Muslim marriage guide, A Gift for Muslim Couple, that advises husbands how to beat wives sold in Toronto store

Steve Mertl
Daily BrewMarch 27, 2012

A marriage advice book for Muslim couples that advises husbands how to beat and restrain disobedient wives is apparently sold out at a Toronto bookstore, according to the Toronto Sun.

A Gift for a Muslim Couple was written by Indian Muslim scholar Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, who died in 1943.

A blurb on the Indian Islamic online bookstore says the book is intended as a presentation to newly married couples and consists of quotations from Thanvi's other books related to the subject of marriage. It includes "fine examples of real life incidents, different aspects of family life and explained how to run the institution of marriage successfully."

According to the Sun, the 160-page book offers tips to Muslim husbands about times "it might be necessary to restrain her [wife] with strength or even threaten her."

A husband may beat his wife "by hand or stock" and "pull (her) by the ears," the book says, but "refrain from beating her excessively."

"The husband should treat the wife with kindness and love, even if she tends to be stupid and slow sometimes," Thanvi advises.

A husband's rights include ensuring his wife fulfills his desires, not allowing her to leave the house without his permission and seeing that she be tidy and beautiful for him, the book says.

In an era when honour killings are in the news, the book's availability and evident popularity is raising eyebrows.

"The contents of this book are disgusting," Ana Curic, director of communications for Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, told the Sun. "Spousal abuse is a despicable crime and the person who wrote the book should be ashamed of himself."

Curic noted the new Canadian citizenship guide specifically mentions that violence against women is forbidden.

"The guide now says, 'In Canada, men and women are equal under the law. Canada's openness and generosity do not extend to barbaric cultural practices that tolerate spousal abuse, honour killings, female genital mutilation, forced marriage or other gender-based violence'," Curic said.

Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae said it's "deeply troubling" a book is being sold in Canada advocates practices that are against the law and "fly in the face of our common morals, our sense of fairness and equality,

"We have clear laws about forcible confinement, and with respect to abusive behaviour and physical violence - this is not how life is lived in Canada."

The Sun reported the marriage guide was sold out at Islamic Books and Souvenirs in Toronto, but it was not known how many copies were in stock. A search Wednesday of the store's web site under the book's title or author's name also turned up no hits.

The store's owner, Shamim Ahmad, told the Sun it would be "stupid" to order more copies. Ahmad refused to talk about the flap on the advice of his lawyer.

International news outlets, including Al Arabiya and Britain's Daily Mail picked up on the controversy.

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