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It’s OK for husbands, fathers and brothers to beat disobedient women, says Abbas` advisor

Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik  |
   
It's OK for husbands, fathers and brothers
 to beat disobedient women, says Abbas' advisor
 
  • Contradictory messages: At very same time that the PA ran a campaign to stop violence against women, Abbas' Advisor on Islam justified violence against women
     
  • "As long as Allah permitted a certain type of beating... It is good for society and good for the woman and the man."    
 
 
By Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
 
Contradictory messages are an art in the Palestinian Authority. A striking example was when right in the middle of a PA campaign to stop domestic violence against Palestinian women, Abbas' advisor and top PA religious figure explained on TV exactly when, how and why husbands, fathers and brothers are allowed to beat women!

The following are examples of Abbas' advisor
completely negating the positive anti-violence messages:
 
Abbas's Advisor Al-Habbash PA TV public service campaign
 
[Official PA TV, Horizons, Dec. 1, 2018]
[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Dec. 9, 2018]
 
"'Admonish them,' it can be the husband, the father, the brother... 'And beat them' - this too is not necessarily especially for the husband."
"No to violence against women"
"Why Islam permitted a man to hit and not a woman: Look, the woman is more sensitive ... the woman can be affected [to change] by anything."
"There is no authority that gives men the right to attack women"

The Palestinian campaign to stop violence against women ran during the international "16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence" campaign calling to end violence against women and girls. The campaigns began on Nov. 25 on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and ended on Dec. 10, Human Rights Day.
  
While this campaign was running and teaching that it is never acceptable to hit women, Abbas' advisor Mahmoud Al-Habbash explained on official PA TV that there are situations in which men are allowed to beat women. In fact, it is even good for the women:
"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."

When is it permitted? Not very often explained Al-Habbash; only when women are "disobedient":
"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."

While Al-Habbash defends the practice, saying it is "rare," the categories of women who may be beaten that he himself describes are so general that he opens the door for ongoing abuse: "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."

Al-Habbash quotes the Quran that he must not beat her immediately but must try two earlier disciplinary measures: First "admonish them, (next), refuse to share their beds," (i.e., the husbands) and only then if the woman is still disobedient are the men permitted to beat them.


Al-Habbash indicated that the beating of wives should not be seen negatively since when the woman is beaten it is "good for the woman," because she will learn and mend her ways. The man, however, cannot be beaten by his wife because it is ineffective. He "will repeat [the behavior] over and over because the man, let's put it this way, his sensitivity is tougher." In summary, it is no use for a Muslim woman to beat her husband because he will not learn, but a Muslim man - as a last resort - can beat his wife since it is "good" for her and she will learn. 


However, to demonstrate the range of Islamic law, Al-Habbash added that men too can be beaten, not by their wives but by the courts, with "100 lashes" - if they "are found guilty of sexual intercourse" before they are married. - Again this is a rule set out by the Quran.


On the topic of domestic beatings, Al-Habbash also taught TV viewers that it is permitted to beat boys at the age of 10 in order to motivate them to pray: "The beating here is educational beating... merciful beating."


See longer excerpt of Al-Habbash's teachings below.

Given this PA leadership message that beating of women is permitted by her husband, father and brother and that it is "good for the woman," it is no wonder that the liaison to the campaign against domestic violence Sandy Hanna stated that "we have a long way to go in the fight against violence":

Campaign Liaison and Support Director for the Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development Sandy Hanna: "This campaign will not be occasional as the violence against women - especially in Palestine - is complicated and has been repeating for many years and we have a long way to go in the fight against violence, whether it is gender-based and essentially reestablishing itself due to society's patriarchal foundation, or the most dangerous reason, which is the occupation and the implications inherent to it. Therefore, I do not want us to be frustrated, but there is a long way to go in the fight against violence."
 
[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Dec. 9, 2018]
  
This is not the first time PA leaders have stressed that men have a right to beat women. Palestinian Media Watch has made the following compilation of Palestinian leaders explaining to men how to hit their wives properly - an explanation Al-Habbash also gave in his recent teachings on PA TV. The compilation includes a female PA TV reporter's reminder to men that there are "religious rules" as to how the beatings of the wife should be carried out. The compilation refutes the PA's claim that it is "the Israeli occupation" that causes domestic violence among Palestinians, and shows without a doubt that beating women is considered a Quran-given right:

An additional poster from the Palestinian campaign against violence against women showed men and women on either side of a balanced scale to symbolize their equality:
 

The following is a longer excerpt of Abbas' advisor on religious affairs, Al-Habbash's teachings on the matter of men's right to beat women:

Supreme Shari'ah Judge, PA Abbas' advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash: In this noble verse Allah spoke about one situation in a woman's behavior... "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)" [Quran]... The meaning is that the noble Quran and Allah permitted this gradualness in dealing with wrong behavior by the woman... 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...  "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? ... Prophet [Muhammad] said... "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. ... There is merciful beating... 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... 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]... 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...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."
[Official PA TV, Horizons, Dec. 1, 2018]

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