Thursday, November 08, 2007

One of these days, Bahirah . . .

     Just about the only good thing about being sick with the flu is that it affords me plenty of time to read, and today I happened across a real gem: Muslim conventions on wife-beating. Now, at first I must admit that I wondered what all the fuss was about. I mean, if your wife won't do what you want her to do then you just smack her around until her attitude is properly adjusted. However, I did begin to wonder whether or not the great religion of love and peace had anything worthwhile to say on the application of physical violence. After watching a few video clips, I was surprised to find out just how wrong I was. The Muslim world has, over the centuries, developed a well-thought-out and nuanced approach to beating one's wife and I'd now like to share it with you, my readers.

Your wife is not your camel

     "Allah created women with these delicate, fragile, supple, and soft bodies . . . " So sayeth one of the great sages of Islam . . . I didn't catch his name, so don't bother to ask. From his teachings, however, it is quite clear that he is wise in the ways of Koranic domestic violence, so no name is necessary. His philosophy goes something like this: Allah created men generally stronger than women, so while women manipulate men by crying it is therefore both perfectly acceptable and quite natural for men to express their feelings through yelling and hitting. All praise be to Allah, then, for he has blessed us with a proper procedure which must be adhered to because, well, the only other alternative is to divorce the hag; take the house, the camel(s), and the kids; and then kick her to the curb as damaged goods. That would be a bad thing, the specter of divorce hanging over a man's head like that. So, in order to avoid such a situation the first thing a man must do with his wife is not to beat her, but to admonish her.
     A man's wife is not his camel. Or even his donkey, for that matter; both have far greater trade-in values. More importantly, at least for the matter at hand, animals can't understand most human speech, so if they won't comply with your orders it would be the height of folly to try to reason with them, and only an idiot would do anything other than beat them with a switch. A woman, however, does understand human speech, so the rational thing to do is to yell and scream at her. "Once, twice, three times, four times," even ten times or more if necessary, all in the hope that she'll eventually quit crying, get a clue and do you what you tell her to do already and quit bitching about it. Many times this will do the trick, but not always. Fortunately, there is a second step.

Not tonight; I have a headache

     Allah, in his infinite wisdom, has bestowed upon women two main weapons. The first of these is crying, often for no apparent reason whatsoever. The second is arguably the more potent of the two: the power of seduction. And when a man finds that admonishment fails to reform his wife's attitude, it his her seductive capacity that he must turn against her by refusing to talk or sleep with her. "How can this possibly work?" you ask? Fairly easily, that's how. Men are, by and large, strong and powerful and can do whatever they want. Women, by contrast, are weak and feeble and thus cannot do whatever they please. When a woman sees that her husband will not talk to her or sleep with her and that soon she will no longer have anyone on whom to depend, she will throw herself at his feet and beg him to allow her to do his bidding, this being the way Allah intended it. There is, of course, the possibility that a woman will simply refuse to acknowledge Allah's will. She may see her husband's alienated affections as a good thing. She may believe that it would be nice not having a man around the house bothering her. She may think it fine and dandy that she'll have the whole bed to herself at night so she'll be able to hog all the blankets and there won't be anyone around to complain about her ice-cold feet. She would be wrong, of course, and in such an extreme case of spousal intransigence there is one final disciplinary measure available to the faithful servant of Allah.

"Pow, right in the kisser!"

     No, not right in the kisser; such a thing is strictly forbidden by the Koran . . . when dealing with one's camel, of course. Striking your camel or donkey in the face is expressly verboten by the holy book, therefore it is doubly wrong when dealing with your wife. After all, she is a human being, albeit a weak and fragile one who can be easliy instructed through mild-to-moderate violence. They key here is to administer a light beating. As always, Allah has blessed us with some fairly specific guidelines as follows:

  1. Thou shalt not beat thy wife in front of your children; this is a private matter between a man and his wife
  2. Thou shalt not draw blood
  3. Thou shalt not cause any bruising
  4. Thou shalt not breaketh any bones
  5. Thou shalt not beat thy wife in the face and thus cause her to look ugly
The purpose of all these rules is to impress upon the husband that the idea here is not to just simply cause pain. The purpose of beating a draft animal is to instruct the beast as to your wishes by using pain because, let's face it, it would be silly to yell at an animal, no matter how much better it would make you feel. The camel simply won't understand your anger, but it will understand the sting of a switch. A woman, however, is a much more emotional being, so some mild pain administered by, say, a toothpick will cause her far more emotional pain than physical, and will hopefully make her understand that her husband just cannot take any more of her insubordination. And at the end of the day, that's what it's all about: communication. That and bringing about in a wife the desired reformation of her attitude towards what Allah intended of women. One more thing: A husband should not wait until he is consumed with anger by his wife's behavior. He should rather strike before the iron gets hot and he ends up putting his fist through his wife's face as if he were venting his frustrations against the wall. This would be a violation of Allah's rules, and even if his wife forgives him for it he cannot be certain Allah will do the same on Judgement Day.

     Allahu Akbar.

For further instruction, please reference the following web sites: