This is not a new subject, but it somehow escaped my attention. More is the pity, since it really opens new horizons. Watch this first:
Clearly the learned cleric knows the subject at hand, so to say, very well, and not only in theory.
It appears that there is a growing body of work on the subject in Islam. Both the theory and practice of this, seemingly unsophisticated, way of marital communication are developed and formulated to satisfy the most curious and inquiring mind. Let's start with the fundamentals, which could be conveyed to a person in a hurry in three simple steps:
- If the husband senses that feelings of disobedience and rebelliousness are rising against him in his wife, he should try his best to rectify her attitude by kind words, gentle persuasion, and reasoning with her.
- If this is not helpful, he should sleep apart from her, trying to awaken her agreeable feminine nature so that serenity may be restored, and she may respond to him in a harmonious fashion.
- If this approach fails, it is permissible for him to beat her lightly with his hands, avoiding her face and other sensitive parts.
For more demanding and sophisticated of us, there is a refined and nuanced approach more suitable for a refined and nuanced Western society. It is offered by the learned Sheik Al-Qaradhawi, one of the bosom buddies of the Red Ken Livingstone, which by itself is an excellent recommendation:
Beating is not suitable for every wife; it is suitable for certain wives and for other wives it is not. There is a woman who cannot agree to being beaten, and sees this as humiliation, while some women enjoy the beating and for them, only beating to cause them sorrow is suitable…So, as you can see, my friends, there is more psychology to the beating of your spouse that you could have guessed initially. Obviously, one could do worse when choosing his first (or next) wife according, between others, to the above mentioned proclivity as well.
The esteemed Sheikh shows the unfathomable depth of his wisdom in another statement:
It is forbidden to beat the woman, unless it is necessary...If you do not feel the same way, you obviously could not become a good Muslim. Forget it.
But the sophistication does not stop here. There is more material that a Western man can learn and use - all according to the measure of his understanding, of course. It appears that in the countries that are not (yet) totally embraced by Islam, the rules of male's behavior are even more complicated:
Mufti of Egypt Sheik Ali Gum'a: Wife-Beating Is Permitted by Islam in Muslim Countries, but Is Forbidden in the West. ...If in their culture, this constitutes aggression towards women, then we are forbidden to be aggressive towards women.This complicates the decision making process of the male, making it a real exercise in applied philosophy. On one hand "It is forbidden to beat the woman, unless it is necessary...", while on the other "then we are forbidden to be aggressive towards women".
Of course, to resolve the quandary, I am going to consult with SWMBO. She will tell me how to behave for sure.
I did approach SWMBO. The results were severe. The first step (gentle persuasion) was skipped, and steps 2 and 3 were applied to me in a quick succession, while there was no avoidance of my sensitive parts. My personal conclusion is that I should dedicate more time to the study of the Islamic materials on the subject. There is obviously something missing in my understanding of the subject.