Misconception: Wife beating is
allowed in The Quran
This topic is one of the most controversial regarding The
Quran. The mainstream teaching is that it allows a husband to
hit his wife as a last resort in specific circumstances. Some
have argued that this means it sanctions domestic violence
against women. Whilst this is the prevalent view, even amongst
Muslims, it is mired in many flaws, which will be discussed
The first and
perhaps most important point to mention is that this view is
based only upon the use of one word in chapter 4, verse 34 of
The Quran shown below:
The men are supporters/maintainers of
the women with what God preferred/bestowed on some of them
over others and with what they spent of their money, so the
righteous women are dutiful/obedient; guardians/protectors
to the unseen with what God guarded/protected. And as for
those women you fear their uprising/disloyalty, then you
shall advise them, and (then)
abandon them in the bed, and (then) idriboo them. If they obeyed
you, then seek not against them a way; Truly, God is High,
And if you (authority) feared
a rift between them two, then appoint a judge from his
family and a judge from hers. If they both want to
reconcile, then God will bring agreement between them.
God is Knowledgeable, Expert. [4:35]
word idriboo is commonly translated as
hit/beat/strike, however the flaws with this understanding are
is formed from one of the most multiple meaning and
diversely used words (DaRaBa) in the Arabic language, and is
used in several ways in The Quran itself.
- There is
not one clear occurrence of this word meaning "beat"
anywhere else in The Quran, and in almost all cases, this
meaning is problematic or would not make sense.
Classical Arabic (the language The Quran is written in)
dictionary gives the meaning of "beat" in a comparable
example and none reference 4:34 at all.
- When The
Quran uses this word to mean a literal/physical strike/hit,
the preposition "bi" (with/by) is always used, but there is
no such use in 4:34.
understanding causes internal contradictions within The
Quran, and this is also probably why no commentator, past or
present, uses The Quran itself to justify this view.
- There is
no consensus amongst traditional commentators on the origin
and interpretation of this verse, except on perhaps the
"beat/strike" is chosen, it would cause inconsistencies
amongst Traditional Hadith (narrations) and Classical Arabic
dictionaries, which show a variance in view.
contradicts the alleged reaction of prophet Muhammad to wife
beating, in which he is reportedly to have found it unjust
and said woman have the right to retaliate. The traditional
story goes that he was over ruled by 4:34, apparently.
The evidence from The Quran suggests the correct meaning of the
word in this case would be "cite"
or "indicate" them to
the authority, hence authority involvement in 4:35. This also
fits in with its usage elsewhere with direct objects.
It is strongly recommended to weigh and consider the following
study which presents a very detailed and comprehensive analysis
of the claim of wife beating
and domestic violence in Islam (www.Quran434.com). It also notes that the
vast majority take it to mean hit/strike/beat with varying
degrees of application.
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