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Tafseer Surah 4:34 – Does Islam really allow wife beating?

Perhaps the most commonly misquoted and misunderstood verse of the Holy Qu’ran is Surah 4:34. Many muslims and non-muslim misinterpretate this verse. In this article we shall study the meaning of this verse by explaining the crucial arabic words in question correct. Further we shall interpretate this passage in the light of the authentic sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. Surah 4:34 reads:

Men are “qawwamuna” over women, because God has given some more than others, and because they support them from their means, and the righteous women are the truly devout ones [ God fearing ] , who guard in their husbands absence the intimacy which God has ordained to be guarded. And as for those women whose “nushuz” you have reason to fear, remind them [ of God and His teachings ] ; [ next ] then leave them alone in bed; then [ as a last resort ] “hit” them; and if thereupon they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them. Behold, God is indeed most high, great ! [ Surah 4:34 ]

Before we continue to interpretate this passgae , it’s important to know the correct meaning of the Arabic word “qawwamuna”, which is used in this passage. In the beginning of Surah 4:34 we read “men are qawwamuna of women.” What does Allah swt mean with this ? What does the Arabic word “qawwamuna” mean in this verse and it’s context ? Dr. Ahmad Shafaat answers this question very well. he writes:

The verse begins with the statement that “men are qawwamun over women”. The root of the key word, qawwamun ( plural of qawwam ) , is qama which means “to stand or to make something stand or to establish something”. It is often used in the Holy Qur’an in the sense of establishing religion or prayer. A related word is qa’im which means “one who stands or makes something stand”. Qawwam is an intensive form of qa’im and has a sense of continuity in the action involved. So it means one who is continuously standing over something (as, for example, a guard or caretaker) or one who is continuously making something stand, i.e. is maintaining it. In the Qur’anic usage of qawwam and related words there is almost always present an idea of propriety. For example, aqamah of salah is not only praying but also praying properly.

“…..O you who believe ! Be qawwamin with fairness…”
“…..O you who believe ! Be qawwamin for God as witnesses to fairness…”

Thus to be a qawwam over something or someone is to guard, maintain or take care of that something or someone in a proper and fair manner. If there is any single word in English that can convey the meaning of the word as used in the present word it is probably the one used by Muhammad Pickthal, namely, guardian. [1]

Allama Muhammad Asad writes:

The expression qawwam is an intensive form of qa’im ( “one who is responsible for” or “takes care of” a thing or a “person” ). Thus, “qama ‘ala ‘l-mar’ah” signifies “he undertook the maintenance of the woman” or “he maintained her” ( see Lane VIII, 2995 ). The grammatical form qawwam is more comprehensive than qa’im, and combines the concepts of physical maintenance and protection as well as of moral responsibility: and it is because of the last-named factor that I have rendered this phrase as “men shall take full care of women”. [2]

Shayk Abdullah Yusuf Ali writes:

Qawwam: one who stands firm in another’s buisiness, protects his interests, and looks after his affairs; or it may be, standing firm in his own business, managing affairs, with a steady purpose. [3]

Muslim scholar Justice Aftab Hussain writes:

The root word of “Qawwam” is “Qawama or Qama”. Qama means he stood up; he balanced himself. But when used with “ba or ‘ala” it would mean maintain or manage. Qama ‘ala rajul wa qama alaiha means:”the man maintained the woman, fulfilled her needs and undertook to gratify them.” The words qama ‘ala mean to provide with means of subsistence. Qawwam ‘ala would therefore mean a provider, a supporter or furnisher for another with the means of subsistence. [4]

Dr. Muhammad Abdel Haleem writes:

In Arabic lexicography, the expression qama ‘ala means merely “maintain her and attent to her affairs. The hadith also elucidates the meaning of qawama at the time of the Prophet. A companion of the Prophet explains that he chose to marry an older, experienced woman because he had young orphaned sisters and he wanted a woman “taqumu ‘alayhinna” and to gather them and comb their hair. [ Bukhari, Saih, Chapter on ales, Hadith of Jabir b. ‘Abdallah ]. [5]

Thus to be a qawwam over something or someone is to guard, maintain or take care of that something or someone in a proper and fair manner. The word denotes no superiority but responsibility. Responsibility is not superiority ! A correct and accurate translation of “qawwamoona AAala alnnisa” therefor would be “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women”. A husband has the responsibility of taking care of his wife, protecting her, defending her honor, and fulfilling her needs regarding her religion and her worldly life. It does not mean – as all too many people have falsely assumed – that he has the right to behave obstinately towards her, compel her, subject her to his will, suppress her individuality, and thus heinously negate her identity. His status as protector and maintainer is pure responsibility, pure liability, and not so much a position of authority. It requires from him that he uses his good sense, thinks carefully about what he does, and exercises patience. It means that he cannot be hasty and offhanded in his decisions. The qu’ran tells us in Surah 42:38 that believers handle their affairs by mutual consultation [shûra]:

Those who hearken to their Lord, and establish reglar prayer; who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation; who spend out of what We bestow on them for sustenance; [6]

Professor Muhammad Abdel Haleem, the director of the Centre of Islamic Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, explains the meaning of this verse very well in his book ” Understanding the Qu’ran”. He writes:

The Qur’an describes the believers as those whose affairs “are conducted by consultation” [42:38] . This is a general and permanent description that was revealed in Mecca before political life was started in Medina. Naturally it applies to the most basic social unit, the family. [7]

Islam emphasizes the importance of taking counsel and mutual agreement [ in the qur’an called “shûra” ] in family decisions / affairs. The Holy Qur’an gives us an example in Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 33:

If they both decide upon weaning the child by mutual consent and consultation, there is no blame on them. And if you desire to engage a wet-nurse for your children, there shall be no blame on you, provided you pay what you have agreed to pay in a fair manner. And fear Allah and know that Allah sees what you do. [8]

Moreover we have seen that the function of qawwam is also understood in the Qur’an to be characterized by fairness. So a husband must be a protector and maintainer of his wife in a proper and fair manner. This fact is also strongly emphasized in the hadith of our prophet. The prophet told us that man’s treatment of his wife is a measure of the perfection of his faith:

Abu Hurayra narrated that the Prophet said: “The most perfect of the believers in their belief are those with the best manners, and the best of you are those who are best with their wives.” [9]

The Prophet also said: “God detests the ja’zari al jawwaz” , that is, one who is harsh toward his family and who is arrogant. It is stated in the two Sahihs from the hadith of Jariyah b. Wahab al-Khazad and Abu Da’tid. Therefor a man must be always kind and fair to his wife, he must be “qawwam”, i.e. a protector and maintaner over the family in a proper and fair manner. This is moreover confirmed by Muhammad Abdel Haleem in his commentary on Surah 4:34

Islam attaches great importance to people being together in a group with a leader. Praying together led by an imam increases the reward for each individual twenty-seven times. The Prophet had a distinct desire for good management, and said: “If there are three of you on a journey, let them appoint one of them as amir [ the one in charge ] .” And when he sent a group of people away for any purpose he would see that they had an “amir” , though not to bully them, because he said: “The sayyid [ chief ] of a group of people is their servant.” [ Al-‘Ajlûnî , I. , Kash al-khafâ’ , 1 , Cairo n.d. , p. 562 ]

Similarly, he advised that the pace of a travelling company should be set to suit the weakest among them, the imam in prayer should set his pace to suit the old and the mothers who need to attentd to their babies. So in the family, which is the fundamental unit of society, there must be a head or a chairman. In the Qur’an, this role is assigned to the husband, who has the responsibility to maintain the family, whereas the wife is not obliged to maintain the family or even herself.

