Relationships Ummah

How do We Deal with Domestic Abuse?

Scenario 1:

SubhanAllah, watching this scene literally broke my heart.

In my justice studies class last year we watched a clip of a movie which portrayed what we had been studying at the time (intimate partner violence).

The background of the scene was that a brother and a sister of an abusive father had heard their mother being senselessly beaten by the father the night before. The following day the 15-year old son had a court date, and the mother had planned to come, but because of the way she looked, she told her 13-year old daughter to go with him. Neither child saw what the mother looked like.

Later, the daughter came home. Unbeknownst to the mother, the son was taken by the courts out of his parent’s custody. The daughter, for the first time, came into the room and saw her mother. Her mother was badly bruised; her left eye was so blown up and bruised that it had moved below the level of the right eye. She looked really bad. Her daughter, having seen this, ran up to her room. Her mother followed her and tried to comfort her.

She told her daughter, “I wanted to come with you, but you know I could not come looking like this. They would have taken him (the son) away.” And her daughter responded, “They did take him away, ma.” And when her mother was told this, she just started crying, and she said, “How could they just take a child away from their home like that? He should be at home with his family.” And the daughter tried to comfort her mother.

Perhaps the sadness does not penetrate though this summary, but really it was one of the most desperate things I have witnessed.

This middle-aged woman is stuck. She is with a physically and emotionally abusive husband, who is the father of her children. She is not independent, and she is tied by numerous factors to stay in her current situation. She is continually physically beaten, she has to deal with consistent emotional abuse and neglect, and she has parented children who have to deal with the reality of having an abusive father. And really, if anyone has studied this in just minimal depth, you know all of these things are much more complicated and permeating than the words used to generalize the effects of intimate partner abuse.

Scenario 2:

A woman went out with her friend, told her friend she would give her some extra wood she had in her home, she entered the home, her husband beat her so brutally that her friend lunged on top of the man, lifted her friend bodily out of the room, took her to the hospital, and her friend (the woman who was beaten) had to have her jaw wired shut and had lost all of her teeth because she was beaten so brutally.

But the man was not prosecuted at all. The DA’s office would not prosecute him, even though the woman had her teeth in her hands, had her jaw wired shut, and her friend was a witness to the beating.

In the 1980s, they did not feel this was not an issue tax payers should be supporting. If that had happened on the streets, would have been considered an assault, etc, and would have been prosecution. But this was a domestic case, so authorities did not get involved.


One thing I felt blessed with throughout class is the fact that we have Islam, and the most blessed example of our beloved Prophet, peace be upon him, who treated women with utmost dignity, love, compassion and respect. Alhamdullilah, I am positive these things can be completely cured and controlled if individuals sought sincerely to seek Allah’s pleasure through following the example of the Prophet, peace be upon him.

But knowing this, what do we do practically to help those who are facing abusive situations? Allah knows best how many sisters [and brothers] are also dealing with the reality of physical, emotional, sexual and psychological abuse. How many children are facing the terrorization from their fathers, or even their mothers…

I can’t explain what it felt like to hear the mother say, “How could they just take a child away from his home like that?” while she was weeping and so badly bruised and beaten.

Seriously, what do we do?

Allah mustaan.

About the author

Maryam Amirebrahimi

Maryam Amirebrahimi

Maryam Amirebrahimi received her master’s in Education from UCLA, where her research focused on the effects of mentorship rooted in Critical Race Theory for urban high school students of color. She holds a bachelor’s in Child and Adolescent Development from San Jose State University, where she served as the President of the Muslim Student Association for two consecutive years. Currently, she is pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in Islamic Studies through Al Azhar University’s distance learning program. Maryam spent a year studying the Arabic language and Qur’an in Cairo, Egypt, and has memorized the Qur’an. She has been presented the Student of the Year award by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and holds a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Maryam frequently travels to work with different communities to address a variety of social issues and writes about topics related to social realities, women’s studies and spiritual connections on

