Etikettarkiv | beat

Women according to Muhammad in the Quran and in the Hadiths

quran 2

Whitewashing of the Quran is common

It is true that there are a few suras in the Quran which promote a respectful treatment of women, but there are also suras which tell us a completely different story. If you also take the muslim teaching of abrogation into account (where later suras supersede earlier ones should they conflict) we do not get a very nice picture of women. It is common to try to water down these suras by suggesting that they are not as severe as they seem, but the hadiths should correct us about what Islam really teaches.

Below we can see that Muhammad permitted (or commanded) husbands to beat their wives and also allowed them to have sex with female captives. He taught that men were allowed to marry as many as four wives (even if Muhammad himself was excluded from this restriction and married at least nine wives) whereas women could marry maximum one man. Muhammad allowed men to marry young girls who had not yet reached puberty. He taught the inferiority of women’s intellectual abilities and that their afterlife would not be as bright as the afterlife for men. If they even reached Paradise, considering that there would be more women than men in hell.

The three hadiths which are considered most trustworthy and respected among the Sunnis (and among the Ahmadiyyas) are Sahih Al-Bukhari, Shahih Muslim and Sunan Abu Dawood (the last 3 are Jami al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Sughra och antingen Sunan ibn Majah eller Muwatta Malik. Sahih means authentic, and there are two lesser degrees which are called ”good” and ”weak”. (There are also muslims who reject the authority of all hadiths and focus on the Quran only.)

Women are men’s property

S. 2:223 Arberry. Your women ARE A TILLAGE for you; so come unto your tillage AS YOU WISH, and forward for your souls; and fear God, and know that you shall meet Him. Give thou good tidings to the believers. 

Narrated Jabir: Jews used to say: ”If one has sexual intercourse with his wife from the back, then she will deliver a squint-eyed child.” So this Verse was revealed:– ”Your wives are a tilth unto you; so go to your tilth when or how you will.” (2.223) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 51)

Narrated Nafi’: Whenever Ibn ‘Umar recited the Qur’an, he would not speak to anyone till he had finished his recitation. Once I held the Qur’an and he recited Surat-al-Baqara from his memory and then stopped at a certain Verse and said, ”Do you know in what connection this Verse was revealed?” I replied, ”No.” He said, ”It was revealed in such-and-such connection.” Ibn ‘Umar then resumed his recitation. Nafi added regarding the Verse:– ”So go to your tilth when or how you will.” Ibn ‘Umar said, ”It means one should approach his wife in …” (2.223) Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 50)

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, ”If a husband calls his wife to his bed (i.e. to have sexual relation) and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 460) 

Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: By Him in Whose Hand is my life, when a man calls his wife to his bed, and she does not respond, the One Who is in the heaven is displeased with her until he (her husband) is pleased with her. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3367)

If women are unable to get pregnant they seem rather useless:

Narrated Ma’qil ibn Yasar:
A man came to the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and said: I have found a woman of rank and beauty, but she does not give birth to children. Should I marry her? He said: No. He came again to him, but he prohibited him. He came to him third time, and he (the Prophet) said: Marry women who are loving and very prolific, for I shall outnumber the peoples by you. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2045)

Usama b. Zaid reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: I have not left after me any (chance) of turmoil more injurious to men than the harm done to the men because OF WOMEN. (Sahih Muslim, Book 036, Number 6603; see also 6604)

S. 33:32-33 Shakir. O wives of the Prophet! you are not like any other of the women; If you will be on your guard, then be not soft in (your) speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease yearn; and speak a good word. AND STAY IN YOUR HOUSES and do not display your finery like the displaying of the ignorance of yore; and keep up prayer, and pay the poor-rate, and obey Allah and His Apostle. Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! and to purify you a (thorough) purifying. 


Permission for men to beat their wivesquran

It is enough for a man to ”fear” rebellion in a woman before he finds support in the Quran to beat her, and it does not suggest anywhere that it should be ”softly”.

S. 4:34 (Pickthall)—Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret what Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High Exalted, Great.

It seems like ”treat women kindly” means that men should treat them well in the matter of food and clothing. Women are said to be prisoners in the hands of men and men are allowed to beat women if they misbehave.

Narrated Amr ibn al-Ahwas al-Jushami
Amr heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) say in his farewell address on the eve of his Last Pilgrimage, after he had glorified and praised Allah, he cautioned his followers: ‘Listen! Treat women kindly; THEY ARE LIKE PRISONERS IN YOUR HANDS. Beyond this you do not owe anything from them. Should they be guilty of flagrant misbehaviour, you may remove them from your beds, and BEAT THEM but do not inflict upon them any severe punishment. Then if they obey you, do not have recourse to anything else against them. Listen! You have your rights upon your wives and they have their rights upon you. Your right is that they shall not allow anyone you dislike, to trample your bed and do not permit those whom you dislike to enter your home. Their right is that you should treat them well in the matter of food and clothing. Transmitted by Tirmidhi. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 104 ALIM CD-ROM Version)

He ran and I too ran. He came (to the house) and I also came (to the house). I, however, preceded him and I entered (the house), and as I lay down in the bed, he (the Holy Prophet) entered the (house), and said: Why is it, O ‘A’isha, that you are out of breath? I said: There is nothing. He said: Tell me or the Subtle and the Aware would inform me. I said: Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be ransom for you, and then I told him (the whole story). He said: Was it the darkness (of your shadow) that I saw in front of me? I said: Yes. He struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you? … (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 2127)

Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2142)

Narrated Abdullah ibn AbuDhubab: Iyas ibn Abdullah ibn AbuDhubab reported the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) as saying: Do not beat Allah’s handmaidens, but when Umar came to the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) and said: Women have become emboldened towards their husbands, he (the Prophet) gave permission to beat them. Then many women came round the family of the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) complaining against their husbands. So the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: Many women have gone round Muhammad’s family complaining against their husbands. They are not the best among you. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2141)

Narrated AbuSa’id al-Khudri: A woman came to the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) while we were with him. She said: Apostle of Allah, my husband, Safwan ibn al-Mu’attal, BEATS ME when I pray, and makes me break my fast when I keep a fast, and he does not offer the dawn prayer until the sun rises. He asked Safwan, who was present, about what she had said. He replied: Apostle of Allah, as for her statement ”he beats me when I pray”, she recites two surahs (during prayer) and I have prohibited her (to do so). He (the Prophet) said: If one surah is recited (during prayer), that is sufficient for the people. (Safwan continued:) As regards her saying ”he makes me break my fast,” she dotes on fasting; I am a young man, I cannot restrain myself. The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said on that day: A woman should not fast except with the permission of her husband. (Safwan said:) As for her statement that I do not pray until the sun rises, we are a people belonging to a class, and that (our profession of supplying water) is already known about us. We do not awake until the sun rises. He said: When you awake, offer your prayer. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 13, Number 2453)

So we can see that beating women is not uncommon among muslim men.

