Answered by Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra
My question relates to a common practice in my country. If your parents are fighting amongst each other, and your father is hitting your mother and in response, your mother is hitting your father, and both abusing each other and not stopping, the child can’t just stand there and watch them continue fighting as it is completely morally wrong.
What is the stance that their child (20 yrs. old) witnessing all this is supposed to take?
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate,
Thank you for reaching out to us. May Allah the Most Loving make this easy for you and create love in your family.
The upshot is that you should call the police when your parents hit each other. If that is not possible, you should call some trusted figure to intervene. Confide in an upright person on each side of your family to mediate. Emphasize to them how this hurts you, and that it must stop or threaten to take this to an authority.
Domestic Violence is Sinful and Unlawful
Domestic violence is wrong and unlawful in Islam, no matter how common it is in your culture. It can never be an acceptable mode of disagreement between spouses. Resolve that you will never allow this to occur in your future marriage, Insha’Allah. It is reported that, “The Messenger of Allah [Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him] never hit a servant or woman (ie. in his life).” [Abu Dawud]
It Is An Obligation to Stop Abuse in All its Forms
Your culture may demand secrecy about these things, but silence is no longer an option. There is no shame in seeking help, rather it is obligatory to do so here. It is your choice if you want to firmly restrain the parent who is initiating the aggression until they calm down, or then shield the parent who is taking the abuse, to show them both that this is not tolerable. Never raise your own hand against either side, as you mentioned you considered doing. It never solves anything, and you will sin as well.
If the violence escalates, do not hesitate to call any third party, even a neighbor. Stay respectful through it all, do not join in the yelling, and speak with reason to each of them. Use love to reach their hearts. If things don’t change, encourage them to part ways in divorce, for their own sake, if they cannot stop and obey the limits that Allah Most High has set.
Turn to Allah
Realize that Allah the Merciful is sending you through this so you flee to Him in neediness and love. Turn to Him with patience and prayer, and ask Him to solve this problem. Your parents still individually love you, but always remember that Allah loves you most of all, and He will never wrong you.
[Shaykh] Abdullah Anik Misra
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1983. His family hails from India, and he was raised in the Hindu tradition. He embraced Islam in 2001 while at the University of Toronto, from where he completed a Bachelor of Business Administration. He then traveled overseas in 2005 to study the Arabic language and Islamic sciences in Tarim, Yemen, for some time, as well as Darul Uloom in Trinidad, West Indies. He spent 12 years in Amman, Jordan, where he focused on Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith Sciences, Prophetic Biography, and Islamic Spirituality while also working at the Qasid Arabic Institute as Director of Programs. He holds a BA in Islamic Studies (Alimiyya, Darul Uloom) and authorization in the six authentic books of Hadith and is currently pursuing specialized training in issuing Islamic legal verdicts (ifta’). He holds a certificate in Counselling and often works with new Muslims and those struggling with religious OCD. He is an instructor and researcher in Sacred Law and Theology with the SeekersGuidance The Global Islamic Seminary. Currently, He resides in the Greater Toronto Area with his wife and children. His personal interests include Indian history, comparative religion, English singing, and poetry.