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Does Islam Allow Wife Beating?

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Asslamu alikum ,,

 

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Commenting on this issue, Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi , former President of the Islamic Society of North America, states:

 

"According to the Qur'an the relationship between the husband and wife should be based on mutual love and kindness. Allah says: "And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye 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)

 

The Qur'an urges husbands to treat their wives with kindness. [in the event of a family dispute, the Qur'an exhorts the husband to treat his wife kindly and not to overlook her positive aspects]. Allah Almighty says: "Live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good." (An-Nisa': 19)

 

It is important that a wife recognizes the authority of her husband in the house. He is the head of the household, and she is supposed to listen to him. But the husband should also use his authority with respect and kindness towards his wife. If there arises any disagreement or dispute among them, then it should be resolved in a peaceful manner. Spouses should seek the counsel of their elders and other respectable family members and friends to batch up the rift and solve the differences.

 

However, in some cases a husband may use some light disciplinary action in order to correct the moral infraction of his wife, but this is only applicable in extreme cases and it should be resorted to if one is sure it would improve the situation. However, if there is a fear that it might worsen the relationship or may wreak havoc on him or the family, then he should avoid it completely.

 

The Qur'an is very clear on this issue. Almighty Allah says: "Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more strength than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient and guard in the husband's absence what Allah would have them to guard. As to those women on whose part you fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance); for Allah is most High and Great (above you all). If you fear a breach between them twain, appoint (two) arbiters, one from his family and the other from hers. If they wish for peace, Allah will cause their reconciliation; for Allah has full knowledge and is acquainted with all things." (An-Nisa': 34-35)

 

It is important to read the section fully. One should not take part of the verse and use it to justify one's own misconduct. This verse neither permits violence nor condones it. It guides us to ways to handle delicate family situation with care and wisdom. The word "beating" is used in the verse, but it does not mean "physical abuse". The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) explained it "dharban ghayra mubarrih " which means "a light tap that leaves no mark". He further said that face must be avoided. Some other scholars are of the view that it is no more than a light touch by siwak , or toothbrush.

 

Generally, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to discourage his followers from taking even this measure. He never hit any female, and he used to say that the best of men are those who do not hit their wives. In one hadith he expressed his extreme repulsion from this behavior and said, "How does anyone of you beat his wife as he beats the stallion camel and then embrace (sleep with) her?" (Al-Bukhari, English Translation, vol. 8, Hadith 68, pp. 42-43)

 

It is also important to note that even this "light strike" mentioned in the verse is not to be used to correct some minor problem, but it is permissible to resort to only in a situation of some serious moral misconduct when admonishing the wife fails, and avoiding from sleeping with her would not help. If this disciplinary action can correct a situation and save the marriage, then one should use it."

 

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Dr. Jamal Badawi , professor at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and a cross-appointed faculty member in the Departments of Religious Studies and Management, adds:

 

"If the problem relates to the wife's behavior, the husband may exhort her and appeal for reason. In most cases, this measure is likely to be sufficient. In cases where the problem persists, the husband may express his displeasure in another peaceful manner, by sleeping in a separate bed from hers. There are cases, however, in which a wife persists in bad habits and showing contempt of her husband and disregard for her marital obligations. Instead of divorce, the husband may resort to another measure that may save the marriage, at least in some cases. Such a measure is more accurately described as a gentle tap on the body, but never on the face, making it more of a symbolic measure than a punitive one.

 

Even here, that maximum measure is limited by the following:

 

a. It must be seen as a rare exception to the repeated exhortation of mutual respect, kindness and good treatment. Based on the Qur'an and Hadith, this measure may be used in the cases of lewdness on the part of the wife or extreme refraction and rejection of the husband's reasonable requests on a consistent basis (nushuz ). Even then, other measures, such as exhortation, should be tried first.

 

b. As defined by Hadith, it is not permissible to strike anyone's face, cause any bodily harm or even be harsh. What the Hadith qualifies as "dharban ghayra mubarrih ", or light striking, was interpreted by early jurists as a (symbolic) use of siwak ! They further qualified permissible "striking" as that which leaves no mark on the body. It is interesting that this latter fourteen-centuries-old qualifier is the criterion used in contemporary American law to separate a light and harmless tap or strike from "abuse" in the legal sense. This makes it clear that even this extreme, last resort, and "lesser of the two evils" measure that may save a marriage does not meet the definitions of "physical abuse," "family violence, " or "wife battering" in the 20th century law in liberal democracies, where such extremes are so commonplace that they are seen as national concerns.

