Islam allows good husbands to berate wives but only with a ‘touch’, scholar says

Perlis Mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said a Muslim man cannot hurt his spouse and stressed that such rebukes cannot be done in public. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Perlis Mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said a Muslim man cannot hurt his spouse and stressed that such rebukes cannot be done in public. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 — Islam permits a man to rebuke his wife only through “touch” and not by beatings, and only if he has fulfilled his duty in providing financially for the family, a scholar said today amid a debate on domestic violence.

Perlis Mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said a Muslim man cannot hurt his spouse and stressed that such rebukes cannot be done in public as the woman will be humiliated, in response to a man who recently hit his female partner on the head several times at the Kota Kinabalu airport.

“You cannot harm her, but just touch her to say you’re very serious,” Asri told Malay Mail Online.

“If she does something she’s not supposed to do, you give advice. But if she ignores you, then you avoid sleeping together, and if she still ignores you, then you can touch her, but not a harmful touch,” the popular Muslim cleric added.

He said in Islam, men are obliged to provide for the household while women have no such obligations, but a wife can choose to work after getting permission from her husband.

When asked if women are treated like children by saying that men can discipline their spouses, Asri said there are leaders in every community or workplace.

“If you say your husband is leader of the family, but if the husband can’t say anything, what kind of leadership is that? So he can ‘tegur’ (rebuke), but he must be a good husband. Choose a good husband because your husband is the leader who’ll protect you, lead you, guide you,” he said.  

The alleged assault at the aerobridge in the Kota Kinabalu airport Monday went viral on social media after documentary filmmaker Beatrice Leong posted a photograph of the couple on Facebook and complained about how no one intervened except for her.

In her post, Leong said some told her not create trouble when she told the man off for beating his tudung-clad partner while they were boarding the Kota Kinabalu-Kuala Lumpur flight on Malindo Air.

Malindo Air told Malay Mail Online yesterday that it had no right to prevent the man from boarding the plane, pointing out that his partner did not report the alleged assault to crew members and that the incident did not disturb other fellow passengers.

Related Articles