Middle East Media Research Institute has just released a report on Islamic Shar’ia law related to wife-beating.
In January, Sheikh Muhammad Kamal Mustafa, a Muslim cleric in Spain, was sentenced for publishing his book “The Woman in Islam” which includes the application of Shar’ia law as it relates to wife-beating.
One of the interesting points brought up in this article is the various interpretations of what the rod is and how beatings should be administered. For instance, in Mustafa writes,
“The [wife-]beating must never be in exaggerated, blind anger, in order to avoid serious harm [to the woman].” He adds, “It is forbidden to beat her on the sensitive parts of her body, such as the face, breast, abdomen, and head. Instead, she should be beaten on the arms and legs,” using a “rod that must not be stiff, but slim and lightweight so that no wounds, scars, or bruises are caused.” Similarly, “[the blows] must not be hard.”
Please pay attention to the description of the rod, “must not be stiff, but slim and lightweight so that no wounds, scars, or bruises are caused.”
This is the same wording used by some Christians about the type of rod that should be used when punishing children. For example, Gary Ezzo teaches that children ought to be “chastised” with a “biblical rod” which he describes as “somewhat flexible, not stiff or unbending” instrument (GKGW, p.220). Ezzo families sometimes describe this being a wide strip of rubber tubing, a rubber show sole, a thin razor strap, or a large glue stick.
Michael and Debbie Pearl similary suggest that “a light, flexible instrument will sting without bruising or causing internal damage. Many people are using a section of ¼ inch plumber’s supply line as a spanking instrument.”
Credenda Agenda suggests, “. . .wood seems the obvious choice. Look for something about a cubit long that flirts with flexibility, but be sure it’s strong enough. . .” Volume 14, Issue 4
Both Ezzo and Pearl call for immediate obedience from children, followed by “chastisement” with the rod if they don’t comply without delay.
At least the Muslims show more patience with their wives–beating with a rod is the third step in “wifely discipline.” The first is gentle verbal admonishments and the second is being removed from the marriage bed.
From the photos in the MEMRI article, the Muslim’s “small rod” is a bit bigger than a glue stick.
However, the photo of the “large rod” seems to be much closer to a shebet, the type of rod that is referred to in Proverbs.