Afghanistan’s liberal, West-supported president Hamid Karzai last week endorsed a “code of conduct” issued by an influential council of clerics that allows husbands to beat wives under certain circumstances. This has opened up a can of worms. Could the humane, compassionate feminist religion that Muslims believe Islam is, possibly allow wife-beating?
By Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam
6 May 2012
بعض النساء لا يمكن العيش معهن بدون عصاة
“I do not want this husband...He does not dominate me”? Said a woman, according to a rather weird preacher of his version of Islam. Is There Really a Need to “Admonish”, “Refuse” and “Beat” wives? What is Islam’s view on the subject of wife-beating? Does the Quran really allow it, as many Muslims claim?
One of the more controversial issues in Islam is the Quran’s authorization for husbands to beat disobedient wives. This is found in chapter 4, verse 34. Additional references on wife beating are found in Prophet Muhammad’s traditions (hadith), and biographical material (sira). Many people condemn Islam because of this harsh “sanction”; many Muslims seek to mollify or defend it and many Muslims use this to their advantage to “rule over” their wives.
Before jumping to any conclusion, the best thing would be to understand the context of the verse. The verse of Surah Nisa says:
“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given them 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 you 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)”
The historical background on 4:34
The reason behind the revelation is detailed by various Muslim scholars. The quote below comes from Razi's commentary, "At-Tafsir al-Kabir," on 4:34
"A woman complained to Muhammad that her husband slapped her on the face, (which was still marked by the slap). At first the prophet said to her: "Get even with him", but then added: "Wait until I think about it". Later on, Allah revealed 4:34 to Muhammad, after which the prophet said: "We wanted one thing but Allah wanted another, and what Allah wanted is best."
According to some, the historical background is a bit different: When Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him ruled in Medina after migrating to it from Mecca, the social life issues and concerns began to be discussed by the Muslim community, and the Muslims started to approach our Prophet 9peace be upon him0 more often with questions and problems to be solved by either him or by a revelation from Allah Almighty (GOD).
Once, our Prophet (peace be upon him) was approached with questions "What if the wife intentionally disobeys her husband in what Allah Almighty has permitted for him upon her? And what if the wife flirts with other men, or can't be trusted to honour her husband's dignity? How should it be dealt with?" The answer to those two questions was the Noble Verses 4:34-35.
Verse 35 is:
“If ye fear a breach between them twain, appoint two arbiters, one from his family, and the other from hers; if they wish for peace, Allah will cause their reconciliation: for Allah hath full knowledge, and is acquainted with all things”.
Command, forbid, control and rule
A so-called Sheikh from www.arab-jarab.com says:
“A woman does not feel comfort and is not happy unless she's under a man who commands, forbids, controls, and leads.”
He also quotes verbatim from his fantastic memory (sarcasm intended):
“I do not want this husband. He does not command me, or order me or lead me or rule me. He does not overpower me in a loud voice.”
I fail to understand how these kinds of ideas crop up inside someone’s minds. A woman is bound to feel suppressed and oppressed when her husband “commands, forbids, controls, and leads” her all the time. A woman too has the equal right to do things she thinks is right for her and her family; only following the “orders” of the husband equate her with slaves.
He says that Quran is a manual guide for the entire humankind and in the Quran itself Allah gives permission to beat your wives so it is our duty to “use the rod”.
Who is to be beaten?
Concluding his message, the so-called Sheikh, the preacher explains to his listeners the three types of women who must be beaten:
"[The Koran says:] 'and beat them.' This verse is of a wondrous nature. There are three types of women with whom a man cannot live unless he carries a rod on his shoulder. The first type is a girl who was brought up this way. Her parents ask her to go to school and she doesn't – they beat her. 'Eat' – 'I don't want to' – they beat her. So she became accustomed to beatings; she was brought up that way. We pray Allah will help her husband later. He will only get along with her if he practices wife beating.
"The second type is a woman who is condescending toward her husband and ignores him. With her, too, only a rod will help. The third type is a twisted woman who will not obey her husband unless he oppresses her, beats her, uses force against her, and overpowers her with his voice."
For all the three “types” of women, love and compassion is more than enough to solve the problem. Instead of beating, one can treat her kindly with respect and veneration. The Quran gives the answer to this problem in other verses too.
In ch 2 v 231
“Do not retain them (i.e., your wives) to harm them”
In ch 4 v 128
“If a wife fears cruelty or desertion on her husband's part, there is no blame on them if they arrange an amicable settlement (separation, divorce) between themselves.”
In ch 4 v 19 Allah says:
“Live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and God brings about through it a great deal of good.”
In several hadidths, the Prophet forbade wife beating.
