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An-Nisa 4:34 is the 34th verse in the fourth chapter of the Quran. This verse discusses the husband's role as protector and maintainer of his wife and how he should deal with disloyalty on her part. Scholars vastly differ on the implications of this verse, with many Muslim apologists arguing that it serves as a deterrent from anger-based domestic violence; whereas some Muslims, such as Islamic feminist groups, argue that the text is a justification for domestic violence. The translation of the verse is also subject to debate among Muslim scholars, which can read 'strike them [wives]' or '(lightly) strike them' or 'beat them' or 'scourge them', depending on the translator. Furthermore, as that said in a hadith transmitted by Abu Huraira, slapping someone across their face was forbidden.
Men shall have the preëminence above women, because of those advantages wherein Allah hath caused the one of them to excel the other, and for that which they expend of their substance in maintaining their wives. The honest women are obedient, careful in the absence of their husbands, for that Allah preserveth them, by committing them to the care and protection of the men. But those, whose perverseness ye shall be apprehensive of, rebuke; and remove them into separate apartments, and chastise them. But if they shall be obedient unto you, seek not an occasion of quarrel against them: for Allah is high and great.
Men look after women, because Allah has 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.
Men are caretakers of women, since Allah has made some of them excel the others, and because of the wealth they have spent. So, the righteous women are obedient, (and) guard (the property and honor of their husbands) in (their) absence with the protection given by Allah. As for women of whom you fear rebellion, convince them, and leave them apart in beds, and beat them. Then, if they obey you, do not seek a way against them. Surely, Allah is the Highest, the Greatest.
Men are the caretakers of women, as men have been provisioned by Allah over women and tasked with supporting them financially. And righteous women are devoutly obedient and, when alone, protective of what Allah has entrusted them with. And if you sense ill-conduct from your women, advise them ˹first˺, ˹if they persist,˺ do not share their beds, ˹but if they still persist,˺ then discipline them ˹gently˺. But if they change their ways, do not be unjust to them. Surely Allah is Most High, All-Great.
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).
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.
Men are (meant to be righteous and kind) guardians of women because God has favored some more than others and because they (i.e. men) spend out of their wealth. (In their turn) righteous women are (meant to be) devoted and to guard what God has (willed to be) guarded even though out of sight (of the husband). As for those (women) on whose part you fear ill-will and nasty conduct, admonish them (first), (next) leave them alone in beds (and last) beat or separate them (from you). But if they obey you, then seek nothing against them. Behold, God is most high and great.
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 illconduct, 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.
Men are guardians of women, because Allah has made one superior to the other, and (also) because men spend their wealth (on them). So the pious wives are obedient. They guard (their chastity) in the absence of their husbands with the protection of Allah. But those women whom you fear will disobey and defy, admonish them; and (if they do not amend) separate them (from yourselves) in beds; and (if they still do not improve) turn away from them, striking a temporary parting. Then if they become cooperative with you, do not seek any way against them. Surely, Allah is Most High, Most Great.
Men are supporters of wives because God has given some of them an advantage over others and because they spend of their wealth. So the ones who are in accord with morality are the ones who are morally obligated, the ones who guard the unseen of what God has kept safe. But those whose resistance you fear, then admonish them and abandon them in their sleeping place, then go away from them; and if they obey you, surely look not for any way against them; truly God is Lofty, Great.
Men are guardians over women because Allah has made some of them excel others, and because they (men) spend of their wealth. So virtuous women are those who are obedient, and guard the secrets of their husbands with Allah’s protection. And as for those on whose part you fear disobedience, admonish them and leave them alone in their beds, and chastise them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Surely, Allah is High, Great.
الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ ۚ فَالصَّالِحَاتُ قَانِتَاتٌ حَافِظَاتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللَّهُ ۚ وَاللَّاتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ ۖ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلَا تَبْغُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيًّا كَبِيرًا
ar-rijālu qawwamūna ʿala -n-nisāʾi bimā faḍḍala - llāhu baʿḏahum ʿala baʿḍin wa bimā ʾanfaqū min ʾamwālihim fa-ṣ-ṣāliḥātu qānitātun ḥāfiẓātun l-il-ghaybi bimā ḥafiẓa -llāhu wa-l-lātī takhāfūna nushūzahunna fa-ʿiẓūhunna w-ahjurūhunna fi-l-maḍājiʿ w-aḍribūhunna fa ʾin ʾaṭaʿnakum falā tabghū ʿalayhinna sabīlan ʾinna -llāha kāna ʿalīyyan kabīran
Verses in context
Do not covet something in which Allah has made some of you superior to others. For men there is a share of what they earned, and for women, a share of what they earned. Pray to Allah for His grace. Surely, Allah is All-Aware of everything.For everyone We have made heirs in what the parents and the nearest of kin have left. As for those with whom you have made a pledge, give them their shares. Surely, Allah is Witness over everything. Men are caretakers of women, since Allah has made some of them excel the others, and because of the wealth they have spent. So, the righteous women are obedient, (and) guard (the property and honor of their husbands) in (their) absence with the protection given by Allah. As for women of whom you fear rebellion, convince them, and leave them apart in beds, and strike them. Then, if they obey you, do not seek a way against them. Surely, Allah is the Highest, the Greatest.If you fear a split between them (the spouses), send one arbitrator from his people and one from her people. If they desire to set things right, Allah shall bring about harmony between them. Surely, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware (Al-Quran 32-35)
Background of the verse
There are a number of translations of this verse from the Arabic original, and all vary to some extent. Some Muslims, such as Islamic feminist groups, argue that Muslim men use the text as an excuse for domestic violence.
In the Prophet's farewell sermon as recorded in al-Tabari's History, and in a Sahih Hadith collected by Abu Dawud, he gave permission to husbands to hit their wives under certain circumstances without severity (فَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ ضَرْبًا غَيْرَ مُبَرِّحٍ fadribuhunna darban ghayra mubarrih; literal translation: "... then beat them, a beating without severity") When Ibn Abbas the cousin and companion of the prophet Ibn Abbas replied back: “I asked Ibn Abbas: ‘What is the hitting that is 'without severity'?’ He replied [with] the siwak (tooth-stick) and the like’. Muhammad himself never hit a woman and forbade beating one's wife or striking her face.
Another hadith narration of the Farewell Sermon appears in Sunan Ibn Majah. The Arabic phrase mentioned above is here translated, "hit them, but without causing injury or leaving a mark."
It was narrated that: Sulaiman bin Amr bin Ahwas said: “My father told me that he was present at the Farewell Pilgrimage with the Messenger of Allah. He praised and glorified Allah, and reminded and exhorted (the people). Then he said: 'I enjoin good treatment of women, for they are prisoners with you, and you have no right to treat them otherwise, unless they commit clear indecency. If they do that, then forsake them in their beds and hit them, but without causing injury or leaving a mark. If they obey you, then do not seek means of annoyance against them. You have rights over your women and your women have rights over you. Your rights over your women are that they are not to allow anyone whom you dislike to tread on your bedding (furniture), nor allow anyone whom you dislike to enter your houses. And their right over you are that you should treat them kindly with regard to their clothing and food.' ” Grade: Sahih
`A’isha said: the Messenger of Allah (saws) never struck a servant or a woman.
There have been several fatwas against domestic violence. Feminist writers have argued that society during Quranic times differed from modern times, especially in how children were reared and raised, creating a need for gender roles. However, these scholars highlight that the Qur'an can be interpreted differently as society changes.
