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Islam's Wife-Beating

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  • Al-Nasser
    Originally posted by mariam

    This man may have thought his behavior was Islamically justified.

    All I can say that I left one husband within hours of merely being physically threatened, and I would do the same again with no reservation.

    Neither myself or my children will ever live in an enviroment where threats or brutality are the norm.
    Bravo :up:

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  • Mary Carol
    Originally posted by Brutus_Beefcake
    Miriam do you not read your own holy book?

    What this man did was Islamically justified. What's all the fuss?
    This man may have thought his behavior was Islamically justified.

    All I can say that I left one husband within hours of merely being physically threatened, and I would do the same again with no reservation.

    Neither myself or my children will ever live in an enviroment where threats or brutality are the norm.

    Leave a comment:

  • Al-Nasser
    and that mean the problem on the both worlds is ignorance....the Muslim men who beat their wives interpret this verse like non Muslims do.....ignornace and out of context interprtation is the source of problem here

    1 - Prophet Mohammed (SAS) never beat a woman in his life and when he faced a rebellion by his wives he just left the house for them..
    2- the beating which the verse point to must follow three conditions..1) doesn't leave marks 2) no face beating 3) no humilating beating.....and the tool which is used in beating (Siawak) is as a BIG as a tooth brush!!! its not even a beating by any standards....and even this beating (the toothbrush) doesn't come as the first solution

    Leave a comment:

  • Brutus_Beefcake
    This behavior, sadly, is common in the Muslim world. The Koran does not treat women as equals, so is it any suprise that men do not either?

    Where do men, let alone Muslim men get the idea that the oppression of women is ok?

    And for Muslim men is there a deficiency somewhere in the Islamic education process that makes them think such behavior is justified?
    Miriam do you not read your own holy book?

    [4:34] The men are made responsible for the women, and GOD has endowed them with certain qualities, and made them the bread earners. The righteous women will cheerfully accept this arrangement, since it is GOD's commandment, and honor their husbands during their absence. If you experience rebellion from the women, you shall first talk to them, then (you may use negative incentives like) deserting them in bed, then you may (as a last alternative) beat them. If they obey you, you are not permitted to transgress against them. GOD is Most High, Supreme.

    What this man did was Islamically justified. What's all the fuss?

    Leave a comment:

  • Mary Carol
    There are resources for battered men also:

    Leave a comment:

  • Mary Carol
    Where do men, let alone Muslim men get the idea that the oppression of women is ok?

    And for Muslim men is there a deficiency somewhere in the Islamic education process that makes them think such behavior is justified?

    Or are they simply allowing their nafs to overcome their deen?

    For the victims in the US:

    Things to do when you face domestic violence or a threat to yourself or your children:

    ***Get an order or protection agaisnt the abuser. For details call the toll free national domestic violence hotline -1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

    Get an order of protection from the ;police and give copies to your friends, relatives and employer.

    *** In an emergency call 911.

    *** Open a savings account in your own name. Get your own post office box so that you can receive mail and checks.

    *** Plan who to stay with or who would be able to lend you money during a crisis.

    *** Contact the hotline or any shelter for help in safety planning and keep the hotline number with you at all times. See the contacts and links below for information about crisis centers and women's shelters in your area.

    What to take with you:

    1. IDENTIFICATION - drivers' licence, passport, your birth certificates, children's birth certificates, marriage licens, social security card, welfare identification, medical insurance cards.

    2. MONEY - cash, credit cards, ATM cards, check books, savings books, documentation pertaining to your own financial assets


    Lease, rental agreement or deed to house/properties
    Car registration and insurance papers
    Health and life insurance papers
    Medical records for you and your children
    School and shot records
    Work permits/Green Card or visa
    Divorce papers
    Custody papers


    keys to house, car and safe deposit boxes, clothing, medication, toiletries, phone card, address books, small items to sell, pictures of you, your children and your abuser.

