Monday, November 24


"I don't like to listen to that ustazah's talks," I said.
"Sometimes what she said can't be found in the hadith."
"Well, there's this story she said in one of her talks that Fatimah the prophet's daughter was told that another woman would reach syurga before her. She was an examplary wife who used to wait for her husband's return with among all things, a cane so that her husband could beat her if she made any mistakes in her treatment towards her husband. I mean, come on la.. a cane for a husband to beat his wife if he's unsatisfied with her? Which hadith actually said so? It's amazing that there're people who actually believe the story."
"There's a riwayat or story from the hadith la, Kak Aliya."
"Really? Show me then. All I do know is that Rasulullah saw instructed husbands to treat their wives gently and patiently. And that wives are to obey their husbands. I've never come across any Quranic verse or authentic hadith that said a wife should beaten with a cane if she does not treat or layan her husband well."
"There is.. if I'm not mistaken, told by Caliph Umar?"
"Umar? Oh you mean the story that a husband went to Caliph Umar to complain about his wife and overheard the Caliph being scolded by his wife? And what did Caliph Umar tell the husband? He said that he was still grateful to his wife for her sacrifices in preparing his food, washing his clothes etc.. things she was not required to do but she did. And that husbands are to be patient with their wives. There's no mentioning that Caliph Umar beat his wife with a cane."
"Oh, go and find the hadith.. I'm sure it's there."
"Perhaps you don't really know me yet, my friend. I'm not one who will simply accept a story or an order connecting to Islam per se. I want to know the truth as is in the real teaching of Islam, not a folklore passed down through generations and connocted by a person with the intention of turning women into good, obedient wives. And sorry to say, I have yet to find any hadith actually saying that an examplary wife should wait at the door for her husband with a cane. With beautiful clothes and perfume, yes... but not with a cane."
"But the woman in that story entered syurga before Fatimah?"
"Perhaps she did but perhaps she didn't even exist. We know that there're four examplary women in Islam whom we should emulate. The quran mentioned their names. They are Asiah the wife of Firaun, Maryam the mother of Isa, Khatijah the wife of prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Fatimah the daughter of prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Therefore, I suspect that story about the woman with the cane is just a story created by the Muslim Malays for their women. Strangely but not surprisingly, I can't find it in any English version."
"You're such a stubborn woman, Kak Aliya."
"My stubborness in refusing to accept everything passed down by you Muslim Malays as the teachings of Islam is actually a good thing, my friend. I'm not as easily influenced by deviant teachings and Islam ikutan ala Melayu. I find something new,I read up, and I do research. Isn't that what we're Muslims suposed to do, to refer back to the al-Quran and authentic hadith for guidance and to use the God-given brains to think? Hence, I find the story atrocious."
"But isn't it good that wives become obedient due to the story, and treat their husbands well?"
"The aim to teach goodness does not mean we have to spread falseness. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had warned us never to use his name to spread false stories. In fact, he has never taught us that husbands can beat their wives if they find the wives' treatment or layanan unsatisfying. And as far as I know, the only reason a husband can beat his wife is when she is nusyuz or disobedient. That too, after being given two warnings beforehand. Besides, in a loving marriage, there should not be any threat of harm to either spouse. I'd suggest new brides to read up about a 'Muslim Woman and her Husband' instead of this fanciful story. And I do feel sorry for the poor souls who actually believe that a husband can beat the wife if she doesn't satisfy all his needs. No wonder we often hear about wife-battery and domestic violence even in Muslim Malay households, where the wives are silent victims!"


  1. Salam Aliya,

    Spot on! Too many hadith dhaif and kisah-kisah nabi israeliyat that are being used such that we think it is true. All these will cause innovations and deviants. I am striving to find true sources of anything that people tell me nowadays. I am encouraging my son to do the same, Insya Allah.

  2. Salam W.R.T,

    The attitude of avoiding taqlid buta is something that should be examplified by all muslims.

    Islam is pure,and it is our responsibility to preserve its purity.

    Nice post by the way.Thank you for reminding me the importance to not follow blindly,and may it also do the same for our brothers and sisters,insya Allah!

  3. heheh i was just about to say what Lollies just said.

    good on you for being 'stubborn' though I don't think it's stubborn. i think it's being principled.

