Islamic Fatwa: Husbands Should Abandon Wives to Rapists in Self-Interest
by Raymond Ibrahim
May 28, 2014
Islam permits Muslim husbands to abandon their wives to rapists in order to save their own lives—so says Dr. Yassir al-Burhami, vice president of Egypt’s Salafi party, the nation’s premiere Islamist party since the Muslim Brotherhood was banned.
Burhami’s fatwa, or Islamic decree, is not altogether surprising. Earlier the Salafi sheikh said that, although a Muslim man may marry non-Muslim women, specifically Christians and Jews, he must hate them—and show them that he hates them—because they are “infidels” (even as he enjoys them sexually).
Indeed, the many fatwas of Dr. Burhami, a pediatrician by training, include banning Muslim cab and bus drivers from transporting Coptic Christian priests to their churches, which he depicted as “more forbidden than taking someone to a liquor bar“;permitting marriage to minor girls;banning Mother’s Day—”even if it saddens your mother”—as a Western innovation; and insisting that Muslims cannot apostatize from Islam—a phenomenon often in the news.
Now in his most recent fatwa—that husbands are permitted to forsake their sexually-assaulted wives in self-interest—Burhami relies on qiyas, or analogy, based on the rulings of a prominent twelfth century jurist: according to Imam ‘Azz bin Abdul Salaam, a Muslim should abandon his possessions to robbers if so doing would safeguard his life.
Based on this logic, Burhami analogizes that the Muslim husband should abandon his wife if defending her jeopardizes his life—as she is just another possession that can easily be replaced.
In the words of a critical Arabic op-ed titled “Manhood according to Burhami!” and written by one Amani Majed, a Muslim woman:
So that which applies to abandoning one’s possessions to thieves and fleeing in fear of one’s life, applies—in Burhami’s view, sorry to say—to one’s wife and daughter. So if the wife is ever exposed to rape, she is seen as a possession. The husband is to abandon her to the rapists and escape with his life. And why not? For if he loses his possessions, he will replace them; and if his wife is raped, he will marry another, even if she remains alive!
The op-ed goes on to consider the ramifications of Burhami’s logic should every Muslim man follow it: if a policeman patrolling the streets sees a woman—a stranger, not his wife or daughter—being gang-raped, should he intervene, as his job entails, and risk his own person, or should he think only of himself and flee? Should the Egyptian soldier stand his ground and defend his nation against invaders, or should he flee to preserve his own life?