Islam and Wife Beating

From Materia Islamica
Jump to: navigation, search

147967156634005.png
An Islamic miniature, expressing love between a man and wife.
The Qu'ranic verse—Surah 4:34—has, in recent history, been an issue of contention that has raised a lot of suspicion against Muslims in the way married women should be treated according to Islamic principles. Islamophobic personalities, websites, blogs and video channels have all exploited this to portray Muslim men as violent misogynists, whilst critics have pointed to this as an example as to the unmerciful nature of God in Islam. Unbeknownst to critics however, the verse has also been historically controversial within Muslim circles, and therefore has presented itself as quite problematic; in that it directly contradicts another Qu'ranic verse (2:231). This has therefore ignited thousands of years of debate into what God actually meant.

As Surah 4:34 has been translated into English, it has brought further controversy, particularly in Europe and North America. Complicating the matter more is the fact that the most acclaimed hadiths directly contradict themselves, producing a confusing landscape of ideas, as to how a man must treat his wife. Further confusing the matter still are the multitudes of interpretations of scholars (as Islam has no clerical ranking system like the Vatican), who all seem equally confused; with some even keen to insert their own cultural practices and bias into the meaning behind the verse—which has more often than not favoured allowing the practise of hitting women. Therefore, neither the hadiths or the multitudes of these scholars appear one hundred percent wholly reliable.

However, a clear cut answer is not impossible to find, and in fact, it is rather easy to prove Islam does not approve of the practise of beating women. Largely, this is in the context of the multiple meanings of the word most often translated to imply hitting a wife ("strike"). Further, an actual practical example is found in the Qu'ran of how God meant for men to treat a wife in Islam, should she unintentionally or intentionally anger her husband. This is where God does not allow a prophet to punish his wife for her distasteful actions via a vow of beating he had made in return for his health from God. However, God does allow this to occur, although only symbolically (and only with a bundle of grass and only once; although another thing to add is that the use of this symbolic bundle may not even refer to even touching the wife). This verse exists because God does not want Prophets to break their oaths, but also does not want them to hit women.

Qu'ran

Lost in Translation, Surah An-Nisa 4:34: Definition & Historical Ignorance on Qur'anic Lexicography

"Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand."

—Qu'ran 4:34.[1]

This is the controversial verse which is alleged to allow "wife beating" in Islam.

It is sometimes alleged that the Qu'ran allows the beating of women, with critics specifically referring to 4:34 (which admittedly, in some English Quran'ic editions does appear to be the case). However, according to the renowned Oxford historian of Islam, John L. Esposito, the matter regarding the verse requires a heavy dose of clarification.[2] This is especially true considering that Surah 2:231 directly contradicts the verse.[3]

This is because there is a great deal of historical controversy surrounding it's translation, when the issue is actually a very simple case of mistranslated semantics. In order to understand the verse clearly however, there are first several pertinent issues to point out, the chief of which is the following.

  • According to the "Oxford Dictionary", the definition of the word "beating" is "[a] punishment or assault in which the victim is hit repeatedly" (the key word here being "repeatedly") and, it can also be classified as a form of "torture".[4]
  • Words in Arabic can have multiple different meanings, or at the very least, have a very wide cluster of meanings.[12][6] These words are known as polysemous words.[7]
  • The Quran'ic words "Wazribuu hunna" (from Surah 4:34), which are the words that are sometimes translated to mean "beat", "hit" or "strike", is the issue of contention. According to the "Lisanul Arab", and the "Arabic-English Lexicon" (1980), the singular term, "zaraba" (or "daraba"[8]), does not necessarily "indicate violence or force", instead it can also mean denying someone sex[9][10] or for men to go away from their wives.[3]

However, because most English language translations of the Qu'ran have been done by men, they strangely omit any mention of these clarifications, preferring to directly translate it as either "beat", "hit" or "strike" (amongst other unusual translations such as "spank", "pet", "tap" and "seduce"[8]). However, they do often, in parenthesis, add "lightly" (or equivalent);[n. 4] this could be down to either lack of knowledge or, even worse, misogyny or even cognitive dissonance.

  • Saying this, domestic violence remains a significant problem in Western countries, as it does in the Islamic world, as well as the non-Western, non-Islamic world.[2]

Esposito however does note, particularly, that some have used the verse as a justification for beating their spouses (and used this verse alone).[2] Aside from this surah, a stark contrast becomes self-evident when looking at the plethora of other verses in the Qu'ran that talk about both men and women together when compared to 4:34.[2] Qu'ran 9:71,[n. 5] 30:21, and 4:19,[n. 6] are particular noteworthy for any discussion of 4:34, as they talk about equality, cooperation, treatment, and respect when it comes to the behaviours of both spouses.[2]

