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Islamic Studies in Malaysia: Three Ways to Beat Your Wife

Islamic Studies in Malaysia: Three Ways to Beat Your Wife

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Last year in Malaysia, a sample exam question in an Islamic Studies course aroused the ire of a female activist. The story is here:

Lawyer and activist Siti Kasim has called on Education Minister Maszlee Malik to explain an Islamic Studies examination question for Form Five students on permissible ways to “hit a disobedient wife.”

“Is this what our Malay children (are) learning in school?? What is this Maszlee? Is this acceptable?

“What kind of trash are we teaching the kids in school?” she asked in a Facebook post alongside an image of the examination question.

No doubt Siti Kasim is deeply offended by Qur’an 4:34, which gives a husband the right to “beat” a disobedient wife, but she can’t bear to discuss it, she simply wants to dismiss it, not hear about it, not admit that it exists — “what kind of trash,” she rails, “are we teaching the kids in school?” What kind of trash? The Qur’anic kind, that neither she nor anyone else can ignore, unless that verse happens to have been abrogated, and 4:34 is not.

Council of Europe report on the compatibility of sharia with convention on human rights:

In Islamic family law, men have authority over women. Surah 4:34 states: ‘Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and forsake them in beds apart, and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surely God is high, supreme.’ 11 While wives clearly have a duty of fidelity, 12 husbands do not.