How to Deal with an Abusive Husband?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

I have been asked for advice from my Syrian refugee friend who came to Australia. She lived in poverty as a Quran teacher until she married an Egyptian migrant two years ago. He constantly abuses her emotionally, swearing and cursing at her from morning until night, and tells her he doesn’t want to find her at home when he returns from work. She has now become a numb zombie from all the abuse and stopped teaching. She still does all the household work and doesn’t answer him back. He has also stopped giving her intimacy for almost a year. What do I tell her?

Answer

Thank you, sister, for being concerned about your friend. Muslim women are like sisters to each other and must help each other and advise each other whenever possible.

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “The deen (religion) is nasiha (advice, sincerity).” We said, “To whom?” He said, “To Allah, His Book, His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk.” [Muslim]

Istikhara for Both of You

If you fear you will not give the correct advice, pray Istikhara: The Prayer of Seeking Guidance first about what you should tell her. Then give her your honest advice from the heart. Ask her to pray istikhara as well. Ultimately, it is her decision, and you are not responsible for the outcome.

No Kids Yet

I see it as tremendous mercy that she has not had children with him yet, so she can still leave. Once children come into the picture, it would be much more difficult. It doesn’t seem that this man will change, and abuse in a relationship is a valid reason to end it. Not getting her rights to intimacy is also a good reason to end it.

Khula’

If she needs to request Khula’, she may do so, perhaps by borrowing money. Is a Khulu’ the Solution to Leave an Abusive Husband? (Shafi’i)

Can a Husband Forgo Payment After a Khula’ Agreement? (Shafi’i) Having short-term debt is much better than living in this kind of psychological abuse.

May Allah strengthen her to make the best decision. Ask her to pray the Prayer of Need, Allah, Most High, will soon pave the right way for her, from His grace. Please see the following links for more information:
Who Can I Vent to About My Abusive Husband?
My Husband is Abusive, Irresponsible, and Doesn’t Practice Islam

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani 

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.