    Addresses and phone numbers of the centers for Domestic Violence Coalitions of all States and Territories:

    Domestic violence links worldwide

    National Sexual Assault Hotline - 1-800-656-HOPE

    National Hopeline Networrk -
    toll free 24-hour suicide and crisis hotline - 1-800-SUICIDE (7842433)

    Sexual Assault Coalitions and Hotlines of States and Territories:

    Statewise divorce information and legal help for the US and Canada:

    US statewise link to women's crisis centers with tel. numbers:

    US statewise numbers for reporter abuse of elderly people:

    National Domestic Violence Hotline
    1-800-799-SAFE or 1-800-787-3224

    National Centre for Victims of Crime:

    US nationwide links for child abuse

    south asian women's network

    Maitri - a free, confidential, nonprofit organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area, that helps South Asian women facing domestic violence, emotional abuse or family conflict. Toll Free Hotline: (888) 8-MAITRI - Organisation providing help for abused South Asian Women in the US. Toll Free Hotline: 1-800-215-7308.

    south asian women's organsiations in india and around the world (US, canada, australia, pakistan, bangladesh, sri lanka, nepal)

    domestic violence resources for south asian women (canada, india, UK, US)

    NRI and south asian womens legal services (Addresses of different woman organizations located in Canada and USA)

    Additional links:

    Statewide Toll-free Child Abuse Hotline: 1-888-SOS-CHILD

    Rape and domestic violence resources:
    Domestic violence shelters:

    City of Phoenix:
    24-hour domestic violence hotline:
    (602) 263-8900 or 1-800-799-7739


    Aasra: 1-800-313-ASRA (1-800-313-2772) or (510) 657-1245 or 510-657-1246. Email: [email protected].

    Maitri: (408) 730-4049
    Narika: (800) 215-7308

    South Asian Network (Southern California).

    Asian Women's Shelter. (415)-751-7110 (office) (415)-751-0880 (crisis)
    Sahara: (888) 724-2722

    SAWI -- South Asian Women's Initiative. San Diego area. Email: [email protected].

    connecticut coalition against domestic violence
    (860) 282-7899

    HOTLINE: 1-888-774-2900

    Sneha: is an organization for women of South Asian origin and their families.Contact: Sneha, Inc. P.O. Box 271650 West Hartford, CT 06126-1650. Ph: (in Connecticut) 1-800-58-SNEHA. From elsewhere: (860) 658-4615. Fax: 860-521-1562. Email: [email protected].

    Shamokami: (203) 624-8727

    center agaisnt spouse abuse

    24 hour crisis line - 727-8983671

    domestic violence centers

    Raksha in Atlanta is a support network for all South Asians in distress.
    Info. hotline 404- 842-0725

    Apna Ghar, Chicago: (773) 334-4663 Email: [email protected]
    Hamdard Center provides emergency and longterm help, including psychological counselling and referral. Chicago:(708) 628-9195 96 W. Moreland, Suite 10, Addison, IL 60101.

    Asian Human Services. provides competent and compassionate services to the Asian American community of Chicago, including mental health counselling, health care, advocacy, legal help for domestic violence, youth mentoring, employment


    Metropolitan Battered Women's Program. P.O Box 10775, Jefferson, La 70181. Hotline: 1-800-738-8900. Fax 504-828-2893

    domestic abuse laws, louisiana, 2001

    louisiana crisis and support services:

    Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project works with all Asian women, including South Asian, in the DC area. They provide peer support, community education, victim advocacy and referrals for shelter, legal and counseling services. Ph: 202-464-4477

    Asha: (301) 369-0134
    Samhati (301) 229-6597


    A member of Manavi: (508) 427-5700 x202, (617) 497-0316
    Asian Task Force against Domestic Violence. Hotline: (617) 3382355

    Michigan Asian Family Services:

    center against violence and abuse:

    Asian Women United of Minnesota provide advocacy services for Asian battered women of all ethnic groups, 24-hour multilingual crisis line, and community education on domestic violence. Crisis phone line: 651-646-2261. Business phone line: 651-646-2118. Fax: 651-646-2284.

