Not surprisingly, this article doesn’t let on that Islam could have anything to do with that, what with wife beating sanctioned in Qur’an 4:34, and in the sayings and example of Muhammad. He himself struck his child bride, Aisha, for following him out of the house without permission; her father, Abu Bakr, is recorded hitting her even after her marriage to Muhammad. And on the subject of leaving the home, Umdat al-Salik (Reliance of the Traveler) instructs:
The husband may forbid his wife to leave the home because of the hadith related by Bayhaqi that the Prophet … said: “It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to allow someone into her husband’s house if he is opposed, or to go out if he is averse” (m10.4).
If women’s rights activists and would-be Muslim reformers truly wish to make a difference in combating domestic violence, they must confront passages such as these.
“Muslims speak up about domestic violence,” from Deutsche Presse-Agentur:
SYDNEY – Women and children are beaten by their menfolk in homes across Australia. Mostly the spur to domestic violence is alcohol but sometimes cultural mores are at work that allow men to excuse their behaviour.
“They view wives and daughters as an extension of their honour and when they deviate from what they would view as accepted … they see it as an undermining of their own status,” said Sydney psychiatrist Tanveer Ahmed.
He was talking about violence in Muslim homes and commenting specifically on a call from the Muslim Women’s National Network Australia (MWNNA) to tackle those in the community who use religion to justify domestic violence.
“It’s a real problem,” MWNNA president Aziza Abdel-Halim told The Sydney Morning Herald. “There’s wife beating, there’s children beating. Some of them go to the extent of forbidding the woman to leave the home.”
Ahmed said Muslim victims of domestic violence were reluctant to go to the police. If they went to the imam of their mosque, he was likely to side with the perpetrator.
“Very rarely would you get the imam trying to punish the man,” he said. “They”ll see it more as, if not culturally appropriate, then culturally understandable.”