Domestic Violence and abuse in the Muslim community - Resource collection - updated 2/23/09

compiled by Sheila Musaji

Posted Feb 24, 2009      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Domestic Violence and abuse in the Muslim community - Resource collection

by Sheila Musaji

Imam Suhaid Webb recently put an article online that needs to be widely read in the Muslim community.  The article includes a graphic video documenting domestic abuse in the United States.

Future Imams: We are Engaged in 1,000 year old Theological Wars and Our Communities Bleed. Let’s Get with Reality and Deal with the Real!

A few years back, while in the states, I received a chilling phone call from a scared sister; voice shaking and tears falling she said, “Suhaib, my husband……………… husband beat me! He beat me in front of our apartment in front of the non-Muslims?” I latter found out that she went to the hospital with a fractured skull.

Brothers, I’m new to this internet game but what I’ve seen disgusts me. We are arguing, and I’m guilty of this as well, over issues that have no impact on our communities except leading by real bad examples. I encourage myself and all of our future Imams, leaders and Shyukh to get with the real. Take a look at this video and realize that these things are happening in your communities and arguing the finner points of aqida, destroying each other and establishing your kingdom are not going to do much to help. Our communities are dying and we are fighting over very trivial issues. I ask for your forgiveness if I’ve done anything to any of you. Let’ s move forward and benefit our societies.

Grand Ayatollah Fadlallah recently issued a fatwa against domestic abuse.  The full Arabic text of the fatwa is here, and a summary translation follows from the Hatshepsut site:

This fatwa of Sheikh Fadlallah, who is well known for his position against honor crimes that are widespread in “democratic” Jordan and Syria, begins by acknowledging that though women have regained many of their rights they still suffer from discrimination and violence. He then proceeds to describe the different types of violence that women suffer from: domestic violence (forced to marry, beaten up, raped, sworn at, deprived of marital rights, thrown out of the house, not allowed to continue with her education), social violence (honor crimes, low pay at work)… and so on.

After this overview he moves on to issue his fatwa in which he states that since Islam looks at women as equal to men, and a marriage in Islam is based on “Ma’rouf” (tenderness, respect and love in treating each other) hence, no man has the right to control an adult woman (wilaiyah) and no husband is allowed to swear at, beat up or force his wife to do what she doesn’t want to do. Accordingly, if a husband beats up his wife she is allowed to beat him back in self defence and if he deprives her of her marital rights she has the right to deprive him of whatever they agreed on in the marriage contract.

An interesting point mentioned in the fatwa is that in no place in Islamic texts was it mentioned that women have to do housework so a man should be grateful that his wife is volunteering to take care of the household.

...  Anyway, what we really need for the time being is more sheikhs like Fadlallah and hopefully, some time in the future, the day will come when Muslims world wide would use their brains and commensense inleading their lives instead of waiting for muftis to tell them what to do.

This is a real problem that requires real solutions in real time.  Today would be best.  Insh’Allah we will continue to collect resources that may help individuals and local communities to deal with this problem.


13 tips if you are a victim of domestic violence

A perspective on domestic violence in the Muslim community, Salma Abugideiri

Allah does not allow domestic violence, Imam Abdullah El-Amin

Arab and Muslim women: Walk in Faith, Not Fear, Meha Ahmed

Art Auction raises money for Muslim domestic violence victims

Authority and the Abuse of Power in Muslim Marriages, Shaykh Seraj Hendricks  

Bureau of Justice statistics of family murders

Community Pressure as a Deterrent to Injustice, Uzma Mazhar

The Death of Aqsa Parvez Should Be an Interfaith Call to Action,  Sheila Musaji

Does the Qur’an tolerate domestic abuse: interview with Laleh Bakhtiar on Qur’an 4:34

Domestic Abuse by Muslim Men?  Is the 18% Statistic Too Low?, Dr. Robert D. Crane

Domestic violence, an Islamic perspective

Domestic Violence Prevention & Education in Faith-Based Communities - a collection of resources

Domestic Violence in Muslim Families, Dr. Jeremiah McAuliffe

Domestic violence hurts Muslims too: Stop the hurt now, by Aneesah Nadir, MSW, CISW

Domestic Violence: The Numbers, Mother Jones.

