Domestic-Violence has no place in the Muslim-Community!!!

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Some time ago, I was informed that a Muslim brother repeatedly beats on his wife. When I first received the news, the fact that this is still an actual practice is generally disgusting. But, the fact that Muslims do this is worse, and the fact that I know the person is excruciatingly painful to know. This is mainly due to the fact that Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), the ultimate religious example to & for all Muslims, was never known to abuse any of his wives, not in the least. He was even known to have prohibited a Muslim woman from marrying a Muslim man who was known during his lifetime as a woman-beater. Yet, we who come after him, who claim to be adherents to his noble example & lifestyle, act completely the opposite of his example & lifestyle. Now, as Muslims we know that accusations against people without evidence is a sin in and of itself. But, the person who told me this is an upstanding member of the Muslim-Community, among those who know them. And, when this person related this news to me, I really didn’t know how to handle this shocking revelation, and to be honest, I still don’t really know how to deal with this.

I had been struggling to find a solution to my torn conviction, by thinking about the following questions: How do I approach a Muslim, who’s been accused of manifesting Domestic-Violence? How can I approach a Muslim about this issue, without either learning later on that the allegations themselves were fraudulent, or causing tension and/or hatred between this individual & myself? How am I supposed to react, if the person whom I approach admits to manifesting Domestic-Violence and/or won’t stop abusing their respective spouse? If it is confirmed that these allegations are true, will he be dealt with accordingly, or will he be given a pass because of his status in the Muslim-Community?

All of these most important questions have been spinning in my head, as if I was obligated to do or say something about this situation. There were actually additional questions that I had going through my mind like: Since the person who told me this obviously knew that this was going on before they told me, why would they only tell me? Also, the person who told me about this situation specifically requested that I keep this information confidential (i.e. I’m not supposed to tell anyone). Then, I started thinking to myself, and my thoughts turned into more questions: How can I, as a Muslim & a man, keep something like this a secret? Do I expose this situation anyway, in search of the truth, at the expense of blatantly violating the trust of someone who confided in me?  What if this backfires in my face, and it is not even investigated, or even taken seriously by the leaders of our community? What if the allegations are false & I begin to spread this allegation around, and because of me, this person’s reputation is tainted because of a lie?

Honestly, the whole affair is just a mess. One, for the simple fact that Domestic-Violence is a fabric of our society. Two, the fact that Muslims actually take part in such a shameful action. Three, the fact that a Muslim whom I know personally, a person whom I deemed to be a stand-up individual, (whom I now look at completely differently, in a negative way, because of this situation), has been accused of such a deplorable thing.

My gut-feeling tells me that I should do or say something. But, what should I do & what should I say? I don’t know the answers to any of these questions. But, I do know this: Domestic-Violence is a disgusting practice, that is used by cowardly individuals, to control others, under the guise of Islam. There are Muslims (some whom I probably know personally) who wouldn’t dare to strike another man in the street; yet, they’ll strike their own wives.

Also, many aspects of Domestic-Violence among Muslims stem from cultural constructs, which predate Islam arriving to certain civilizations & peoples and unfortunately, Domestic-Violence has not been culturally abandoned by many of these Muslims, who come from from homes & societies where there’s nothing wrong with beating your wife senseless. And, I’m not just picking on foreign/immigrant Muslims and/or people who were born Muslim; there are many Muslims who accepted Islam & Muslims hailing from Non-Muslim countries, who’ve grown up in families & societies where Domestic-Violence has been a normal part of life for generations.

Gareth Bryant/2012

43 responses »

  1. I wouldn’t say anything but I would no longer associate with the person…. change the way you deal with the brother to show your displeasure… if he confronts you about the obvious change let h’m know why you changed and that you no longer hold him in as high esteem as you once did. Do not conjure up rumors or do anything to publicize the situation Allah has the best way to deal with oppressors. In the end we have to trust him… he also says we are covers for each other so don’t betray his confidence in you…. you just show him you lost your confidence in him…. I hope this helps… I been with my zouge for 20 years I would never hit her…. when I was a child I had great examples of bad men and bad Muslims…. we gotta do better for our children….

  2. Sorry Sharif but saying nothing about it is the worst thing any one of us can do. We are covers for each other in regards to weakness, but not injustice. Our religion encourages us to stand up against injustice, even if it is against ourselves.

    Gareth – pardon the length of the comment, but I’m gonna post my comment from Facebook here. Peace, NJ


    Salaam Gareth – Thank you for writing this note, and for sharing your vulnerability and concern. Can I give you my opinion? If you have any inkling of belief that there may be some truth to this accusation, than speak up about it. Do you know how many cases of Domestic Violence end in death, oft times brutal death at the hands of the abuser because of innocent bystanders, b/c of those of us on the periphery who are afraid to say anything for fear of what other (humans) may think, because of our aloofness or belief that someone else’s domestic issues are irrelevant? Did you read about Nazish Noorani’s tragic story recently – how she tried to leave her abusive sociopath husband multiple times, how her whole family knew she was being abused but did nothing, how her in-laws played a part, how she texted her brother days before she died, with the premonition that her husband was going to kill her? It’s been one of the most emotionally troubling stories I’ve ever read about cases of domestic violence in the Muslim community, and it happened in Ramadan of all times . . . astaghfurAllah :/ . . .

