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Does 4:34 allow beating your wife under certain conditions?

Source: https://www.quranaloneislam.net/4-34-beat-your-wife

All you need is listen to your heart to know that beating your wife is inexcusable. Verse 4:34 of the Holy Quran has been extremely controversial, and rightly so, due to the fact that most Sunni scholars claim, under the influence of hadiths and sunna, that beating your wife is permissible under the conditions described in the verse.

We will not only explain that there is no ground whatsoever to be violent against your wife according to 4:34 or any other place in the Quran, but that, on the contrary, God enjoins a husband to protect his wife, love her, be kind and merciful with her and respect her in every way. The word that is at the core of the debate in 4:34 is the verb “daraba” which is almost systematically translated as “to beat” or “to scourge” in translations of the Quran throughout the world. We will witness that the verb “daraba” happens to have an impressive number of different meanings in Classical Arabic in general, and in the Quranic text in particular. This leaves the question open as to which meaning is the most appropriate in 4:34 given the context of the verse, sura and Quran in general.

We are first going to analyze all different meanings of “daraba” in classical Arabic, as well as in the Quran. The second step will be to dissect the meaning of verse 4:34, and place it in the context of the sura and the Quran. This will help us understand without any interference, God willing, the real meaning of the verse in the light of the Quran. We will then cite most of the so called “authentic” hadiths which claim that it is permitted to moderately beat or scourge your wife if it is justified, and which are directly responsible of the complete distortion of the meaning of the verse. Finally we will comment the interpretation of 38:44 by Ibn Kathir, which claims that Job was commanded to moderately flog his wife, instead of the more severe punishment that he had initially promised, and which has resulted in an even deeper belief that it is permissible to beat your wife according to the Quran. We will explain why his interpretation of 38:44 is completely out of touch with the Quran.

Wife beating reaches epidemic levels in Sunni countries. If you do not have the time to read the article right away, please jump to the conclusion and come back to the article later, as it is crucial for you to understand why domestic violence has no place in Islam, as well as to identify the origin of the profound disease that afflicts the image of Islam.

Table of contents

  1. Verse 4:34

1.1 Independent Translation of 4:34

1.2. Sunni translations of 4:34

  1. Definition of “daraba”

2.1 Various meanings of the verb “daraba” (ضَرَبَ = form 1) in the Quran.

  1. Analysis of 4:34

3.1 commentary of the verse

3.2 “Beat them” or “shun them”: The context of the verse

3.3 The Lane Lexicon confirms that “daraba” can mean “to shun”, even without a preposition

3.4 4:34: Three successive steps or three immediate measures?

3.5 Verse 4:35: Mediation before divorce

3.6 General context of 4:34 and important comparison with 4:128.

  1. The devastating impact of hadiths and Sunna regarding the interpretation of 4:34

4.1 Wife-beating in hadiths

4.2 Interpretation of 38:44 and the historically harmful influence of Ibn Kathir

4.2.1 Personal translation of 38:41-44

4.2.2 Sunni translation of 38:44


  1. Verse 4:34

1.1 Independent translation of 4:34

The following translation is very literal and is the result of an in depth study of the verse in the light of the Quran. The primary goal of this article will be to explain why we reached this conclusion and prove why the verb “daraba” (اضْرِبُوهُنَّ = “idribûhunna” in the verse in the imperative form) shall be translated as “shun them” (or “ignore them”) and not as “beat them”.

الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنفَقُوا

مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ فَالصَّالِحَاتُ قَانِتَاتٌ حَافِظَاتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللَّهُ وَاللَّاتِي

تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ فَإِنْ

أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلَا تَبْغُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيًّا كَبِيرًا

(4:34) Men shall protect women, because of what God has bestowed on the former in comparison to the latter, as well as with what they spend of their wealth. Therefore, righteous women are devoutly obedient [to God’s commands] when it comes to guard the intimate and private aspects [of a marriage] which God has meant to be guarded. As for those [women] from whom you fear disloyal behavior*, then warn them and avoid them in bed and (idribuhûnna = imperative form) shun them (NOT BEAT THEM !); and if they obey you, seek no [further retaliatory] measures (lit. “way”) against them. Indeed, God is Ever Exalted, Most Great.

* In the context, “disloyal behavior” refers to any situation where the “intimate and private aspects” of a marriage are threatened as a result of the wife’s misconduct. It could be a risk or suspicion of an extra marital affair; or any serious misconduct that can be experienced throughout a married life.

وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ شِقَاقَ بَيْنِهِمَا فَابْعَثُوا حَكَمًا مِّنْ أَهْلِهِ وَحَكَمًا مِّنْ أَهْلِهَا

إِن يُرِيدَا إِصْلَاحًا يُوَفِّقِ اللَّهُ بَيْنَهُمَا إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا خَبِيرًا

(4:35) And if you fear a split between the two of them, appoint an arbitrator from his family and an arbitrator from her family; if both of them wish a reconciliation, God will arrange things between the two of them. Indeed, God is All knowing, All Aware.

1.2. Sunni translations of 4:34

Examples of Mainstream Sunni Islam translation:

Contrary to the translation in the previous section made in the light of the Quran, we will explain in section 4 why the following translations have been made under the influence of hadiths and sunna, and why they violate the message of the Quran:

Yusuf Ali translation: (4:34) 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 ye 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).

There is no word “lightly” after the verb “daraba” in the verse, All there is is the verbidribûhunna” (in reality “shun or “ignore” them”). Yusuf Ali was too ashamed too simply write “beat them”.

Pickthall translation: (4:34) Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great.

There are well over 40 Sunni English translations written by native Arabic speakers or so called experts of the Quran who translate “daraba” as “to beat”. Translations where the verb “daraba” is translated differently are extremely rare, even though two or three have emerged in recent years.

  1. Definition of “daraba”

The root “dad-ra-ba” (ضرب), from which the verb daraba (ضَرَبَ, form 1) in 4:34 is derived, has a wide array of meanings. According to the “Dictionary Of The Holy Quran” by Omar, it means:

“To heal, strike, propound as an example, put forth a parable, go, make a journey, travel, mix, avoid, take away, put a cover, shut, mention, state, propound, set forth, compare, liken, seek away, march on, set, impose, prevent, fight, traffic with anyone’s property for a share in the profit, leave for sake, take away thing (with ‘an)” (end quote).

We will add to this list one very important definition: “To shun” (or “to ignore”), which is very close to the verb “avoid” in the above list. We will see later that this meaning is well documented, for instance in the famous Arabic-English dictionary by Edward Lane (also called “Lane Lexicon’).

This is no less than 28 different meanings !

2.1 Various meanings of the verb “daraba” (ضَرَبَ = form 1) in the Quran.

The first verbal form of the root “dad-ra-ba” (ضرب) is the verb “daraba” (ضَرَبَ), which occurs no less than 55 times in the Quran:

  1. “To set forth” an example(or “to present”, “establish” an example): 2:26, 14:24, 14:25, 14:45, 16:74-75-76, 17:48, 18:32, 18:45, 22:73, 24:35, 25:9, 25:39, 29:43, 30:28, 30:58, 36:13, 36:78, 39:27, 39:29, 59:21, 66:10, 66:11.
  2. “To present”:God presents the truth and the falsehood (13:17), and when the son of Mary was “presented” as an example (43:57), they “present” it (43:58), thus does God present to the people their differences (47:3),
  3. To attribute” (or “assign”):Of what he himself “attributes” to the Merciful(43:17),
  4. To establish”:Then will be “established” between them a wall(57:13).
  5. To strike” physically:“strike” the stone with your staff(2:60), “to strike” (the dead body) with part of it (the heifer) (2:73), “strike” the stone with your staff (7:160), “strike” the necks and fingertips (8:12, combating the disbelievers), the angels “strike” the backs and faces of those destined to the hellfire (8:50), “strike” for them a dry path in the sea (20:77), “strike” the sea with your staff (26:63), “striking” their faces and their backs (47:27),
  6. To strike” metaphorically:To be “struck” with humiliation and misery(2:61), to be struck with humiliation and poverty (3:112),
  7. To stamp”:let them not “stamp” their feet(24:31),

8.”To cast”: We “cast” [torpor] over their ears for a number of years (18:11), 

  1. To travel”:when they “travelled” through the land(3:156), “to go forth” in the way of God(context of jihad) (4:94), when you “travel” through the land (4:101, Also 5:106, 73:20),
  2. To heal”:Take a bunch of herbs in your hand and “heal” with it…(38:44).
  3. To draw over”:And “let them draw” their scarves (head covers in the context) over their chests(24:31),
  4. Keep awayfrom:Should we then “keep” the reminder “away” from you because you are a transgressing people? (43:5).

