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Thread: beating women 4:34

  1. #1
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    Default beating women 4:34

    For me this has been the best explanation to date of the verse in Quran which I found the most difficult to understand. I would like to share with you this article and explanation.

    Understanding the verse of ‘beating women’ in the Qur’an
    By: Abdullah Rahim

    Introduction:

    الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلىَ النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلىَ‏ بَعْضٍ وَ بِمَا أَنفَقُواْ مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ فَالصَّلِحَتُ قَنِتَاتٌ حَفِظَتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللَّهُ وَ الَّاتىِ تخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَ اهْجُرُوهُنَّ فىِ الْمَضَاجِعِ وَ اضْرِبُوهُنَّ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلَا تَبْغُواْ عَلَيهْنَّ سَبِيلاً إِنَّ اللَّهَ كاَنَ عَلِيًّا كَبِيرًا
    (34:4)
    “Men are the guardians of women, because God has given advantage to some people over another, and because they spend from their wealth. Consequently, pious women are obedient [to their husbands] and keep their secrets for God also keeps secrets. And as for those from whom you fear rebellion, admonish them [first] and [next] refuse to share their beds and [even then if they do not listen] beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Indeed, God is Exalted and Mighty.”
    (4:34)

    The above is one of the verses of the Qur’an that many Muslim scholars normally need to explain, clarify and justify in length for their Muslim and non-Muslim audience. At the face of it the verse seems to simply advise men to beat their wives if they do not obey them. It is very normal that in our era this can easily become a controversial issue.
    When I was explaining this verse for a group of Muslims a while ago, a very respected lady who herself was a very devoted Muslim asked me how this verse could be best explained for others, especially for non-Muslims who were coming from a totally different background. I found this to be a very valid and relevant question and thought I should write something in response to it. This article is my attempt in answering that question.
    I would like to make it clear from the outset that the aim of this article is not at all to defend or justify the verse. The only aim of this article is to explain it so that the reader understands the verse and its implications more thoroughly.
    Another point to clarify at the start is that this article is focusing on the part of the verse that instructs about beating disobedient wives (underlined in translation). The earlier parts of the verse will be discussed, where related, only to explain the latter part of the verse but will not be elaborated in detail as they are not the subject of this article.
    There are two extreme approaches in explaining and justifying the verse of beating wife in the Qur’an:

    a. To say that this is God’s directive and therefore it does not need to be an issue to discuss. We therefore only need to obey it.
    While it is a fact that for a Muslim, God’s directives in the Qur’an are to be obeyed with no hesitation, I think it is the right of us as human beings to demand explanation and clarification about any verse of the Qur’an and in fact, the Qur’an itself has advised us to think and ponder over its meanings. Avoiding such demands and questions can only result in ignorance or arrogance, both of which will ultimately be destructive to Muslims and their faith.

    b. The other approach is to eliminate the question by trying to argue that the word that is traditionally translated as “beat them” in this verse really has a different meaning.
    I have not found any reliable basis for the above argument. I think it is very clear from the way Arab uses the word that the verse is indeed referring to ‘beating women’ and not anything else.

    After the above introduction, I would now like to proceed with the main body of this article that is explaining the verse of ‘beating women’ and its implications. In order to be as brief and as clear as possible, I am going to do this in a series of short bullet points.

    Understanding the verse:
    1. Before any attempt to understand the verse on beating the wife it is very important to first understand the logic behind it. In the Abrahamic religions (not just Islam) family unit is considered as a social unit that like any other social unit needs leadership and this leadership for the reasons that are described in the verse is given to men. It is beyond this article to explain this further but this perspective needs to be appreciated if we want to understand the verse correctly. Verse 34:4 starts by referring to this fact and is based on this foundation.

    2. Appreciating the above, we can now understand what ‘Nushuz’ in the verse means. ‘Nushuz’ is coming from the root ‘Nashz’ which means an elevated land and its derivatives are used for the meaning of ‘rising up’. The word, like most other words and like in any language, will find its exact meaning when it is interpreted within the context. In the context of the verse under discussion, and considering the last point, the word means uprising and defying authority. Nushuz here means a woman who rejects the God given authority of her husband in being her guardian.

    3. What we learn from the above is that Nushuz does not mean having a different opinion. It does not mean disagreeing either. Even occasional disobedience of a wife towards her husband by itself cannot be called Nushuz. Nushuz refers to a much more serious concept, that is, rejecting the authority of the husband (as given by God). Difference of opinion, disagreeing and occasional disagreement are not the same as rejecting the authority altogether.

    4. It needs to be understood that the verse has not given a religious instruction. This can easily be appreciated by those who are familiar with the style of the Qur’an and the style of the classic Arabic language. This is a very important point to understand. It is not that husbands are obliged by this verse to beat their wives if the conditions were met. It is not like if a husband decides not to beat his rebellious wife that means he is disobeying God. It is therefore not correct to say that the Qur’an has ‘instructed’ to beat wives.

    5. Once the above very important point is appreciated, we can easily appreciate that the verse under question has merely addressed a family issue by giving a solution that was best suited for the socio cultural conditions of the time and the land. This is very much similar to the verse of the Qur’an in the same Sura that advises and permits men to get up to four women to address the issue of protecting orphans’ rights (4:3) .

    6. In the Sura of Nisaa the verses that are addressing the issues related to the husband and the wife are to protect the structure of the family and its sanctity and (in line with this) to bring peace (Islaah) between the couples (as explicitly referred to in the verse 4:35). This means the husband is not supposed to beat his wife to fulfil his anger or to humiliate her. This not only is forbidden, but also works quite contrary to the above purpose, that is protecting the family and bringing peace.

