Beat Your Wife and Children Properly

Not a good day for Islamic political figures today. The newest black sheep in the Saudi Royal family was convicted in London of murdering his servant after a lengthy history of abusing him. Islamists held in prison with Prince Saud Abdulawhatever have also been making threats at him because the prince has now been outed as not only a sadistic psychopath, but also a party boy who loved to carouse with alcohol and rentboys. Solitary confinement in a British prison never looked so good; if he ever gets back to Saudi Arabia, I doubt even his family connections will keep him from being executed for the capital crime of being very, very gay.

The real story boiling my blood is the case of two battered women in the United Arab Emirates, where after a man brutally attacked his wife and daughter he was told it’s just fine to beat them, but he went a bit too far by leaving physical marks.

The Koran does specify proper procedure for wife beating. I consulted a recovering Muslim friend, Fatima (not her real name), and she agreed that it is impossible to read those verses in a way that does not give tacit approval to a man being violent toward his wife, both psychologically and physically. Keep in mind that Muslims are obligated to accept the Koran as the pure unadulterated actual words of god. At least other faiths acknowledge human beings as intermediaries. For Islam, the Koran is much less negotiable than other forms of scripture. The only way around the teaching is to move into a reformed or post-Muslim mindset and ignore these verses, the way many modern Christian sects view the unsavoury parts of the Old Testament, but to openly advocate this would be viewed as apostasy by most Muslims. Essentially, all non-new-age schools of Islamic thought agree that a Muslim man has the right to humiliate his wife. What they argue over is how hard she should be hit. It’s astonishing to see people miss the point that any form of humiliation, even symbolic, is still harmful to the woman and her abuser.

Problem one with this so-called word of god: It ignores the lasting damage done by psychological abuse. Mental scars take longer to heal than physical damage. Even if a man taps a woman under his power lightly, the purpose is still to humiliate, control, and demean. It tells a woman, “I may not be really hurting you now, and you owe me gratitude for that. Just remember that if you really displease me I’ve got the right to put you in your place, you stupid cow.”

My second problem is the almost laughable conclusion that the daughter in the case was “too old” at the age of 23 to receive physical discipline from her father. Clearly her mother wasn’t too old, so the issue is that really the daughter should have had her own protector and maintainer husband to do the beatings himself.

This kind of story needs intense scrutiny in the news. It’s disturbing to see papers like The Guardian pulling the story “for legal reasons.” I expect more backbone from a British news source. Religion does not deserve immunity from criticism. Beliefs that are barbaric should not be tolerated in any way, shape or form. Islam is such a hot-button issue that many people instantly shy away from any legitimate criticism of the system, lest they be painted “Islamophobic.” As Fatima pointed out to me: “All religions have serious problems: violence, magical thinking, misogyny, superstition, or truth denial. Islam has all of the following. We need to stop lying to ourselves. When Islam is in the wrong, it is an imperative to say so.” I couldn’t agree more.

8 thoughts on “Beat Your Wife and Children Properly

  1. I wrote about the UAE supreme court ruling, too! And, “Fatima” is right about the Qur’an’s “wisdom” on this particular issue. I mean, sure, it’s hard to point fingers, as the Bible recommends procreation through mass rape, but at least we’re trying to move beyond it.

    Religion, indeed, shouldn’t be immune–but we’re too busy being PC about Islam to realize that, sometimes, moral equivalency isn’t appropriate.

  2. How any Christian can condemn Islam and the Koran for this when the Bible says the exact same things (and worse; I believe according to the Bible you can stone your wife for disobedience, while the Koran says you should only swat her) is beyond me. If you don’t think it’s okay (especially if you think it’s against God’s will) to hit people, then you have to concede that God didn’t want those parts written (or else you’re saying God changed his mind about violence), so the Bible cannot possibly be the inerrant word of God. For realz.

