Thursday, November 01, 2007

 

Wife Beating

The Islamic way

Little Green Footballs has a partial transcript and video of a Saudi Cleric Muhammad Al-'Arifi explaining wife beating in Islam during a Ramadhan TV show for young Muslims:
Guest: “And beat them.”

Al-’Arifi: That’s right. How is this beating performed? What do you think?

Guest:: Light beatings.

Al-’Arifi: Light beatings in what way?

Guest:: For example, I wouldn’t beat her in the face...

Al-’Arifi: Beating in the face is forbidden, even when it comes to animals. When a person is beating an animal... Even if you want your camel or donkey to start walking, you are not allowed to beat it in the face. If this is true for animals, it is all the more true when it comes to humans. So beatings should be light and not in the face. Some religious scholars say: “He should beat her with a toothpick.” I happen to have a toothpick with me. A man who is angry with his wife because she doesn’t get it... If he says to her: “Watch out, the child has fallen next to the stove,” or: “Move the child away from the electrical socket,” and she says: “I am busy” – then he beats her with a toothpick or something like it. He doesn’t beat her with a bottle of water, a plate, or a knife. This is forbidden. The scholars said he should beat her with a toothpick. Check out how gentle the toothpick used for beating is. This shows you that the purpose is not to inflict pain. When you beat an animal, you intend to cause it pain so it will obey you, because an animal would not understand if you said: “Oh camel, come on, start moving.” The camel does not understand such things, unless you beat it. A donkey understands nothing but beatings, but a woman, a man, a child, and so on, are generally more affected by emotions than by other things. If you beat her with a toothpick, or if you beat her lightly with your hand, and so on, it is meant to convey: “Woman, it has gone too far. I can’t bear it anymore.” If he beats her, the beatings must be light and must not make her face ugly. He must beat her where it will not leave marks. He should not beat her on the hand... He should beat her in some places where it will not cause any damage. He should not beat her like he would beat an animal or a child - slapping them right and left. Unfortunately, many husbands beat their wives only when they get mad, and when they start beating, it as if they are punching a wall – they beat with their hands, right and left, and sometimes use their feet. Brother, it is a human being you are beating. This is forbidden. He must not do this.
Update: I added to the portion of the transcript I selected in order to include everything I originally intended to include. I don't know why it didn't make it into the original post.

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