Hello people, today I have a very interesting article for you! One of my friends’ friend let me post up a post that she wrote for VerbalMuslim. She has about 6 articles written! Cool huh. Ok, so please read it ‘TILL THE END. Comments would be nice!
In the name of God, the most Gracious, the most Compassionate
Before I start, I just want to say that reading the Quran with translation is one of the best things that has happened to me. All of us are proficient at reading the Arabic Quran, but not many of us take the time out to read the translation. I think it is so crucial for each and everyone of us to read the Quran with translation. On that note, let’s move on to my brief analysis of chapter 4, verse 34, Al-Nisa as stated below.
“Men are the maintainers of women because of that with which Allah has made some of them to excel the others and because of what they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.” –Al-Nisa Verse 34
In this argument, the determinant point is the meaning of the verse 34. Why is this verse so controversial? It is an issue of debate because it goes against the ethics of the modern western society and the notion of human rights. Beating is considered a violent crime and violence is condemned in all religions. Islam is a religion of peace so then why is beating your spouse (under extreme circumstances) permissible? My initial reaction after reading the translation of the verse was, “what? Beat them? How can (Allah) who loves you seventy times more than your own mother sanction such a law?” Upon further scrutiny of the verse, I realized I didn’t comprehend the nature of the verse. What does it really mean? To understand this verse, I had to analyze the following line:
“Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made them to excel the others and because they spend out their property, the good women are therefore obedient.”
Let’s dissect this line by first identifying gender roles and various characteristics that apply to both men and women. Men are naturally strong individuals; they have the ability to generalize and conceptualize abstract ideas. Men, generally, perform better at perceptual ability tasks as compared to women. Women, on the other hand, are fragile, emotional and delicate by nature. Therefore, it is safe to say that Allah has given men authority over women because of the qualities they possess. These traits allow them to serve as guardians and protectors of their women. Now, this does not mean a woman cannot do what she wants. This is a huge misconception that westerners have of Muslim women. Yes, a man looks after his wife in all her affairs but this does not mean that the woman loses her identity nor has identity of her own. She has freewill to do whatever it is that she wants to do as long as it is lawful. She can take part in any profession; keeping in mind her lawful duties towards her husband and children.
But if a woman is disobedient, how do you treat her?
“You fear recalcitrance, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places, and beat them;”
Let’s analyze the Arabic word for beating. The word “ḍribūhunna” comes from the root word “daraba”, which means to hit, to strike, to set up, and to condemn. It also many times means to separate, to hide and to conceal. As many of you know that one Arabic word can have multiple meanings. The word “daraba” alone has over thirty different meanings, but in the Quran it is used at ten different places with ten different meanings. From this, one can see that each person that’s reading this verse reads according to his or her own understanding of the word. When I read the verse over with a better understanding of the word “daraba”, to me it meant that if a woman is rebellious and disobedient, she is (first) warned, (second) left alone, (third) separated from her husband (divorced, possibly).
Almost all the translations I came across had the word “beating.” Even with the word beating there, does it give a husband the authority to beat his wife viciously if she doesn’t listen to him? No. if one carefully examines Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) life and his conduct towards his wives, one will not find any Hadith that talks about the Prophet (pbuh) hitting any of his wives. Prophet (pbuh) said: “Woman is but a doll; he who takes it should not destroy it.” The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) used to wonder aloud: “How can you embrace the woman with a hand you had hit her with?” This goes to show that hitting your wife is not at all encouraged in Islam.
Many people will still come forward and say, “But it’s still there, the word beating is in the Quran” my line of defense is “well so is stoning women in the bible. Why does the bible say ‘…the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die.’- Deuteronomy 22:13-21. So if your wife is not found a virgin on the wedding night, she has to be stoned to death. So, before anyone jumps to say that Islam allows the beating of women, please explain to me the idea of stoning women in the bible.
In the end, I want to close off by saying that if certain individuals misuse this verse to misrepresent the religion, then it is the individual’s fault, not the religion’s. Islam is a beautiful religion and it does not de-humanize women in any way. I am a Muslim woman and I have freewill. I have freedom and I walk shoulder to shoulder with men, proudly.
Allah knows best!
– Sana Khawar
I loved reading her post…it clears so many things. I think everyone should use the capability to think and research on any topic before making a judgement. Thanks for reading!