The qawama or stewardship of the family that is assigned to the husband does not give him open or unlimited authority. It is limited by the Qur’anic principle of ma’rûf and works according to the principle of “shûra” – qawama is partf of “mu’âshara” [ living together ] . Husbands are ordered: “Consort / live with them “bi’l-ma’rûf” [ in a good manner in accordance with what is honourable and commendable ] – [4.19]. Al-ma’rûf is taken for granted in the marriage contract. In the Qur’an, by virtue of the marriage contract, husbands make a strong pledge to their wives [4:21] , understood by exegetes to be “living together according to what is honourable and commendable”.

As for the principle of “Shura” , the Qur’an describes the believers as those whose affairs ….”are conducted by consultation” [42:38]. This is a general and permanent description that was revealed in Mecca before political life was started in Medina. Naturally it applies to the most basic social unit, the family. It has been seen above that such expressions as “mu’ashara” , “tashawur” [mutual consultation], “taradi” [mutual acceptance] are frequent in Qur’anic discussions of family matters. [for example 2:233]

The role of “qawama” , which involves the husband’s responsibility to maintain and look after his wife, is different from merely “ruling over” the wife as is made explicit in the Book of Genesis. There, as a punishment for making Adam eat from the fruit, Eve was told that her pains would be multiplied in conception and “in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee”. [10]

2 – Is the expression “men are qawwamoona over women” general or not ?
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expression “men are qawwamoona over women” general or not ? the expression “men are qawwamoona over

It’s important to note that the epxression “men are qawwamun over women” only describes the relationship between husband and wife within the family. The expression does not refer to the relationship between men and women in general. This very well explained by Prof. Muhammad Abdel Haleem: This very well explained by Prof. Muhammad Abdel Haleem:This very well explained by Prof. Muhammad Abdel Haleem:
Let us consider some terms in this verse. First we have “men” and “women”. They mean “husands” and “wives” as the passage goes on to mention intimate relations between couples and arbitration that may lead to divorce. Why does the verse not say “husbands” and “wives” ? Because the word “zawj” applies in classical Arabic to both sexes. It has no feminine; it is like the English word “spouse” , and it would not have made sense to say” spouses are given more than spouses”. This can also be seen in other parts of the Qu’ran were “husbands” and “wives” are mentioned; the same terminology of “men” and “women” is used. The verse is thus talking about “husbands” and “wives”, not “men” and “women” in general. This distinction is important because those who misunderstand the verse take it to mean that God has given men in general more than women in general, applying that very extensively and interpolating “what they think” men are given more of .e.g. strenght, intelligence, wisdom; even having a beard is listed by some! Then they go on from this to say that women cannot be judges, heads of state, or in any position of leadership over men. [11] Then they go on from this to say that women cannot be judges, heads of state, or in any position of leadership over men.
Surah 4:34 discusses issues related to marriage and family life. The expression “qawwamoona AAala alnnisa” is therefor not general, but restricted to family life / marriage. The expression only describes the relationship between husband and wife in marriage. The verse mentions “care” and responsibility” within the family. Husband and wife is the subject / theme here.

3 – The meaning of the expression “bima faddal Allah”
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Now that we know and understand the meaning of the expression “men are qawwamuna over women” we can study Surah 4:34 furhter. Let us first take a look again at the passage in question:
Men are “qawwamuna” over women, because God has given some more than others, and because they support them from their means, and the righteous women are the truly devout ones [ God fearing ] , who guard in their husbands absence the intimacy which God has ordained to be guarded. And as for those women whose “nushuz” you have reason to fear, remind them [ of God and His teachings ] ; [ next ] then leave them alone in bed; then [ as a last resort ] “hit” them; and if thereupon they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them. Behold, God is indeed most high, great ! [ Surah 4:34 ]

Why does Allah swt assign to men the role of “qawama” , i.e. guardian, protector, maintainer of the family ? Before we answer this question it’s first important to look at the correct meaning of the Arabic expression “bima faddal Allah” , translated in the above citation as “because Allah has given some more than others”. Prof. Muhammad Abdel Haleem, the director of the Centre of Islamic Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, explains the meaning of this expression excellent in his book ” Understanding the Qu’ran”. He writes:

A third concept that has been misinterpretated is the Arabic expression “bima faddal Allah” which explains the basis of qawama. Theres is 1 translator (Yusuf Ali) who says: “Because God has given to one more [strenght] than the other” Others say: “Because God has preferred in bounty one of them over another” (Arberry) ; “Because God made the one of them to excel the other” ( Pickthall) and ” Because God has made the one superior to the other”(Dawood). The root of the concept “fadl”in Arabic means “to give more”. Lexically “fadl” is “ziyada” i.e. more. That is why some exegetes understood it to be the extra share of inheritance, thinking that this is corroborated by 4:32, while others thought it was strenght, intelligence and so on, or the beard. However this is all based on a hasty, incorrect reading of the text which assumes that “ma’ (in “ma faddala) has the same grammatical function in 4:32 and 4:34. It does not. In the former, it is a relative pronoun meaning “that which God has given more of to some than the others”. As such it requires an additional preposition and a pronoun “bihi”. In 4:34, on the other hands, “ma” is “masdariyya”. It merely turns the vers into a verbal noun ( “bi tafdil Allah” – “by the appointment of God”). Thus in 4:32 men have something extra given to them (the share of the inheritance) while in 4:34 there is only the assignment of the role of “qawama”, assignment of the chairmanship of the family to the husband. The verse thus means “Men maintain and attend to their wives because God has assigned this extra role to them and because of what they spend of their money on the family.” Qur’an 2:228 mentions the rights and obligations of wives: “They have rights similar to the rights men have over them according to what is “ma’ruf” , but men have a “daraja” (degree) over them”. Like the above “more / extra” , this word “daraja” (degree) has been interpretated by some as referring to the extra share of the inheritance. However, since within the marriage of two living people the question of inheritance does not arise, the degree clearly refers to the role of qawama circumscribed in the way described above.

