Monday, November 05, 2007

OLAMGADOL2: "Abu Salah and His Thieving Wife"

Saudi Marriage 'Expert' Advises Men in 'Right Way' to Beat Their Wives

He's Saudi author and cleric, "Dr." Muhammad Al-'Arifi, who in a remarkable segment broadcast on Saudi and Kuwaiti television in September, counseled young Muslim men on how to treat their wives.

"Admonish them – once, twice, three times, four times, ten times," he advised. "If this doesn't help, refuse to share their beds."And if that doesn't work?

"Beat them," one of his three young advisees responded."That's right," Al-'Arifi said.He goes on to calmly explain to the young men that hitting their future wives in the face is a no-no.

"Beating in the face is forbidden, even when it comes to animals," he explained. "Even if you want your camel or donkey to start walking, you are not allowed to beat it in the face. If this is true for animals, it is all the more true when it comes to humans. So beatings should be light and not in the face."

His final words of wisdom?

"Woman, it has gone too far. I can't bear it anymore," he tells the men to tell their wives. "If he beats her, the beatings must be light and must not make her face ugly."He must beat her where it will not leave marks. He should not beat her on the hand... He should beat her in some places where it will not cause any damage. He should not beat her like he would beat an animal or a child -- slapping them right and left.

"Unfortunately, many husbands beat their wives only when they get mad, and when they start beating, it as if they are punching a wall – they beat with their hands, right and left, and sometimes use their feet. Brother, it is a human being you are beating. This is forbidden. He must not do this."

Take that,!,2933,307680,00.html

Abu Salah and His Thieving Wife I made my first visit to Israel in 1970 when I was 15 years old. My grandfather, who was born in Jerusalem shortly after the turn of the century, used to proudly proclaim himself a Palestinian, as he and his famaily emmigrated to America while Israel was still under Ottoman rule. My great-grandfather, a Russian immigrant, married three times. His first wife was my grandfather’s mother. His legacy was to establish families in both the U.S. and in Israel.

I stayed with his half-brother Nechemia (my half great-uncle) and family for four months. They live in Yavne’el, a “moshava” (or collective farm - not a kibbutz) in the lower Galilee. Yavne’el is a pastoral town, although it has grown to nearly unrecognizable size in the last two decades. Nechemia was a miner of gypsum (a chief component of plaster of paris) and most of his business was conducted in the West Bank. He used to take me on jobs to towns that you wouldn’t venture near today: Jenin, Ramallah, Nablus.

His business associates would often invite us into their homes, where we would be served delicious fare: grape leaves stuffed with rice and lamb, hommous with olives from local olive groves and olive oil expelled from local presses, freshly-made bread, mint tea - usually served by silent yet smiling wives who kept themselves hidden except to serve food and remove the plates. I remember once asking one of them if I could help her to clear the table - she looked at me, horrified - and her gestures implied that I was to do no such thing; I was a guest! Guests don’t clean!

Dahli, who carved toy ploughs from olive branches; Adel, whose life was saved by my uncle when his clothing caught fire from an errant spark; and many others whose names I cannot remember….their warmth and hospitality harkened to a different time, when politics took a back seat to commerce and friendship.

Yavne’el was also home to several Bedouin families, who settled permanently upon its gently-sloping fields and verdant hills. One Bedouin who I remember particularly well was Abu Salah. Nechemia and I used to visit him often. His wife kept a pot of coffee always on the ready over the ever-present cooking fire, and her husband would do the honor of wiping the crusty, coffee-stained cups with the hem of his robe before slowly filling them with the sweet, fragrant, cardamom-scented brew.

Nechemia’s daughter Dafna, my cousin, a robust blonde with a quick wit and hearty sense of humor, would often accompany us. Abu Salah used to joke with my uncle that he would like to buy her - in fact, he would give up half his flock of sheep and goats for her - but it was always with a hefty dose of humor.

A dear Israeli friend from childhood, Avram, told me this story when I visited Israel for the seventh time, in 2005. Avram is also a shepherd, and he is what I call “salt of the earth” - a gentler and truer soul you will not find, anywhere.

One summer day in 2000, he went to visit Abu Salah on minor business, but Abu Salah was nowhere to be found. The campsite appeared to be overturned and the fire in disarray, scattered. There was a foul odor coming from the fire, and what appeared to be a pile of rags smouldering in the middle. When Avram approached, he realized that the pile of rags was a BODY. Horrified, he took out his cell phone (very handy to have if you’re a shepherd!) and called the police. The police arrived and extinguished the fire, and carefully examined the partially-burnt body. It was the body of Abu Salah’s wife.

In the days that followed, the story came out that Abu Salah was involved in some shady business dealings and had frittered away most of his money. His wife, in order to protect her dowry, took all her money (and some of Abu Salah’s, as well) and hid it away. Apparently they got into a fight, and Abu Salah stabbed her. He attempted to burn her body to destroy the evidence of her murder. He went to trial, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison (there is no death penalty in Israel).

