Seeking Solution to Domestic Violence
Seeking Solution to Domestic Violence:
Religious and Psychological Perspective
– Khadeeja Rana
The Qur’an speaks of the mawaddha (love), rahmah (compassion) and sakinah (tranquility) [Qur’an 30:21 & 7:189] as being both the reasons as well as the expected results of marriage. Qur’an speaks of husbands and wives as being libaas (apparel) for each other [Qur’an 2:187]. Apparel fulfills the functions of covering, beautifying, providing warmth and protection. In case of discord or even divorce, the Qur’an encourages dealing with kindness, generosity and gratitude for the good times and good deeds which were received [Qur’an 2:237]. In case of divorce, the Prophet encourages good and kind treatment of women. He states that no one would treat them with generosity and honor except an honorable man and no one would humiliate them but a person who is lacking good character.
Whereas, abuse is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence. Battering happens when one person believes he or she is entitled to control another. Assault, battery, and domestic violence are crimes. In addition to being a crime, domestic violence is destructive. It destroys the human spirit, productivity, morality, spirituality and mental wellbeing for all those who are involved in it as well as for those who witness it especially children.
It affects children in the following ways:
- Damage of child’s worldview
- Loss of sense of safety
- Loss of values of behavior
- Lack of understanding of their religion
- Learning of keeping secrets – cause of shame and anxiety
- Loss of distinction between anger and violence
- Lack or poor impulse-control, limited tolerance
- Increased deceptiveness
- Lying, stealing, and cheating
- Difficulty taking on adult responsibilities
- Discipline problems
Some statistics from Pakistan
The Muslim community has its share of domestic abuse against women. In spite of the fact that Rasool Allah , instructed kindness and justice to women before he died and insisted upon it saying what translates to: “Fear Allah with regards to women,” “My advice is to take good care of women”, “I emphasize the rights of the two weak: the woman and the orphan”. Unfortunately, some Muslim men justify the beating of their wives religiously because of misunderstanding and ignorance.
“As to those women on whose part you fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, warn them first, then refuse to share their beds, and last beat them lightly; but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, Great (above you all)”. [Qur’an 4:34].
Qiwamah of men over women means responsibility to support and protect. This is supported by the meaning of verse 2:228 which translates to: “And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them.” This advantage is that of responsibility not privilege.
Imam Al Qurtubi said beating is not for any reason nor it is for any woman. He also states that if a woman is dignified and if the beating harms her in any way (e.g. psychologically or emotionally), it becomes forbidden.
What families and communities should do to prevent violence:
- Educate their community members from both religious and psychological perspectives on the importance and benefits of safe homes
- Stop justifying violence which is injustice (zulm) as acceptable in Islam
- Educate and train spouses to have proper communication skills and attitudes to deal with domestic disagreements and problems
- Provide tactful and confidential counseling services to men who are violent, as well as to victims of violence, as permitted within the law
- Dedicate resources to establish alternative homes for the victims of domestic violence instead of letting them go on the street or to agencies and homes.
- There should be a national domestic violence helpline in case of partner abuse. It should give more power to women.
Women all over the world are subjected to severe attacks by media, anti-Islam voices and uneducated people claiming they are oppressed under Islam. We tend to blame our own shortcomings on Islam whereas Muslims owe Allah SWT, the Prophet and their wives and women to give the best possible representation of Islam and to make their women proud of their religion and affiliation to Islam rather than making them defensive and feel disadvantaged. Islam raised the status of women to something precious and dignified, who are we then to subjugate her and objectify her as a mere tool for providing services to men and their offspring. It is due to sheer frustration and ignorance that people resort to violent means whereas our beautiful deen teaches endurance, patience and forgiveness.
Every individual, male or female, who suffers from the tendency to be violent and get angry easily and act upon his/her anger, owes it to Allah, his/her religion, himself, his/her family and community to seek treatment and learn anger management and positive reinforcement for the betterment of society and to fulfill his/her virtue of being a civil human.