It is interesting to note that that the Qur’an does not say, ‘Because God has given men more than women’ but ‘God has given some more than others’. This expression occurs a number of times to refer to the nature of things, namely that in this world some have been given more wealth (16:71) and some more of other things. in our vese, for husbands this “more than others” is the stewardship of the family. each will be judged according to how they conducted themselves with what they have been given (6:165) . [12]

Muhammad Abdel Haleem’s conclusion is besides the Arabic grammar also supported by Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi’s explenation on the expression “Because God has given some more than others” in Surah 4:34. Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi in his tafsir explains and confirms that this “more” only refers to the role of “qawamma” given to men, i.e. the state of division in the family and nothing more. Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi’s in his tafsir explains Surah 4:43 in relation to 4:32

Know that Allah Most High has said [two verses previously] , “.. and not to long for that with which Allah has preferred some of you above others” [Qur’an 4:32], a verse that we said was revealed because some women made remarks about Allah’s favoring men over them in estate division inheritance [by certain male heirs receiving twice the share of their female counterparts]. So Allah mentions in this verse that He “only” favored men over women in “estate division” because men are the caretakers of women. For although both spouses enjoy the usufruct of each others person, Allah has ordered men to pay women their marriage portion, and to daily provide them with their support, so that the increase on one side is met with an increase on the other–and so it is as though there is no favoring at all. This clarifies the verses arrangement and order [13]

4 – Why did Allah assign to men the role of “qawama” over the family ?
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Now that we correctly understand the meaning of the quranic expressions “men are qawwamoona over women” and “bima faddal Allah” we can look at the next question: Why did Allah assign to men the role of “qawama” over the family ? First it’s very important to understand that Allah swt has created human beings as males and females, following the “dual” role which is central to the system of creation. He has given the woman the great tasks of child-bearing, breast-feeding and looking after her children. These are certainly not tasks of the type which may be fulfilled without careful preparation, physically, psychologically and mentally. She could not be given all those tasks and be still required to work in order to earn her living and to look after her children at the same time. We should realize that mothers raise generations. Women moreover build families with their love and care. It is only just , therefor, that the other part, i.e. man, should be assigned the task of providing the essential needs and the protection required for the woman to fulfill her highly important duties, described in:

Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet said: “A woman acts for the people” [14] Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet said: “A woman acts for the people”
Men and women are different emotionally as well as in physical characteristics and endurance. Allah has blessed each gender in creation with a different nature. Men, by nature, are more hot-blooded, tending more towards strength and severity. Women on the other hand are by nature more emotional. The emotional character of women, their motherly instinct, and their basically tender, compassionate nature qualify them for their vital roles as careful mothers and affectionate wives. Such roles are essential to form happy households, to raise healthy generations, and to create a closely-knit society. Therefor Islam goes with the nature of men and women. Let men, with their stronger physiques, face the troubles / hardships of life and the bread-winning role. And let women, with their stronger affections and emotions, face the troubles of bringing up children and managing the house. Men and women have different, but complementary roles.
Another indication is that the woman prefers that man assumes his role of being in charge of the family, by taking care of all their needs and the finanicial responsibilities. Many women experience feelings of worry, stress, panic,.dissatisfaction and unhappiness when they live with men who relinquish their role of being in charge for any reason. Islam recognizes this fact ans goes along with the nature of men and women. unhappiness when they live with men who relinquish their role of being in charge for any reason. Islam recognizes this fact

5 – Who are the righteous women ?
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Elhamdoelilah so far we have clarified the misconceptions many people had about the expressions “men are qawwamoona over women” and “bima faddal Allah” . Moreover we have explained the reason for this role distinction in the family. Now let us a took at the second part of Surah An-Nisa, Ayah 34, which describes the righteous women:

And the righteous women are the truly devout ones [ God fearing ] , who guard in their husbands absence the intimacy which God has ordained to be guarded. [ Surah 4:34 ]

The Qur’an here describes righteous women as: “qanitat” [ translated above as: “truly devout ones” ] and “hafithat li’ l-gaib bima God hafith” [ translated above as: “who guard in their husbands absence the intimacy which God has ordained to be guarded” ]. What do these two Arabic expressions mean or indicate ?

The noun ‘Qunut’, from which the adjective ‘qanitat’ is derived, refers to the act of being devoutly obedient to Allah Almighty. So ‘qanitat’ means ‘women who exhibit qunut’ , that is ‘women who are devoutly obedient to God’. This significance of the word is made clear by a comparison with Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 116, Surah An-Nahl, Ayah 120 and Surah Ar Rum, Ayah 26. The Qur’an classifies Maryam as one of the ‘qanitin’ in Surah At-Tahrim, Ayah 12, using the masculine plural form of the word ‘qanitat’ that indicates one devout to Allah Almighty. This moreover proofs that the Arabic word ‘qanitat’ in Surah An-Nisa, Ayah 34 refers to the spirit of humility before Allah Almighty. In other words these women are God fearing. The Arabic word ‘hafithat’ in the expression ‘hafithat li’ l-gaib bima God hafith’ is a feminine plural noun, from the triliteral word ‘h.f.th’ , pronounced ‘hafitha’. Like many Arabic words, the root word and its variants are rich with meanings. They have connotations of keeping, protecting or guarding. In this ayah, righteous women are described by the phrase ‘hafithat li’l-gaib bima God hafitha’. The Arabic word ‘li’l-gaib’ means: ‘in his absence’. Righteous women guard in their husband’s absence what God has ordained to be guarded. [15] theArabic word ‘li’l-gaib’ means: ‘in his absence’. Righteous women guard in their husband’s absence what God has root word and its variants are rich with meanings. They have connotations of “keeping”, “protecting”
Prof. Muhammad Abdel Haleem writes:

Having established for the husband the role of qawama, or maintenance and stewardship of the family, the Qur’an goes on to divide wives into two classes: the good ones who are described as “salihat” (righteous) and bad ones who are not. The salihat does not simply mean good as wives: “salah” is a general term to describe men or women who are righteous in observing the tenets of religion. These good wives are described in two ways, as:

1: “qanitat”, which translators render as obedient – this is misleading because it gives the impression that they are obedient to their husbands whereas the term is used in the Qur’an “solely” as being “devoutly obedient to God”. [33:35, 39:9] ;

2: “hafizat”, a term used in the Qur’an for women who guard their private parts, so equivalent to “chaste” [23:5, 33:4]. This includes guarding their private parts from approaching of being approached by anyone other than the spouse. “Li’l-ghayb” means that the wife is chatse “in his absence” [when he is away from her] . She is expected to guard her chasity because “God has ordered these things to be guarded”. In the Qur’an, God’s order in this respect is for men and woman alike [24:30-31]. Thus, being obedient to God and being chaste are the only two qualities by which a good wife is described, and we can see that they are not an excessive requirement. They are required of either sex. [16] wife is described, and

we can see that they are not an excessi
ve requirement. They are required of either sex
6 – What is the meaning of theArabic word “nushuz” ?
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Let us take a look again at Surah An-Nisa, Ayah 34:

