BEIRUT, Lebanon: A Muslim woman is allowed to fight back in self-defense if hit by her husband, Lebanon’s top Shiite cleric declared Tuesday in a ruling rare for the male-dominated Islamic society.
A statement by his office said Fadlallah stressed that although Islam gives men supremacy over women in running household affairs, it “does not approve of a man using any sort of violence against a woman, even in the form of insults and harsh words.”
“These (acts) are sins whose doers will be brought to account by God and are punished by Islamic law,” Fadlallah said and denounced all kinds of physical violence used against wives as “a sign of weakness” by the husband.
“We consider that if a man used physical violence against a woman and she could not defend herself except by retaliating with similar violence, she can do so out of self-defense,” Fadlallah said in his fatwa Tuesday.
Likewise, he added, if a man used violence to suppress a woman’s legal and marital rights, for example by withholding money for household expenses or refraining from having sexual relations with her, “she can respond by depriving him of the rights to which she had committed herself in the marriage contract.”