The following are excerpts from a discussion on wife beating on Qatar TV: Dr. Ibrahim Elias, a lawyer:
There is a difference between instilling discipline and aggression. Likewise, there is a difference between wife beating as a phenomenon, as a right, as a duty, or as a rule.
The phenomenon of beatings is widespread, but does religion support beatings? No, religion is a means of therapy. When Allah said in the Koran "and beat them," he didn't establish it as a rule, but as a means of therapy. Does a surgeon wield a knife from the outset in order to operate? No, if there is a gangrened limb, he amputates it, and if there is pain, he treats it efficiently. Islam refers to the issue of beating at the end of the verse. Before verse 34 in the Al-Nisa Sura in the Koran it says, "As for those from whom you fear disobedience…" "Disobedience" means a wife who refrains from obeying the man. The man is the guardian in his home, he is the judge, and of better judgment. When the wife rebels…
Moderator Muna Al-Shazli: The judge and of better judgment?
Elias Indeed, he is of better judgment. The man is the judge in his home.
Al-Shazli There are many cases of people, including Arabs, where the wife has better judgment.
Elias I am speaking as a rule.
Al-Shazli Excuse me for a moment, if we accept everything in our lives as a given, we will never make progress. I'm usually neutral but there is no one here to help me, so let's discuss this…
Elias I am neutral…
Al-Shazli You claim that as a rule, the man is of better judgment?
Elias Allah claims this.
Iman Bibars, Director of the Womens' Development Society: I conducted a study in seven random areas in Cairo, in Palestine, Kuwait, Jordan, and Syria. I'd like to say that I found something that took me by surprise. I call it "a culture of the electricity cable." What does it mean? The men in the study did not know one another, but they all used to beat their wives with electricity cables. These cables are large and they would beat their wives.
Dr. EliasOur civil law and Islamic law do not present wife-beating as a rule, but they deal with a situation where a man beats his wife. What should we do then? My friend, if you beat your wife and it's only light beatings in order to set things straight - that's it. We forgive light beatings. We tell him, "They are not considered an assault, but discipline."
Al-Shazli What do you mean by light beatings? I'd very much like to know what they are…
Elias Light beatings, from the legal aspect…
Al-Shazli I'd like to say something. When a man treats his wife this way, when his hand is like an iron rod, she is hurt, physically and mentally… What kind of idea is this "light beatings"?
Elias Light beatings are not excessive. They don't leave a mark, don't break bones, don't cause bleeding, and don't cause death. These are light beatings. With some women - nothing helps except beatings.
Bibars And with some men - nothing helps except beatings.
Elias For example, a man comes home from work and finds his wife watching TV. She doesn't even get up to make him food. He tells her once, twice, and asks again. If only once he would raise his voice and beat her, she would get up to prepare food for him and by the next day she'd be obedient. This will last for a week and when she forgets, he will remind her. Let's admit it, the woman was created from a crooked rib.
I would like to send a message from here: The wife must speak quietly and she must carry out all her duties toward her husband and family. She must not give her husband the chance to beat her, and if he has already beaten her, she must treat him in a way that will not cause him to repeat it, so the beatings won't become a habit.