    7. Appreciating the above, the husband needs to (and in fact is obliged to) think carefully about the consequences of any reaction he might take in trying to correct his rebellious wife. He should wisely use only those measures that he knows will work. He should avoid those measures that he thinks may make the situation worse, even if these are the measures that are given in verse 4:34.

    8. It needs to be appreciated that the advice of beating is only applicable if the earlier two advises did not work. This means in his attempt to correct his rebellious wife, according to the verse, the husband can only use ‘beating’ if ‘admonishment’ and ‘refusing to share bed’ does not work.

    9. The best follower of the Qur’an is the Prophet (pbuh). First, we do not have any narrations that suggest that the Prophet (pbuh) ever beat his wife . Second, we have a number of narratives reporting that the Prophet (pbuh) limited beating to a hit that is not sever (does not leave mark) and is not on the face. In explaining this Ibn Abbas has given example of a hit that is as light as striking with a toothpaste (that at the time of the Prophet – pbuh – was a very tiny short piece of wood, hardly capable of creating any pain) . Considering this, the beating is not to punish or to change the attitude of the wife by causing her pain. Rather, it is only a gesture of disapproval and dissatisfaction and reclaiming the right as the head of the family.

    10. It needs to be appreciated that the verse is not advising about a permanent attitude by the husband. There can only be two possibilities. One is that the solution of beating wife works in which case, as the verse instructs at the end, the husband should fear God and should refrain from any further actions. The other possibility is that beating does not work, meaning, the wife continues to be totally rebellious to her husband’s authority and the husband’s beating her does not help at all. This is the case of serious difficulty between the couple and can result in their separation. In this case verse 4:35 (the verse after the verse of beating) advises that the help should be sought from relatives of the both sides. Therefore the beating that the verse is referring to is simply a one off measure. No man can use this verse to justify a regular attitude of aggression towards his wife.

    11. One of the most important obligations of a Muslim is to follow the agreements. By being a resident of a country or by being allowed to enter a country, the person has entered an agreement to obey the rules of that country. If according to the regulations of the country even a slight beating of the wife (as explained in point 9) counts as domestic violence and is illegal, then the husband should respect this rule and observe it.

    12. An objection that is sometimes made is that in verse 4:128 the wife is advised to settle on a compromise with her husband if she fears of the husband’s ‘Nushuz’. The objection is that why in the case of the wife having Nushuz the husband is allowed to beat her but in the case of the husband having Nushuz the wife is advised to have leniency. Justified as it might seem, the objection is based on a totally wrong assumption. The wrong assumption is that the Nushuz in verse 4:34 is of the same level as the Nushuz in verse 4:128. I mentioned in point 2 that it is the context of the verse that determines exactly what Nushuz means. In the context of verse 4:34, Nushuz means the wife rejecting the authority of her husband. This clearly is a threat for the whole family structure. In comparison, in the context of verse 4:128 and the verses before and after it, Nushuz only means the husband not treating his wife justly. No doubt this is a wrong attitude but it is nowhere as drastic as the meaning of Nushuz in verse 4:34. The two different treatments of the two Nushuz in these two verses can easily be understood by appreciating this fundamental difference between the two cases.

    Conclusions:

    We can easily reach a conclusion by putting together all the above twelve points as a summary of observations on the verse 4:34:

    Men by nature and by their obligation to be financially responsible are the guardians of their wives and heads of the family. The wife may disagree and as it happens, can even occasionally disobey her husband. However if the wife’s disobedience to her husband means rejecting the authority that the husband has been given by the Almighty, then this will be a serious problem as it can easily break the structure and the sanctity of the family. In this case the Qur’an has given (not an instruction but an) advice that could easily fit with the socio cultural norms of the Arab society of the time. According to this advice, the husband is allowed to beat her wife in the above condition, if admonishing her and leaving her bed does not work. The Prophet (pbuh) has advised Muslims that the beating should be light and should not leave a mark. In fact the beating should not be to satisfy the anger, it is merely a gesture of disapproval and dissatisfaction. This is a one off solution that should either result in peace or should be followed by the next major step that is involving closed ones to help.

    Since the whole point of this advice is to keep the family intact and to keep peace in the family, the husband should avoid this practice if he knows that it will not work or, worse, it will work contrary to the purpose. Also if the regulations of the country of residence consider even light beating to be forbidden then the husband is not allowed to use this measure.

    I would like to stress again that the intention of this article was not to defend the verse of beating wife or to make it appear nice. I do not think that the verse needs any defence. The aim of this article was merely to clarify the meaning of the verse and its logic and conditions. For those who believe in the Qur’an, I hope this article brings some clarification, insights and reassurance. For those who do not believe in the Qur’an and like to criticise the verse, I hope this article prompt them to formulate their criticism based on a correct understanding of the verse.

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    Default Re: beating women 4:34

    Appreciating the above, we can now understand what ‘Nushuz’ in the verse means. ‘Nushuz’ is coming from the root ‘Nashz’ which means an elevated land and its derivatives are used for the meaning of ‘rising up’. The word, like most other words and like in any language, will find its exact meaning when it is interpreted within the context. In the context of the verse under discussion, and considering the last point, the word means uprising and defying authority. Nushuz here means a woman who rejects the God given authority of her husband in being her guardian.
    AOA,

    1.

    As Abdullah Rahim argues, context is essential in determining the meaning of the verse and the 'nushooz' should clearly be seen in this light, meaning he does recognize this principle but he fails to define what this 'guardianship' specifically relates to. The problem is the author fails to define what the context of this authority of the man is. Women are not children and the Quran clearly acknowledges that "men have their rights and women have their rights". I think everyone can agree that the husband is normally the head of the family, but authority clearly has degrees and can easily be manipulated. The idea that the man is the 'guardian' and is protecting the women, when in fact, he is protecting his own ego is often seen, especially in traditional Muslim societies. The issue clearly becomes problematic because men are not infallible and a woman's position may necessarily be better for the family, especially in light of the modern context.