  • Furthermore, it is also evident that Muhammad never beat any servent he had had, nor any women he crossed paths with, and never struck anybody with his own hand,[2] aside from battling other men in battle. Significantly, there isn't a single shred of evidence or record that Muhammad ever beat his wives, or had lost temper with them, even to the point when he was upset or dissatisfied.[2]

Therefore, as a result of the Qu'ran's overarching theme regarding the treatment of women by husbands, "[s]cholars have...argued that verse 4:34 must be interpreted in a manner consistent with the Quran's overarching peaceful values. It repeatedly describes the relationship between husband and wife as one of tranquility, affection and mercy. To construe this verse as the right to inflict corporal punishment on one's wife is inconsistent with this interpretation, and therefore incorrect".[11]

List of All the Verses About Women Found in the Qu'ran (as can be seen, the more that these are read, the more verse 4:34 increasingly looks to be mistranslated/misinterpreted)

Qu'ran & Women

~Relevant Verses ~
Surah Ayat English #1 Classical #1 Translation Classical Arabic
2 223 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 2, Verse 223 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 2, Verse 223 Your wives are a place of sowing of seed for you, so come to your place of cultivation however you wish and put forth [righteousness] for yourselves. And fear Allah and know that you will meet Him. And give good tidings to the believers. 2 223.png
2 187 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 2, Verse 187 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 2, Verse 187 It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting to go to your wives [for sexual relations]. They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He accepted your repentance and forgave you. So now, have relations with them and seek that which Allah has decreed for you. And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]. Then complete the fast until the sunset. And do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques. These are the limits [set by] Allah , so do not approach them. Thus does Allah make clear His ordinances to the people that they may become righteous. 2 187.png
4 19 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 4, Verse 19 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 4, Verse 19 O you who have believed, it is not lawful for you to inherit women by compulsion. And do not make difficulties for them in order to take [back] part of what you gave them unless they commit a clear immorality. And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them - perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good. 4 19.png
4 22 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 4, Verse 22 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 4, Verse 22 And do not marry those [women] whom your fathers married, except what has already occurred. Indeed, it was an immorality and hateful [to Allah ] and was evil as a way. 4 22.png
4 23 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 4, Verse 23 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 4, Verse 23 Prohibited to you [for marriage] are your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, your father's sisters, your mother's sisters, your brother's daughters, your sister's daughters, your [milk] mothers who nursed you, your sisters through nursing, your wives' mothers, and your step-daughters under your guardianship [born] of your wives unto whom you have gone in. But if you have not gone in unto them, there is no sin upon you. And [also prohibited are] the wives of your sons who are from your [own] loins, and that you take [in marriage] two sisters simultaneously, except for what has already occurred. Indeed, Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful. 4 23.png
4 24 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 4, Verse 24 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 4, Verse 24 And [also prohibited to you are all] married women except those your right hands possess. [This is] the decree of Allah upon you. And lawful to you are [all others] beyond these, [provided] that you seek them [in marriage] with [gifts from] your property, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse. So for whatever you enjoy [of marriage] from them, give them their due compensation as an obligation. And there is no blame upon you for what you mutually agree to beyond the obligation. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise. 4 24.png
4 25 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 4, Verse 25 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 4, Verse 25 And whoever among you cannot [find] the means to marry free, believing women, then [he may marry] from those whom your right hands possess of believing slave girls. And Allah is most knowing about your faith. You [believers] are of one another. So marry them with the permission of their people and give them their due compensation according to what is acceptable. [They should be] chaste, neither [of] those who commit unlawful intercourse randomly nor those who take [secret] lovers. But once they are sheltered in marriage, if they should commit adultery, then for them is half the punishment for free [unmarried] women. This [allowance] is for him among you who fears sin, but to be patient is better for you. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. 4 25.png
6 120 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 6, Verse 120 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 6, Verse 120 And leave what is apparent of sin and what is concealed thereof. Indeed, those who earn [blame for] sin will be recompensed for that which they used to commit. 6 120.png
7 33 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 7, Verse 33 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 7, Verse 33 Say, "My Lord has only forbidden immoralities - what is apparent of them and what is concealed - and sin, and oppression without right, and that you associate with Allah that for which He has not sent down authority, and that you say about Allah that which you do not know." 7 33.png
17 32 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 17, Verse 32 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 17, Verse 32 And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way. 17 32.png
24 33 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 24, Verse 33 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 24, Verse 33 But let them who find not [the means for] marriage abstain [from sexual relations] until Allah enriches them from His bounty. And those who seek a contract [for eventual emancipation] from among whom your right hands possess - then make a contract with them if you know there is within them goodness and give them from the wealth of Allah which He has given you. And do not compel your slave girls to prostitution, if they desire chastity, to seek [thereby] the temporary interests of worldly life. And if someone should compel them, then indeed, Allah is [to them], after their compulsion, Forgiving and Merciful. 24 33.png
30 21 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 30, Verse 21 Qur'an (القرآن‎) Chapter 30, Verse 21 And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought. 30 21.png


</ref>

Surah Sad 38:44: God Saves a Woman From Being Beaten

A bundle of grass.

