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WIFE BEATING IN ISLAM

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Mark
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« on: February 09, 2011, 08:45:36 am »

WIFE BEATING IN ISLAM

INTRODUCTION: THE STATUS OF THE WIFE IN ISLAM
THE QURAN ON WIFE BEATING
THE TRADITIONS (HADITH)
THE BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIAL (SIRA)
THE SCHOLARS ON WIFE BEATING

COMMENTARY OF AL TABARI
COMMENTARY OF IBN KATHIR
COMMENTARY OF BAIDAWI
COMMENTARY OF THE JALALAIN
COMMENTARY OF IBN ABBAS
COMMENTARY OF AL-QURTUBI
AL-NAWAWI (Reliance of the Traveller)
COMMENTARY OF E. M. WHERRY
OTHER ISLAMIC WRITINGS AND STATEMENTS
CURRENT ISLAMIC WIFE BEATING AROUND THE WORLD
DAMAGE DUE TO WIFE BEATING
QUESTIONS AND FOOD FOR THOUGHT
CONCLUSION
APPENDICES
APPENDIX 1: CRITIQUE OF YUSEF ALI’S AND MUHAMMAD ASAD’S NOTES IN THEIR QURAN TRANSLATIONS
APPENDIX 2: MUSLIMS’ DEFENSE OF WIFE BEATING
APPENDIX 3: WHERE TO TURN FOR HELP
APPENDIX 4: REVIEW OF THE WORD "BEAT"
APPENDIX 5: THE MEANING OF THE WORD "NUSHUZ"

REFERENCES

INTRODUCTION: THE STATUS OF THE WIFE IN ISLAM

One of the more controversial issues in Islam is the Quran’s authorization for husbands to beat disobedient wives. This is found in chapter 4, verse 34. Additional references on wife beating are found in Muhammad’s traditions (hadith), and biographical material (sira). Many people have criticized Islam because of this harsh sanction and many Muslims have written articles seeking to mollify or defend it.

In review of the actual teachings of the Quran, hadith, and sira, Islam is rightly criticized. This command is not only a harsh way to treat one’s wife, it portrays the degraded position of married women in Islam. It will be shown from the Quran, Hadith, Sira, and other Islamic writings that this "Islamic" wife beating is physical and painful.

Before we discuss wife beating, we must review Islam’s viewpoint of women and comprehend the position, or standing, it places her in with respect to her husband. This is fundamental in understanding the command to beat the disobedient wife. Islam views the woman as inferior to the man and as such, places her in a subservient and subordinate position in the marriage relationship. The man is allowed to discipline his wife because he is her superior and responsible for her. He has the authority to beat his wife if he feels she is being disobedient. Wife beating is merely the bad fruit of a bad theological root.

When I first began to study the topic I did not realize that an Islamic marriage is not equivalent to a Christian marriage. Its rules, roles, and requirements are different. In a Christian marriage the husband is given the role as head of the household and the wife is expected to submit to the husband’s leadership. However, she is his equal in terms of social status; she is not inferior to him. In Islam the husband is also the head of the marriage, additionally he is his wife’s manager. Women are considered to be "in-between a slave and free man". Slaves are not equal to their masters, rather they are subservient, managed, and controlled. Similarly, Muslim wives are inferior to their husbands and are managed and controlled. I am not saying that the wife is the husband’s slave, do not take this to an extreme.

Muhammad’s viewpoint of women was that they "lack self-control" and thus for their own good, and societies’ good, they must be subordinate to and managed by their husbands. Wives must obey. In an Islamic marriage when a man gives his bride a dowry he is accredited the right to manage his wife. By accepting his dowry a woman is giving her husband the right to her regulation.

Muhammad urged his followers to treat their wives well and the Quran’s chapter 4 is full of these sincere admonitions. He did not want to see them beaten without cause and he wanted good marriage relationships. However, his desires for happy marriages and kind treatment do not mitigate the authority he gave men over women or the position he ascribed to women. Wives are to be treated gently and kindly but are still under the man’s authority. If she persists in disobedience to his wishes he has the right, and the responsibility, to beat her to bring her into submission once again, and re-establish a happy marriage.

This article addresses the primary theme of Islamic wife beating and is based upon the teachings of the Quran, Hadith, Sira, and renowned Islamic scholars. Following the conclusion I have a series of appendices that discuss specific issues related to wife beating.

 

http://www.answering-islam.org/Silas/wife-beating.htm
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