Domestic violence remains a serious problem in the Muslim community.
The weekly Friday Khutba is a powerful platform to address all kinds of issues in the Muslim community. It reaches Muslims from every walk of life, and offers the opportunity to send a message backed by spiritual authority.
This is why it is the ideal platform to talk about domestic violence. In fact, doing so in relation to this particular form of abuse is something Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, himself did.
The following are some key points to emphasize.
If you are an Imam or Khateeb, or you can send these points to one:
- If you have directly heard from Muslim women abused by their husbands, start off by sharing this
- Mention that this is called domestic violence today, and that it is an ongoing problem that has destroyed lives and families. It has also been condemned by the Prophet Muhammad
- Discuss how a group of women had complained to the Prophet that their husbands had been beating them. In response, he called a meeting in his Masjid and directly addressed the problem. He condemned it and ordered the men to stop
- Emphasize how in Islam, marriage is defined as a relationship of love and mercy (Quran 30:21), a verse we often see on wedding invitation cards. However, too often, we fail in living up to that. Domestic violence is an extreme example of that failure
- Talk about how the Prophet was married 38 years of his life and never hit his wives
- Be clear and give examples of the kinds of abuse that do exist. For example, a husband regularly threatening to divorce his wife, intimidating her, telling her she is a failure, that she will go to Hell. Telling her he has a right from Allah to abuse her. Mention that abuse in Muslim homes includes pushing, slapping, punching, kicking, beating, bondage, and refusing to help a wife when she is sick or injured
- Remind people that the Islamic rules of good behavior apply to one's family just as much as to the Muslim community
- Remind people that Allah does not turn down the Dua (supplication) of the oppressed person, and if a man is abusing his wife and she makes a Dua against him, Allah, if He wills, will accept it and make it happen
- Finally, remind congregants that if they want to see their children, grandchildren, and future generations remain Muslim in a non-Muslim environment like America, they must work hard to build strong, loving families where Islam is truly reflected in the behavior and character of family members, especially the parents. Because we do not live in an environment where Islam is the faith of the majority, the family is the first and often only exposure a child has to Islam in his or her life.
A family in which there is domestic violence will be one a child eventually limits or cuts off contact with. And with the loss of family relationships will very likely come the loss of their connection to Islam
A note of caution: if you do decide to use an example of domestic violence from the community, make sure not to disclose details which will make it obvious to listeners which couple is being discussed. This is humiliating and can make the situation for the woman especially worse if her husband feels he is being openly talked about in a negative manner.