Fatima bint Qais (Allah be pleased with her) reported that her husband divorced her with three, pronouncements and Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) made no provision for her lodging and maintenance allowance. She (further said): Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said to me: When your period of ‘Idda is over, inform me. So I informed him. (By that time) Mu’awiya, Abu Jahm and Usama b. Zaid had given her the proposal of marriage. Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: So far as Mu’awiya is concerned, he is a poor man without any property. So far as Abu Jahm is concerned, he is A GREAT BEATER OF WOMEN, but Usama b. Zaid… She pointed with her hand (that she did not approve of the idea of marrying) Usama. But Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Obedience to Allah and obedience to His Messenger is better for thee. She said: So I married him, and I became an object of envy. (Sahih Muslim, Book 009, Number 3526)

Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: There are three people whose prayer does not ascend beyond their heads, even to the length of a span: the person who leads people in prayer despite their disapproval; a woman who spends the night (in a state) in which her husband is annoyed with her; and the two brothers who are estranged. Transmitted by Ibn Majah. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 347; ALIM CD-ROM Version)

Aisha felt that believing women (muslim women) suffered the most.

Narrated ‘Ikrima: Rifa’a divorced his wife whereupon ‘Abdur Rahman bin Az-Zubair Al-Qurazi married her. ‘Aisha said that the lady (came), wearing a green veil (and complained to her (‘Aisha) of her husband and showed her a green spot on her skin caused by beating). It was the habit of ladies to support each other, so when Allah’s Apostle came, ‘Aisha said, ”I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women. Look! Her skin is greener than her clothes!” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 72, Number 715)

woman leaderWomen are not as bright as men

Muhammad married Khadijah – a skilled business woman – before he became a prophet and started a new religion.

When it comes to inheritance and value of witnesses, two women are equal to one man. That is because women ”lack common sense” and ”deficiency of her mind”.

S. 4:11 Hilali-Khan Allah commands you as regards your children’s (inheritance); to the male, a portion equal TO THAT OF TWO FEMALES; if (there are) only daughters, two or more, their share is two thirds of the inheritance; if only one, her share is half. For parents, a sixth share of inheritance to each if the deceased left children; if no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased left brothers or (sisters), the mother has a sixth. (The distribution in all cases is) after the payment of legacies he may have bequeathed or debts. You know not which of them, whether your parents or your children, are nearest to you in benefit, (these fixed shares) are ordained by Allah. And Allah is Ever AllKnower, AllWise, 

S. 2:282 Arberry O believers, when you contract a debt one upon another for a stated term, write it down, and let a writer write it down between you justly, and let not any writer refuse to write it down, as God has taught him; so let him write, and let the debtor dictate, and let him fear God his Lord and not diminish aught of it. And if the debtor be a fool, or weak, or unable to dictate himself, then let his guardian dictate justly. And call in to witness two witnesses, men; or if the two be not men, then one man AND TWO WOMEN, such witnesses as you approve of, THAT IF ONE OF THE TWO WOMEN ERRS THE OTHER WILL REMIND HER; and let the witnesses not refuse, whenever they are summoned.”

[Muhammad said]: O womenfolk, you should give charity and ask much forgiveness for I saw you in bulk amongst the dwellers of Hell. A wise lady among them said: Why is it, Messenger of Allah, that our folk is in bulk in Hell? Upon this the Holy Prophet observed: You curse too much and are ungrateful to your spouses. I have seen none lacking in common sense and failing in religion but (at the same time) robbing the wisdom of the wise, besides you. Upon this the woman remarked: What is wrong with our common sense and with religion? He (the Holy Prophet) observed: Your lack of common sense (can be well judged from the fact) that the evidence of two women is equal to one man, that is a proof of the lack of common senseSahih Muslim 142. 

The Prophet (the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) said: ”Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?” The women said: ”Yes.” He said: ”This is because of the deficiency of her mind.” Sahih Al-Bukhari 2658.

Women are described as those who are clothed with ornaments and are unable to speak plainly, implying that they are intellectually deficient:

S. 43:16-18 Shakir Has He taken daughters to Himself of what He Himself creates and chosen you to have sons? And when one of them is given news of that of which he sets up as a likeness for the Beneficent God, his face becomes black and he is full of rage. What! that which is made in ornaments and which in contention is unable to make plain speech! 

Narrated Abu Musa: Allah’s Apostle said, ”Many amongst men reached (the level of) perfection but none amongst the women reached this level except Asia, Pharaoh’s wife, and Mary, the daughter of ‘Imran. And no doubt, the superiority of ‘Aisha to other women is like the superiority of Tharid (i.e. a meat and bread dish) to other meals.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 623)

See also below

Women have less things to look forward to in afterlife

The number of virgins (not ”angels”) which await muslim men (not just martyrs) in Paradise are not specified in number in the Quran, but rather in the hadiths (72 virgins). These untouched young women are described as dark-eyed with big breasts. Paradise seems to describe a place which is appealing to men. Certainly not for women. There are also more women than men in hell. That is because of their deficiency in intelligence and religion. They also lack in good deeds.

S. 78:31-36 Arberry Surely for the godfearing awaits a place of security, gardens and vineyards and maidens with swelling breasts, like of age, and a cup overflowing. Therein they shall hear no idle talk, no cry of lies, for a recompense from thy Lord, a gift, a reckoning,

[Muhammad said], ”O women! Give to charity, for I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-Fire were women.” The women asked, ”O Allah’s Apostle! What is the reason for it?” He said: ”O women! You curse frequently, and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. O women, some of you can lead a cautious man astray.” Sahih Al-Bukhari 1462.

The Prophet said: ”I saw paradise and stretched my hands towards a bunch (of its fruits) and had I taken it, you would have eaten from it as long as the world remains. I also saw the Hell-fire and I had never seen such a horrible sight. I saw that most of the inhabitants were women.” The people asked: ”O Allah’s Apostle! Why is it so?” The Prophet said: ”Because of their ungratefulness.” It was asked whether they are ungrateful to Allah. The Prophet said: ”They are ungrateful to their companions of life (husbands) and ungrateful to good deeds.” Sahih Al-Bukhari 1052.

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, ”The first batch (of people) who will enter Paradise will be (glittering) like the full moon, and the batch next to them will be (glittering) like the most brilliant star in the sky. Their hearts will be as if the heart of a single man, for they will have neither enmity nor jealousy amongst themselves; everyone will have two wives FROM THE HOURIS, (who will be so beautiful, pure and transparent that) the marrow of the bones of their legs will be seen through the bones and the flesh.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 476)

Wives will be standing in the corners of a pavilion – without being able to see each other – while the believers will be able to come and enjoy them:

Allah’s Apostle said: ”In Paradise there is a pavilion made of a single hollow pearl sixty miles wide, in each corner of which there are wives who will not see those in the other corners; and the believers will visit and enjoy them.” Sahih Al-Bukhari 4879.

Marrying up to four wives for men (but no similar rights for women)muslim marriage

We can see above that there are polygamous marriages also in heaven, just like polygamous marriages are allowed on earth. Since Muhammad is viewed as a perfect role model, Muslims should try to imitate his way of living. Muhammad declared that Allah had permitted men to marry up to four wives, but Muhammad was conveniently provided an exception and had at least 9 wives.

S. 4:1-5 Arberry Mankind, fear your Lord, who created you of a single soul, and from it created its mate, and from the pair of them scattered abroad many men and women; and fear God by whom you demand one of another, and the wombs; surely God ever watches over you. Give the orphans their property, and do not exchange the corrupt for the good; and devour not their property with your property; surely that is a great crime. If you fear that you will not act justly towards the orphans, marry such women as seem good to you, two, three, four (fainkihoo ma taba lakum mina alnnisa-i mathna WA thulatha WA rubaAAa); but if you fear you will not be equitable, then only one, or what your right hands own; so it is likelier you will not be partial. And give the women their dowries as a gift spontaneous; but if they are pleased to offer you any of it, consume it with wholesome appetite. But do not give to fools their property that God has assigned to you to manage; provide for them and clothe them out of it, and speak to them honourable words.