The use of Surah Sad 38:44 is a recent development where critics claim God allowed "wife beating" in regards to the Prophet Ayyub (Job). The claim goes that God allowed Ayyub to "beat" his wife in return for healing him. However, this isn't true.

Although it is correct to say that Ayyub did make the promise to God that when he was healed from his sickness he would beat his wife (for doubting God[13]) in return for God healing him, Quran 38:44 instead explains that God went out of his way to save his wife from a severe beating, whilst at the same time also giving Ayyub a way out of his holy vow which God saw as wrong (as prophets should not behave both dishonourably and neither break their oath).[14]

  • The Qu'ranic verse in question says; "[We said], "And take in your hand a bunch [of grass] and strike with it and do not break your oath." Indeed, We found him patient, an excellent servant. Indeed, he was one repeatedly turning back [to Allah ]."[15]

According to the interpretative meaning in the Tafsir of Ibn Kathir (one of the most famous 14th century scholars of Islam[16]) God helped Ayyub out of an immoral vow he had made in God's name. This is explained in the following verse;

  • "Ayyub, peace be upon him, got angry with his wife and was upset about something she had done, so he swore an oath that if Allah healed him, he would strike her with one hundred blows. When Allah healed him, how could her service, mercy, compassion and kindness be repaid with a beating[?] So Allah showed him a way out, which was to take a bundle of thin grass, with one hundred stems, and hit her with it once. Thus he fulfilled his oath and avoided breaking his vow."[17]

Ibn Kathir however, may actually be wrong in his interpretation; historians have also pointed out that the Qur'anic verse actually makes no mention of God allowing him to hit his wife (but did allow him to hit something), and it could have been that he was able to express his anger towards his wife instead towards another object substituted in his wife's place.[18]

Regardless of what happened, it can be seen God was both merciful to Ayyub (who had committed wrong by swearing something immoral in the name of God) and his wife (whom he saved from a beating by her husband for her disbelief).


It is interesting to note that the Tafsir Ibn Kathir also comments that the "beating" in Qur'an 4:34 is supposed to be very light and non-violent;

  • "(beat them) means, if advice and ignoring her in the bed do not produce the desired results, you are allowed to discipline the wife, without severe beating. Muslim recorded that Jabir said that during the Farewell Hajj, the Prophet said; (Fear Allah regarding women, for they are your assistants. You have the right on them that they do not allow any person whom you dislike to step on your mat. However, if they do that, you are allowed to discipline them lightly. They have a right on you that you provide them with their provision and clothes, in a reasonable manner.) Ibn `Abbas and several others said that the Ayah refers to a beating that is not violent. Al-Hasan Al-Basri said that it means, a beating that is not severe.".[19]

This remains somewhat consistent with that of the story of Ayyub, where God's interpretation of "beating" meant tapping a women with a bundle of grass. Therefore the word "beating" in Islam isn't really a beating at all. It is nothing more than a light tap to convey disapproval, if Ibn Kathir's words are deemed correct.

Hadith

Hadiths as Unreliable Sources (When It Comes to Wife Beating)

The six major collections of hadith.

Critics are often at pains to argue that several notable hadith (historical accounts[20]) contain an abundance of evidence that supports the practice of wife beating; and even go as far as to make the claim that Muhammad himself sanctioned it. However, such critics don't tend to point out that the hadith also contain an abudance of verses that do not allow wife beating. Overall, these sources are actually therefore very spurious—totally unreliable because they don't offer a clear cut answer.

Therefore, arguments that claim Islam supports wife-beating or the beating of women, remain weak, given the nature of these contradictions. Therefore the hadiths should not be used as a source for finalizing the ruling that beating wives or women in Islam is allowed.

The reasoning is also surmised below;

  • One major thing to note is that the hadith contradict themselves multiple times[21][22][n. 9] (even the most highly "acclaimed" and "reliable" collections in Sunni tradition are not wholly reliable,[21] even though critics attempt to show the opposite in order to support their anti-Islamic stance). They even contradict the Qur'an[27][24] (critics may even point out the Qu'ran contradicts itself several times, but this is easily explainable in the sense that the time and place of each Qu'ranic verse was relevant to a particular time, place or event; whereas this isn't the case for the hadith[25]).
    • This contradictory nature is both within the book they are written into themselves and amongst the others.
      • However, this does not mean every other hadith for other topics is unreliable (these must be looked at individually—and this is where the science of the hadith come into play).
  • These contradictions arise from the fact that—along with any other type of historical account in human history—it all depends on the perspective of the one who recalls the account (and what is known is that certain hadith were totally fabricated, manipulated or half-truthful as a result of the local political climate at the time of writing[21]). Some are clearly more reliable than others, whereas others require a heavy dose of skepticism.
  • The authors of the six canonical collections—who have gathered and pieced together these historical accounts as best they could from either oral tradition or third-person accounts—even themselves willingly admit that their writings contain multiple contradictions and paradoxes which they themselves cannot ignore or fully address (but do attempt to rationalise and address them as best they can—just as any historian has always done throughout time).

