By khalil qadri
The teachings of the Quran and prophet Muhammad (s) emphasize greatly the keeping of the Ummah (Community) united and strong. A strong Ummah is a product of a strong family, and a strong family is the product of Taqwa (God awareness). So, from this we understand the importance of the institution of family and how it impacts the entire Ummah. There is nothing more destructive to a family and to the entire Ummah than abuse.
Abuse takes place in a relationship when the individual roles are not understood or when one of the partners takes advantage of the other. Many times people get into a relationship without understanding their role. People get married without premarital counselling. So generally, when things heat up men tend to abuse physically and women tend to abuse verbally. Both are wrong! The worst is when religion is used to justify their stance and abuse. The Quran has promoted the relationship to be filled with mutual understanding, respect and safety by saying “and live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them – perhaps you may dislike a thing wherein Allah has placed abundance good” (Quran).
Abuse in marital relationships is so prevalent that if you dig in any religious or racial community you will definitely find cases. This is a universal problem. Many times, the victims will not even reach out for help and will continue to live with the abuse. The people around, family and friends, sometimes pass a blind eye feeling that if we interfere we will break the family. The impact of this abusive relationship is not only confined to the two, rather it takes a toll on the children who witness this.
A healthy relationship is that which has differences and compromises. “The best of you are those who are the best to their wives and I am the best to my wife” (Prophet Muhammad). His wife Aisha (r) says: “Never in his life did he raise his hands on neither a woman nor a servant.”, yet when we consider the relationship of our prophet with his wives we find differences and compromises. Sometimes the compromise went to a degree where Prophet Muhammad (s) isolated himself from his wives for an entire month. Taking these steps of compromise are crucial for the couple to preserve their marriage. How sad and unfortunate that we come across cases where couples are disrespecting one another in public, when wives are kicked out from their husband’s homes, where one is threatened for their life.
The Quran says, Do not oppress and do not be victims to oppression” (Quran). Therefore, abuse is a crime and oppression and observing silence in this regard is also not right. In Islam, the family is structured in such a way that both the husband and the wife take the responsibility to contribute to the family and the marriage. “Every one of you is a shepherd and will be questioned about their herd.” (Hadith)