The national television of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has aired a video, in which a self-styled Islamic family doctor is seen teaching men in the country how to ‘properly’ beat their wives.
The video is believed to have been aired in the country in early February, 2016. The Kingdom’s government is said to have approved the video, and that is why it was given airtime on national television.
After airing the video in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi government released the controversial video in the United States via the Washington DC-based Middle East Media Research Institute, in April 2016. Women activists group describe the video as nothing less than infuriating.
The content of the video features the doctor who is said to specialize in therapy; Khaled Al-Saqaby teaching men how to ‘properly’ beat their wives if their [wives] disobey them.
According to Al-Saqaby, husbands should not immediately attack their wives, but should discipline them ‘properly’ first. He then makes it clear that in marriage, there is nothing like equality, and that men should take charged and rule the home.
In an event where women disobey their husbands, Al-Saqaby teaches in the video that the men should follow the steps below in making sure that the women are corrected.
“The first step is to remind her of your rights and of her duties according to Allah. Then comes the second step – forsaking her in bed. The third step, beating, has to correspond with the necessary Islamic conditions” before taking action. The beating should not be performed with a rod, nor should it be a headband, or a sharp object. Instead, husbands should use a ‘tooth-cleaning twig or with a handkerchief’ to beat their wife. The wife will feel that she was wrong in the way she treated her husband,” says Al-Saqaby.
Ending his controversial teaching, Al-Saqaby says his teaching of how to beat wives is not exhaustive, and that sometimes, men can beat their wives without following his steps when the women go to the extreme by disobeying their husbands.
He also blamed the women for provoking their husbands, expressing shock that some women are ‘stubborn’ to the point that only beatings can bring them to order.
“In addition, sometimes a woman makes a mistake that may lead her husband to beat her. I’m sad to say there are some women who say ‘Go ahead, if you are a real man, beat me’ She provokes them,” he adds in the video.
Critics of the video say, although some of the teachings Al-Saqaby espoused in the video concerning how husbands should treat their wives are found in the Holy Quran, they were used in a context. They accuse Al-Saqaby and the Saudi government of being selective with the verses of the Holy Book in order to satisfy their own interest.
The author Matt Agorist of the Free Thought Project has chronicled some verses from the Quran and Hadith to highlight how a religious text can be used to incite peace or violence; that Islam prohibits or promotes men beating their wives. The Hadith is the record of the sayings and conduct of the Islamic Prophet, Muhammad during his lifetime. The record was recorded by his disciples and those known to be close to him. The Hadith supplements the Holy Quran as a source of Islamic law.
According to Mr Agorist, Al-Saqaby teaching on the subject should not be taken serious because it is full of his own interpretations, in order to serve the interest of the ruling class of the country.
Some women groups have also called for the United States government to condemn the video, as it denigrates womanhood. But neither the State Department, which is responsible for international relations for the country, nor any government official from the White House, has commented on the controversial video.
This is not the first time the United States has turned a blind eye on happenings in Saudi Arabia. Early this year, Saudi Arabia embarked on an exercise of beheading people who speak against the dictatorial policies of the country’s ruling class. 47 people, including a prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Bakir al-Nimr, were beheaded on January 1st, 2016, for embarking on anti-government activities. This sparked huge tension in the Islamic World. The United States never commented, or issued a statement, on the beheadings.
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