So if any historical account within the collection of hadith claims wife beating is allowed, or is sanctioned or in some way was practised through the telling of a particular story or narrative, it is at best highly questionable that it is reliable to even begin with (especially given that in the Qu'ran's context, it appears so much more female friendly).[n. 10]

  • A final sequitur to the argument is that there is no single non-Muslim original source in existence which documents Muhammad beating his wives or allowing any other Muslim to do the same with their wives. In order to reinforce and add weight to any particular hadith, this would be a must in determining whether or not wife beating is allowed. However there is none.
List of Contradictory Hadith (and Their Stance on Treating Women)[26]

Direct Hadith Condemnation of Hitting Women Muhammad Allegedly Condemning Wife Beating

  • Sahih Bukhari 7:62:132 (Volume 7, Book 62, Number 132): Narrated 'Abdullah bin Zam'a: The Prophet said, "None of you should flog his wife as he flogs a slave and then have sexual intercourse with her in the last part of the day."
  • Sahih Bukhari 8:73:68 (Volume 8, Book 73, Number 68): Narrated 'Abdullah bin Zam'a: The Prophet forbade laughing at a person who passes wind, and said, "How does anyone of you beat his wife as he beats the stallion camel and then he may embrace (sleep with) her?" And Hisham said, "As he beats his slave".
  • Sunan Abu Dawud 1:142 (Book 1, Number 142): Narrated Laqit ibn Sabirah: I (the narrator Laqit) then said: Messenger of Allah, I have a wife who has something (wrong) in her tongue, i.e. she is insolent. He said: Then divorce her. I said: Messenger of Allah, she had company with me and I have children from her. He said: Then ask her (to obey you). If there is something good in her, she will do so (obey); and do not beat your wife as you beat your slave-girl.
  • Sunan Abu Dawud 11:2137 (Book 11, Number 2,137): Narrated 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 her or separate yourself from her except in the house.
  • Sunan Abu Dawud 11:2138 (Book 11, Number 2,138): Narrated Mu'awiyah ibn Haydah: I said: Apostle of Allah, how should we approach our wives and how should we leave them? He replied: Approach your tilth when or how you will, give her (your wife) food when you take food, clothe when you clothe yourself, do not revile her face, and do not beat her.
  • Sunan Abu Dawud 11:2139 (Book 11, Number 2,139): Narrated Mu'awiyah al-Qushayri: I went to the Apostle of Allah 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.

Other

  • Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Chapter 68): Imam Ahmad recorded that `A'ishah said, "The Messenger of Allah never struck a servant of his with his hand, nor did he ever hit a woman. He never hit anything with his hand, except for when he was fighting Jihad in the cause of Allah. And he was never given the option between two things except that the most beloved of the two to him was the easiest of them, as long as it did not involve sin. If it did involve sin, then he stayed farther away from sin than any of the people. He would not avenge himself concerning anything that was done to him, except if the limits of Allah were transgressed. Then, in that case he would avenge for the sake of Allah."
  • Hadith quoted in Imam Ghazzali's Ihya Ulum-Id-Din, Marriage section: “The most perfect of believers in faith are those who are the finest in manners and most gentle toward their wives.”
  • Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (3895) and Ibn Majaah (1977), also quoted in Imam Ghazzali's Ihya Ulum-Id-Din, Marriage section: "The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives."

Directly Self-Contradictory Hadith

  • Abu Dawud 11:2141 (Book 11, Number 2,141): Narrated Abdullah ibn AbuDhubab: Iyas ibn Abdullah ibn AbuDhubab reported the Apostle of Allah as saying: "Do not beat Allah's handmaidens", but when Umar came to the Apostle of Allah and said: Women have become emboldened towards their husbands, he (the Prophet) gave permission to beat them. Then many women came round the family of the Apostle of Allah complaining against their husbands. So the Apostle of Allah said: Many women have gone round Muhammad's family complaining against their husbands. They (the men) are not the best among you.

