Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter February 21, 2011

Human Rights and Islamic Law: A Legal Analysis Challenging the Husband's Authority to Punish "Rebellious" Wives"

Murad H Elsaidi

Verse 4:34 of the Qur'an has historically been interpreted to give husbands authority over their wives. Even today, such as in a recent case in the United Arab Emirates, Islamic courts have held that the husband has some leeway in "disciplining" wives who act in a rebellious manner to their husbands. This article challenges this interpretation through a comprehensive legal analysis, taking into account (1) the context under which the verse came about, including the societal norms and conditions of the time; (2) the Prophet Muhammad’s profound views against violence towards women; (3) the values of marriage emphasized in the Qur’an; (4) the Qur’an’s incremental approach to improving social behavior and practice; and (5) the higher objectives of Islamic law.

Published Online: 2011-2-21

©2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston