Wife-beating: The Grotesque Immorality of Mainstream Islamic Ethics (Part 3)
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5
By Saleem Smith
Danish translation: Hustruvold: Den groteske umoral af herskende islamisk etik (del 3)
Source: Jihad Watch, July 22, 2018
Published on myIslam.dk: November 30, 2018

I am a Canadian ex-Muslim. In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series of articles, I addressed the harsh realities of Islamic apostasy and the permissibility of rape and pedophilia in Islamic theology. In this segment, I will address the permissibility of wife-beating in Islamic theology and law.

Sadly, there are numerous passages contained within Islam’s most revered and authoritative texts (the Qur’an, hadiths and sira) that establish wife-beating to be permissible for Muslim men.

In the above mentioned texts, the Qur’an in particular, Muslim men are instructed to beat their wives should they become disobedient. Disturbingly, Chapter 4, Verse 34 of the Qur’an teaches that Muslim men can beat those of their wives from whom they merely “fear disobedience.”

"Men are in charge of women by what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in absence what Allah would have them guard. But those from whom you fear arrogance – advise them; forsake them in bed; and strike them. But if they obey you, seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand." (Qur’an 4:34)

In the verse above, the Qur’an proclaims that men are superior to women, implies that women who are not “devoutly obedient” are unrighteous, and that if a Muslim husband merely “fears arrogance” from his wives, he is to first admonish them, and then lastly beat them if they do not comply.

Sadly, as mentioned above, the permissibility for Muslim men to beat their disobedient wives is also found in Muhammad, the prophet of Islam’s, Sunnah (the sayings and doings of Muhammad contained within the hadith and sira) as well as Islamic Sharia law.

The Sahih Bukhari hadith below depicts the prophet of Islam failing to admonish one of his men folk followers for beating his wife to the point where dark bruises appeared on her skin. Because of Muhammad’s supreme authoritative role in Islam, his failure to forbid wife-beating in effect gives tactical approval of this inhumane practice. Furthermore, after the woman in the hadith below pleaded with Muhammad to have her husband desist from beating her, Muhammad not only failed to forbid the practice, but ordered the woman to return to her husband and acquiesce to his sexual demands.

Sahih Bukhari: Volume 7, Book 72, Number 715:

"Narrated ‘Ikrima:
Rifa’a divorced his wife whereupon ‘AbdurRahman bin Az-Zubair Al-Qurazi married her. ‘Aisha said that the lady (came), wearing a green veil (and complained to her (Aisha) of her husband and showed her a green spot on her skin caused by beating). It was the habit of ladies to support each other, so when Allah’s Apostle came, ‘Aisha said, 'I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women. Look! Her skin is greener than her clothes!' When ‘AbdurRahman heard that his wife had gone to the Prophet, he came with his two sons from another wife. She said, 'By Allah! I have done no wrong to him but he is impotent and is as useless to me as this,' holding and showing the fringe of her garment. ‘Abdur-Rahman said, 'By Allah, O Allah’s Apostle! She has told a lie! I am very strong and can satisfy her but she is disobedient and wants to go back to Rifa’a.' Allah’s Apostle said, to her, 'If that is your intention, then know that it is unlawful for you to remarry Rifa’a unless Abdur-Rahman has had sexual intercourse with you.' Then the Prophet saw two boys with ‘Abdur-Rahman and asked (him), 'Are these your sons?' On that ‘AbdurRahman said, 'Yes.' The Prophet said, 'You claim what you claim (i.e.. that he is impotent)? But by Allah, these boys resemble him as a crow resembles a crow.'"

The hadith below depicts the prophet of Islam hitting his child bride and favourite wife, Aisha, “striking her on the chest and causing her pain.” Because the Qur’an teaches (Chapter 33, Verse 21) that Muhammad has left an “excellent example of conduct” for Muslims’ to follow, wife-beating is considered to be normative behavior for Muslim believers. In other words, the inhumane crime of wife-beating has unfortunately become sanctified in Islamic theology, and hence mandated in Islamic law.

Sahih Muslim: Book 004, Number 2127:

"Muhammad b. Qais said (to the people): Should I not narrate to you (a hadith of the Holy Prophet) on my authority and on the authority of my mother? We thought that he meant the mother who had given him birth. He (Muhammad b. Qais) then reported that it was ‘A’isha who had narrated this: Should I not narrate to you about myself and about the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him)? We said: Yes. She said: When it was my turn for Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) to spend the night with me, he turned his side, put on his mantle and took off his shoes and placed them near his feet, and spread the corner of his shawl on his bed and then lay down till he thought that I had gone to sleep. He took hold of his mantle slowly and put on the shoes slowly, and opened the door and went out and then closed it lightly. I covered my head, put on my veil and tightened my waist wrapper, and then went out following his steps till he reached Baqi’. He stood there and he stood for a long time. He then lifted his hands three times, and then returned and I also returned. He hastened his steps and I also hastened my steps. He ran and I too ran. He came (to the house) and I also came (to the house). I, however, preceded him and I entered (the house), and as I lay down in the bed, he (the Holy Prophet) entered the (house), and said: Why is it, O ‘A’isha, that you are out of breath? I said: There is nothing. He said: Tell me or the Subtle and the Aware would inform me. I said: Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be ransom for you, and then I told him (the whole story). He said: Was it the darkness (of your shadow) that I saw in front of me? I said: Yes. He struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you? She said: Whatsoever the people conceal, Allah will know it. He said: Gabriel came to me when you saw me. He called me and he concealed it from you. I responded to his call, but I too concealed it from you (for he did not come to you), as you were not fully dressed. I thought that you had gone to sleep, and I did not like to awaken you, fearing that you may be frightened. He (Gabriel) said: Your Lord has commanded you to go to the inhabitants of Baqi’ (to those lying in the graves) and beg pardon for them. I said: Messenger of Allah, how should I pray for them (How should I beg forgiveness for them)? He said: Say, Peace be upon the inhabitants of this city (graveyard) from among the Believers and the Muslims, and may Allah have mercy on those who have gone ahead of us, and those who come later on, and we shall, God willing, join you."