Direct Lack of Condemnation of Hitting Women

Muhammad Dealing With A Falsely Accused Wife Beater

  • Sahih Bukhari 7:72:715 (Volume 7, Book 72, Number 715): Narrated 'Ikrima: Rifa'a divorced his wife whereupon 'AbdurRahman bin Az-Zubair Al-Qurazi married her. 'Aisha said that the lady (came), wearing a green veil (and complained to her (Aisha) of her husband and showed her a green spot on her skin caused by beating). It was the habit of ladies to support each other, so when Allah's Apostle came, 'Aisha said, "I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women. Look! Her skin is greener than her clothes!" When 'AbdurRahman heard that his wife had gone to the Prophet, he came with his two sons from another wife. She said, "By Allah! I have done no wrong to him but he is impotent and is as useless to me as this," holding and showing the fringe of her garment, 'Abdur-Rahman said, "By Allah, O Allah's Apostle! She has told a lie! I am very strong and can satisfy her but she is disobedient and wants to go back to Rifa'a." Allah's Apostle said, to her, "If that is your intention, then know that it is unlawful for you to remarry Rifa'a unless Abdur-Rahman has had sexual intercourse with you." Then the Prophet saw two boys with 'Abdur-Rahman and asked (him), "Are these your sons?" On that 'AbdurRahman said, "Yes." The Prophet said, "You claim what you claim (i.e.. that he is impotent)? But by Allah, these boys resemble him as a crow resembles a crow."

Muhammad Allegedly Hitting Women

  • Sahih Muslim 4:2127 (Book 4, Number 2,127): Muhammad b. Qais said (to the people): Should I not narrate to you (a hadith of the Holy Prophet) on my authority and on the authority of my mother? We thought that he meant the mother who had given him birth. He (Muhammad b. Qais) then reported that it was 'A'isha who had narrated this: Should I not narrate to you about myself and about the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him)? We said: Yes. She said: When it was my turn for Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) to spend the night with me, he turned his side, put on his mantle and took off his shoes and placed them near his feet, and spread the corner of his shawl on his bed and then lay down till he thought that I had gone to sleep. He took hold of his mantle slowly and put on the shoes slowly, and opened the door and went out and then closed it lightly. I covered my head, put on my veil and tightened my waist wrapper, and then went out following his steps till he reached Baqi'. He stood there and he stood for a long time. He then lifted his hands three times, and then returned and I also returned. He hastened his steps and I also hastened my steps. He ran and I too ran. He came (to the house) and I also came (to the house). I, however, preceded him and I entered (the house), and as I lay down in the bed, he (the Holy Prophet) entered the (house), and said: Why is it, O 'A'isha, that you are out of breath? I said: There is nothing. He said: Tell me or the Subtle and the Aware would inform me. I said: Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be ransom for you, and then I told him (the whole story). He said: Was it the darkness (of your shadow) that I saw in front of me? I said: Yes. He struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you? She said: Whatsoever the people conceal, Allah will know it. He said: Gabriel came to me when you saw me. He called me and he concealed it from you. I responded to his call, but I too concealed it from you (for he did not come to you), as you were not fully dressed. I thought that you had gone to sleep, and I did not like to awaken you, fearing that you may be frightened. He (Gabriel) said: Your Lord has commanded you to go to the inhabitants of Baqi' (to those lying in the graves) and beg pardon for them. I said: Messenger of Allah, how should I pray for them (How should I beg forgiveness for them)? He said: Say, Peace be upon the inhabitants of this city (graveyard) from among the Believers and the Muslims, and may Allah have mercy on those who have gone ahead of us, and those who come later on, and we shall, God willing, join you.
  • Sunan Abu Dawud 11:2142 (Book 11, Number 2,142): classified as da'if/weak by Al-Albaani: Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab: The Prophet said: A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife.

Abu Bakr Allegedly Hitting Women

  • Sahih Bukhari 8:82:828 (Volume 8, Book 82, Number 828): Narrated Aisha: Abu Bakr came to towards me and struck me violently with his fist and said, "You have detained the people because of your necklace." But I remained motionless as if I was dead lest I should awake Allah's Apostle although that hit was very painful.
  • Sahih Muslim Book 9:3506 (Book 9, Number 3,506): Jabir b. 'Abdullah reported: Abu Bakr came and sought permission to see Allah's Messenger. He found people sitting at his door and none amongst them had been granted permission, but it was granted to Abu Bakr and he went in. Then came 'Umar and he sought permission and it was granted to him, and he found Allah's Apostle sitting sad and silent with his wives around him. He (Hadrat 'Umar) said: I would say something which would make the Holy Prophet laugh, so he said: Messenger of Allah, I wish you had seen (the treatment meted out to) the daughter of Khadija when you asked me some money, and I got up and slapped her on her neck. Allah's Messenger laughed and said: They are around me as you see, asking for extra money. Abu Bakr then got up went to 'A'isha and slapped her on the neck, and 'Umar stood up before Hafsa and slapped her saying: You ask Allah's Messenger which he does not possess. They said: By Allah, we do not ask Allah's Messenger for anything he does not possess. Then he withdrew from them for a month or for twenty-nine days. Then this verse was revealed to him:" Prophet: Say to thy wives... for a mighty reward" (xxxiii. 28). He then went first to 'A'isha and said: I want to propound something to you, 'A'isha, but wish no hasty reply before you consult your parents. She said: Messenger of Allah, what is that? He (the Holy Prophet) recited to her the verse, whereupon she said: Is it about you that I should consult my parents, Messenger of Allah? Nay, I choose Allah, His Messenger, and the Last Abode; but I ask you not to tell any of your wives what I have said He replied: Not one of them will ask me without my informing her. God did not send me to be harsh, or cause harm, but He has sent me to teach and make things easy.

