Question and answer details
|Lately, I gained genuine interest in Islam. I know something is “true” about it… but…I am scared to fail in establishing a nice warm family if I take any step further… So many things seem to be contradicting…Why do I have to beat my child when he is 7? I don’t believe in beating in the first place… what about a 7 years old child?! How can a mother do that… or even a father??Why do I have to “OBEY” my husband, while he wouldn’t obey me? And how come marital relation, which should be based on love, be depending on “obedience”?!What if I am not convinced with what he wants me to do? How come he has the right to – again – beat me??!!How can someone love me, but orders me around and even beats me when he wishes?!Is it true angels would curse me if I refuse to make love with him? What if I am not feeling well? What about him? What if he refuses to make love with me… don’t I have the same rights??Is it true that my prayers would not be accepted if I fail to satisfy my husband’s desires? What if his desires are unpleasant? Why is that big fuss about husband’s rights? What about rights of a wife?!|
I’d like to know what you’ve been reading about Islam, because it does seem to me that you have some distorted ideas and I am concerned about the source. I hope they are not from books by Muslims!
First of all, I do not know of any source in Islam that says you “have to beat a child when he is seven”. The only hadith I know of is one that says to begin teaching the child to pray at seven, and if he/she doesn’t pray at ten, to hit him/her. The Arabic word daraba is better understood as “hit” than “beat” (repeated hard hitting, usually with something).
Early Muslim jurists told us that such hitting was to be so light as to not leave a mark. Also, we should follow the example of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who was reported to have always corrected children with gentle words and to never have hit a child.
Allah orders us to live in peace and harmony with our spouses. In Surah 30, verse 21 He says:
Also, He says in Surah 2, verse 187:
Commentators on the Qur’an understand this to mean that husbands and wives are for mutual support, mutual comfort, and mutual protection.
You ask about obedience to the husband and his “right” to beat you. The answer is that he does not have the right to beat you! In fact, the one verse in the Qur’an that mentions this - Surah 4, verse 34 - has to be read in its entirety and understood in Arabic.
Islam prohibits men from hitting women, except in one very limited case when the wife is rebellious and disobedient - not when she disobeys one request or order - and only as a last resort. The husband should first admonish her, then abandon her bed if she continues to be rebellious, and only if those steps have failed “may be” hit, not beat, her. The earliest commentators understood that the hitting was to be light enough, not to leave a mark and should be done with nothing bigger than a miswak (tooth stick).
We also know from the hadiths and sirah (biography) of the prophet (peace be upon him) that he has always urged men not to abuse or hit their wives. In fact, he is known to have never hit his wives, servants, an animal, or “a thing”. And, he is the model we should emulate. For more about the issue of beating wives, please read the following:
Bonds of Love and Mercy
So the husband should consult his wife on major decisions and take her opinion into consideration, but the ultimate decision is his, because finally there must be a decision-maker and head to this vital institution – the family.
There is a hadith that states that the prayers of three people will not be accepted [or raised to Heaven], one of whom is the woman whose husband is angry with, until he is satisfied. But, if we are in a loving marriage - which is what we should all strive for - a woman would rarely do something to anger her husband, and he would rarely retain his anger. Yet, if he really is unjust to her, another hadith tells us that the prayers of three people are always heard, one of whom is the person who has been dealt with unjustly.
So, you cannot take just one point without examining others. Husbands and wives should consult each other and try to compromise when they disagree. If a woman has to give in to her husband, sometimes because the final decision is his, she should do it willingly for the sake of Allah and to maintain peace in the family. It is also to be noted that if it turns out to be a bad decision, the responsibility is his!
This situation does not mean that the wife would be weak if she gives in. She has a different kind of strength, a “tensile” strength to bend rather than snap. And, if she does it for the sake of Allah, He will definitely make things easier for her. For more on these topics, please see:
As for the man and woman’s sexual rights, first of all remember that one of the main reasons for marriage is to give a halal (legal) outlet for our natural sexual urges. If a man or woman were to repeatedly refuse to fulfill the sexual needs of the spouse, this would tempt the spouse to seek satisfaction outside the marriage.
Does Islam Permit “Marital Rape”?