Narrated Aisha: I used to LOOK DOWN upon those ladies who had given themselves to Allah’s Apostle and I used to say, ”Can a lady give herself (to a man)?” But when Allah revealed: ”You (O Muhammad) can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives), and you may receive any of them whom you will; and there is no blame on you if you invite one whose turn you have set aside (temporarily).” (33.51) I said (to the Prophet), ”I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 311)

Women do not have a chance to get a divorce the way men do

A woman has the right to ask for a divorce (if there is a strong reason for it – which of course is up to men to sort out) only if the man grants her this right. A man however, does not need to ask his wife for a divorce but has the right to divorce her just by pronouncing it (see sura above). Muhammad wanted to divorce one of his own wives when she was old and ugly according to the hadiths, but she escaped this prospect by offering him some of her rightful nights to his favorite wife Aisha. See more in link in the bottom of the page.

Narrated Thawban: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: If any woman ASKS her husband for divorce without some strong reason, the odour of Paradise will be forbidden to her. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 12, Number 2218)

Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said to Abdu Yazid: Divorce her. Then he did so. He said: Take your wife, the mother of Rukanah and his brothers, back in marriage. He said: I have divorced her by three pronouncements, Apostle of Allah. He said: I know: take her back. He then recited the verse: ”O Prophet, when you divorce women, divorce them at their appointed periods.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 12, Number 2191)

Narrated Rukanah ibn Abdu Yazid: (Rukanah) divorced his wife absolutely; so he came to the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him). He asked (him): What did you intend? He said: A single utterance of divorce. He said: Do you swear by Allah? He replied: I swear by Allah. He said: It stands as you intended. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 12, Number 2202)

Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin: Habibah daughter of Sahl was the wife of Thabit ibn Qays Shimmas. He beat her and broke some of her part. So she came to the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) after morning, and complained to him against her husband. The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) called on Thabit ibn Qays and said (to him): Take a part of her property and separate yourself from her. He asked: Is that right, Apostle of Allah? He said: Yes. He said: I have given her two gardens of mine as a dower, and they are already in her possession. The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Take them and separate yourself from her. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 12, Number 2220)

Imam Malik records traditions where men can authorize women to pronounce a divorce, but they didn’t have to.

(1129) Nafi’ reported that ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Umar used to say: If a man should authorize his wife in the matter of divorce, she could declare herself divorced any time she liked; but if the husband should object and say: I gave you option of only divorce and swears to it, he would have the right over her until the period of ‘iddah probation.

(1130) Kharija b. Zaid b. Thabit reported that he was sitting with Zaid ibn Thabit when Muhammad b. Abi Atiq came and tears were flowing from his eyes. Zaid said: What is the matter with you? He said: I had given my wife the option of divorce and she has left me. Zaid asked: Why did you give her the authority? He replied: It was my fate. Zaid said: If you wish, you can get her back, for only one divorce has become effective. YOU ARE STILL HER MASTER.

(1131) Qasim b. Muhammad reported: A man of Thaqif gave his wife the option of divorce. She gave herself one divorce. He kept quiet. She then gave herself another divorce. He said: Stones be in your mouth. She then gave herself the third divorce. He said: Stones be in your mouth, and they went quarreling to Marwan b. Hakam. Marwan took an oath from the man to the effect that he had given option only for one divorce and handed her back to him. (Muwatta’ Imam Malik, English translation with exhaustive notes by Professor Muhammad Rahimuddin [Sh. Muhammad Ahsraf Publishers, Booksellers & Exporters, Lahore (Pakistan), reprinted July 2000], pp. 246-247; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Permissible to have sex with female captives (even if these captives are married)

As the Muslim armies raided areas they also captured many women who would often be sold or traded. There was a risk that some women would get pregnant, which would result in a reduced chance to sell them as useful slaves – which was the aim. It is highly unlikely that the women themselves wanted to have sex with the same men who exterminated their husbands (and sometimes also children). This means that it is very likely that Muhammad allowed Muslims to rape their captive women. They are what their right hands possess, so their property.

S. 23:1-6—The Believers must (Eventually) win through—Those who humble themselves In their prayers; Who avoid vain talk; Who are active in deeds Of charity; Who abstain from sex, Except with those joined To them in the marriage bond, Or (the captives) whom Their right hands possess—For (in their case) they are Free from blame.

S. 70:22-30—Not so those devoted To Prayer—Those who remain steadfast To their prayer; And those in whose wealth Is a recognized right For the (needy) who asks And him who is prevented (For some reason from asking); And those who hold To the truth of the Day Of Judgement; And those who fear The displeasure of their Lord—For their Lord’s displeasure Is the opposite of Peace And Tranquility—And those who guard Their chastity, Except with their wives And the (captives) whom Their right hands possess—For (then) they are not To be blamed.

S. 4:24 Y. Ali Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess: Thus hath God ordained (Prohibitions) against you: Except for these, all others are lawful, provided ye seek (them in marriage) with gifts from your property, – desiring chastity, not lust, seeing that ye derive benefit from them, give them their dowers (at least) as prescribed; but if, after a dower is prescribed, agree Mutually (to vary it), there is no blame on you, and God is All-knowing, All-wise. 

Allah’s Messenger sent an army to Autas and encountered the enemy and fought with them. Having overcome them and taken them captives, the Companions of Allah’s Messenger seemed to refrain from having intercourse with captive women because of their husbands being polytheists. Then Allah, Most High, sent down regarding that: ”And women already married, except those whom your right hands possess (4:24)” (i.e. they were lawful for them when their Idda period came to an end). Sahih Muslim 3432.

We went out with Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) on the expedition to the Bi’l-Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them. So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing azl (withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid conception). But we said: We are doing an act whereas Allah’s Messenger is amongst us; why not ask him? So we asked Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him), and he said: It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born. Sahih Muslim 3371.

We went out with Allah’s Apostle for the invasion of Bun Al-Mustaliq and we received captives from among the Arab captives and we desired women and celibacy became hard on us and we loved to do coitus interruptus [same as ”azl” above]. So when we intended to do coitus interruptus, we said: ”How can we do coitus interruptus before asking Allah’s Apostle who is present among us? We asked (him) about it and he said: ”It is better for you not to do so, for if any soul till the Day of Resurrection is predestined to exist, it will exist.” Sahih Al-Bukhari 4138.

Jabir bin Abdullah (Allah be pleased with them) reported that a person asked Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) saying: I have a slave-girl and I practice azl with her, whereupon Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: This cannot prevent that which Allah has decreed. The person then came (after some time) and said: Messenger of Allah, the slave-girl about whom I talked to you has conceived, whereupon Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: I am the servant of Allah and His Messenger. Sahih Muslim 3384.

If women commit a ”flagrant indecency” (up to the man to decide) it is lawful to inherit women against their will and to debar them:

S. 4:19 Arberry O believers, it is not lawful for you to inherit women against their will; neither debar them, that you may go off with part of what you have given them, except when they commit a flagrant indecency. Consort with them honourably; or if you are averse to them, it is possible you may be averse to a thing, and God set in it much good. 

