An Islamic Perspective on Violence Against Women


While women in many parts of the world have made advances in areas previously closed to them, the problem of violence against women remains pervasive. Unfortunately, this violence takes many forms and occurs across national, cultural, racial, and religious borders.

Islam condemns all forms of violence against women. The basic Islamic premise of equality between women and men cannot be achieved so long as violence against women persists.

In pre-Islamic Arabia violence against women began at birth in the form of female infanticide. Islam prohibited the practice of female infanticide. Not only did the Quran prohibit this practice, it also mocks those who view the birth of a girl child with contempt. (Quran 16:58-59).

Another common form of violence against women is that committed by husbands on their wives. Islam requires that husbands treat their wives with respect and it prohibits any form of physical or emotional abuse. The Quran requires that spouses treat each other with love and mercy. (Quran 30:21). Moreover, the Quran repeatedly warns against the use of injurious statements by a husband against his wife. (Quran 58:2-4).

Rape, unfortunately, remains a common form of violence against women. In addition, the woman is often blamed for being the victim of rape. Islam views rape as a violent crime against the victim, against society, and against God. The perpetrator has committed a crime and hence is morally and legally responsible. The victim is an unwilling partner in the sex act and thus bears neither blame nor stigma. To either ostracize or condemn the victim because she was compelled to engage in sexual intercourse is against the laws of Islam as the victim was an unwilling, and therefore, a blameless participant.

In addition to the violence that women are subjected to during times of peace, women are particularly vulnerable during times of war. Islam condemns violence against women no matter what the circumstances. War is no exception. Prophet Muhammad was strict in ensuring that noncombatants, primarily women and children, were not harmed during war time.

Female genital mutilation, another form of violence against women, has no basis in Islam. Rather, it is a cultural practice which must be eliminated through education and the empowerment of women.

Likewise, forced prostitution is another form of violence against women with no basis in Islam and which must be eradicated through the empowerment of women.

Islam's mandate of equality between women and men necessitates that all forms of violence against women be eradicated, for so long as women suffer abuses, women cannot achieve their full potential as free and equal members of society.

 

Source: Muslim Women's League


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  32 Comments   Comment

  1. Angela from USA

    Thank you for this article! What kind of education process is in place for men who feel it is in their power to "put women in their place," and decide that violence is the only way to act as an enforcer? Do we have counseling services for men who feel "culturally" pressured to oppress women? Lastly, it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to clarify Islam's position on domestic violence because there is a very common belief here in America that all Muslim men abuse their wives. How will this article reach non-Muslims to repair our image?

  2. Safiyya from US

    I totally agree with the article but it is just words, need to do something. Everyone is going to say oh islam prohibit violence against women which is true. But thats not the true perspective muslim women are being abuse in very horrendous acts of violence. These psyco does not deserve to be called muslim, i have no pity for them. It is very disgusting.

  3. Nazir Ahmed from India

    The point is that in actuality Women in Muslim societies have no individual freedom because Muslim society is Patriarchal in its orientation and religion provides ideological support to continuation of patriarchy. In every sphere the balance is tilted in favour of men, be it participation and claim over public spaces, economic activity, politics, legal (being a half to male witness) rights, inheritance, marriage all positions of authority and power are prefered for men while women are supposed to be supporters of men and do not have an independent life.

    One can sing a song about how islam gives rights to women on ground we know Muslim women are the least disadvantaged and dont even have legitimacy to fight for their rights because then they are branded as 'modernist' enemies of Islam. Respectiblity is connected with whether you take a conservative position of Islam or not.

  4. Nuraini from Malaysia

    i view the fact that violence against women also happens in non-Muslim countries as irrelevant. not only irrelevant, but does not do us good. we don't improve ourselves by measuring against people who are doing the same or worse. we measure ourselves against what we OUGHT to be doing, and what we OUGHT to achieve. clearly, something is wrong if countries supposedly believing in the Book that gives protection to women, still have a poor record of abiding by those requirements. who are these clerics who do not oppose violence against women? they ought to be deposed, the people should educate themselves, and see that these so-called clerics clearly are not qualified to be imams of the people.

