Islam Weekly: Domestic Violence 2/2

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 assalatu wa assalamu ala sayyidina wa nabiyyina Muhammad wa alabayte at-tayyibeen at-tahereen.

This part two of our discussion on Islam weekly in which I want to reflect a little bit in regards to the concept of domestic violence and abuse within Muslim communities. And for today's discussion, we want to reflect a little bit in regards to one of the most controversial verses mentioned within the whole of war on many have utilized toward justifying sexual and domestic violence within our communities.

This verse is found in Chapter four of the Holy Qur'an, Surah Al-Nisa', verse 34. And for the sake of our conversation, I want to reflect a little bit in regards to some glimpses that we can take from this ayah of the Qur'an that can actually be utilized in a positive connotation during the course of our day to day lives without getting into too much depth. In this verse, Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala states: "Bismillah, Al-Rahman, Al-Rahim. Ar-rijaal qawwaamoona 'alan nisaaa', i bimaa faddalallaahu ba'dahum 'alaa ba'din, wa bimaaa anfaqoo min amwaalihim" (4:34) He states within the Holy Qur'an, and the translation states, "men are the managers of women because of the advantage Allah has granted some of them over the others and by virtue of their spending out of their wealth".

The very first sort of segment of this Ayat of the Qur'an, again, God states: "Ar-rijaal qawwaamoona 'alan nisaaa', or men are the managers of women or men have authority over women and other translations suggest. And immediately when we get into this subject and this notion and concept of authority over another gender, we begin to enter into a phase of a whole host of different conversation that have stirred up sort of since industrialization has taken place in this world.

Whereby we recognize that gender roles have changed drastically and dramatically from the time of the revelation of Qur'an, from the time of the messenger, sallal-lahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam or even sort of more recently in the last hundred years or the last 50 years. And this how can we reconcile between this Ayat of the Holy Qur'an where God states Ar-rijaal qawwaamoona 'alan nisaaa', that men have authority over men or the managers of women?

Well, first of all, let us take one step back and glimpse, number one, that we can take from this Ayat or on or bullet point number one.

And in terms of understanding that many cultures and many communities have traditionally been brought up with the notion that men have certain responsibilities over their women counterpart. And that is not to say that women are any less than men, but rather the fact that there is comes a sense of responsibility in some manifestations of the household that fall on the shoulders of men and within Islamic tradition and practice this, does not differ. For we go back to the Ayat and we read it contextually whereby God states: "Ar-rijaal qawwaamoona 'alan nisaaa', i bimaa faddalallaahu ba'dahum 'alaa ba'din, wa bimaaa anfaqoo min amwaalihim" (4:34)

That continues in these states the reason why there is this hierarchy and again, it is not a hierarchy in every dimension of life, but it is a hierarchy in one thing, and that is in regards toward financial responsibility, whereby the religion of Islam virtually commands the men in a relationship to take control over the finances of his household, and that is to demonstrate his specific role in contrast with the other roles that are designated for women, which are found within the Hadith literature.

This does not mean by any stretch of the imagination, for instance, that if a woman does work and that she can and has and is willing to provide for her family, she cannot do so, no. But the primary responsibility, as God is outlining within this Ayat of the Qur'an, is that men have this financial responsibility to caretake in their homes, not in a way that is authoritative or not in a way that is abusive, but rather this important responsibility falls on their shoulders.

That continues within the ayat of the Qur'an, chapter four again, verse 34: "fassaalihaatu qaanitaatun haafidhaatul lil ghaibi bimaa hafidha Allah; wallaatee takhaafoona nushoo zahunna fa 'izoohunna wahjuroohunna fil madaaji'i wadriboo hunna"(4:34). The second aspect of the ayah of the Qur'an is what generates even more controversy.

For Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala speaks firstly about the righteous women and the fact that they are obedient and the fact that they are in a state of care in the absence of their husbands. And again, I would go back to this notion that when the idea of the Qur'an speaks to the fact that "fassaalihaatu qaanitaatun"(4:34) the sun had to a tattoo tattooing that women are obedient women or pious women or those who are obedient, again, it does not mean in a state of authoritative nature whereby my spouse, for instance, or my children are slaves to me, na udhu bil-Lah min adh-dhalik, we don't see this within the etiquette and within the practice of the Prophet, sallalahu alayhi wa aali nor within the Iimams of the Ahlul Bayt alayhum assalat wa assalam, but rather, in a way, we're talking about receptivity in the same way that a husband should be the same toward his spouse.