 

c. The permissibility of such symbolic expression of the seriousness of continued refraction does not imply its desirability. In several hadiths, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) discouraged this measure. Here are some of his sayings in this regard:

 

"Do not beat the female servants of Allah" ;

 

"Some (women) visited my family complaining about their husbands (beating them). These (husbands) are not the best of you."

 

In another hadith the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said: "How does anyone of you beat his wife as he beats the stallion camel and then he may embrace (sleep with) her?"

 

d. True following of the Sunnah is to follow the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) who never resorted to that measure, regardless of the circumstances.

 

e. Islamic teachings are universal in nature. They respond to the needs and circumstances of diverse times, cultures and circumstances. Some measures may work in some cases and cultures or with certain persons but may not be effective in others. By definition, a "permissible" act is neither required, encouraged or forbidden. In fact it may be to spell out the extent of permissibility, such as in the issue at hand, rather than leaving it unrestricted or unqualified, or ignoring it all together. In the absence of strict qualifiers, persons may interpret the matter in their own way, which can lead to excesses and real abuse.

 

f. Any excess, cruelty, family violence, or abuse committed by any "Muslim" can never be traced, honestly, to any revelatory text (Qur'an or Hadith). Such excesses and violations are to be blamed on the person(s) himself, as it shows that they are paying lip service to Islamic teachings and injunctions and failing to follow the true Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)."

 

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Peace ...

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PropellerAds

The OP raises a whole lot of issues. A more-or-less random list of problems I have with it includes:

 

"Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more strength than the other, and because they support them from their means

 

It is not particularly unusual for the wife to be the stronger of the two (especially aerobically, socially, emotionally), and it is is not at all uncommon for a wife to earn more than her husband, thus having greater 'means'. In these circumstances should the wife be regarded as the head of the household?

 

If the "tap" must leave no mark at all, I assume that this means not even a temporary flush to the skin. In which case it's a fairly pointless means of "correcting a moral infraction". It would be simpler to ban physical abuse altogether. In the case of a marriage where the wife qualifies as "head" (stronger, richer), can the wife hit the husband?

 

It's mislading to go on about the stick no thicker than a little finger. If it's as thick as a man's little finger and it's a cane two metres long, it can inflict severe pain.

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It is not particularly unusual for the wife to be the stronger of the two (especially aerobically, socially, emotionally), and it is is not at all uncommon for a wife to earn more than her husband, thus having greater 'means'.

 

Is that applicable across the world? : P

 

In general men physically stronger, but of course there are some women that are stronger.

 

In these circumstances should the wife be regarded as the head of the household?

 

It does not matter whether the women is physically and financially superior. Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) first wife was a wealthy and managed her own business. This does not mean the husband should abandon his own duties, he still has to financially provide for the family.

 

If the "tap" must leave no mark at all, I assume that this means not even a temporary flush to the skin. In which case it's a fairly pointless means of "correcting a moral infraction". It would be simpler to ban physical abuse altogether.

 

It may have an impact, how do you know it will not have an impact? On some it will probably have no effect, on others it will. I doubt any of us can truly know for sure. If the women still does not listen, the husband can divorce her.

 

 

In the case of a marriage where the wife qualifies as "head" (stronger, richer), can the wife hit the husband?

 

In the case where the husband is stubborn as a bull and does not listen, if the wife does use this sanction, he possibly might respond back with physical violence. In general men are physically stronger taking into account the entire human population.

 

The wife would be advised to get a divorce or separate, its safer. :/

 

It's mislading to go on about the stick no thicker than a little finger. If it's as thick as a man's little finger and it's a cane two metres long, it can inflict severe pain.

 

Its misleading? lol

 

The worst you can do is hit the wife with a miswak.

 

######you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yet1000gooddeeds(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/files/2009/08/miswak.jpg[/img]

 

You should take into account the entire human population. Yes there are women stronger than men, but in general men are physically are stronger than compared to women. If the women is financially successful, it does not mean the husband is allowed to be excused from his duties. The worst the husband can do is hit the wife with a miswak, it will not cause any severe pain. The wife may listen or decide not to. In the case where the wife does not listen the husband can get a divorce.

