Islamic lessons for ending domestic violence

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Distressingly, following lockdown, reports show that domestic violence has shot up. “At least 15m more cases of domestic violence are predicted around the world this year as a result of pandemic restrictions, according to new data that paints a bleak picture of life for women over the next decade.” Reported the Guardian. (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/apr/28/calamitous-domestic-violence-set-to-soar-by-20-during-global-lockdown-coronavirus)

According to the UN, one in every three women face some form of domestic violence in their lifetime. Although some reports suggest that calls by domestic abuse victims have decreased in these months, domestic violence advocates worry that survivors are struggling to seek help because they are stuck with their abusers due to stay-at-home orders.

Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General voiced his concern as well. He tweeted “Peace is not just the absence of war. Many women under lockdown for #COVID19 face violence where they should be safest: in their own homes.” According to the World Health Organization (WHO), disasters – whether hurricanes, earthquakes, or pandemics like the coronavirus – disrupt social and physical environments for large groups of people. These changes increase vulnerabilities to domestic violence within families. Even children are in danger of abuse. “Hundreds of thousands of children are currently living in homes where they experience domestic abuse”, the NSPCC has warned. (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/03/31/schoolboy-walked-local-bbc-radio-station-pyjamas-hearing-report/)

Relations between the husband and wife form the nucleus of the family system. If there is no love, mutual respect, appreciation and covering of faults within both partners for each other, then the peace of the family will be destroyed; ultimately leading to abuse and negatively impacting children. Feelings of love, kindness, and support that ought to exist between husband and wife are crucial. The Holy Quran has given very clear instructions regarding love and kindness between couples. The Holy Quran states:

“They are a garment for you, and you are a garment for them.” (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V. 188)

Explaining this verse, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra said:

“Just like a garment covers the body and protects it from heat and cold, they [husband and wife] should be a protection for each other. Look at the example of Hazat Khadija! Right after marriage how she presented all her wealth to the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, so that he may not experience any discomfort due to lack of money and he may continue to take part in serving humanity comfortably. What a glorious example she presented to keep their home life happy!” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 2, p. 411)
Keeping this commentary of the Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra in mind, we can observe that the domestic life of the Holy Prophetsa was indeed the best of all. It is the Holy Prophet’s saying that:

“The best among you is one who is best to his wife, and I am best among you in my dealings with my wives.” ” (Tirmidhi, Kitab-ul-Manaqib)

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V, may Allah be his Helper, commented on the above Quranic verse, saying:

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“Similarly, when a man or a woman makes a pledge to the contract of marriage, then they must make their utmost effort to tolerate each other. They should cover up the faults and shortcomings of each other and avoid bickering over petty little matters.” (Garments for each other, p. 97)

Hazrat Aishara , who had spent a long time in the Prophet’ssa company, gave the following beautiful testimony of his domestic life:
“[his] family life was the kindest, most generous, and most informal of all men in his home life. He was always smiling and never frowned. The Holy Prophetsa never raised his hand on any of his wives and never beat a servant.” (Tirmidhi)

This testimony leaves absolutely no room for doubt. Hazrat Aishara also relates that the Holy Prophetsa would eat from the same place that she had eaten from. (Abu Daud, Kitabut Taharah)

The Promised Messiahas also encouraged men to deal justly with their wives and set his own example. He exhorted:

“Except for indecency, all instances of women’s rudeness and harshness should be tolerated. I consider it to be exceptionally shameful that being a man, one should fight against a woman. God has made us men, and this is actually a supreme blessing upon us. Our gratitude for this blessing lies in dealing pleasantly and gently with women.” (Malfuzat, Vol. I, p. 307)

The Promised Messiahas presented his example in this regard as well:

“My condition is such that once I happened to call out to my wife loudly, but I felt that the loud call filled my heart with grief, even though no hurtful or harsh word was uttered from my tongue at that time. After that, I kept reciting Istighfar (seeking forgiveness from Allah) for a long time, offered nafl (voluntary prostrations) with great humility and concentration, and also offered some sadaqat (charity) as this harsh attitude toward my wife was the result of my hidden shortcomings regarding the commands of Allah.” (Malfuzat, Vol. I, p. 1307)

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa mentioned this example and said:

“So, these are examples of kind treatment of wives, which are demonstrated in the actions of the Promised Messiahas, as a result of following the Prophet Muhammad sa. We can create peace in our home by following their examples.” (Garments for each other, p. 49)

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