This confirms, to say the least, that the verb “daraba” allows many different meanings in the Quran. On several occasions, a particular meaning is used only once, like when God says that the women should “draw” their scarves over their chests, or that God “cast [torpor] over the seven sleepers’ ears”.

beat human 2-

This data should compel any honest researcher to take a very close look at the many meanings of the verb and at least thoroughly study the context of the verse and sura, as this would otherwise be an almost sure path to misinterpret the verse, not to mention the painful repercussions that a typical misinterpretation of the verse implies in the Muslim society at large.

  1. Analysis of 4:34

3.1 commentary of the verse

Verse 4:34 starts by issuing a profound command which sets right away the spirit of the verse:

(4:34) Men shall protect women because of what God has bestowed on the former in comparison to the latter, as well as with what they spend of their wealth…”

There are two reasons why men are commanded to protect women: (1) Because God made them stronger physically and (2) because men have to financially support their wives.

It is patently obvious that the command to “protect women” (in part thanks to your God given physical abilities) is diametrically opposed to the idea of “beating your wife”. Beating your spouse is in fact breaking God’s command to protect her.

(4:34) …“Therefore, righteous women are devoutly obedient [to God’s commands] when it comes to guard the intimate and private aspects [of a marriage] which God has meant to be guarded.”…

Faithfulness and good behavior are one of the cornerstones of a marriage in Islam and the “obedience” that is mentioned is primarily about respecting God’s commands in general.

(4:34) …As for those [women] from whom you fear disloyal behavior, then warn them andavoid them in bed and (idribuhûnna = imperative form) shun them (all at the same time); and if they obey you, seek no [further retaliatory] measures (lit. “way”) against them. Indeed, God is Ever Exalted, Most Great.

If the husband fears (or experiences) any disloyal behavior, three immediate measures are described to attempt to resolve a situation that could otherwise lead to a divorce:

The husband needs to clearly warn his wife that the situation has to stop, and stop right away sharing the bed with her. At the same time he needs to “shun” her, that is to say “ignore” her, and for instance stop talking to her.

3.2 “Beat them” or “shun them”: The context of the verse

Given the fact that God commands to a husband in 4:34 to protect his wife, which solution is the most plausible?:

  1. The husband shallavoid his wife in bed and shun her (ignore her)?
  2. The husband shall [first]avoid her in bed and [then] beat her?

Remark: Some people translate the expression “اهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ in 4:34 by “forsakethem in bed”. It is in my opinion incorrect in this case, and should be translated as “avoid them in bed”, like for instance in verse 73:10:

وَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا يَقُولُونَ وَاهْجُرْهُمْ هَجْرًا جَمِيلًا

(73:10) And be patient with what they say, and avoid them in a gracious manner (lit. “avoid them with a gracious avoidance”).

The verse refers to people who “deny” the message of God and it is self evident that “forsake them in a gracious manner” would not express what is intended here.

I logically translated the verb “daraba” in 4:34 as “to shun” because it respects the command to protect your wife, and because it is the closest meaning to the idea of “avoiding your wife in bed” among the many different meanings of the verb. “To shun” is very close to the meaning of “to avoid” (another possible translation of “daraba”) which is already used in the expression “avoid them in bed. “To shun” is more intense than “to avoid”, and reflects a deliberate and manifest intent “to avoid” someone.

Two modern English translation of the Quran (Laleh Bakhtiar and Safi Kaskas) translate the verb “daraba” as “go away from them” or “depart away from them” respectively. It is in my opinion incorrect, though much closer to the intended meaning, because the next verse shows that the couple has not experienced an actual separation or divorce yet. Furthermore, it should not be up to the husband to leave in this particular case, since he is the one who is victim of a disloyal behavior, and because 4:35 and 4:128 advocate reconciliation instead of separation.

3.3 The Lane Lexicon confirms that “daraba” can mean “to shun”, even without a preposition

When it comes to convey the meaning of “to shun” in Arabic, the verb “daraba” is either followed by the preposition ‘an (عَنor without a preposition (like in 4:34) according to theLane Lexicon. Please locate in the image below ˜ اضرب” (“idrib” = “daraba” in the imperative form) which means that the verb “daraba” allows for that specific meaning, for a person or a thing, either no preposition, or the preposition ‘an (عَن) as عنه ˜ اضرب:

Daraba 4-34

Above: Excerpt from the root “daraba” in the Lane Lexicon, classical Arabic-English dictionary and ultimate reference in classical Arabic in the English world to this day. 

As you can see in the picture, one of the meanings of “daraba” is “to turn away from”, “to avoid”, “to shun”, etc…

3.4 4:34 Three successive steps or three immediate measures?

Most commentators describe two successive warnings before someone can beat his wife in the verse, to try to somewhat save face, as they all know in their hearts that it is a disgraceful and shameful act. The problem is that the sentence starts with “fa” (فَ = then), and the three measures to be implemented are then separated with “wa” (وَ = “and”, and not “then”), which means in this particular sentence that the three measures are to be implemented immediately, and not one after the other:

تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ وَاللَّاتِي

(4:34) … as for those [women] from whom you fear disloyal behavior, then warn them andavoid them in bed and shun them…

We are dealing here with serious misconduct which threatens the marriage, which is why those three measures are to be taken immediately and not step by step.

(4:34) … and if they obey you, seek no [further retaliatory] measures against them. Indeed, God is Ever Exalted, Most Great.

The husband should immediately stop the peaceful retaliatory measures as soon as his wife rectifies her behavior.

3.5 Verse 4:35 Mediation before divorce

(4:35) And if you fear a split between the two of them, appoint an arbitrator from his family and an arbitrator from her family; if both of them wish a reconciliation, God will arrange things between the two of them. Indeed, God is All knowing, All Aware.

The next verse explains what to do if the situation is not resolved after the husband implemented the protocol described in 4:34, which means that a divorce is to be feared. An arbitrator from each family is then appointed. The verse points at the fact that a genuine intent to reconcile on both sides is key for God to move forward and arrange things between them.

From the beginning of 4:34, where the husband is commanded to “protect” his wife, to the end of the verse, beating your wife is simply not even in the picture.

You cannot protect your wife and beat her at the same time.

But you certainly can honor the divine command to protect her and “avoid her in bed and shun her if you experience a serious marriage ordeal. Once again, the Quran proves that Islam is a religion of peace, respect and justice. Violence is only permissible in the Quran when you face severe persecution or if you have to defend yourself and it is always as a very last resort.

What a tragedy and irony that a verse that advocates implementing peaceful retaliatory measures to solve a marital crisis ended up being misinterpreted to the point of claiming you can beat your wife!

I would go even further: God knows full well that a lot of men (and women) can be tempted to get violent when they experience marriage issues: One of the main purpose of 4:34 is to make sure that a husband will implement the peaceful protocol which God designed to help resolve a crisis peacefully, instead of potentially resort to violence. Islam is always about resorting to patience and wisdom rather than violence.

The profound wisdom that we find in 4:34 (interpreted in the light of the Quran alone and not according to hadiths) should be taught to all Muslims who wish to get married in order for them to know in advance what to do if there is a conflict, and make sure that violence shall never be part of a marriage.

3.6 General context of 4:34 and important comparison with 4:128.

Sura 4 is entitled “women” as one of its main topics is to protect women (women rights, inheritance laws, dowry, respecting wives’ personal property, etc…). The sura deals with many different subjects such as the crucial importance to protect the orphans, marriage, discouraging polygamy, infidelity, prohibition to change God’s creation, condemning the doctrine of trinity,and much more.

A comparison between 4:34-35 and 4:128 reveals another blatant contradiction between “beating your wife” and the fact that God advocates “reconciliation”:

4-35 english

The Quran is fully detailed (6:114, 7:52, 10:37) and based on equality and justice. Cases of a man and a woman victim of “disloyal behavior” are taken into account separately in 4:35-36 and 4:128 respectively, since both genders can evidently be mistreated. In 4:128, God says that “reconciliation is best. How could our Lord advocate reconciliation and allow the husband to beat his wife at the same time, when such a behavior can only greatly increase the odds of a divorce?

God advocates peace and reconciliation,

violence leads to separation.

In any case, and regardless of whoever may be responsible for a marital crisis, arbitration should always be directed according to 4:35 whenever a divorce is to be feared.

