Muslim Cleric Discusses Wife Beating Rules For Muslims
Good news from the Islamic world! A Muslim cleric has spelled out in a televised interview the conditions under which a husband may beat his wife. Although the footage dates back a few years, there is nothing old hat or obsolete about the doctrine being espoused. If you have the time to view it, and want to brush up on your Arabic, you will hear the cleric give husbands the following Koranic admonition:
“If the husband wants to use beatings to treat the wife, he must never ever do so in front of the children. It must remain between him and her. It must be done according to the following conditions. He must not cause bleeding or bruise her body. He should avoid her face or other sensitive parts of the body. As we’ve said, the limitations on beatings are, they must not cause bleeding, they should not break any bones, they should not be on the face, and they should not bruise her.”
While spouse abuse occurs in modern countries, and in some cases likely reflects an unofficial tradition that ran in certain communities, the West has turned decisively against the practice, which now simply constitutes assault and battery.
In today’s Islam, by contrast, an established tradition of wife beating has been codified into Islamic codes of conduct. And lest we think that this view is outside the mainstream, and without support in the Koran, let’s turn to the Koran and see:
QURAN 4:34 - "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."
Today’s Islam is not to be condemned because of a few words in the Koran. It is to be condemned because it still follows those words.
At the same time, it may be fair to note that there are no similar phrases in the Old or New Testament, and this makes it rather easier for Jewish and Christian husbands to read their Bibles and follow them, and not beat their wives.
By contrast, the Koran, being in large part a war manual that also contains prescriptions permitting wife beating, cannot be so easily adapted for use in a modern, pluralistic era.