You can listen to Imam Adam’s Khutbah above (starts at 00:34), watch it below, or read the summary below.
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
إِنَّ الْحَمْدَ لِلَّهِ ,نَحْمَدُهُ ,وَنَسْتَعِينُهُ وَنَسْتَغْفِرُهُ , وَنَعُوذُ بِاللهِ مِنْ شُرُور أَنْفُسِنَا وَمِنْسَيِّئَاتِ أَعْمَالِنَا ,مَنْ يَهْدِهِ اللهُ فَلَا مُضِلَّ لَهُ , وَمَنْ يُضْلِلْ فَلَا هَادِيَ لَهُ , وَأَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ
Verily, all praise is for Allah. We praise Him, we seek His assistance and we ask for His forgiveness. And we seek refuge in Him from the evils of our selves. Whoever Allah guides, none can misguide. Whoever He misguides, none can guide. And I bear witness that there is no deity other than Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and messenger.
Allah tells us in the Quran that when we enter paradise, the angels, the gatekeepers of paradise, will say, “Salamun Alaikum.” Peace be upon you. That’s different from the salam that we give each other. The salam that we give each other is in preparation for that ultimate salam. Because in paradise, لَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ there is no fear, there is no stress, there is no grief. It is peace forever. The thing that we seek on this earth is peace, contentment, and satisfaction. Why do we buy the things that we buy? Why do we get the job that we got? What is the pursuit? The pursuit is of that peace.
أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ
ala bithikri Allahi tatmainnu alquloobu
Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.
(Surah Ar-Ra’d, Quran 13:28)
It is truly only through the remembrance of Allah that the hearts find rest. The stress of the search for peace ends with the remembrance of Allah. Allah is Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim, The Most Merciful. وَعِبَادُ الرَّحْمَٰنِ – and the servants of The Most Merciful, they are those who practice mercy in their lives. As believers, that is something which is so important to us. Which is why it pains me to discuss some recent events that have hurt our community and have gone against the peace and the mercy with which we should be living.
The first incident was right after Ramadan in Texas, where a man who happened to be Muslim killed his wife and his four-year-old daughter and his mother-in-law. SubhanAllah. May Allah protect us all. Then another incident this week happened in Chicago, where a young Muslim woman who had gone through a divorce had spoken about the topic even on social media, and her husband, or her ex-husband flew from Florida to murder her and then kill himself. SubhanAllah. May Allah protect us all. These were two tragic events which hurt our hearts.
Many of us might be thinking, “How? How can a Muslim person do that? They must not be true Muslims.” But the fact of the matter is, they went to the masjid. So never can we tell ourselves that we are immune to the tricks of Shaytan. Never can we tell ourselves that we are immune as Muslims. But we must be real to ourselves, to our community, to our families about a very important topic which is that of domestic violence. It’s a difficult topic to talk about, but it’s a very important topic to talk about and to address.
The ISPU is an institute that does social research and is led by many Muslims. They did research on different people of different religions on this issue of domestic violence. They found that for the most part, every person of the religion is similar in the experience, except that Muslims are more likely to bring up these kinds of situations with their religious community and they find comfort and solace in the religion.
It’s true that domestic violence is not just one gender. It’s not just men against women or men abusing women. 1 in 3 women in America have experienced physical violence and 1 in 4 men. So it’s among men and it’s also among women. However, only a small percentage of men actually report being injured by domestic violence. 2%, 3%, 4%, whereas for women it’s as much as 15% so there is a majority and a minority there. Especially during the pandemic- before, they could live their lives essentially separately, but during the pandemic, they had to live together and more of these issues arose. Then we, as imams, community leaders, and counselors got more of these issues coming up and interventions that were necessary for these kinds of marital challenges.
So how do we begin to address this?
Number one, we must go back to the basics. What is the basic thing which Allah has told us that should make up a marriage? Allah tells us three things in Surah Ar-Rum, the surah that is recited at every Nikah:
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً
Wamin ayatihi an khalaqa lakum min anfusikum azwajan litaskunoo ilayha wajaAAala baynakum mawaddatan warahmatan
And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy.