Muhammad Allegedly Overlooking Wife Beaters

  • Sahih Muslim 9:3526 (Book 9, Number 3,526): Fatima bint Qais reported that her husband divorced her with three, pronouncements and Allah's Messenger made no provision for her lodging and maintenance allowance. She (further said): Allah's Messenger said to me: When your period of 'Idda is over, inform me. So I informed him. (By that time) Mu'awiya, Abu Jahm and Usama b. Zaid had given her the proposal of marriage. Allah's Messenger said: So far as Mu'awiya is concerned, he is a poor man without any property. So far as Abu Jahm is concerned, he is a great beater of women, but Usama b. Zaid. she pointed with her hand (that she did not approve of the idea of marrying) Usama. But Allah's Messenger said: Obedience to Allah and obedience to His Messenger is better for thee. She said: So I married him, and I became an object of envy.
  • Sahih Muslim 9:3527 (Book 9, Number 3,527): Fatima bint Qais reported: My husband Abu 'Amr b. Hafs b. al-Mughira sent 'Ayyish b. Abu Rabi'a to me with a divorce, and he also sent through him five si's of dates and five si's of barley. I said: Is there no maintenance allowance for me but only this, and I cannot even spend my 'Idda period in your house? He said: No. She said: I dressed myself and came to Allah's Messenger. He said: How many pronouncements of divorce have been made for you? I said: Three. He said what he ('Ayyish b. Abu Rabi'a) had stated was true. There is no maintenance allowance for you. Spend 'Idda period in the house of your cousin, Ibn Umm Maktum. He is blind and you can put off your garment in his presence. And when you have spent your Idda period, you inform me. She said: Mu'awiya and Abu'l-Jahm were among those who had given me the proposal of marriage. Thereupon Allah's Apostle said: Mu'awiya is destitute and in poor condition and Abu'l-Jahm is very harsh with women (or he beats women), you should take Usama b. Zaid (as your husband).

Scholarly Exegesis (Interpretation)/Opinion

Muhammad never harmed women in his life. He only harmed other men and only during battle.
A Muslim woman in Persia.

"Scholars have also argued that verse 4:34 must be interpreted in a manner consistent with the Quran's overarching peaceful values. It repeatedly describes the relationship between husband and wife as one of tranquility, affection and mercy. To construe this verse as the right to inflict corporal punishment on one's wife is inconsistent with this interpretation, and therefore incorrect".[11]

The Oxbridge professor of Islam, John L. Esposito, also justifies the non-violent nature of Islam by saying, "[d]espite the fact that domestic violence continued to exist in male-dominated cultures and to be legitimated in the name of religion, neither the majority of Quranic verses nor the hadith support or permit it".[2]

  • However, all of this has remained problematic for Muslims who want to defend the Islamic faith, as critics are at pains not to understand the full context behind the verse as Muslims see it. This is a prime example of a philosophical violation, in that of the "fallacy of suppressed evidence".

Scholars have also recently begun to re-examine the meaning behind the verse, arguing that "obedience" meant only to Allah, and not the husband, amongst other explanations.[2]

Islamic scholars have interpreted an overall meaning from the verse in question (albeit it being interpreted confusedly in reference to the information presented above) on the three separate methods of resolving marital disputes. Some claim it says;

"Despite the fact that domestic violence continued to exist in male-dominated cultures and to be legitimated in the name of religion, neither the majority of Quranic verses nor the hadith support or permit it".[2]

—Professor John L. Esposito, Oxford Historian.
  1. Firstly, to discuss the issue of conflict with each other, either alone themselves, or with a third party of arbiters. It should also be noted that this is reinforced in 4:35 and 4:128.[2]
  2. Secondarily, following on from this failed attempt, physical separation is recommended, such as sleeping on seperate beds, giving them time to cool off, and reflect on their relationship.[2]
  3. Thirdly, failing this—and most controversially—it is permissible to strike or hit them or sexually starve them or to go away from them or to hit an object substituted for one's wife (and depending on the source of interpretation it can be either of these terms).
    1. Importantly, those scholars who argue that a strike or hit is allowed, are at pains to say that grammatically this only refers to a single non-violent[n. 13] strike (more of a single tap or slap that leaves no mark, or causes no pain, if anything).[n. 14][2]
    2. Scholar's also argue that the verse refers to tapping women with a bundle of grass (much as was the case in Prophet Ayyub's story above)—but new research on the meaning of old Arabic shows that it can also mean denying a partner sex (deliberately starving a partner of sex)
      1. This has been explained in previous sections of this article above.
    3. Scholars have also pointed out that men are able to express their anger against their wives by substituting another object to hit in their wife's place (as some believe was the case in Prophet Ayyub's dilemma—see above regarding Qu'ran 38:44).[18]

