How to deal with an ill-conduct wife

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  • Publish date:23/01/2008
  • Section:FATWA FOR ALL
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My question is about beating women in Islam and I want to know if the man is allowed to beat his wife if she has said some bad thing against him when they are talking. Is it an Islamic behavior that the man got very angry and he beats his wife and then said that the religion allowed him to do that even if he has not follow the three known steps of punishment. I want to know what religion tells about that and thank you very much.


All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

Hurting the husband by saying bad words to him is considered an oral ill-conduct (Nushooz) towards him. In fact, among the signs of ill-conduct, the scholars mention the following: If the woman naturally answers her husband's requests with pleasure, then changes this behaviour, this is considered a sign of ill-conduct.

Allah says: {………As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful)……} [4:34]

Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them, said: 'What is meant here is the woman who misbehaves with her husband and neglects his right and does not abide by his orders, Allah orders him first to admonish her, remind her of Allah and of his great rights towards her. If she does not accept his advise he refuses to share bed with her or talk to her (but not giving up intercourse with her). If this does not have the sought effect, then he beats her slightly, not breaking a bone or causing a wound.' [Ibn al-Munthir, Ibu Haatim and al-Bayhaqi].

The majority of scholars believe that those steps should be followed in their order. So, the husband should start with what Allah started with i.e. admonishing his wife and warning her against Allah's anger as a first step, then follow the other steps as stated earlier.

Finally, the husband has the right to beat his wife (lightly) if she shows signs of ill-conduct but he should not beat her unless he thinks that this can have a good result, otherwise he should not beat her. The beating should be very light using a miswaak (a small stick used as a toothbrush) or the edge of a garment and it should not fall on the face neither should it leave any mark on the skin or cause breaking of a bone.

If the husband abuses this right and wounds his wife or causes the breaking of a bone, then he commits a sin.

Allah Knows best.

Fatwa answered by: The Fatwa Center at Islamweb

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