How the Prophet Muhammad fought domestic violence |

How the Prophet Muhammad fought domestic violence

How the Prophet Muhammad fought domestic violence

Their number is not known with certainty. Perhaps they were only two. Maybe they were twenty. Regardless, these women approached the man who had thus far, given them hope for this world and beyond. This time, it was to seek a solution to behavior that seemed so inimical to the values he taught:

  • Women are individually responsible for their words and deeds and accountable to God. Like men (Quran 9:71).
  • God recognizes and rewards the good works of every human being, male or female (Quran 3:195).
  •  Marriage is a partnership based on love and mercy (Quran 30:21). 

Perhaps this is why these women approached the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, that day with a question that remains a problem in marriages over a thousand years later: domestic violence.

On hearing of this abuse, the Prophet called the community to the mosque for a meeting. Whenever there was something he felt all Muslims needed to know about or discuss, he would have Bilal ibn Rabah, may Allah be pleased with him, give the call to prayer, even if it was not time for it.  Then, when people came to the mosque, he would lead them in prayer. This would be followed by a special sermon about a topic of concern or discussion about a particular situation.

This time when he called the Muslims, it was to order an end to domestic violence.

The Prophet mentioned to the gathering that several women had visited his family complaining about their husbands beating them. According to one report, he mentioned that 70 women had approached his family. He criticized these husbands, saying this behavior was unacceptable from those who seek to live by Islam's ideals. This community meeting is reported by two of the best Hadith collections of the Prophet, Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah. 

The Prophet's reprobation was not something Muslim men took lightly at the time, since God has described him as a “beautiful example” (Quran 33:21) whom it is obligatory to follow. As well, the Prophet's own wife confirmed that he never hit anyone with his hand, neither a woman nor a servant (Sahih Muslim). In addition, he once said “The best among you is the one who treats his family the best, and I am the one who treats his family the best.”

The Prophet fought domestic violence, a scourge common to many civilizations at the time. He did this by affirming the inherent dignity of women as human beings responsible and accountable before God. He also did it by directly addressing a hitherto “private” matter between a husband and wife. Domestic violence was not a “women's issue” irrelevant to Muslim men. The Prophet understood that this abusive behavior could be changed, but it first had to be brought out into the open and addressed head on. The personal was definitely political.

He also understood that ending domestic violence meant helping perpetrators clearly see the utter injustice of physically abusing their wives.

“How does any one of you beat his wife as he beats the stallion camel and then sleeps with her at night?” he once asked (Bukhari). How could a relationship that God says is based on love and mercy be characterized by the kind of vicious abuse often meted out to animals, which the Prophet also condemned?

The change in perception made a definite difference. So much so that the men began complaining of their wives' newfound assertiveness.

The Prophet's methodology to end the abuse of women

The Prophet took several measures to end the abuse of women:

1.    He fought abusive behavior in word and deed:

  • The Prophet used his sermons repeatedly to order men to stop abusive behavior towards women.
  • He once called an emergency community meeting to address the issue of men beating their wives, as described above.
  • He Prophet forbade women's sexual exploitation and harassment, as well as the stalking of women.
  • Women could seek justice and divorce against abusive husbands.
  • Instituted punishment by law for those who falsely accuse women.
  • He prohibited men from stopping their spouses from attending the mosque.

2.  He empowered women:

  • The Quran declared that women have rights similar to men.
  • He established women’s right to inheritance while declaring that they were not obligated to use their personal wealth to assist husbands in covering household expenses.
  • The Quran ordered that women be consulted in family and community affairs.
  • He instituted educational programs for women. Many women became teachers in his lifetime.

3.  Marriage reform:

  • The Prophet banned several abusive forms of marriage in pre-Islamic Arabia.
  • He prohibited temporary marriage.
  • He forbade the pre-Islamic practice of  men having an unlimited number of wives. The number was drastically reduced to four, with the condition that polygamy could only be practiced if a man could guarantee equality in treatment of wives. Otherwise a man could marry only one wife.
  • He established that a marriage without the consent of the bride is invalid.

4.  Preaching good behavior

  • The Prophet elevated the status of motherhood by declaring that Paradise is under the feet of mothers, and that to serve them merits three times more reward than serving fathers.
  • He declared that a person who does not prefer his sons over his daughters would be with him in Paradise.
  • His last sermon to the community reminded men to fear God by being just towards women.