 

Bye bye! : P

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Is that applicable across the world?

 

In every developed country and probably in China as well, it is not uncommon for wives to earn more than husbands. That's a pretty big chunk of the world.

 

 

In general men physically stronger, but of course there are some women that are stronger

 

Yep (although I think that generally women are aerobically stronger, so it depends on how you define it). But as there are women who are stronger than their husbands and as (say) a 20-year-old wife is going to be physically stronger than a 70-year-old husband, it's pointless to make a rule based on a misrepresentation of the real situation.

 

I've had a very cursory look at some commentary and there seems to be some very loose terminology which is dangerously open to interpretation. "Cause no injury" could mean 'do not leave any mark at all', it could mean 'do not leave a permanent mark', it could mean 'break no bones'. Also, bad police forces are known to beat people in such a way as there is no mark visible to medical examiners. One commentator said that a rolled scarf could be used - that would be a perfect weapon to cause pain but not leave marks.

Edited by wattle

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In every developed country and probably in China as well, it is not uncommon for wives to earn more than husbands. That's a pretty big chunk of the world.

 

No I meant physically stronger. There are many rich women across the world.

 

Yep (although I think that generally women are aerobically stronger, so it depends on how you define it). But as there are women who are stronger than their husbands and as (say) a 20-year-old wife is going to be physically stronger than a 70-year-old husband, it's pointless to make a rule based on a misrepresentation of the real situation.

 

I've had a very cursory look at some commentary and there seems to be some very loose terminology which is dangerously open to interpretation. "Cause no injury" could mean 'do not leave any mark at all', it could mean 'do not leave a permanent mark', it could mean 'break no bones'. Also, bad police forces are known to beat people in such a way as there is no mark visible to medical examiners. One commentator said that a rolled scarf could be used - that would be a perfect weapon to cause pain but not leave marks.

 

I can say a women from Europe might be stronger than a man from North Korea. Men from East Asia are not as big as women from European countries, not really sure.

 

I understand your concern. People have developed methods to harm people without leaving permanent marks on them. Muslims refer to the Sunnah of the Prophet. He stated I believe that you cannot hit your wife on the face, nor cause her any pain or harm. To ensure this, Muslims should find ways of regulating this sanction somehow.

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We seem to be agreeing here. But if hitting without causing pain is the only permissable hitting, then it's pretty pointless to allow it. Simpler and less open to misinterpretation to just say "no hitting".

 

The 'physically stronger' reason for someone being the head is odd, too. I bet that most company CEOs are not as strong as the people who work in the mailroom, but does that mean the mailroom people are the head of the company?

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We seem to be agreeing here. But if hitting without causing pain is the only permissable hitting, then it's pretty pointless to allow it. Simpler and less open to misinterpretation to just say "no hitting".

 

The 'physically stronger' reason for someone being the head is odd, too. I bet that most company CEOs are not as strong as the people who work in the mailroom, but does that mean the mailroom people are the head of the company?

 

To be honest, I'm personally not worried at the fact whether this sanction will work or not. If it works great, if it doesn't, too bad. I'm more worried about those verses not being read in the correct context. This is why suggest we need more regulation...

 

Yeah strength is not enough to be a good leader. Muslim men are required to work and provide for the family, this is seen as the quality of a good leader. To be able to support your family and be reliable.

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- Since the beginning of civilization, man has abused woman more than the other way round. So why does the quran give more rights to man to beat his wife

- If the beating is supposed to be light, then why ask to avoid the face. What happens if someone touches me on teh face with a toothpick ? why is it called the third degree after scolding and banishing from the bed ? touching with a toothpick is in no way a deterrant !

- The word "light" is an additional inserted word not found in the actual quranic verse by apologists who somehow want to somehow avoid calling a stick a stick

 

Anyways, can you please elaborate on the context in which violence can be justified against women and where the same context doesnt allow for similar treatment for men ?

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The following will leave no mark and therefore should be deemed suitable forms for "beating":

 

- Punch, kick or similar blow to the stomach

- Smothering/suffocation of the mouth and nose

- Submersion/partial drowning

- Electric-shock/electricution

- Non-fatal poisoning

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also beating on the soles of the feet leaves no marks because they dont bruise. Kind of sad I know that :sl:

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We seem to be agreeing here. But if hitting without causing pain is the only permissable hitting, then it's pretty pointless to allow it. Simpler and less open to misinterpretation to just say "no hitting".

