Is Beating Your Wife Allowed in Islam?

The verse that people will bring up related to this topic is the following, where Allah says, “Men are the caretakers of women, as men have been provisioned by Allah over women and tasked with supporting them financially. And righteous women are devoutly obedient and, when alone, protective of what Allah has entrusted them with. And if you sense ill-conduct from your women, advise them ˹first˺, ˹if they persist,˺ do not share their beds, ˹but if they still persist,˺ then beat them ˹gently˺. But if they change their ways, do not be unjust to them. Surely Allah is Most High, All-Great” (Quran 4:34).

This is exactly why there are Ahadiths: to understand how to interpret the Quran in the way the Prophet PBUH interpreted it. The Prophet PBUH said, “I enjoin you to treat women well, for they are like captives in your hand. Verily, you may not treat them otherwise unless they commit flagrant immorality. If they do so, then you may separate from their beds and strike them without causing pain, but if they return to good conduct, then you may do nothing against them” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi 1163).

This clearly shows that it is completely prohibited in Islam to hit your wife in a way that would cause any pain. On top of that, one can’t hit the face in Islam. This is because the purpose behind this is not to hurt the woman, rather, it is intended to make her aware that she is transgressing against her husband’s rights and it serves as a warning. Even Ibn ‘Abbaas, one of the Prophet’s companions, was asked about the manner one would do this, and he said it is like hitting with a siwaak. For those who don’t know, a siwaak is like a small toothbrush. Now imagine getting hit by a toothbrush and tell me how painful that is to you.

So even if a wife commits immoralities, Allah orders the husband to first advise her, then to not have intercourse with her, and even as a last resort, to disciple her in a way that does not involve the face nor cause any pain or harm or bruise whatsoever, as the Prophet PBUH commanded in the hadith above.

Moreover, treating your wife in a good and just manner is an incredibly noble act in Islam. In an authentic Hadith, it was narrated that the Prophet Muhammad PBUH said, “The best of you are those who are the best to their wives, and I am the best of you to my wives” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi 3895). In the Prophet Muhammad’s last sermon before he passed away, he advised, “O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have right over you. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to commit adultery.” This is why the Prophet Muhammad PBUH never put has hands on any of his wives.

To conclude, it should be noted that in Pre-Islamic Arabia, they used to bury their daughters alive, as having a daughter was seen as a disgrace. Women were treated as property with no rights at all. Even in the western world, women were deprived of many of their rights until recently, such as voting. Islam liberated the women, gave them honor, dignity, and their due rights. This is why, despite all of these outrageous, ongoing allegations against the way Islam treats women, most people who convert to Islam are in fact women!