(Surah Ar-Rum, Quran 30:21)
He created for you spouses so that you may find سكينة – tranquility. Even the word for home which Allah uses in the Quran is مسكن – the place of sakina, the place of tranquility. وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً – And He placed between you love and mercy. So those three things are the foundation of marriage which Allah tells us about in the Quran:
1. سكينة – Tranquility
2. مَّوَدَّة – Love
3. رَحْمَة – Mercy
The other thing He tells us is,
هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَّكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لِبَاسٌ لَّهُنَّ
hunna libasun lakum waantum libasun lahunna
They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them
(Surah Al-Baqarah, Quran 2:187)
that you are like clothing for each other. What is the purpose of clothing? It protects you. It hides your flaws. It protects you from the heat in the summer and the cold in the winter. The things which you don’t want people to see, you hide them with garments- your flaws, your secrets. It adorns you. It beautifies you. There are so many purposes to garments and that is the example which Allah uses. It may seem odd for us as the average observer- that how can someone start marriage off on the right foot, but then it devolves into something which does not have tranquility, love, and mercy, where the two spouses are not like garments for each other? How can that happen?
The core issue of any toxic relationship goes back to the primal sin of Iblees. What was the sin of Shaytan or Iblees? It was كبر (kibr) – arrogance. Arrogance leads you to want to dominate. It leads you to say, “I am better.”
قَالَ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِّنْهُ ۖ خَلَقْتَنِي مِن نَّارٍ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِن طِينٍ
Qala ana khayrun minhu khalaqtanee min narin wakhalaqtahu min teenin
He said, “I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay.”
(Surah As-Sad, Quran 38:76)
Iblees said, “I am better than Adam. I am from a better creation. I am from fire. He is just from dirt, from clay, from mud.” So arrogance is the core of this issue- control and power. It is the opposite of what we as believers believe should be the foundation of any human relationship, which is that of community and empathy and mercy and rahma. So the result of arrogance is that a relationship can have abuse from many different angles:
- Financial abuse, where one person in the relationship uses the money that they make against the person who is in some way dependent upon them.
- Verbal abuse
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Immigration abuse, that “if you don’t do this, then I won’t file for your green card or your citizenship.” There’s even this.
So it’s important to understand that it all goes back to kibr. Who’s the human in the Quran that is described as being arrogant? Pharaoh. And who was his wife? Asiya. He was violent towards her. SubhanAllah. And what was Pharaoh’s evil? It was his arrogance, that he is God and that everyone is slaves.
Where does the abuser come from? How does it start? The abuser often was abused by their own family and what do we end up doing? We end up continuing the abusive cycle because abuse is a cycle. It happens to all parents, something which is a tape or a CD that’s imprinted in our mind and we start laying it on our child and we stop for a second and we think, “Wait a second. Is this how I really feel? Is this me saying this? Or is this some tape that I am playing from my history? Something I saw some time when I felt dominated, when I felt overwhelmed, and overpowered. And now I am subjugating the one who is in my control to that same domination, to that same arrogance.” So what we must do, my brothers and sisters, is we must stop that cycle of abuse. We must stop that tape from replaying, that CD from replaying, that hard drive, that memory from replaying. We must put a stop. We must say, “Hold on a second. Let’s start over. Let’s try that again.”
Often the abuser had poor role models who settled conflict through aggression, has low frustration tolerance, and is influenced by criminal peers. There are many factors which create the abuser- a mix of context (for example, unemployment or other stressors) and pretext (for example, childhood trauma, both nature and nurture). So when we see ourselves falling into the cycle because of something which happened to us in our past, then we must struggle against the self. That is the greatest jihad. The greatest struggle, which the Prophet (pbuh) told us is jihad al-nafs, the struggle against the self, the struggle against the soul.
How can I remove anger, aggression, and arrogance from my heart? The Prophet (pbuh) told us that “not a single person will enter paradise, who has an atom’s weight of arrogance.” So may Allah protect us from arrogance. May Allah protect us all in our families from this kind of toxicity in our relationships, whether they be with our spouse, our parents, our children, our siblings, and so on. Ameen.
One of the things which is not spoken about enough in the community is divorce, talaq. Talaq is something which is allowed in Islam. It is permissible in Islam and it’s a way out for human beings who are incompatible, who are not finding in their relationship at all any tranquility or any love or any mercy. So divorce is important for us to understand. The Prophet (pbuh) or the Quran tells us,
الطَّلَاقُ مَرَّتَانِ ۖ فَإِمْسَاكٌ بِمَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ تَسْرِيحٌ بِإِحْسَانٍ
Alttalaqu marratani faimsakun bimaAAroofin aw tasreehun biihsanin
Divorce is twice. Then, either keep [her] in an acceptable manner or release [her] with good treatment.
(Surah Al-Baqarah, Quran 2:229)
Divorce is twice. Then either keep your spouse in an acceptable manner or release them with good treatment. That the divorce must happen in a way which is بِإِحْسَان – with excellence, and not in a way which is the opposite of excellence. So for many people, this could be a mercy. And before that point, the Quran does tell us there are things which we can do. We can try to reconcile.
وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ شِقَاقَ بَيْنِهِمَا فَابْعَثُوا حَكَمًا مِّنْ أَهْلِهِ وَحَكَمًا مِّنْ أَهْلِهَا إِن يُرِيدَا إِصْلَاحًا يُوَفِّقِ اللَّهُ بَيْنَهُمَا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا خَبِيرًا
Wain khiftum shiqaqa baynihima faibAAathoo hakaman min ahlihi wahakaman min ahliha in yureeda islahan yuwaffiqi Allahu baynahuma inna Allaha kana AAaleeman khabeeran
And if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it between them. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Acquainted [with all things].
(Surah Nisa, Quran 4:35)
That if you find difficulty and challenges, then choose a wise person from her side and a wise person from his side, someone who is objective and neutral. Not from this side or from that side, but neutral and objective and have them try to help the two people to reconcile. That is the advice of the Quran. إِن يُرِيدَا إِصْلَاحًا يُوَفِّقِ اللَّهُ بَيْنَهُمَا – If they both would like reconciliation, then Allah will make it easy for them. But if either party does not want reconciliation, then it will be difficult.
That is why in a situation where you have this kind of conflict, it’s important my brothers and sisters, that we don’t let it escalate and escalate and escalate and keep going and getting worse and worse and worse. If we need help to stop the cycle of abuse and the toxic things in our relationship, then we should seek that help from a trusted friend, a trusted colleague, someone neutral, someone objective, a counselor, a professional who does that every single day and can help you through it. Just like you do for any other task, just like you do for your own health, you go to the professional. Do you go to the person who has done one heart surgery or do you go to the person that has done 500 heart surgeries? You go to the person who does it day in and day out and has seen everything. So go to that professional who can help you work through these issues and find what the issue or what the problem is and help you to commit to solving that problem.
Then the Quran even says,
وَإِنِ امْرَأَةٌ خَافَتْ مِن بَعْلِهَا نُشُوزًا أَوْ إِعْرَاضًا فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا أَن يُصْلِحَا بَيْنَهُمَا صُلْحًا ۚ وَالصُّلْحُ خَيْرٌ ۗ وَأُحْضِرَتِ الْأَنفُسُ الشُّحَّ ۚ وَإِن تُحْسِنُوا وَتَتَّقُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا
Waini imraatun khafat min baAAliha nushoozan aw iAAradan fala junaha AAalayhima an yusliha baynahuma sulhan waalssulhu khayrun waohdirati alanfusu alshshuhha wain tuhsinoo watattaqoo fainna Allaha kana bima taAAmaloona khabeeran
And if a woman fears from her husband contempt or evasion, there is no sin upon them if they make terms of settlement between them – and settlement is best. And present in [human] souls is stinginess. But if you do good and fear Allah – then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.