Another verse in sura 4 that cannot be ignored and relates to 4:34 is 4:19:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَحِلُّ لَكُمْ أَن تَرِثُوا النِّسَاءَ كَرْهًا وَلَا تَعْضُلُوهُنَّ لِتَذْهَبُوا

بِبَعْضِ مَا آتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ إِلَّا أَن يَأْتِينَ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُّبَيِّنَةٍ وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ

فَإِن كَرِهْتُمُوهُنَّ فَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَيَجْعَلَ اللَّهُ فِيهِ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا

(4:19)   O You who believe, it is not lawful for you to inherit from women against their will; do not constrain them with the intent of taking away part of what you have given them, unless they commit flagrant sexual misconduct, and live with them in kindness; if you then [happen to] dislike them, you may dislike something in which God has placed a lot of good.

Just like you cannot protect your wife and beat her at the same time, how can you be kind with her and resort to violence against her?

وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ

بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

(30:21) And among His Signs is [the fact] that He created mates for you from your own kind, that you may find experience tranquility with them; and He placed between you love and mercy. Verily, these are indeed Signs for people who reflect.

Similarly, how can you be a loving and merciful husband and beat your spouse when something goes wrong?

  1. The devastating impact of hadiths and Sunna regarding the interpretation of 4:34

4.1 Wife-beating in hadiths

Hadiths often are or seem contradictory. Let us start with one that says that Muhammad never beat a servant or woman:

Abu Dawud/43/14: `A’isha said: the Messenger of Allah never struck a servant or a woman.

What a wonderful start, and this is exactly the kind of hadiths that hadith apologists will not fail to mention, but will try to hide at all cost what follows: In fact, Abu Dawud takes us back quickly to a much somber reality as we see that, according to him, the prophet has initially forbidden beating women, but allegedly changed his mind later because they were becoming emboldened:

Abu Dawud Book 11, hadith 2141: Iyas ibn Abdullah ibn AbuDhubab reported the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) as saying: Do not beat Allah’s handmaidens, but when Umar came to the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) and said: Women have become emboldened towards their husbands, he (the Prophet) gave permission to beat them. Then many women came round the family of the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) complaining against their husbands. So the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Many women have gone round Muhammad’s family complaining against their husbands. They are not the best among you.

Abu Dawud Book 11, hadith 2142Umar reported the prophet as saying: “A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife“.

Comment: A man can beat his wife and will get away with it simply because, In Sunni Islam, it nobody else’s business.

Abu Dawud 2142 : Book 12, Hadith 97

Mu’awiyah asked: Messenger of Allah, what is the right of the wife of one of us over him? He replied: That you should give her food when you eat, clothe her when you clothe yourself, do not strike her on the face, do not revile her or separate yourself from her except in the house.

Abu Dawud said: The meaning of “do not revile her” is, as you say: “May Allah revile you”.

Comment: According to this hadith, it is OK to strike her as long as you do not strike her in the face.

The hadith below proves that the Sunni religion is a religion of profound mercy and compassion, as a husband who has just flogged his wife cannot have any sexual intercourse with her the same day to let her recover from the beating:

Bukhari volume 7, book 62, #132: “Narrated Zam’a, “The prophet said, “None of you should flog his wife as he flogs a female slave and then have sexual intercourse with her in the last part of the day.”

Remark: This hadith, just like the others, is classified as ”sahih” (authentic). It is unclear if a husband cannot flog his wife as hard as he would flog a slave, or if he is authorized to flog as hard, but then cannot have a sexual intercourse the same day. Regardless of what the answer may be, we have here one of many examples of why God has put a curse on Sunni Islam in the world (dictatorship, terrorism, corruption, wars, loss of Palestine, women being beaten and treated like third rate citizens, etc…): Sunnis prefer to believe in despicable hadiths other than God and His verses (45:6) instead of submitting themselves to the purity of the Quran alone.

Remark: I omitted in this section some really long and similarly shocking hadiths that promote wife beating not to overload the article.

For over a thousand years, hadiths and sounnah have enticed Sunni scholars to consistently interpret the verb “daraba” in 4:34 as ”to beat” or “to flog”. They completely disregard the context of sura 4 and the Quran in general, which unequivocally advocates love, mercy, kindness, respect towards your wife, as well as the duty to protect her.

This is unfortunately just a sample of the profound cruelty that can be traced back to the hadiths. Every year, men and women who commit adultery are stoned to death, apostates are executed, and women are often treated as second rate citizens because some hadiths claim, for instance, that they are “deficient in intelligence and religion” (Sahih al-Bukhari » Book of Menstrual Periods, nº 6).

4.2 Interpretation of 38:44 and the historically harmful influence of Ibn Kathir

As outlined in the introduction, the verb “daraba” is present in 38:44. Ibn Kathir’s influence is enormous in Sunni Islam, and he interpreted the verse as meaning that the prophet Job mildly beat or flogged his wife with a bundle of grass, instead of his initial promise to flog her a hundred strikes. This greatly reinforced the belief that it is correct to translate “daraba” in 4:34 as “to beat” or “to flog”. We are going to prove that Ibn Kathir’s interpretation is completely out of touch with the Quran.

4.2.1 Personal translation of 38:41-44

(38:41) And remember our servant Job, when he implored His Lord: “Indeed, satan has afflicted me with distress and suffering.” (38:42) Urge [your riding beast] with your foot, here is a cool place to bathe and drink. (38:43) And we granted to him his family and doubled their number; a mercy from us and a reminder for those blessed with intelligence.

وَخُذْ بِيَدِكَ ضِغْثًا فَاضْرِب بِّهِ وَلَا تَحْنَثْ إِنَّا وَجَدْنَاهُ صَابِرًا نِّعْمَ الْعَبْدُ إِنَّهُ أَوَّابٌ

(38:44) “And take in your hand a bunch of grass and heal with it, and do not sin”. Indeed, we found him patient, an excellent servant; he was indeed inclined towards repentance.

I translated the verb “daraba” in 38:44 as “to heal”, which is one of the many proven meanings of the verb as studied earlier. The verse provides some insight regarding how Job was able to be permanently healed by the grace of God, after having been guided to a spring with healing properties where he was able to wash and drink the water. The context of 38:44 indicates in my view that Job found some abundant grass by the spring which allowed him to be permanently healed. In any case, it is incorrect to translate “لَا تَحْنَثْ” (la tahnath) by “do not break your oath” (which is a possible translation) as there is no Quranic or Biblical verse (and not even a hadith by the way) alluding to Job having made an oath prior to being healed; All He did was to implore God for healing (38:41). One of the meaning of the verb “taḥnath” (تَحْنَثْ) is “to sin”, and God is warning Job not to sin in the future, as one of the possible consequences of sin is sickness. The message here is that Job was not perfect and must have been guilty of some kind of sin which exposed him to being sick.

4.1.2 Sunni translation of 38:44

The verb “daraba” in 38:44 has been translated as “to strike” or “to flog” in almost all English translations as well as in countless other languages, because most translators believe Ibn Kathir’s story that Job had made an oath to flog his wife a hundred strikes. Example:

(38:44) Take a small bunch of grass and strike [her] with that, so as not to break your oath…

Translation: Abdel Haleem

Ibn Kathir (born c. 1300, died 1373) wrote a famous account of the life of the prophet Job in “The Stories of the Prophets” (قصص الأنبياء), relying mostly on unsubstantiated sources. As a matter of fact, he does not even cite any of his sources. He tells us that Job was tempted by satan, and became very sick for seven years:

Excerpt from the story of Job according to Ibn Kathir:

“Then Job replied: “How long have I been suffering like this?” She (his wife) said: “7 years.” Job then told her: “In that case I am ashamed to call on my Lord to remove the hardship, for I have not suffered longer than the years of good health and plenty. It seems your faith has weakened and you are dissatisfied with the fate of Allah. If I ever regain health, I swear I will punish you with a hundred strokes! From this day onward, I forbid myself to eat or drink anything by your hand. Leave me alone and let my Lord do with me as He pleases.”

Remark: Ibn Kathir’s story blatantly contradicts the Quran in several ways, for instance because it claims that Job refused to pray to God for healing, as he had not suffered long enough (seven years according to the story!), wh ich in itself is absolutely ridiculous; Job obviously implored God for healing (38:41) and it is why God answered his prayer. His illness most likely lasted a lot less than seven years (God knows best).

When Job recovers from his illness at the end of the story, Ibn Kathir says that Job did not want to beat his wife anymore and translates 38:44 saying that Job was asked to flog his wife with a bundle of thin grass instead not to break his initial oath.

Ibn Kathir’s narration does not provide any reference, not even a hadith, but he is such a respected figure in Sunni Islam that he has influenced numerous subsequent Sunni scholars and translators to believe that the verb “daraba” in 38:44 is related to the idea that Job beat his wife with a bundle of grass. Concerning the interpretation of 4:34, it is no surprise that Ibn Kathir said that “if advice and ignoring her in the bed do not produce the desired results, you are allowed to discipline the wife, without severe beating.”

