"Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that God has preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for God's guarding. And those you fear may be rebellious admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them." (Qur'an 4:34)
Muhammad’s example is normative for Muslims, since he is an “excellent example of conduct” (Qur'an 33:21) – and according to a canonical hadith, Muhammad’s favorite wife, his child bride Aisha, reports that Muhammad struck her. Once he went out at night after he thought she was asleep, and she followed him surreptitiously. Muhammad saw her, and, as Aisha recounts: “He struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you?” (Sahih Muslim 2127) Aisha herself said it: “I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women.” (Sahih Bukhari 7.72.715)
The Koran commentary Ruhul Ma’ani reflects mainstream Muslim understandings of this verse when it gives four reasons that a man may beat his wife: “if she refuses to beautify herself for him,” if she refuses sex when he asks for it, if she refuses to pray or perform ritual ablutions, and “if she goes out of the house without a valid excuse.”
Nearly half Saudi women are beaten up by their husbands or other family members at home and many of them are hit by sticks and head cover, according to a university study published in local newspapers on Tuesday.
Surprisingly, the study found that the Bedouin men who still dwell the desert in the conservative Gulf Kingdom, are less violent than Saudi men in urban areas.
The study was conducted by Dr Lateefa Abdul Lateef, a social science professor at King Saud University in the Capital Riyadh. It involved female students at the university and some Saudi women covered by the government’s social security.
“The study showed that nearly half those covered by social security and more than a third of the female students at the university are beaten up at home,” Dr Lateefa said, quoted by the Saudi Arabic language daily Almadina.
“Husbands were found to be beating their wives more than others….they are followed by fathers, then brothers then sons…hands and sticks were found to be used mostly in beating women, following by men’s head cover and to a lesser extent, sharp objects.”
The study showed that husbands beating their wives included both educated and non-educated men and that “those dwelling in the desert are less violent with their wives than those living in cities or villages.”
The study found that the main reasons for violence against women include poor religious motives, drug addiction and alcoholism, arrogance and a tendency to control, psychological problems, poverty, and unemployment.