Is wife beating allowed in Islam?
In the event of a family dispute, the Qur’an exhorts the husband to treat his wife kindly and not overlook her POSITIVE ASPECTS (see Qur’an 4:19). If the problem relates to the wife’s behavior, her husband may exhort her and appeal for reason. In most cases, this measure is likely to be sufficient. In cases where the problem continues, 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 deliberate mistreatment and expresses 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 then a punitive one. Following is the related Qur’anic text:
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)
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, discussed earlier. 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 qualified as dharban ghayra mubarrih, or light striking, was interpreted by early jurists as a (symbolic) use of miswak (a small natural toothbrush)! 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 ahadith, Prophet Muhammad (P) discouraged this measure. Among his sayings are the following: “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;” and”[It is not a shame that] one of you beats his wife like [an unscrupulous person] beats a slave and maybe he sleeps with her at the end of the day.” (See Riyadh Al-Saliheen, op.cit,p.p. 137-140). In another hadith the Prophet(P) said:
…How does anyone of you beat his wife as he beats the stallion camel and then he may embrace (sleep with) her?… (Sahih Al-Bukhari,op.cit., vol.8.hadith 68,pp.42-43).
d. True following of the sunnah is to follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad (P), 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 BETTER TO SPELL OUT THE EXTENTof permissibility, such as in the issue at hand, rather than leaving it unrestricted and 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 (P).
Why does he batter
A question of domestic violence
This is the number one question most people want to understand. The question, however, should be “Why does he batter?” The question why does she stay places the blame on the victim. The reality is that the majority of battered women make heroic efforts at leaving, but because of the following reasons, most are unsuccessful.
Fear: The number one reason for not leaving is fear. According to the FBI, up to 40% of female homicides in any given year occur when the woman decides to leave the abusive relationship. Her fears are not unfounded! Given this face, it is very important that the battered woman’s expression of fear not be minimized. If a decision to leave has been made, a safety plan should be put in place.
Lack of Resources: Since one of the major components of abuse is isolation, the battered woman most often lacks a support system. Her family ties and friendships have been destroyed leaving her psychologically and financially dependent on the abusive partner.
Lack of Finances/Economic Reality: The economic reality for women particularly those with children is a bleak one. This is especially true for women who have not worked outside the home. Economic dependence on the abuser is a very real reason for remaining in the relationship. Public assistance programs have been drastically reduced and those that remain provide inadequate benefits.
Children: Being a single parent is a strenuous experience under the best of circumstances, and for most battered women, conditions are far from the best. The enormous responsibility of raising children alone can be overwhelming. Often, the abuser may threaten to take the children away from her if she even attempts to leave.
Feelings of Guilt: The woman may believe that her husband is “sick” and/or needs her help or somewhat confused (being seduced by another woman into an illicit relationship etc.); the idea of leaving can thus produce feelings of guilt.
Promises of Reform: As is consistent with the cycle of violence, the abuser promises it will never happen again; the victim wants to believe this is true.
Sex-Role Conditioning: Most women are still taught to be passive and dependent on men. In addition, women generally accept the responsibility for success or failure in their relationships; to lea