Jonathan A.C. Brown gives the wider scholarly tendency when it comes to the verse:
The vast majority of the ulama across the Sunni schools of law inherited the Prophet's unease over domestic violence and placed further restrictions on the evident meaning of the 'Wife Beating Verse'. A leading Meccan scholar from the second generation of Muslims, Ata' bin Abi Rabah, counseled a husband not to beat his wife even if she ignored him but rather to express his anger in some other way. Darimi, a teacher of both Tirmidhi and Muslim bin Hajjaj as well as a leading early scholar in Iran, collected all the Hadiths showing Muhammad's disapproval of beating in a chapter entitled 'The Prohibition on Striking Women'. A thirteenth-century scholar from Granada, Ibn Faras, notes that one camp of ulama had staked out a stance forbidding striking a wife altogether, declaring it contrary to the Prophet's example and denying the authenticity of any Hadiths that seemed to permit beating. Even Ibn Hajar, the pillar of late medieval Sunni Hadith scholarship, concludes that, contrary to what seems to be an explicit command in the Qur'an, the Hadiths of the Prophet leave no doubt that striking one's wife to discipline her actually falls under the Shariah ruling of 'strongly disliked' or 'disliked verging on prohibited'.
Background on the roles of men and women in Islam
The Qur'an states that men are the guardians of women because they are responsible for earning livelihood for the family and female relatives. Women, however, are given a degree of autonomy over their own income and property. Nevertheless, they are responsible for educating the children, as God has given the one preference over the other. Man is also considered to be the head of the family. The Qur'an recommends that wives be obedient and adaptable to their husbands. Wives should also keep the secrets of their husbands and protect their honor and integrity. Islamic scholars consider this important in running a smooth family system.
Divorced women shall wait concerning themselves for three monthly periods. Nor is it lawful for them to hide what Allah Hath created in their wombs, if they have faith in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation. And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them. And Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise. (Qu'ran 2:228)
For both men and women, zulm- known in English as actions of 'cruelty' against someone- is explicitly prohibited.
Equality of genders throughout the Qur'an
The equality of men and women is discussed in many places throughout the text. The Quran blamed Adam and Eve for the original sin as Satan talks to both of them.
Then began Satan to whisper suggestions to them, bringing openly before their minds all their shame (Qur’an 7:20)
The Qur'an is also very specific that both men and women should receive equal punishment for wrongdoings (24:2), and that both men and women are seen as equals under God, and will be rewarded for their faith by entering Heaven (4:124).
The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication,- flog each of them with a hundred stripes(Qur’an 24:2)
Whoever does good deed,- male or female- and he is believer, he will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to him. (Qur’an 4:124)
Male and female relationships in the times of the Prophet
In her book Qur'an and Women, scholar Amina Wadud writes about the importance of women in the time of the Prophet. During this time, women did not have access to the technology that women today have; giving birth and raising children was much more difficult due to diseases and lack of healthcare knowledge. For this reason, Wadud writes, "The Qur'an establishes his [the husband's] responsibility as qiwamah: seeing to it that the women is not burdened with additional responsibilities which jeopardize that primary demanding responsibility only she can fulfill." The need to reproduce and raise children contributed to the importance of gender roles in the time of the Prophet.
Scholar Ayesha Chaudhry writes that many Muslims have this fundamentally flawed way of examining the text, writing that "Despite the potential for such verses [4:34] to have multiple plain-sense meanings, living Muslim communities place these interpretations in conversation with the pre-colonial Islamic tradition".
Examples from the Prophet
Ibn Abi Hatim has narrated through Ash’ath ibn ‘Abdil-Malik from al-Hasan that he said: “A woman came to the Prophet complaining against her husband that he had slapped her. The Messenger of Allah said: “Retribution”. Then Allah revealed the verse, “Men are maintainers of women… (4:34); so the woman returned without retribution [ad-Durr 'l-munthur, as-Suyuti]. [as-Suyuti] has narrated it from the Prophet through other chains too. Some of them say that the Messenger of Allah said: “I wanted one thing (retribution), but Allah decided otherwise"...there were some instances where Allah had amended some prophetic orders by adding to or deleting from it, but it was only in his administrative order, not in matters of the law ordained by him for his people, otherwise it would have been an invalid nullification...the Messenger of Allah used to wonder aloud: "How can you embrace the woman with a hand you had hit her with?". It is narrated also in al-Kafi through his chain from Abu Maryam from Abu Ja’far (Imam Muhammad al-Baqir) that he said: “The Messenger of Allah said: “What! Does one of you hit his wife, and then attempt to embrace her?". Countless such statements are found in the traditions; and one may understand from them the Islamic views on this subject.
