Following is an interview with President of Al-Azhar University and former Mufti of Egypt, Dr. Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, which aired on Nile News TV on May 25, 2007.
Ahmad Al-Tayyeb: With regard to wife beating... In a nutshell, it appeared as part of a program to reform the wife. [According to the Koran], first "admonish them," [then] "sleep in separate beds, and beat them."
Interviewer: I think we must stress that this pertains to a rebellious woman...
Ahmad Al-Tayyeb: Of course. It's not that anybody can start beating as he sees fit. [Westerners] who claim this talk about an Islam which is a figment of their imagination. They are villains because they know there's no such thing in Islam, and they want to pin this interpretation on it. Why? Because Islamic culture is the only culture that is spreading, and is viewed with fear by people of other cultures. In any case... This method appeared as part of the treatment of a rebellious wife. I am faced with two options - either the family will be destroyed by divorce, or I can use means that may bring my wife, the mother of my children, back to her senses. The first means is admonishment.
The second means of treatment is "sleeping in separate beds." Why? Because this targets the honor... A lot could be said about this. The strength of a woman lies in her ability to seduce the man. The man is strong and can do whatever he wants, but the woman has a weapon of her own. This weapon can be targeted. Many women will come back to their senses, when they realize that this is what's involved.
By Allah, even if only one woman out of a million can be reformed by light beatings... It's not really beating, it's more like punching... It's like shoving or poking her. That's what it is.