As physical abuse is not allowed in a marriage in Islam, does the same apply to emotional abuse?

Fatwa, posted 4.22.2010, from United Kingdom, in:
Religious Authority: 
Zienab Mostafa
Fatwa Question or Essay Title: 
As physical abuse is not allowed in a marriage in Islam, does the same apply to emotional abuse?
Websites and Institutions: 
Islam Online

In Islam, the marriage of a man and a woman is not just a financial and physical arrangement of living together but a sacred contract, a gift of Allah, to lead a happy, enjoyable life and continue the lineage. The main goal of marriage in Islam is the realization of tranquility and compassion between the spouses.

Emotional abuse truly damages and hurts as much as physical abuse does. In Islam, there is a special consideration of the relationship between the spouses. Allah says, "And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect." (Ar-Rum 21)

It is shown that the basis of the relationship between husband and wife is affection and mercy. In many Hadiths the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) mentioned that if a husband looks at his wife with kindness and mercy, Allah Almighty looks at them with His mercy, and if they shake hands all their sins vanish. So, we have to study very well how the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) dealt with his wives. In fact, he was very merciful, kind, and lovable, bearing in mind that there were some problems that they faced in their marital life but they dealt with these problems with extreme wisdom and kindness. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) never abused his wives either physically or emotionally.

Therefore, neither of the spouses is allowed to abuse the other emotionally. This is prohibited in Islam. If either does so, Almighty Allah will hold him or her accountable for that, and they should repent to Allah for this. It is clear now that the best guide to us to live a very successful martial life is to follow the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)."



The author derives the prohibition of abuse from the following passages from the Quran and hadith:
From the Quran: "O ye who believe! Let not a folk deride a folk who may be better than they (are), nor let women (deride) women who may be better than they are; neither defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. Bad is the name of lewdness after faith. And whoso turneth not in repentance, such are evil doers. O ye who believe! Shun much suspicion; for lo! some suspicion is a crime. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Ye abhor that (so abhor the other)! And keep your duty (to Allah). Lo! Allah is Relenting, Merciful." (Al-Hujurat: 11-12).
From Hadith: Moreover, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: 'It is not lawful for a Muslim to scare his fellow Muslim." (Reported by Ahmad & Abu Dawud)
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet also said: "None of you should point his weapon at his brother, as Satan may provoke him (to hurt his brother) and as a result, he would fall into a pit of Fire." (Reported by al-Bukhari) In another version: "He who (even) points at his brother with a piece of iron is cursed by the angels until he puts it down, even if the other was his blood brother." (Reported by Muslim)