In the 27th Episode of his Ramadan program on Egyptian TV, the Grand Imam, “It’s not permissible to beat one's wife unless she is Nāshiz (Arrogant), no matter how great the dispute might be”.
The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Prof. Ahmed Aṭ-Ṭayyeb said that it is forbidden to beat a woman who is not a Nāshiz wife. He stressed that beating is only symbolic as mentioned in the Qur’ānic verse, stating, “Those (wives) from whom you fear arrogance, (first) advise them; (then if they persist), forsake them in bed; and (finally), beat them”. This does not refer to any recommendation or obligation. It is only permissible to resort to such beating only if it is confirmed or highly likely to save the family from disintegration. It is "permissible”, in the sense that the two actions [of doing it and not doing it] are balanced, on the basis of necessity.
In the 27th episode of his Ramadan program entitled, “Sheikh Al-Azhar’s Talk” on Egyptian TV, His Eminence explained that a wife who is not Nashiz may never be beaten, no matter how great the dispute might be. He added that dealing with the problem does not begin with symbolic beating, but rather with advice, followed by abandonment in bed and then finally symbolic beating may be resorted to. This type of beating may not be on the face; but what is meant is symbolic beating, such as a man beating his wife with a soft toothbrush. That’s only to break her arrogance and aggression, intending to reform her out of the husband's love to his wife and his eagerness to preserve her, the same as the case when a parent would discipline a beloved child. It is not at all meant to be an act of aggression. When it turns to be an act of aggression, it is then forbidden.
The Grand Imam continued that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) is a role model for the Muslims. Lady Aisha, Mother of the Believers, (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) never slapped anything with his hand. He did not hit a woman (a wife or a slave girl) nor a servant; he would hit only except when he fought for the sake of Allah”. The Grand Imam then added that a noble man would not beat his wife. Furthermore, a man who would beat his wife during the day and then need her at night indeed has a temperament disorder.
He explained that beating the wife is common in several societies, including contemporary societies. Therefore, international organizations have imposed agreements to address this phenomenon. However, such agreements went beyond the reasonable limits and called for complete elimination of differences between men and women. They also called for the abolition of the husband’s right to discipline his wife, a process which can sometimes be deemed necessary.
The Grand Imam's program is broadcast at 6:15 p.m. 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.