Men are “qawwamuna” over women, because God has given some more than others, and because they support them from their means, and the righteous women are the truly devout ones [ God fearing ] , who guard in their husbands absence the intimacy which God has ordained to be guarded. And as for those women whose “nushuz” you have reason to fear, remind them [ of God and His teachings ] ; [ next ] then leave them alone in bed; then [ as a last resort ] “hit” them; and if thereupon they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them. Behold, God is indeed most high, great ! [ Surah 4:34 ]

So far we have cleared up all the misconceptions about the expressions: “men are qawwamuna over women” and “because God has given some more than others”. Moreover we proved that the righteous women are the ones who are devoutly obedient to God and chaste [ their guard their private parts and honor , even in the absence of their husbands ]. However we haven’t explained the last part of this Ayah. Let us take a close look at this commonly misquoted and misunderstood part:

And as for those women whose “nushuz” you have reason to fear, remind them [ of God and His teachings ] ; [ next ] then leave them alone in bed; then [ as a last resort ] “hit” them; and if thereupon they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them. Behold, God is indeed most high, great ! [ Surah 4:34 ]

After having described the righteous women, The Holy Qur’an now refers to the opposite of these women, women whose “nushuz” is very serious [ for which you have reason to fear ]. Now what does the Arabic word “nushuz” mean in this context ? How do we determine the correct meaning of this word ? Prof. Muhammad Abdel Haleem answers this question very well in his excellent book “Understand The Qur’an” :

The proper meaning should be derived on the basis of the three criteria, namely: linguistic analysis of the text of the Qu’ran; what the Prophet said and did; and what the Qur’an says elsewhere about dealing with wives in difficult situations. [17] you

Let us first take a look at how the Prophet himself explained and interpetated this verse [ by which we can determine the correct meaning of the word nushuz in this Ayah]. The hadith in Muslim’s Sahih states that the Prophet in his Farewell Pilgrimage said:

Lo ! My last recommendation to you is that you should treat women well. Truly they are your helpmates, and you have no right over them beyond that – except if they commit a manifest indecency [fahisha mubina = ranging from immorality to adultery]. If they do, then refuse to share their beds and hit them without indecent violence [fadribuhunna darban ghayra mubarrih]. Then, if they desist, do not show them hostility any longer. Lo! you have a right over your women and they have a right over you. Your right over your women is that they not allow whom you hate to enter your bed nor your house. While their right over you is that you treat them excellently in their garb and provision. [18] you hate to enter your bed nor your house. While their right over you is that you treat them excellently in their garbhhhhhhhhhhh
Our Prophet uses the expression “fahisa mubina” as the equivalent of “nushuz” . The word “nushuz” in this verse [ Surah 4:34 ] therefor refers to “fahisa mubina”, which refers to manifest obscenity. The word “nushuz” used in reference to the wife therefor doesn’t mean disobedience or a case of simple disagreement. It means lewd acts, immoral behaviour that could lead to adultery. Prof. Muhammad Abdel Haleem moreover confirms this in his excellent commentary on the verse:

On the other side comes the other class of women, whose “nushuz” is feared by the husband. It is with these that the husbands are instructed to go through three stages. Here again, we have a misinterpretation of the concept of “nushuz” and misinterpretation and mistranslation of the three stages recommended in dealing with a wife in “nushuz”. The proper meaning should be derived on the basis of the three criteria listed above, namely: linguistic analysis of the text of the Qur’an; what the Prophet said and did; and what the Qur’an says elsewhere about dealing with wifes in difficult situations. Let us briefly consider nushuz in the light of these consideratios:

1: It is clear that the contrast in this passage between the first and second type of women cannot be disregarded. If we say now, “Good students attent regularly and submit their essays on time; as for others, they may be warned and barred from entering the exam, ” the others must be understood in contrast with those who are said to attend and submit essays. Similarly, the second class of wives here is the opposite of those who are devoutly obedient to God and guarding their private parts, which God has ordered to be guarded. So what we have here is a woman whose husband fears her unfaithfullness and disregard for the commands of God.

2: This linguistic understanding is corroborated by the interpretation of the prophet in his Farewell Speech, heard by thousands of people: “You have rights over your wives and they have rights over you: you have the right that they should not defile your bed, and that they should not commit flagrent lewdness.”.. [ Note: i decided not to quote Muhammad Abdel Haleem’s refutation of Guillaume’s false translation of the Farewell Speech, since i myself before already quoted the correct translation of this hadeeth by Shayk Gibril Fouad Haddad in my article. To make this article an easy read and not too long, i decided to skip this part in my quotation here ].

3: In at least six suras the Qur’an mentions difficulties in marriage, divorce and even the aftermath of divorce. Even when husbands dislike their wives they are instructed: “Consort with them in a good manner [ bi’l-ma’ruf ] , for if you dislike them it may happen that you dislike something in which God places much goodness.” ( 4:19) . Even if they have experienced hostility from their wives and children men are warned merely to be aware of it, but advised that to pardon, overlook and forgive is better because God is forgiving and mercifull ( 64:14). Even in divorce proceedings, with all the attendant bitterness, husbands are forbidden to harass their wives or make their lifes difficult (65:1,6 ; 4:19). It should be done “with kindness” (2:229) , “bi’l-maruf” (67:1). However there is one significant exception from this magnanimity (4:19, 65:1 also 4:15, 25) : “Except when they commit a flagrent lewdness” (4:19;65:1). This again corroborates our understanding that the “nushuz” in our present verse means “a serious offence of infidelity”. [19]

Many jurists living in patriarchal cultures broadened the definition of “fahishah mubayyana” significantly. By broadening this definition, they broadened the scope of instances in which the husband may resort to “hitting.” This is against the letter and spirit of the Qur’an which states that husbands should live with their wives in kindness or leave them charitably [ Surah 2:229 ]. The renowned sunni scholar Shayk G.F. Haddad moreover confirms that the word “nushuz” refers to lewd acts: this definition, they broadened the scope of instances in which the husband may resort to “hitting.” This is a
Nushuz or “recalcitrance” is here an euphemism for immorality that may lead to adultery. The wife’s primary marital duty is spelled out in the mass-transmitted hadith of the Farewell Pilgrimage (in Sahih Muslim) as “not allowing whom you hate to enter your bed nor your house.” Al-Maziri also said that another interpretation of the words in that hadith said it referred to a woman sitting in seclusion with a stranger inside her husband’s house. [ In al-Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim ]. [20]

Now let us take a look at the next important subject related to this issue:

