A recent ruling by the Federal Supreme Court (FSC) in the UAE has sent the sensitivities of most moderate Muslims reeling. Categorically allowing a husband or father to beat his wife or children as long as no marks are left on their bodies, the verdict is appalling.This ruling has come as the result of a case where a man beat his daughter and wife, slightly injuring them both. Citing sharia law as being compliant with such a ruling, the UAE’s FSC has demonstrated that it is probably the most conservative institution of an otherwise relatively moderate state. Although considered comparatively liberal when compared to countries like Saudi Arabia, instances such as this will bring a bad name and image to the UAE. It is up to the government of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to address this misogynist FSC ruling and have it reversed.
This verdict is just one more example of how Islam is suffering from misguided notions. Islam came at a time when women were being treated worse than cattle and were the property of men. No better than beasts, Islam came as the liberator for women to uplift and relieve them from the cruel objectification and maltreatment they were suffering. As a liberator of women, it is hard to believe that Islam would ever allow a man to purposefully ‘beat’ his wife in order to teach her a disciplinary lesson. Verse 4:34 of the Quran is commonly stated to justify this thinly form of domestic abuse, but it seems to be lost on the rationality of most Muslims that many verses in the holy book exist to serve as metaphors and are not to be understood literally. Interpretation is tricky business and when one encounters contestable issues, it is wise to consider the true message of Islam. As far as women are concerned, that message served to liberate and emancipate them, not the other way around.
Such shameful incidents embroil Islam in more controversy, giving it the unenviable image of a religion opposed to human rights. This is far from the truth. The UAE FSC’s ruling has only served to allow domestic abuse and maltreatment of the female spouse and children. A man may not leave marks on his wife’s or children’s bodies, but he will definitely leave marks on their soul – Dailytimes