Verbal Abuse is Also Abuse

20 December, 2016
Q I have a problem regarding marriage which bothers me lately. My boyfriend and I have already been making plans for getting married in April next year, in sha’ Allah. We have been together for 7 years, but we broke up once for almost 2 years. Its reason was that he was so rude to me. He would always say something rude every time we got into a fight. Once he even lied and cheated on me. After breaking up, he tried to reach me again and promised to change, so I gave him a chance. For 2 years, as I can see his good intention to change himself, we agreed to get married. My parents have agreed to it as well (they never liked him previously, but as he has changed in front of them, they started liking him.) However, 2 month ago, we had a huge fight and his old behavior was back again: he said horrible things to me which have been still whispering in my ears. I feel doubt now about getting married with him. I prayed istikharah and in the second day, I dreamt about him stretching his hand with anger, his face is furious, and he is trying to hit me. Please help me; I don’t know what to do. Should I tell my parents about his rude words again or should I keep silent? I want to be with him because I love him, but on the other hand, I'm so afraid to marry him. He is a revert Muslim from Catholicism. Thank you for your help.

Answer

Answer:

As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum dear sister in Islam,

Verbal Abuse is Also Abuse - About Islam

I am sorry that you have been suffering abuse, both emotional and physical, and that your boyfriend cheated on you. However, those are not the main reasons that you should leave this man immediately.

First of all, your relationship is unlawful in Islam, because you are not married yet. Allah says that He doubles the punishment for the fornicator:

“And those who do not invoke with Allah another deity or kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed], except by right, and do not commit unlawful sexual intercourse. And whoever should do that will meet a penalty. Multiplied for him is the punishment on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein humiliated -Except for those who repent, believe and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” (Qur’an 25:68-70)

So, first you need to turn to Allah (swt) by obeying Him (swt) – to protect yourself from His punishment!

Next, even though you are not married, your relationship is a committed one, like marriage, and he was unfaithful to that, which is like adultery. And a Qur’an says about marring an adulterer:

“The fornicator does not marry except a [female] fornicator or polytheist, and none marries her except a fornicator or a polytheist, and that has been made unlawful to the believers.” (Qur’an 24:3)

Furthermore, he is physically dangerous to you. You have a serious responsibility to yourself and your future children to NOT put yourselves in harm’s way. Your body and your soul and your children do not belong to you – they are a Trust from Allah (swt). You have a duty to Allah (swt) to treat them properly and behave properly and protect them from unlawful influences and danger. This man is dangerous and he is more than willing to do unlawful things, i.e., fornicate and “cheat” on you.

In addition, rudeness is no small matter in Islam. Verbal abuse is also abuse. Verbal abuse is emotional abuse and that is just as damaging as physical abuse, but in a different way and in a different department. The way you can tell that it matters is that it makes you weak and unable to function, just like how being physically beat-up makes you feel. This happens because it crushes your self-image and self-respect. It makes you feel “beat-up” because it actually is a form of aggression called “passive-aggression”. It is an attack, an “offense”, and offensive behaviors, in whatever forms, are not Islam.

Lastly, I think Allah (swt) may has already answered your question when, after you made istikhara, you dreamed about “him stretching his hand with anger, his face is furious, and he is trying to hit me.” To me, this dream is probably indicating what would happen in the future if you married this man. So, I would take that dream as a: “no, don’t marry him” – unless you want to be emotionally and physically abused. However, if you don’t want an abusive marriage, then take that dream seriously and thank Allah (swt) for giving you such a clear, direct message in answer to your istikhara. Furthermore, if you still marry your fiancé after having such a dream, you may be guilty of not paying attention to Allah’s indications/signs of what the right thing to do is. The cost to you would be a life of misery in an abusive marriage.

Besides your dream – if I had not heard about your dream –, I would still be emphatic that you leave this man immediately and definitely not marry him because he fornicates, adulterated your committed relationship, and was violent with you, and could potentially be violent with his future children. Lastly, he has proved to you – and himself – that he did not really change when he started being rude to you, again. In my opinion, it is just a matter of time, probably, until he is violent with you again.

I hope this helps, In Sha’ Allah! And I hope you find the strength (from Allah) to follow the guidance of your religion and the blessing of your dream which, from what I can tell, indicated clearly not to stay with this man. If you let your “love” for him take precedence over obeying Allah (swt) and your religion, fear Allah (swt)! Remember, true love does not thrive in a Godless relationship and environment. Anything that people do in this life, no matter how “successful” it makes them look in this life, or how much love they feel in it, it is all worth nothing unless it is done for Allah (swt), and in the Next Life it will all come out – if not before.

Salam,

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About Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem
Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem, an American, has a BA in English from UC Berkeley
and is about to receive an MS degree in counseling psychology
(Marriage and Family Therapy - MFT) from the Western Institute for Social Research.
For over ten years, Nasira worked as a psychotherapist with the general public and in addiction recovery.

For the last few years, she has been a life coach specializing in
interpersonal relations.
Nasira also consults with her many family members who studied Islam overseas and returned to America to be Imams and teachers of Islam. Muslims often ask Nasira what psychology has to do with Islam. To this, she replies that Islam is the manifestation of a correct understanding of our psychology. Therapists and life coaches help clients figure out how to traverse the path of life as a Believer, i.e., "from darkness into light", based on Islam and given that that path is an obstacle course, according to Allah.