Wife Beating
Social Issues
Question asked by .
Answered by Adnan Zulfiqar

Do you think the husband should be allowed to beat his wife for whatever purpose is acceptable in this day and age.


The issue of ‘beating one’s wife’ is an important one. However, it should be understood not because of ‘today’s world’, but because the verse used to justify this action has been sorely abused and misunderstood. The actual spirit and context of the verse has been completely ignored. The verse in question sought to address a widespread practice that has remained, and continues to remain, common in all societies, including the West. Cases of domestic abuse are rampant in places like the United States and Europe. Hence, the Qur’ānic language sought to discourage men from partaking in this type of behavior, premised on anger, by requiring them to take certain steps before resorting to physical contact. The central idea being that in a moment of anger a man may suddenly strike his wife, but if he is instructed to pursue other measures first he attains sufficient time to cool his temper and come to his senses. The husband is instructed to reason with his wife, speak to her gently, then if this does not work to leave her bed or separate from her for a time and, finally, if all else fails, to resort to some physical contact to signify his displeasure. With each step, the husband is required to exhaust all possible avenues before moving to the next step. If the husband has to resort to physical contact, this is more of a symbolic gesture, as even the hadīth of the Prophet (sws) states that if a husband were to resort to this, the contact should be one that does leave even the slightest mark. Furthermore, it should be understood that resorting to these steps is not for trivial matters such as a wife not carrying out the husband’s every last whim. The husband should resort to these actions only when the wife’s actions openly challenge the authority of the husband and create a destructive atmosphere that threatens the system of the family.


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