    2.

    The Ghamidi school does recognize an 'interpretive' principle in the Quran as it relates to structure of verses themselves, as is evidenced by Ghamidi's interpretation of the laws of inheritance (ascending-descending patterns), but I do not believe they have actually taken it to it's fruition as far as it being a major interpretive principle. Scholars, both Muslim and non-Muslim, Western and Eastern, are beginning to recognize this fact of the importance of parallelism, in the context of Semitic literature, especially the Quran. This is one particular verse where the structure can add insight into the whole issue. There is a clear parallelism in this verse, which is the following:

    Allah states men have been granted guardianship over women for two reasons:

    a. Physical and emotional strength
    b. Financial means

    Allah also states the wives are:

    a. Obedient
    c. Guard the secrets of their husbands

    It is here that parallelism does justice to the Quran. The parallelism is that duty of the wife of obedience is connected to the repsonsibility of the husband as the financial provider of the family, meaning it pertains to how the wealth should be spent, especially considering he earns it and is boudnt so epdn on the family. It does not mean the father has more of a right to determine what a son or daughter should do and other such questions. The 'guarding of secrets' subtly alludes to the honor of the husband as is primarily expressed in his physical strength and is tied to "God granting some adavantage over the other'. The point is that nushooz is defined in this context through parallelism, i.e. a women whose behavior is essentially set on ruining her husband financially or a women that is set on exposing to the public her husband's flaws. What women in their right mind would do any of these things? And the further point is, the extreme nature of these acts is what constitutes nushooz, meaning nushooz is rarely ever done by any sane woman married to a man, meaning men who hit their wives generally, and use religion to justify it, are amongst the lowest of the low.

    As an aside, the term "God granting some advantage over the other" also alludes to the relative nature of superiority, as pointed out by Islahi and other commentators such as Muhammad Abdul Haleem. Allah does not say "God granted man advantage over woman", for woman too have their own superiorities.


    3.

    One of the most often abused terms in this context is the word 'obedience', which essentially relates to the issue of 'nushooz' in general. Beyond parallelism, it is clear linguistically that obedience is restricted, otherwise obedience would have been the only responsibility defined for the woman. From an overall understanding of the tenor of the Quran, we also know the obedience is restriected. If women have their rights and men have their rights per the Quran, it is quite obvious that the term has to be restricted. The next verse also states this obvious fact in another way. The whole idea of the two people coming to mutual agreement would be in toto absurd if obedience was unrestricted, for the woman would simply be told to submit to her husband.


    4.

    This interpretaion is further justified, because in certain hadith, the Prophet (S) explained that women protect their husband's wealth when they are away and they guard their beds and don't let people they do not like into their houses. These two practical behaviors are the corrolaries of the duties of the women in which this verse are to be understood, i.e. one is financial the other is the protection of the honor of the husband. And the Prophet (S) further warned the men that even if women end up acting in such a situation, they should not be hit in the face.

    5.

    Another interesting point is how does one define 'financial' obedience. It should be understood that the 'mehr' is representative of the financial status of the man, meaning when he gives the mehr he is telling the wife his financial position and how she will live economically. This is precisely why the Quran tells the Muslims to give mehr according to the maruf of society, for the maruf is what normally dictates the 'status' of an individual. Marriage is a contract and a woman is willingly engaging in this contract to perform certain duties, meaning she, as well as society in general, is operating under the assumption that the man is being honest in this matter. If the man fails to live upto the financial status that he displayed upon the nikah, than the woman has every right to ask for a divorce and the court is bound to give her this right, otherwise it is flat-out injustice. In today's age, we have entered a new realm, where women are actually working. It becomes obvious that the 'right' as husband has in today's socio-historical context has to be adjusted in this regard. I would also point out that men have been abusing this verse even prior. One often sees in traditional socieities women working the fields alongside men, and doing further work by taking care of kids as well as cooking food for the men. They demand total obedience from their women, take on other wives and the like. Such attitudes are in total violation of actual Islamic principles. If the men want to be 'literal' from their side, than the women should familiarize themselves with the technique as well, and state that they are not going to lift a finger and it is the husband's duty to manage the fields and provide them with food.

    6.

    As Moiz AMjad points out, the verse stipulates two things prior to 'hitting'. This obviously necessitates that their is an order expected from the man, even in such a situation of abuse by the woman, meaning it is bent on preserving the family and not the humiliation of the wife. As Abduallh Rahim points out, the verse is really speaking about islah, meaning, IMO, it seems to actually be correcting the concept of domestic abuse, which may have been common. One must remember, the Quran is addressing primarily the abuse of women by men, not men being abused by women. The Arab men usually had mis-placed honor, amongst this fact, they couldn't tolerate their divorced wives marrying somebody else as is evidenced by the Quran. Their was no concept of 'negotiation' with women, and yet, the first thing the Quran tells a man to do is 'admonish' them, meaning intellectually engage them.
    Last edited by ihsan; 1st August 2011 at 14:41.
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    Default Re: beating women 4:34

