CAN MUSLIM MEN BEAT THEIR WIVES (LIGHTLY)? 4:34

GUEST ARTICLE:

How to understand the Qur’an: Issues of Women’s Rights. by Kaukab Siddique, PhD]

Doesn’t the Qur’an 4:34 Put Men Above Women, Even Giving them the Right to Beat Women?

Question from a brother from  South Africa:

How do you reconcile your view on the wife’s obedience to verse 4:34, which deals with the light beating of the wife?

WS

AS

[Reply by Br. Kaukab Siddique, PhD]

Some Muslims in our times have un-linked the Qur’an from the Hadith which enshrines the life of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

When these misled Muslims take the Qur’an, they take it one verse at a time and try to make the claim that in itself each verse is ultimate in meaning. Thus when they are faced with chapter 4 verse 34 of the Qur’an, we find Muslims taking these postures:

GROUP A

1. Some say the verse makes men the “rulers” of women.

2. They add that women must obey their husbands (be “qanitat.”)

3. They claim that if women display “nushuz” (rebellion) against the husband, then the husband can carry out a three-stage withdrawal from the wife, resulting in him beating her (lightly) for her rebellion.

4. The commentary of this group gives the impression that women are the slaves of men.

GROUP B

These are the ‘modernist’ apologists who are reacting to the West’s attack on the Qur’an. They make weird efforts to twist the meaning of the verse to avoid its obvious meaning. The Pervaizi sectarian types use the dictionary. They find that, Arabic being a versatile language; the word used for ‘beating’ can also mean having sex. So they grab hold of this straw to, in their thinking, save Islam from barbarism which Western writers accuse it of. For them 4:34 does not imply inequality at all.

[Some writers, who are not Pervaizi but also want to have “Qur’an alone,” like Amina Wadud, have worked hard on 4:34 to make it say what it obviously does not.]

The problem with the writings of this group is that it creates a “Qur’an” made in their own image according to which there is no issue of application or context. For them, there is no difference between war torn Afghanistan and an ‘Islamic’ conference in a Hilton Hotel.

In my book THE STRUGGLE OF MUSLIM WOMEN, I have shown the original, Islamic way of understanding the Qur’an, which is through the Hadith.

My viewpoint is that the Qur’an was a PROGRESSIVE REVELATION. “Progressive” here means that it went from stage to stage.

The HADITH indicates and provides SOCIAL CONTEXT without which the Qur’an cannot be understood.

I note in my book, for instance, that according to HADITH, 4:34 was revealed in the early period of Madina (Sahih of Bukhari, kitab al-Fadail). That was a time when the Muslim community was not fully formulated and people coming into Islam, especially women, had to be disciplined to understand that they could no longer keep in touch with men they knew beforehand.

Sexual promiscuity was common in pre-Islamic Arab society. Also, on marriage, men would not take proper economic care of the wife. Hence the emphasis on this verse on men being “maintainers and providers” [qawwamun].

I also showed that the word NUSHUZ in 4:34 is not about the willfulness or rebellion of the wife but, as indicated by Hadith, sexual misconduct. It’s the kind of loose sexual behavior, which can undermine a marriage.

As the Qur’an was revealed progressively, Sura 24 verses 6-10, do not indicate any right to physically discipline the wife. In fact these verses indicate that even where the husband is alleging adultery, he cannot do anything other than to take an oath.

The Hadith makes it clear to us that the Prophet (pbuh) forbade men to hit their wives. His SUNNAH, which is the model for all Muslims, shows, according to  ‘Ayesha (r.a.), that he never raised his hand against any woman.

From Hadith, we know that the last verses on male-female relationships were 9:70-71 and these state very clearly that BELIEVING MEN AND WOMEN are EACH OTHER’S GUARDIANS and PROTECTORS. [These verses do not say that men are guardians and protectors of the women.] Obviously, by the time Sura Tauba (chapter 9) was revealed, the Islamic community led by the Prophet (pbuh) had reached its perfection, which of course we know from Hadith.

Those who have a static view of the Qur’an tie themselves into knots by applying the “Qur’an only” method to 4:34 (of course in the process adding the Arabic dictionary while leaving out the Hadith).

End article

excerpted from :wwwnewtrendmag.org

6 thoughts on “CAN MUSLIM MEN BEAT THEIR WIVES (LIGHTLY)? 4:34

  1. Why this obsession with controlling what people do? Men want to control women. God wants to control men. Men want to control Homosexuals. Why not let people get on with their lives if they are not hurting anyone?

    Some things that are wrong about Islam

    Men controlling women, beating them and being cruel
    Men not considering a womans sexual needs and desires
    Men treating gays with no respect even though huge numbers of Muslims are closet gays anyway
    Marrying cousins and deliberately bringing disabled children into the world
    Old men marrying young girls to satisfy their lust
    Wasting time in the mosque instead of getting on with earning money
    Making women cover their heads while men going around in fashionable clothes
    Using non muslim women to satisfy their sexual urges
    Not allowing women to go to their own relatives funerals
    Employing foreign nationals as slave labour in their homes

    • Dear Ms Silly,
      Control is only with God, once we understand that our relationships with each other become harmonious and we stop trying to control others.
      As for your list of what is wrong with Islam:
      Every single item you have listed is practiced by men and women who claim to be muslims and perhaps even live in Muslim countries. However none of the items on your laundry list is a mandate given by islam. It is something people have chosen to do.
      The only mandate of Islam is to behave in a manner that brings harmony in society.

    • Dee, I am glad it helped clarify important issues

      Rabbit, Did you read the article?
      Here is the part you missed:
      As the Qur’an was revealed progressively, Sura 24 verses 6-10, do not indicate any right to physically discipline the wife. In fact these verses indicate that even where the husband is alleging adultery, he cannot do anything other than to take an oath.

      The Hadith makes it clear to us that the Prophet (pbuh) forbade men to hit their wives. His SUNNAH, which is the model for all Muslims, shows, according to ‘Ayesha (r.a.), that he never raised his hand against any woman.

      Please read the entire article and then do give feedback,
      Thank you

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s