I beg to differ

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Heretic declarations

 

The tumult began after a verdict of the Council declared that women may be ‘lightly beaten’ by their husbands in certain circumstances

 

Apparently the outrage over the CII is slightly misplaced. The reports pertaining to it have so far been inaccurate. Rest assured, things are far worse.

The tumult began after a verdict of the Council declared that women may be ‘lightly beaten’ by their husbands in certain circumstances. It is germane to mention here that the recommendation was in response to the KPK provincial government’s request where it sought guidance regarding the proposed legislation titled “women protection act”. Any sane person would question the irony of the bill; how a bill attempting to empower women will actually thrust them into a state of utter subjugation. Furthermore, there are several legal and religious issues that do arise from this proposed recommendation. Starting off with the religious aspect, it can be vehemently argued and justified that Islam does not allow, or even in the slightest, encourage any kind of violence against women, including domestic violence. One can find a number of verses spread all over the holy text that mandate a more than good treatment for women (2:229-237; 4:19; 4:25). These verses further shed light on the fact that kindness and mutual respect is the hallmark of a good relationship between a man and a woman. In fact, Allah has also said that both genders are in a sense safeguards for one another. It is to some degree a necessity to develop an atmosphere of kindness and mercy. If things were not made clear enough in light of the aforementioned, the Quran also takes one step further in the absolute clarity of this relationship by stating that a man should not ever raise his had even if his wife is suspected of extramarital affairs. Covering such an extreme case sets precedence for most other matters as well. Furthermore, the Quran repeatedly warns against the use of injurious statements by a husband against his wife. (Quran 58:2-4). It should not be so hard to understand the stance of Islam on physical violence on women in light of the aforementioned Quranic verse that even discourages emotionally harming wives.

If that were somehow not enough to alleviate any remaining shreds of suspicion, let’s look at the fact that the prophet (PBUH) not only argued passionately against violence towards women and children but also never indulged in any such act. Conversely, it can be argued that not hitting your wife/women is a “sunnah”. This should be a word of advice for all these“pious” and “sunnah-loving” Muslims; rather than marking off every other absurdity on your list of things to do, try practicing something saner instead.

 

The edifice of a legal system rests on the smooth transition of laws that are tailored to fit the changing conditions of the society

 

However, people who still want to turn a deaf ear to the increasing mounds of evidence being presented here, are in for an interesting lesson in linguistics. Many people tend to misinterpret a specific verse of the Quran for their own nefarious purposes. The verse in question is 34 of chapter 4. The verse goes on as follows: A man if in disagreement with his wife should talk to her (sounds logical so far) and then refuse to share her bed. If these measures fail, the last step is where many people seem to follow a stern interpretation. Many translators see it as “beat her up” where as the translation can have multiple (less violent and saner) translations such as “leave her”. This obviously seems more in line with the prophet’s (PBUH) practice as well as several other verses of the Quran seem to point towards.

Now imagine for a second the chaos that could ensue if men were allowed to beat their wives “lightly”. What would constitute a “light beating”? Who would decide if the beating was “light” or not? Would physical marks be the only yardstick to measure the intensity of a beating? What if the wife is beaten excessively in such a way that there are no scars? Also the permission that the wife can be lightly beaten “when needed” is very problematic, at the very least. It will basically give the husband an unfettered right to take advantage and be a judge in his own cause and decide the “need for a beating”. Clearly, the list is never ending.

The edifice of a legal system rests on the smooth transition of laws that are tailored to fit the changing conditions of the society. Ambiguity in legislation not only negatively impacts the progress in a society but also imposes an impasse in the legal system. It is pertinent to mention that it is not the first time that the council has disappointed a majority of the populace. Incidences in the past are proof of this persistent state of disappointment and morbidity furnished by the rigid decisions of the Council. For instance, ruling out DNA as a source of evidence in rape cases, voiding a woman’s objection to her husband remarrying; endorsing underage marriage are all illustrative of the vague and irrational decisions. It is about time that the council of Islamic ideology either be restructured into a better intellectually equipped body, or relieved of its duties all at once. Suffice to say, in today’s time our perception of the Islamic ideology finds no room for reconciliation with the heretic declarations made by the “intellectual elites” of this council.