Domestic violence within the Muslim American community, Karamah

Don’t Hold All Muslims Responsible for Men Who Misuse Quran, Beat Women, by Summer Hathout

Ending Domestic Violence in Muslim Families, Sharifa Al-Khateeb

Forced Marriages, Uzma Mazhar

“God, religion, and family violence”

interfaith resource guide on “Family violence and religion”

Imam Mohammed Fadel on honor killings

Imam says Islam, family violence don’t mix; goes on hunger strike

Imam’s Guide to deal with domestic violence, By Abdul Malik Mujahid

Imams Guide for Dealing with Abusive Men, Uzma Mazhar

Interfaith Group Takes New Approach to Domestic Abuse, Rebecca Rosen Lum

Islam and Honor Killings. By Imam Zaid Shakir

Islamic Perspective on “Honor Killings”, Muslim Womens League

Islamic perspective on violence against women, Muslim Womens League

Misinterpretations about Islam that Perpetuate Domestic Violence, Uzma Mazhar

Murder of Aasiya Hassan:
American Muslims Call For Swift Action Against Domestic Violence, Dr. Hesham Hassaballa
Domestic Violence, Mohammad Khaku
Domestic Violence, Dr. Aslam Abdullah
Khutbah by Sh. Hamza Yusuf
PFP Condemns Beheading of Aasiya Hassan, Wife of Bridges TV Founder

Muslim American women confront wife abuse

Muslim Women, Domestic Violence and the Role of Education and Awareness Programs, Altaf Husain, MSW, LSW

Muslims working against domestic violence, Imam Johari Abdul Malik

Myths And Facts About Domestic Violence

National Declaration by Religious and Spiritual Leaders to Address Violence Against Women

Qur’an and hadith on Right to Fight Against Abuse and Violence 

QUR’AN 4:34 misinterpreted.  4:34 (beating wives) - Beating women or beating around the bush, or ... Edip Yuksel [2], - Commentary [3] - The Dynamics of Male-Female Relationships: A Contemporary Analysis of Qur’an - Sura Al-Nisaa (Ayah 34) 4:34, Amina Wadud-Muhsin [4]  - Commentary on The Qur’an 4:34, Dr. Ahmad Shafaat [5] - Does Qur’anic verse 4:34 “allow a superior husband to beat his inferior, disobedient wife?”, Linda Bogaert [6] 
Religion and family violence research team

Religion and Domestic Violence

Religion and Domestic Violence Statistics

Religious extremism article collection

Rights of a Muslim Wife 

Twenty Canadian Muslim Organizations Urge ‘Zero Tolerance’ for Domestic Violence

Strong in Faith and Numbers, Interfaith Domestic Violence Coalition Plans Capitol Hill Briefing

UN Spotlights “Massive and Systematic” Abuse of Women Worldwide

Wife Abuse in the Muslim Community, Kamran Memon

Why Muslim families should be free of domestic violence (pdf brochure)

Wife beating in Islam, Jamal Badawi



Baitul Salaam shelter network 
Muslim Women’s Resource Center
Apna Ghar a domestic violence shelter
An-Nisa shelter
An Imam’s Guide to dealing with domestic violence
Stand! Against Domestic Violence
Shalom Bayit: Bay Area Jewish Women Working to End Domestic Violence
Faith Trust Institute
Peace and Safety in the Christian Home
Muslim Womens League
Peaceful Families Project
Muslims against domestic violence
Turning Point - NYC

There are a number of organizations working to stop this epidemic, and there is a list of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and other resources available on the Religion Newswriters site.