Saudi Family Therapist: Don't Beat Your Wife With Rod or Sharp Object, Use Sewak Tooth-Cleaning Twig

Michael W. Chapman | April 27, 2016 | 2:24pm EDT
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A Muslim family therapist in Saudi Arabia, Khaled Al-Saqaby, posted a video in which he gives advice on “wife beating,” explains that the “necessary Islamic conditions for beating must be met,” and shows that husbands must not use a long wooden rod to beat their wife but instead use a tooth-cleaning twig or handkerchief.

In the video from February, which was translated into English and re-posted by the Washington, D.C.-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI),  therapist Khaled Al-Saqaby begins, “Assalaam Alaykum. Allah’s blessing upon you. Welcome to our show, which will deal with wife beating. I am aware that this issue is a thorny one, which contains many hazards, but Allah willing, we will cross this bridge safely.”

“I believe that the problem arises when husbands do not understand how to deal with disobedience,” says Al-Saqaby.  “Some women disobey their husbands and make mistakes with them, and their husbands think this is due to inadequate treatment (of disobedience).”

“Allah said, ‘As for those on whose part you fear disobedience, advise them,’” said the family therapist.  “This is the first step in disciplining one’s wife. First, remind her of your rights and of her duties, according to Allah.”

He continued, “Then comes the third stage, the issue of beating. We have to understand that the aim is to discipline, not to vent one’s anger. The necessary Islamic conditions for beating must be met.”

“The beating should not be performed with a rod such as this one,” said Khaled Al-Saqaby, holding up a long wooden staff.  “Nor should it be with a headband, which some husbands use (to beat their wives), or with a sharp object, which, I’m sad to say, some husbands use.”

“It should be done with something like the sewak tooth-cleaning twig,” explained Al-Saqaby. “Ibn Abbas said that she should be beaten with a sewak, like this one, or with a handkerchief because the goal is merely to make the wife feel that she was wrong in the way she treated her husband.”

The family therapist went on to explain that tensions arise in marriages sometimes because the wife wants to live on an equal footing with her husband.

“Undoubtedly, some of the causes pertain to the wife,” said Khaled Al-Saqaby.  “Let me mention two of the many causes. The first is arguments between the wife and her husband. Unfortunately, some wives want to live a life of equality with their husband. A life of equality – you do something and I’ll do the same. This is a very grave problem.”

“In addition,” he said, “sometimes a woman makes mistakes that might lead her husband to beat her. I’m sad to say that there are some women who say, ‘Go ahead, if you are a real man, beat me.’ She provokes him.”

On the video program, a screen graphic says that if people have questions, they can contact Khaled Al-Saqaby through twitter, @KhaledAlSaqaby. 

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