    Domestic violence shelters

    Domestic Abuse Services Inc. women's shelter and
    toll free 24-hour hotline 973-8751211

    New York State Domestic Violence programs by county

    Manavi: (732) 435-1414

    Sakhi: hotline (212) 695.5447, Special Events Listings (212) 868.6741
    New York Asian Women's Center. Provides direct assistance to battered women and victims of sexual assualt, through culturally sensitive, multi-lingual shelter services, individual advocacy and counseling. 24 hr hotline: (212) 732-5230

    AIWA (Asian Indian Women in America): (973) 992-5210. Formed in 1980, it works in career development, acculturation, health, education and general welfare to aid in the growth of vibrant Asian/ South Asian American communities. President: Anju Bhargava, email: [email protected]

    Bangladeshi Mahila Samiti: (718)-689-0017
    Muslim Women's Committee: (212)-316-6446
    Sikh Women's Association: (718)-699-1593
    Shomokami: (203)-624-8727

    North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence
    301 West Main Street - Durham, NC 27701 - 919.956.9124

    Long-term transitional housing for women with children

    KIRAN: Domestic Violence and Crisis Services for South Asians in North Carolina
    Administrative Line: 919-865-4006
    Crisis hotline - (Toll Free) 866-KIRANINC
    P.O. Box 3513, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-3513.
    Email: [email protected]

    Sawera (South Asian Women's Empowerment and Resource Alliance) is a resource referral for local South Asian women in need. Phone:(503)-778-7386;
    Email: [email protected]

    pennsylvania coalition against domestic violence

    links to domestic violence social services in pennsylvania

    domestic abuse counselling center:

    Philadelphia women's shelter

    Sewaa : P.O. Box 43622, Philadelphia, PA 19104
    Phone: (215)62-SEWAA


    Preventing Child Abuse

    domestic violence

    Asians Against Domestic Violence:
    Texas: 713-339-8300
    [email protected]

    Texas council on family violence directory by county

    DAYA - P.O. Box 571774, Houston, TX 77257. Offers peer support, referrals, transportation, legal advocacy, outreach/ education.
    Phone: (713) 914-1333

    SAHELI: (512) 703-8745. P. O. Box 3665, 1806 S. 5th Street, Austin, Texas 78764-366 Email:[email protected]


    Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault 24-hour Hotline - 1-800-838-8238
    Virginians against domestic violence:

    YWCA 24-hour hotline - (804) 796-3066

    Shenahndoah Women's Center -
    24-hour hotline for battered women -

    Angels in the Night Abused Kids' Crisis Center

    Domestic abuse laws. Virginia, 2001 -

    SAMHATI- (301) 229-6597


    Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project works with all Asian women, including South Asian, in the DC area. They provide peer support, community education, victim advocacy and referrals for shelter, legal and counseling services. Ph: 202-464-4477
    Asha : (888) 417-2742 toll free


    Chaya. P.O. Box 12917, Seattle, WA 98111-4917. Phone: Toll free- 1-877-922-4292 Office- 206.325.0325. Staffed 24 hrs/day, 7 days a week.
    Email: [email protected]. Provides translation and interpretation services, referrals to shelters, counseling, medical services, legal and immigration services, community outreach, and training.

    Leave a comment:

  • Al-Nasser
    Originally posted by AbuMubarak
    tell her to make much dua, and if she can, to get some brothers to kick his butt
    she died a yr ago my friend

    i don't think its a good idea that the daughter stay with such father...she must be raised with some Muslim family but not with such man

    btw...Imam Malik said that if the husband is that much oppressive the wife must seek the help of her male relatives to stop him..even using physical force.

    Leave a comment:

  • AbuMubarak
    Allah has forbidden oppression upon Himself, and He has forbidden us to oppress each other

    between an oppressed woman and Allah, there is no distance for her dua to travel

    tell her to make much dua, and if she can, to get some brothers to kick his butt

    Leave a comment:

  • BraveHeart
    Wife Beaters!


    THis is someth that happend to a friend of mine and its Just soo sad...She used to be a christain and all..and he helped her to ISlam of course with Allah's guide.
    and then right after it he started beatin her like a Man...even when she was pregnant he still would beat her and Lost 3kids coz of that...she would always ask me for help.I neva knew anything helpful to say
    and when she did gave birth to a baby-girl he said that she doesnt loook like him and that it isnt his baby and divorced her.
    she died a yr ago my friend (may allah Open the doors of Jannah for her..ameen)...and then he said that he wouldnt take care of his now she lives with christain-ppl and they teach her abt christanity...poor thing..I seriously would Hang that guy..ufffffff

    Wife Beaters in Islam.
    What do you think of them? Any advice for the victims
    and guilty parties?


