Wife Beating in Islam: Permissible?

Question and answer details
As-Salamu 'Alaykum, I have recently read a fatwa where the mufti states that it is permissible for a husband to beat his wife if she refuses to have intercourse with him. What are the conditions under which physically rebuking the wife, with force, becomes necessary? Muslim men take these types of fatwas as license to become dictators inside the home.

Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Thank you brother for your good question and your interest to know Islam's teachings regarding husband-wife relationship.

Indeed, Islam pays due attention to the marital relationship, as it the base and the hedge of the family without which families would face unendurable problems, and might reach a dead end. Hence, both the husband and wife are ordained by the Qur'an and the Sunnah to treat each other well.

It was narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "The best of you is the best towards his wife, and I'm the best of you to my wives." (Al-Bayhaqi and Ibn Hibban from `Aishah)

Responding to your question, Sheikh Gamal Qutb, the Ex-Head of the Fatwa Committee at Al-Azhar Ash-Shareef, stated,

As for beating a wife which is mentioned in the Qur'an, it is a way of suspending dealing with her, and waving with the hand as a sign of warning and drawing attention, not for hurting or offending.

As regard to intimate relations between spouses, it should never be asked for with harshness, irritation, nor beating. This is due to man's nature and feelings with which he had been created. The one who asks for this matter (the intercourse) should prepare the emotional feelings of the other side to enjoy this relation.

Given this, it becomes obvious that a husband should never beat his wife for this sake, i.e. intercourse, as this would cause the marital relation to decline to the level of animal relation, and may lead to divorce.

Allah Almighty knows best.