In regard to your response about “Beating Women” posted on May 17th. I won’t discuss “Nushooz” in much detail since I have already sent you a question along those same lines but I do want to comment on number 4.
A woman, like a man, has all the authority to refuse having sex with her partner in any given instance. But on the other hand, if she adopts an attitude of refusal to fulfill the sexual or other needs of her husband, it may, in certain cases amount to a case of Nushooz, or refusal to accept authority.
I don’t understand how a woman can be beaten for refusing sex for whatever reason. I realize you believe she is beaten for “Nushooz” not for refusing sex though I would not know how they could be differentiated. If a women can be beaten until she agrees to fulfill her husbands sexual needs, (submit to his authority) is that not rape, which is condemned in the Qur’an? If refusing sex can, in some cases, be “Nushooz“, then refusing to cook a certain dinner when requested or wear certain clothing (such as hijaab) could also be “Nushooz” and allow a beating.
I find it difficult to see where the line is drawn between a woman’s rights and a husband’s ‘authority’. It seems, for the most part, to be left up to the husband’s discretion.
When I say that when a wife “adopts an attitude of refusal to fulfill the sexual or other needs of her husband”, it implies that it is not a matter of “not being in the mood”, but rather a matter of refusal to be considerate towards the other partner.
As an example, it is one thing to disagree on something and an absolutely different thing to adopt an attitude of “refusal to agree”.
Islam has considered fornication as one of the biggest sins… not just against an individual, but against the society. Sexual relationship, in Islam is only allowed between a man and his wife. Islam recognizes that the fulfillment of sexual needs, like other natural needs, is necessary for living a healthy life. It is because of this reason that in my opinion, if a wife refuses (not just that she is “not in the mood”) to cooperate with her husband, in matters relating to his sexual needs, it might ultimately result in his looking to fulfill his desires from such other places which Islam has prohibited. This would ultimately not only spoil the mutual relationship of the husband and wife but may also result in the ultimate doom of the man in the hereafter. It is because of this reason that, in my opinion, such a situation, in certain cases may amount to “Nushooz“.
I would like to stress here that this is strictly my opinion. It is not a specific directive of Islam. What the Qur’an has directed is that when a person fears an attitude of “Nushooz” (refusal to accept the position of the other person) from his wife, he should adopt the process mentioned in Al-Nisaa 4: 34. In this process, if he thinks that a light beating may result in improving the situation, he may opt for it. However, as far as determining what exactly is and what is not a situation where a wife can be said to have adopted an attitude of “Nushooz” has been left on people to decide. Thus, I may think that such and such situation amounts to “Nushooz” while another person may not.
Because the matter can be quite subjective at times, Islam has imposed two checks so that the man (who is given authority in this case) may not misuse his authority. The first check is that a woman, who feels that she is not being dealt with properly, may take her plea to the court of law, where it would be judged whether the man has wrongfully used the authority delegated to him by his Creator. The second check, is that the man must not forget that soon he shall face his Lord and shall be made to answer for all that he does in this world. He must not forget that if he does not treat his wife in the proper way, he shall have to face the consequences of such misbehavior when he meets his Lord. And He must not forget that his Lord is the most mighty, the supreme. This is exactly what the words at the end of the verse in question imply. “Indeed God is most powerful, the supreme”.
Do let me know if you still think that my opinion is not correct. This only gives me a chance to reconsider my opinions and to make them more precise and accurate.
22nd May 1998