The centuries-old Islamic teaching of beating one’s wife if they show disobedience keeps making news when Muslim clerics push for laws allowing such physical violence in Muslim countries. Pakistan – the so-called castle of Islam – is currently in news again for it.
Russia Today and many other news sources reported on the proposal of Council of Islamic Ideology of Pakistan to let husbands “lightly beat” their wives to discipline them. The civil society and human rights advocates have reacted with anger and condemnation over the proposal.
The topic is interesting because of the question of interpretation. In the Islamic holy book Koran, which defines the code of conduct for Muslims, the chapter Al-Nisa (meaning “Women”) grants men the permission in very clear words: advise them, forsake them in bed, and strike them. Since the times brought mankind to an age of secularism and human rights, Muslim clerics started to save face and Koran from criticism by claiming the striking part needs interpretation – and the best they could do was suggesting that Koran meant “light beating”.
Other anti-women proposals of the same Pakistani clerical body include forcing women into breastfeeding for at least 2 years and not having the right to use a contraceptive without the husband’s permission. In other words, they want man to be in total command and the wife to act as a slave. But no surprise, that is pretty much what their religion teaches no matter how they mince words.