Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month nationwide. On behalf of the South Bay Islamic Association and Bay Area Muslim community, I am here to participate in this 2nd Annual Day of Remembrance for victims of Domestic Violence.
Three to four million women are beaten annually and every 15 seconds a woman is abused in her home. Nationally, domestic violence has become the number one cause of death among women.
One reaction from our community is, "that's a tragedy that doesn't affect Muslim families". But it does. While research on the prevalence of family violence among Muslims is just beginning, Imams, community leaders, and social workers across North America confirm that Muslim women, children, and men are being affected by this devastating social problem.
Physical violence can lead to broken bones, head injury, vision loss, and even death. Among victims, emotional abuse leads to a broken spirit and feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and oppression.
Domestic abuse knows no boundaries. It occurs among well-known and little-known community members, the rich, the poor, the well-educated and uneducated, foreign-born and American-born, and across all cultures, race and religions.
Violence against women is clearly not an Islamic tradition. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) instructed us, "I command you to be kind to women." He said also, "The best of you is the best to his family (wife). The Quran urges husbands to be kind and considerate to their wives. "Under no circumstances does the Quran encourage, allow, or condone family violence or physical abuse. Motherhood has the highest status in Islam.
Marriage preparation education and premarital counseling can help future spouses learn skills that will assist them in developing a healthy, violence-free family life.
This problem will not be eliminated unless we act. We must recognize the signs of spousal abuse and act to prevent it and work towards its elimination. We must encourage couples to seek spiritual and professional help.
Insha-Allah (God willing) we must become partners against domestic violence. Spread the word and Stop the Hurt.
I end with a Muslim prayer for peace:
O Allah, You are As-Salaam – peace — and from You is all peace, blessed are You, O Possessor of majesty and honor.’