Thursday, October 30, 2008

Beating wives

Describe this post : 
How come Islam respects women, while Qur’an says that a men can beat their wives?
There is a verse in Quran where it says:
“… As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next) and refuse to sleep with them, (and finally) hit them …”
[Al-Qur’an 4:34]
To discuss this we have to read the verse from the beginning, which says:
“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next) and refuse to sleep with them, (and finally) hit them. But if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allâh is Ever Most High, Most Great”
[Al-Qur’an 4:34]
1.       The meaning of the word
In Arabic the word is “Idrebohonna”, originates from the verb “Daraba”, it should be translated as “hit”, just “hit” …
And when some translators translate the word in English, some translated it as “beat” and once a translator translated it as “scourge” …
“Scourge” is like taking a whip and getting out here and then bom bam bam !!!!
The verse referred in question neither permits violence against women nor condones it. The word “beating” or “hitting” used in the verse, but it does not mean "physical abuse".
2.       If the man had to, how should it be done
The Prophet explained it by "dharban ghayra mubarrih" which means "a light tap that leaves no mark". He further said that face must be avoided. Some other scholars are of the view that it is no more than a light touch by a Siwak/Meswak (tooth stick), which is now in the size of a toothbrush.
In a clear Hadith in regard of that verse and that particular word, the prophet took a tooth stick, which is Meswak / Sewak, no bigger than a toothbrush today, and he showed it and said: “this is how you do it”, and he tapped himself …
And that is the meaning of it, it means a tap, and that’s all it can mean, because that’s what the prophet said it means, nothing more.
3.       Beating wives in Islam
To confirm the above concept, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, “How does anyone of you beat his wife as he beats the stallion camel and then embrace (sleep with) her?” ( Reported by Al-Bukhari)

In another hadith, he is also reported to have said, “Do not beat the female servants of Allah.”
Also it is clearly stated in this verse that men might only beat their wives in the case of "Nushooz" or disobedience.
In fact, Allah Almighty has allowed beating wives as the last resort for husbands, a man should warn his wife first, and if she is still stubborn, then he may stop sleeping with her (without leaving the bed), and then if she is still disobeying him then he might hit her in the manner described by the prophet.
4.       The marital relationship in Islam
Surely Islam stands for excellent relations between husbands and wives. Islam also calls upon husbands to treat their wives in a good and humane manner.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) calls upon husbands to be nice, kind, and friendly to their wives.
He declared in one of his hadiths that the best among you are those who are kind and nice to their wives.
5.       The prophet’s marital life
Furthermore, the prophet’s last message was a call upon husbands to be kind and nice to their wives. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) himself was a wonderful, kind, tolerant, and nice husband.
He never shouted at or hurt any of his wives, nor did he hit any of them despite the mistakes committed by some of them.
6.       The last resort
Moreover, the hitting was stated in the said verse as a last resort, meaning it is forbidden for a husband to begin the process by hitting, before counseling and abandoning her in bed. He has to exhaust all types of counseling and abandoning before resorting to hitting.
7.       The prophet’s instructions about women
Women must be respected and loved as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) declared about the treatment of women, “Only the good and nice people respect them and only the low and the bad people humiliate them.”
8.       Women rights …
It’s a beautiful verse, it starts showing the rights of women. It says that men, not people, men in particular are the protectors and the providers for the women …
Meaning that men have to go to work to protect these ladies and feed them and cloth them and care for them, and women have to do nothing when it comes to making any money …
And when it comes to making any money, women get to keep it ALL for them-selves…
Meaning the man have to pay all the bills, house rent, electricity, gas, water, etc.,
All the expenses of the house are the responsibility of the man …
Also the protection of the women ….
Because 14 centuries ago, men thought that they could take things away from women when they marry them …
But the woman doesn’t have to worry about that kind of thing if she inherits, she keeps it all, if she has wealth, it’s all hers, if she makes any money, it’s all hers …
And what percentage does a woman has to contribute to house-hold expenses … NOTHING.
So a woman can keep whatever she has, gets or inherits, and still make the man pay for all her expenses …
Isn’t that liberation??
9.       Conclusion
Wife beating anytime and for any reason is prohibited in Islam…

Allah says in the Holy Qur'an:

“Do not retain them (i.e., your wives) to harm them...”
[Al-Qur’an 2:231]

In this verse Allah forbids husbands from keeping their wives with the intention of harming them.

Also Qur’an states that if life has become impossible and unbearable between husband and wife, they should go separate peacefully:

“If a wife fears cruelty or desertion on her husband's part, there is no blame on them if they arrange an amicable settlement between themselves; and such settlement is best; even though men's souls are swayed by greed. But if you do well and practice self-restraint, God is well-acquainted with all that you do.”
[Al-Qur’an 4: 128]
Male dominance- even if it wasn't physically abusive- is not allowed in Islam, for it will eventually threaten the marriage and result in a divorce.
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) ordered Muslim husbands to accept their wives as they are, treat them kindly and equally; according to the following hadith narrated by Mu'awiyah al-Qushayri:

"I went to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and asked him: What do you say (command) about our wives? He replied: Give them food as what you have for yourself, and clothe them as you clothe yourself, and do not beat them, and do not revile them."
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) ordered Muslim wives not to provoke their husbands allowing them to lose their tempers and so beat them, he (PBUH) also advised Muslim husbands not to over react with their wives, for this provokes the wife to disobey her husband and thus giving husbands the right to beat them (but again not harsh beating).

Brutally beating the wives and causing bruises and damages to their bodies is clearly prohibited in Islam. And because Islam gives his respect to dignity of the individual, Prophet Mohammad forbad striking on the face for anyone, even slaves, not just for wives, because it is mere humiliation.

As narrated AbuHurayrah:

Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said:

"When one of you inflicts a beating, he should avoid striking the face."
  1. References:
    1. Lectures for Yusuf Estes: Wonen-Part1, Women-Part2, Beating-Women
    2. Lectures for Dr.Zakir Naik: Women’s rights in Islam
  1. To get more information about Islam
3.       Anyone ... and I mean anyone (Muslim or not Muslim) who needs my help or wants to directly communicate with me about any matter in Islam … please don't hesitate to contact me on my personal e-mail

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