Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states: “Islam is surely a message of mercy, healing and liberation. I list here a number of steps they can take to do so.
1. It is important for those who have been abused to ensure that their abusers don’t continue their abuse. Otherwise, they themselves are indirectly contributing to perpetuating aggression and abuse. When they do so they become like them; for as stated by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) clearly and unequivocally, a person who condones an evil will be judged as an evil doer himself. For we all have a duty to struggle to eradicate evil. We should do so by using force if possible; if we cannot do so, then by speaking against it; if we cannot even do that, then at least by hating it in our heart. About this last the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “This is the weakest degree of faith.”
2. A person who has been a victim of such abuses must have recourse to professional help and undergo therapy and counseling in order to break free of the cycle, especially if he has been so traumatized by the abuse that he thinks he cannot handle it by himself. In such a situation, Islam teaches us that one should never shy away from getting treatment. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “O Servants of Allah! Seek cure through treatment and medication for Allah has appointed a cure for every affliction except death.” But while looking for a counselor, one should always look for one who is a practicing Muslim; if one is not available then at least he should go to a counselor who has faith in Allah and who abides by moral and ethical standards.
3. It is important for such victims to make sincere repentance for any abuse they did to others and then empower themselves through dhikr (remembrance of Allah) and getting engaged in good works or creative and beneficial projects, thus allowing them little time to dwell on their past. For as Imam ash-Shafi`i rightly said, “If you don’t occupy yourself with goodness, you will invariably be occupied with evil.”
4. It is part of this empowerment that they should direct their anger and feelings to a firm determination to put an end and stop such abuses. By being determined to do something about it, they are proving to themselves that they are not controlled by their past but masters of their own future; this way they are defeating their abusers. Allah says: “Except those who repent, and cherish faith and do good works, such are the ones whose bad deeds will be turned into good deeds by Allah. Allah is indeed Forgiving and Merciful.” (Al-Furqan: 70)
5. By empowering the victims in this way, their experience of pain and suffering is turned into a form of liberation and growth. This is what we learn from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) who, after having gone through orphan-hood, destitution and privation, became a person who was ever committed to come to the aid of the orphan, the destitute and the oppressed. So let victims of abuse choose this path of liberation, rather than wallowing in the pain and suffering of the past. Let them not give control to abusers; let them defeat them by fighting against them within their own souls and rising above them and in society by committing themselves to eradicating such abuse. And let all of us do what we can to eradicate abuse.
6. Let them read the following du`a’s (supplications) on a regular basis:
Hasbiya Allaah laa ilaaha illaa huwa `alayhi tawakkaltu wa huwa rabbu al-`arshi al-`azeem (Allah is sufficient for me; there is no god but He; in Him alone I place my trust; He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne.)
Allaahumma habbib ilaynaa al-eemaana wa zayyinhu fee quloobinaa wa karrih ilayna al-fusuqa wa al-`isyaan (O Allah! Make dear to our hearts belief and embellish our hearts with it, and make us hate disbelief, transgression and disobedience).
Allaahumma innee a`oodhu bika min al-`ajzi wa al-kasal wa al-jubni wa al-bukhli wa ghalabati ad-dayn wa qahri ar-rijaal (O Allah! I seek refuge in You from helplessness, sloth, cowardice, niggardliness, burden of debts and overpowering of men.)”