    An objection that is sometimes made is that in verse 4:128 the wife is advised to settle on a compromise with her husband if she fears of the husband’s ‘Nushuz’. The objection is that why in the case of the wife having Nushuz the husband is allowed to beat her but in the case of the husband having Nushuz the wife is advised to have leniency. Justified as it might seem, the objection is based on a totally wrong assumption. The wrong assumption is that the Nushuz in verse 4:34 is of the same level as the Nushuz in verse 4:128. I mentioned in point 2 that it is the context of the verse that determines exactly what Nushuz means. In the context of verse 4:34, Nushuz means the wife rejecting the authority of her husband. This clearly is a threat for the whole family structure. In comparison, in the context of verse 4:128 and the verses before and after it, Nushuz only means the husband not treating his wife justly. No doubt this is a wrong attitude but it is nowhere as drastic as the meaning of Nushuz in verse 4:34. The two different treatments of the two Nushuz in these two verses can easily be understood by appreciating this fundamental difference between the two cases.
    I would argue that this verse is actually an explanation of the verse of polygamy earlier, which is clearly inferenced in the verses introduction, meaning the Quran is addressing a certain class of women, i.e. the widows who had kids and their marriages were the product of the men desiring to take care of the orphans, and not necessarily marry the mother of these orphans. The implication is that these men took on wives thinking they were doing a 'favor' to them, even though they did not necessarily want to marry them, thus they did not have to give them their rights, which included spending time with them. This is clearly alluded to when Allah tells the man not to leave her suspended like a thread. The Quran ultimately states, indirectly, to the man that he shouldn't think that the woman needs him, for God alone is the provider. In fact, the indirect style, while obviously trying to preserve the marriage, is also guaranteeing that Allah will provide for the woman a better situation. It also recognizes the right of the woman to leave the marriage as well, for the idea of mutual consultation is again raised. She is not forced to stay in a marriage which isn't fair and just, not is she recommended in fact to stay in such a marriage, for Allah would not be striking at the ego of the man saying that God will give her from his grace, if such was the opposite.

    This verse is actually an explanation of the term "if you cannot do justice to them, marry only one". What the Quran is essentially saying is that even in cases where one is doing good to another person, such as an oprhan, one cannot do wrong to another human being under the justification of doing this good. Further, it recognizes each person as an individual and must be treated accordingly. This is why, when Allah refers to dirvoce cases, and how to handle the weaning of a child, that neither "a mother can be hurt because of her child" nor can "a father be hurt for his child". It is common in such situations that the children are used as an excuse to harm the parents.

    The essential point is, the Quran was rectifying the situation of widows and encouraging Muslim men to marry them. The very idea that the Quran would flat-out tell the woman to leave the marriage or the man to 'dump' her, instead of trying to rectify the situation would be against the very tenor of the Quran to marry widows in the first place and uplift their positions. It would also be against it's very objective of reforming human character, including the men involved in such marriages. It was correcting the whole view of 'widows' amonsgt society, meaning it wanting to rectify the male ego as well on principles of morality and compassion.
    Last edited by ihsan; 1st August 2011 at 12:40.
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    Default Re: beating women 4:34

    And if a woman fears nushooz on the part of her husband, there is no blame on them, if they effect a reconciliation between them, and reconciliation is better, and avarice has been made to be present in the (people's) minds; and if you do good (to others) and guard (against evil), then surely Allah is aware of what you do.
    (4:128)

    1.

    I'd like to point out, in the context of my previous post, that this verse is directed to the widows, who found themselves in a marriage where the husband wasn't fulfilling their rights, because the latter married them simply for the sake of their children. This is further made obvious, because a man who is guilty of nushooz is obviously not going to be one who is trying to reconcile. With this in mind, it is obvious that the widow may have hesitations in actually affecting a compromise, considering her position in the matter, which is one who is at the 'lower' social status. It is obvious in everyday scenarios that such people find it difficult to make any demands to those in 'higher' places. It is in this context that Allah, the Almighty makes absolutely no hesitation in telling the widow that she should affect reconciliation and she should have no qualms in doing so. The idea of social stigma, especially as it relates to widows, is absolutely baseless. Another point to keep in mind is that the free woman of Arabia, who were quite conscious of their social status, were not the 'victims' of this verse nor did they tolerate such behavior from their husbands in general. Some scholars argue that Zaynab, a full-fledged Quryahis woman, could not tolerate the marriage to Zayd, because of his former social status, and this is what caused the marriage to not work out. IMO, it may be true to some extent but not wholly true, but that is simply a digression. The point is, to generalize these verses as commentaries on the general life of Muslim women isn't doing real justice to the Quran or the truth.

    Even Muhammad Ali is keen to make the point that the verse of this related thread was primarily directed to the lower classes of society, who actually indulged in such things.

    2.

    This verse also lays down the fundamental point that a man can actually involve himself in nushooz as well, meaning the issue is not lop-sided as some like to present, especially fat maulvis, who care little about their own appearance, but demand their women to look like beautiful little damsels.

    3.

    This verse also strikes at the idea that the Quran, when arguing about 'justice' to wives simply means economic and financial equality. The verse quote in this post clearly demonstrates that the Quran is referring to emotional and psychological support as well, while recongizing the limitations of men in how they deal in mattersof emotions. It is not generally possible that men love others equally, so to demand that is ridiculous, but to argue that men simply are responsible for finances, without taking into account the emotional and psychological state of the woman is the highet of arrogance and injustice, and finds no support in the Quran as this verse suggests. As the Quran states:

    And you have it not in your power to do justice between wives, even though you may wish (it), but be not disinclined (from one) with total disinclination, so that you leave her as it were in suspense; and if you effect a reconciliation and guard (against evil), then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
    The picture, as mustansir Mir points out, is that of a woman dangling from a thread, unsure of her husband's intent in the marriage. The Quran is appealing to the moral tension within the man, if he has any, that his behavior is clearly wrong and he should actually make an effort to make the woman feel wanted and appreciated. If he cannot do that, then the Quran clearly goes on to state:

    And if they separate, Allah will render them both free from want out of His ampleness, and Allah is Ample-giving, Wise.

    4.