Al-Tabari (839-923 AD) wrote that, "The Prophet never raised his hand against one of his wives, or against a slave, nor against any person at all." In fact, when the Prophet faced rebellion of his wives, rather than beat them, Al-Tabari accounts that he instead, "stayed away from his wives for 29 nights."
Many words in the Arabic language can have different meanings depending on the context or preposition. According to research, the phrase 'idribouhunna' (root: daraba) has around 30 different meanings. Some of these include: to give an example, to present, to set forth, to leave, to shun, to hit, to tap, or to cover. Most verses in the Quran where the root word 'daraba' appears, the meaning is usually 'to present' or 'to give an example'. An example of this is verse 78 in surah Yasin: 'wa daraba lana masalan wa nasiya khalqah;qala man yuhyil 'idama wa hia rameem'. The translation of this verse is 'And he presents for Us an example and forgets his [own] creation. He says, "Who will give life to bones while they are disintegrated?"'. The verses in the Quran that refer to hitting (satan and enemies) the word hitting used there's root word was not daraba. 'Idribuhunna' could mean tap (with a siwak) to catch your spouse's attention. It could also mean 'to shun'. Many scholars agree that in this verse 'daraba' means to tap as a symbolic action to let your wife know that you are upset. As well as this, if 'daraba' DID mean hit, why would the Prophet SAW say otherwise? In this hadith, Muaviyah b. Haida narrates '"O Apostle of God! What is my duty to my wife?" He (SAW) said, "That you give her to eat as you eat yourself, and clothe her as you clothe yourself; and do not slap her in the face nor abuse her, nor separate yourself from her in displeasure." The Quran says "Live with your wives in a good manner. If you dislike them in any manner, it may be that you dislike something in which Allah has placed much good for you" (Quran 4:19). Allah says, "Among His signs is that He created for you spouses from among yourselves, in order to have tranquility and contentment with each other. He places in your heart love and care towards your spouses. In this, there are signs for people who think." (30:21)
"And if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it between them. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Acquainted [with all things]." (4:35)
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, "Could any of you beat your wife as he would a slave, and then lie with her in the evening?" (Bukhari and Muslim). Other recounts in Abu Da'ud, Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, Ahmad bin Hanbal and others, show that he forbade the beating of any woman, saying: "Never beat God's handmaidens." The Quran also mentioned in other verses that "live with them (your wives) with kindness" (4:19) and "do not retain them to harm them" (2:231).
Debates and discussion about the text
In response to nushûz, admonishment, leaving wives in their beds and idribihunna are permitted. Islamic scholars agree such actions can not be undertaken for any reason other than those mentioned in the Qur'an (see nushûz).
Authority of men and its reasons
This allots men authority over women due to following reasons: 1: Because Allah has given some more strength than others. 2: Because men spent from their property to support women i.e., clothing, residence, and sustenance. The word qawwamun is also used at Al-Quran 4:134. Here it is said that believers should be Qawwamun with fairness.
Men are responsible of maintenance of women
The reason men being qawwamun over women is that because men are responsible of earning for women.
Characters of pious women
The verse declares that pious women are: 1: Obedient 2: Guarding the unseen as God prescribes.[original research?]