    Leave a comment:

  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Yes, women are very sensitive and its enough only the man to be little bit more different in behaviour, the wife to knows she has a problem in the house. In fact the hard words we are never forgeting.

    Leave a comment:

  • dour
    It should never be done for whatever reason. In fact there is no reason or excuse to hit your wife.

    Leave a comment:

  • abdulhakeem
    started a topic Islam's Wife-Beating

    Islam's Wife-Beating

    By MEMRI | March 25, 2004


    On January 14, 2004, Sheikh Muhammad Kamal Mustafa, the imam of the mosque of the city of Fuengirola, Costa del Sol,'The Woman in Islam.' In this book, the Egyptian-born Sheikh Mustafa writes, among other things, on wife-beating in accordance with Shar'ia law.

    On pages 86-87, Mustafa states: "The [wife-]beating must never be in exaggerated, blind anger, in order to avoid serious harm [to the woman]." He adds, "It is forbidden to beat her on the sensitive parts of her body, such as the face, breast, abdomen, and head. Instead, she should be beaten on the arms and legs," using a "rod that must not be stiff, but slim and lightweight so that no wounds, scars, or bruises are caused." Similarly, "[the blows] must not be hard." [1]

    Mustafa noted in his book that the aim of the beating was to cause the woman to feel some emotional pain, without humiliating her or harming her physically. According to him, wife-beating must be the last resort to which the husband turns in punishing his wife, and is, according to the Qur'an, Chapter 4, Verse 34, the husband's third step when the wife is rebellious: First, he must reprimand her, without anger. Next, he must distance her from the conjugal bed. Only if these two methods fail should the husband turn to beating.

    In his verdict, the judge said that Sheikh Mustafa's book contained incitement to violence against women, that today's society is completely different from society 1400 years ago, and that the sections of the book in which the sheikh wrote of wife-beating constitute a violation of the penal code and of women's constitutional rights. In his defense, Sheikh Mustafa's attorney argued that his client was not expressing his personal opinion, but only reiterating the writings of Islam from the 13th and 19th centuries. [2]

    The book, which sold around 3,000 copies in Islamic cultural centers across Spain, was removed from the shelves. [3]

    The following report will review the writings and statements of Muslim clerics and of other Islamic religious institutions that instead of condemning wife-beating, discuss it as a legitimate way of "disciplining" the wife, based on the Qur'an (4:34).

    Sheikh Yousef Qaradhawi: 'It is Permissible For The Husband to Beat Her Lightly'

    Sheikh Yousef Qaradhawi,
    one of the most influential clerics in Sunni Islam and head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, has advocated non-painful wife-beating.

    In his 1984 book 'The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam,' he wrote:
    "Because of his natural ability and his responsibility for providing for his family, the man is the head of the house and of the family. He is entitled to the obedience and cooperation of his wife, and accordingly it is not permissible for her to rebel against his authority, causing disruption. Without a captain the ship of the household will flounder and sink.

    "If the husband senses that feelings of disobedience and rebelliousness are rising against him in his wife, he should try his best to rectify her attitude by kind words, gentle persuasion, and reasoning with her. If this is not helpful, he should sleep apart from her, trying to awaken her agreeable feminine nature so that serenity may be restored, and she may respond to him in a harmonious fashion. If this approach fails, it is permissible for him to beat her lightly with his hands, avoiding her face and other sensitive parts. In no case should he resort to using a stick or any other instrument that might cause pain and injury.Rather, this 'beating' should be of the kind which the Prophet (peace be on him) once, when angry with his servant, mentioned to him, saying, 'If it were not for the fear of retaliation on the Day of Resurrection, I would have beaten you with this miswak (tooth-cleaning stick)' [as reported by Ibn Majah and by Ibn Hibban, in his Sahih].

    "The Prophet (pbuh) admonished men concerning beating their wives, saying 'None of you must beat his wife as a slave is beaten and then have intercourse with her at the end of the day.'

