What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence (DV) is a generic term for abusive behavior between couples. It is a learned systematic behavior that uses physical, sexual, and/or psychological abuse in order to exert and maintain power and control over an intimate partner. The patterns of abuse do not usually begin with an act of violence. Psychological Abuse, including isolation, minimization of a partners decision-making abilities and obsessive jealousy, are usually initiated first. Abuse and battering is a system of behaviors to control another person’s actions and feelings.

Domestic violence has claimed the lives of women and men, irrespective of class, education, race, religion, status and orientation. Primarily women, but also men, are physically abused and emotionally exploited right within their own homes and families. Recent FBI statistics show that a woman is beaten every 12 seconds, nationwide. A domestic partner will assault 1 out of 4 women in the United States at least once in her lifetime. In addition, children in homes where domestic violence occurs are physically abused or seriously neglected at a rate of 1500% higher than the national average of the population.

– Source What Islam Says About Domestic Violence: A Guide for Helping Muslim Families

By Zainab Alwani & Salma Abugideiri.

Islam and Domestic Abuse

The foundation of an Islamic marriage is described in the following verse from the Holy Quran:

“And among His signs is this: that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you 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.” (Quran : 30: 21).

The above verse can be taken as a reminder that spouses are inherently equal and that the union between them is a peaceful and compassionate one. Marriage is considered in Islam to be an act of obedience to God, and the goal of each person within the marriage is to please God by living a divinely guided life and avoiding His prohibitions. Any behavior or interaction done with the intent of upholding divine instruction will be rewarded by God in the hereafter and will contribute to a healthy family unit. Islam does not regard woman in any way inferior to man. It makes both of them equal partners in the business of life. They are two wheels of the same carriage and the carriage cannot move forward without either. The following verse shows that men and women come from the same root and are branches of the same tree.

“O Mankind! Reverence your Guardian Lord, Who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, His mate, and from them twain Scattered like seeds countless men and women” (Quran : 4: 1)

Under no circumstances does the Quran encourage, allow, or condone family violence or physical abuse.

“The best of you are those who treat their wives best” – Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him)