The hadiths, "Muslim", "Bukhari", "Tirmidhi", "Abu Daud", "Nasai" and "Ibn Majah", also emphasise that this strike should not cause pain.[2] Or any harm.[2] It should also be noted that the hadiths are also at pain to stress that in the case of a single strike needing to be used, it should only be symbolic.[28]

  • Finally, there is one school of Islamic thought that believes hitting a women is totally inappropriate; The Shafii school of Sunni Islam...maintains that striking should be avoided altogether.[2]

Sources

Footnotes

  1. ^ The following translations have all been by men.
    • DR. GHALI: Men are the ever upright (managers) (of the affairs) of women for what Allah has graced some of them over (some) others and for what they have expended of their riches. So righteous women are devout, preservers of the Unseen for. And the ones whom you fear their non-compliance, then admonish them and forsake them in their beds, (Literally: a madajic= reeclining) and strike them, (i.e. hit them lightly) yet in case they obey you, then do not seek inequitably any way against them; surely Allah has been Ever-Exalted, Ever-Great.
    • PICKTHALL: Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great.
    • SHAKIR: Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.
    • SAHIH INTERNATIONAL: Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.
    • YUSUF ALI: Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all).
    • MUHSIN KHAN: Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband's absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husband's property, etc.). As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful), but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great.
    1. Qu'ran (4:34). Qu'ran. Retrieved October 29th, 2016.
  2. ^ Importantly, chronologically, the very last verse that was revealed to Muslims regarding relations between men and women was 9:71, where men and women are described as being each others protectors, and guardians, with a key emphasis on cooperation as opposed to adversaries, superiors or subordinates (for more information on the chronological nature of the organisation of the Qu'ran refer to the appropriate topic, which is outside the scope of this article).
    1. John L. Esposito (13 July 2011). What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam: Second Edition. Oxford University Press, USA. pp. 114–116. ISBN 978-0-19-979413-3.
  3. ^ Qur'an 4:19 for instance tells men, that women are not the property of anyone but themselves and are independent. Men also cannot force women to do anything that is "against their will" or "treat them with harshness"; and instead live with them as equals. Even if men still dislike women, then men should deal with it as God will bring something great from it.
    1. John L. Esposito (13 July 2011). What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam: Second Edition. Oxford University Press, USA. pp. 114–116. ISBN 978-0-19-979413-3.
  4. ^ The following translations have all been by men.
    • DR. GHALI: Men are the ever upright (managers) (of the affairs) of women for what Allah has graced some of them over (some) others and for what they have expended of their riches. So righteous women are devout, preservers of the Unseen for. And the ones whom you fear their non-compliance, then admonish them and forsake them in their beds, (Literally: a madajic= reeclining) and strike them, (i.e. hit them lightly) yet in case they obey you, then do not seek inequitably any way against them; surely Allah has been Ever-Exalted, Ever-Great.
    • PICKTHALL: Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great.
    • SHAKIR: Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.
    • SAHIH INTERNATIONAL: Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.
    • YUSUF ALI: Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all).
    • MUHSIN KHAN: Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband's absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husband's property, etc.). As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful), but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great.
    1. Qu'ran (4:34). Qu'ran. Retrieved October 29th, 2016.
  5. ^ Importantly, chronologically, the very last verse that was revealed to Muslims regarding relations between men and women was 9:71, where men and women are described as being each others protectors, and guardians, with a key emphasis on cooperation as opposed to adversaries, superiors or subordinates (for more information on the chronological nature of the organisation of the Qu'ran refer to the appropriate topic, which is outside the scope of this article).
    1. John L. Esposito (13 July 2011). What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam: Second Edition. Oxford University Press, USA. pp. 114–116. ISBN 978-0-19-979413-3.
  6. ^ Qur'an 4:19 for instance tells men, that women are not the property of anyone but themselves and are independent. Men also cannot force women to do anything that is "against their will" or "treat them with harshness"; and instead live with them as equals. Even if men still dislike women, then men should deal with it as God will bring something great from it.
    1. John L. Esposito (13 July 2011). What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam: Second Edition. Oxford University Press, USA. pp. 114–116. ISBN 978-0-19-979413-3.
  7. ^ Muslims are clearly aware of this. Within the Islamic faith, Hadith cannot be allowed to contradict the Qu'ran. Furthermore, if they are contradictory, the most trustworthy one is usually taken to be more reliable.
    1. Alexander Pierce (2012). Facing Islam, Engaging Muslims. WinePress Publishing. p. 50. ISBN 978-1-4141-2158-1.
  8. ^ See the section on the Qur'ans verses on women.
  9. ^ Muslims are clearly aware of this. Within the Islamic faith, Hadith cannot be allowed to contradict the Qu'ran. Furthermore, if they are contradictory, the most trustworthy one is usually taken to be more reliable.
    1. Alexander Pierce (2012). Facing Islam, Engaging Muslims. WinePress Publishing. p. 50. ISBN 978-1-4141-2158-1.
  10. ^ See the section on the Qur'ans verses on women.
  11. ^ Note the paragraph below, where the hadith are particularly important.
  12. ^ Again, see the hadith explanations in the next paragraph.
  13. ^ Note the paragraph below, where the hadith are particularly important.
  14. ^ Again, see the hadith explanations in the next paragraph.

