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Question: Can we spank our wives if they are being naughty?

Your question, I am sorry to say, sounds a little weird. It implies that you consider yourself as some kind of a warden for a medieval boys’ school. For you seem to think that your wife is like a naughty boy to be disciplined by a stick.

Husband and wife relations in Islam are far nobler than what is conveyed by the spirit of your question. They are rather equal partners and companions enjoying mutual rights and responsibilities. The basis of marriage, as the Qur’an beautifully expresses it, is love and mercy rather than dictatorial laws.

The ideal role model for Muslim husbands to follow is that of Allah’s Messenger, upon whom be Allah’s blessings and peace. Let us reflect on the following statement of Aishah, the beloved wife of the Prophet, peace be upon him: “The Prophet, peace be upon him, never struck anyone with his hands: Neither a woman, nor a man, nor a servant.”

The Prophet, peace be upon him, also taught his followers that they ought to treat their wives most compassionately. He said, “The best believer is the one who is best in character; the best in character is the one who treats his wife most compassionately.” We also read from his close companions that the Prophet, peace be upon him, was overflowing with compassion towards his family.

Allah orders the faithful in the Qur’an that they ought to deal with their spouses on terms of justice, fairness and compassion. The above order is often followed by a meaningful reminder: “Verily, Allah is All-Hearing, and All-Knowing.” This indeed is a clear lesson for all those who fail to heed the spirit of the laws and play gods over others.

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