Beating of Women in Islam
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers has asked this question:
Brother in Sura An Nisa verse 34 I did find one translation a little disturbing and would appreciate it if you could guide me. Allah says that if women do not obey men then beat them till they relent. Is it correct? Modeedi in his explainotary notes confirms the Holy prophet (pbuh) did not really approve of this. Is this also true? Please let me have a correct interpretation, as in the other translation called the Nobel Quran the translation comes along as beat the lihgtly. In the vocal translation the commentator just says that you shall scath them. Which is correct and what is the reason, as women are always weak and would it be right for us to retort to physical actions? I hope i am not committing any mistake unknowingly by questioning this, but in light of our exposure to cosmoploitan influence and being father of 3 girls only, just worried if there is any justification in this.
awaiting your reply.
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Beating of Women in Islam
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and who-ever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 4 Surah Nisa verse 34: Men are the managers of the affairs of women, because Allah has made the one superior to the other, and because men spend of their wealth on women. Virtuous women are, therefore, obedient. They guard their rights carefully in their absence under the care and watch of Allah. As for those women whose defiance you have cause to fear, admonish them, and keep them apart from your beds, and beat them. Then, if they submit to you, do not look for excuses to punish them. Note it well that there is Allah above you, Who is Supreme and Great.
Firstly, let me unequivocally state that in Islam, you do not have to apologize to anybody for asking any question, as long as your intention is to get a better understanding of the issue. You are allowed in Islam, any question under the sun, to increase your knowledge. Thus never be apologetic in asking questions in Islam. The people or sects who have gone astray from the guidance of the Holy Quran, discourage people from asking questions, so that they can hide their own discrepancies of true knowledge, and the modes of misguidance. The ones who are on the true path of Islam and in the guidance of the Holy Quran never hide behind any veils, as they do not need to. Islam is the religion of truth, and every question will find an answer in this ocean of knowledge called the Al Quran.
The above aayah of Surah Nisa has been a mode of challenge for many of the non-believers, who challenge the Quran and the deen of Islam. They have always used this aayah to prove to the world that Islam allows the subjugation and abuse of women. But that is far from the truth, in the context of the Holy Quran and in the context of the wisdom of Islam.
It is obvious from the above aayah that Allah has not created man and woman equal in Islam. This term of equality between man and woman is a philosophy of the west. They have propagated man and woman as equal, and in doing so, they have separated them and their sacred unity. Although there are many discrepancies in the west making man and woman as equals, they have partly succeeded in making them equal and separate.
The Islamic viewpoint, in light and guidance of the Holy Quran is that Allah has created man and woman as balanced, each with its own sphere of responsibilities. If we follow Allah and His Messenger (saws), and the guidance of the Holy Quran, we will be able to treat man and woman as balanced and united, rather than equal and separated as per the Western philosophy.
Now to your question, if beating the woman is legal in Islam.
Allah created man, and from the man himself, He created the woman, to be his partner and comfort. Allah says in the Holy Quran, that He has put love and mercy between the husband and wife, so that they may enjoy each others company and live a harmonious life in mutual respect and unity.
In the above aayah, Allah gives guidance about the characteristics of a virtuous and righteous woman. She is obedient to her husband (as long as the boundaries set by Allah are honored). She guards her rights of chastity for her husband. She guards the husbands property and children and the house in his absence. And she does all this under the care and watch of Allah, provided she is a God-Fearing person.
But if the husband fears that the wife is transgressing the boundaries of Allah, Allah has given him 4 options, 3 of which are mentioned in the above aayah.
Option 1: Admonish them. Basically means guide them, talk to them, advice them, and let them know that they are transgressing the boundaries set by Allah and His Messenger (saws). The scholars are of the opinion, that it is not enough that they should be admonished once, but we must be merciful and give them plenty of time to realize their mistake, and come back to the guidance of Allah and His Messenger (saws).
Option 2: Keep them apart from your beds. Basically means, that after talking to them and guiding them several times, and the wife still does not listen, then as an extreme measure, and a clear sign of your disappointment with them, punish them (and yourself) by not having intimate relations with them. Because sometimes, if might happen, that the wife might think that you are not serious about your admonition and that you might back off at a later stage, and she does not comply. To let her know that you are serious about this particular issue, you take option 2, to signify your intention that you are extremely serious about it.
In most cases, if the woman is God Fearing and loves the husband and the marriage, you will never ever need to go beyond this option. But only in extreme cases, are we allowed to use option 3 and 4.
Option 3: Beat her. After going through the motions of admonishing her, and even keeping her away from your bed, she is still in defiance, then Allah has recommended as a final resort, to beat her lightly. That does not mean by any means that we are allowed to abuse the woman and beat her black and blue. It is more of a symbolic, light beating (and never on the face), but rather on the back, as a sign of our ultimate displeasure. But please try to realize, that Allah is trying to save our marriage, and has given us so many routes and options to be followed in sequence, so that the sanctity and unity of the marriage can be maintained.
And finally, Option 4: Divorce. This is absolutely the last resort, but just look at the mercy of Allah here. The Islamic way to give divorce is after you have tried and lost hope that any of the above three options will work, you take the final step of divorce. And here too, you are recommended to give 1-divorce first. Then wait for 3 monthly periods. During this time, she still stays with you, and you keep her away from your beds and talk reason to her. Even then if she does not listen, then proclaim the second divorce. Again wait for a period of 3 monthly courses, again using this time to admonish her and not have sexual relations with her. Even after all this, she is still not relenting, then you give the 3rd and final divorce.
All these options are given, so that the sanctity, sacredness, and unity of marriage is maintained. Most of us are married, and many a times, we come to a situation with our wives, where the issue is deadlocked. Almost all times the issue is solved if both the partners desire a solution and seek a compromise in the admonition stage. If the issue ever does go beyond this stage to option 2, that should solve the issue. Option 3 is absolutely optional, and one does not have to beat his wife to obtain a divorce! But if the woman is still not relenting after option 2, chances are the matter might eventually end up in divorce anyways.
I just want to point out another fallacy and hypocrisy of the western philosophy of equality between the sexes. They advocate having two CEOs in the house! But have and always have had one CEO for a company, for an organization, for a project, for a city, for the army, and even for the country! Why not try to run a company with two CEOs and see the chaos they can create! Then why assume that the house can be run harmoniously with two CEOs!! They have formed the perfect recipe for running a disastrous marriage, and are seeing the results!!
May Allah guide you and us all to the Siraat al-Mustaqeem
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,