Narrated 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. (Sunan Abu-Dawud, Book 11, Marriage (Kitab Al-Nikah), Number 2139)"
In another hadidth the Prophet said:
“Approach your tilt 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, Book 11, Marriage (Kitab Al-Nikah), Number 2138)"
Islam gives us a solution to the problem through various means; it is for us to choose which way is the best. For example: for blasphemy some scholars say that death penalty should be given; while some scholars, with whom I agree with, quote:
“Invite all to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching and argue with them and reason with them in the ways that are best and most gracious.”
So instead of giving death penalty we can talk to them and “come to common terms”. Similarly the Quran does say that a man can lightly beat a woman, but on several other places it also says that it is best if you deal with them “kindly” and “with equity.”
Women Around the World
All around the world, especially in the Islamic world, women are treated harshly, even brutally.
Saudi Arabia: A TV presenter who says she was beaten by her husband has allowed newspapers to show pictures of her swollen face to highlight domestic abuse. Rania al-Baz said her husband, Mohammed al-Fallatta, beat her so hard that he broke her nose and fractured her face in 13 places.
Spain: On January 14, 2004, Sheikh Muhammad Kamal Mustafa, the imam of the mosque of the city of Fuengirola, Costa del Sol, was sentenced by a Barcelona court to a 15 month suspended sentence and fined € 2160 for publishing his book 'The Woman in Islam.' In this book, the Egyptian-born Sheikh Mustafa writes, among other things, on wife-beating in accordance with Sharia law.
A shocking survey in Jordan- According to the report:
• 83% of Jordanian women approve of wife beating if the woman cheats on her husband
• 60% approve of wife beating in cases where the wife burns a meal she's cooking
• 52% approve of wife beating in case where she's refused to follow the husband’s orders
In Palestine, 56.9% of Palestinian Arabs "believe that a man has the right to beat up his wife if she underestimates his manhood."
Man’s Ego or Woman’s Personality
This is what needs to be taught and tutored, that a woman is better and stands on a higher ground than a man’s ego or “manhood”. Men must learn to accept that on some occasions women can be better than them so they should throw their ego in the bin.
Without doubt Islamic wife beating is a significant problem because it is supported and practiced in the worldwide Muslim community. It is not looked down upon in the Islamic world, rather it is extolled!
@ Rehan Nezami, Sir improve your geographical knowledge. Antarctica is man-less land. Only researchers spend their time there. So there is no question of message of Allah. There is no slightest hint of Antarctica in the Quran or hadith. Would you cast some light on how you will perform roza namaz in long day and night. I witnessed 2 months long day and 2 months long night. At poles day and night are 6 months long alternately. May be jins were/are living there. Be the first to take msg and reap the reward.
@ Aiman Reyaz. A heated discussion is going on. Since I am not scholar in any discipline I paste an article without giving author’s name. Let us hear what the enemies say.
"Wife Beating In Islam
Domestic Violence against Women IS Permitted in Islam
There are many Islamic sites that are directed at non-Arabic speakers. If you speak Arabic, you can’t be fooled and many of the arguments stating that a Muslim man can not beat his wife fall like a deck of cards. They claim that the following verse (4:34) does not mean “to beat them,” but rather to “separate from them” or to “strike them out.”
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.
Beat them and leave/separate/abandon them are different phrases in Arabic. The Arabic word idribohunna driven from the root word Darab does not have any other meaning than Beat when it comes to mean “Yadreb Ahadan” = Hit someone. Idriboohunna (أضربوهن) means beat them (for female plural). Adriboo Anhunna (اضربوا عنهن) is the one that means abandon or leave them.
According to the Arabic lexicon:
Arabic Transliteration Meaning
ضرب Zarb Beat
أضربوهن (used in 4:34) Idriboohunna Beat them
اضربوا عنهن Adriboo Anhunna abandon them, leave them
Quran 4:34 says Idriboohunna أضربوهن, not Adribu Anhunna اضربوا عنهن. These two phrases have different meanings. All the verses that contain darb against a human are understood to mean “beat” or “strike” that human, by their context, and this is agreed upon by Islamic scholars. Why then do they consider verse 4:34 to be a special case and translate “darb” to mean “separate from them”?
Many Muslims will try to come up with 100 explanations for this. Some will say that the Qur’an says “beat lightly” but in truth, the Qur’an doesn’t say anything about lightly. Others will say that it is only with the stick that was used to clean one’s teeth (miswak) in Mohamed’s times (also not true) while some say it is only in special cases. I can’t imagine what would be a “special case.” If someone is mentally ill, they need mental health care, not a beating. And if Islam is so fair, why can’t a man be beaten by a woman? Of course, this would be barbarian too, but it does illustrate the point!
