Question: If my stepmother physically assaults me, may I take physical retaliation?
Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
Thank you for your important question.
Our religion is a religion of law and order and not of vigilantism. The right to “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” can only be taken through a valid Sharia court. It is not something up to the individual or his family to enforce. (al Majmu, Nawawi)
If there is a need to stop such violence, one must take the minimal needs possible (such as running away) to stop the harm from happening. (Fath al Muin, Millibari)
If one needs to resort to justice, one may call the police, even if the legal system is not Islamic. (Al Asila al Ghariba, Millibari)
Pure and unequivocal self-defense is the only legitimate way to harm someone else independently of any Islamic justice system physically.
You have to establish apparent boundaries with your stepmother and effective communication channels with your father in the very challenging predicament you are in. If you cannot do this, it may be better to ask to go and live with relatives.
And Allah knows best.
I pray this helps.
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years, he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.