Author(s): Islamic Society of North America

Copyright: EthnoMed was given permission to use this article with credit given to The Islamic Society of North America. 2009 Update: The above information is found on The American Muslim website, which has additional information.

Image of light streaming through stained glass inside of a mosque
Photo by Bastian Sander (cc license).

As Muslims we understand that violence and coercion used, as a tool of control in the home is oppression and not accepted in Islam.

Marriage in the Islamic context is a means of tranquility, protection, peace and comfort. Abuse of any kind is in conflict to the principles of marriage. Any justification of abuse is in opposition to what Allah (swt) has revealed and the example of Prophet Muhammad.

Sura 30 Ayat 21

“And among His signs is this: He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): Verily in that are signs for those who reflect.”

Sura 9 Ayat 71

The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practice regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise.

Sura 16 Ayat 90

Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition

What does Islam say concerning domestic violence?

Excerpt from Domestic violence -Islamic perspective by M. Basheer Ahmed, M.D.

“Under no circumstances is violence against women encouraged or allowed in Islam. There are many examples in Quran and Ahadith that describes the behavior of Muslims towards husband and wife. The relationship should be one of mutual love, respect and kindness. Allah (swt) says in Quran,

“O believers treat women with kindness even if you dislike them; it is quite possible that you dislike something which Allah might yet make a source of abundant good (An Nisa 4:19).

Arabian society at the beginning of Islam sanctioned appalling violence towards women. Far from giving permission for wife beating Allah Subhanahu watala prohibited or at least severely curtailed excessive violence against women. Allah (swt) repeatedly says in the Quran to show love, kindness and warns that they should not harm their wives even after divorce. Allah (swt) has even forbidden us to call each other by bad names and to humiliate. The abusive behavior does not reflect the kindness and love for their spouses. Still, some men justify their behavior knowing that they are disobeying Allah’s guidance…”

Excerpt from Ending Domestic Violence in Muslim Families by Sharifa Alkhateeb

“Under no circumstances is violence against women encouraged or allowed. The holy Qur’an contains tens of verses extolling good treatment of women. Several specifically enjoin kindness to women (2:229-237; 4:19; 4:25). These verses make it clear that the relationship between men and women is to be one of kindness, mutual respect, and caring. Some verses, where Allah calls men and women “protecting friends of one another,” refer to the mandated atmosphere of mutual kindness and mercy in the marital home (30:21; 9:71). Others show disapproval of oppression or ill treatment of women.”

Excerpt from Is wife beating allowed in Islam by Jamal Badawi

“In the event of a family dispute, the Qur’an exhorts the husband to treat his wife kindly and not overlook her POSITIVE ASPECTS (see Qur’an 4:19). If the problem relates to the wife’s behavior, her husband may exhort her and appeal for reason. In most cases, this measure is likely to be sufficient. In cases where the problem continues, the husband may express his displeasure in another peaceful manner, by sleeping in a separate bed from hers. There are cases, however, in which a wife persists in deliberate mistreatment and expresses contempt of her husband and disregard for her marital obligations. Instead of divorce, the husband may resort to another measure that may save the marriage, at least in some cases.”