muhammadin wa aali at-taahereen.

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