There is much confusion if it is permitted to have intercourse through the woman’s anus. Here is one that therefore clarifies that it is not permitted among the Sunnis. (Clarification needed since other hadits say something else.)

1483. This shows that it is not lawful to have intercourse with one’s wife through her anus. This is the view agreed upon by the whole community. The Shi’ah alone allow intercourse through anus, but this is against the traditions which prohibit this practice. (Sunan Abu Dawud, English translation and Explanatory notes by Prof. Ahmad Hasan, Volume II, p. 579)

muslim womanWomen should always be ready to have sex with their husbands

Muhammad does not seem to think it is anything wrong with looking at a woman with the aim to lust for her. He does not allow men to have sex with anyone else but their wives (and their captive women), so to solve the predicament when having been sexually aroused he immediately finds one of his wives to have sex with her regardless of she is busy or not. So the intention is not to make his wife happy but to satisfy his own desires. If this is the way men generally are requested to solve the problem each time they have been lusting for other women, there could not be room for any rejection from the part of the wife that is supposed to be used for this purpose.

Jabir reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) saw a woman, and so he came to his wife, Zainab, as she was tanning a leather and had sexual intercourse with her. He then went to his Companions and told them: The woman advances and retires in the shape of a devil, so when one of you sees a woman, he should come to his wife, for that will repel what he feels in his heart. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3240)

Narrated Abdullah ibn Mas’ud. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) saw a woman who charmed him, so he went to Sawdah who was making perfume in the company of some women. They left him, and after he had satisfied his desire he said, ”If any man sees a woman who charms him he should go to his wife, for she has the same kind of thing as the other woman.”Darimi transmitted it. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 927; ALIM CD-ROM Version)

By him in Whose Hand lies my life, a woman can not carry out the right of her Lord, till she carries out the right of her husband. And if he asks her to surrender herself [to him for sexual intercourse] she should not refuse him even if she is on a camel’s saddle. Ibn Majah 1854.

Muhammed condones a form av prostitution/fornication/adultery

In theory it would be possible to have brief ”marriages” that only last for an hour – and up to three days before they are annulled. There is a dispute whether this custom has been abrogated or not.

S. 4:24 Y. Ali Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess: Thus hath God ordained (Prohibitions) against you: Except for these, all others are lawful, provided ye seek (them in marriage) with gifts from your property, – desiring chastity, not lust, seeing that ye derive benefit from them, give them their dowers (at least) as prescribed; but if, after a dower is prescribed, agree Mutually (to vary it), there is no blame on you, and God is All-knowing, All-wise. 

Narrated Abdullah: We used to participate in the holy wars carried on by the Prophet and we had no women (wives) with us. So we said (to the Prophet). ”Shall we castrate ourselves?” But the Prophet forbade us to do that and thenceforth he allowed us to marry a woman (temporarily) by giving her even a garment, and then he recited: ”O you who believe! Do not make unlawful the good things which Allah has made lawful for you.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 139)

Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah and Salama bin Al-Akwa’: While we were in an army, Allah’s Apostle came to us and said, ”You have been allowed to do the Mut’a (marriage), so do it.” Salama bin Al-Akwa’ said: Allah’s Apostle’s said, ”If a man and a woman agree (to marry temporarily), their marriage should last for three nights, and if they like to continue, they can do so; and if they want to separate, they can do so.” I do not know whether that was only for us or for all the people in general. Abu Abdullah (Al-Bukhari) said: ‘Ali made it clear that the Prophet said, ”The Mut’a marriage has been cancelled (made unlawful).” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 52)

Narrated Abu Jamra: I heard Ibn Abbas (giving a verdict) when he was asked about the Mut’a with the women, and he permitted it (Nikah-al-Mut’a). On that a freed slave of his said to him, ”That is only when it is very badly needed and women are scarce.” On that, Ibn ‘Abbas said, ”Yes.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62,Number 51)

Ibn Uraij reported: ‘Ati’ reported that Jabir b. Abdullah came to perform ‘Umra, and we came to his abode, and the people asked him about different things, and then they made a mention of temporary marriage, whereupon he said: Yes, we had been benefiting ourselves by this temporary marriage during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) and during the time of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3248)

The word used is ”mut’a” even if translators try to change it into for example Hajj-at-Tamatu. The expression still refers to the practice of temporary marriages. Despite the Sunni claim that Mut’a has been cancelled one will still find Shiite Muslims condoning and practicing it,

Narrated ‘Imran bin Husain: The Verse of Hajj-at-Tamatu was revealed in Allah’s Book, so we performed it with Allah’s Apostle, and nothing was revealed in Qur’an to make it illegal, nor did the Prophet prohibit it till he died. But the man (who regarded it illegal) just expressed what his own mind suggested. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 43)

Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas: The temporary marriage applied only in the early days of Islam. A man would come to a settlement where he had no acquaintance and marry a woman for the period it was thought he would stay there, and she would look after his belongings and cook for him. But Ibn Abbas said that when the verse came down, ”Except their wives or the captives their right hands possess,” intercourse with anyone else became unlawful. Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 942; ALIM CD-ROM Version)

Mut’ah marriage involves a man hiring a woman for a specific amount of money, for a certain period of time, to have sex with her. The scholars agree that this Mut’ah marriage was authorized in the beginning of Islam. It is reported that when the Prophet came to Mecca to perform ‘umrah, the women of Mecca dressed up and adorned themselves. The companions complained to the Prophet that they had not had sex for a long time, so he said to them: ‘Enjoy these women. (At-tafsir al-kabir, S. 4:24)

Men are allowed to marry young girls who have not yet started to menstruatemuslim bride

The waiting period for divorcing women who have not yet menstruated is three months. A woman can only be divorced if she was first married, so the sura therefore assumes that young girls can be married and divorced before they reach puberty. The purpose of this waiting period is to ensure that the wife who is about to be divorced is not pregnant (which a few months waiting period would sort out), and/or to make sure that the father is known (the child from the current husband and not the next husband.) The sura speaks both about wives who have had a history of menstruating and other wives who have not started to menstruate.

S. 65:1, 4 Arberry O Prophet, when you divorce women, divorce them when they have reached their period. Count the period, and fear God your Lord. Do not expel them from their houses, nor let them go forth, except when they commit a flagrant indecency. Those are God’s bounds; whosoever trespasses the bounds of God has done wrong to himself. Thou knowest not, perchance after that God will bring something new to pass… As for your women who have despaired of further menstruating, if you are in doubt, their period shall be three months; and those who have not menstruated as yet. And those who are with child, their term is when they bring forth their burden. Whoso fears God, God will appoint for him, of His command, easiness. 

