Domestic Violence

If person gives 1,200 riyals (320 dollars) to his wife and she spends 900 riyals (240 dollars) to purchase an abaya from a brand shop, and if her husband slaps her on the face as a reaction to her action, she deserves that punishment,” Saudi Judge.

Surprisingly domestic violence is a rapidly growing problem of Islamic countries, though Quran clearly denies any sort of violence on women in anyway however our learned scholars through different interpretations have finally drawn conclusion to beat wife.  I won’t say those men of our society take their wives as their property since nobody damages his property but more than that, i.e. animals.

I acknowledge in some cases wives are not innocent either but beating is not a solution at all. Dialogue is the only way to settle domestic issues and if in case things go beyond dialogue we can always have an option to discontinue relationship legally. When the process of marriage takes place through negotiations then what on earth makes men allow settling rest of the issues through violence.

Those who bring religious justifications to beat their wives should think on humanitarian lines as well, sometimes we don’t have to believe in each and everything just because some scholar feel that their women should be treated like that, with due respect I would suggest that Saudi Judge to stop portraying false image of Islam and avoid mixing culture with religion.

On the other hand women should also try to understand the psyche of their men and understand the fact that their husbands do their level best to provide them a good life however wives should be aware of their rights and become vocal against domestic violence, if they think they are being treated unjustly they should take the issue to maximum level and realize their respect. There must not be any compromise on self respect.//

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22 comments

  1. Domestic Violence, a big NO. But I believe you have mixed up things a bit. I agree with the Saudi Judge on that statement. There is a whole line that separates WHAT SHOULD BE DONE and WHAT HAPPENS AND HOW TO DEAL WITH IT. That’s the reason why we have rules for everything.

    1. I have just penned down my personal opinion that might contradict with Islamic set of rules but I believe there must not be any Wife beating in any case.

      What’s your take on it ?

      1. @Tanzeel,
        You really cannot expect any god fearing muslim to agree with you, keeping in mind that it would go against the quran. Disagreeing with something written in the quran would mean that such persons would go to hell faster than I can say jack rabbit.

        Why just wife beating, there are so many many issues that need to be taken up keeping in mind the current times.

  2. If it doesn’t fall into the category of violence, then yes!

    “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 guard. As to those women on whose part you fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next) do not share their beds, (and last) beat (tap) them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance): for Allah is Most High, Great (above you all). (4:34)”

    But don’t jump to any conclusions, there is a set of rules where a man should take this approach, and it has to be done lightly, moreover hitting on face or hitting in a way that leaves a mark is not allowed. So you can get the idea that by BEATING, it has to be done lightly. But yes beating is allowed.

    1. Before jumping on to beating, I think it is important to read the context in which it is allowed…. Firstly, there has to be a case of DISLOYALTY and ILL-CONDUCT (which I take as something immoral being done by the women and I don’t think going on a spending spree falls in that category). Even where there is a case of DISLOYALTY or ILL-CONDUCT, the sequence is as follows: (a) admonish them (and see if that works); then (b) do not share their beds (and see if that works); and lastly if nothing works then beat them.

      It is also important to understand that the above follows the Ayah which says pre-supposes that the man is supporting his wife. If that is not the case – if the woman comes from a rich family and is not supported by the man OR if neither works as they have enough wealth OR if the woman is earning and supporting man (say working as a medical doctor) – then I suppose the man has no right to beat the woman.

      Any thoughts?

  3. The severity of the beating depends on which tafsir I choose to follow—-

    “Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surely God is high, supreme.” (Dawood’s version of the Koran, Quran, 4:34)

    “Men are in charge of women, because Allah has made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah has guarded. As for those from whom you fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High Exalted, Great.” (Pickthall’s version of the Koran, Quran, 4:34)

    So if I am not a wife beater, then I can follow Cahn’s version. If I am a moderate beater then I can follow Dawood’s tafsir ie. beat her. However if I am an all out wife beater then I will follow Pickthall’s version ie. scourge her!