7 – Does Islam in Surah 4:34 allow physical abuse ?
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Let us take a look again Let us take a look again Let us take a look again Let us take a look again Let us take a look again vvvvvv
Let us take a look again at the last part of Surah An-Nisa, Ayah 34: this definition, they broadened the scope of instances in which the husband may resort to “hitting.” This is against the letter
And as for those women whose “nushuz” you have reason to fear, remind them [ of God and His teachings ] ; [ next ] then leave them alone in bed; then [ as a last resort ] “hit” them; and if thereupon they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them. Behold, God is indeed most high, great ! [ Surah 4:34 ] bed; then [ as a last resort ] “hit” them; and if thereupon they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them. Behold, God is
In dealing with a wife in “nushuz”, the qu’ran mentions / suggests three steps to solve the family crisis . One, to remind them of God and his teachings. If that works, the matter is settled. If not, then the second step is to avoid sharing beds with such wives. In most cases that proves effective and the third step is not required. In rare cases however, the two said methods fail. Then the last step suggested is to “hit”. We can see that in many English translations of the Qur’an the word “lightly” is used within brackets after the word “hit”. This is because the Prophet Muhammad, himself made that qualification. We shall proof this later on in our booklet.
First let us take look again in detail at the first two options / steps mentioned in the verse. The first one in Arabic is: “Izuhanna” translated above as “remind them” [ of God and His teachings ]. Some translators however render this word as “admonish them”. Is this translation accurate and does it convey the true meaning of the word ? Prof. Muhammad Abdel Haleem explains the menaings of this Arabic word very well in his excellent book “Understanding The Qur’an” :

stages that are permitted are: “Izuhunna” which translators render as “admonish them” but this is not correct. “Wa’z” in Arabic is “reminding of God and His teachings”. This meaning of the word is used in the Qur’an and this “reminding” is the core of the lexical meaning in Arabic, so that the person who is reminded may take heed of the message. [21] “reminding” is the core of the lexical meaning in Arabic, so that the person who is reminded may take heed of the
The second option mentioned in the Holy Qu’ran is “Wahjuruhunna fi’l- madaiji”, translated above as “leave them alone in bed”. Prof. Muhammad Abdel Haleem explains this Arabic expression very well in his book “Understanding The Qur’an” . He also clarifies some misconceptions about this Arabic expression:

Wahjuruhunna fi’l- madaiji’ , which translators render variouly as: “Send them to beds apart.”[ Dawood ] ; “Banish them to beds apart.” [ Pickthall ] ; “Banish them to their couches..” [ Arberry ] ; “Refuse tos hare their beds.” [ Yusuf Ali ] ; “leave them alone in bed.” [ Asad ]. Those who say “send them” or “banish them” have a basic misunderstanding of the verb. Even if it is understood as “leaving” , it is men who are asked to leave, not women. It is mysterious how translators understood the verb to mean “sending” or “banishing” women. Misunderstandings also arises from the term “hajr” which people seem to relate to hijra [ emigration ] but “hajr” also means a “verbal boycott”. As the Prophet said, “It is not lawful for a Muslim to have ‘hajr’ with his brother for more than three days. They meet each other; one turns his face one way, the second to the other way. The best of them is the one who first greets the other”. These are people who meet and the term “hajr” still applies to them because the one does not speak to the other, and “this is what it implies in our verse.” This sulking or boycott is suggested only in bed “fi’l -madaji’ not in front of the children or others. [22] to the other, and “this is what it implies in our verse.” This sulking or boycott is suggested only in bed “fi’l -madaji’
The hadeeth of the Prophet’s farewell speech also indicates that the husband himself should leave the bed of his wife and sleep alone in a seperate room / other place in the house [ for example on the couch or another bed ] . So again we repeat: “it is men who are asked to leave, not women.”
The last option mentioned in the Holy Qur’an is in Arabic called “wadribuhunna” , translated above as “hit them”. The Arabic word “wadribuhunna” is derived from “daraba”. The word in Arabic means to “strike” or “hit”. It inludes everything from a tap with a tooth-stick to what in English we call beating. If it is stated that so-and-so “hit” so-and-so without further description, it would be assumed to be a single blow and it could be of any magnitude. When the Prophet took a tiny stick and tapped one of the Muslims on the stomach to straighten the ranks in preparation for war, he “hit” him with this meaning. Contrast this to the English phrase: “beat them”. The meaning is totally different. If you took a shoe lace and hit someone on the hand with it, you could properly say “dharabtahu” in Arabic but in English you could never say that you had “beaten” that person. So in what sense has the verb “dharaba” been used in verse 4:34 ? To answer this important question, we will turn to the fundamental rule of Qur’anic exegesis, which is that the exegesis of the Qur’an is carried by the Qur’an itself, or “al-Qur’an yufassiru bacduhu bacdan” [ different parts of the Qur’an explain one another ] and “yuhmal al-mutlaq cala-muqayyad” [ unqualified statements should be interpreted in the light of qualified ones ]. Since the implied intensity of the strike mentioned in 4:34 has not been qualified there explicitly, we will interpret it in the light of the qualified statement made at the only other verse in the Holy Qur’an that categorically refers to what some people wanne label as “wife beating”. The verse in question refers to the Story of Prophet Job. When Job was being tested, his wife lost her faith and blasphemed. As a result, he took an oath to hit her as punishment. A dilemma was thus created: a prophet / example for the believers should not engage in “violent” and “unworthy” behavior towards his wife. On the other hand, a prophet may not violate his oath. The divine solution to this dilemma is expressed in a Qur’anic verse. It instructs Job to satisfy his oath to hit his wife by “hitting” her with a handful of fragrant grass [ or basil ]. The intent was to satisfy the promise without “harming” the wife. In this way, Prophet Job resolved his dilemma.

[ To Job ] : And take in your hand “a bundle of thin grass” [ “dighth”] and “strike” therewith [ your wife ], and break not your oath [23] rather, it uses the idiom “jalada” [ to lash, to whip, to flog etc. ] , as in in Surah 24, Ayah 2. By this we can see already that the
As we can see Prophet Job was informed on “how” to “hit” his wife in this particular instance, in a way such that he would not harm her, yet still fulfill his misguided oath. God ordered prophet Job to use what in Arabic is called “dighth” . The Arabic word “dighth” means a handfull of grass, basil or soft palm leaves. The above Ayah therefor proofs to us that the expression “hit your wives” [ wadribuhunna ] in verse 4:34 refers to strikes with something relatively soft such as a bundle of thin grass. Imam Razi in his tafseer mentions that certain of the Shafi`i jurists said “a coiled scarf”. This hitting is therefor clearly not violent or painfull.
It is also remarkable that the Qur’anic text does “not” use the idiom “daraba” to denote physical or corporal punishment; rather, it uses the idiom “jalada” [ to lash, to whip, to flog etc. ] , as in in Surah 24, Ayah 2. By this we can see already that the Arabic word “wadribuhunna” does “not” refer to physical abuse or violent beating. However some people still misinterpretate and distort [ some on purpose ] the meaning of the word “wadribuhunna” in the context of the Holy Qu’ran and authentic Sunnah of our Prophet. These people argue that the word refers to physical abuse and harm. There is really no excuse for such “extreme errors” when the Prophet himself defined the permissible form of hitting in the Farewell Pilgrimage: really no excuse for such extreme errors when the Prophet himself defined the permissible form of hitting in the Farewell
My last recommendation to you is that you should treat women well. Truly they are your helpmates, and you have no right over them beyond that – “except if they commit a manifest indecency” [ fahisha mubina ]. If they do, then refuse to share their beds and hit them “without indecent violence”[ fadribuhunna darban ghayra mubarrih ]. Then, if they desist, do not show them hostility any longer. Lo! you have a right over your women and they have a right over you. Your right over your women is that they not allow whom you hate to enter your bed nor your house. While their right over you is that you treat them excellently in their garb and provision…..Then he took the covenant from them and from us that they and we all heard and understood this from him, respectively, directly and indirectly, with his forefinger raised, and said: “O Allah! bear witness.” [24]

