But according to Perak Mufti Harussani Zakaria, handkerchiefs are also good for whacking wives with.
In other words, if your wife is reluctant to do the Humpty Dumpty on a camel, if you know what I mean, you can whack her nice and good with a handkerchief. Isn’t that right, Ustaz?
The truth is that Islam has never condoned violence against women, not even by way of the humble handkerchief.
I believe many have misinterpreted Verse 34 of Surah An-Nisa:
“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more strength than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them first. Next, refuse to share their beds. And last, beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means of annoyance.”
Many an interpreter has concluded “beat them” as striking without injury or bruising, causing scholars to refer to beating using a folded scarf or a handkerchief. These examples clearly were meant to be symbolic.
If one would take some time to study this verse closely and do some proper research, perhaps one would understand that the Arabic word “dharb” or “beat” as mentioned in the verse doesn’t mean to cause physical hurt.
What it means is “splitting” or “separating”. This coincides with the act of “beat it” and definitely not “beat them”.
Let’s take a look at the verse once again from a fresh perspective. The three steps mentioned when a wife misconducts herself are: First, try to resolve the problem by discussion. Second, if the problem cannot be settled by discussion, do not join her in bed (do not force her into sex) and give her space to think. And thirdly, if the matter is still unresolved, separate yourself from her until you both can work things out.
Now doesn’t that make absolute sense?
I would like to point out two hadiths which support the verse above and reject wife beating in Islam:
“I went to the Prophet and asked him: What do you say (command) about our wives? The Prophet replied: Give them food that you have for yourselves, and clothe them by which you clothe yourselves, and do not beat them, and do not revile them.” – Narrated by Mu’awiyah al-Qushayri
“The Prophet said: Act kindly towards woman, for woman is created from a rib, and the most crooked part of the rib is its top. If you attempt to straighten it, you will break it, and if you leave it, its crookedness will remain there. So act kindly towards women.” – Narrated by Abu Huraira.
It really saddens me that despite our evolution in technology and civilisation, Muslims seem to be trapped in a Stone Age mentality, ever reluctant to develop their knowledge on things that matter. Instead we would rather be parrots who absorb everything preached to us without even having the urge to seek the truth.
So to all Muslim men out there, I am sorry to disappoint you, but no, you cannot whack your wife, even with a handkerchief.