    "It was reported to the Prophet (pbuh) that some of his Companions beat their wives, whereupon he said, 'Certainly those are not the best among you [as reported by Ahmad, Abu Daoud, and al-Nisai. Ibn Hibban and Al-Hakim classify it as sound, as narrated by Iyas ibn 'Abdullah ibn Abu Dhiab].'

    "Says Imam Al-Hafiz ibn Hajar, 'The saying of the Prophet (pbuh), 'The best among you do not beat,' could imply that beating wives is in general permissible. To be specific, one may beat only to safeguard Islamic behavior and if he (the husband) sees deviation only in what she must do or obey in relation to him. It is preferable to warn (her) or something of the sort, and as long as it is possible to achieve things through warning, any use of force is disallowed because force generates hatred, which is inimical to the harmony expected in marriage. Force is applied only when sin against Allah Ta'alah (masiyah) is feared. Al-Nasai has reported 'Aishah as saying, 'The Prophet (pbuh) never beat any of his wives or servants; in fact, he did not strike anything with his hand except in the cause of Allah or when the prohibitions of Allah were violated, and he retaliated on behalf of Allah.'

    "If all these approaches fail, and the rift between the husband and wife deepens, the matter then devolves on the Islamic society for solution. Two individuals of good will and sound judgment, one from the wife's and one from the husband's side, should meet with the couple in order to try to resolve their differences. Perhaps the sincerity of their efforts may bear fruit and Allah may bring about reconciliation between the spouses." [4]

    On the Al-Jazeera weekly program 'The Shar'ia and Life', Qaradhawi said on the same matter: "It is forbidden to beat the woman, unless it is necessary, and she 'is in a state of rebellion' against the husband and flouts him. This is temporary discipline [ta'adib] that is permitted to him according to the Qur'an in exceptional circumstances, when other efforts of admonishing [the wife] have failed and removing her from the bed as Allah said: '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; but if they return to obedience, seek not against them pretexts (for annoyance): for Allah is Most High, Great (above you all).'[Qur'an 4:34] Despite this permission for the hour of necessity, the Prophet said: 'The good men from among you do not beat [their wives].'" [6]

    Islamic Affairs Department of Saudi Arabia's Washington, DC Embassy: Men Have a Supervisory Authority because of Their Physical Advantages Prominent Muslim-American Leader: 'Beating Does Not Mean Physical Abuse'

    Answering the question: "Does Islam allow wife-beating?" Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) stated: "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."

    According to Siddiqi, "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. (4:34-35)'

    "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 [a] 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 [the] face must be avoided. Some other scholars are of the view that it is no more than a light touch by siwak, or toothbrush."

    Siddiqi cites a Hadith to use caution when beating one's wife: "Generally, the Prophet (pbuh) 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)"

    Siddiqi adds: "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." [16]

    Saudi TV Show: Disciplining Wives and Children

    Jasem Muhammad Al-Mutawah,
    an expert on family matters in Islam, hosts a show on Saudi Arabia's Iqraa TV. [17] In one episode, Al-Mutawa discussed wife-beating while holding a 10-foot pool cue which he said some couples keep in the home. The following are excerpts of one episode; to view in RealPlayer visit: Muhammad Al-Hajj, lecturer on Islamic faith at the University of Jordan (Amman) Guest: "We are not talking about a man imposing discipline every day, asking any little thing of her, and she refuses, and then he banishes her or beats her. Such a thing does not exist in Islam at all."

    Host: "All right, doctor, what does 'disobedience' mean?"

    Guest:Host:Guest: "No, no. Obviously, the admonition cannot end in a day or two. It must continue for a significant period, during which all means of persuasion are exhausted."

    Host:Guest:Host:Guest:Host:Guest:Host:Guest: "And the wife continues in her rebelliousness, there comes another stage, and this is the stage of banishing her from the bed, which is aimed at giving her a sense that 'I am not happy.'"

    Host: "Yes."

    Guest:Host: "What is the difference between 'hard' and 'not-hard?'"

