Originally issued in Turkey the fatwa was backed by Islamic scholars in Egypt and now has the seal of approval of Sheikh Mohsen al Obeikan, an adviser to the Saudi Ministry of Justice and a member of the Saudi Shura Council.
Contacted by Asharq Al-Awsat, Al Obeikan explained however that women can only hit their husbands in self-defence.
In his opinion the principle of self-defence is rooted in the Sharia, the Qur’an and the Hadith. The Qur’an in fact says that the “recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree)” and “. . . whoever then acts aggressively against you, inflict injury on him according to the injury he has inflicted on you”.
The original fatwa was issued by a well-known Turkish religious scholar, Fethullah Gulen, who ruled that it is within a woman’s right to defend herself by countering violence with violence, and that women should learn martial arts to protect themselves against their husbands.