Obedient or Qanitat
The verse commands women to be qanitat. The term has been used in Quran 33:35 to refer to men and women alike, who are obedient to God. Some commentators use the term to mean obedience to the husband, while others assert that it means obedience to God. Some scholars agree that the husband does not have absolute control over his wife, and her first loyalty is to God.
Guarding the unseen
Hafizat is derived from hafaz meaning to guard. The subjective form is hafiz meaning a person who guards and hafizah meaning she who guards (feminine). Hafizat is plural of hafizah (both being feminine). It means that good women guard themselves in the absence of Husband as God prescribes.[original research?]
Rebellious women and advice
And those whose rebellion (nushûz) is feared. It is advised 1: to admonish them 2: to leave them alone in beds 3: to beat them
- the term "nushûz" (نُشُوز) is translated as "disloyalty and ill-conduct" by Yusuf Ali, "rebellion" by Pickthall and "desertion" by Shakir. Other scholars[who?] have drawn on hadiths[which?] to interpret the meaning of the word.
to admonish them
The first response to nushuz is wā'z (‘وَعَظ’), meaning to first admonish or scold the wife of her behaviour. There is strong agreement amongst Muslim scholars that this admonishment must be conducted in a spirit of reconciliation.
to leave them alone in beds
According to tafsir ibn kathir, a well known commentary of Quran. He describes in his exegesis.
The Sunan and Musnad compilers recorded that Mu`awiyah bin Haydah Al-Qushayri said, "O Allah's Messenger! What is the right that the wife of one of us has on him The Prophet said to feed her when you eat, clothe her when you buy clothes for yourself, refrain from striking her face or cursing her, and to not abandon her, except in the house.
Should the nushuz continue, the next step is to refuse to share the bed with the wife. Again Muslim scholars emphasize on the spirit of healing while conducting this action.
to beat them (iḍribūhunna)
There are a number of translations of the original Arabic 4:34.
The term iḍribūhunna (usually translated, 'beat them') in 4:34 is the imperative form of the phrase ḍaraba (Arabic: ضرب 'to beat, beat, smote, or strike'). Scholars interpret iḍribūhunna in different ways. Whereas the consensus interprets it to mean "to strike", some hold that the term means "to separate". Such an action is to be administered only if neither the husband nor the wife are willing to divorce.
The term daraba is translated by Yusuf Ali as "beat," but the Arabic word is used elsewhere in the Qur'an to convey different meanings. The phrase, "Daraba Allah mathalan" translates to, "Allah gives or sets an example." The use of this word might be compared to the way "to strike" is used in English, which can mean, "to strike a pose," or "to strike a bargain," not just referring to the physical act of hitting something. The use of daraba is also intentional, because a different Arabic word exists, "daraba" which is translated to, "to strike repeatedly or intensely."
Muslim scholars who permit hitting, emphasize that it must not be harsh, but rather light. Muslim men are never to hit their spouse's face, nor to hit them in such a way as would leave marks on their body. Scholars suggest that the response administered should be in proportion to the fault committed. Traditionally the idea of beating was "with a toothbrush" or "with a folded handkerchief." Jonathan A.C. Brown resumes the situation:
If a wife exhibited egregious disobedience (nushuz) such as uncharacteristically insulting behavior, leaving the house against the husband's will and without a valid excuse or denying her husband sex (without medical grounds), the husband should first admonish her to be conscious of God and proper etiquette. If she did not desist from her behavior, he should cease sleeping with her in their bed. If she still continued in her nushuz, he should then strike her to teach her the error of her ways. Shaffii law only allowed the husband to use his hand or a wound-up handkerchief (mina malfuf), not a whip or stick. All schools of law prohibited striking the wife in the face or in any sensitive area likely to cause injury. All except some Maliki jurists held that the wife could claim compensation payment (diya) from the husband for any injury she sustained, and Hanbalis, the later Shaffii school as well as the Maliki school, allowed a judge to dissolve the marriage at no cost to the wife if harm had been done. In effect, any physical harm was grounds for compensation and divorce since the Prophet had limited striking one's wife to 'a light blow that leaves no mark.' Causing any injury thus meant that a husband had exceeded his rights. All schools of law agreed that if the wife died due to a beating, her family could claim her wergild or possibly even have the husband executed.