  5. Rachid Khould from usa

    I don't understand what Islam has to do with these atrocities!!! Honestly! Anytime something goes wrong, people refer to the Quran. Everybody knows, even non-Muslims, that Islam is more than a wonderful religion. What needs to be done is that more people SHOULD speak out about INJUSTICE AND DEMAND THAT IT BE IMPLEMENTED. It is JUSTICE what these countries need. If they don't get this, then they need to quit asking ALLAH for help. Even Allah won't help them, because Allah is JUST and loves and supports JUST people. He supports JUST people even if they are not true believers. Sometimes, HE SUPPORTS A NON-BELIEVER WHO IS JUST OVER A BELIEVER WHO IS INJUST. Read the Quran and see what happened to the Children of Israel or to Baghdad in 1258. God is JUST and HE IS WHEREVER JUSICE IS. If injustice is done to women in these countries is due to the lack of a just system. We like America because it has a just system, not because it is a Christian country or anything else. In fact, Muslims live in countries that offer justice: Europe, Canada, Australia, etc. Finally, unless justice is established, women, children and men will continue being abused and abused and abused. JUSTICE MUST BE DONE. Please, don't bring the Quran in these atrocities. People must bring the changes THEMSELVES. "Certainly, Allah does not change the conditions of a people unless they change that which is within themselves." Quran. It is funny. I had to refer to the Noble Quran myself at the end!

  6. irrem thed from U.S.

    Pretty disgusting huh? Lots of excuses in these

    comments. "Oh yes but there's violence against women

    in the U.S. And there's violence against women in

    China, etc...etc..."

    Difference is: there is the rule of law here in the U.S.

    and despite Bush's attempts to force religion on people,

    the U.S. still maintains that breaking the law is breaking

    the law and justice is blind to differences in race,

    ethnicity, religion, etc... Is it perfect and does it work all

    the time? Certainly not. But it works a hell of a lot better

    than it does in countries that are ruled by Islamic law.

    Women in those countries are amongst the poorest in

    the world with the worst quality of life and in many

    cases are slaves to their husbands and other male

    relatives. Please don't tell me what the Quran says -- it

    may be written there but the interpretation is done by

    so-called "Islamic Clerics" who take it upon themselves

    to air their macho perversions about women in

    servitude to them. What kind of human beings decides

    that raping a woman to the tune of a cheering crowd is

    not worthy of a prison sentence? You've go to have the

    mentality of a serial killer to even do that to a women.

    What-- because her brother committed adultery?? Not

    only is it the work of sick minds but stupid minds too. I

    have no sympathy and no understanding for those kind

    of decisions and anyone who tolerates that kind of

    treatment to a living being to ANY degree deserves the

    scorn of the world and deserves to be called backward

    and ignorant. Please don't accept this and then act

    hurt and surprised when people look down upon

    Islamic-ruled countries. Do something to change it.

  7. Tahseen Kauser from England

    Asalaamualikum,

    We have known since the Blessed Prophet's (P) time that it is a sin to exploit women or do any kind of violence to them.But here is one issue where even good practicing brothers have failed. Men act as wonderful muslims outside family but while they are with their wives they seem to forget all norms and values of islamic relations with their spouse. May be their are few brothers but they are very rare.

  8. Rashilah from USA

    Assalamu Alaikum, Every body knows Violence Against Women takes place when gambling, acohol or when a husband has another woman, no matter what is your religions or race. So why are those so-called 'traditional muslim men' in the muslim counrties abuse their wife, sister or daughter if they do not have any of the above problems? look around you man, the ratio now is 4 women to 1 man, you need women to build the contry. give the women equal opportunities like those muslim women in the western contry. Remember, a child first teacher is his mother. she is our begining and our last. it is her name being called in the duaa before we rest in peace, Ameen.

  9. Gayle Wheeler from US

    Oh how wise is the Qu'ran. If only all nations would view and respect this vision. If only all mankind would love and respect each other.

  10. umar Abdullahi from Nigeria

    Even during wars islam prohibit all foams of violence to women.

  11. Adamu Marafa Jada from Nigeria

    In accordance with the teachings of the Prophet (SAW) and in any point of reference womwen are our mothers and counterparts so, any form of violence against them should be avoided in totality.

  12. Imran A. from USA

    To Debbie Kerrick: I agree with your opinion. Converts women to Islam must understand that all born or traditional Muslim are not angel in anyway and certainly not all are intellectual enough to present Islam. Some men marry to just to get a green card or to get into a country. Converts women are advised not to make a hasty decision in marrying a Muslim man. Converts women should test him in every way possible. By embracing Islam women try to free themselves but, unfortunately, because of these so called traditional Muslims, converts are subject to physical and emotional abuse and violence. Women are easy target for men with hollow and flawed personality who commit violence against women to vent out their frustration and to cover their own mistakes. These types of men are in every society and culture and in so-called civilized and uncivilized world regardless of religion who commits violence and abuse against women.

