Beating Women 4:34
This post was inspired by Feminism in Faith by Zainah Anwar
If anyone opens up the text of the Holy Qur’an and leafs through its pages until reaches chapter 4, which is titled “The Verse of Women,” and continues on until reaches verse 34, will find the following proclamation:
الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّـهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ ۚ فَالصَّالِحَاتُ قَانِتَاتٌ حَافِظَاتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللَّـهُ ۚ وَاللَّاتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ ۖ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلَا تَبْغُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ عَلِيًّا كَبِيرًا
“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.”
the Muslim scholar and Boston University professor Kecia Ali, in her discussion of the verse and the translation, Ali points out that the three most controversial words in the verse, “qawammun” (previously translated as “guardians”),
“qanitat” (previously translated as “obedient ”), and
“nushuz” (previously translated as “disobedient”),
Must all be left untranslated.. These words require interpretations
I shall not entertain the comments or critics raised by feminists, atheists and liberals.. Also, anti-Muslim intellectuals are free in their convections, owning them nothing.. This is not an arrogant or abusive attitudes, but because of the principle disagreements towards the epistemic referrals..
There are many interesting analysis for the verse, which were also victim of linguistic interpretation.. Many of them had gone to analysis the linguistic of three words; which mean: Commanding (Qawamun), Deviating (Neshuz) and Beating (Id’rab)..
However, the amount of webpages on 4:34 is almost endless, and almost repeat the same words..!
I’m very thankful for the gift of being able to read Arabic, and understand linguistics, grammar and vocabularies as well.. Also, being able to translate and interpret the Arabic text into English with little errors; enabling to convey the context and concepts in the best adequate structure..
Certainly, most translation are defective and accordingly misleading..
Let me start by providing my own English interpretation:
“The (husbands) men have a leading rank ahead of (their wives) women due to the privileges Allah (swt) had given them (husbands), and due to their (principle) role as bread earners.. Pious (wives) women are obedient to Allah (swt), guarding their (spousal) privacy; which Allah (swt) honors.. Whom you fear them (actively) deviating from (this) righteous manner; advise them, (if not working, temporarily) forsake them, (if not working) or beat (thorough light spanking or beats; not on the face) them.. Whenever they revert back to the righteous manner, do not escalate further (those two punishment methods).. Allah (swt) prefer to disdain the humble mistakes..”
Generally, any comprehension of Quran should be established upon the Notions of Creations, and been endorsed by the related Hadith and Referrals
The whole case is about a wife/husband issue.. not a woman/man one..!
This is not meant for women in general; contrarily to what had been repeatedly said..
Therefore, it particularly addresses a wife who should be “Obedient to Allah swt“.. and “Never disclose the spousal privacies..”
Most Arabic interpretations; had focused on been obedient to husband.. and commit unlawful act..!!
Such attitude was socially appealing and nomadically convenient..!!
This what had created the confusion and misspell..!!
Simply, this provokes lots of Quran verses and Hadith about how the husband should be gentle, fatherly and leader for his wife..
Islamic Marriage is generally annulled whenever a husband can not provide his wife/family.. or abuse..
- Marriage is the only social form that are respected and honored by all types, forms and schools of belief or atheism.. Interestingly, throughout Mankind history, any known marriages were not provokes by conversion, concur or migration.. Both will and acceptance to form such matrimonial/spousal unity were always valid despite any changes of ruling laws.. The first dispute among Adam’s sons PBUT was triggered by matrimony, and was associated with the first crime ever.. This tells how critical and delicate to address any related issues to marriage; considering all related historical, cultural and epistemic issues..
- The deteriorated levels of literacy, urbanity and Sociopolitics had seriously affected the correct understanding and implementation of Islamic cores, and still do.. Among Muslim communities in the Middle East, Subcontinent and Sub Saharan Africa, lots of deviations are norms in their daily practices.. This would go back to 1200 years ago; when the implications of greedy politics had shaped and infested the Omayyad State.. Ill-morals, Abuse and Torture became synonymous to administration and authorities.. Certainly, such trends had implicitly gone down along the social structures to the nuclear family.. Domestic violence was launched, grow and ignored by unqualified preachers and religious leaders.. Muslims are no different from any other human communities in this regard.. Therefore, the story is totally different among literate, urban and prosperous Muslim.. Just alike anyone else.. My fellow Sudanese do not practice wives-spanking..!
- The true dilemma confronts Muslim; is the growing gap between its Arabic script and non-Arabic intelligentsia.. Arabic is one of the difficult languages not only to speak, but to understand and express.. Therefore, contemporary Arabs are torn between their own shallow comprehension of Arabic literature, and the fast nature of technology and communications.. Simply, Arabic is declining as a language, while swiftly replaced by Anglo/Franco vocabularies and street slangs.. pronunciation is a greater confusion as well..
This verse address two issues: Men been ranked to command women.. and Men been permitted for beating women..
- Muslim men; to be permitted for marriage; have to be mature, bread-earner, with good manners and have basic knowledge of Religion.. These four (mandatory) qualities would make men reliable and accountable to form a Muslim family and raise Muslim kids.. Then, they will add value and volume to the “Momentum of Believers”; which is the main purpose of marriage and reproduction.. Across the world and cultures; 1400 years ago, and stills among the majority of Mankind; men are expected to have the same four qualities to be qualified for successful marriage..
- On the contrary, women who want to marry, are not required to compete for the above four qualities, apart from their implicit devotion as religious persons.. This is why men; across most cultures, regions and histories, were (preferred) older than their spouses; which is still traditionally exercised among more than 70% of the people today..
Both notions above constitute the privileges that husbands exercise on their wives..
- Muslim wives are generally and sustainably entrusted to exercise all religious rituals and duties, nurture their husbands and kids, keep all spousal privacies, maintain their household.. This is almost the same across all other doctrines..
- Whenever wives commit wrongdoings, within the four terms above; the husband (considering his reliabilities) should give appropriate advices to correct the deviation..
- If advices failed to correct the situation, the husband would abandon “mating” his (stubborn or arrogant) wife.. Mating was always a sign of good consensual relation; while forsaking delivers a message of serious discomfort..
- However, such a ” shared punishment” would require reasonable time to convey a message, and to get the “misbehaving” wife to feel the emotional pain.. Such a period of time shall not exceed 100 days, as per the corresponding guidance of “spouses not to separate for more than 3 months”.. Which also would define the “bearable sexless period for both spouses”: women or men.. This is assuming that both are practicing Muslims; not going to commit Zenah (Adultery) or the husband has another wife to comfort him..
- If forsaking fail to correct the situation, then spankings or beats would be permitted (refer to the page on Beating).. Certainly and rationally; such a physical hurt is an initiation for divorce, not for restoration and reconciliation..!! Yet, divorce is another complex issue, with lots of elaborations, pros and cons..
- The verse concluded to remind husbands to generally forgive small misconduction or misbehavior.. Their wives were their own choice; rightly done or wrongly..!!
The notions above would tell that whenever a husband shall find no option but to beat his wife; their matrimonial knot is effectively untied..!
However, there are a considerable number of wives who would accept “Beating” rather than “Divorce”..!!