Should we not beat our wives?


Some questions seemingly have easy answers. But the issues is simply that the answer that is very simple in one culture, is not so easy to answer in another culture. For instance: Is it wrong to beat our wives? Is it not a duty that we have?

A group of men in Western South Asia asked this question to two female missionaries: ‘Should we not be beating our wives?’ Unlike some corners of the Muslim world, where wives and daughters are subjected to purdah (the practise of hiding women from public as a tribute to their great value), tribal Muslims from the remote interior of Western South Asia (India, Pakistan, Afghanistan) harbour no such illusions. They value women only as property. A Muslim background believer named Ahmed explains, “In our culture, women are like shoes. We wear them, and when they are old we throw them out. If a woman does something that does not please her husband, he will drag her through the streets to the cemetery and bury her alive.”

For the believers in Western South Asia, this behaviour is changing. A turning point occurred when two female American missionaries arranged a workshop for a dozen women from tribal Muslim villages. At the last minute, the women’s husbands came instead! ‘After today, we will treat our wives with respect.’ Donna, one of the teachers, recalls, “The first day was a fiasco. The tribal men were aghast at the thought of two women teaching them anything.” During an awkward conversation with the American women, Ahmed casually asked, “Should we not be beating our wives. What does the Bible say?” An earnest discussion followed, with Donna pointing out many relevant scriptures about how men should treat their wives with sacrificial love.

The next morning Ahmed said, “All night we did not sleep. We talked about what Jesus says about women, and how we should treat our wives.” One by one the men stood and said, “I will no longer beat my wife. After today, we will treat our wives with respect.” Could it be that simple? “It’s not been easy,” Ahmed admitted. “That was a big change for us.” After the workshop, a women’s movement was launched, which has started hundreds of women’s jamaats (churches). The men requested more training for reaching women. “Last year,” Ahmed said, “more than 100 jamaat leaders said to me, ‘I no longer beat my wife.’” Source: 30 Days of Prayer Network.

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About the author

Bennie Mostert
By Bennie Mostert