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Islamic law recognizes circumstances where men may be violent with women. This includes husbands dealing with disobedient wives, but also extends to warfare, where attacking women is endorsed by the example of the prophet, and the hudud, which specify special punishments for transgressions of female sexual norms.
Beating your Wives is Allowed
Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them
; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.
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.
It was narrated that Iyas bin 'Abdullah bin Abu Dhubab said:
"The Prophet said: 'Do not beat the female slaves of Allah.' Then 'Umar came to the Prophet and said: 'O Messenger of Allah, the woman have become bold towards their husbands? So order the beating of them,' and they were beaten. Then many women went around to the family of Muhammad,. The next day he said: 'Last night seventy women came to the family of Muhammad, each woman complaining about her husband. You will not find that those are the best of you
.' " (Sahih)
Discipline. The husband has the right to discipline his wife if she disobeys him in something good, not if she disobeys him in something sinful, because Allaah has enjoined disciplining women by forsaking them in bed and by hitting them, when they do not obey.
The Hanafis mentioned four situations in which a husband is permitted to discipline his wife by hitting her. These are: not adorning herself when he wants her to; not responding when he calls her to bed and she is taahirah (pure, i.e., not menstruating); not praying; and going out of the house without his permission.
Confine Woman Guilty of Lewdness to her House Until Death
The words "another way" in this verse are understood in tafsirs to refer to this later being abrogated by the punishment of lashing (if unmarried) or stoning (if married).
If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, Take the evidence of four (Reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them
, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way.
Killing Women and Children is Allowed as "Collateral Damage"
Narrated As-Sab bin Jaththama:
The Prophet passed by me at a place called Al-Abwa or Waddan, and was asked whether it was permissible to attack the pagan warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The Prophet replied, "They (i.e. women and children) are from them (i.e. pagans)." I also heard the Prophet saying, "The institution of Hima is invalid except for Allah and His Apostle."
It is narrated by Sa'b b. Jaththama that he said (to the Holy Prophet): Messenger of Allah, we kill the children of the polytheists during the night raids. He said: They are from them.
Sa'b b. Jaththama has narrated that the Prophet (may peace be upon him) asked: What about the children of polytheists killed by the cavalry during the night raid? He said: They are from them.
...[O]ne must go on jihad (i.e. razzias or raids) at least once a year ... one may use a catapult against them when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and children
. One may set fire to them and/or drown them. ... If a person of the ahl al-kitab
[i.e. People of the Book] is enslaved, his marriage is revoked. ... One may cut down their trees. ... One must destroy their useless books. Jihadists may take as booty whatever they decide ... they may steal as much food as they need...
Al-Ghazali, Kitab al-Wagiz fi fiqh madhab al-imam al-Safi'i
Special Huduud Punishments for Women
If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, Take the evidence of four (Reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way.
Compare this to the punishment for men.
If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and amend, Leave them alone; for Allah is Oft-returning, Most Merciful.
Both 4:15 and 4:16 were considered to have been later abrogated by a regime of equal punishments for both male and female fornicators, namely flogging if one who is unmarried, or stoning for one who is married.
The adulterer and the adulteress, scourge ye each one of them (with) a hundred stripes. And let not pity for the twain withhold you from obedience to Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of believers witness their punishment.
Narrated Abu Huraira and Zaid bin Khalid: Two men had a dispute in the presence of Allah's Apostle. One of them said, "O Allah's Apostle! Judge between us according to Allah's Laws." The other who was wiser, said, "Yes, O Allah's Apostle! Judge between us according to Allah's Laws and allow me to speak. The Prophet said, "Speak." He said, "My son was a laborer serving this (person) and he committed illegal sexual intercourse with his wife, The people said that my son is to be stoned to death, but I ransomed him with one-hundred sheep and a slave girl. Then I asked the learned people, who informed me that my son should receive one hundred lashes and will be exiled for one year, and stoning will be the lot for the man's wife." Allah's Apostle said, "Indeed, by Him in Whose Hand my soul is, I will judge between you according to Allah's Laws: As for your sheep and slave girl, they are to be returned to you." Then he scourged his son one hundred lashes and exiled him for one year. Then Unais Al-Aslami was ordered to go to the wife of the second man, and if she confessed (the crime), then stone her to death. She did confess, so he stoned her to death.
Narrated Abu Huraira and Said bin Khalid: The verdict of Allah's Apostle was sought about an unmarried slave girl guilty of illegal intercourse. He replied, "If she commits illegal sexual intercourse, then flog her (fifty stripes), and if she commits illegal sexual intercourse (after that for the second time), then flog her (fifty stripes), and if she commits illegal sexual intercourse (for the third time), then flog her (fifty stripes) and sell her for even a hair rope." Ibn Shihab said, "I am not sure whether the Prophet ordered that she be sold after the third or fourth time of committing illegal intercourse."