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  • Those of you that are going thru this, Allah is aware of your situation where ever you are… His angels are your gaurdians as they watching and writing and the wreckoning will come swiftly inshAllah upon them who beat their wives, their limbs will weaken one day and they will look back at what they did in awe and they will then be at the mercy of their fate. What a waste. I admit , i am guilty of this anger but i never put my hands on a women Alhamdullilah. But still, it is this anger that comes from the inner core of your heart, from somewhere and if we dont use Quran to heal the wounds our anger will destroy us in this life and the next. I seek refuge with Ar Rahman from this anger, it will eat you alive and burn you in the next life. We want so much from this life and feel that we deserve it and when we dont get it we become angry with Allah and ourselves and this is what leads to the hard sick heart, like leaches sucking the good from your heart. We should remember that we dont deserve anything we have and especially the mercy of Allah, but it is out of his gratitude to us and i dont know why but He still gives us. Alhamdulliah , SubahanAllah, AstagfirullAllah.

  • That is a pretty sad and unfortunate reality here in the US, albeit I would hope/pray that it’s not as bad in the Muslim community (if I’m not mistaken, a lot of the times alcohol is involved in domestic abuse cases?). The best way I can think of to prevent that from happening (especially in the Muslim community) is to present the role model of the Prophet (sw) and work with people at the grass-roots level to help them get closer to Allah (swt). If someone tries to follow the example of the Prophet (sw), how can they even think about raising a hand on a woman?

    But how do we help those who are going through it in non-Muslim families? I really can’t think of any other way of us being able to help the situation other than spreading the message of Islam. That should really motivate us to step up our game. Alhumdulillah, Islam removes all of these problems from the community. Since we have this beautiful way of life with us, shouldn’t we not be selfish and try to benefit as many people as we can with it?

  • Believe it or not it is a huge problem in the muslim community, most certainly here in the uk. Majority of the time it is not alcohol related.
    Why does it happen if its not alcohol related? Because of power. To show they are superior physically and mentally.
    This situation is worst among those women who come from ‘back home’ and don’t speak a word of English.

    There was a case earlier on this year where the in-laws where convicted of manslaughter of their daughter-in-law: even though they had no direct involvement. The reason being is because they allowed their son to commit horrific acts of violence against her. They did not intervene in any way – just turned a blind eye to it, even when she was lying there dying.

    My suggestion would be to set up women’s organisation that provides activities for women to do. Once you’ve established a reputable name for the organisation: the women will know who you are and can trust you – you will then have a platform to reach to these vulnerable women. So one day when they get the courage to seek help, they will know who to turn to.

  • It’s very common in the Muslim community. And if we are thinking that because many times there is alcohol involved, we are less prone, then think again, because alcohol and other substance abuse is common in our communities too.

    Islam is medicine, but only if people actually take it as prescribed. That includes those of us who enter it later in their lives, as well as those of us who grew up with it. So the solution by itself is not for people to be or become Muslim, people still have to be committed to getting rid of their issues and baggage.

  • thank god for the three people above who were not narrow minded enough to just dismiss it as a “non islamic problam” do not allow yourselves to be blinded against the reality of the world. the unfortunate thing is that, maybe it is more hidden in islamic communities maybe that is why some people think it is less common. or maybe because it SHOULD be less common some people might believe it to all ready be so. there is an amazingly big drug and alcohol problam in islamic comunities too. as i am sure any youth worker or womens issues worker will be able to inform us. may allah help all involved in such situations, and give them the strength and belief to carry on.

  • Thanks for posting this. One step towards confronting that Muslims have domestic abuse issues means that we are a step closer to trying to fix them.

  • We all have our weaknesses, men and women. Allah gives us our deen to help us overcome our weaknesses including anger and tyranny. I am reminded of a woman, who belongs to the highest Jannah, Asiyah when she supplicated to Allah SWT:
    “My Lord! Build for me a home with You in Paradise, and save me from the Firaun/Pharaoh and his work, and save me from the Zalimun.” (Quran: Tahrim,66:11)

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