Narrated Sahl bin Sad: While we were sitting in the company of the Prophet a woman came to him and presented herself (for marriage) to him. The Prophet looked at her, lowering his eyes and raising them, but did not give a reply. One of his companions said, ”Marry her to me O Allah’s Apostle!” The Prophet asked (him), ”Have you got anything?” He said, ”I have got nothing.” The Prophet said, ”Not even an iron ring?” He said, ”Not even an iron ring, but I will tear my garment into two halves and give her one half and keep the other half.” The Prophet; said, ”No. Do you know some of the Quran (by heart)?” He said, ”Yes.” The Prophet said, ”Go, I have agreed to marry her to you with what you know of the Qur’an (as her Mahr).” ‘And for those who have no courses (i.e. they are still immature). (65.4) And the ‘Iddat for the girl BEFORE PUBERTY is three months (in the above Verse). (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 63; emphasis ours)

A renowned Muslim commentator Abu-Ala’ Maududi:

Therefore, making mention of the waiting-period for girls who have not yet menstruated, clearly proves that it is not only permissible to give away the girl at this age but it is permissible for the husband to consummate marriage with her. Now, obviously no Muslim has the right to forbid a thing which the Qur’an has held as permissible. (Maududi, volume 5, p. 620, note 13, emphasis added)

The Quran teaches that there is no waiting period for marriages that have not been consummated. Then there would be no concern for a possible pregnancy or any question of fatherhood. The waiting period only applies in the case of a prepubescent if her husband has actually slept with her.

S. 33:49 O you who believe: When you marry believing women and then divorce them before you have touched them, no period of idda (waiting) have you to count in respect of them: so give them a present and set them free in a graceful manner. 

There are muslim countries where they block websites which are critical against Islam, so the best sites with the most extensive information might be blocked – like this one that I have used as one of my sources. It is my hope that muslims in that case might find other articles where they will see the truth about Islam, and that there is life in Jesus Christ who died for their sins.


SPANKING KIDS with a rod – supported in the Bible?

spank kidDo you spank your kids thinking ”science” and the Bible support this kind of treatment? Science investigations are at best ”inconclusive” whether spanking will increase good behavior in a child (apart from an immediate obedience) and at worst it can affect the child in a very destructive way and harm him for life. The problem with having no laws against spanking kids, is that parents could get away with beating their kids really hard by suggesting in court that ”I only meant to spank him softly but ended up spanking him harder than I intended”, and they could win the case despite severe bruises and even injuries on the child. Having laws against spanking doesn’t mean you can’t even touch the child or grab him hard around the arm and pull him away from some activity. There are also other ways to discipline a child than physical abuse.

Does the Bible say anything about giving a child a little spank on his behind by using a hand? No, IF you would like to obey Proverbs literally you should beat him with a ROD and not stop even if he cries! Do you?

We can read about disciplining a child (or rather a youngster) physically in Proverbs, and Proverbs is a book well-known for its poetry, similes, metaphors and hyperboles. So how can we be certain of that those few cases should be read literally? Do you obey these verses literally if this is your true aim? Proverbs doesn’t say anything about spanking a child gently (or not gently) on his behind but that you should BEAT HIM WITH A ROD! Do you also believe that it’s OK to not stop beating the child even if he is crying (as in ”let not thy soul spare for his crying”) and do you also do this to a five-year old child? Do you also do this even if the child doesn’t deserve to be beaten, only because you’re afraid of disobeying the words ”Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell”? Meaning that if you realize that your child is approaching his/her teenage years and you have so far not found any reason to beat your child, you must hurry up to do this for no reason at all in order to be obedient to this verse in Proverbs that you understand as literal – just to be on the safe side. All this because you interpret a verse to say that the child can risk hell if you don’t?

If we don’t pay attention to words, context and in which book in the Bible we are reading, things can go very wrong. The truth is that a good shepherd does not beat his sheep with his rod. He uses his rod to show authority over his sheep and his aim is to keep them safe and sound. This goes together well with the saying ”Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me”. The fright of sudden noise can induce a shock in the sheep that suppresses fertility, so beating sheep with a rod wouldn’t serve any purpose. Dog experts advise against beating dogs for very good reasons, and they can become very aggressive if treated in the wrong way. Can we really say that it’s improper to beat sheep and dogs but perfectly fine to beat children? A rod could be as symbol for authority and correction. We can read in James that we put bits in the horses mouths so that they may obey us, and no mentioning of using physical punishment to make horses obey us. A shepherd could use a rod/crook to move a sheep should it be necessary, and something like this could be used for horses as well – but not as in a punishment but as in steering the animal and making him move.

James 3:For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

What the Bible says about spanking

Proverbs says we should use a ROD, which would be a shebet, which during this time could be a large walking stick, a shepherd’s crook or a king’s scepter. So it does not say that a parent should use his HAND but a ROD, as in a stick, bat or cane. If you want to take these verses literally, then you should not give yourself the right to switch the rod to a little twig, wooden spoon or your hand. If you can amend the verses to make them say ”spank with your hand” instead of ”beat with a rod”, then perhaps it’s an even better alternative to NOT change the verses but to understand them metaphorically as in ”discipline your kids and don’t spoil them”. Even if we don’t want to spank or beat our children, it’s oftentimes necessary to take hold of an arm and say ”NO, be careful!” or similar. Not being allowed to spank your children doesn’t mean you can’t touch them! To grab an arm can also be felt physically and it gives less humiliation than spanking the kid on his behind.

Here are the verses in Proverbs that speak about chastening youth. We should absolutely use discipline as a method to bring the children up, and ”rod of correction” could simply be symbolism for correction made by an authority. If you have found no reason to beat you kid, simply because he has done nothing to deserve it, does this mean you hate him? Must you then hurry up to beat him just to show that you don’t hate him?

Prov 22:15: Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Prov. 29:15: The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

Prov 19:18: Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying 

Prov 13:24: He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (diligently).

Prov. 23:12 Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.15 My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.

”Chastening” doesn’t have to mean a physical punishment, and if we also understand the ”the rod of correction” and ”the rod of reproof” to be a figure of speech, we actually don’t have many verses left in Proverbs which might encourage literal spanking/beating children with a real rod. We only have one passage left that could possibly be used as support and that is Proverbs 23:13-14 above (highlighted with purple) where we can read that we should BEAT a son with the rod, and also a promise that he will not die from it. A sad fact is that children indeed have been killed by parents beating them to death with a rod, and it’s actually enough to beat a child a couple of times in the wrong place and too hard, and he can die from it. Could the ”the rod” spoken about in Prov. 23:12-14 (and also in Proverbs 13:24 and all other verses) be the same type of rod spoken about earlier – the rod of correction? This term could be figure of speech for correction, chastening and discipline, something that children will indeed NOT die from (unless we’re talking about a physical punishment) and it could also place him on the right path away from hell.

These passages presumably reflect Solomo’s parenting beliefs with respect to his son, Rehoboam. Solomo says:

Prov. 22:Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

The problem is that Solomo, in all his wisdom and knowledge about how to bring up a child, ended up getting a son who became a very hated ruler due to his evil deeds. This shows that Proverbs cannot always be taken literally but oftentimes as a ”general” truth and at other times as metaphors or hyperboles. The Father of the prodigal son is considered to be a wise Father (and he is compared with God), but this still doesn’t mean that there were no risks involved for getting a rebellious son, which he ended up getting. So Prov. 22:6 is clearly not true in all cases. As an adult, Rehoboam was vicious, inconsiderate to his subjects, had no regard for human rights, and was widely hated. He barely escaped assassination at the hands of his own people.

1 Kings 12:12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day.13 And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men’s counsel that they gave him;14 And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

There is a mention here that Solomo whipped his servants (and his son did this even more), so is this too a procedure that you would like to use on your employees? I’d rather believe that both ”chastised you with whips” and ”chastise you with scorpions” are just metaphors or figure of speech and that there were no actual whips or scorpions involved – and no literal yokes either for that matter.