  13. Abu-Bakr from USA

    Which religion in the whole world talks much about the lovely ways of treating our women than Islam. Be that as it may, there's no disputing the fact that the nations that preaches women equality are where women abuses are so much rampant.

    I chose not blame them totally for their hypocracy, but blame the muslim nations that chose not to educate the world about the loving ways we treat our women.

  14. debbie kerrick from USA

    The article was a good one on a subject we need to discuss and educate ourselves on. However, I found it to lack dept. You touch on rape but did not go into details about relationships between married couples. More men berate and abuse there wives these days than ever before, WHY? Injurious statement made by a spouse to another are hurtful not just the spouse but to witnessing childern and the spouse. Muslim converts who marry traditional muslum men often find themesevles the subject of abuse not only by the spouse but his family as well. Converts no matter how hard these study and try never seem to make jugemental others happy. I know of a case in the life a young friend who lives in constant missery. What brings men to abuse the women they marry? Why is abuse on the uprise. These are the subject nedding to explore.

  15. Kabiru Olu. Yusuff from Nigeria

    I Do not think it is right to be violent against women. Allah has created them to be part of us (men)to shield us when open, support us when weak and because are more on the reserved side, they even help us keep track of our appointments with Allah (obligations & supplications) and fellow men (promises). They deserved to be fairly treated. Rolulu Laah said "The best of men is he who's wife describes him as best." We expect them to treat them well, we must do same to them. What we expect from them is what we must give them. This will also reflect in the lives of our offsprings.

    Salaam alaykum.

  16. Linda El Amin from USA

    SubhanAllah, I wish that every human being could read this, because of the opinion of people who don't know and understand the TRUTH of the status of women in Islam.

  17. Robert Rowlands from Tasmania/Australia

    it is with a heavy heart that i have to acknowledge the miserable state of so many unfortunate women on our beautiful planet,,,, may divine love bestow grace,compassion & empathy to the heart of all humanity

  18. Screwtape from USA

    It confuses a Westerner, like myself, when there are articles about violence against women in Islam and there is no reference to (Quran 4:34). How can you interpret this scripture in a way that doesn't justify wife beating?

  19. ahmed from Iraq

    Upto when would the people would find their own ways superior, out of ignorance and arrogance, to that which god had ascribed. Its as if most of Islam was never revealed to the human race. and much of it was taken by the west!

    What would cost an arab muslim to awaken, more than self control and 'struggle' to remain in the cause of god and his prophet, the real struggle that would make the ideal muslim society. "Jehad" begins from here, and end in the battlefield, where unfortunately most try to take its beginning from that source.

    Each and every pillar of Islam is kept standing by strong struggle against self and other pressurs, we need 'Jehadis', not to shew off enemies, but to tame our own people.

    Love and regards

    a Submitter of Will to God.

  20. Leila from Viet Nam

    I am new in Islam as I converted to Islam 3 years ago. I have been though the pain of abusing by my ex husband that why I can understand the situation og many Muslims sisters,who is being abused by domestic violence.

    Islam is peace,women has same equal with men.

    Stop violence against women.Show to the world the meaning of Islam.

    Stop violence against women.

  21. Hadayai Majeed from USA

    As Salaamu Alaikm,

    This article is timely and accurate. Please visit our web site at http://www.baitulsalaam.net. Our organization has worked on this subject for nine years it has been an up hill battle all the way.

    After your visit let us hear from you.

    We need your moral and financial support.

    We manage one of the few temporary shelters for women and children of faith (espeically Muslim).

    You can also call (800) 285-9489 pin #00) or (404) 366-6610.

  22. siraz ahmed shaik from India

    The article is very goood.Indeed Islam is the only religion which gives respect to woman in a complete manner.

  23. Sareer Ara from Tanzania

    Thank you for much for bringing up this issue. It is important that Muslims talk and write to eliminate violence against women. As the Western Media has been trying to give a bad name to mostly Muslim countries and by portraying Islam as the underlying reason for violence violence against women. The reality is that these horrible practices do take place in the Non Muslim and Western Countries but are usually brushed under the carpet.

