According to Sayeed, non-consensual sex in marriage is a minor aggression, compared to the major aggression of actually prosecuting the husband for it and sending him to jail.
Via the Independent:
A senior Muslim cleric who runs the country's largest network of sharia courts has sparked controversy by claiming that there is no such thing as rape within marriage.
Sheikh Maulana Abu Sayeed, president of the Islamic Sharia Council in Britain, said that men who rape their wives should not be prosecuted because "sex is part of marriage". And he claimed that many married women who alleged rape were lying.
His comments have angered senior police officers, who say that such statements undermine the work they do to encourage women to report rape, a notoriously under-reported crime.
Sheikh Sayeed made the comments in an interview with the blog The Samosa, before reiterating them later when contacted by The Independent.
He told the website: "Clearly there cannot be any rape within the marriage. Maybe aggression, maybe indecent activity... Because when they got married, the understanding was that sexual intercourse was part of the marriage, so there cannot be anything against sex in marriage. Of course, if it happened without her desire, that is no good, that is not desirable."
Later he told this newspaper: "In Islamic sharia, rape is adultery by force. So long as the woman is his wife, it cannot be termed as rape. It is reprehensible, but we do not call it rape."
Inayat Bunglawala, chairman of Muslims4UK, said: "Sheikh Sayeed's comments are woefully misguided and entirely inappropriate. Rape – whether within marriage or outside it – is an abominable act and is clearly against the law."
Sheikh Sayeed told The Samosa the following:
Rather than pursuing miscreants through the criminal justice system, Sheikh Sayeed felt the sharia court was better placed to handle such cases by policing offenders by “Islamic means”. He explained the Council’s approach:
“If such a man comes to us, to ask him not to repeat the same, ask forgiveness from his wife, ask forgiveness from Allah as well, and make a new contract that he would never do it, otherwise his wife will have the liberty to finish the marriage unilaterally. This sort of relief is available.”
By contrast, he said the prosecution of marital rape was due to misguided Western values: “Why it is happening in this society is because they have got this idea of so-called equality, equal rights. And they are misusing these equal rights in every single aspect of human conduct. That’s why. It is one aggression against another, and that is bigger aggression against minor one.
I asked Sheikh Sayeed what he considered to be the “bigger aggression”.
“To call it rape. Rape is a criminal offence in this country; man will end up in prison for three, five years or more.”
So the non-consensual sex is the minor aggression, and calling it rape is the major aggression?
Why is calling it rape a major aggression?
"Because within the marriage contract it is inherent there that man will have sexual intercourse with his wife. Of course, if he does something against her wish or in a bad time etc, then he is not fulfilling the etiquettes, not that he is breaching any code of sharia – he is not coming to that point. He may be disciplined, and he may be made to ask forgiveness. That should be enough.”