    Definition of scourge–
    — to whip or flog
    — to punish, chastise, or afflict severely

      1. First, its not about hitting any weaker, its about your wife, the main pillar of your family. Islam always gives you options that suits you best. If things are not working out at any end, we always have options of Khula and Divorce for both men and women.

        Second, the debate of weak and strong comes when a man gathers all his manly strength and beat his wife rigorously, and she gets helpless. No this what Islam NEVER allows. Giving a light slap on her body except the face just for the sake of reprimand, and that too as a third and final warning when your wife is not listening to you at all, I think that is extremely just for the man who spends day and night in hardwork just to earn bread for his family and fulfill the needs of his wife.

        Also, in my opinion, I see hitting on face is not allowed, because; number 1 it can cause her a bad mark on the face and number 2, i believe Islam forbids it because a slap on face, whether light or hard, directly hits your self-respect! so we can see the importance of respect for women even when she is being extremely disobedient.

      2. What purpose would a light/ harmless slap would serve? Is wife a kid or what ? there is always a way of negotiation through which the couples can resolve any complex issues, beating a wife means I forcefully want to impose my point of view on her which may produce short term result but in long term it could be disasters.

        by the way did Prophet beat any of his wives ?

      3. I would start with your second question first, did prophet PBUH really needed to? considering the wives were the most pious ladies? and I assume you do know the incident related to Hazrat Aisha RA and Prophet’s PBUH response on that.

        Coming to your first question, no wife is not a kid. But she depends on you when it comes to earning bread. If wife becomes disloyal, you can start off with negotiation. But what if after constant negotiation is doesn’t work out? you need to warn her in a manner that should be taken more seriously.

        This debate is however pointless. When it is in Quran, crystal clear, then I don’t think anymore explanations should be required.

      4. @Cervet
        “When it is in Quran, crystal clear, then I don’t think anymore explanations should be required”

        Well, if only things were that simple. The quran also allows, in crystal clear language, slavery & child marriage…

        So these practices should also be accepted and allowed in Islamic countries without question?

      5. Well, if you support violence against women, child marriage & slavery then I have nothing more to say.

  4. @Rational
    Firstly “ill conduct” is an extremely subjective expression – someone might consider his wife to be of ill conduct if she so much as even looks innocently at another man. For some the bar might be set much higher. Like the tafsirs about wife beating, it all depends on the whims of the husband!

    Coming to the applicability of the ayat only for those cases where the wife is being supported by the husband,– in my opinion it is even more cowardly to beat someone who is physically weaker, from a position of strength don’t you agree?

    In case the wife is supporting the husband, in the correct spirit of things she should also have been given the same rights to beat her husband if he is “disloyal or shows ill conduct”. What say?

  5. @Syed,

    Islamic law takes a marriage as a contract in which dower is the consideration. In every contract, there are rights and obligations accruing to both the parties to the contract. Similar is the case here and the question of cowardice or bravery.

    Your 2nd point on a woman beating a man is interesting. The Holy Quran does not make any reference in this regard. Perhaps this is because a man is entitled to have more than one wife at a time while a woman is not. Therefore, a woman cannot object her man fancying another woman. I don’t know if this is the correct answer but this is what comes to my mind. Thoughts!

  6. @Rational
    Well, islamic marriages are indeed contracts with the nikahnama as the contract letter which is signed by the groom & the bride (or her vakil). Among other things the nikahnama mentions the mehr amount which is also part of the contract.
    However as far as i know the contract or agreement between the two parties nowhere mentions the right of the husband to beat his wife for “ill conduct”

    1. That comes as an implied part of the contract under th Quran…… The Husband and the wife both are aware of these implied terms of every Nikah contract as these are set out in the Quran…

  7. Hmmm…., so in effect what you mean is that the law of the land is subservient to what is written in the quran (presumably in an islamic state). So if a country has laws relating to violence against women, what is written in the quran will overide such laws! Or if the minimum age for marriage as fixed by a country is say 18 years, then it has got no meaning as the quran allows child marriage. Is that the case?

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