    From a stylistic perspective, the verse primarily use the plural, to include the male, though they primarily are addressed to the victimized woman. This has multiple purposes, among them:

    a. It saves the honor of the man, without directly implicating him. This is often essential when a person is trying to affect reconciliation between two people who are intimately connected to each other.
    b. It preserves the principle of mutual consultation and joint decision-making.

    Interersingly, the last verse quoted above, in which ALlah guarantees 'ampleness' seems to be actually a slight commentary on the social belief of certain chainists at the time, that the woman needed the man, because of his 'physicial' strength and 'financial means'. It would be strange for this verse to be directed to men primarily, because the men were the one's in a higher position, and becauseof it, were not necessarily fulfilling their duties to these women, despite having the capability to do it. This behavior seems to be a corollary of certain ideas prevalent in the social commentary of women described in surah Nisai that the Quran seems to correct. For example, the Quran tells us that the men thought they could inherit women against their will, meaning they viewed them like property. In abother verse, when speaking about a man wanting to divorce a woman for 'another woman', the Holy Book tells the Muslim not to take back what was given, even if what was given was like a mountain of gold. This latter verse clearly establishes that what is given to a woman during marriage is hers and hers alone, and even in cases of divorce, a man cannot take it back. Although this verse has legal import, it actually misses the primary purpose, which is psychological. It is in business and trade, where men normally exchange things, depending upon their 'preference'. This attitude seems to have infected the men with respect to the woman, that they too are like property to be bought and sold at whim. The verse is essentially correcting this concept by ensuring the transaction is not lop-sided with women, despiet the fact she is 'weaker'. She too will earn out of the marriage, and that earning can be even a 'mountain of gold'. The verse, IMO, is changing how marriages need to be viewed with respect to the women, that she is like property to be bought and sold as pleased, as far as the lower stratus of Arabian psyche was concerned.

    With this in mind, one can amply see what is the difference between the Quranic reformation versus the dogma of the maulvi or mulla.

    5.

    Another comment from a stylistic perspective is that in this verse, as well as the above verse in discussion, the verses include similar phrasing, which is if the man or woman "fears nushooz", not is committing "nushooz". IMO, this may allude to multiple different ideas, amongst them:

    a. The Quran doesn't even want the stage of nushooz to happen, meaning it tries to rectify the situation before it reaches a state where their is no going back. This may seem to contradict the idea that the stage has reached the 'extreme', meaning one can justify certain measures of correction for moderate behavior, but this isn't the case IMO, leading me to the next point...
    b. The word 'fear' indicates a serious realization of harm, not some happen-stance belief. This would also cement the idea of nushooz being almost a certainty, for one is agitated to the point he/she fears. The implication is that the suitauion is something serious, not a matter of 'ego', and further it is about to happen, if something is not done.

    6.

    A final comment on stylistic feature of "there is no blame on them". This phrase occurs throughout the surah Nisai, such as in the following verses:

    Forbidden to you are your mothers and your daughters and your sisters and your paternal aunts and your maternal aunts and brothers' daughters and sisters' daughters and your mothers that have suckled you and your foster-sisters and mothers of your wives and your step-daughters who are in your guardianship, (born) of your wives to whom you have gone in, but if you have not gone in to them, there is no blame on you (in marrying them), and the wives of your sons who are of your own loins and that you should have two sisters together, except what has already passed; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
    And all married women except those whom your right hands possess (this is) Allah's ordinance to you, and lawful for you are (all women) besides those, provided that you seek (them) with your property, taking (them) in marriage not committing fornication. Then as to those whom you profit by, give them their dowries as appointed; and there is no blame on you about what you mutually agree after what is appointed; surely Allah is Knowing, Wise.
    And when you journey in the earth, there is no blame on you if you shorten the prayer, if you fear that those who disbelieve will cause you distress, surely the unbelievers are your open enemy.
    And when you are among them and keep up the prayer for them, let a party of them stand up with you, and let them take their arms; then when they have prostrated themselves let them go to your rear, and let another party who have not prayed come forward and pray with you, and let them take their precautions and their arms; (for) those who disbelieve desire that you may be careless of your arms and your luggage, so that they may then turn upon you with a sudden united attack, and there is no blame on you, if you are annoyed with rain or if you are sick, that you lay down your arms, and take your precautions; surely Allah has prepared a disgraceful chastisement for the unbelievers.
    As one can tell, such verses categorically refute any conceptions of social stigma and blame, as well as religious blame.
    Last edited by ihsan; 2nd August 2011 at 12:00.
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    Thumbs up Re: beating women 4:34

    Salaam,
    That is a very nice explanation by brother ihsan!
    Nine things the Lord has commanded me: Fear of God in private and in public; Justness, whether in anger or in calmness; Moderation in both poverty and affluence; That I should join hands with those who break away from me; And give to those who deprive me; And forgive those who wrong me; And that my silence should be meditation; And my words remembrance of God; And my vision keen observation.- Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

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    Default Re: beating women 4:34

    DocW
    It needs to be understood that the verse has not given a religious instruction. This can easily be appreciated by those who are familiar with the style of the Qur’an and the style of the classic Arabic language.
    Would you please elaborate? For I am one of those not familiar with style of classical Arabic. However, i can't seem to bend my head around the fact mentioned above. I mean, it reads the same as any other verses stipulating religious instructions like regarding haram/halal of edible etc.
    Last edited by Zaki; 3rd August 2011 at 10:21.

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    Default Re: beating women 4:34

    reply by Abdullah Rahim

    It is a known fact in classical Arabic that the verb that is in the form of 'instruction' is not always used for instruction. It can be used for other purposes as well and the scholars of Lughat have counted a number of other usages for the verb when it is in the form of instruction (Amr).