Once you allow yourself to accept Ibn Kathir’s fables regarding the story of Job, you end up understanding verse 4:34 just like he did and translate the verb “daraba” as meaning that you can beat your wife as a last resort, after first warning her, then avoiding her in bed.

The truth is that 38:44 does not mention Job’s wife; we cannot even find a feminine pronoun that could hypothetically relate the verse to his wife! Neither the Quran fully detailed nor the Bible (and not even a hadith!) mention that Job had made an oath to beat his wife with a hundred strokes. This is an insult to the character and memory of such a great servant of God and conveys a very negative image of Islam. As explained earlier, the most likely translation in my opinion is that Job was healed in two steps, first by bathing and drinking from a spring with healing properties related to his illness, and then at a deeper level by collecting and eating some of the grass found by the spring.


(4:34) Men shall protect women, because of what God has bestowed on the former in comparison to the latter, as well as with what they spend of their wealth. Therefore, righteous women are devoutly obedient [to God’s commands] when it comes to guard the intimate and private aspects [of a marriage] which God has meant to be guarded. As for those [women] from whom you fear disloyal behavior*, then warn them and avoid them in bed and shun them(idribuhûnna = imperative form of “daraba”) ; and if they obey you, seek no [further retaliatory] measures (lit. “way”) against them. Indeed, God is Ever Exalted, Most Great.

– The verb “daraba” has about 30 different meanings in Arabic and been historically mistranslated in 4:34 as to “beat” or “scourge” your wife. The origin for such an outrageous interpretation comes directly from the hadiths and the Sunna, both of which advocate beating your wife, as seen in the previous section.

We have demonstrated in the article that the verb “daraba” (form 1) occurs 55 times in the Quranic text, and signifies “to beat” in barely 15% of all occurrences of the verb. In addition, “daraba” means “to beat” or “strike” a human being (who is alive) only once in the entire Quran (in 8:12) and it is in a state of war, which only corresponds to only 2% of all occurrences!

For over a thousand years, Hadiths and the Sunna have blinded and prevented the Muslim world from understanding 4:34, as well as many others, in the light of the Quran and its context:

– 4:34 begins with a commandment that cannot be clearer: “Men shall protectwomen”.

You cannot “protect” your wife and “beat her” at the same time.

– A few verses earlier, 4:19 states that men shall “live with their wives in kindness”.

Beating your wife is disgraceful and the exact opposite of kindness

– Verse 30:21 says that God has “placed love and mercy between spouses”.

How much love and mercy is there left after a husband beats his wife?

What we are witnessing here is the monstrous disparity between the message of love and mercy of the Quran and the abject message of hadiths and sunnah which allows beating your wife after first warning her, then stop sharing the bed with her.

On the contrary, all peaceful retaliatory measures described in the verse (warn her, and avoid her in bed, and shun her) are meant to be implemented immediately in order to convey a firm but peaceful message that the situation has to stop. All three expressions are separating by “wa” (and) and not by “fa” (then), which denotes that the measures are immediate and not consecutive.

(4:34) … As for those [women] from whom you fear an unjust treatment, then warn them andavoid them in bed and shun them; …

– The real meaning of “daraba” in 4:34 is “to shun” (or ignore), which perfectly concurs with the idea of “avoiding your wife in bed”, mentioned right before in the verse.

Such Quranic wisdom allows a husband victim of disloyal behavior to be respected without resorting to any kind of violence. It is also the ideal way intended by God to lay the groundwork for reconciliation between spouses, as defined in 4:34-35 and 4:128. The hadith inspired domestic violence blatantly contradicts the reconciliation that God advocates in 4:128. Violence often leads to divorce; at best, it will leave indelible marks in a marriage.

– God knows full well that a lot of men (and women) can be tempted to get violent when a crisis occurs: One of the main purposes of 4:34 is to make sure that the husband will uphold the commandment to protect his wife no matter what, and that violence will be excluded even in the case of a marital ordeal, God implementing instead peaceful retaliatory measures like shunning.

The underlying message of 4:34 is simple and powerful:

God advocates reconciliation, violence leads to separation.

How long will it take for the Muslim ummah to repent and finally admit that hadiths and sunnah are at the very root of the disease that afflicts the image of Islam? Sunni scholars have claimed for over a thousand years that Hadiths and Sunna are absolutely essential to clarify the message of the Quran, turning a blind eye on the fact that the Quran proclaims that it is fully detailed (6:114, 7:52, 10:37). We have a perfect example here that it is actually the exact opposite: It is the hadiths which, in fact, prevent people from understanding the Quran, and promote instead abominable practices such as stoning to death the adulterer, killing the apostate, killing a person who refuses to pray, beating your wife if you think she deserves it, or again female genital mutilation (see “hadiths, the cancer of Islam”).



The Prophet never beat women or servants or animals

Abu Amina Elias January 6, 2014

In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful

Prophet Muhammad never struck a woman or a servant or an animal. He never beat anyone for any reason and he never hit anything unless he was defending himself in battle.

Aisha reported:

مَا ضَرَبَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ خَادِمًا لَهُ وَلَا امْرَأَةً وَلَا ضَرَبَ بِيَدِهِ شَيْئًا

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, did not strike a servant or a woman, and he never struck anything with his hand.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2328, Grade: Sahih

The Prophet warned us that Allah will retaliate on the Day of Judgment against those who wrongly beat others.

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْ ضَرَبَ ضَرْبًا اقْتُصَّ مِنْهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

Whoever strikes someone will receive retribution for it on the Day of Resurrection.

Source: al-Adab al-Mufrad 185, Grade: Sahih

Likewise, the Prophet warned us that Allah will punish those who torture others.

Hisham ibn Hakim reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُعَذِّبُ الَّذِينَ يُعَذِّبُونَ فِي الدُّنْيَا

Verily, Allah will torture those who torture people in this world.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2613, Grade: Sahih

Beating a servant and causing harm to him is a major sin. If a Muslim beats his servant, the Prophet commanded the servant to be set free.

Ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْ ضَرَبَ غُلَامًا لَهُ حَدًّا لَمْ يَأْتِهِ أَوْ لَطَمَهُ فَإِنَّ كَفَّارَتَهُ أَنْ يُعْتِقَهُ

Whoever strikes his servant without limit or slaps him, then the expiation for the sin is to emancipate him.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1657, Grade: Sahih

In the case of a wife who commits major sins, the Prophet gave permission for men to strike their wives without causing pain as a symbolic gesture intended as a last resort to correct her behavior.


Sulaiman ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

أَلَا وَاسْتَوْصُوا بِالنِّسَاءِ خَيْرًا فَإِنَّمَا هُنَّ عَوَانٌ عِنْدَكُمْ لَيْسَ تَمْلِكُونَ مِنْهُنَّ شَيْئًا غَيْرَ ذَلِكَ إِلَّا أَنْ يَأْتِينَ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُبَيِّنَةٍ فَإِنْ فَعَلْنَ فَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ ضَرْبًا غَيْرَ مُبَرِّحٍ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلَا تَبْغُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا

I certainly enjoin you to treat women well for they are like your captives, and you do not have any right to treat them otherwise unless they commit a clear obscenity. If they do so, you may forsake their beds and then strike them without causing pain (ghayra mubarriḥ), but if they obey you then you may not do so.

Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 1163, Grade: Sahih

The “striking” without pain is only a teaching mechanism intended to draw attention to the seriousness of major sins and reform bad behavior. It is not intended to punish, humiliate, or degrade the dignity of a wife, nor is it meant to injure or harm her. For this reason, classical scholars placed strict limits on this and recommended a man use nothing more than a handkerchief.

Al-Rāzī writes:

أن يكون الضرب بمنديل ملفوف أو بيده ولا يضربها بالسياط ولا بالعصا

It should be a striking with a folded handkerchief or his palm, and he should not strike her with whips or clubs.

Source: Tafsīr al-Rāzī 4:34

Nevertheless, the Prophet never did this himself and he criticized men who strike their wives harshly and without a just cause.

Abdullah bin Zam’ah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

بِمَ يَضْرِبُ أَحَدُكُمْ امْرَأَتَهُ ضَرْبَ الْفَحْلِ أَوْ الْعَبْدِ ثُمَّ لَعَلَّهُ يُعَانِقُهَا

How does one of you beat his wife as he beats the stallion camel and then embrace her?

