Item Details

“The best of you will not strike:” Al-Shafi‘i on Qur’an, Sunnah, and Wife-Beating

Issue: Vol 2 No. 2 (2006)

Journal: Comparative Islamic Studies

Subject Areas: Religious Studies Islamic Studies

DOI: 10.1558/cisv2i2.143


Focusing on the theoretical and substantive works of the
ninth-century jurist al-Shafi'i, namely the Risala and the Kitab al-Umm,
this paper uses the Umm's treatment of husbands striking their
recalcitrant wives as a case study to show that the Umm follows the
Risala's methodological principles, but only up to a point. Al-Shafi'i
aims to reconcile the Qur'anic evidence permitting physical chastisement
with Muhammad's exemplary practice or sunnah discouraging men from
striking their wives. Yet in allowing an additional, non-scriptural
consequence for a wife's nushuz or recalcitrance, al-Shafi'i departs
from his stated intention to rely exclusively on revealed texts.

Author: Kecia Ali

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