God explained to King David that his son Solomon would be chastened by him (God) by using the rod of men and with the stripes of the children of men. Did God do this literally? No, he never used a literal rod against him but he did chasten him in various other ways. 

2 Samuel 7:13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men

Proverbs also mentions some other things that we would hesitate to understand literally:

Proverbs 22:He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.10 Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.

Is this always true? And here too we can read ”rod of his anger”, as in a figure of speech.

Proverbs. 23:1 When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee:And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.—Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.

This is a command to not eat too much and not to slit your throat. Likewise, when reading that you should beat your child with a rod, it could be a command to discipline and have authority over your child.

The Hebrew word Naár can mean  youth (young and unmarried), or literally he who shakes off or shakes himself free. Not necessarily a child under 12. But baby Moses was also described as naár and baby Samuel when weaned and taken to the temple – so as in the meaning of ”shaken off”. The word for beat is the same as for ”the sun beat down on Jonah”, as in a constant presence. We should have a constant presence of authority in our children’s lives.

If it was so important to beat a child (rather than using other forms of discipline), wouldn’t it be a good idea to state this in the law of Moses or elsewhere, instead of a book well-known for its poetry? Instead we can read instructions how to handle a son who does not ”obey the VOICE of his father or mother”, and what to do with a rebellious son with no hope for improvement (that you actually wouldn’t risk getting in the first place if Prov. 22:6 was literally true). There is no mention of beating or spanking children in the Mosaic law, but we can read about VOICE of the parents, which could make the reader believe that we ought to discuss and reason with our children and to apply various means of chastisement, but this doesn’t have to mean a physical punishment. We can read that if the rebellious son despite much chastening from his parents still refuses to obey and hearken (to their voices) THEN his parents may lay hold of him and bring him to the elders of the city. A valid reason for taking this route would be if their son was a glutton and a drunkard – so clearly not a young child but rather a teenager/youth – and it’s of course up to the parents to decide when there is no hope to ever get their son back on track. The punishment was then stoning. There is no known recording of parents who have ever taken this severe step, and that’s rather understandable knowing the outcome would be a sure DEATH for their own loved child.

Deut. 21:18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

In the New Testament there is no mention of spanking or beating children, but we can read about chastening and disciplining them. The point being made is that we should not question chastening from our Lord because this is a sign of love and not hate. Normally fathers chasten their sons in one way or the other – because of love for them.

Hebrews 12:6-7: ”…the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?”

Moreover, Paul tells us that children must obey their parents in ALL THINGS. What about parents who teach their children to participate in theft, drug use and bullying? Clearly Paul is speaking about a situation where both parties – parents and children – obey his recommendations, and maybe that is why he says ”parents IN THE LORD”. Paul is also asking Fathers to not provoke their children to anger, and it’s common that children who get spanked/beaten feel anger and resentment, and an urge to make a revenge towards someone. Children who get beaten, often end up beating their own children when they grow up.

Col. 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

Eph. 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

According to science, spanking/beating children can cause many negative side effectsspank kid2

That spanking/beating children is not a good idea can be seen in this document from ””

meta study from 2002 with an analysis of 60 years of scientific studies about spanking/beating children draws the conclusion that such treatments are correlated to several disadvantages and give no advantages other than an immediate obedience in the situation at hand. The experience of getting spanked/beaten could be very traumatic  for the child and something that he will never forget. It’s absolutely possible that he will not repeat the particular offence that he was spanked/beaten for, but it could lead to that he will hold a grudge against his parents for a very long time which would affect the relationship negatively in the long run, and it’s a risk that he will subconsciously like to make a revenge by pouring out his anger and feeling of humiliation on others (siblings or friends).

It’s not possible to make a law where parents must sit down to discuss and reason with their children in love, but it IS possible to make a law where spanking/beating children is prohibited. This is done in many countries and means that parents are at risk of getting reported by others if they are detected to transgress the law. In Sweden there is an organization that encourages children, through ads in media and in schools, to call them if their parents spank/beat them.

If you compare Sweden with a country where spanking/beating children is NOT prohibited, do you think that perhaps people tend to REPORT spanking/beating to a greater degree in Sweden than in this other country?

I would think that you would say YES to this question! Why would anyone bother report spanking/beating children in a country where this is legal? And who would you report this legal procedure to in the first place? Yes, ABUSE is hopefully illegal also in countries where spanking is legal, but you would still find a LESS degree of reports of ”spanking/beating children” in a country where it’s a legal method. Would you therefore be surprised if you found out that Sweden has a higher degree of reported cases of ”spanking/beating children” (which based on Swedish terms would be filed under CHILD ABUSE) than in for instance the USA?

I ask this since this entire blog post is written under the inspiration of a podcast sermon that I listened to the other day, where an American pastor claimed before his congregation and for his listeners, that science supports that spanking kids was a good way to treat children and that it was likewise bad to NOT spank children. The truth is that science does NOT say that at all. Moreover, he claimed that crime reports among the youth increased with 430% (I think he said) in Sweden the year after Sweden made it unlawful to spank/beat children. THAT IS A FALSE CLAIM! Of course I don’t believe that this pastor purposely lied, because I prefer to believe that he read this claim somewhere and chose to believe it (perhaps because it went well with his own belief) without checking the source. Sometimes we simply don’t have time to check sources but we must try to be as truthful as we can we retell stories, and particularly if we stand behind a pulpit in a church. Anyone can make a mistake, but try to place yourself in my shoes. I wouldn’t mind if I someone claimed that Sweden is the country where the inhabitants are most negative towards Israel among all the countries in Europe, because that is the truth according to a major poll! Certainly not a fact that I’m proud of but it’s nevertheless a true statement. European countries have always considered to be negative towards Israel (unlike the US who has a much better approach), but Sweden takes the prize, which isn’t that surprising considering how Swedish mainstream media has chosen to display the conflict in the Middle East. But it’s annoying to listen to a sermon where the pastor makes such a tremendous incorrect statement about the country I live in, and it makes me wonder what else he is wrong about when he speaks? There are so many sermon podcasts to listen to so I can listen to someone else. It would also be correct to say that children/teenagers are not disciplined in Sweden, because that’s often the case. I oftentimes find that children show no respect for their parents. I don’t believe this is due to the lack of spanking, but due to that atheism is such a leading star and that discipline and correction are simply lacking. Sadly this is not a problem only for Sweden.

There is actually a DUTY to report violation of the law of child abuse (which spanking/beating children is considered to be) in Sweden and since also children are encouraged to call in if their children are abusive, this will NATURALLY be seen in statistics! Based on this self-evident fact, an honest person therefore do not draw the conclusion that there must be more child abuse in Sweden than in other countries, and neither that the law against child abuse which came 1979 (Sweden was first in the world to prohibit spanking/beating children) has been seen to increase child abuse and violence among youth, because this simply is not true.

”Children have the right to proper care, a safe environment and a good upbringing. A child must be treated with respect for his/her person and may not be affected by physical punishment or other types of humiliating treatments. ” (Sweden 1979)

The good thing with this law is that it will prevent a parent to use the excuse ”I didn’t mean to spank my kid so hard, but it ended up being much more severe than I intended”, whereupon his defense attorney could use this argument as an attempt to show the prosecutor that the parent didn’t have bad intentions and didn’t purposely harm the child – meaning the parent might get away with it. With this law the truth is that the parent shouldn’t spank/beat the child at all, so no excuses are valid. Pulling a child abruptly in his arm/ shirt, grabbing his arm, or pulling him back from a situation where he harms someone/something is not considered ”physical abuse”, unless you do this with such force that he gets harmed.