    For instance in 7:31 when it says Eat and Drink, although it is in Amr form, it does not indicate an instruction that implies obligation to eat and drink, or in 7:151 when it says Lord Forgive me, this is not like we are instructing God to forgive us. Many times the verb in Amr format is used as a mere advice rather than instruction. For instance verse 4:3 does not 'instruct' men to marry more than one wife, but only advises them for the sake of orphans.

    While by default the form of Amr denotes instruction, usage of it in other meanings is so popular that scholars do not rush to call an Amr format an instruction before making sure that it really is an instruction. It is the conditions and the context within which the verb is coming that determines if it has been used on a meaning other than instruction.

    In the verse under discussion, the fact that immediately after the three measures toward Nushuz it says if they obeyed you do not seek any way against them, the fact that the verse after makes it clear that the whole purpose is Islaah and the light way of mentioning the three measures very briefly and in sequence - implying that all we are doing is to try these ways to see if they work - (instead of insisiting on them with some other expressions like for instance in 24:2) all indicate that this is not a religious instruction that if some one do not follow would be sinful. Ahadith of the Prophet (pbuh) that discourage heating are other supported evidneces but from outside of the Quran. We only consider them as support when from inside of the Qur'an we come to understand this.

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    Default Re: beating women 4:34

    AOA,

    Just as another aside, this verse is preceded by certain general priinciples in regards to wealth.

    O you who believe! do not devour your property among yourselves falsely, except that it be trading by your mutual consent; and do not kill your people; surely Allah is Merciful to you.
    And whoever does this aggressively and unjustly, We will soon cast him into fire; and this is easy to Allah.
    If you shun the great sins which you are forbidden, We will do away with your small sins and cause you to enter an honorable place of entering.
    Prior to this, Allah refers to 3 main issues:
    a. The duty of taking care of the orphans and woman in general, with a mention of widows specifically, meaning the rights of the down-trodden and oppressed
    b. The rights of inheritance, meaning the rights and duties in respect to wealth
    c. Whom one can marry, meaning the social relations

    It is obvious that b. and c. are thoroughly related, for through social relations, the rights are made. Wealth is obviously tied into the first point as well, because it is wealth by which one can secure the maintenance of the weak and oppressed. Rich people can spend their wealth on providing for those less fortunate, uplifting their cause. At the same time, the Quran also mentions that the weak and oppressed can have wealth, as in the case of certain orphans through inheritance after the death of their fathers, but it may be in danger of being squandered by men, which actually happened in pre-Islamic Arabia. Such situations may call for an able-bodied man to protect the right of such unfortunate ones, which may happen through 'adoption' or 'marriage'. It needs also be mentioned in respect to point c. that prostitution and fornication in general were strong elements in the Medinese society especially, thus the establishment of whom one can and cannot marry. HIstorically speaking, Abdllah ibn Ubayy earned his fortune through the buying and selling of slave-girls for prostitution purposes to the point he was about to become the leader of Medina, before the Prophet (S) came. This latter fact shows how deeply embedded the vice was.

    After this commentary in the beginning of the Quran, the above quoted verses are made which establish some basic principles of Muslim society. COnsidering the serious nature of wealth and life, as well as to social relations, the ALmighty makes a general principle that one is not to squander wealth, the main import being it has lasting impacts on how a society runs. By engaging in spending for vanity and so forth, one is essentiall bringing the downfall of society, or in the words of the Quran "killing yourselves". This phrase "Killing yourselves" is also used in other places the Quran, particularly in surah Baqarah, when referring to spending in the path of God for the defense of Muslim society, i.e. jihad. If one fails to do so per the Quran, one is essentially casting one's own self and community into destruction, for one has not prepared one's self for the attack by the enemy.

    Thus, the Quran lays down the moral nature of spending and at the same time, argues from the wordly perspective that wealth is also used as a means of lawful trade for the benefit of society. People mutually engage in business deals to provide needed services to others. It then goes on to warn people who pursue extravagance in vanities, including spening on things like prostitution, will be cast into the fire in the next world. It is here that Allah states a general principle that if Muslims avoid the great sins, which obviousl refer to the sins mentioned prior, such as usurping the rights of others, as well as engaging in sociall-destructive vices such as fornication, Alllah will overlook their minor sins. This verse reveals how strong morality is in the Islamic ethos, for by simply avoiding these morally repugnant vices, one has ensured God's forgiveness from minor mistakes and sins.

    The main point is that this context helps us understand the man 'who is the guardian of woman' in verse 34. It clearly refers to a man who is thoroughly grounded in a moral world-view of life and seriousness of purpose, clearly ruling out a man who engages in domestic abuse because he believes he is better than the women.

    The verses then go on to state:

    And do not covet that by which Allah has made some of you excel others; men shall have the benefit of what they earn and women shall have the benefit of what they earn; and ask Allah of His grace; surely Allah knows all things.
    And to every one We have appointed heirs of what parents and near relatives leave; and as to those with whom your rights hands have ratified agreements, give them their portion; surely Allah is a witness over all things.
    These are the verses which introduce the concept of 'guardianship' by man. IMO, these verses are another parallelism to 'controversial verse' 34. If we analyze it carefully, we see similar statements, just stated in a different way. This parallelism is seen in the following:

    1. "And do not covet that by which Allah has made some of you excel others; men shall have the benefit of what they earn and women shall have the benefit of what they earn; and ask Allah of His grace; surely Allah knows all things." is tied into the portion of the verse 34 of " because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other".

    2. "And to every one We have appointed heirs of what parents and near relatives leave; and as to those with whom your rights hands have ratified agreements, give them their portion; surely Allah is a witness over all things." is tied into the issue of "and because they support them from their means." from verse 34.

