// Does the Qur'an condone domestic violence? By Mohamad Abdalla
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Author Topic: Does the Qur'an condone domestic violence? By Mohamad Abdalla  (Read 2270 times)
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« on: Aug 15, 2010 12:53 PM »


the above link is a rather interesting article on domestic abuse and the quran.  i found one part of it rather interesting, which is quoted below

So, if Islam clearly condemns all forms of violence against women, what does verse 4:34 of the Qur'an sanction? While there are many English translations of Qur'an 4:34, a recent translation by Ahmad Zaki Hammad renders the meaning as follows:

"Men are the maintainers [qawwamuna] of the affairs of women, for God has preferred in bounty one of them over the other, and for what they spend to sustain them from their own wealth. Thus, righteous women are devoutly obedient, safeguarding their sacred trusts in the absence of their husbands. For God has ordained such trusts to be safeguarded. So as to those wives whose flagrant defiance [nushuzahunna] you fear, you shall admonish them. And, should they persist, part with them in bed. And, should they persist strike them with a light hand [wadribuhunna]. But if they obey you, then do not seek to go against them in any way. Indeed God is ever exalted, all great."

There is no agreement on the translation of the verse. Therefore, for a proper understanding of the meaning and implications of the verse it is necessary to look beyond English translations of the Qur'an, and look to the interpretive principle established by the scholarly consensus of specialists in the Sacred Law.

It is clear from scholarly tradition that wadribuhunna that is referred to in the verse is only relevant in the situation where a married woman has committed open adultery, and that to "beat" a woman simply because she is disobedient cannot possibly be a legitimate understanding.

please refer to the bolded part in the quotation.  does anybody have anybody have any sources for this?  if indeed the super-controversial beating part of 4:134 refers to adultery, i think i finally understand the verse.   Smiley  i mean, adultery is an open rupture of the marriage, and if all the guy can do, is very lightly smack his wife (assume no 4 witnesses) for sleeping around then this verse is a whole lot less controversial.

i guess the problem though is that the verse clearly doesn't define what "flagrant defiance [nushuzahunna]" is.  where are our scholars when you need them! what do you think?

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« Reply #1 on: Aug 16, 2010 04:49 AM »

Salam Alaikum Brother Lucid,
I wish I knew the answer to your question but there are a lot of bright individuals that will hopefully be able to guide you.

However, after reading this verse it made me think about myself as a wife. I by no means am "obedient" maybe I just don't like that word, but I have a hard time being told what to do.  In all honesty I don't do anything questionable or put myself in inappropriate situations but I don't need my husband to tell me not no, I guess I feel that I have common sense... is this a horrible attitude? Maybe I am too western.. sigh
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« Reply #2 on: Aug 16, 2010 11:16 AM »


I don't think the obedience means literally obeying your husbands every word, sometimes he will be wrong as will you.

Dunno whether this verse refers specifically to adultery, however during the life of the Prophet (saw), a man walked in on his wife and his neighbour (I think), he went and complained to the Prophet (saw) who told him to produce four eye witnesses, as the man could not do that he was told to either keep his wife in kindness or part from her. The man chose to divorce her.

There is actually a specific divorce for accusations of adultery.

The point I suppose here is, at no point did the Prophet (saw) tell the man to go home and hit his wife, the Prophets (saw) example should be taken with this verse, I don't think there is any account of him having ever hit his companions, although he came close to divorcing Umm Hafsa (ra), this was due to personal differences I believe.


And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. Surah 2  Verse 186
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« Reply #3 on: Aug 16, 2010 07:34 PM »

Salaam Alaykum friends,
This is a very difficult to understand verse, because the wisdom in the actions you choose is pretty much dependent on the circumstances. It is probably kept deliberately underspecified by the will of Allah to apply to all circumstances.

However, I did notice a pattern. The term employed in the translation is 'flagrant defiance'. Now, remember, a marriage is like a small country (with less politics hopefully!), so I would assume that the term 'flagrant defiance' refers to something like 'treason', or some sort of 'capital or heinous crimes'.

This could involve adultery, but it could also involve the breaking of a trust, stealing/misusing the family money, saying bad things about the family members to outsiders etc etc.

The ayat appears to state that the way to deal with it is to first admonish (i.e. please don't do this; it's wrong, and it can hurt us as a family), and to separate the beds (i.e. reinforce the admonishment with actions; may also involve withdrawal of other privileges.. Che Guevara in his book on "Guerrilla Warfare" discussed how they would take the guns away from fellow-revolutionaries who were broke the discipline of the movement)

... and then comes what I would arguably state is the last step at reforming the character. A very stern reminder that is personal and probably a bit physical. This does not mean that you beat the erring spouse black and blue and send her to the hospital, but is the proverbial 'slap on the wrist'... after all, it is a reminder for someone who has already been acting unreasonably and is not keeping the family's best interests at heart. The goal is not to take the frustration out, but to save the marriage. It should be something that cannot be ignored, because it is personal, and physical (probably).

The next step after that would be divorce.

Let me remind myself (before anyone else) that these steps should not be employed for trivial stuff (e.g. why is my dinner not ready when I came home?), but for serious breaches (i.e. gambling away the family savings, adultery (whether physical or emotional on facebook etc).

I am not a scholar, and hopefully, my stumbling attempt at interpretation is a useful addition to this discussion.

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