In fact, in the narration from Imam Ali, alayhi assalam, he states: " al-mu'min yakul bi-shahwata awwal, wa al-munafiq yakul ahlu bi shahwata", Imam Ali alayhi assalam, he states that the believer is the one who eats in accordance with the desires of his family, meaning his sort of easy going. He lets sort of his family decide not only what to eat, but where to travel, what to do, so on and so forth. And the munafiq, the hypocrite is the one who eats his family with his desires. Meaning is the one who sort of dominates across his household.

So we do not mean obedience in that way, whereby if the husband says standing and the woman stands and if the husband says the woman has to sit. No. And again, we do not see this as well within the practice of the Prophet and of the Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalat wa assalam.

And then God talks about those sort of, women who may be sort of disobedient but not disobedient in a sort of normal way, whereby we get into arguments or conversations or debates with our spouses, but in some situations and in some circumstances, in times of argument, for instance, Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala states that when there was a dispute in the home, then advise your wives and then stay away from them. For instance, do not sleep in the same bed. And what is often understood thirdly as "wa driboohunna" and beat them. And again, how it is often translated is not do justice to the reality into the etiquette and the ethos of the Islamic tradition, which speaks to a completely different reality.

Let me give you a couple of examples. Firstly, the word "dhurb" in the Arabic language has numerous different meanings. It could means to push away, could mean to ignore it could mean, for instance, to give the silent treatment, so to say. When individuals get into an argument, they start to manifest their anger and aggression at the other individual, by means of a whole host of different realities. Again, whereby many people, they jump to the conclusion that this permits me, for instance, to strike my wife. Again, where do we find this within the practice of Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalat wa assalam? within the practice of the Prophet, sallal-lahu alayhi wa alyhi wa sallam?

Other Ayat of the Holy Qur'an demonstrate that the meaning of "dhurb" could mean to show, as founded, for instance, within chapter two, verse twenty six, "dhurb" could mean something that is destined in the context of Bani Isra'il is also mentioned in the Holy Qur'an, "fa dharabna ala adhanihim fi'l-kafhi sini adada"(18:11) Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala states: "And we sort of placed a barrier over their ears" in regards to the people of the Cave, Ashab al-Kahf, meaning that one of the meanings of "dhurb" could be, again, do not listen or sort of prevent yourself from hearing.

Again, we are talking about a circumstance and an issue, first of all, that is dire. And again, when we want to understand Ayat of the Holy Qur'an, we have to utilize other verses of the Qur'an in order to present us and crystallize us the context.

Another Ayat of the Qur'an, for instance, where by Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala states in chapter four, verse thirty-four, He states: "fa in arada fi salan an taradin minhuma wa tashawurin fa la junaha alayhuma"(2:233) that speaks to the fact that when a husband and a wife, they are in a state perhaps of disagreement in regards to weaning the child of the milk of his mother, that what is necessary is mutual consultation. Again, not an argument, not a dispute, but the fact that the husband and the wife, they work together toward an outcome and toward an objective, again, that brings out a sense of positivity, that brings out a sense of virtue and beauty from the relationship.

And again, we go back toward those foundational principles, which Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala speaks to and mentions within the Holy Qur'an, whereby God states that He places in between the husband and wife "mawaddatan wa rahma"(30:21), He places in between them love and mercy, but not any type of love, not any type of mercy, love and mercy that is gifted, that is made innate between the respective husband and wife.

So it is super important that when we see verses of the Qur'an or with individuals, that speak toward matters of controversy within the Ayat of the Qur'an, number one, we have to take a look at it through the lens of the entire and the larger ethos of the Islamic tradition. And secondly, we have to go back and see the way that it was practiced and implemented by the messenger, Muhammad, sallal-lahu alayhi wa alyhi wa sallam, and his immaculate family, the Ahlul Bayt, peace and blessings be upon them.

And again, this is not to say that some individuals may apply these Ayat differently. But again, we need to be a people who strive toward emulating and walking in the footsteps of the Messenger and of his family, alayhum assalam. And if we desire to do that, then it is important that we hold steadfast to values and act in accordance with the prophetic teaching. When he states, sallal-lahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam: "the best of you, are the best to your women".

Wa Al-Hamdulillah Rabb Al-Alameen, wa sallillah humma 'ala Muhammad wa alihi at-tahireen.

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