Many jurists interpret iḍribūhunna as "more or less symbolic." Others,[who?] however, argue that a mere symbolic administration would be pointless and rather should be an "energetic demonstration" of the love of the husband. But it is agreed that the demonstration should not seriously hurt the wife.
The 2007 translation The Sublime Quran by Laleh Bakhtiar translates iḍribūhunna not as 'beat them' but as 'go away from them'. The introduction to her translation discusses the linguistic and shari‘ah reasons in Arabic for understanding this verb in context. The Prophet never beat his wives, and his example from the Sunnah informs the interpretation of this verse. This interpretation is supported by the fact that some other verses, such as 4:101 which contains word darabtum (derivation from daraba), demonstrate also the interpretation of Arabic word daraba to have meaning 'going' or 'moving'.
The Islamic scholar Tahir-ul-Qadri has given the same translation in his translation of the Quran "Irfan-ul-Quran": "(...)and (if they still do not improve) turn away from them, striking a temporary parting.(...)". This translation is further supported by the fact that the word "darabtum" is used in the same chapter (specifically, in Quran 4:94), which means to "go abroad" in the sake of Allah and which is derived from the same root word ("daraba") as "idribuhunna" in 4:34.
The book Woman in the Shade of Islam by Saudi scholar Abdul Rahman al-Sheha stated that a man may "beat" his wife only if it occurs without "hurting, breaking a bone, leaving blue or black marks on the body and avoiding hitting the face, at any cost."
A widely used 1930 English translation of the Quran by British Muslim scholar Marmaduke Pickthall determined the verse to mean that, as a last resort, men can "scourge" their wives.
In his book No god but God, University of Southern California scholar Reza Aslan, stated that false interpretations of the text have occurred because Quranic commentary "has been the exclusive domain of Muslim men."
The Islamic prophet Mohammed himself, according to Islamic tradition, never once struck a woman in argument. This fact is sometimes cited in debates about the text.
Muslim feminist writer Asra Q. Nomani has argued,
Indeed, Muslim scholars and leaders have long been doing what I call "the 4:34 dance" -- they reject outright violence against women but accept a level of aggression that fits contemporary definitions of domestic violence.
Feminist writer Amina Wadud writes in her book, ''Inside the Gender Jihad: Women's Reform in Islam'':
No community will ever be exactly like another. Therefore no community can be a duplicate of that original community. The Quran never states that as a goal. Rather the goal has been to emulate certain key principles of human development; justice, equity, harmony, moral responsibility, spiritual awareness and development.
[wives] should not commit any open indecency (Fāḥishah Mubiyya). If they do, then God permits you to shut them in separate rooms and to beat them, but not severely.
Nada Ibrahim of the University of South Australia states that three words—qawwamuna, nushuzahunna, and wadribuhunna—are mistranslated due to the lack of equivalent English alternatives. She explains that in particular, English language Qur'an commentators have not agreed to merely one translation of the word wadribuhunna and that "A clear disagreement exists among English-language Qur’an commentators on how best to translate this word. All translations give an explicit negative connotation, and – when read out of context – further exacerbates any misunderstanding."
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.
The keywords of Verse 34 of Surah An-Nisa come with various meanings, each of which enables us to know a distinct aspect, meaning and matter. Each aspect, i.e., meanings proposed by commentators, translators, and scholars throughout history for this verse, is according to a distinct wonted system of the family in history. "Zarb" does not mean assault or any form of violence against women. Rather, it means a practical action to inspire disobedient women to obey the legitimate rights of their spouse.
