A Husband's Duty

Pamela K. Taylor, founder of Muslims for Progressive Values, addresses Aasiya Zubair Hassan, domestic violence and Islam:

...if all the soul searching the Muslim community has done these past few weeks is to have any effect, we must acknowledge that there are problematical verses in the Qur'an and there are certain hadith which must be countered. Unfortunately, the calls for the Muslim community to openly stand up against domestic violence, have been silent with regards to the parts of our scriptural heritage that have been and continue to be used to justify all sorts of barbarous treatment of women.

It is fact, nonetheless, that the Qur'an and hadith have been used to foster a culture of patriarchy so absolute that many Muslim men perceive it as their right to expect abject obedience from their wives.

Some imams and scholars go so far as to say that it is a husband's duty to hit his wife if she errs, discussing at length the limits to such hitting: It must be done in such as way as to leave no mark, they say. It cannot be on the face or other sensitive areas, It should be done lightly, using a small stick, with little force. Others discuss the provocations that could merit such physical punishment -- ranging from those who say it is only in the case of adultery or flagrant breaking of marital vows, to those who say it can be for any sort of spiritual lapse, to those who allow it in any kind of open disobedience to the husband's wishes.