Did the Companions Ever Engage In Domestic Violence?

Question: I have heard that a certain Companion would regularly beat his wives. How can this be true?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

It is very good that you asked this important question. The worst thing you can do when these ideas arrive is to just let them fester.

Domestic violence is unquestionably sinful and un-Islamic. Please see:

https://seekersguidance.org/articles/social-issues/muslim-scholars-on
spousal-abuse-in-islamic-law-it-is-absolutely-unlawful-to-abuse-a-wife-injure-her-or-insult-her-dignity/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/hanafi-fiqh/defining-ill-conduct-nushuz-in-marriage/
http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/ahm/gender.htm
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/cheating-husband/

If it were true that one of the Companions regularly beat one or more of his wives, it does not change Islam. Just because the Companions were the best of people, it does not mean they could not fall into sin. It is however inconceivable that they would persist in sin, or that their sins should be known to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). He does not forbid them from doing such things.

It is also very possible that such a Companion was simply very tough with his wives but did not actually ever physically harm them.

Asma bint Abu Bakr was the wife of Zubayr ibn Awwam, and he was was “very tough with her.” She complained to Abu Bakr (her father) about him and he said, “O my sweet daughter, be patient for indeed when a woman has a righteous husband who then dies, and she does not marry anyone after him, they will be together in Paradise.” [Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d]

Now, I would find it extremely odd if Zubayr would consistently beat his wife, and then be labeled by his father-in-law as a “righteous husband,” topping that off by using the incentive of being with him in Paradise to encourage his daughter to remain with him. What would be much more likely is that he was “tough” in character and demanding, as certain individuals are, even if they are righteous people. The Prophetic example was however to be soft and clement with one’s family.

In sum, do not be fooled by seemingly misleading facts about Islam. Islam is very clear. “Let there be no harming or harming back” is immutable and an agreed-upon principle of religion that is not absent in any avenue of Muslim life and practice. [Muwatta Malik; Al-Ashbah wa al-Nadha’ir, Suyuti]

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.