When they obey
In the Quran’s Commentary exegesis of this part of verse is as following:
(but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance),) meaning, when the wife obeys her husband in all that Allah has allowed, then no means of annoyance from the husband are allowed against his wife. Therefore, in this case, the husband does not have the right to beat her or shun her bed. Allah's statement,
1: Not to seek ways against them
In this part of verse God says that if women obey then man are not allowed to make excuses against them.
Glorification of God
Ibn Kathir in the commentary of this part of verse says
Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great.) reminds men that if they transgress against their wives without justification, then Allah, the Ever Most High, Most Great, is their Protector, and He will exert revenge on those who transgress against their wives and deal with them unjustly.
It means that God is exalted.
It means that God is great.
- "Understanding a Difficult Verse, Qur'an 4:34 | Muslim Sexual Ethics | The Feminist Sexual Ethics Project | Brandeis University". www.brandeis.edu. Retrieved 2018-09-15.
- Tesneem Alkiek, Dalia Mogahed, Omar Suleiman and Jonathan Brown (May 22, 2017). "Islam and Violence Against Women: A Critical Look at Domestic Violence and Honor Killings in the Muslim Community". Yaqeen Institute. Retrieved February 23, 2020.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Nomani, Asra Q. (October 22, 2006). "Clothes Aren't the Issue". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2018-09-22.
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Contemporary female Muslim scholars – such as Ayesha Chaudhry, Amina Wadud, Asma Barlas, Ziba Mir-Hosseini and Asma Lamrabet...
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Shaikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, says that "It is permissible for him to beat her lightly with his hands, avoiding her face and other sensitive parts. In no case should he resort to using a stick or any other instrument that might cause pain and injury."
- Ibn Kathir Ad-Damishqee records in his Tafsir Al-Qur'an Al-Azim that "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."
- Abdullah Yusuf Ali and Ibn Kathir
- "The Holy Qur'an: Text, Translation and Commentary", Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Amana Corporation, Brentwood, MD, 1989. ISBN 0-915957-03-5, passage was quoted from commentary on 4:34
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- The concept of a beating with a toothbrush comes from Muhammad's statement to a disobedient maid-servant that "If it were not for the fear of retaliation on the Day of Resurrection, I would have beaten you with this miswak (tooth-cleaning twig)" [as reported by Ibn Majah, by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, and by Ibn Sa`d in his Tabaqat]. Cited by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research at "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-04-04. Retrieved 2007-06-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)"Archived copy". Archived from the original (PDF) on 2005-04-04. Retrieved 2007-06-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur'an (his translation of the Qur'an), commentary to 4:34, citing Razi.
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- Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur'an (his translation of the Qur'an).
- One such authority is the earliest hafiz, Ibn Abbas.
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- Osama Abdallah. Systematic comparison with 4:94 Islamawareness.net
- Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi comments that "Whenever the Prophet (peace be on him) permitted a man to administer corporal punishment to his wife, he did so with reluctance, and continued to express his distaste for it. And even in cases where it is necessary, the Prophet (peace be on him) directed men not to hit across the face, nor to beat severely nor to use anything that might leave marks on the body." "Towards Understanding the Qur'an" Translation by Zafar I. Ansari from "Tafheem Al-Qur'an" (specifically, commentary on 4:34) by Syed Abul-A'ala Mawdudi, Islamic Foundation, Leicester, England.
- The medieval jurist ash-Shafi'i, founder of one of the main schools of fiqh, commented on this verse that "hitting is permitted, but not hitting is preferable."
- "[S]ome of the greatest Muslim scholars (e.g., Ash-Shafi'i) are of the opinion that it is just barely permissible, and should preferably be avoided: and they justify this opinion by the Prophet's personal feelings with regard to this problem." Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur'an (his translation of the Qur'an).
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- Ghent University | Does Qur'anic verse 4:34 "allow a superior husband to beat his inferior, disobedient wife?"
- The Sublime Quran: The misinterpretation of Chapter 4 Verse 34