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5695, Grade: Sahih

Iyas ibn Abdullah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لَقَدْ طَافَ بِآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ نِسَاءٌ كَثِيرٌ يَشْكُونَ أَزْوَاجَهُنَّ لَيْسَ أُولَئِكَ بِخِيَارِكُمْ

Many women have come to the family of Muhammad complaining about their husbands hitting them. These men are not the best among you.

Source: Sunan Abī Dāwūd 2146, Grade: Sahih

Indeed, Allah has prohibited men from harming their wives as a means to correct their behavior.

Allah said:

وَلَا تُضَارُّوهُنَّ لِتُضَيِّقُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ

Do not harm them in order to straighten them.

Surat al-Ṭalāq 65:6

If a Muslim man violates these strict limits and he abuses his wife, the Prophet considered this a just cause for divorce.

Yahya ibn Sa’eed reported: Habeeba bint Sahl was the wife of Thabit ibn Qais ibn Shammas and it was mentioned to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, that Thabit had struck her so she appeared at the door of the Messenger of Allah. The Prophet said him:

خُذْ مِنْهَا وَخَلِّ سَبِيلَهَا

Take your dowry and let her go.

Source: Sunan al-Dārimī 2200, Grade: Sahih

Based upon this precedent, Muslim women deserve legal protection from abusive husbands and may seek a divorce in court.

Some people mistakenly believe that the Prophet abused Aisha because of her statement:

فَلَهَزَنِي فِي صَدْرِي لَهْزَةً أَوْجَعَتْنِي

He nudged me firmly on the chest.

They have mistranslated the word here to mean a beating or striking, but the word used in this tradition is lahaza which means a nudge or a light push. How can it mean the Prophet shoved or hit her when she herself testifies that he never hit anything except when defending himself in battle?

This type of light contact was a common teaching mechanism of the Prophet, to grab the attention of his companions before delivering a lesson. After the Prophet nudged her chest, he taught her the following supplication:

يَرْحَمُ اللَّهُ الْمُسْتَقْدِمِينَ مِنَّا وَالْمُسْتَأْخِرِينَ وَإِنَّا إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ بِكُمْ لاَحِقُونَ

May Allah have mercy on those who have gone ahead of us and those who will come later. If Allah wills, we will join them.

Source: Sunan al-Nasā’ī 2307, Grade: Sahih

This teaching mechanism is similar to how the Prophet would behave with his other companions.

Abu Dharr reported:

فَضَرَبَ بِيَدِهِ عَلَى مَنْكِبِي ثُمَّ قَالَ

The Prophet struck my chest with his hand and he said…

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1825, Grade: Sahih

This “striking” is not meant to cause pain but rather to grab their attention before teaching an important lesson.

In all things, the Prophet recommended us to be kind and gentle to others, as kindness is given a special reward from Allah.

Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ رَفِيقٌ يُحِبُّ الرِّفْقَ وَيُعْطِي عَلَى الرِّفْقِ مَا لَا يُعْطِي عَلَى الْعُنْفِ وَمَا لَا يُعْطِي عَلَى مَا سِوَاهُ

Verily, Allah is gentle and He loves gentleness and he rewards for gentleness what is not granted for harshness. He does not reward anything else like it.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2593, Grade: Sahih

We should be especially kind and gentle with our spouses and family members, as it is a sign of Allah’s favor.

Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ بِأَهْلِ بَيْتٍ خَيْرًا أَدْخَلَ عَلَيْهِمْ الرِّفْقَ

If Allah the Exalted intends goodness for a household, he lets gentleness come over them.

Source: Musnad Aḥmad 23906, Grade: Sahih

The Prophet enjoined kindness and gentleness even for the animals and he warned us not to beat them.

Aisha reported: I was upon a camel which was misbehaving so I began to strike it. The the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

عَلَيْكِ بِالرِّفْقِ فَإِنَّ الرِّفْقَ لَا يَكُونُ فِي شَيْءٍ إِلَّا زَانَهُ وَلَا يُنْزَعُ مِنْ شَيْءٍ إِلَّا شَانَهُ

You must be gentle. Verily, gentleness is not in anything except that it beautifies it, and it is not removed from anything except that it disgraces it.

Source: Musnad Aḥmad 24417, Grade: Sahih

Therefore, we should do our best to emulate the example of the Prophet. He never hit a woman or a servant or an animal, and he never hit anything unless he was fighting in self-defense. The Prophet would be gentle, patient, forbearing, and forgiving with his family, his wives, his servants, and even the people who abused him.

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.

Source: https://abuaminaelias.com/the-prophet-never-beat-women-or-servants-or-animals/

Quran strikes out wife beating

Source: https://www.islamicity.org/11451/quran-strikes-out-wife-beating/


The following verse is often misunderstood or misused by both Muslims and non-Muslims.  Yahya Emerick gives a detailed background and explanation of this verse in his translation and commentary of the Quran titled, “The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an in Today’s English.”

Men are (qawwamun) responsible,1 for the welfare of women since God has given some (of you) more (faddala) wherewithal 2 than others, and because they must spend of their wealth (to maintain the family). Therefore, pious and devout women safeguard the private matters that God would have them (hafitha) safeguard. 3 As for those (women) from whom you fear (nushoozahunna root nushooz)aggressive defiance, 4 caution them (to piety). (If they remain unmoved by your words), then leave them alone in their beds, and finally, (if they continue in their aggressive defiance), then (waidriboohunna root daraba) separate 5 from them. However, if they accede to you (by abandoning their aggressively defiant behavior), then you have no (legitimate) grounds to act against them (any further), and God is full of knowledge and greatness. 6 [Quran 4:34]

Background on verse 4:34

The women of Mecca were traditionally subservient to their husbands, for Mecca had a harsh and cruel culture, whereas the women of Medina were more used to standing up to their husbands, as it was a more cosmopolitan environment. After the Meccan immigrants were settled in their new homes in Medina, some men began to notice that their wives were starting to challenge them and talk back to them – even in contempt. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab went to the Prophet and complained about this on behalf of himself and his male friends. The Prophet innocently suggested to the men who felt that their families were in turmoil to do daraba (a word that can mean either separation or hitting someone, among a dozen other things).

However, the next morning around seventy women complained to the Prophet’s wives that their husbands had physically abused them. The Prophet became upset when he heard about the complaints, and he declared that any man who beats his wife “is not the best of you,” which in prophetic lingo means “they’re the worst of you.” He also said that any man who beats a woman is not a good man. In other words, the men had misinterpreted or misapplied what the Prophet meant by daraba. (Abu Dawud, Nisa’i, also see 2:231) The historian, lbn Sa’d, includes a quote from the Prophet about this incident in which he addressed his male followers, saying, “I cannot bear the thought of a man with the veins of his neck swollen in anger against his wife while he’s fighting against her.” (As quoted in Women of Medina, translation, by Aisha Bewley.) Then the Prophet awaited a ruling from God, and this verse was revealed.

Qawwamun – To stand up

1 The word qawwamun comes from a root word that literally means “to stand up.’ In this verse, it is used to mean safeguarding another’s business, to protect their interests, to preserve and to maintain the safety of women. (Think of the English phrase used to remind men of their implied duties towards their families: ‘Stand up and be a man.’) This verse, then, does not say that men are the overlords of women or arc dictators over them. Rather, it states that men must protect and look after women.

Fadl – More bounty

2 The term fadl, which is translated here as given more wherewithal, can mean more bounty and even excelling in an amount over something. Some commentators say that fadl refers to the fact that men get twice the inheritance of a female, (an amount that they then use to spend on the women in their lives).

The wording here doesn’t mean that women are not capable of earning more money than men, for even the Prophet’s first and only wife for over twenty years (Khadijah) was wealthier than he, nor does it mean men are better than women, as some superficial chauvinists have tried to read into this verse. Rather, it is an all-encompassing idea tied to a practical financial reality, and perhaps, if you want to stretch the meaning, it may also suggest that men have been given certain specific physical qualities that may better suit them to protect and support their families in a dangerous world: qualities ranging from more aggressiveness in defense against enemies to extra muscular strength to enable them to labor under more arduous circumstances. (This is similar to the Latin concept of virtu, or manly responsibility, from which we get the English word virtue.) Under this logic, because God made men more suited to protect and maintain their families in an uncertain and difficult world, men are thus ‘appointed’ to be officially responsible for caring for the women in their lives.

There is nothing wrong Islamically if a woman supports herself, especially if she has no other options, nor are women forbidden to work or engage in business, even in classical Islamic theology. (Three of the Prophet’s wives, Zaynab bint Jahsh, Umm Salamah and Safiyah, continued to earn their own money while being married to him, and his first and only wife of twenty-five years, Khadijah, had been a successful businesswoman. The wife of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud made and sold handicrafts to support herself. There are many other examples of Muslim women having independent jobs and livelihoods from the Prophet’s time until the end of the classical period abound.)