 

"No hitting" is not the same thing as "hitting" (lightly, and this goes for all of you alarmists). The tap is meant to chasitize the wife for refusing the rights her husband has. It displays the power given to him by Allah, a reminder for the wife that he is in command of the household. It will also signal that the situation is very drastic if the husband has to resort to it; divorce comes after.

 

The Qur'an doesn't do what you want it to do, Packham. It's not about picking the easy path. It's about presenting things in the proper manner.

 

Might I add that there is a difference between something being allowed, and something being encouraged. The prophet Muhammad :sl: never touched any of his wives and he said that those who do so are not the best of husbands.

 

"Do not beat the female servants of Allah" [Abu Dawood]

 

"How does anyone of you beat his wife as he beats the stallion camel and then embrace (sleep with) her?†[bukhari]

 

The 'physically stronger' reason for someone being the head is odd, too.

 

Most people in the world aren't CEO's or white-collar workers. In worlds where people have always earned wealth through physical labor, those sorts of jobs demand physical strength and stamina.

 

You said something about, what if the wife earns more money; will the roles be reversed? They won't. Because what the wife earns is her own income, whereas what the man makes is the income of the family. She reserves the right to decide what to do with her wealth. Secondly, a man must always work for his family because there will be periods of time when a wife cannot (i.e. pregnancy). Islam is pretty black and white. Role reversals and the like means that every rule about income, family management, inheritance, and etc, will require more rules simply to explain the rules and this will make a muddled mess of things, not to mention it will be a problem if both husband and wife want the same role in a family.

 

If the beating is supposed to be light, then why ask to avoid the face.

 

Hitting the face is disallowed in all cases, not just to women. The face is a sacred part of the body.

 

What happens if someone touches me on teh face with a toothpick ?

 

If they aim wrong, they will blind you, no?

 

touching with a toothpick is in no way a deterrant !

 

It will be a deterrent if the person realizes that it is the last step before divorce.

 

- The word "light" is an additional inserted word not found in the actual quranic verse by apologists who somehow want to somehow avoid calling a stick a stick

 

The prophet's job was to explain the Qur'an and he explained this verse. He explained it as "dharban ghayra mubarrih" which means "a light tap that leaves no mark" and he used a siwak (see image above) to demonstrate. The translators of the Qur'an write the word "lightly" in parenthesis because that is how it was defined. They write a lot of other words in parenthesis in many other verses to give the reader a precise definition of a word or verse.

 

Anyways, can you please elaborate on the context in which violence can be justified against women

 

If I lightly tap my desk with my pencil, am I being violent? Don't exaggerate.

 

where the same context doesnt allow for similar treatment for men ?

 

A wife should beat her protector and maintainer? In what crazy world would that make sense?

 

Why is beating a spouse in the revealed texts at all?

 

Any valid reason why it shouldn't be?

 

The following will leave no mark and therefore should be deemed suitable forms for "beating":

 

Are you trying to find loopholes? It's like someone saying "murder is wrong unless it's in self-defense" and another says "what if I go somewhere dangerous, pick a fight with people, and then kill them when they try to fight back?" Secondly, four of the things you listed aren't defined as beating. They are defined as choking, drowning, electrocution, and poisoning.

 

 

Salam.

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If the husband isn't following his prescribed duties then can the wife hit him?

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If the husband isn't following his prescribed duties then can the wife hit him?

 

In the same way that a husband cannot demand that his wife support him financially if she fails to uphold her end of the bargain, a wife cannot hit him if he fails to uphold his. Different roles are different, as I explained when I was quoting wattle. They are not interchangeable. If a wife feels mistreated by her husband, she reserves the right to leave him.

 

Similarly, a child doesn't have the right to hit his parents if they mistreat him, but parents have the right to physically discipline their children if they misbehave.

 

This isn't in response to you, but I want to mention why there must be a leader role and a support role in a household. It's really the same reasons why there can't be two captains on one ship, or two head cooks in the same kitchen. To avoid conflict and mistreatment, Islam simplifies the household by giving everyone a guideline to follow based on their capabilities.