    This parallelism is in respect once again to they both mention natural differences as well as the proper spending of wealth. It is clear that the 'nushooz' being referred to relates to traits any sane woman wouldn't want to engage in.
    Last edited by ihsan; 3rd August 2011 at 13:22.
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    God does not give them courage." - Bulleh Shah

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    Default Re: beating women 4:34

    Quote Originally Posted by DocW View Post
    In the verse under discussion, the fact that immediately after the three measures toward Nushuz it says if they obeyed you do not seek any way against them, the fact that the verse after makes it clear that the whole purpose is Islaah and the light way of mentioning the three measures very briefly and in sequence - implying that all we are doing is to try these ways to see if they work - (instead of insisiting on them with some other expressions like for instance in 24:2) all indicate that this is not a religious instruction that if some one do not follow would be sinful. Ahadith of the Prophet (pbuh) that discourage heating are other supported evidneces but from outside of the Quran. We only consider them as support when from inside of the Qur'an we come to understand this.
    The way this is phrased seems to allude to the fact that the Quran is primarily correcting domestice abuse by certain men, otherwise the command to "Do not see any way against them" when they "obey" would be pointless. Why would men be trying to seek a way against a woman, if they already obeyed, unless of course the men are bent on showing their 'dominance'? This is why the Quran then goes on to refer to the fact that while men may be stronger than women, there is one who is above them in much greater in 'authority' and 'power', and that is Allah. Everyone will answer to him for whom they are 'in charge of'. It seems to me, not that the Quran is establishing the the family set-up, which is men were in "control", which was alreayd well-established in Arabian and Semitic society, but it was correcting men from jumping to abusing their wives without any proper context. The implication is that that it seems to be doing is actually restoring the role of the man as guardian and protector of wife, not an authoritarian dictator.

    O you who believe! it is not lawful for you that you should take women as heritage against (their) will, and do not straiten them m order that you may take part of what you have given them, unless they are guilty of manifest indecency, and treat them kindly; then if you hate them, it may be that you dislike a thing while Allah has placed abundant good in it.
    And if you wish to have (one) wife in place of another and you have given one of them a heap of gold, then take not from it anything; would you take it by slandering (her) and (doing her) manifest wrong?
    And how can you take it when one of you has already gone in to the other and they have made with you a firm covenant?
    And marry not woman whom your fathers married, except what has already passed; this surely is indecent and hateful, and it is an evil way.
    These men surely thought they were already in charge and they were surely seeking ways to make their 'women' obey.
    Last edited by ihsan; 3rd August 2011 at 13:24.
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    Default Re: beating women 4:34

    I dont understand the debate, it says in the quran its ok to beat a woman if you fear rebelion by her, what is this debate about again?
    "Also if the regulations of the country of residence consider even light beating to be forbidden then the husband is not allowed to use this measure."
    I dont understand this quote either, surely gods word is more important than man made laws of any country.

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    Default Re: beating women 4:34

    @DocW and others.

    I don't see why yall had to run 8 miles and jumping hurdles to land on the correct perception, context, and meaning of the ayaah when all you had to do was simply hit the target with an arrow thats only 5 feet away. This is the type of beating around the bush that simply makes utter and useless nonsense if someone who is not Muslim or even someone who simply wants to know the basic truth of the matter like Paulpablo above who comes across this and to completely disregard all that was said.

    @ Paulpablo

    The statement of Allah in the Qur'an was a mere allowance to men to perform such a feat. At the most, it could be deduced as something recommended, but it was not obligated.

    Secondly, the WAY it is applied is taking an arab style toothpick and tapping her. That was literally the prophetic guidance of doing it.

    So let us understand this contextually in the way normal male-female relations accord.

    1. tapping has no appeal in the court of law. So even if a country bans even a "light beating" on women, the prophetic application of this ayaah doesn't even fall under a "light beating".

    2. the context where the application of this ayaah becomes applicable is to an extremity like a wife is about to publically vilify him or she is talking to another man beyond the normal bounds of human interaction and into the realm of ludeness, as if the two were trying to hook up. In the non-Muslim context, i know what happens is nothing less than a beat down on the women or at worse, the guy kills her, whereas in the Muslim context, the extent of his rage can only be manifested through tapping her.

    3. thirdly, Muslim men don't use the ayaah for anything. Why?
    a. generally, Most men don't even think about hitting, or in this case, tapping their wives even in such extreme circumstances
    b. whoever among the men is thinking about beating her, are simply going to beat her regardlesss of the existence of the ayaah. Im sure 100 percent of the wife beaters out there don't have this ayaah in mind when they're on the verge of beating their wife. Im sure that the very thing that got these men angry at their wives is what is predominatly on their minds when they're on the verge of beating them, and not this ayaah.

    So personally speaking, I don't see how this ayaah is even remotely considered contraversial in light of non-muslim practices or ideals relevant to non-muslims when they by nature enact things much worse than what is merely mentioned in the ayaah. It really takes a mind inclined towards an islamaphobic or a delusion of the mind to try to find something contraversial about this, and this includes Muslims.
    Islamic Thought In the Modern Era of the Islamic Awakening: Dissemination of Islamic research and studies
    al-Mustaqeem Publications
    “The bonds of Islam will be broken one by one. Every time a bond is undone, the people will cling to the bond that follows. The first of these bonds is rulership (khilaafa) and the last is the prayer (salah).” Reported by Ahmad and Tabarani. Al-Hakim stated that the chain is authentic.