The idea is only that if there is a man in her life, then he must shoulder the greater share of the burdens of the family’s expenditures and needs both in finances and security. Any money a woman earns is hers to save, invest or spend without any obligation to give it to her husband or spend it on the family.

Hafiz – Safeguard

3 A believing woman guards her husband’s secrets, lawful private business and intimate details, even as she guards her virtue and fidelity. Men are also expected to do likewise for their wives. This principle of confidentiality and faithfulness is the basis of a successful marriage, and it is also the most important thing that married people owe to each other.

The Prophet once asked a group of male and female followers if they knew of people who talked about their intimate lives in public.  The men were afraid to admit it, but a teenage girl raised her hand and said, “Yes, by God, the men talk about it, and the women do, too.” Thereupon the Prophet said to the group, “Do you know what those people who do that, are like? They’re like a male and female devil who meet in the street and satisfy their desires in front of an audience.” (As quoted in The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam by Yusuf al-Qaradawi.) Also see 30:21 where the Qur’an also exhorts married couples to dwell together in affection and harmony, part of which is the understanding that intimate and private details must remain private.

Nushooz – Aggressive disrespect

4 The Arabic term used here for aggressive conflict (nushooz) is derived from nashaza which means to be elevated (i.e., haughty) or to be in marital discord, though in practical usage this word refers to those who no longer treat their spouses with the respect and kindness that each owes to the other, and instead openly disrespect and treat their spouses in a defiant and contemptuous manner over a period of time.

Some scholars have suggested that it can also include those spouses who make no secret of their attraction to others, as illustrated in a tradition from the Muslim collection in which the Prophet said, as part of his farewell pilgrimage, that it’s a husband’s right that his wife doesn’t allow strange men to sit on their marital bed. See footnote below where the narration is quoted in full.

In the case of this verse, if the husband is fulfilling his duty and supports the family in justice and honor, then the wife should be loyal and faithful to her mate. For a wife to betray her husband by treating him with sustained contempt or by cavorting with other men shamefully or by revealing his private affairs maliciously, thereby treating him as an enemy, and further still, to live in open defiance of him – that’s a recipe for marital disaster.

Nushooz, it should be mentioned, does not apply to simple disagreements, arguments, emotional outbursts, a lack of domestic skill or the daily give and take of marital life. Although the Qur’an does allow both men and women to initiate divorce, (and Muhammad said it was the most hated thing in God’s sight, out of all the things that believers are allowed to do), the basic goal is to keep families intact, especially if children are involved. Therefore, this issue of severe marital misconduct is addressed for both males and females. As for recalcitrant males doing nushooz, see 4:128.

Daraba – Separate

5 Talking, boycotting intimacy, and then – daraba. What does this word mean and what was the intent of its usage in this verse? This word is often understood and translated as ‘beat’ or ‘strike,’ and this unfortunate interpretation has given rise to a great amount of unnecessary controversy and caused unconscionable violations of the Islamic rights of women.

When this verse of the Qur’an was revealed to him, the Prophet said of it that he had hoped for one thing from God but had received another. What did he hope for and what did he receive? As the evidence will show, he neither hoped for beating, nor received the command, but something else entirely, which he also disliked, i.e., the recommendation to separate or divorce.

Traditional Islamic jurists have been unanimous in rejecting the idea that this verse gives a man permission to physically assault his wife in order to harm her. Those jurists who have allowed the man to strike his defiant wife have insisted that it be done no more than once and that it be no more than a light tap to express disapproval. (See Ibn ‘Abbas’s ruling of using a toothbrush, for example.)

Other jurists have said that the word daraba in this verse is to be understood as separation. If a man feels hostility from his wife, he must cool his anger by leaving the house (possibly leading to a divorce, which may give the wife pause for thought and leave room for reconciliation). Those who favor the second viewpoint out that this is the process that the Prophet followed when he was having trouble with some of his wives (who were disrespecting him over his self-imposed poverty).

The Prophet is the model for how to interpret and implement the Qur’an, so we need only look into the three-step process he followed to understand how to apply this verse here in question. (See 33:21)

When he was facing defiance (nushooz) from his wives, the Prophet first talked to them; then he boycotted sleeping with them – for an entire month. Finally, when they kept vexing him and treating him in an unreasonable way, he offered them a divorce. (See 33:28-29) The Prophet went through all three steps outlined in this verse, and he never laid a hand in anger on any of his wives. A’ishah said, “The Prophet never beat any of his wives or servants.” (Ibn Majah, Nisa’i)

The Prophet also said, “No Muslim man should ever hit one of God’s female servants.” (Abu Dawud, Nisa’i, Ibn Majah) A man named Mu’awiyah went to the Prophet and later reported this exchange: “I went to the Messenger of God and asked him, ‘What do you say about (how we must treat) our wives?’ He replied, ‘Give them food like you have for yourself, and clothe them with what you clothe yourself, do not smack their faces, and do not angrily ignore them in public.'” (Abu Dawud)

So it is clear that both the Qur’an and the Prophet categorically forbid the harming or physical abuse of women. Now looking at this verse even closer, since daraba is used here in the singular (one-time) verbal form and not in the intensive (do it repeatedly) verbal form, it’s also clear that it could hardly refer to a physical assault. Who hits somebody once when they’re beating them? Yet, a separation or a divorce from a spouse is something that is done usually only once, if ever.

During his last pilgrimage, the Prophet said, “Be mindful of God regarding women, for they are your responsibility. You have rights over your spouses, and they have rights over you. It’s your right upon them that they not let anyone you dislike enter onto your bed and that they not commit open lewdness. However, if they do that, then God has allowed you to ignore them in the bedroom and separate (daraba) from them, without committing violence (i.e., by not assaulting your wife).” (Muslim)

Therefore, when interpreted with the Prophet’s application of this verse, coupled with relevant Qur’anic and hadilh references, this verse actually forbids abusing women at all and instead counsels trial separations (perhaps leading to divorce) as the last resort open to a man who is utterly dissatisfied with an incorrigible situation. This more defensible and historically appropriate interpretation is now becoming more widely accepted in the Muslim mainstream and has been offered as a legitimate interpretation since the early 1990s in popular Islamic publications such as Islamic Horizons and elsewhere.

For more on the legal validity of this interpretation, see the book entitled, Marital Discord, by Abdul Hamid Abu Sulayman, published by the conservative Sunni Muslim think tank known as the International Institute of Islamic Thought (INT), London, 2003.

Autonomy for women

6 Muslim women are allowed to argue and disagree with their husbands. The Prophet’s own wives used to do this often, and even when he was the caliph, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab commented on this by saying it was their right to do so because they provide the benefits of child care, lawful intimacy and house care.

Excerpted from The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an in Today’s English by Yahya Emerick


Al-Azhar Lecturer Suspended after Issuing Controversial Fatwa

June 3, 2007



Al-Azhar Lecturer Suspended after Issuing Controversial Fatwa Recommending Breastfeeding of Men by Women in the Workplace

By: L. Lavi*

The head of the Hadith Department in Al-Azhar University, Dr. Izzat Atiyya, recently issued a controversial fatwa dealing with breastfeeding of adults. The fatwa stated that a woman who is required to work in private with a man not of her immediate family – a situation that is forbidden by Islamic law – can resolve the problem by breastfeeding the man, which, according to shari’a, turns him into a member of her immediate family.

The fatwa sparked a storm of protest in the Egyptian public arena, especially within the religious establishment. It was harshly criticized by Muslim Brotherhood MPs, who even brought it up for discussion in parliament, as well as by Egyptian intellectuals and columnists.

In response, Al-Azhar University formed a special committee to debate the fatwa, and on the recommendation of this committee, Dr. Atiyya was suspended. The Egyptian information minister ordered the removal from sellers’ shelves of the issue of the government weekly Al-Watani Al-Yawm in which the fatwa had been published.

Dr. Atiyya, on his part, published a retraction and apologized, saying that the fatwa was no more than a personal interpretation of a certain hadith, and furthermore, that the hadith in question relates a particular incident that occurred under specific constraints, and has no general applicability. However, Al-Azhar refused to accept his apology.