According to a study by the UN, 80 % of the children of the world have at one point been affected by spanking/beating. The USA is the only country in the world – among all the members of UN – together with Somalia and South Sudan that has not ratified the Convention on the rights of the child from 1989. (USA has signed it but not ratified it.) Somalia has plans to be a party of this treaty, leaving only the USA and South Sudan as the only countries that are not party of this treaty!

The following are excerpts from a study from 2011 and can be found in this article from Karlstad Universityspank kid3 

The 2011 national Swedish studies on corporal punishment and other humiliating behavior towards children are a follow-up of earlier studies performed in 1980, 2000 and 2006. The purpose of the studies is to describe the current situation for Swedish children and trends over time concerning various forms of humiliation, with special emphasis on events at home, but also those occurring at school.

A number of smaller investigations concerning child abuse have been performed in Sweden since the 1960s, but the first representative national investigation was carried out in 1980, the year after corporal punishment was banned through the Swedish Parental Act of 1979. The investigation in 1980 was an interview of 1105 families, where the parents responded to questions about their upbringing practices with respect to a specific child during the past year

National Swedish parental studies using the same methodology have been performed in 1980, 2000, 2006 and 2011 (current study). In 1980 and 2000 the studies were performed through telephone interviews, but in 2006 and 2011 postal questionnaires were used, mainly for economic reasons .

To our knowledge no other country had been able to perform regular national studies of this kind, where both parental behavior and children’s experiences of punishment have been recorded. For this reason the studies have been of interest not only in Sweden but also at an international level.

Since the mid-1980s, suspicion of child abuse has gradually become more frequently reported to the police forces in Sweden. Due to the substantial increase in reports during the 1990s the Governmental Committee on Child Abuse and Related Issues commissioned BRÅ to study this in detail. It was shown that the increase depended on a greater tendency to report abuse and there were no indications whatsoever that severe abuse of children had increased in Sweden. 

After the great decrease from fifty percent in 1980 to twelve percent I 2000 with respect to pushing and shaking children it has gradually increased to twenty six percent in 2006 and to thirty percent in 2011. This behavior is most prominent towards children between two and nine years of age. No parent admitted to have shaken an infant. This may hopefully be a result of the intense information campaign against shaking small children carried out in the interim since the 2006 year study.

Parents born abroad state that they have beaten their child more often. Since the very substantial decrease of parents beating their children (during the preceding year) from 1980 (28 %) to 2000 (1.1 %), there has been a slight and gradual increase to three percent in 2011. It should be noted in this context that the study in 2000 was performed using interviews and that the studies in 2006 and 2011 were performed using non-identifiable postal questionnaires

Children born abroad, particularly boys, state that they have been beaten more frequently.

The outstanding risk factor for corporal punishment is, however, violence between the adults in the family. This gives a ten-fold risk increase compared to families where there is no inter-adult violence. This risk decreases insignificantly when adjusted for other risk factors such as single parenthood, weak family economy or immigrant status. If parents were affected by alcohol or drugs when the conflict with the child occurred, there was a significant risk (60 %) that the child was beaten.

As in the former studies in 2000 and 2006, children with chronic diseases and disabilities state that they have been beaten twice as often as the healthy children. They also live to a greater extent in families where family violence occurs.

Beaten children have a much greater tendency to be involved in bullying than other children. They perform less well at school, have substantially more physical and psychological symptoms and have been involved in accidents more often. There have been speculations that Swedish parents, who no longer beat their children, instead are insulting them. The statements from the pupils point to the contrary. There is indeed a very strong connection between humiliation and corporal punishment.

Parents who claimed to have spanked/beaten their children were reduced from 28% 1980 to about 1 % the year 2000. Since then there has been a slight increase to 2,4% the year 2006 and 2,9% 2011 (figure 5.1. Brottsförebyggande rådet). (Compare this with the number for ”suspicion of spanking/beating a child”.)

Brottsförebyggande rådet says that two well-known MYTHS that are common in other countries are that ”Swedish prisons are filled with parents who have spanked their kids” and ”The juvenile crime rate in Sweden sky-rocketed immediately after the law against physical punishment started to be in force 1979”. It’s particularly common to hear these myths in countries such as the USA where spanking is allowed and where individuals seek to find support for that laws against physical punishment of children are bad. This misunderstanding has been sorted out in the scientific world thanks to international cooperations between Swedish scientists and other scientists (Gilbert et al. 2009). Studies show that the rate for child abuse and violent death among children is considerably lower in Sweden than in other countries. There has always been a great focus on Sweden due to the law against physical punishment which was enforced 1979, as first in the world, and the duty to report evident child abuse. The development in Sweden has been described in detail in other international literature (Janson, Långberg & Svensson 2011) and Sweden can lean on all the national studies that have been made in Sweden ever since 1980. There are no similar studies made in other countries and that is one of the reason that Sweden has been so much in focus. Literature from Regeringskansliet, Rädda Barnen and Allmänna Barnhuset (Regeringskansliet 2010) have been of great value and translated into many languages.  More countries have enforced laws against physical punishment. Most children live outside of Europe and that means that 95% of the children of the world are not protected by any such laws.

Just like when it comes to gun control, it’s a risk that people read and accept articles/film clips if they happen to say what fits a certain agenda. You can read my views about gun control here. (I have no reason to mistrust all world charts that show that countries with gun control also have a low homicide rate.)

I’ve been spanked and it did me much good?

Other children have said the contrary, and some can never forget the humiliation they had to go through. Children of course handle physical punishments to various degrees. For some children it’s enough to realize they are doing something unwise if a parent only raises an eye brow, whereas it takes a lot more than that to change the behavior in other children.

Once when my son was about 7 and playing with a friend, he had apparently driven a toy car too close to her so that she got hurt – which he didn’t do with purpose but he was nevertheless not cautious. I know that his friend was a rather ”confident” little girl (for instance she didn’t feel too concerned at one time when I made it known to her that I didn’t approve of her taking one of my skirts to smear in an expensive face cream into a mirror in our house) and it’s possible that her Father expected my son to be just as ”unconcerned” whenever he gets criticized. That could be why he upbraided him just as severely as he would do his own daughter. This father was rather surprised when I later told him that the very first thing that my son said when he came back home was  ”Mom, I’m dumb!”. I asked my son what he meant and if he felt that he had been dumb with purpose, and he said this wasn’t the case but continued to say he was dumb because this is what he had been told. He eventually explained that he had hurt his friend during the play with those toy cars. He is not normally clumsy at all and treats his friends with care, so I said that I hoped he said ”I’m sorry”, and if this is what he did he wasn’t dumb at all but just had to be more careful as he normally is. The girl’s father probably didn’t realize just how much his words affected my son, and was very surprised that my son commented on this situation as soon as he stepped into the door. Had he known this he would of course have used another tone, and he was probably just used to his own daughter who might just have shrugged her shoulders and move on right away. It’s quite possible that my son didn’t enjoy the rest of the stay with his friend at all but just longed to go back home. 

