Common Misconceptions About Islam, Muslims and The Quran

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Misconception: Wife beating is allowed in The Quran

Background: 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 below.

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, Great. [4:34]
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]

The Arabic word idriboo is commonly translated as hit/beat/strike, however the flaws with this understanding are as follows:

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 ( It also notes that the vast majority take it to mean hit/strike/beat with varying degrees of application.


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