Domestic violence: Haitham al-Haddad (MRDF) v Usama Hasan (Quilliam)

Posted on March 31, 2014


Haitham al-Haddad

Woman: “It’s also, a sura where he can, the word I don’t remember but he can slap his wife or hit her or…”

Al-Haddad: “Yeah, smack.”
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Woman: “Smack, yeah. And with me as a woman if that happened to me in my marriage, and I want a divorce, could I get that?”
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Al-Haddad: “It’s a valid question. It depends on the situation. We have to look at the bigger picture. Why? Because so many women who have been divorced they regret it after that. We see it. I saw it in the Islamic Shariah Council. They regretted that. And because they regret, yeah, sometimes we tell them that you have to be careful. And there is in all legal theories, there is something called the small problem that can be overlooked to avoid bigger problems, small harm that can be overlooked for a bigger harm. So we apply the same thing.”
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Usama Hasan
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“There is a verse (ayah) of the Qur’an (Surah al-Nisa’ or Chapter: Women, 4:34) that may appear to condone domestic violence against women. Domestic violence is a problem in most, if not all, communities and societies. For example, current statistics indicate that approximately 1 in 3 British women experience domestic violence during their lifetime. Although the overwhelming majority of cases of domestic violence in Muslim households are due to wider human factors such as difficulties with relationships and anger-management, the author is aware of a handful of cases in the UK involving devout Muslims where the husband felt justified in using violence against his wife on the basis of this Qur’anic text.”
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“In his commentary on this verse, Ibn ‘Ashur states that “it was revealed at a time when hitting one’s wife was acceptable in society and especially amongst the Bedouin, not construed as transgression, even by the women of that society.” He goes on to say that nowadays, the verse is easily misused by men, the majority of whom are liable to transgress against their wives if allowed to use any physical force. Therefore, he argues that the State would be within its rights to ban domestic violence and punish any man who assaulted his wife.”
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Haitham al-Haddad

“…’a man should not be questioned why he’, OK, ‘hit his wife’ because this is something between them. Leave them alone. They can sort out their matters among themselves. And even they said that the husband, the father of the daughter, she is married to a man, he should not ask his daughter why you have been beaten or hit by your husband. Why? Because al-Islam is looking for the bigger picture in order to keep the relationship between the husband and wife together.”

Usama Hasan

“There is one more hadith on the subject that is possibly more well-known than the above-mentioned ones, due to it being included in a popular and highly-revered secondary collection of hadith. This hadith could easily be understood to give a carte blanche to wife-beaters. However, the hadith is not authentic. Details are as follows:

Abu Dawud transmits on the authority of ‘Umar b. al-Khattab that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “A man will not be questioned (i.e. by God on the Day of Judgment) as to why he hit his wife.” The hadith is rated as weak (da’if) by Albani.

[…]

The presence of hadiths with weak isnads (chains of narration) that would otherwise justify wife-beating may be evidence that some early Muslims themselves misunderstood the issue and either fabricated or misreported traditions on the subject.”

Haitham al-Haddad

“So, what we are saying is that, sisters please don’t show your husband that you are competing with him. I know that many women in the West and unfortunately in many Muslim countries, because now they are following the same style and they don’t want to show that women are inferior to husbands, to their husbands or to men, and they don’t want to show that they are not equal. In fact, this equality between the two genders is a very evil thing. And we have to explain this because I know in the West they might see this, ‘What? What are you talking about?’…So, if the wife is always chatting back and when the husband becomes angry and she becomes angry and he says ‘You did not cook!’ and she said ‘Yeah but you did not buy this!’ he will say ‘No, no, no, I bought it but you did not prepare it.’ So, the point is, when he speaks in a very angry way, what do you need to do sister? Just calm down, calm down. Be patient. Even if he becomes so angry and you might [be] afraid that he becomes so violent, and this is a very common problem, walahi, keep quiet and maybe use your tears. You will win him. You will win his heart. You will win your marriage. Be careful sisters, I know in the West she can immediately call the police, and when she calls the police, that is the end of her marriage because the husband will not tolerate this. You might win the case now and you might say ‘Well, I felt that my safety is in danger.’ OK you will call the police, the police will come. The husband will never forget this, because what? Sisters, please, don’t use another man against your husband. If the husband feels that you went, or you are seeking protection with another man against him, that is the end of his feelings towards you…This is another way of threatening, or stabbing, his manhood in fact. So sisters, don’t use it.”
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Usama Hasan
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“A holistic reading of the Qur’an, Sunnah and Hadiths, taking into account the socio-historical context of the revelation of the Qur’an and of the Prophetic guidance preserved in authentic hadiths, shows clearly that God and Muhammad wished to ban wife-beating and domestic violence completely.”
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