  4. I think that story is somekind of a folklore as I've heard a slightly different version of it from some ladies in Sri Langka.It may has its origin in a hadith, but telah ditokok tambah oleh orang-tua2 to instill obedience into young wives....

  5. salam,

    i too have heard the hadith, i am not sure whether i read it somewhere or was told of it. but as i can remember, the wife will wait for the husband to come back to their house after work. the wife would wait for the husband with a glass of water on one hand, the cane on the other whilst holding her kain up to her knees(or thighs, i cant recall)..but from that story, it did not give an idea that husbands had the right to beat the wife with the cane(nor was it mentioned that Prophet p.b.u.h had tacitly or expressly mentioned the using of the cane was to be followed) but a story of how obedient a wife can be. that she had done that for her husband a wife not that she was ever forced to do so.

    i think it should be noted that nothing from the story shud be seen to mean that husband has the right to beat wife with a cane.

    i am about to right an article about this in my blog soon..hope u can visit and read my blog :)

  6. Waalaikumussalam everyone,
    That was part of a conversation I had last night with a relative. Thanks for helping me know that what I said was right. You see, it's not easy to convince people who have been brought up with all these hadith israeliyat(quoting Lollies)to finally accept that what they've learnt are not really true teachings in Islam. Oh somehow I always end up knocking on walls, hahaha... and some born Muslims are not open to discussions & dialogues to find the truth. Such a pity. Trust Aliya to knock on walls:P

  7. Salam Aliya,

    Spot on! You are so right... If you go to youtube and type "Sheikh Yusuf Estes: Beat Women in Islam? Their High Value", you will see that we women have a special place in Islam. If only people would look a bit deeper and further.

    I am glad you are an independent thinking woman! :-)

  8. Waalaikumussalam aieen,
    An independent thinking woman? What an honour, coming from you my friend :D
    Others might have said, "degil!" "Teruk u ni!" hahaha..

  9. Assalamualaikum wbt.

    Why should we defend a story which we do not know its authenticity?

  10. What bothers me mostly about the whole 'wife being obedient' thing is the promise of 'entering syurga before the wife who is not obedient'.

    Call me a sceptic, while I believe in a heaven and hell (albeit a temporary stay in either), it seems contrary to claim out loud that 'I shall enter heaven before you because I am the better wife'.

    If Muslim women are being taught that 'being caned/punished by your husband if you have wronged him' is (one of) the key/s to heaven, I shudder to think of what will come to be.

  11. Dear Exchanger,
    Islam does not state that a wife will enter heaven first before another wife who is less obedient. In an authentic hadith, access to heaven is easier for a woman who prays 5 times a day, fasts during Ramadhan, obeys her husband's instructions as long as they re not against Islamic teachings, and guards her honour. Who enters heaven is not determined by the husband but Allah All Knowing, who has proclaimed that women will be given an easier passage compared to men if she does all 4 things well.
    Wife-beating exists in many cultures and religions. Hindus allow it, the Bible instructs husbands to do so in the new testament but true Islamic teachings abhors this practise. Don't you kow that?

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  13. Assalamualaikum,

    1. i agree that there should be more emphasis on the hadith stating that the best men are those who are best to their wives (and daughters).

    2. nevertheless i do believe that saidatina Fatimah had been advised by Rasulullah p.b.u.h to visit a solehah wife, so i do not think of this particular story as a folklore.

    3. the point is - as highlighted by another reader earlier - the story put emphasis more on how obedient a woman can be, not on the right of husband to beat the wife.

    if my memory serves me right, this particular woman had asked saidatina Fatimah to return home twice before allowing her to enter the house because, the first time she did not had her husband's permission to allow saidatina Fatimah inside, and the next day when saidatina Fatimah brought her children along, the lady did not had permission to allow the kids inside, so it was only during her third visit when saidatina Fatimah was allowed to enter her house.

    then, the lady ate pieces of bread that were purposely dried, because her husband went out all day long in the searing sun, eating bread that had been dried in his pocket, so she did not feel comfortable eating soft bread if her husband could not.

    then, there were three mats on the floor, because if her husband happened to turn during his sleep, she would not like that her back would be facing him, so she would get up and go to the other mat, and repeated this if he happened to turn the other way.

    then as the time nears for her husband's return, she made herself more presentable (enticing even) for her husband, with a glass of water on one hand, and a cane on the other.

    so - to a dhaif and kurang ilmu person like i am - i guess the story is more to highlight how pleased Rasulullah p.b.u.h. is with women who voluntarily goes the extra mile to obey and honor their husbands (saidatina Fatimah was advised to visit this woman when she was rather feeling rather dissatisfied with her husband).

