This chapter brings to light the issue of domestic violence in American Muslim communities through comparing the author’s original research on domestic violence survivors with guidance on marriage from the Qur’an and Hadith in order to juxtapose the contradictory reality. While mainstream Islamic opinion contends that symbolic reprimand is allowed against wives, domestic violence survivors are in fact facing abuse that is injurious and categorically disallowed by Islam. Furthermore, the author argues that Islam does not support corporal punishment in marital relations and offers solutions to the problem that address the actual underlying social causes.
About the Author
Keilani Abdullah has served children, families and their communities for over a decade. From mentoring at-risk youth as a community volunteer, to working as a program director for violence prevention and diversity programs at a non-profit organization, Keilani believes that grass-roots activism coupled with scholarship enables a people-centered approach to serving and empowering communities. With a bachelor’s and master’s degree in sociology, Keilani is an educator who has taught at both the K-12 and collegiate level. As a researcher, her areas of focus are American Muslim populations, gender and family, and domestic violence in the Muslim community. She completed her master’s thesis on the utilization of Islamic family law in American Muslim family mediation. Keilani’s work of the past seven years with Baitul Salaam Network, a national domestic violence agency serving Muslim families, includes promoting community education and researching factors in family violence prevention. Her continuing work involves increasing awareness about domestic violence and expanding services to survivors in ethnically and religiously marginalized communities.