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.
Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah issued the fatwa, or religious edict, on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
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.
Fadlallah, 72, is the top religious authority for Lebanon’s 1.2 million Shiites, but has followers throughout the Mideast. He is considered a militant by the West for past links to the Hezbollah, but has adopted progressive, nonviolent stances on some issues, surprising some among his conservative followers. [complete article]