 

The husband has the role as the protector, giver and maintainer because he is physically capable of supporting his family (in most situations, we are not talking about the few who are ill or disabled) and is able to do so throughout the year, pregnancy not being in the equation for him. Because he in charge of seeing to the needs of his family, he retains the right to make the primary decisions in the household. The wife's role is complementary to his; she looks after the household that he maintains and she supports him in whatever decisions he makes that are for the interest of the family. Since she does not have to maintain the household, any wealth she makes or inherits are her own to do with as she pleases. She looks after their children (hence why she has three times as many rights on the children as he does, when they are older) and preserves her husband's honor and dignity. In turn, he also treats her with kindness (and love, if any) and makes her life as comfortable as possible.

 

That is the ideal marriage in Islam. It is not a one-sided relationship in which either spouse dominates, it is a give-and-take relationship in which both spouses know exactly what their rights and responsibilities are and they work to fulfill them.

 

And among God's signs is this: He created for you mates from amongst yourselves (males as mates for females and vice versa) that you might find tranquillity and peace in them. And he has put love and kindness among you. Herein surely are signs for those who reflect. [30:21]

 

"O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the dower [money given by the husband to the wife for the marriage contract] you have given them, except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them it may be that you dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good. [4:19]

 

“And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable†[2:228]

 

Prophet Muhammad said:

‘Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should not harm his neighbors. And I command you to take good care of the women.’

 

‘No believing man should hate a believing woman, if he hates one of her manners, he should be satisfied with another.’

 

'The believers who have the best manners are those who have the most perfect faith. The best amongst you are the best towards their wives.’

 

During the last sermon: 'O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have right over you. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and comitted helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to commit adultery.'

 

Salam.

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And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve,

 

What does this mean?

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What does this mean?

 

Here is a version worded slightly differently.

 

“You have rights over your women and your women have rights over you. Your rights over your women are that they should not let anyone whom you dislike sit on your bed and they should not let anyone whom you dislike enter your house. Their rights over you are that you should feed and clothe them well.â€

 

It means keeping her husband's house free of people who cause him unrest and dissatisfaction.

 

Salam.

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So the husband can keep anyone out of his house or deny the wife any friend who he doesn't approve of?

 

Does the wife have the same right to keep anyone out of the house who she doesn't approve of?

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So the husband can keep anyone out of his house or deny the wife any friend who he doesn't approve of?

 

I didn't say the bolded part, and I did post a more authentic version of the sermon, which explains what the first one means. It does not literally mean "friend", it refers to visitors.

 

I also explained that the husband is the maintainer of the household and as such gains the right to make the decisions in the household, including the decisions of who enters his domain. He also has the right to approve or disprove of his wife's actions. If this seems like too major of a right to you, remember that keeping an entire household running is a major responsibility.

 

Does the wife have the same right to keep anyone out of the house who she doesn't approve of?

 

I have already, twice, explained that the roles are not interchangeable and both spouses have different rights and responsibilities.

 

It's interesting that out of all of the verses and Hadiths I posted that demonstrate a husband's responsibilities toward his wife, you picked out the only right he has over her. Then again, most people only see the negative.

 

Salam.

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I didn't say the bolded part, and I did post a more authentic version of the sermon, which explains what the first one means. It does not literally mean "friend", it refers to visitors.

 

Thank you. I quoted friend because often translations will have various meanings. Thank you for clarifying.

 

I also explained that the husband is the maintainer of the household and as such gains the right to make the decisions in the household, including the decisions of who enters his domain. He also has the right to approve or disprove of his wife's actions. If this seems like too major of a right to you, remember that keeping an entire household running is a major responsibility.

 

Apparently it is a big responsiblity.

 

 

I have already, twice, explained that the roles are not interchangeable and both spouses have different rights and responsibilities.

 

Obviously some rights are. The right to eat obviously belongs to both. I appoligize if you are getting tired of explaining the different rights that men and women have. You must understand I come from a understanding that men shouldn't be able to symbolically beat or tap their wives or deny them vistors. These are all new things to me so I humbly ask that you forgive my repetative questions.

 

It's interesting that out of all of the verses and Hadiths I posted that demonstrate a husband's responsibilities toward his wife, you picked out the only right he has over her. Then again, most people only see the negative.

 

Of course I will take the high road and ignore the ad homenim attack.

Edited by xocoti

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I concede that you are the better person in this argument. Again, apologies. I'm far too cynical.

 

Salam.

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