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Abbas’ advisor: A man is permitted to beat his wife when she is disobedient

Official PA TV program Horizons, hosting Supreme Shari’ah Judge, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs, and Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'ah Justice Mahmoud Al-Habbash

Supreme Shari’ah Judge, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs, and Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'ah Justice Mahmoud Al-Habbash: "In this noble verse Allah spoke about one situation in a woman's behavior. He said:
‘As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance).’ [Quran, Sura 4:34, Yusuf Ali translation].
The meaning is that the noble Quran and Allah permitted this gradualness in dealing with wrong behavior by the woman, and not for the purpose of realizing the man's will...
The man who is intended here is not only a husband. When Allah said: 'Admonish them,' it can be the husband, the father, the brother. It can be the society or the ruling authority. ‘Refuse to share their beds’ – that is perhaps especially for the spouse. 'And [finally] strike them' ‘And beat them’ – this too is not necessarily especially for the husband. In principle, do we recognize harmless beating, educational beating, as a means of education? Is it one of the means of education and means of correcting behavior, or is it not one of the means of correcting behavior? We are divided on this subject from a social perspective… before we talk about the religious ruling." [...]
Official PA TV host: "What type of violence?"
Mahmoud Al-Habbash: "Look, what is violence? Violence is crossing the line in relations. Violence can also be psychological. It doesn’t have to be physical. It isn’t necessary to use material means. Screaming – raising the voice strongly without justification, which crosses the line, is violence. Imprisoning, denying rights, confiscating rights – all of these are using violence." …
Host: "After the clear interpretation of this verse, what is being used now is violence, whether verbal or physical. How does Islam view the use of violence against a woman, whether it is gradual, after utilizing the gradual stages you mentioned, or without utilizing them?"
Mahmoud Al-Habbash: "Look, once again, we need to know what the definition of violence is. Is beating, only beating- when I beat my son to educate him, as Prophet [Muhammad] said on the issue of teaching the sons the prayers: 'Command them to pray when they are at the age of seven, and beat them for this when they are 10 years old' [Hadith]. The beating here is an educational beating, and not violent beating. This is beating to warn about a mistake, and to create the feeling that a mistake was made, and not violent beating. There is merciful beating, and there is violent beating.  Violence in general is crossing lines in terms of behavior, in every field: Physically, verbally, or psychologically. Why do we only talk about physical violence, there is also psychological violence, which can be worse than physical violence. Violence in general is rejected. However- however, a measured use of what can be termed violence, or force, or punishment – this is permitted from a religious and social perspective, for the purpose of educating criminals.”
Host: “It happens frequently that a man beats his wife, or his sister, or another woman. What is the Shari’ah position about this act?
Mahmoud Al-Habbash: "Allah’s messenger was clear about this matter when he said: ‘Do not beat Allah’s handmaids.’ [Hadith] And I think that it is completely clear. OK. This Hadith, perhaps someone will say that it contradicts the verse. No, I combine the two. ‘Do not beat Allah’s handmaids.’ In other words do not beat women – the intention is unjust beating, violent [beating], that causes damage. And also – in another Hadith it says: ‘Do not beat the face,’ – in other words, that it is forbidden to beat on the face. On what will he beat her? He will beat her on her shoulder, for example, or her back; or perhaps [it means] that the beating is in the sense of a threat of beating.”
Host: “Before we turn to this matter, let’s put all the ideas on the table, also those that are unusual, or rare. For instance, a woman says: ‘Why is the man permitted to beat me, and I am forbidden to beat him if he behaves towards me in a way that I would be beaten for if I behaved that way towards him?’”
Mahmoud Al-Habbash: “As long as Allah permitted a certain type of beating, it is for the good. It is good for society and good for the woman and the man. However, regarding the question of why Islam permitted a man to hit and not a woman: Look, the woman is more sensitive, and this is a kind of preference for her by the way. Perhaps someone will come and tell me: You are engaging in sophistry. No, this is how it is. This is a kind of preference for the woman. You, the man, even if you were beaten, will repeat [the behavior] over and over because the man, let's put it this way, his sensitivity is tougher than that of the woman. However, the woman can be affected by anything. In addition, in general, beating is permitted against the man and against the woman. ‘The [unmarried] woman or [unmarried] man found guilty of sexual intercourse - lash each one of them with a hundred lashes’ [Quran, Sura 24:2, Sahih International translation]. And this is permitted [against] the man and the woman… Every man who beats his wife, his sister, or his daughter for no reason, he is committing a forbidden act. [If] he beats her only because he is angry at her, this is forbidden. [If] he hits beats her just because he wants to unburden himself and heal his resentment towards her, towards her children, or towards her siblings, or towards a particular behavior – this is forbidden.
The one and only situation, which is very limited and very rare, in which a man is permitted to beat in a way that doesn’t harm, doesn’t injure, avoids the face, and doesn’t cause strong pain – is the situation of disobedience. Only a situation of the woman’s disobedience. The disobedient woman, the woman who is out of line, the woman who destroys the bonds of marriage, and the bonds of home and family. Aside from this, any type of beating, injuring, and cursing of the woman constitutes a forbidden act. The man must know that the woman is not his handmaid and not his servant. She is his partner."

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