Abused by Father, What Does Islam Say?

29 July, 2016
Q My step dad beats me and my mom up and I was wondering if this is a major sin and Allah will punish him by hell. He won't listen so it is best not to lecture him but I would feel better to know that he will get punished.

Answer

Salam Dear Sister,

Abused by Father, What Does Islam Say? - About Islam

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

No doubt, Allah has not allowed a man to ‘beat up’ his wife or a step-daughter. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) has said,

“The best of you is the best to his wives, and I am the best of you to my wives.” [Tirmidhi]

Once, when Prophet Muhammad was very angry at his wives, he kept away from them for a month i.e. by not talking to them and by relinquishing their beds. Prophet Muhammad never struck any of his daughters either. He never ever hit any child in his whole life.

I was wondering why your step-father is violent towards you and your mother, and what you both can do about it to resolve and improve the situation.

This is because Prophet Muhammad has commanded every Muslim to stop any evil, oppression and injustice with their hand when they see it.

While the evil doled out by an oppressive person is indeed the cause of justified pain and anger, so much so that the dua of an oppressed person that is made against the one who oppresses them is one of the swiftest to be answered by Allah, before one goes about wishing for their oppressor to be punished in the Hereafter by burning in hell, one should first try to find a permanent solution to this problem in this world that will allow them to stop this oppression totally.

Prophet Muhammad has commanded Muslims to “help” oppressors, and this help comes in the form of stopping them from committing their oppression. This is because once they stop doing their injustices upon others, and repent for them, only then can they hope to escape being punished for them in the Hereafter by Allah.

Sister, the high road for you would be to help rid your step-father of his violent streak, and to make him stop beating you and your mother up. I know that talking to an abusive man is of little help, but perhaps there is some other problem that is making him angry?

Does he drink alcohol? Is he suffering from financial or other problems/addictions? His abuse of you and your mother is indicative of inherent misogyny (Allah knows best), because only a man who doesn’t respect women is abusive towards them at home.

I suggest that you and your mother collaborate to seek a long-term solution to stop and/or escape this abuse at the hands of your step-father.

The first step in this regard should be to make sincere dua to Allah for helping you in this endeavor, because only with His help does relief and wellbeing come into our lives.

Secondly, restraining your tongues in his presence and withdrawing from him emotionally might also make him realize the gravity of his sins, and enable him to think about changing himself.

By ‘withdrawing from him emotionally’, I mean, to not smile or laugh with him, or talk to him nicely for a few days after he has been violent/abusive.

Instead, avoid talking to him any more than is absolutely necessary. The less said to an abusive person, the better. Silence and aloofness gives a strong vibe to them that the other person has been seriously damaged/hurt by them.

However, do make sure he knows why you are withdrawing emotionally from him, without going into an emotional rant, shouting or crying. Men understand things better when a woman conveys the message to them in the least possible words, in a matter-of-fact, business-like manner, without shouting, crying, hurling accusations, or becoming emotional.

The next time he raises his hand to strike you or your mother, you should step away or leave the room immediately, after first clearly saying to him in a firm voice (without shouting), “Please do NOT hit me. Fear Allah. Please DO NOT hit me again.” Then leave the room and abstain from talking to him or serving him for a day or two, to make him realize the gravity of the sin he is committing.

Lastly, and I am suggesting this as only a last-resort, rock-bottom solution: if his abuse continues in the long term without abating, your mother should seek serious counsel (shura) from the righteous elders in her family (especially her parents, if they are alive) first, and then try to get a divorce from your stepfather in order to protect herself and you from further harm. For this, she will have to return his mahr (dower) to him.Abused by Father, What Does Islam Say

Abuse leaves long-term negative effects. I am quite scared for your future; about how this domestic abuse might affect you very adversely as an adult later on in life. Please be informed that a wife being habitual hit by her husband (and also her daughter) is one of the valid sharia reasons for seeking khul` from him.

Please be warned that in such a scenario, your mother (and also you, after you grow up) will have to seek jobs in order to financially support yourselves, so prepare yourself for that and approach this domestic issue like mature, emotionally and mentally strong inpiduals who stick with a decision and see it through till the end, once they have made it.

I ask Allah to put an end to the domestic abuse and all other problems in your home/family, and to guide your stepfather towards sincere repentance and righteous actions thenceforth. Ameen.

I hope this answers your question.

Salam and please keep in touch.