In Islam, a man beats his wife to honor her

September 25, 2010

Don’t look at me like that. I’m just repeating the words of the honored Egyptian cleric, Sa’d Arafat. Beatings were instituted by Allah to honor wives:

And I just love the look on the interviewer’s face, as if he’s hearing this marvelous revelation: “Oh, I get it! It’s okay for me to beat her if she denies me sex! It’s all so clear now!”

From the transcript:

Sa’d Arafat: Allah honored wives by instating the punishment of beatings.

Interviewer: Honored them with beatings? How is this possible?!

Sa’d Arafat: The prophet Muhammad said: “Don’t beat her in the face, and do not make her ugly.” See how she is honored. If the husband beats his wife, he must not beat her in the face. Even when he beats her, he must not curse her. This is incredible! He beats her in order to discipline her.

In addition, there must not be more than ten beatings, and he must not break her bones, injure her, break her teeth, or poke her in the eye. There is a beating etiquette. If he beats to discipline her, he must not raise his hand high. He must beat her from chest level. All these things honor the woman.

Understand, guys? There are rules to wife-beating. We must observe the proprieties. And just so we’re clear about the “when” part:

Sa’d Arafat: The honoring of the wife in Islam is also evident in the fact that the punishment of beating is permissible in one case only: when she refuses to sleep with him.

Interviewer: When she refuses to sleep with him?

Sa’d Arafat: Yes, because where else could the husband go? He wants her, but she refuses. He should begin with admonishment and threats…

Interviewer: Allow me to repeat this. A man cannot beat his wife…

Interviewer: …over food or drink. Beatings are permitted only in this case, which the husband cannot do without.

Note the logic here: a man must have sex, he cannot go without it. The woman, by refusing him, is denying her husband something he must have and is therefore in need of discipline – a beating. This illustrates something Ayaan Hirsi Ali has repeatedly pointed out in her books: that Islam makes the woman responsible for the sexual behavior of the man. He can’t control himself, so why is she hurting him by withholding something he needs? The same perverse reasoning is used to justify the whole structure of the oppression of women in Islam, from restrictive, dehumanizing dress codes to the punishment of rape victims.

Somehow, I think this is the kind of “honor” women would rather do without.

UPDATE: Thanks for the links, Lori!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

Sa’d Arafat: Allah honored wives by instating the punishment of beatings.

Interviewer: Honored them with beatings? How is this possible?!

Sa’d Arafat: The prophet Muhammad said: “Don’t beat her in the face, and do not make her ugly.” See how she is honored. If the husband beats his wife, he must not beat her in the face. Even when he beats her, he must not curse her. This is incredible! He beats her in order to discipline her.

In addition, there must not be more than ten beatings, and he must not break her bones, injure her, break her teeth, or poke her in the eye. There is a beating etiquette. If he beats to discipline her, he must not raise his hand high. He must beat her from chest level. All these things honor the woman.

She is in need of discipline. How should the husband discipline her? Through admonishment. If she is not deterred, he should refuse to share the bed with her. If she is not repentant, he should beat her, but there are rules to the beating. It is forbidden to beat her in the face or make her ugly. When you beat her, you must not curse her. Islam forbids this.

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