Here we can see that the Prophet himself clearly stated that a husband in no way can hit/tap his wife in a way that would be violent/painfull or harmfull. The Prophet describes the “only” permissible form of discipline in this case as “ghayr mubarrih” which means “non” violent , brutal or painfull [ the story of prophet Job in the Holy Qur’an also strongly proofs that this hitting should never be painfull or violent ]. This is moreover confirmed by many renowned scholars, and the Prophet’s famous cousin Ibn Abbas, quoted by Imam Tabari in his tafseer, cited by Shayk G.F. Haddad in his excellent fatwa on this issue:

The word “mubarrih” is defined in al-Mawrid as “violent, intense, severe, acute, sharp, excruciating, tormenting, agonizing.” Qatada said as narrated by al-Tabari in his tafsir: “Ghayr mubarrih” means ghayr sha’in = not disgraceful/ outrageous/ obscene/ indecent [hitting].” `Ata’ said: “I asked Ibn `Abbas: ‘What is the hitting that is ghayr al-mubarrih?’ He replied: ‘[With] the siwak [toothbrush] and the like”. Narrated by al-Tabari in his Tafsir [ Dar al-Fikr reprint 5:68 ] The hadith of the Farewell Pilgrimage continues, “Then he [the Prophet] took the covenant from them and from us that they and we all heard and understood this from him, respectively, directly and indirectly, with his forefinger raised, and said: ‘O Allah! bear witness.'”
After this, whatever Muslim man derogates to the recommendation of the Prophet has violated his covenant with the Prophet and shall be called to account for it; and whoever of the non-Muslim men or women claims – even if it should be the Archbishop of Canterbury and his wife – that beating women is an acceptable practice in Islam, has belied the Divine witness invoked by the Prophet and shall be called to account for it in the Divine Court. [25]

Moreover we should remember that a husband is “only” allowed to resort to this option [ which certainly cannot be called or labeled as physical abuse or wife beating ] in case his wife is guilty of some manifest indecency [ nushuz ]. In dealing with a wife in “nushuz” , a husband should first first try his best to rectify her attitude by kind words, gentle persuasion, and reasoning with her [ reminding her of God and His teachings ]. If this is not helpful, he should sleep apart from her, trying to awaken her agreeable feminine nature so that serenity may be restored and she may respond to him in a harmonious fashion. If this approach fails, it is permissible for him to hit/tap her lightly, avoiding her face and other sensitive areas. This rule is based on Prophet’s statement in the Farewell Pilgrimage hadith, which describes the “only” permissible form of discipline in this case as “ghayr mubarrih” which means: “non” violent , brutal or painfull [ see: authentic traditions in Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abu Da’ud, Nasa’i and Ibn Majah ]. Therefor it’s clear that this light hit/tap, if resorted to at all, is more symbolic by which the husband as a last resort expresses his anger and frustration in the hope to bring back his wife to consiousness; i.e. to make her realize that her marriage is on the edge of divorce [ in order to make her stop her lewd behaviour and/or immoral conduct ]. And finally again we should remember that any form of abuse [ physical and verbal ] is strict forbidden in islam. This is clearly stated by our beloved Prophet Muhammad in the next famous authentic hadith:

The Prophet said: “There shall be no infliction of harm on oneself or others”. [26]

Physical abuse is clearly a form of harm, which in the above hadith is strict forbidden. Moreover there is a certain divine wisedome for using the word “harm” in this hadeeth, which has many meanings:

Harm: – The action or result of inflicting loss or pain: damage, detriment, hurt, injury, mischief…Harm is physical or psychological/emotional damage or injury to a person, animal or other entity. It is generally believed that humans, in addition to other sentient animal species, possess an innate aversion to causing harm to others….
The noun harm has 3 meanings: 1: “any” physical damage to the body caused by violence or accident or fracture etc. Synonyms: injury, hurt, trauma 2: the occurrence of a change for the worse. Synonyms: damage, impairment 3: the act of damaging something or someone. Synonyms: damage, hurt, scathe….
In brief: “Causing hurt to something or someone.” [27]

The narration in question proofs that Muslim men are never allowed to physical abuse their wifes, nor are they allowed to hurt their wifes, or cause them pain or emotional damage [ by beating them violenty, or by striking them at sensitive areas of the body, these are all forbidden acts because they clearly “harm” / “hurt” a person physicly and emotionally ]. Besides physical abuse it is strict forbidden for a Muslim to hit or slap a human being or animal on the face. This is confirmed in many authentic hadeeth of our beloved Prophet Muhammad:

Narrated by Mu’awiyah al-Qushayri: Mu’awiyah asked: Apostle of Allah, what is the right of the wife of one of us over him ? He replied: That you should give her food when you eat, clothe her when you clothe yourself, do not strike her on the face, do not revile [ abuse ] her or separate yourself from her except in the house. [28] Jabir said, “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, passed by an animal which had been branded and its nostrils were smoking. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Allah curses any person who does this. No one should mark the face nor strike it.'” [29]

Shu’ba said, “Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir said to me, ‘What is your name?’ I replied, ‘Shu’ba.’ He said, ‘Abu Shu’ba related to me that when Suwayd ibn Muqarrin al-Muzani saw a man strike his slave, he said. “Do you not know that the face is forbidden ?” In the time of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, we were seven brothers and we only had one servant. Then one of us slapped him (sic.) and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, commanded that we set him free.'” [30]

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “If somebody fights then he should avoid the face.” [31]

As one can see from the Prophet’s statements: “it is strict forbidden for a Muslim man to beat his wife violenty, nor is he allowed to physical abuse her or to strike her face, for any reason.” As we said before the Prophet himself defined the “only” permissible form of hitting in the Farewell Pilgrimage as “ghayr mubarrih” which means: “non” violent , brutal or painfull [ which is another reason why husbands are not allowed to hit their wifes at sensitive areas of the body or the face ] . And again we repeat: a husband is “only” allowed to resort to this option [ which certainly cannot be called or labeled as physical abuse or wife beating ] in case his wife is guilty of some manifest indecency [ nushuz ]. In all other cases a husband is not even allowed to resort to this option, this because the prophet forbade all forms of hitting [which therefor also includes light ones ] in general, see:

