Majlis ash-Shura of Philadelphia Takes a Stand:
Zero Tolerance for Spousal Abuse
In a bold move against the physical abuse of wives, the Majlis ash-Shura of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley agreed in May to a get-tough policy: the names of men, who are confirmed to have abused their wives, will be made known to all the masjids in the area; masjids in the Majlis will be asked not to allow the man to be married in their masjid; and business dealings with the man will be discouraged.
Imam Isa Abdul-Mateen, Imam of Masjid al-Quran, introduced the resolution to the Majlis, stating that “We want people to know that this [wife abuse] will not be tolerated.” The Amir of the Majlis, Imam Asim Abdur Rashid, added, “This action is overdue. There is no where in the Quran or Sunnah that says you can abuse your wife. We simply just are not going to accept you beating on your wife.”
Muslim women in the area have responded very positively to the initiative. Habeebah Ali, founder of Raise of Hope, which provides houses for low-income families, and who was herself once in an abusive marriage, said, “I am so very grateful that leadership is willing to address these issues and put them on the front burner.” Maha Alkhateeb, manager of Virginia-based Peaceful Families Project, congratulated Philadelphia on leading the way, noting that domestic violence in the Muslim community is a “taboo subject” with many leaders denying the existence of a problem or unwilling to make it a public issue.
Recognizing that additional steps need to be taken, Rashidah Abdul-Khabeer, deputy director of Circle of Care Family Planning, which aids HIV-positive women and their families, and also formerly an abused wife, suggested that the Muslim community needs to provide family counseling as well as a safe haven and financial support for abused women.
It is hoped that other Muslim unity councils will follow Philadelphia’s example of taking a tough public stance against spousal abuse.