    Guest: "Hard beatings are those that leave marks on the body or on the face. Thus, beating on the face is prohibited, because the face is a combination of the features of beauty, as it is said. It is forbidden to beat the face, it is forbidden to administer blows that leave fractures or wounds this is what our sages have said in their books."

    Host:Guest:Host: "You mean that there are other means she can use to handle the husband?"

    Guest:Host: "Doctor, we thank you for the interview and for the good words we have heard from you."

    Al-Mutawah ended the show with a detailed explanation of wife-beating and how to deal with Western criticism of such activity.

    Host:Study of Egyptian Government TV: Viewers Believe 'Women Deserve to be Beaten'

    The May 22-28, 2003 issue of Al-Ahram Weekly featured an article by Lina Mahmoud on violence against women shown on Egyptian television. The article focused on the results of a media monitoring project conducted by the New Woman Research Center (NWRC) and the Media House (MH),Muslim-Canadian Professor Explains: "There Are Cases, However, In Which A Wife Persists In Bad Habits"

    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, has also explained that Islam allows beating ones wife. Badawi explains which circumstances permit "striking" a disobedient wife:

    "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.

    Dr. Badawi elaborates on six instances regarding the permissibility of wife-beating as follows:

    "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 (pbuh) 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 (pbuh) is reported to have said: 'How does any one 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 (pbuh) 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 (pbuh)." [20]

    *Steven Stalinsky is Executive Director of MEMRI; Y. Yehoshua is a Research Fellow at MEMRI.


    [2] In a similar incident, a Turkish state-funded religious foundation published retired Turkish cleric Kemal Guran's 'The Muslim's Handbook'(2000) which recommended wife-beating but warns "not to strike the women's face, but to hit her gently elsewhere." At the time of the book's release, Turkish parliamentarian Ferda Cilalioglu called it "scandalous" and "insane." (, August 13, 2000).

    [3] Roz Al-Yousef (Egypt), January 30, 2004.

    [4] Al-Qaradawi, Yusuf. The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam. Kuwait: International Islamic Federation of Student Organization, 1984. p.205-206.

    [5] Al-Jazeera (Qatar), October 5, 1977.

    [6] Islam Online,

    [7] The Saudi Gazette reports that t he issue of wife-beating is a pressing one among Muslims in the Middle East as well. 300 women recently initiated a lawsuit against their husbands for "brutal beating and unjustified physical abuse. Saudi Gazette, March 3, 2004.

    [8] MEMRI Special Report No. 23, November 26, 2003, ' The Islamic Affairs Department of the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C. '

    [9] In Saudi Arabia today, women are denied certain rights and privileges afforded to male citizens. Women are denied the right to drive a car, to obtain a state identification without the consent and presence of a male guardian, or to travel outside the country without the permission a male guardian.

    [10] IAD website: "Rights Dictated by Nature: Rights of Both Spouses on Each Other."

    [11] IAD website: "Rights Dictated by Nature: Rights of Both Spouses on Each Other." The IAD cites Qur'anic verse 4:129.

    [12] IAD website: "Rights Dictated by Nature: Rights of Both Spouses on Each Other."

    [13] The IAD cites Qur'an 4:34.

    [14] IAD website: "Women in Islam."

    [15] IAD website: "Gender Equity in Islam."

    [16] Islam Online,, June 25, 2003/July 25, 2003.

    [17] IQRAA Television (Saudi Arabia), Program on Imposing Discipline in the Family: Hosted by Jasem Muhammad Al-Mutawah, Expert on Family Matters, May 9, 2002,

    [18] "Among the serials were Asa'd Ragul fi Al-Alam (The Happiest Man in the World), Al-Atar wa Al-Saba'a Banat (The Herbalist and His Seven Daughters), Qassem Amin, Ayna Qalbi (Where is My Heart?), Amira fi Abdeen (A Princess in Abdeen), together with six films shown on the two main Egyptian channels, Channel One and Channel Two. Among these films were Al Hafid (the Grandson), Al Zawga 13 (Wife Number 13)."

    [19] Al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt), May 22-28, 2003, See MEMRI Special Dispatch 522, June 13, 2003, 'Egyptian Television's Portrayal of Excessive Violence Against Women.'

    [20] Islam Online,, June 25, 2003/July 25, 2003.