    4. i believe that it's important to refer to al-Quran and authentic hadith, but while i can't tell you the actual matan and sanad of this hadith, (or certify that it is a hadith), i also believe that there's a lesson that we can learn from this story...


  14. Quote:

    Wife-beating exists in many cultures and religions. Hindus allow it, the Bible instructs husbands to do so in the new testament but true Islamic teachings abhors this practise. Don't you kow that?


    No I did not, but what matters is what is being taught and how it is perceived. Not all Muslims are as knowledgable or widely read as you and thus take the word of their religious teachers as the true teachings. Modern interpretations of those religions which propagated wife beating in the past now accomadate changing views and slowly emerging gender equality.

    I also do not subscribe to any of the religions you mentioned above though, they (including Islam) has never tickled my fancy. :)

  15. Waalaikumussalam Haida,
    The way I see it, most born Muslim Malays tend to accept everything told by their ustaz or ustazah as the truth, even hadith israeliyat which are spread around to confuse Muslims. Yes, I too have read the story spread in the internet and I still stand by my principle that it's a fake. Look around you, any good islamic books about marriage written by scholars and ulamas from Arab nations do not contain this folklore. Ever ask yourself why? Surely a good obedient wife will do her best to please her husband. Holidng the cane is demeanign to the honour Allah gives a wife anda insult to the husband coz that indicates he unable to teach her with kind words.

  16. Dear Exchanger,
    Gender equality has already existed during the days of prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Unfortunately cultural practices and patriachal thinking still exists even in Muslim societies, hence the spread of such stories that do not actually reveal the true teachings of Islam.
    Each tois/her own, Exchanger. I may not agree with everything you said but I'd defend your right to say it.

  17. i've read this story. i've heard it told. but i had never given it much thought cuz i never liked the idea of being caned by someone i'd call a husband..and i don't really understand why a man would cane a wife if marriage in islam promotes love and care..when i first heard it, i simply brush it off. it didnt touch me. it sounds fake. not believable.

    and then your post came up. i think it's cool. *^^* and it says what i wanted to say. but then, the people who told me this story were i kinda keep the stuff i wanna say to myself.

    i agree with you. totally.

    can i link to this post from my blog, just so i could reach more people with your help?


  18. Thanks for your prayers and comments, Nani. Sure, you may link to yours.

  19. salam aliya,

    for one, i don't simply accept everything taught by any ustaz and ustazah as the truth. i prefer to learn from a lot of different sources before making up my mind about any particular issue.

    anyway, i wouldn't be too quick to claim that there's "no good islamic books about marriage written by scholars and ulamas from Arab nations" that refer to this particular story. i haven't read that many kitab, and there are so many kitabs in Arabic that have not yet been translated into English or Malay... but i remember reading something along the line of "those who read (learn) a lot, will condemn others less"...

    some ustaz and ustazah may neglect to quote their sources when they give their lectures, hence making it a bit difficult for listeners to cross-check the references used in the lectures. nevertheless personally in such instances, i would rather pick up on the positive points highlighted by the ustaz/ustazah. like one ustaz once pointed out - if we attend a majlis ilmu sincerely, insya Allah there will be new things for us to learn even when we thought that we have known everything (or a lot) about the subject matter


  20. Waalaikumussalam Haida,
    Thanks for your comments. I'm glad that you do your own research too. Nobody can claim to know everything or a lot for what we know is only a iota compared to Allah swt's. We may differ in opinion about this issue but do know that to comment about something someone said doesn't not equal to condemning him/her. Just disagreement. Discussions and dialogues will lead to the truth. Wallahua'alam

  21. my mom used to attend islamic study circles regularly until one day, the organiser told this same story, but a more lenghty version which managed to upset my mom's perception towards them.

    when i knew about it i felt somewhat angry. how can some people be so confident that the story is true and not bothering to check?

  22. Assalamualaikum Nurul,
    Well, if your mother and you yourself can feel insulted after hearing it told by an islamic circle group, what more can I say? I'm told that it's from an old Malay kitab but nobody has succeeded in showing me the proof. It's quite distressing when other ustazahs keep this story alive :(