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Domestic Violence: Excavating Shariah Series- Part 2

written by Theresa Corbin

Part 1

As a faith community, we are facing a serious crisis in human (and God given) rights violations. Many of those “in charge” are and have been misusing religious texts to cripple more than half of our population- women.

We are a global community and these issues have infected our lives on a global scale. Because of these issues, Saadia Haq and I are “Excavating Shariah” in an attempt to chip away at the fiqh interpretations (human understanding of the Shariah (Islamic) law) that have either intentionally or unintentionally ignored the female experience, oppressed women, or co-opted women’s religious dedication.

We take it as a serious matter that Islam has been wrongfully used as a weapon against women. We feel we have the right and an obligation, as Muslims, to speak on these issues. Currently we are “excavating” the affront that is Domestic Violence.

Domestic violence is a global issue. According to WHO “Most of this violence is intimate partner violence. Worldwide, almost one third (30%) of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner in their lifetime. Globally, as many as 38% of murders of women are committed by a male intimate partner.”

It is a men’s issue. But there are some (or rather many) who claim that Islam gives men the right to physically harm their wives.

In Islam, marriage is based on on love and mercy, as we read in the Quran:

{And among His signs is this: That He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest, peace of mind in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy. Lo, herein indeed are signs for people who reflect.} (Quran 30:21)

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Domestic Violence: Excavating Shariah Series- Part 1

written by Saadia Haq from the Human Lens

Part 2

There is no denying the prevailing existence of domestic violence among Muslim communities that continue to lag behind in out-dated centuries on matters of women’s status and rights in Islamic societies. But just like so many anti human practises are brushed under the carpet and deemed not that important, violence against Muslim women continues inside their homes and outside.

Among Muslims, regardless of their sect there is an invisible consensus on the disputed relationship of their understandings on Islam and domestic violence. It is very common to note, that majority Islamic societies continue to operate under the cultural stigma of hiding the evidences of abuse meted to women. The harsh reality of most Muslim nations is the inability of recognising the abuse by law order authorities, police and judicial system. Here the many victims of domestic violence are treated to scorn, alienations and charged under distorted versions of Sharia dreamed by bigoted clergy.

Most Muslims lap up distorted teachings promoting an array of bizarre methods by which men should make wives more obedient and in failing to do so, wife beating becomes permissible. The notions of men having authority over women that women are to be obedient establish an authoritarian structure with the husband as head of the wife. These tactics are justified by the reason that Allah created men superior to women and thus men are the maintainers of women.

Last year, Pakistan made cringe worthy news when the chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology, a powerful religious body announced a ridiculous proposal to legalize the ‘light beating’ of wives at the hands of their husbands. This sent a wave of joy to local men who in any case are prone to wife beating and abuse. The golden moment was interrupted by the national outrage and revulsion with street protests, civil societies, media, and had a few politicians react with disdain on legalizing domestic violence within Muslim marriages.

Continue reading here on the Human Lens. Part 2 here.


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