Recently, Marvin Levant (Dec. 28), Steve Harris (Dec. 30), Syed Soharwardy (Jan. 2), and Riazuddin Ahmed (Jan. 5) debated Islam through the forum of the Herald's letters to the editor.
The issue of wife beating and gender inequality in Islam has become convoluted and highly controversial as many Muslims try to sugar-coat the ugly truths and others try to shed some light on the issue.
Soharwardy's statement that "Beating one's wife is not only wrong, it is criminal and completely un-Islamic" is incorrect. The Qur'an says that "men are in charge of women because Allah has made one of them (men) to excel the other (women), thus man's superiority over women . . . good women are the obedient ones . . . admonish the rebellious women and banish them, and scourge them (whip them severely to inflict pain) (4:34) . . . smote them (hit or strike with the hand or with a weapon causing pain, beat them . . . (4:62)".