Beating Your Wife, Child OK in United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates’ High Court ruled a few weeks ago that men can beat their wives and children. Wives are always fair game, but children may only be beaten if they are young enough to be properly defenseless (only “young” children may be battered). Also, husbands and fathers must leave no visible mark. So keeping wives and daughters properly covered could come in handy.

Sharia law expert, Dr. Ahmed al Kubaisi, reasoned that wife beating is sometimes necessary to preserve family bonds, “If a wife committed something wrong, a husband can report her to police,” he explained. “But sometimes she does not do a serious thing or he does not want to let others know; when it is not good for the family. In this case, hitting is a better option.”

It’s all so clear to me now. 

Except for the part about why men are qualified to discipline women. Is it that men are more wise and compassionate? And we know this because wife and child abuse come so easily to so many of our less evolved brethren? And why would God want anyone to beat anyone else? 

Islamic scholars don’t all feel that beating women and children is consistent with Islam. 

Islamic law scholar, Dr. Jamal Badawi, says the Quran seeks “the prohibition of any type of wife beating.” Lawyer and women’s rights activist, Summer Hathout, observed, “To those of us who know Islam and the Quran, violence against women is so antithetical to the teachings of Islam.” Islamic feminists note that the word in the Quran which is commonly translated as “beat” (daraba) can also be translated as “to go away.”

Basing prescriptions for battering women and children on religion, the word of God, seems odd. How is violence of any sort good for the soul? 

Beating women. Killing women to preserve “honor.” Throwing stones at women in a stadium. A woman is hit by a large stone. She screams out in pain. And cheers rise up from the crowd. This is ennobling? 

What happens to a person’s soul who behaves this way? Only dehumanization comes  from this mindset and behavior. 

Georgia Platts 

Related Posts: Early Islam’s Feminist Air
Don’t Reject Your Culture, Even When It Mutilates You
Cultural Relativism: Must We Be Nazis to Criticize Them?

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on December 17, 2010, in feminism, gender, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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