What Imams can do today 

Imams, Muslim leaders and the Muslim community as a whole can take some of the key steps the Prophet took to end domestic violence today. Most notable among these: 

  • Acknowledging the existence of the problem when an abused Muslim woman brings it forward.
  • Ending the silence on the issue by discussing it in regular Khutbas and Halaqas.
  • Calling a special emergency community meeting about it as the Prophet did.
  • Making sure that women have full access to Imams and Masjid services.
  • Making the faith connection. Establishing that a man who beats his wife is violating Islam and the Sunnah of the Prophet.

These steps are a start. They are not the only cure but if implemented, they can lead to a significant shift in the way the Muslim community as a whole deals with domestic violence today. They can help end the crisis that continues to engulf us, destroying countless women, children and men, passing abuse on to the next generation of Muslims and ultimately, distancing more Muslims from Islam.


I am so scared to comment because he can trace electronic traces. I live with him because im scared he will take my daughters from me. He beats me, he hates me, i feel like he keeps putting me down a lot. he is a good dad so i dont want to ruin my childrens future. I hate my life honestly. it has given me severe anxiety. i cant breath i feel like im gonna die. i miss my parents and i also know they cant take a stand for me they are too old and poor. 



Thank you for reminding me of the good in our world and in our people of any type. As well as many other women, I too endured abuses silently year after year. I was unrecognizable for so long. The quarters of abuse, mental, emotional, physical and financial is far more complex and dangerous than we’ve found out about before in earlier years, not that long ago either. Healing process, internalized trauma causes brain damage and inflammation. Not only from blunt force injuries but worse a silent unseen injury. Exposure to emotional abuse was associated with thinning in parts of the cingulate cortex and bilateral precuneus, regions involved in self-awareness and self-evaluation. The damage to the amygdala of the victims of narcissistic abuse become trapped in a permanent state of fear and anxiety and react badly to environmental triggers that remind them of the violation by the narcissist. This means that victims of narcissistic abuse are constantly alert to the danger that does not exist now. Statistics show majority of perpetrators show undiagnosed Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Let me emphasize how scary this can be for you and your children, there’s absolutely zero chance that you can talk it out, you are more than likely going to realize that later than sooner because when we become Wife’s and Mother’s our nature comes out of our soul and we “take care”. Inshallah enough of our voice WILL BE HEARD! However, first off, retain as much knowledge as you can. I understand any one who is going through this. I’m sure you tell yourself how incredibly unbelievable this is or has gotten! Then you face the gut wrenching reality that you have been subjected to slander allegations all around your entire existence and now you’re alone just trying to stay safe. Safe is not in that home. This is an important note for all to remember and do some research of your own as well. They found that patients with NPD have less brain matter in areas overlapping with the areas associated with empathy (i.e., rostral and median cingulate cortex, left anterior insula, and dorsolateral and medial parts of the prefrontal cortex). With this medical explanation, unfortunately it is impossible to recover back to blissful health again. When a person does not have the ability to feel for others, you are not exempt by being a wife. Please call The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, I know you are terrified. I was broken in all of my own senses that I started to believe what he’d say about me and caved when he threatened me and demanded to literally rob a life I built for my child and him. It can get worse but try to get out with a safe association, you will be protected in this country. I was raised here my whole life and that is the severity of abuse I experienced that ultimately led me to become brainwashed. In a DV marriage- Hope dies last. I didn’t want to face the truth and now I have absolutely nothing. Save all documents, research everything you need to and just have a conversation with someone who knows the law in your area. Its 2023, I dedicate my life to helping other women and children, I understand darling. God is always with you and there will be a day you look back on it and realize how far you’ve come, it feels like you’re remembering yourself. Love yourself and give yourself more credit. May God cover you with an invisible blanket of safety, that you will actually get to see one day. God bless you all



Great article, such a breath of fresh air. I am a DV survivor and so hope to see a change in attitudes of Muslim societies towards women who finally leave abusive marriages or have the courage to speak up. They are often suppressed with talk of sabr and sacrifice for the sake of kids, Allah, parents, society,etc..claiming that Islam aims at keeping the marriage intact under ANY circumstances, even if it means being bruised and injured on a daily basis by the one man who was meant to be a protector.



I’m so proud of you sister, Alhamdulilah and may God continue to give you the ultimate strength and confidence to face the challenges of the public and never be afraid to tell the truth about being abused by the shameless wrongdoers. 


Mind eased and pleased with the above. If I may come out openly, l found myself in this situation, l'd been trying to get out of this marriage but things kept perpetually difficult and it appears to be what I tag Stubborn ' problem
I'm really peaced off but I Alhamdulillah, I have my senses.



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