A Palestinian religious leader said in a recent interview that hitting one’s wife is one way the Islamic faith suggests healing a broken marriage — and even suggested that hitting is a mark of “love and friendship.”

In a Feb. 8 interview with Palestinian Authority television, Mufti of Gaza Hassan Al-Laham assured viewers that “Allah created a solution for this,” that is, marital strife.

He said, “This hitting is a kind of reminder that the love and friendship that Allah commanded is still found between” the couple.

The mufti offered an Allah-mandated four-step program for husbands, culminating in striking their wives, but not so severely that those outside the home discover that the couple is having trouble.

Image source: Palestinian Authority TV via Palestinian Media Watch

Image source: Palestinian Authority TV via Palestinian Media Watch

“Allah said: Warn them [the wives], and separate from them, and hit them, and bring an arbitrator from his family and an arbitrator from her family. [Only] after this comes divorce. The husband starts with a warning,” he explained.

“After the warning and separation, comes the hitting — hitting that does not make her ugly,” the Gaza mufti said. “The Prophet [Muhammad] said [in a Hadith]: ‘Do not hit the face and do not make her ugly.’ In other words, not hitting that will bring the police, and break her hand and cause bleeding, or hitting that makes the face ugly.”

The mufti quoted the teachings of Muhammad known as the Hadith, which Al-Laham said suggested using a “small brush” for hitting.

“The hitting is not meant to disfigure, harm or degrade. The hitting will be like a joke. He will hit her jokingly. Not a blow that breaks a bone or makes the face ugly, and he will not curse and the like,” the mufti said.

Excerpts from the interview were translated by Palestinian Media Watch, an Israeli research organization that monitors Palestinian print, broadcast and Internet media outlets.

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