    I went to a lecture given by Peaceful Families Project Co-Director Salma Abugideiri last Winter — she described the characteristics of perpetrators/abusers, and I remember that in most cases the description was always the “upstanding, religious, charming man” in the community who no one would EVER imagine could lay a hand on his wife. Allahu Alam.

    If I were you, the first thing I’d do is connect with someone professionally trained and tell them what you wrote here, and ask them for their sincere guided advice. I’m going to list contacts for you at the end of my comment. I would get some pamphlets listing local shelters, describing what to do in the case of domestic violence and put them in the local mosque (in fact, put them everywhere!), slip em into the sister’s area – perhaps it may come in the hands of someone who needs it. Maybe you could approach the Imam of you local mosque to focus a khutbah(s) on the issue of DV in the Muslim community. If you have any mutual sister-friends perhaps she could approach the sister in question delicately.

    Whatever you do Gareth, just remember this is not about you 🙂 I say that gently – it’s not about you, or this potential perpetrator, or the what if’s about defaming someone’s character or reputation – it’s about this woman and her safety, and it’s about something bigger. All of your concerns are totally valid, and I really can’t express how touched and grateful I am that you even wrote this note, but the issue at hand is about putting all the questions and fears and discussions aside, following your gut and standing up for an injustice that our global community has continually condoned by their silence and aloofness. Your voice could save someone’s life, and your note is already witness to your good moral character (mashaAllah). You know people are gonna hate no matter what – pray, and do what you think is best for everyone involved. I hope so much that clarity and resolve comes from this situation inshaAllah.

    Here’s a list of people/groups that I know personally who you can contact, and lemme know if you need email addresses. They’re all actually on FB so you can easily mssg them.

    Robina Niaz, Turning Point for Women & Families (NY),
    Salma Abugideiri, Peaceful Families Project (DMV)
    Maha Alkhateeb, Peaceful Families Project (DMV)
    Anas Coburn, Project Sakinah: Stop Family Violence Now (DMV)
    Zerqa Abid, Project Sakinah (DMV)

    Peace ~ NJ
    njartitecture.com

  3. This article is food for thought for all women. Thank you for sharing it.
    In my opinion this sister should be directed to the right people or organization immediately, so that she has some kind of protection in case the things take a really bad turn. She has already suffered so much, Gareth you maybe her only hope, so please don’t disappoint her. Get your courage together before its too late. Secondly, involving the imam and taking him into confidence will certainly help, as he should be asked to highlight and propagate rights of women in his khutbas and also confront the oppressor privately to arrange some family counseling sessions by professionals.

  4. I know this is a touchy subject, and you don’t want to taint somebody’s reputation- but you also have to consider the ramifications that if these allegations are true- it will only escalate into a horrific situation. Is there a female psychologist/social worker….someone trained to notice these types of situations…and who is also trained to be incredibly discreet -who maybe attends the Mosque, that could get the wife alone….who might be attentive to her body language or eye contact- because seriously- this is really going to bother me…..

  5. You can not sit silently by. You must do something, say something..

    As a woman who lived through please think of this sister. You could be saving her life.

  6. Assalamualaikum wr wb, That is so thoughtful of you to write such problematic issue. I like your title somehow about there is no place for violence in islam. What I know is that we are not encouraged to hate a person, yet it is ok/ appropriate to hate his/her bad attitude, especially the one that doesn’t in line with the guidance of our deen. I agree with the previous comments for not to stay still when we know about this kind of injustice. At first, we may check the truth for it is shameful if we accuse someone without any proof. And when the fact is as troublesome as we have heard, we should remind him and take an alternative way to keep the wife save. I do believe you can handle this together with the influential figure that ‘he’ (the beater) may have listened to. This will minimize the broken reputation of him in my opinion. The important thing in my opinion is when he realizes his inappropriate conduct and he is able to change it, that is a better way out. May Allah help us in every single way we take. Ameen.
    wassalamualaikum wr wb…

    • As salaam alaykum br,

      I understand your hesitation, however, I encourage you to remember one thing, and that is, now that you know, you will be questioned about what you did or didn’t do. Ask yourself if this mans friendship is worth Allahs punishment, is it worth being an outcast to stand with the oppressed? Women stand up and they stand alone far too often. In cases of injustices against women we need men, strong men, willing to stand up against injustice. Yes, you will certianly be villiied, maybe even an outcast by those who cowards who practice this type of discusting behavior but they are little men who deserve no loyality or alligence. Silence is acceptance so do not be counted as one of the oppressors!! Allah loves the oppressed and those who fight oppession! May Allah guide you, give you the strength and the wisdom to do whats right. Ameen

      • Salam!!!

        This situation was dealt with last year, when I had written it. I had told an Imam to investigate it & he did so. And, from what I know, there was no founded evidence against this particular brother, for abuse.

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  32. Domestic Violence is a monster that we as an ummah keep hiding in the cupboard

    I left an abusive relationship with 5 kids…. My in-laws defended their son …. And when I left, the Muslim community shunned me.

    This is a very serious issue! I left so that I could model a healthy example for my children.

    Hurt people hurt people

    Let’s speak up… And save this ummah

    Great article. Thank you

  33. Salam, maybe u could use the example of the grandsons of our Prophet when they advised that elderly man how to make wudu. In other words, ask this brother for advice. Pose the situation to him as if it’s about someone else and ask him how you should handle it. Maybe he will get a clue from u asking him advice on a topic that secretly is about him. Make sense?

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