Sunni Islams highest authority, Egyptian Sheikh Abdel Hamid Al Atrash, has said that women have the right to fight back against their husbands if violence is used against them, according to the local Al Masry Al Youm newspaper.
Similar rulings have been made recently in Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
In Egypt, rights groups said that 35 percent of all women killed in Egypt annually were victims of domestic violence.
“A wife has the legitimate right to hit her husband in order to defend herself,” Al Atrash was quoted as saying.
“Everyone has the right to defend themselves, whether they are a man or a woman … because all human beings are equal before God,” he added.
In Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdel Mohsen Al Abyakan argued that a wife should resort to “the same kind of violence” used by her husband.
Prominent Turkish preacher and writer Fethullah Gulen went one step further, ruling that a woman should return the violence ‘with interest’.
“She should give back two blows for each one received,” the paper quoted him as saying.