Question: Is it true Qur’an has allowed punishing a woman physically if she does not fulfill conjugal rights?
Answer: There is no doubt that for social security woman Islam has performed many important services. And it has a great right upon them. So much so that western scholars or Orientalists who do not have any favorable opinion about Islam, for example Crame Brenton, John Christopher and Robert Lee Wolfe have written in their books and clearly confessed that the Islamic movement has played an effective role in reforming the conditions of woman and the Holy Qur’an has also laid down emphatic laws in this regard. Whose two examples are the following two ayats:
… and treat them kindly…1
…they are an apparel for you and you are an apparel for them;2
In the sayings of the leaders of Islam so much emphasis is laid on kindness to women that it is said that you must not even speak to them in nasty manner.
In the same way the women are also made responsible that they must deal with husbands with utmost love and in good natured way.
As far as a light physical punishment for woman who are not prepared to fulfill the conjugal right. Regarding this it is the clear command of Holy Qur’an that the husband should first rebuke and advise her, then he must sleep away from her and suspend physical relations with.
Till the time if none of these actions are effective in this condition he can give the woman a light physical punishment. And it is obvious that this step is purely in special cases and actually it is like an operation of a sick person.
That it is needed under special circumstances. Till the time the husband also refrains from fulfilling conjugal rights and there is no other method to compel him except through physical force. Then Islamic government has the right to give him physical punishment.
This point is also worth remembering that according to the view of psychologists some women always like to hurt and sometimes due to some cause it becomes intense and shown in psychological disorder. In such cases a light physical punishment cures their sickness.
It must also be remembered that the punishment mentioned should not be such that the body is injured or bruised.