Abusive behavior while arguing
Fatwa No: 89066

  • Fatwa Date:26-12-2004 - Thul-Qi'dah 15, 1425
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Question

Is it permissible for a husband to use abusive words to his wife and to hit her in the course of an argument? Say the wife argues, is it permitted for the husband to call her a prostitute, whore, etc., and to curse her non-Muslim parents for how they raised her? Is it permissible for him to do all of this in front of their children who are small and impressionable? Is it permissible for him to beat her with his shoes, belt, etc? If he did this, would it be grounds for a divorce on the part of the wife? Bear in mind that she made him angry with her arguing, and has not been successful in breaking this evil habit even knowing the consequences of his anger... but she claims she forgets herself and has no intention to make him angry. A hasty answer is appreciated as we fear for this sister's Islam.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. We ask Allaah to exalt his mention as well as that of his family and all his companions.

It is an obligation on the husband to live honourably with his wife, acting according to the commandment of Allaah as He says (which means): {… And live with them honourably. …}[4: 19]. And acting according to the advice of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) who said: "Treat women kindly." Therefore, it is not permissible for a husband to insult his wife or her parents even if they are non-Muslims and it is not permissible for him to hit her especially in front of her children as that has a bad psychological effect on them; they might hate their father and thus be undutiful to him and he is the one who caused this situation.

Islamic Law permits the husband to hit his wife if she is disobedient to him, but hitting is the last thing to resort to. However, he should not leave any scars on the body. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) clarified that it is more appropriate not hit the wife. He said: "The best among you do not hit." [Al-Haakim] If the wife is found to be disobedient, then the husband can follow the steps that Allaah has set when dealing with a disobedient wife. This is clarified in Fatwa: 83324.

As regards the wife asking for a divorce to get rid of the harm that she is experiencing, there is no harm on her in this Insha Allaah. However, she has to take it easy, ponder and balance between the benefit of staying as his wife nurturing his children and the benefit of getting a divorce; as the benefit is not necessarily in divorce. The wife should know that Allaah has put the husband at a higher degree than her and made it incumbent on her to obey him and be respectful to him, so she should not irritate him. Love, affection and respect should prevail between them so that stability and tranquillity predominates and in order that the children would be brought up according to good principles. This husband should be reminded and admonished by whoever could influence him that his Muslim wife is in need of someone to soften her heart towards Islam, and he should be patient about her and seek the reward from Allaah as Allaah will greatly reward him if he does so.

Allaah knows best.

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