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    Default Re: beating women 4:34

    "This is the type of beating around the bush that simply makes utter and useless nonsense if someone who is not Muslim or even someone who simply wants to know the basic truth of the matter like Paulpablo above who comes across this and to completely disregard all that was said."
    First of all i can guarantee you that this sentence makes no sense, its definitely missing a full stop or comma here or there and i cant make out what it is even trying to imply.
    if its trying to imply that im beating around the bush all im doing is typing from the quran word for word, youre the one who has to type paragraphs to prove that "beat" means "tap with an arabian style toothpick"

    The quran has been translated many times and ive never seen this section of the quran to include an "arab style toothpick" that you speak of, so either you claim that you can translate the quran better than it has been translated ever before, or that you personally know the mind of God and you know what he meant when he said its ok to beat women.


    Just a few aditional points
    1. im sure there arent more muslim wife beaters out there than there are non muslim and i dont think muslim men do think about beating their wife often, but im trying to say that it shows the quran does have the out of date moral outlook you would expect to see in a man made book as old as the quran.

    2. I know it says to respect women lots of times in other parts of the quran so i know the quran does hold moral values that still do work today.

    3 its not contraversial that beating a woman is in the quran, it was common when the quran was written to beat rebelious women. Just as marriages to children and slavery were common, also featured in the quran and hadiths. Ill say it again my point isnt that muslims are worse than non muslims because i DEFINITELY do not think that but i do think the quran is a book written over 1000 years ago by man, and its values show this clearly.

    4 this is my last point, i believe that the quran does allow muslims to beat women if they are rebelious, BUT even IF i was wrong there have been plenty of muslims in this world who have used the supposedly divine texts of the quran as an excuse to beat their wives.
    surely this shows that as an instruction manual on how to live your life it isnt that effective if millions of people dont understand it properly and have been using it wrongly for the past 1000 or so years.

    for example, a conservative leader of Indian Muslims is said to have given a public statement in 2010 denouncing a new law in India that criminalised domestic violence,: “They are taking away our divine right to hit our wives.”

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    Default Re: beating women 4:34

    Quote Originally Posted by Paulpablo View Post
    "This is the type of beating around the bush that simply makes utter and useless nonsense if someone who is not Muslim or even someone who simply wants to know the basic truth of the matter like Paulpablo above who comes across this and to completely disregard all that was said."
    First of all i can guarantee you that this sentence makes no sense, its definitely missing a full stop or comma here or there and i cant make out what it is even trying to imply.
    if its trying to imply that im beating around the bush all im doing is typing from the quran word for word, youre the one who has to type paragraphs to prove that "beat" means "tap with an arabian style toothpick"

    The quran has been translated many times and ive never seen this section of the quran to include an "arab style toothpick" that you speak of, so either you claim that you can translate the quran better than it has been translated ever before, or that you personally know the mind of God and you know what he meant when he said its ok to beat women.


    Just a few aditional points
    1. im sure there arent more muslim wife beaters out there than there are non muslim and i dont think muslim men do think about beating their wife often, but im trying to say that it shows the quran does have the out of date moral outlook you would expect to see in a man made book as old as the quran.

    2. I know it says to respect women lots of times in other parts of the quran so i know the quran does hold moral values that still do work today.

    3 its not contraversial that beating a woman is in the quran, it was common when the quran was written to beat rebelious women. Just as marriages to children and slavery were common, also featured in the quran and hadiths. Ill say it again my point isnt that muslims are worse than non muslims because i DEFINITELY do not think that but i do think the quran is a book written over 1000 years ago by man, and its values show this clearly.

    4 this is my last point, i believe that the quran does allow muslims to beat women if they are rebelious, BUT even IF i was wrong there have been plenty of muslims in this world who have used the supposedly divine texts of the quran as an excuse to beat their wives.
    surely this shows that as an instruction manual on how to live your life it isnt that effective if millions of people dont understand it properly and have been using it wrongly for the past 1000 or so years.

    for example, a conservative leader of Indian Muslims is said to have given a public statement in 2010 denouncing a new law in India that criminalised domestic violence,: “They are taking away our divine right to hit our wives.”
    And I sometimes wonder why people talk of something which they have no idea of..
    Nine things the Lord has commanded me: Fear of God in private and in public; Justness, whether in anger or in calmness; Moderation in both poverty and affluence; That I should join hands with those who break away from me; And give to those who deprive me; And forgive those who wrong me; And that my silence should be meditation; And my words remembrance of God; And my vision keen observation.- Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

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    Default Re: beating women 4:34

    i was talking about the quran, and historical events. If you can think anything i got wrong in what i was talking about ill be happy to look it over, maybe i did get something wrong. And i genuinely mean that without sarcasm or irony. A lot of religious people will say " hey id like to have an open minded conversation with you, but by the way the 2000 year old book i believe in can never ever be proven wrong" But that isnt my style, if i have made any mistakes id like to be corrected.

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    Default Re: beating women 4:34

    Quote Originally Posted by Paulpablo View Post
    ”First of all i can guarantee you that this sentence makes no sense, its definitely missing a full stop or comma here or there and i cant make out what it is even trying to imply.
    No bro, I was talking to the first few posters on the topic. That was made clear by targeting "DocW and others". Everything I said after "@Paulpablo" was for you.

    As for the issues of punctuation, these are marginal. Usually people who have a solid grasp of English language can correct these errors for themselves and arrive at what the speaker, or in this case the poster, intended. Sorry for not being punctually clear enough for you.

    Regards
    Islamic Thought In the Modern Era of the Islamic Awakening: Dissemination of Islamic research and studies
    al-Mustaqeem Publications
    “The bonds of Islam will be broken one by one. Every time a bond is undone, the people will cling to the bond that follows. The first of these bonds is rulership (khilaafa) and the last is the prayer (salah).” Reported by Ahmad and Tabarani. Al-Hakim stated that the chain is authentic.

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