Head of the Al-Azhar Hadith Department: Breastfeeding Allows a Woman to Be With a Man in Private

Dr. Izzat Atiyya explained his fatwa in an interview with Al-Watani Al-Yawm, the weekly of Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Front party. He said: “The religious ruling that appears in the Prophet’s conduct [Sunna] confirms that breastfeeding allows a man and a woman to be together in private, even if they are not family and if the woman did not nurse the man in his infancy, before he was weaned – providing that their being together serves some purpose, religious or secular…

“Being together in private means being in a room with the door closed, so that nobody can see them… A man and a woman who are not family members are not permitted [to do this], because it raises suspicions and doubts. A man and a woman who are alone together are not [necessarily] having sex, but this possibility exists, and breastfeeding provides a solution to this problem… I also insist that the breastfeeding relationship be officially documented in writing… The contract will state that this woman has suckled this man… After this, the woman may remove her hijab and expose her hair in the man’s [presence]…

Dr. Atiyya further explained that the breastfeeding does not necessarily have to be done by the woman herself. “The important point,” he said, “is that the man and the woman must be related through breastfeeding. [This can also be achieved] by means of the man’s mother or sister suckling the woman, or by means of the woman’s mother or sister suckling the man, since [all of these solutions legally] turn them into brother and sister…

“The logic behind [the concept] of breastfeeding an adult is to transform the bestial relationship between [two people] into a religious relationship based on [religious] duties… Since [this] breastfeeding takes place between [two] adults, the man is still permitted to marry the woman [who breastfed him], whereas [a woman] who nursed [a man] in his infancy is not permitted to marry him…

“The adult must suckle directly from the [woman’s] breast… [This according to a hadith attributed to Aisha, wife of the Prophet’s Muhammad], which tells of Salem [the adopted son of Abu Hudheifa] who was breastfed by Abu-Hudheifa’s wife when he was already a grown man with a beard, by the Prophet’s order… Other methods, such as [transferring] the milk to a container, are [less desirable]…

“[As for the possibility of using a breast-pump, which] increases the production of the milk glands… that is a matter for doctors and religious scholars who must determine if the milk [thus produced] is real milk, i.e., if its composition is identical to that of the [woman’s] original milk. If it is, this method is permissible…

Dr. Atiyya also said: “The fact that the hadith regarding the breastfeeding of an adult is inconceivable to the mind does not make it invalid. This is a reliable hadith, and rejecting it is tantamount to rejecting Allah’s Messenger and questioning the Prophet’s tradition.”[1]

Al-Azhar Examines the Fatwa, Suspends Dr. Atiyya

In response to the uproar caused by the fatwa, Al-Azhar university formed a committee of several experts on hadiths to investigate the matter. According to a senior Al-Azhar source, the university president also ordered Dr. Atiyya to publish an apology, and the latter complied and retracted his fatwa,[2] explaining: “My statements on the issue of breastfeeding an adult were based on the imams Ibn Hazm, Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn Al-Qayyim, Al-Shawkani and Amin Khattab [Al-Subki], and on conclusions I drew from the statements of Ibn Hajar [Al-Askalani]. However, I hold that only the breastfeeding of an infant creates a family relationship [that prohibits marriage between the parties and allows them to be together], as the Four Imams [i.e., the founders of the four Sunni legal schools] said, while the [act of] breastfeeding a grown man [mentioned in the hadith] was a [specific] incident that came to serve a [specific] purpose, and the fatwa I issued was based solely on my personal interpretation. Based on what I have learned with my brothers the religious scholars, I apologize for my earlier [statements] and retract my opinion, which contradicts [the norms accepted] by the public.”[3]

However, the Al-Azhar Supreme Council, headed by Al-Azhar Sheikh Dr. Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, refused to accept Dr. Atiyya’s apology, saying, “We must not be too lax in matters of religion, especially when the matter at hand is a fatwa that significantly affects people’s actual lives, inclinations, and views – because it speaks to their natural emotions which [lead them to] embrace what is permitted and shun prohibitions.” Tantawi said, “Society cannot tolerate [a fatwa] that undermines its religious stability. There is enough chaos with all the unsupervised fatwas [published] on some satellite channels. We will never permit this chaos to spread to the religious establishment and to Al-Azhar.”

By the recommendation of the special committee formed to examine the fatwa, Al-Azhar decided to suspend Dr. Atiyya pending further investigation of his case.[4]

Egyptian Minister of Religious Endowments Dr. Muhammad Hamdi Zaqzouq likewise criticized the fatwa, saying: “Fatwas like these harm Islam, serve our enemies and push the public towards backwardness and ignorance.”[5]


Muslim Brotherhood MPs: This is an Erroneous Fatwa

The issue of breastfeeding adults was brought up for debate in the Egyptian parliament. Sabri Khalaf Allah from Muslim Brotherhood bloc in the parliament told the Al-Arabiyya TV website that some 50 MPs had discussed the issue, had expressed concern over the fact that the fatwa had been published in the media, but had refrained from submitting a parliamentary question in order to avoid creating too big an uproar.

Dr. Sayyid Askar, a Muslim Brotherhood MP and former member of the Academy of Islamic Studies, said that the hadith on which the fatwa is based is indeed authentic and valid, but that the accepted view among Muslim scholars is that it refers to a specific case and cannot be applied to other cases. Therefore, he concluded, Dr. Attiya’s fatwa is an erroneous fatwa that goes against the consensus. “In our modern society,” he added, “it makes no sense to talk of breastfeeding adults.”[6]

Intellectuals Object: The Koran Forbids the Breastfeeding of Adults

Dr. Abd Al-Fatah Asaker, who studies Muslim tradition, denied the validity of the hadith on which the fatwa is based, claiming it is nonsense and criticized the publication of Abd Al-Qadir’s book which regarded it as valid.[7] In an interview with Al-Watani Al-Yawm, he said: “Would Dr. Abd Al-Mahdi [Abd Al-Qadr] agree [to let] his wife, daughter, sister or even his mother breastfeed a grown man – whether a stranger or a family member? Would the Muslim scholars [want people] to say that their wives breastfeed any man who comes along?

Asaker argued that the hadiths of Muslim tradition, even those that appear [in reliable compilations like those of] Al-Bukhari and Muslim, are invalid if they contradict what is said in the Koran, which states: “Mothers shall suckle their children for two whole years; [that is] for those who wish to complete the [full period of] suckling [Koran 2:233].” Asaker argued that after this period ends, breastfeeding is forbidden, and added that the story of Salem is a legend spread by the enemies of Islam with the aim of discrediting Aisha, to whom the hadith is attributed. “It is inconceivable,” he concluded, “that Islam, which commands the believing [men and women] to lower their eyes [in modesty], should permit a strange man to place his mouth on the breast of a married woman and suckle from [it].”[8]

Liberal Muslim thinker Gamal Al-Banna argued that, in ancient times, the issue of breastfeeding adults was not sensitive, but today times and perceptions have changed. He added, “We always call [to distinguish] within Islamic tradition [between] hadiths which were published in [certain] circumstances that have changed [and hadiths that remain valid]…”[9]

Egyptian Columnist: The Fatwa Reflects Intellectual Petrifaction

Al-Sayyid Abd Al-Rauf, former editor of the Egyptian religious government weekly Aqidati, wrote in his regular column: “Strange and bizarre fatwas [like the one published by Dr. Atiyya]… sometimes stem from a desire to gain publicity by unusual means that lie outside the consensus, and [sometimes stem] from failure to understand the [current] reality of the Islamic nation. The reality of the modern world, with all its struggles and changes, requires new outlooks that acknowledge the Islamic legal tradition and maintain its principles, [but at the same time] deal with the changes in [this tradition] – in accordance with the principle that fatwas must change with time and place.

“In some instances, fatwas like this also reflect a frozen outlook, a petrified point of view, and an insistence on drawing conclusions from an incident that occurred to specific individuals in specific circumstances, applying them to a different reality, and [then] publicizing [this] ruling…

“Some clerics are dragging the nation back [into the past] or are spreading opinions that provoke conflicts and struggles. Some do it to satisfy the rulers, whether in quest for power, publicity and money or out of belief in ancient opinions, and without exercising their own minds…”[10]

Uproar in Ruling Party Weekly over Publication of Fatwa

The interview with Dr. Atiyya published in Al-Watani Al-Yawm, the weekly of the ruling National Democratic Party, caused an uproar among party members, and the Egyptian information minister ordered that the issue with the interview be removed from sellers’ shelves.[11] Dr. Ali Al-Din Hilal, member of the party’s general secretariat, said: “Al-Watani Al-Yawm is the newspaper of the party, which expresses its ideas and opinions.” Hilal decried the publication of Dr. Atiyya’s opinions, saying that “they are damaging to all of us, especially since we bring them into our homes, and our children read them.” Many party members sent faxes to the party secretariat in which they expressed their opposition to the articles on the fatwa in Al-Watani Al-Yawm. They claimed that these articles were damaging to the newspaper and to party members, especially during the elections campaign, when there are more people looking out for the party’s mistakes.”[12]