Narrated by Mu’awiyah al-Qushayri: I went to the Apostle of Allah [ peace be upon him ] and asked him: What do you say [ command ] about our wives ? He replied: Give them food what you have for yourself, and clothe them by which you clothe yourself, and do “not” beat them, and do not revile them. [32]

Any man who violates these devine laws and harms or abuses his wife physicaly and/or verbally shall be called to account for it on the Day of Judgement. Besides this it’s important to point that wife who has become a victim of abuse by her husband, has the right to bring her case to the [ islamic ] judge and let her marriage end/nullify without his permission:, this is confirmed in the famous figh book of the Maliki mah’dab called “The Guiding Helper”

The abused woman should take her case to the local Muslim judge. If she can prove that physical or verbal abuse took place ( e.g. , she can show marks on the body or bring witnesses who saw or heard the abuse ) the judge can enact and finalize a divorce without the husand’s permission. [33]

8 – Return to Obedience ?
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Now let us take a look at the last issue discussed in Surah An-Nisa, Ayah 34: thi
s
“…and if thereupon they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them. Behold, God is indeed most high, great ! …” [ Surah 4:34 ]

Elhamdoelilah, after having cleared up all the misconceptions about the previous parts of the ayah, we can now discuss and analyze the last part of it. The last part of this verse is often translated as: “but if they obey you, seek not against them means [ of annoyance ] “. The exact Arabic wording here is:

“…when then they (fem.pl.) {aTa:} (with) you (masc.pl.), then seek not against them (fem.pl) means of annoyance..” [ Surah 4:34 ]

The verb {aTa:} (alif taa alif ayn) has several meanings, such as: “obey”, but also: “comply, comply with, accommodate, give in to”. Consequently, the verse [ in it’s proper context ] can be understood to mean: “when then they are committed to the marriage again”, or: “when then they give in to / comply with the efforts of the husband to save the marriage”, or “when they no longer cause marriage problems”. The speech of the Prophet at the farewell pilgrimage moreover proofs that this is the intented meaning here, as pointed out by Prof. Muhammad Abdel Haleem in his excellent commentary:

The verse ends by saying, “If they obey you, you have no way against them” – obey at any stage – and “obey” , coming in its place here, means “refrain” from the act which caused this problem, as in the Qur’anic verse: “listen and obey” [ 64:16 ] – [ that is, obey what you have heard in that context ] . The Prophet himself, in his Farewell Speech, explained the Qur’anic phrase “fa-in ata’nakum” [ if they obey you ] by using a different word, “fa-in intahayna” [ if they desist ] , in its place. Thus “obedience” here does not mean being submissive to the husband, but refraining from a serious offence. To refrain in this way is an obligation on every believing person. [34]

9 – Misquoted Hadith
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A hadith commonly misquoted by christian missionaries is found in the Sunan of Abu Dawud, and also cited by Imam Nawawi in his Ryadh As Saliheen. Let us take a close look at this commonly misquoted and misinterpretated hadeeth:

Iyas ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Dhubab reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Do not beat the female slaves of Allah.” Then ‘Umar came to the Prophet and said, “The women are rebelling [ dha’irna ] agsint their husbands,” and so he made an allowance to hit them. Then many women surrounded the family of the Messenger of Allah to complain about their husbands. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The people of the household of Muhammad have surrounded by many women who are complaining about their husbands. Those men are not among the best of you.” [35]

First it’s important to know that the prophet clearly forbade men to hit their wifes in general, he said “Do not beat the female slaves of Allah.” Moreover it’s interesting to note that this incident from the hadith took place after the revelation of surah 4:34. So why did Umar specificly ask the prophet for permission to discipline his rebelllious wife ? If soerah 4:34 according to christian missionaries allows muslim men to hit disobedient wifes, then why did the prophet’s famous companion Umar Ibn Khattab ask the prophet for permission ? This fact proofs that the companions knew how strongly the prophet disliked this option. Moreover they must have known that this [ discouraged ] option was only allowed in certain specific circumstances / situations of serious problematic nature [ and not for other cases ]. Due to this law of the sharia Muslim men became aware of the fact that they could not “discipline” their wifes anymore for reasons they wanted, nor could they discipline their wifes anymore “in the way” they wanted. The Muslim women suddenly abused this position in such a way that they rebelled against their husbands , so Umar who was aware of the prophet’s statement that men should never strike the handmaidens of Allah went to the Prophet and said [ by way of exaggeration , cf. ‘Awn al-Ma `bud ] : “The wome are rebelling [ dha’irna ] against their husbands !” The prophet then gave “a dispensation [ rakhkhasa ] to hit them” . Umar apparently went off satisfied with this given permission. However, this was not the end of the episode. The upshot was that the following morning the Prophet was confronted by no less than 70 female Companions who had organized themselves into a deputation and turned up outside his house, all of whom had been ill-treated by their supposedly pious husbands [ Abu Dawud 880, see also: “Women of Madina” , Aisha Bewley’s translation of Ibn Sa’d vol 8, p.144, recorded by Abu Bakr’s daughter Umm Kulthum ] . In other words a lot of husbands had clearly abused and misinterpretated the prophet’s permission by violating the islamic values [ not to abuse or harm others etc. ] and the sunnah [ not be harsh / rude ]. The Prophet was so outraged on the women’s behalf that he came out and summoned the Companions to hear a public sermon telling of the many women who had informed his family of the behaviour of their husbands, berating the men who had behaved thus, shaming them. “They are hardly the best of you!” he cried. [ Abu Dawud 880 ]. Another authentic version [ of this hadith ] in “Sahih Ibn Hibban 9:491” adds that the Prophet then revoked the dispensation. Ibn Sa’d narrates that the prophet also said during this speech: “I cannot bear the thought of a man with the veins of his neck swelling with anger against his wife, fighting her!” [ see: “Women of Madina” , Aisha Bewley’s translation of Ibn Sa’d vol 8, p.144, recorded by Umm Kulthum ]. Aishah moreover recorded his famous statement by which he pointed out that men’s treatment of his wife is a measure for the perfection of his faith:”Among the believers who show most perfect faith are those who have the best disposition, and are kindest to their families” [ Tirmidhi 961, Abu Dawud 880 ]. Devout Muslim men took the Prophet’s words and orders very seriously. They felt the urge to be “the best of men”, in that they followed his teachings as closely as they possibly could. Many a companion then did feel ashamed and took his words to heart, and learned to behave with more gentleness.

After this incident and others, the Prophet stipulated in his final speech, during the farewell Hajj, that a husband is only allowed “to hit” if the wife “has become guilty, in an obvious manner, of immoral conduct”, and that it should be done “in such a way as not to cause pain [ ghayr mubarrih ]”. This is the correct, final, and binding explanation / interpretation / exegesis of the verse in question. The sermon made therefor once and for all clear [ in front of thousands of people ] that Muslim men may never harm or abuse their wifes. On the contrary they should “treat women well” as stipulated by the prophet [ see also Surah 4:19 ].

