Boko Haram, Daesh and the Taliban all have one common element in common, apart from the bloodlust: their hatred of and lust for women.Their actions and words speak loudly of the low status they give to women: species they would rather ravage, satisfy their base desires with and control their bodies and spirit. The world and Pakistan fight these vile men at the front. How should men and women of sound reason respond to pronouncements that encourage sexual slavery, depravity and incite men to violate and control women who have had the misfortune to marry them? Not only this, such revolting statements are made under the guise of “Islamic ideology” and aim to further restrict the prison like lives of the majority of women in the country.

These “advisors on Islam”, have taken it upon themselves to be upholders of societal morality, through placing curbs on every aspect of a women’s life where she may be likely to exercise her (invisible) decision making powers. The declarations included non acceptance of DNA as evidence for rape, promoting marriages of young girls, disallowing agreement of the first wife for polygamy and considering initiating divorce by women un-Islamic. Where does this distorted reasoning come from; why are they bent upon ensuring that women prefer death in this country? And now, they have managed to boggle the mind once again by proclaiming the “right” of husbands to beat their wives upon being challenged (and how?) and exercising revolting sexual control. They place restrictions on co-education, jobs being held by women and their duties in the public sphere.

Nothing of what these eminent men (they have gained much publicity in the international world, as a legislative body that encourages Pakistani men to “lightly beat their wives”) is in the least Islamic. Indeed, every point is anathema to the Word of God and to the Quran, as are killing and adultery. The verse on which beating is based is 4:34, which calls upon women to be pious and obedient to God, keep faithful in marriage and if husbands fear their fidelity, are to be advised, then left in their own beds and, if they still insist upon immoral behavior, referred to an authority. The word daraba, which has been conveniently used by most male scholars as beating has several other meanings, including informing a third party. These scholars have failed to understand that the Quran is completely coherent and cannot contradict itself. How can God allow husbands to beat their wives when He wants marital harmony, love and peace in married life? “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect. [30:21]

“...They are your garments and ye are their garments...."[2:187]

Much havoc has been created by piecemeal reading of the Quran: placing verses as standalone and out of context. Verse 4:34 must be read with 4:128, which describes how the nushuz of the husband should be dealt with.“If a wife fears cruelty or desertion on her husband's part, there is no blame on them if they arrange an amicable settlement between themselves; and such settlement is best; even though men's souls are swayed by greed.” (4:128)

In both cases, it is the fear of infidelity, and in both, the issue is to be resolved through arbitration by a third party.

There is also a major contradiction when the translation of daraba as beat is compared with the verse on divorce. “Let the women live (in 'iddat) in the same style as ye live, according to your means: Annoy them not, so as to restrict them.” (65:6). Are we to believe that during the interim divorce period, a husband is forbidden from harming her; for a woman who wants to stay married, her husband can beat her?

“When ye divorce women, and they fulfil the term of their ('Iddat), either take them back on equitable terms or set them free on equitable terms; but do not take them back to injure them, (or) to take undue advantage; if any one does that; He wrongs his own soul.” (2:231). Effectively, a wife who is divorced is better off than a wife who stays married!

The Qur’an has not empowered a man to beat a servant or child, so why this power over their wives? A true Muslim is one who follows the Sunnah with his family. Did the Prophet (sws) ever strike one of his wives? He had said: the worst of you are those who beat their wives. If a man neither follows the Sunnah, nor is of the best character, can he be entrusted with administration of violence on his life partner?

All sane persons should condemn these statements. The government should dissolve this council and public litigation should be initiated against these men on the basis of incitement to sexual violence and making pronouncements against Islam and the Constitution of Pakistan.

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