In the seventh chapter of his Ramadhan religious consultation show, Mauritanian scholar Sheikh Muhammad Ould Dedew was asked whether a husband may "discipline" his wife by beating her. Sheikh Dedew answered in the affirmative and explained how and when a man may beat his wife and children. He said that the beating should be a man's last resort, and he must avoid hitting his wife's face or beating her in a fit of anger. Sheikh Dedew explained that the man should beat his wife three times with his hand on her back, and not use a whip. The chapter, dedicated to the subject of marriage, was posted on Sheikh's Dedew's YouTube channel on June 24.
Interviewer: "What about the right to discipline? Does a man have a right to discipline his wife and beat her?"
Sheikh Muhammad Ould Dedew: "In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. The husband is the guardian of the home, and he is required to implement the word of Allah there. If one of the family members violates the word of Allah, the husband becomes an accomplice to the sin, if he does not prevent it or discipline the violating party. If this can be achieved by any less severe measure, he must not resort to [beating]. If he can reform matters with a rebuke, a word, or a look - it's enough, but if not, he must resort to more severe measures. Yes.
"The husband is the ruler in his home. His authority over the family members includes discipline by beating. Allah has said so."
Interviewer: "Are there no restrictions on these disciplinary beatings?"
Sheikh Muhammad Ould Dedew: "Everything is subject to restrictions. It is restricted to cases in which one of Allah's prohibitions was breached, and when the wife and children cannot be reformed any other way. Another restriction is that the beating must be compatible with the crime and body size. The beatings must comply with the restrictions of the shari'a: not on the face, not in times of anger, not to satisfy one's desire for revenge... According to some jurisprudents, the beating is limited to three blows.
"The beating consists of three blows to her back. He must beat with his hand. He can't use a whip. He should beat her with his hand three times on her back, and in order to chase away Satan, he must utter the name of Allah with each strike. That way, he chases Satan out of her."