And like we said before: devout Muslim men took the Prophet’s words and orders very seriously. They felt the urge to be “the best of men”, in that they followed his teachings as closely as they possibly could. Many a companion then did feel ashamed and took his words to heart, and changed their attitude and behaviour towards completely. They became gentle, respectfull, loving and caretaking muslim husbands for their wifes, they followed the Prophet’s example and commands ]. One of best examples of this transformation is the famous Sahaba Umar Ibn Khattab [ the same Umar who was involved in the hadeeth discussed in this section ]. Years after the Prophet’s death the next incident is narrated from his life [ during the time when he was a caliph of the Muslim Ummah ] :

Umar ibn al-Khattab (RA) said that a man came to his house to complain about his wife. On reaching the door of his house, he hears ‘Umar’s wife shouting at him and reviling him. Seeing this, he was about to go back, thinking that ‘Umar himself was in the same position and, therefore, could hardly suggest any solution for his problem. ‘Umar (RA) saw the man turn back, so he called him and enquired about the purpose of his visit. He said that he had come with a complaint against his wife, but turned back on seeing the Caliph in the same position. ‘Umar (RA) told him that he tolerated the excesses of his wife for she had certain rights against him. He said, “Is it not true that she prepares food for me, washes clothes for me and suckles my children, thus saving me the expense of employing a cook, a washerman and a nurse, though she is not legally obliged in any way to do any of these things? Besides, I enjoy peace of mind because of her and am kept away from indecent acts on account of her. I therefore tolerate all her excesses on account of these benefits. It is right that you should also adopt the same attitude.” [36]

Ehamdoelilah. Having cleared up the issue of wife-beating as far as Islam is concerned, we may well question, “Why do our antagonists make such a fuss about the verse in question when it is clear that no crime is being committed and the moral high ground, as set out by the beautiful method of the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, is to never beat one’s wife?” This is an important question, for it underscores a number of points regarding the psychodynamics of the Islamophobe. You will notice from any Islamophobic article on the Islamic viewpoint of wife-beating that the writer is hell-bent on proving that Islam enjoins or allows violent wife-beating. To that effect, he is ready to use any device through which he can achieve his required aim. He certainly does not believe in the first two fundamental rules of Qur’anic exegesis outlined above. Therefore, he will use meanings and interpretations of words and phrases that are in keeping with his diabolical agenda, rather than use those meanings and interpretations that are in keeping with the rule, “The Qur’an is its own exegesis.” He will also tend to ignore the prophetic Sunnah as a practical exegesis of the Qur’an. Instead of viewing the Qur’an and Sunnah as complementary, he will view them as independent entities and will even seek to prove a contradiction where all that is meant is supplementation. He might even use a hadith with weak authenticity and pit it against a Qur’anic injunction, totally ignoring of course several authentic hadiths which prove the contrary. Such a methodology is entirely understandable since he doesn’t quite love the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him. His final aim is to demonize Islam as a misogynist religion and ultimately prevent women from entering the fold of Islam because, ironically, more women than men are entering Islam.

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References and Footnotes:

[1]

Published in Al-Ummah, Montreal, Canada in 1984. Copyright Dr. Ahmad Shafaat

[2]

Muhammad Asad “The Message of The Quran”, p. 109, Note 42:

[3]

Abdullah Yusuf Ali “The meaning of The Holy Quran”, p. 195, Note 545:

[4]

Aftab Hussain ” Status of Women in Islam”, p. 108

[5]

Professor Muhammad Abdel Haleem , “Understanding The Qur’an” , p. 48

[6]

The Holy Qu’ran, chapter 42, verse 38

[7]

Professor Muhammad Abdel Haleem , “Understanding The Qur’an” , p. 49

[8]

The Holy Qu’ran, chapter 2, verse 233

[9]

Riyadh as-Salihin, Chapter 34, Nr. 278 , and see also: Ibn-Hanbal, No. 7396

[10]

Professor Muhammad Abdel Haleem , “Understanding The Qur’an” , p. 48-49

[11]

Professor Muhammad Abdel Haleem , “Understanding The Qur’an” , p. 47

[12]

Professor Muhammad Abdel Haleem , “Understanding The Qur’an” , p. 49-50

[13]

Tafsir al-Fakhr al-Razi. 32 vols. Beirut 1401/1981. Reprint ( 32 vols. in 16 ). Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1405/1985, 10.90

[14]

Hadith – Al-Tirmidhi, Nr. 3978

[15]

See: Muhammad Murtadha Al-Zabidi, ” Taj Al-Arous Min Jawahiri Al-Qamus ” , vol. 5, p. 250

[16]

Professor Muhammad Abdel Haleem , “Understanding The Qur’an” , p. 50

[17]

Professor Muhammad Abdel Haleem , “Understanding The Qur’an” , p. 51

[18]

Sahih Muslim, cited in Shayk G.F. Haddad’s article: – http://www.livingislam.org/fiqhi/fiqha_e32.html –

[19]

Professor Muhammad Abdel Haleem , “Understanding The Qur’an” , p. 50 – 54

[20]

See Shayk G.F. Haddad’s response in blue to the claims of the Christian missionaries at: – http://www.livingislam.org/n/wmnc_e.html#ch-7 –

[21]

Professor Muhammad Abdel Haleem , “Understanding The Qur’an” , p. 52

[22]

Ibid

[23]

The Holy Qur’an 38:44

[24]

Sahih muslim

[25]

See: – http://www.livingislam.org/fiqhi/fiqha_e32.html –

[26] The hadith can be found in the next hadith collections: Ibn Majah’s Sunan, II, 784, item 2340; Malik’s Al-muwatta, II, 745; Al-Hakim, Al-mustadrak, II, 28: Al-Daraqutni’s Sunan, IX, 227; Mujamma al-zawaed, IX, 110. Al-Baihaqi’s Al-sunan al-kubra, XI, 69. This hadeeth was classed as saheeh by Imaam Ahmad, al-Haakim, Ibn al-Salaah and others, see Khalaasat al-Badr al-Muneer, 2/438.
[27]

See: – http://www.answers.com/topic/harm –

[28]

Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2137:

[29]

Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari, [ chapter ] Being a master, nr. 175.

[30]

Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari, [ chapter ] Being a master, nr. 179.

[31]

Sahih al-Bukhari Vol III Hadith 734

[32]

Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2139:

[33]

Abu Qanit al-Sharif al-Hasani, The Guiding Helper, note 2329, p. 308

[34]

Professor Muhammad Abdel Haleem , “Understanding The Qur’an” , p. 54

[35]

Riyad as-Salihin, Chapter 34, Nr. 279. and: Sunan Abu Dawud: Book 11, Number 2141

[36]

Afzular Rahman , “Role of Muslim Women in Society”, p. 149

written by Kevin Abdullah Karim