The Qur’an allows Wife Beating and Muhammad Beat his Wives
… 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?…”
Sahih Muslim 4:2127
Many Muslims say that Muhammad never hit a woman or a child. According to Aisha, this is not true.
Muhammad Allowed his Companions to Beat Women
Muhammad allowed for Abu Bakr to slap Aisha
Jabir b. ‘Abdullah (Allah be pleased with them) reported: Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) came and sought permission to see Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him). 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 (may peace be upon him) sitting sad and silent with his wives around him. He (Hadrat ‘Umar) said: I would say something which would make the Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) 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 (may peace be upon him) laughed and said: They are around me as you see, asking for extra money. Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) then got up went to ‘Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) and slapped her on the neck, and ‘Umar stood up before Hafsa and slapped her saying: You ask Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) which he does not possess. They said: By Allah, we do not ask Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) 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 (Allah be pleased with her) 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.
Sahih Muslim 9:3506
Iyas b. Abdullah reported God’s messenger as saying, “Do not beat God’s handmaidens;” but when `Umar came to God’s messenger and said, “The women have become emboldened towards their husbands,” he gave license to beat them. Then many women went round God’s messenger’s family complaining of their husbands, and he said, “Many women have gone around complaining of their husbands. Those are not the best among you.” Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and Darimi transmitted it.
Mishkat Al-Masabih: Volume 2, page 692
Al-Muwatta 30 2.13, See also:Al-Muwatta 30 30.213b
Sulayman Ibn `Amr Ibn al-`Ahwas narrated: “Ubai told me that he witnessed the address of departure of the prophet. He thanked God and praised him, and started preaching, saying, “I command you good-will for your wives, for they are captives to you that do not own anything, unless they commit a manifest obscenity [or adultery]. If they do [commit it], then God has given you permission to leave them alone in their beds and give them a bearable beating.”
Abu Dawud 11:2141
Muhammad Ignored the Abuse of Women
It seems that Muhammad was not concerned with the suffering of believing women. Instead, he rebukes her for her words against her husband.
Narrated ‘Ikrima: Rifa’a divorced his wife whereupon ‘Abdur Rahman 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 ‘Abdur Rahman 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 ‘Abdur Rahman 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.”
Sahih Bukhari 7:72:715
I just don’t understand why, if in truth Mohamed was a “mercy to mankind” did he not have mercy on this woman who had bruises all over her body. He believes the man, although it had not been proven that he was not impotent as his wife claimed just because her child looked like his dad. Maybe he had become impotent later on in their marriage. Instead, she is forced to stay with someone she does not want to live with. (As a side note, this Hadith also references the fact that a woman has to have sex with another many before she can return to a husband who has divorced her, an experience which could be very upsetting for anyone wanting to reconcile with someone they love.)
Scholars Agree with Wife Beating
And remember Our servant Ayyub, when he invoked his Lord (saying): “Verily, Shaytan has afflicted me with distress and torment!” (Allah said to him): “Strike the ground with your foot. This is (a spring of) water to wash in, cool and a drink.” And We gave him (back) his family, and along with them the like thereof, as a mercy from Us, and a reminder for those who understand. “And take in your hand a bundle of thin grass and strike therewith (your wife), and break not your oath.” Truly, We found him patient. How excellent a servant! Verily, he was ever oft-returning in repentance (to Us)!
Tafsir Ibn Kathir – Quran 38:41-44
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.
Tafsir Ibn Kathir – Ayyub
Here’s a question posed online to a sheik…..
Islam Q&A, Fatwa No. 49945
Mohammed Jamjoom – CNN, May 10, 2009
If a person gives SR 1,200 [$320] to his wife and she spends 900 riyals [$240] to purchase an abaya [the black cover that women in Saudi Arabia must wear] from a brand shop and if her husband slaps her on the face as a reaction to her action, she deserves that punishment.
Saudi Judge Hamad Al-Razine : It’s OK to slap spendthrift wives.
A man should not be asked why he beats his wife
Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife.
Abu Dawud 11:2142
Therefore, he is not accountable to his community nor to God on Judgment Day as to why he beat his wife. In the Middle East, you don’t even call the police if your husband beats you. It is considered disloyal. There are even YouTube videos which instruct Muslim men on how to beat their wives properly.
A woman would have to be practically dead to even consider calling the police. Although most people say that beating a wife is not good, it seems that it is also understood to be a form of discipline. Thus, women almost have the status of children. I’ll leave it at that."
Please refute the above article. I will paste your response with your permission to source (if you like)