In the 26th Episode of his Ramadan program on Egyptian TV, the Grand Imam says, “The customary beating of the nāshiz (arrogant) wife is not approved by Islam”.
The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Prof Ahmed Aṭ-Ṭayyeb, said that the issue of beating the nāshiz wife is greatly misunderstood. The Qur'ān and the Islamic jurisprudence are misunderstood in this matter because the word “beat” collocates with severe harm to the human soul that by nature does not accept the idea of a human being beating another. Islam itself does not allow this. The concept of beating must be clear to people, because it is in fact symbolic and only permissible in a limited particular case. That is when it is resorted to as a treatment for a specific case of arrogance. Therefore, we must understand it correctly, away from the ordinary meaning of beating which people normally tend to imagine.
During the 26th Episode of his Ramadan program on Egyptian TV, His Eminence added that beating one's wife is not absolute. Islam and the Qur'ān do not encourage that. Moreover, this cannot emanate from any law or any system respecting the human being. However, symbolic beating comes in the case of the nāshiz wife as the third solution in case advice and bed abandonment do not work with her. This symbolic beating has restrictions and limits. It is only used with the wife who wants to change the situation in the family and overthrow the responsibility of her husband. Beating here is then meant to break the pride of the wife that arrogantly transcends her husband. The way of beating as a treatment is misunderstood by many people, despite what the Islamic law has set as restrictions and limits so as not to allow any physical or moral harm. Its purpose is to discipline, not to harm.
The Grand Imam explained that the choice of symbolic beating is the third option, succeeding advice and bed abandonment. It is not obligatory, compulsory, or even desirable, but it is permissible for the husband if he finds himself in front of a nāshiz wife, realizing that this is the only means that may fix his wife's misbehavior. Here, it’s permissible for him to resort to symbolic beating. This solution is exceptional from the prohibited origin. Beating is originally prohibited in Islam. Because it is an exception, it is prescribed under strict conditions. It is not permissible for a husband to beat his wife unless she is really nāshiz, even if there is a dispute between the spouses. Also, it is forbidden for the suitor to extend his hand with beating toward his fiancée. There’s another condition for the husband to observe when he wishes to beat his wife: beating her is should be meant for reform not for aggression.
The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar called on preachers and muftis who lead the fatwas through the media or anywhere to show people the truth and the nature of beating the nāshiz wife properly as set out by the Islamic law, which has placed strict restrictions and limits on that. Also, they have to assure the prohibition of absolute beating, and to remove the distorted image of Islam and the Qur'ān in this regard. The process of “beating” has many degrees; beating the wife must be without causing harm to her. It is to discipline and reform her in order to bring her back to the right path to be followed by the family. Islam aims to preserving the family and protecting it from disturbance and loss.
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.