(Surah An-Nisa, Quran 4:128)
وَإِنِ امْرَأَةٌ خَافَتْ مِن بَعْلِهَا نُشُوزًا – That if a woman fears indifference or neglect from her husband, فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا أَن يُصْلِحَا بَيْنَهُمَا صُلْحًا – then they should seek a fair settlement and that fair settlement is best. However, the Quran cautions وَأُحْضِرَتِ الْأَنفُسُ الشُّحَّ – that human beings are ever inclined to stinginess and greed and selfishness. So when you are parting ways, don’t let that selfishness take over. شُّحَّ That is what we saw in these two incidents that took place in Texas and in Chicago. Muslim people saw the شُّحَّ – “if I can’t have you, no one can have you. How dare you put me through this?” That is شُّحَّ and this is something which is in human beings and it is something which is our struggle. We can’t ever let it get to that. We must attack it and get to it before it gets even further if we see a hint of it, even if we see a little bit of it. May Allah help us in that struggle. May Allah help us to remove that kind of selfishness from our hearts.
But that is the caution which Allah tells us about. That when you part ways, then be careful of your own greed. Be careful of your own selfishness. Be careful whether that be in a physical way or any of the other myriad of ways. وَإِن تُحْسِنُوا وَتَتَّقُوا – if you commit to excellence and you are conscious of Allah, فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا – then Allah surely is all aware of what you do. Just remember that Allah is watching.
What did the Prophet (pbuh) tell us? He said that, “I judge between you and one of you is more eloquent in speech than the other. As a result, that person who is more eloquent, I judge in their favor. Then they should know that if they have consciously taken more than what they deserve, that they have taken a piece of the fire.” Just because you get that judgment, you have to remember that Allah is the true Judge. His court is the true court and that to Allah all things are clear. So we ask Allah that He protects us and our families. We ask Allah that He helps us to struggle against ourselves, against our lowly selves. أَسْفَلُ سافِلین – The lowest of the low, we struggle against that lowest of the low and instead become,
قَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ
Laqad khalaqna alinsana fee ahsani taqweemin
We have certainly created man in the best of stature.
(Surah At-Tin, Quran 95:4)
May Allah help us to find our best stature in this world. May Allah help us to prepare in this world for the next life. May Allah help us to understand what is truly important. May Allah help us to be people not of arrogance, but to be people of humility, to be people who are عباد الرحمان, the servants of The Most Merciful. الَّذِينَ يَمْشُونَ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ هَوْنًا – The ones who walk on the earth humbly. May Allah help us to be amongst those that are humble. May Allah save us from greed and selfishness. May Allah save us from being from those who commit oppression, because the greatest sin is oppression. The greatest oppression is shirk but there are so many other types of oppression as well. May Allah help us to prevent ourselves from committing oppression, not only on ourselves, but on others as well. Ameen.
عِبَادَ اللّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ
Servants of Allah. Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.
اُذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ الْعَظِيمَ يَذْكُرْكُمْ واشْكُرُوهُ يَزِدْكُمْ واسْتَغْفِرُوهُ يَغْفِرْ لكُمْ واتّقُوهُ يَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَمْرِكُمْ مَخْرَجًا
Remember Allah, the Great – He will remember you. Thank Him for His favors – He will increase you therein. And seek forgiveness from Him – He will forgive you. And be conscious of Him – He will provide you a way out of difficult matters.
And, establish the prayer.
Ma sha Allah! Alhamdulillah this is arguably, one of the most timely and relevant topic, however, unfortunately, rarely talked about in our communities. Jazakallahu Khairan.
Salaam Muhammad! It is vital to address domestic violence and increase awareness as our community is not immune to this disease and for each case we hear about there are so many more victims we don’t know about.