Saudi sheikh Ghazi bin Abdul-Aziz bin Khalaf al-Shammari, author of The Prophet Muhammad: The Best of All Husbands, had everything he wanted – a society that respects him for the bizarre headbanging ritual he performs five times a day, accepts his poor fashion choices like the tablecloth on his head, and even gives him a live radio audience. What did he do with the platform he was given? He opened his mouth and removed all doubt that he was a 7th-century menace.
A man called the radio show to complain to al-Shammari about his wife, who had traveled to a business conference without his approval. The man claimed his wife had “offended his manhood” by doing something without asking his permission. The man also said he had accepted his wife’s request to get a job as long as it didn’t interfere with their marriage. What’s wrong with this picture: a woman has to ask her husband for permission to go to work?! Uhh, I don’t think so. al-Shammari told his fellow 7th-century anachronism that he should divorce his wife immediately for “committing such a mistake against her home and husband.” Instead of intentionally doing the woman a huge favor by getting her away from her controlling, idiot husband, al-Shammari just thought he was doing what was right by the law of Allah.
“[The caller] was surprised that [his wife] sent him a text message from the airport telling him that she was traveling alone… and this is why I advised him to divorce her because she was not obeying her husband, a matter that is very important in Islam.” Obedience to the husband is required of all Muslimahs, with threats of being denied paradise (jannat al-firdaus; Sahih Bukhari 2:28) and beatings (Qur. 4:34) as the most common punishments. al-Shammari continued: “Such a wife is suspicious because she insisted to travel alone to Riyadh and without ample reason. I did not rush with the advice because I saw that the issue was dangerous and we should not remain silent more about it.” Uhh, she said it was a business conference, what more reason does she need? Or maybe she just wanted to travel, and there’s nothing wrong with that either. Insecure, jealous men like al-Shammari and the caller probably shouldn’t get married in the first place, as they’re likely to devolve into control freaks. Unfortunately, Islam justifies such oppressive behavior because it was created by insecure men.
When controversy erupted over al-Shammari’s advice for the caller to divorce his wife, he claimed his intent was “correction, not destruction.” He said the woman’s trip was “a suspected act,” and “there is no wise husband who accepts a wife of this type.” So the ideal wife is compliant and submissive, with no agenda of her own? Sounds dreadfully dull, almost like “marrying” a doll.
On Twitter, al-Shammari ignited controversy by claiming that liberated women are “bitter spinsters” and advised that marriage was the “best solution” for them. Marriage should be a choice, not a punishment. And maybe, just maybe, some people are happier when they don’t have to deal with a control-freak spouse who’s stuck in the 7th century and probably underwhelming in bed. Hopefully al-Shammari’s romantic life withers until he sees the error of his (and his religion’s) ways.