  24. Hj NOAH from Malaysia

    Assalamualaikum,

    I am very dissapointed to discover how difficult it is for a Muslim woman to lodge a report against a broken marriege and abusive husband. Let alone to get a legal redress and protections. In my effort to assist my own younger siter whose marriege is on a verge of breaking down due to the husband being a frequent adulterer (with proofs), abusive and arrogant, to the extent of using knife as a threat. Even in a civilised nation and educated society I find it hard to believe that it is so obvious the relevant authorities are turning away from the issue. The religous department and Syariah Court Judge very reluctant to the idea of the woman seeking a divorce, despite proof of adulteries and infectious disease, police and doctor reports. Continuous threats and aggressions by the arrogant husband is taken lightly by all authorities despite all our calls and pleads for helps. It could take up to 5 or 6 years before any case is properlly addressed, in the meantime women suffer in the hand of irresponsible men. Look into past cases on record and one will be amazed to discover. Makes one wonder if Allah gives man the right to be arrogant.

  25. Mary Shepard from USA

    I would only add that prostitution, even if it is not "forced," is economic violence against women. When all societies recognize that women should be employed and paid the same as men, this form of violence will hopefully end.

  26. Asif C from Canada

    I agree. I do think that Muslims have been suffering a problem in some countries, not due to Islam, but due to tradition, culture, etc. I find that also there are numerous statements ascribed to the Prophet that do bring down the status of women. The Qur'an gives women many of their rights though. people should be aware, and not be deceived by those narratives (ahadith) that are mere fabrications passed down, and written over a hundred years after the Prophet.

    Visit: http://www.mostmerciful.com

    and find out what is the Pure Islam, and what is man-invented.

  27. Ummuayman from UK

    Jazakkallahu khairan, for this article,it's time we raised awareness within the Muslim society.An interdict subject conveniently ignored by many. Excellent article although I would have included the violence committed by women towards women,emotional and physical usually by in-laws.

    The forgotten children are not the orphans, but the children raised witnessing viloence committed against their mother,who silently suffer.

  28. Yusuf Ma from China

    I agree with the viewpoints in the article. Violence against women are still very popular in China where many women become disable, or be deeply hurted by their husbands.

    On the other hand, some rich married men have more than one sex partners; although Chinese laws forbid a man to marry more than one woman.

  29. Khadijah from usa

    As-salaam-alaikum My Brothers and Sisters in Islam: I am compelled to respond to this article because it exposes the truth about women in Islam. So many people fail to understand that the mistreating of women is a cultural practise and not an Islamic one. It surprises me when I talk to people about this issue how uninformed they are about just how revered women are in Islam. I find my self explaing over and over to folks that this is not an Islamic practice,that as a matter of fact the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh)put in place how Allah(swt)deemed for women to be treated,before this time the pagans mistreated women as a way of life,when the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) saw this strict measures were put in place to assure women were treated with honor and respect given the same equalities as men. Yes,there are instances where men and when enjoy different levels of equalities but it has nothing to do with the women being second class or not as important to mankind as men. On judgement day men won't be judged better than women but men and women will be judged alike. The responsibilities of being Muslim are the same for men and women. So brothers love your Mothers,Wives,and Daughters through the teachings of the Prohet Muhammad(pbuh)and not according to paganistic customs.

    May Allah(swt)continue to Bless and keep you all close!

    Your SIster in Islam,

    Khadijah

  30. Nor from Singapore

    While it has been quoted in the Quran, how women should be treated with equality and respect and that violence against them cannot be tolerated. It is sad to see even in islamic countries today, there exists such violence. And even more embarassing is a non-muslim friend quoted to me how he witness his neighbour a muslim man beat up his wife and hence concluded that islam condones violence against muslim. Another account i got was a newly revert muslim man who decide to revert back to christianity upon learning how muslim women are not treated with equality and respect hence blaming on islam as the cause to this. It is really sad for me to hear of such news and how the world views islam because of a certain group of people who doesn't preach the teachings of the Quran.

  31. Arifa from Australia

    Assalamoalaikum All,

    Although I fully empathise with the main contention of this article, I can't help feeling that this article is very imbalanced and thus does not do the issue of violence-against-women justice. For example, verse 4:34 from the Quran is often translated/interpreted (whether erroneously or not), to allow some form of 'physical correction' (in certain circumstances) of a wife by her husband. THis verse is certainly a cause of controvery in this issue but has not been mentioned/discussed in this article. Not to mention interpretations of some hadiths are often manipulated by some Muslims to allow men permission to beat their wives etc. Perhaps if the author(s) had delved more into these controversial points, the article would have been somewhat more comprehensive.