In the 25th episode of his Ramadan program, the Grand Imam, “Islamic Shari`ā is valid for all times and places”
The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Prof Ahmed Aṭ-Ṭayyeb, said that only symbolic beating is prescribed in the Qur'ān, as the last resort for dealing with the arrogant wife: “Those (wives) from whom you fear arrogance, [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], beat them [slightly]. But if they obey you, then seek no means against them”. This is only symbolic beating intended to reform, not to cause any pain or harm. He pointed out that the statements of the Qur'ān and the rulings of Islamic law are valid for all times and places. Thus, the Qur'ān can’t prescribe using any harmful type of beating. When the Qur'ān orders such symbolic beating, it intends it to reform and rescue the family.
During his talk in the 25th episode of his Ramadan program on Egyptian TV, the Grand Imam explained that this type of treatment has caused a lot of confusion and questioning about Islam and the Qur'ān. The Muslims are thus erroneously asked to change their Divine texts to get along with the movements of feminism and the UN conventions. He referred to what the writer ‛Abbas Al-‛Aqqād mentioned in response to those who object this type of treatment, saying, “Objectors would have the right to object to the Qur'ān, only if they could prove to us that there was not, among all women, even one woman whose behavior cannot be reformed by this type of discipline, in an attempt to avoid demolition of the family.”
He added that the husband's beating of his wife has regulations and limits. It is not permissible for him to break her bones, or hurt any part of her body. If he beats and causes harm, it is unlawful and he must be punished for that. Furthermore, he cannot hit her using his hand, slapping her face, scarify her or leave any psychological impact on her. Here, we see that the intended beating is only symbolic, like beating with a soft toothbrush as we know it these days.
The Grand Imam concluded by saying that the command of beating was mentioned in a single word in the Holy Qur'ān: "Beat them" among a huge number of explicit Qur'ānic texts that protect women and their dignity. These texts instruct the man to improve his treatment and behavior with his wife: Allah says, “Live with them in kindness”; “Retain them according to acceptable terms” and “Do not harm them”. Allah also says “If you dislike them (your wives), it may be that you dislike something but Allah brings a great deal of good through it”. He pointed out that if the word “beat” is combined to this system, it’s clear that this word is not intended for itself as a general way of treatment, but only in the rarest cases. For example, this is the case when the husband is forced either to use this kind of treatment or allow the whole family to fall into an undesirably terrible future.
The Grand Imam's program is broadcast at 6:15 pm daily, throughout the Holy Month of Ramadan. It discusses a number of Muslim family issues, the rights established in Islam for the husband and the wife, and how to preserve the family as a basis for a solid human community.