In response, Al-Watani Al-Yawm published a clarification: “We emphasize that we are opposed to the fatwa. When we published it… our aim was to direct attention to the existence of such ideas in Al-Azhar, [and to the fact that these ideas] are to be studied in Al-Azhar in the coming year… We emphasize that our aim in publishing [the interview] was not to endorse the fatwa; rather, it was an attempt to bring [the fatwa] to the attention of the senior Al-Azhar scholars, so that they would investigate its author, especially since he is head of the Hadith Department in the Faculty of Theology, and the alumni [of this faculty] are thousands of preachers who occupy the pulpits of the mosques, and spread [the opinions] that they have learned to the public in Egypt and in the [rest of the] world. We hoped that Al-Azhar would speedily intervene and clarify the truth to the public…

“Since Dr. Atiyya has expressed very bold opinions on the Egyptian culture channel, which is broadcast into every Egyptian home – and this without needing [any] permit, as he is part of the Egyptian Information Ministry – and since his ideas were provocative to us, we saw it as [our] duty to approach him and discuss [his ideas] with him, and so we did… We recorded his answers on two tapes. Due to their boldness, we feared that he would [later] retract [them], so we asked him to write them out in his own handwriting. But he did not retract his ideas, [but] wrote us his bold opinions in his own hand…”[13]

*L. Lavi is a research fellow at MEMRI

Source: https://www.memri.org/reports/al-azhar-lecturer-suspended-after-issuing-controversial-fatwa-recommending-breastfeeding-men?fbclid=IwAR0UvoZ74iK8pPT8tMIkDef-NsK6Bk5-m7HT_xpLQK4hUyi5DD24DB8FHhs

[1] Al-Watani Al-Yawm (Egypt), May 15, 2007.

[2] Alarabiya.net, May 21, 2007.

[3] Al-Watani Al-Yawm (Egypt), May 22, 2007.

[4] Al-Ahram (Egypt), May 22, 2007.

[5] Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), May 22, 2007.

[6] Alarabiya.net, May 16, 2007.

[7] Before the publication of Dr. Atiyya’s fatwa, Dr. Abd Al-Mahdi Abd Al-Qadir, another Al-Azhar scholar, published a book proposing a similar solution based on the same hadith.

[8] Al-Watani Al-Yawm (Egypt), May 15, 2007.

[9] Alarabiya.net, May 16, 2007.

[10] Aqidati (Egypt), May 22, 2007.

[11] Al-Wafd (Egypt), May 21, 2007.

[12] Al-Misriyyun (Egypt), May 19, 2007.

[13] Al-Watani Al-Yawm (Egypt), May 22, 2007.

Was the Earliest Qibla Petra? Smith, “Lies” and Video Tape

Was the Earliest Qibla Petra? Smith, “Lies” and Video Tape

The revisionist theory of Petra being an earlier qibla (prayer direction) for Muslims prior to Mecca is essentially part of a larger conspiracy theory amongst revisionists who posit Islam developed over a period of time after the Prophet. It will not come as a surprise that advocates of this revisionist theory also adopt ideas such as “the Quran was invented after the Prophet” (or even before the Prophet!) P

Jay Smith of Pfander Films is the chief advocate of such polemics in Christian-Muslim apologetics circles. One would imagine, to the embarrassment of serious-minded and more scholarly Christians. Read more of this post

From Petra back to Makka – From “Pibla” back to Qibla

A critique of Dan Gibson, Early Islamic Qiblas: A Survey of mosques built between 1AH/622 C.E. and 263 AH/876 C.E. (with maps, charts and photographs), 296 pp., Vancouver BC: Independent Scholars Press, 2017

Banner: General view of Petra with a graphic from the article (Source)

Preliminary note: Dan Gibson’s new book claims to turn upside down all of what we know about one aspect of early Islamic practice, namely, the sacred direction (qiblatoward the Kaaba in Makka. He believes that Islam began in Petra, not Makka, and that the focus of Muslim prayer for the first two centuries was toward Petra, not Makka. As evidence for this he attempts to show that dozens of early mosques face Petra with remarkable accuracy. Since his revolutionary ideas ignore what modern scholarship has established about the early qibla, I present an overview of how things actually were. I then show how Gibson has misunderstood most of the data at his disposal, comparing medieval mosque orientations with modern directions of Petra and Makka, and why his interpretation is completely flawed. In brief, he has wrought havoc with information that he cannot master, and has – wittingly or unwittingly – produced an amateurish, non-scholarly document that is both offensive to Muslims and also an insult to Muslim and Western scholarship. None of the mosques investigated by Gibson has anything to do with Petra. Nor, indeed, has early Islam. Read more of this post



Who is Allah?

I understand that he is the God of Muslims and the religion of Islam, but can you please give a short introduction, while explaining the meaning of the word ‘Allah’?


Who is Allah?

‘Allah’ is the Arabic term for the One and only Creator of the universe. It is NOT a name for a tribal Arabian God or the God of Muslims. Thus, both Muslim and Christian Arabs refer to God as ‘Allah’ although their concept of God may differ. Read more of this post

Ten Reasons Muhammad Could Not Have Authored the Qur’an.

Source: http://www.manyprophetsonemessage.com/2014/03/18/ten-reasons-muhammad-could-not-have-authored-the-quran/

A problem facing many Scriptures is multiple authorship over many generations. The Old Testament consists of 39 books authored by numerous individuals over a period of many centuries. The New Testament contains 27 books written by multiple authors spanning a period of nearly half a century. The questions and uncertainties that surround the chronology and authorship of the Bible, for example many of the books were written anonymously, only serve to hinder one from accepting, at least wholesale, that it is the pure word of God.

This is not a problem that affects the Qur’an. There is no doubt that Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was the person responsible for transmitting the Qur’an. There are mass historical reports that support this claim, and the Qur’an itself confirms that it was revealed to him. Although Muhammad was responsible for transmitting the Qur’an, was he its author? It will now be demonstrated that it is impossible for Muhammad to have been the author of the Qur’an: Read more of this post

What ALLAH says about IDOL WORSHIP

When you are active in the Religion Debate Forum, you will read “ALLAH IS SATAN” or “ALLAH IS PAGAN GOD”. Part of them claims Allah is one of the idols. This reference I did to copy and paste and show them what Allah says about Idol Worship.










HQ 4:116 – GOD DOES NOT FORGIVE IDOL WORSHIP (if maintained until death)



Muslim (832) narrated from ‘Urwah ibn ‘Abasah that he said to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “With what were you sent?” He said, “I was sent to uphold the ties of kinship,TO BREAK THE IDOLS, and so that Allaah would be worshipped alone with no partner or associate.”

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar said:

This hadeeth indicates that it is prescribed to remove things that may tempt or confuse the people, whether they are buildings, people, animals or inanimate objects.

1 – The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent Khaalid ibn al-Waleed (may Allaah be pleased with him) on a CAMPAIGN TO DESTROY AL-‘UZZA.

2 – and he sent Sa’d ibn Zayd al-Ashhali (may Allaah be pleased with him) on a campaign TO DESTROY MANAAT.

3 – And he sent ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas (may Allaah be pleased with him) on a CAMPAIGN TO DESTROY ANOTHER BIG IDOL CALLED SUWAA’. All of that happened after the Conquest of Makkah.

4 – Jarir all the way to Yemen TO DESTROY A HOUSE IN WHICH IDOLS WERE WORSHIPPED. ( as related in the Hadith by Bukhari (Volume 5: Book 59, Number 643) – he blessed Jarir and his army five times after they had done the job – which clearly indicates the nobility of this action.

Al-Bidaayah wa’l-Nihaayah, 4/712. 776. 5/83; al-Seerah al-Nabawiyyah by Dr. ‘Ali al-Salaabi, 2/1186.



After defeat by Muhammad’s forces at the Battle of UhudAbu Sufyan ibn Harb, leader of the Quraysh army, is said to have called on Hubal for support to gain victory in their next battle, saying “Show your superiority, Hubal”.[6] When Muhammad conquered Mecca in 630, HE REMOVED AND HAD DESTROYED THE STATUE OF HUBAL, ALONG WITH THE OTHER 360 IMAGES AT THE KAABA., and dedicated the structure to Allah.[7]


A large number of idol-temples were situated around Makkah. They were the objects of respect for many tribes. In order to uproot idol-worship from the region of Makkah the PROPHET SENT BATTALIONS OF SOLDIERS TO DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS TO DESTROY THE IDOL-TEMPLES SITUATED THERE. It was also announced in Makkah itself that whoever happened to have an idol in his house should break it immediately



Religious Minorities Under Muslim Rule | Infographic Video