References

  1. ^ a b Qu'ran (4:34). Qu'ran. Retrieved October 29th, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af John L. Esposito (13 July 2011). What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam: Second Edition. Oxford University Press, USA. pp. 114–116. ISBN 978-0-19-979413-3.
  3. ^ a b c d Jonathan Curiel (31 March 2015). Islam in America. I.B.Tauris. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-85773-810-3.
  4. ^ a b Definition of beating in English:. Oxford Dictionary. Retrieved October 29th, 2016.
  5. ^ Through the Lens of Cultural Awareness: A Primer for US Armed Forces Deploying to Arab and Middle Eastern Countries, 2006. 2007*. p. 37.
  6. ^ a b Moniur S Rohman (14 November 2013). Get Fluent in Arabic!: Why Some People Attain Fluency Faster Than Others.... BookBaby. p. 87. ISBN 978-1-4835-1296-9.
  7. ^ a b Mahdi Alosh (30 June 2005). Using Arabic: Vocabulary. Cambridge University Press. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-521-64832-5.
  8. ^ a b c d Neil Macfarquhar (March 25th, 2007). Verse in Koran on Beating Wife Gets New Translation. New York Times. WayBackMachine Link. Retrieved April 25th, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Syed Mohammed Ali (1 August 2004). Position of Women in Islam, The: A Progressive View. SUNY Press. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-7914-8504-0.
  10. ^ a b David Klinghoffer (May 10th, 2004). Understanding The Stranger. Publishers Weekly. Retrieved October 29th, 2016.
  11. ^ a b c d Mutaz Qafisheh (22 June 2016). Experimental Legal Education in a Globalized World: The Middle East and Beyond. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 126. ISBN 978-1-4438-9544-6.
  12. ^ Through the Lens of Cultural Awareness: A Primer for US Armed Forces Deploying to Arab and Middle Eastern Countries, 2006. 2007*. p. 37.
  13. ^ a b Aysha A. Hidayatullah (2014). Feminist Edges of the Qur'an. Oxford University Press. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-19-935957-8.
  14. ^ a b Amyn B. Sajoo (7 July 2009). A Companion to the Muslim World. I.B.Tauris. p. 121. ISBN 978-0-85773-522-5.
  15. ^ a b Qu'ran 38:44. Quran. WayBackMachine Link. Retrieved April 26th, 2018.
  16. ^ a b Ibn Kathīr. Britannica. WayBackMachine Link. Retrieved April 23rd, 2018.
  17. ^ a b Ayyub. Qtafsir. WayBackMachine Link. Retrieved April 23rd, 2018.
  18. ^ a b c d Ayesha S. Chaudhry (December 2013). Domestic Violence and the Islamic Tradition. OUP Oxford. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-19-964016-4.
  19. ^ a b Dealing with the Wife's Ill-Conduct. Qtafsir. WayBackMachine Link. Retrieved April 24th, 2018.
  20. ^ a b Kathryn Kueny (26 July 2001). The Rhetoric of Sobriety: Wine in Early Islam. SUNY Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-7914-5054-3.
  21. ^ a b c d e f Abdullah Saeed (2018). Human Rights and Islam: An Introduction to Key Debates between Islamic Law and International Human Rights Law. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-78471-658-5.
  22. ^ a b Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle (1 January 2010). Homosexuality in Islam: Critical Reflection on Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Muslims. Oneworld Publications. p. 84. ISBN 978-1-78074-028-7.
  23. ^ Syed Mohammed Ali (1 August 2004). Position of Women in Islam, The: A Progressive View. SUNY Press. pp. 23–. ISBN 978-0-7914-8504-0.
  24. ^ a b Samar Habib (2010). Islam and Homosexuality. ABC-CLIO. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-313-37903-1.
  25. ^ a b Knut S. Vikør (2005). Between God and the Sultan: A History of Islamic Law. Oxford University Press. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-19-522398-9.
  26. ^ a b Hadith on wife and women beating - domestic violence in Traditional Islamic sources. Quran434. WayBackMachine Link. Retrieved April 23rd, 2018.
  27. ^ Syed Mohammed Ali (1 August 2004). Position of Women in Islam, The: A Progressive View. SUNY Press. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-7914-8504-0.
  28. ^ a b Ayesha S. Chaudhry (2013-12). Domestic Violence and the Islamic Tradition. OUP Oxford. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-19-964016-4.

External Links