Was this a simple case of domestic violence? You might say yes... and then again, you might wonder why Abu Salah's wife - a woman so invisible that nobody seems to be able to remember her name - shares her untimely fate with so many others like her, prisoners of a culture where women have no voice, no face, not even the meager dowry for which they were bought.

Then again - you just never know about people, do you?


Anonymous cassie said...

Hi, Donal! Hey, this was a really great story - I love to hear first-person experiences. They mean so much more than some dry thing you'd read in school, or out of the newspaper.

7:33 AM  
Anonymous bobcat said...

I had to wonder that the man was punished.... until I went back and remembered they were in Israel.

7:46 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

The women of Islam are going to rise up and demand an end to this violence being inflicted against them. There's simply too much information available worldwide for Islam to continue its abuse of women. Pressure is being brought to bear against these vicious beasts. And they will have to change their ways, they will have no choice in the matter.

Great article Olamgadol2. Money problems frequently cause marital discord. But murder shouldn't be the ultimate act in wife control. I wonder if Abu Salah will spend the entire life sentence in prison for her murder.

Do you know if he is still in prison?

7:47 AM  
Blogger The Merry Widow said...

Pat-They will not, not unless they leave mohammadism first. Which is the greater tragedy, they actually beieve with all their being that they are superior and better than the kuffar!
Very few women have the tools to use to even know that there is better!


8:30 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

You don't think that the world is becoming much more connected, even within Islam?

I do. Otherwise, why are they at war with us? They are losing their grips on power due to the knowledge being imparted to the masses within their countries.

That's why they've declared war on us. The truth is having an impact on their barbaric regimes and they are trying to hang onto power.

It's only a matter of time before enough of them turn away from the radical Islamo-fascists and they adopt a more reasonable, moderate form of their religion.

They have no choice if they want to surive, because they cannot defeat us. They started this war and have no choice but to continue since we've engaged them.

It's just a matter of time.

8:39 AM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

TMW--True--and I am alarmed at the number of illiterate muslim women who only see the world through the eyes and ears and mouth of a male 'keeper'.

8:42 AM  
Anonymous tom said...

i am fascinated that no one remembered this woman's name... yet her death spoke so loudly.

9:00 AM  
Anonymous bobcat said...

I wish I had your faith that we'd prevail.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

Bobcat, how can we help but prevail over these cowards? No way do these savages have a chance at defeating us.

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful story Olam! Thanks for sharing this. As I was reading, I got the feeling that this Bedouin was a pretty good "salt of the earth" type of character. True life just never quite matches the novels does it? It's always more complicated.


3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DONAL I could tell you some stories about how the Muslims treat their woman...

Better yet, my father has some REAL doozies from his time as a radar operator in Morocco just after his hitch in ther Korean War. Holy crap! just barely scratches the surface of his tales about Arabs and their wives and daughters.


3:19 PM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

Morgan, you ought to write them up!

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My experiences with Arabs and their women were kinda sad. My dad's on the other hand were damn near unwriteable in mixed company!


4:45 PM  
Blogger CHOMP said...

Olam, you are such a fine writer and story teller. We all want to hear more.

In a perfect world, women might rise up against the violence against them. In this world, unfortunately, I don't see that as a possibility.

7:36 PM  
Blogger The Merry Widow said...

Pat-You are an optimist, not a bad thing in fact. BUT, if you go over to AlwaysOnWatch's site, she wrote about what happened to her last week. In Virginia! Look for the post, "Superstition Trumps Science". And you will see what we are up against IN OUR OWN COUNTRY!
Our slide into moral failure as a country has led to situations that can only addressed(because of moral backbone)when the people of a society have the intestinal fortitude to put their collective foot down and say, "NO!"
We cannot do it anymore, we do not have a large enough percentage of the population.
And don't look to many of our young people, what is happening in schools is an abomination AND IT IS CONTAMINATING our children!
Look under the surface, you may not think it is happening in YOUR area, believe me, I talk to middle and high schoolers, really talk, talk they can't say at home! Even in 'nice' neighborhoods, in church youth groups, where you expect better. IT IS THERE!
Good morning, G*D bless and Maranatha!


3:42 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

I see what you mean, TMW. But the woman was older and perhaps she was incapable of learning about a new way of life, about her rights and about freedom.

Muslims are also individual human beings. I believe that we will make progress with them and they will see that their ways are barbaric, in time.

Why do I believe that? Because God loves them, too. Because freedom is God's gift to all His children. In time, evil will be defeated. Good always triumphs over evil in the end.

6:45 AM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

Thanks, TMW--I'll go have a look!

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off topic!

Batya, my email address is

and for the record, my REAL name is Cheryl!

Hopefully you won't be "spammed"!

1:15 PM  

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