    • I believe, based on how Fatima explained the Koran to me, it’s because Jews and Christians accept the Bible as the word of God as the prophets believed it was. Muslims understand the Koran to be the unadulterated word of God. Those were the literal, actual words spoken by Allah, and Muhammad just wrote them down. The only portion of the Bible that resembles the nature of the Koran is where Moses receives the Ten Commandments from God. Imagine if Christians viewed the entire Bible as having that level of literality, and you understand how Muslims view their book. That’s why it’s only the Koran if it remains in the original Arabic. Most sects of Islam view translations of the Koran as study aids, rather than the word of God. This makes it easier for practising Jews and Christians to come to terms with the factually incorrect or unethical portions of their books than practising Muslims.

      • That might be true of some Christians, because there is of course a massive variety of perspectives on the divine inspiration of the Bible within Christianity, but there are of course Christians who believe in the literal inerrancy of the Bible, and yet they reject a great deal of what it says.

  3. Honestly, I think any time people decide other people–whether the writers of a certain book, or the “living prophets” of the Mormon church, or whatever–are inerrant, we’ve got serious problems.

    The problem, here, is that the most vocal people on both sides are the ones who apparently think the very worst parts of their religious texts are perfectly appropriate. And therein lies the problem: sure, religion has the potential to be more (e.g. Mother Theresa), but it seems to mainly be a tool of social control. People who want to beat their wives and children, and then blow off some steam by killing people, will naturally be drawn to any religion, or philosophy, which can be twisted to–at least in their own minds–support their agenda.

  4. Indeed — very depressing news has been coming out of the Arabian peninsula lately. These articles are reminders that human rights still need defenders in many parts of the world.

    “What they argue over is how hard she should be hit. It’s astonishing to see people miss the point that any form of humiliation, even symbolic, is still harmful to the woman and her abuser.”

    Spot-on. It baffles me to read books on Islam that downplay the Quran’s attitude on domestic violence, or try to narrow the definition of nushuz (a wife’s “rebellion” mentioned in Surah 4:34). Domestic violence is wrong, period — and if a holy text is condoning domestic violence, I don’t have any use for it.

  5. Pingback: Sunday in Outer Blogness: in-group-out-group edition! | Main Street Plaza

  6. allah approved misogyny is one of many severe problems with islam which is dangerous no matter how it is packaged…

    the twin fogs of political correctness & ignorance must be dispersed before western society better understands this menace. even a brief review of islamic theology & history quickly exposes the deadly roots of this evil ideology.

    see the links in the pdf version below for more accurate info about islam
    ==========

    islam is a horrible ideology for human rights

    5 key things about islam

    1. mythical beliefs – all religions have these (faith) because its part of being a religion: having beliefs without proof until after the believer dies. the problem is people will believe almost anything.

    2. totalitarianism – islam has no seperation of church and state: sharia law governs all. there is no free will in islam: only submission to the will of allah as conveniently determined by the imams who spew vapors to feather their own nests. there are no moderate muslims: they all support sharia law.

    3. violence – islam leads the pack of all religions in violent tenets for their ideology & history: having eternal canonical imperatives for supremacy at all costs and calling for violence & intimidation as basic tools to achieve these goals.

    4. dishonesty – only islam has dishonesty as a fundamental tenet: this stems from allah speaking to mohamhead & abrogation in the koran which is used to explain how mo’s peaceful early life was superseded by his warlord role later.

    5. misogyny – present day islam is still rooted in 8th century social ethics: treating females as property of men good only for children, severely limiting their activities, dressing them in shower curtains and worse.

    conclusions ??

    there really are NO redeeming qualities for this muddled pile of propaganda.

    islam is just another fascist totalitarian ideology used by power hungry fanatics on yet another quest for worldwide domination and includes all the usual human rights abuses & suppression of freedoms.

    graphics version

    1 page pdf version – do file/download 6kb viewer doesn’t show fonts well, has better fonts header footer links, great for emailing printing etc
    http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B_UyNP-72AVKYWNiNTFlYTEtMTA1ZC00YjhiLTljMDUtMDhhNDE0NDMzNmYz

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