This story has of course nothing to do with the question of parents’ right to spank their children, but my point was only to show that children have various degrees of sensitivity towards punishment. For some ”No!” is enough whereas other children wouldn’t even stay corrected even if spanked. I wouldn’t be surprised if Solomo’s son was a pain in the neck as a child, because he grew up to be a very cruel leader for his people, with no regard for their well-being. Maybe this is why Solomon expressed the need to use the rod of correction (as in using authority and not necessarily spanking his son) instead of spoiling his son, because this could lead to that the son will perish in the end.

The problem with allowing parents to spank their children is that they might not always combine this with explanations and good reasons, but rather with verbal abuse. They might just lose their temper and start to spank their children and if this is not prohibited no one can do anything about it. If you say that you spank your children and they love you anyway, it’s actually not a good argument. I saw a documentary where a girl expressly said that she loved her father even though he had done despicable things to her. Children tend to love their parents.

While I’m at it, I think I will take the chance to write down a couple of other examples in my own life.spank kid4

Once when I was very little, perhaps 3 1/2, I was with my older brothers who were throwing small pebbles on my grandfather’s car. He saw it and came running towards us and we all got scared and started to run – including myself who did not participate. My oldest brother run passed by a shed, and my other brother and I ran into the shed where my brother squeezed himself through an opening in the window where the window pane was gone. He was quick but not quick enough to give me the time to do the same, and the only one that my grandfather therefore managed to get hold of was me and he gave me a physical punishment. Maybe he just pulled my hair or something together with shouting and verbal abuse, but enough to make me sad and deeply upset. I don’t have that many memories from this early age in my life but I do remember this episode because it affected me very much, and I wonder if I would have let my anger spill over on a younger sibling if I had one. I can easily understand that children who get physically punished start to build up a stock of ”anger” and irritation that they consciously or subconsciously pour out on younger siblings. This could in turn cause the younger siblings to give revenge on others that they have power over, and if parents detect this they might react with yet more spanking. A vicious circle. Anyway, many years later my grandmother reminded me of what happened afterwards and it was something that surprised her and my mother. Later that evening when I met my grandfather again for a meal in our kitchen, I told him ”Grandfather, it’s time for a talk”, and I pursued to tell him how unfair I felt that he treated me. I don’t remember exactly what he replied back, but I seem to recall it was something like ”How could I have known that you didn’t participate in that mischief?” as though it wasn’t his fault,

That would have been a similar response as the one I received from my other grandfather about the year after. I’ve had a couple of  similar encounters with him too.

Once when I was close to 5 years old I was staying in my grandparents’ house and I wanted to go to their neighbors to play with their kids. My grandparents said that it was fine but instructed me to not go anywhere because we were later going away somewhere and they made plans to pick me up at our neighbors’ house when it was time. So the last thing they reminded me of was to not go anywhere but to remain in the house with my friends. I didn’t think that would be hard to obey at all because each time I had gone over to their place, someone had always been at home and I certainly didn’t expect to go anywhere else. When I got there they were all making themselves ready to go for a walk and they asked me to join them. I told them that I was not allowed to go anywhere but to remain in their house. Unfortunately I was not wise enough to tell them WHY I had to remain in their house, and if  I had explained the reason to them, they would surely have either asked me to go back home or they would have waited with their walk until I had left. Instead they told me ”But you can join us because we will only go for a little walk near our house. We won’t be long at all”. I once again told them ”But they told me to not leave the house”, and was again assured that they would take care of me and that we wouldn’t be long at all and that there was not necessary for me to go back to my grandparents because they liked my visit. I was not mature enough and old enough to realize that I could have made a better decision, and I felt uncomfortable arguing with adults. So I felt there was no better alternative for me but to do as they said, but it was rather hard to know which adult to obey. So we left, and it didn’t take long before we saw my grandfather’s dark car on the dirt road behind us. As soon as he stepped out of the car he went straight up to me and pulled my hair, and he said something like ”Did I not tell you to not go anywhere?!”. His angry words were worse than his treatment of me, and I was told to sit back in the car. I was humiliated and I cried, maybe all the way into town. I’m sure none of my grandparents could ever understand how I could be so disobedient and unable to obey a simple rule, and I had no good answer.

At another time when I was about 4 years old I was in my grandparents house together with my brothers. They were investigating a large lamp (rather carelessly if you ask me) and I think they were among other things trying to see how they could turn the light on. I don’t remember if I joined them by free will to see if I could find the button, or if they tricked me to join them and purposely asked me to press a certain button instead of them so that I would take the blame if something went wrong. There was a button that caught my attention and it certainly looked like it could be the right one. Pressing it didn’t work, but I tried to turn it and that made the whole lamp head sink down half a meter because I had reached a button that adjusted the length of the lamp pole. I didn’t destroy the lamp in any way, but of course one should be more careful when adjusting a large lamp. As soon as this happened by brothers ran as fast as they could down the stairs in order to tell my grandfather what happened, and I remember hearing one of them whining when he realized that he wouldn’t be the first to disclose the news, for our grandfather, that would definitely get me in trouble. My oldest brother won the competition down the stairs and was the first to tell my grandfather that I had played with the lamp and damaged it (but I don’t think it was damaged), whereupon my grandfather became very angry and irritated. He found me wherever I was hiding and pulled my hair and told me some angry comments about disobedient children who played with his lamp with the risk of ruining it. I could not defend myself because I knew I was the one who had turned the button.

At another occasion, my grandparents asked me who I liked the most of the two of them, and I refused to answer. I didn’t feel it would be polite if I would favor one over the other. But they insisted, and I therefore felt forced to answer, and I of course said ”grandmother”. They wanted to know why, and I said that it’s because my grandfather had pulled my hair unlike my grandmother. They explained that this is needed when a child is disobedient. It’s possible that I responded here that there had been occasions where I’ve been innocent, and that the response to this comment from my grandfather was ”I couldn’t possibly have known that you were not involved”, or similar. It’s a good chance it’s true because I regret that I didn’t respond ”But shouldn’t you have made sure I’m guilty before you punish me?”.

I’m NOT saying here that it’s always bad to pull a child’s hair or grab a child’s arm, and I don’t think anyone would report a parent who did. My point is that angry words are often (but not always) more than enough for a child to understand, and spanking would do no good.

Maybe many who are for the right to spank their kids feel it’s fine because they follow a perfect ”dream scenario” where the child is first warned, and if no progress the child is spanked a little in his behind together with a clear explanation about what transgression he is guilty of, and when it’s all sorted out the parent and the child part with a hug. The problem is that this is just that; a dream scenario which sadly is hard to force parents to follow. It’s a LOT more likely that a child is just spanked in the heat of the situation and perhaps doesn’t even realize what he did wrong. He will then inadvertently be taught ”When a person gets irritated it’s fine to lose the temper and spank another person”. 

I’ve heard Americans say that ”It’s none people’s business if I spank my kids, or how much I spank my kids”. A Swede would normally not reason like that! I feel the responsibility to react if I saw someone spanking a DOG. Luckily I’ve never seen this happening, but I do react if I’m in a country where dogs are running around loose. A normal Swedish reaction would be to either find a home for the dogs, or shoot them! Anything but to let them running around on the streets with no food. I would also feel the obligation to report a farmer who mistreats his animals, or if I have found evidence for that someone has loads of cats which are not treated well. If we would do this when it comes to mistreatment of animals, of course we would react if we saw someone spanking/beating a child.