One may ask:
Isn’t it better for the man to admonish his wife, instead of beating her?
Of course! And verily, this is the Judgment of Allah, the All-Wise, Who said in His Book:
“As to those women on whose part you fear disobeying with arrogance, ill-conduct and rebellion, admonish them (first), (then if they persist), forsake them in bed (i.e. turn them your back), and (last) beat them (lightly, as a last solution if you have to, and nothing from the previous two steps has any result); but if they obey you, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great.” (Surah An-Nisa’, 4:34)
The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) also said in his farewell pilgrimage:
‘Treat your wives in the best manner, they are like captives in your hands; you do not owe anything else from them, unless they are guilty of open indecency, and if they do so, then turn your back at them in bed, and beat them lightly, imperceptibly, but if they obey you, then do not wrong them in any way. Verily, you have rights over your wives and they have their rights over you.’ (Reported by At-Tirmidhi)
So, as we have seen, Allah, the All-Wise, the All-Knowing concerning the issues of His slaves, He made the solution of the problem of an immoral wife in three stages, in the following way:
The first stage: admonition and guidance:
It is obligatory upon a man to follow the path of admonition and guidance to solve the problem with his wife if he saw signs of immorality in her behaviour, before he follows the path of turning his back at her in bed. This sequence is obligatory according to the words of most scholars. Thus, the man should try to touch his wife’s heart with nice words by which he will gain and soften her heart, making her feel how important she is in his heart and that he admonishes her because he wishes the good for her and the whole family.
Namely, the man should have done everything he could, trying to admonish his wife, in order to correct her behaviour. And we should take into account that admonition does not come from a cold heart or with a cruel manner, but verily, admonition means kindness in conversation in an effort to touch the heart of the person you admonish, and kindness in behaviour, as for example a man to bring a present to his wife, so as for her to accept the words of her husband with a pleased heart and receptivity. It is also obligatory upon the intelligent wives who are generally moral, to receive admonition from their husband’s words, taking into consideration the future of their home and children. If, though, the woman is immoral and stubborn and neither admonition nor guidance seems to be effective, then the husband can resort to the second solution, as Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) ordered us.
The second stage: turning the back in bed:
As we have already explained, if the admonition has no result and the woman does not accept admonition or guidance, then it is allowed to her husband to turn his back to her in bed, denying to have sexual intercourse with her for three days maximum, since if he continues for more than three days he is torturing, not correcting her. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
‘It is not lawful for a Muslim to desert (stop talking to) his brother beyond three nights, the one turning one way and the other turning to the other way when they meet, the better of the two is one who is the first to greet the other.’
The purpose of turning his back at his wife is so as for her to feel that her husband is really sad due to her behaviour. This solution also functions as a second chance for the wife so she can think during it the subject in all its aspects.
But if the wife thought it over and decided to abandon her immoral behaviour and return to good manners, then it is obligatory for the husband to stop turning his back and forgive her and treat her nice. But if she insists on her obstinacy and arrogance, not caring about guidance, and her husband finds no other solution, then he is allowed to use this final solution.
The third stage: the imperceptible beat with Siwak:
If a man tried and strived to correct the immoral behaviour of his wife through admonition, nice words and presents, but none of these had any effect with his wife, and then he tried through the turning of his back in bed, and this again had no effect, then it is allowed for the husband to beat her imperceptibly using the Siwak.
‘Ataa’ said: ‘I asked Ibn ‘Abas how an imperceptible beat is. He said: ‘With Siwak and anything similar to it.’ Furthermore, Al-Hasan Al-Basri said: ‘To be imperceptible.’
By Allah, what pain can the Siwak cause dear reader?! And can you call beating one’s wife with As-Siwak domestic violence?! “Siwak”, (its size is the one of a pencil), so as for the meaning of the word beating in Islam to be understood.
If, dear reader, you consider beating one’s wife imperceptibly with the Siwak domestic violence, come see how many Hollywood movies depict quarrels between men, or between a man and a woman, or between an employer and employees, in which quarrels one put his index finger on the chest of the other, warning him or he may even beat him on the chest with his finger or with a pencil which he holds in his hand. And in many other cases a man slaps another. Furthermore, in many movies the wife reaches during her conversation with her husband the point of slapping him harsh on the face, or the conversation leads the man to slap his wife on the face and then he leaves the place. And Westerners do not consider any of those incidences domestic violence, but they think that intense emotions led the man to beat his wife and vice versa. They also think that the husband and wife are civilized people. And we should take into account that even slapping someone’s face is forbidden in Islam. But they attack Islam and falsely accuse it that it encourages violence.
Taking into account that the stages of admonition, turning a husband’s back at his wife, and finally beating her are not a solution for everyday problems between spouses, but they function as a solution only to the problem of immoral and arrogant behaviour of the wife.
For example, if a man tells his wife to cook for him today rice and fish, but she forgets it and cooks rice and chicken, then may we say that the three stages mentioned before, such as admonition, turning his back and light beating should be applied in such a case?!!!
Of course not! Since these are small things which should pass peacefully, without even admonition, but if the wife is an immoral stubborn woman and her husband starts noticing symptoms of immorality, disobedience and arrogance, namely very serious things, then we are before a woman who needs correction in behaviour and guidance and solution to this problem. Imagine, dear reader, this woman to insist on her obstinacy, arrogance and immoral behaviour, that in the end will surely result to the destruction of her home, and will lead to divorce, while her husband did everything he could for a long time, concerning the stage of admonition and guidance, and that of turning his back, but she responded to none of them. Which is best in this case, divorce or light beating?!!!
If to beat her is the one-eyed and divorce the blind, then the one-eyed is better than the blind! And verily, leaving a wife in such a behaviour, this will surely lead to the destruction of the whole family and certainly, as a consequence, to the destruction of the whole society.
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