CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 16, 2016 — Occasionally, a news item breaks that is so absurd that there is no reasonable reaction. The video below might elicit anything from outright rage to head-shaking bewilderment to nervous laughter.
In this less than three-minute video, Hassan Al-Laham, the Palestinian Authority mufti of Gaza, explains the proper technique for a Muslim man to beat his wife during an interview on Palestinian television.
Al-Laham starts off with a position that seems almost reasonable, then quickly moves in a direction that most civilized people will find reprehensible.
As Al-Laham calmly and frankly states to a female reporter, a Muslim husband must be careful in his approach to his wife. Do not hit her in such a way “that (it) will bring the police, and break her hand and cause bleeding, or hitting that makes the face ugly.”
Critics of Islam are constantly accused of Islamophobia, but, in this case at least, there is no doubt about the source. Even the most vehement apologist of the faith cannot deny the words as uttered by Al-Laham.
Everyone knows the Quran is the Islamic equivalent of the Bible, but fewer know about the Hadith, which is second only to the Quran in developing Islamic jurisprudence. The Hadith represents the “examples” of the Prophet Muhammad during his lifetime and, as such, are of key importance for Muslims when interpreting the Quran to gain complete understanding of its message.
With that background in mind, here are some hadiths from the “Sunan Abu-Dawud,” a collection of sayings and deeds of Muhammad, as reported by Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs:
• Muhammad: “When one of you inflicts a beating, he should avoid beating the face.”
• Muhammad: “A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife.” – this principle means that a man cannot be required to answer to a sharia court for beating his wife.
• Muhammad: “Do not beat your wife as you beat your slave-girl.”
• Muhammad: “They are not the best among you.” Said of women who complained to Muhammad when he gave permission for their husbands to beat them.
Every chapter in the Quran except one begins with the phrase “In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.” The question then becomes, in what world are these four sayings of the Prophet Muhammad in any way compassionate?
The weekly program was billed as a discussion of social issues, to which Mufti Al-Laham was addressing the subject of divorce. In Islam a man may divorce his wife by saying the word”talaq” three times. “Talaq” means “I divorce you.”
Saying “talaq,” even in jest, anger or over a cell phone, carries the same weight as if spoken during a normal conversation.
It is here that the strange only becomes stranger. As written in Sura (Chapter) 2:229 of the Koran:
If a man divorces his wife, he cannot remarry her until she has wedded another man and been divorced by him; in which case it shall be no offense for either of them to return to the other, if they think they can keep within the bounds set by God.
So while divorce may be relatively simple—for a Muslim man, that is—a woman who does not wish to be separated from her husband might be better off to just take the beating and be done with it.
As the mufti explained to the host, “This hitting is a kind of reminder that the love and friendship that Allah commanded is still found between us (the married couple).”
Perhaps it was Islam that gave us the term “love tap.”
Most disturbing about the video is the calmness and sincerity of Al-Laham as he presents his explanation to the interviewer. He speaks on the subject as though it is perfectly normal to strike your wife in order to keep her “in line.”
Yet these are the thought processes of people throughout the Middle East, a place President Obama, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton believe we can instill Western values and cultural mores upon to change a medieval way of thinking.
No matter how egregious or atrocious each successive act of terror may be, the spin doctors somehow emerge from their darkened corners to proclaim yet again, “Islam is a religion of peace, and my wife has the bruises to prove it.”
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award-winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of the Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
Read more of What in the World and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News. Follow Bob on Twitter @MrPeabod