Does Islam Condone Domestic Violence?

Written by Dr. Lutf U Rehman. Nashville, TN, USA

Place of women in the religion of Islam has been the subject of much debate in recent years. There is a common perception in the West that Islam considers women less than men and restricts their freedoms and role in the society. Constant stream of images of women being mistreated from the Islamic countries has helped to reinforce this perception. Muslims living in the West try to counter this fallacy but their lack of knowledge in this area adds to this problem. In recent years, the opponents have become much more sophisticated. Now they come with the verses of Holy Qur’an and use them to prove their point. Ignorance on the part of an ordinary Muslim could be forgiven, but scholars of the religion also seem to be completely oblivious to this problem. They still provide lengthy and convoluted explanations of these verses. These explanations are rooted in centuries old ideas and are unacceptable to any reasonable person regardless of their Faith. In the age of 30 second sound bite media, Muslims are loosing this struggle of ideas.

One of the commonly used verses is from sura Al-Nisa (chapter 4), verse 35.

الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ فَالصَّالِحَاتُ قَانِتَاتٌ حَافِظَاتٌ لِلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللَّهُ وَاللاَّتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلاَ تَبْغُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلاً إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيًّا كَبِيرًا

Here are seven most commonly used translations of this verse:

1. Men are superior to women on account of the qualities with which God has gifted the one above the other, and on account of the outlay they make from their substance for them. Virtuous women are obedient, careful, during the husband’s absence, because God has of them been careful. But chide those for whose refractoriness you have cause to fear; remove them into beds apart, and scourge them: but if they are obedient to you, then seek not occasion against them: verily, God is High, Great!  (Rodwell)

2. Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surely God is high, supreme. (Dawood)

3. Men are in charge of women, because Allah has made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah has guarded. As for those from whom you fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High Exalted, Great. (Pickthall)

4. Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that God has preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for God’s guarding. And those you fear may be rebellious admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them. If they then obey you, look not for any way against them; God is All high, All great. (Arberry)

5. Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because 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 you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in their sleeping places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great. (Shakir)

6. Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whom part you fear disloyalty and ill conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance) for Allah is Most High, Great (above you all). (Yusuf Ali)

7. Men are guardian over women because Allah has made some of them excel others, and because men spend on them of their wealth. So virtuous women are obedient and guard the secrets of their husbands with Allah’s protection. And as for those on whose part you fear disobedience, admonish them and keep away from them in their beds and chastise them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Surely, Allah is High and Great. (Sher Ali)

The verse describes the relationship between a man and a woman within marriage. Common translation of this verse highlights man as the superior of the two. Use of words such as obedience for women and guardian for men, and clear direction and permission for men to discipline their wives when they “suspect disobedience” from them by use of any means including physical beating is enough for an ordinary person particularly a woman to fear the teachings of Islam. The words ‘chastise them’ or “scourge them” mean physical punishment. This is how it has been explained in almost every translation and every commentary of the Holy Qur’an. Those commentators who realized the negative impact of this explanation have tried very hard to soften the blow by describing various rules applicable to this beating. Although they are trying to do this in good conscience, it just compounds the problem from absurd to laughable. You Tube has numerous videos where many scholars of Islam (all men) are explaining the rules for wife beating: when she should be struck, how hard, with what type of stick or just the hand is enough, should not be hit on the face and no marks should be left on her, bones should not be broken, etc. Ask your wife, your daughter or your mother, is this an acceptable method of conflict resolution for her!! Of course not!

Holy Quran is word of God. This type of absurdity dishonors the word of God. We should be very careful in explaining the Holy Quran in a manner which is offensive to common human decency.

Allah says in the Holy Quran:

أَفَلاَ يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِنْدِ غَيْرِ اللَّهِ لَوَجَدُوا فِيهِ اخْتِلاَفًا كَثِيرًا

Will they not, then, meditate upon the Qur’an? Had it been from anyone other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy. (Ch. 4, Verse 83)

This verse provides the first and the most important method of understanding the Qur’anic teachings. Our explanation or translation of any verse of the Holy Qur’an cannot be against another verse of the Holy Qur’an. Most certainly no translation or explanation is acceptable which runs counter to the overall message of the Holy Qur’an. Therefore as a first step of understanding this verse, we should look at the overall message of the Holy Qur’an about women.

Qur’an has repeatedly mentioned women as equal of men. Hadhrat Khalifatul Massih the Fourth quotes the following verse of the Holy Qur’an in his book, Islam’s Response to Contemporary Issues. Under the heading, “Equal Rights for Women”, he writes, “You hear so much about women’s lib. and women’s rights, etc. Islam speaks of a comprehensive fundamental principle, which covers all situations.

وَلَهُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِي عَلَيْهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَلِلرِّجَالِ عَلَيْهِنَّ دَرَجَةٌ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

“And they (the women) have rights similar and equal to those (of men) over them in equity; (i.e., for women there are exactly equal rights as for men, as men have rights upon women. There is thus total equality and there is no difference whatsoever between the fundamental human rights of women and men) But men have a degree of advantage over them. And Allah is mighty and Wise.” (Ch. 2. Verse 229). He further writes, “Order between male and female relationship was established on the basis of deep moral principles. The status of women was simultaneously raised to such high standards that they could no longer be treated as helpless commodities. They were given an equal share in the affairs of life. Whereas previously they were distributed as chattels of inheritance, now they could inherit not only the estate of their fathers but also of their husbands, children and next of kin. They could now stand up to their husbands and talk back to them. They could reason with them and, of course, had the full right to disagree. They could not only be divorced but they had equal rights to divorce their husbands if they so pleased.

As mothers, they were treated with such profound respect in Islam as is hard to find a similar example in other societies of the world. It was the Holy Founder of Islam who was to stand for the rights of women by declaring under Divine instructions, that, Paradise lies under the feet of your mother. (Islam’s Response to Contemporary Issues, 2007, page 91 & 93 under heading ‘Equal Rights for Women’)

Now let us examine the verse 35 of Sura Al-Nisa and some expressions used in it in much more detail.

Qawwamoon: قَوَّامُونَ (root: Qaf-Waw-Miim) occurs in the same form in verse 4:136 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ بِالْقِسْطِ شُهَدَاءَ لِلَّهِ  (stand/stand up/support/maintain with justice as witnesses to God) and verse 5:9 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ لِلَّهِ شُهَدَاءَ بِالْقِسْطِ  (Stand/Stand up/Support/maintain for/to God as witnesses with justice).

The expression qawwam is an intensive form of qa’im (one who is responsible for or takes care of a thing or a person). Thus, qama ala l-mar’ah signifies, “he undertook the maintenance of the woman” or “he maintained her”. (Lane’s Lexicon). The form qa’im can be found in 4:6 قِيَامًا and 5:98 قِيَامًا meaning support. It should be noted that the occurrences of 4:136 قَوَّامِينَ, 5:9 قَوَّامِينَ and 4:6 قِيَامًا, 5:98 قِيَامًا  cancel out some male centric translations, such as “charge of” (M. Pickthal), “managers of” (Arberry) “superior to” (Rodwell) or even “guardian” (Sher Ali) as this would be a much more encompassing word with much wider implications. The word Qawwam here refers to a duty of care and responsibility, such as providing for the family and the household which is discussed in several other verses of the Holy Quran,

2:234, وَعَلَى الْمَوْلُودِ لَهُ رِزْقُهُنَّ وَكِسْوَتُهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ


أَسْكِنُوهُنَّ مِنْ حَيْثُ سَكَنتُمْ مِنْ وُجْدِكُمْ وَلاَ تُضَارُّوهُنَّ لِتُضَيِّقُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ وَإِنْ كُنَّ أُولاَتِ حَمْلٍ فَأَنْفِقُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ حَتَّى يَضَعْنَ حَمْلَهُنَّ فَإِنْ أَرْضَعْنَ لَكُمْ فَآتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ وَأْتَمِرُوا بَيْنَكُمْ بِمَعْرُوفٍ

and is the default role of the male, but not the only role as it can depend on the situation. Quran never mentions managing one’s wife or being in charge of her. In fact there is not one example of God addressing the husband/wife relationship in this manner. All examples involving decisions between marriage partners are in the reciprocal Arabic word form such as “taraada” إِذَا تَرَاضَوْا بَيْنَهُمْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ (2:233) وَلاَ جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِيمَا تَرَاضَيْتُمْ بِهِ مِنْ بَعْدِ الْفَرِيضَةِ (4:25) and “tashawar” فَإِنْ أَرَادَا فِصَالاً عَنْ تَرَاضٍ مِنْهُمَا وَتَشَاوُرٍ فَلاَ جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا (2:234) which means mutual decision. The verse 4:35 limits the scope of the meaning of “qawwamoon” to maintenance, by saying “God bestowing more on some than others and with what they spent of their money.” Now the true meaning of the word “qawwamoon” becomes obvious. It does not mean physical strength, nor does it make a man guardian, superior or in-charge of his wife. It merely states that men are supporters of their wives and family by spending their money for their sustenance.

Qanit: قَانِتَاتٌ (root; Qaf-Nun-Ta) This word is used in the Holy Quran to mean dutiful, devout, and obedient to God in every verse where this word is used. (not to anyone else other than God). It refers both to man and woman.

وَقَالُوا اتَّخَذَ اللَّهُ وَلَدًا سُبْحَانَهُ بَلْ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ كُلٌّ لَهُ قَانِتُونَ (2:117)

حَافِظُوا عَلَى الصَّلَوَاتِ وَالصَّلاَةِ الْوُسْطَى وَقُومُوا لِلَّهِ قَانِتِينَ (2:239)

الصَّابِرِينَ وَالصَّادِقِينَ وَالْقَانِتِينَ وَالْمُنْفِقِينَ وَالْمُسْتَغْفِرِينَ بِالأَسْحَارِ (3:18)

يَا مَرْيَمُ اقْنُتِي لِرَبِّكِ وَاسْجُدِي وَارْكَعِي مَعَ الرَّاكِعِينَ (3:44)

فَالصَّالِحَاتُ قَانِتَاتٌ حَافِظَاتٌ لِلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللَّهُ (4:35)

إِنَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ كَانَ أُمَّةً قَانِتًا لِلَّهِ حَنِيفًا وَلَمْ يَكُ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ (16:121)

وَلَهُ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ كُلٌّ لَهُ قَانِتُونَ (30:27)

إِنَّ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَالْمُسْلِمَاتِ وَالْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْقَانِتِينَ وَالْقَانِتَاتِ وَالصَّادِقِينَ وَالصَّادِقَاتِ (33:36)

أَمَّنْ هُوَ قَانِتٌ آنَاءَ اللَّيْلِ سَاجِدًا (39:10)

مُسْلِمَاتٍ مُؤْمِنَاتٍ قَانِتَاتٍ تَائِبَاتٍ (66:6)

وَكَانَتْ مِنْ الْقَانِتِينَ (66:13)

There is one exception to this, when in 33:32 it states وَمَنْ يَقْنُتْ مِنْكُنَّ لِلَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ “qanit” to God and His Messenger”. But it is still in the context of God’s commands. Though this word is mostly translated correctly as “obedient”, when read in a translation it can convey a false impression implying, women must be obedient to their husbands as their inferiors. The same word is mentioned in 66:13 as a description of Mary who, according to the Quran, did not even have a husband. Also, in this verse as Mary confirms the words of her Lord and His revelations she is described as of those who are “qanit”, again implying it is in the context of abiding by God’s message. This is possibly reinforced by what follows in the verse.

Takhafoon: تَخَافُونَ (root: Kha-Waw-Fa). This means an action in the process of being done, not completed. The fear being felt by the husband is ongoing, about something that may or may not take place. It is important to note that the context strongly implies that the husband does not wish to end the marriage, hence him “fearing” and the conflict resolution measures that follow.

Nushuz: نُشُوزَ (root: Nun-Shiin-Zay) The literal meaning is “uprising”. It is interesting to note that there is a measure of relativity about “nushuz” in the sense that what constitutes “nushuz” in the eyes of one person may not be so viewed by another. The judgment that one’s spouse has been guilty of “nushuz” is partly a subjective and personal one. That is why the verse says, “if you fear nushuz” instead of, “If you find nushuz”. In other words “nushuz” is unlikely to mean something in the presence of the husband or something very open and obvious. It is reasonable to assume that “nushuz” refers to something not done in the presence of the husband. This could be related to the earlier use of, “guardians to the unseen …” If we take these factors into account, it suggests unseen infidelity, or ill-conduct etc.

Ithoo: فَعِظُو (root: Waw-Ayn-Za) Then you shall advise them. It does not indicate in a harsh manner, as can be seen by its occurrences in the Quran, for example 31:14. The “fa” meaning “then” or “so”, means whatever follows can only apply to the wife in whom husband fears “nushuz”, not in other circumstances. It also implies that what follows is a sequential order of recommendations and not simultaneous.

Hjuroo: وَاهْجُرُو (root: Ha-Jiim-Ra) means forsake, leave off, desert, abandon. Also used in other verses in the Quran, وَاهْجُرْنِي مَلِيًّا  (19:47) وَاهْجُرْهُمْ هَجْرًا جَمِيلاً  (73:11) وَالرُّجْزَ فَاهْجُرْ  (74:6)

It is important to note this verb applies to the husband, not the wife. Therefore translations such as “banish them to beds apart” (M. Pickthal), “send them to beds apart” (Dawood), are incorrect. This is further proven by the use of “fee” meaning “in”. Lastly, “al madajiaa” الْمَضَاجِعِ (root: Dad-Jiim-Ayn) literally means “the place of rest or sleep”. Thus it could mean bed or bedroom. With regard to “al madajia” الْمَضَاجِعِ there are no half measures. It clearly means fully abandon them in this matter. It strongly implies no marital relations. Also, this step reinforces the implication that it is unlikely to be a simultaneous series of steps, as “abandon them in bed” would only be done at sleeping time, implying a time gap. This step should not be viewed as totally against the wife, as it would also result in the husband re-evaluating their relationship, and make him weigh up his fear against his desire to be with her, thus helping compromise and reconciliation.

Idriboo: وَاضْرِبُو (root: Da-Ra-Ba) This is the word commonly translated as beating, striking or chastise them. The first verb form derived from this root has many different meanings. In fact, it is possibly one of the most diversely used words in the Arabic language. This is primarily because it is often used figuratively as an expression meaning something different to the literal meaning of the phrase. It is estimated that about 100 meanings in all have been given for this form in classical Arabic dictionaries. (Lane’s Arabic Lexicon) The Quran itself uses this word in different ways. Let us examine the use of this word in other places in the Holy Quran.

1)      DRB fee al ard ضَرْبًا فِي الأَرْضِ = Journey in the land (2:274, 3:157, 4:102, 5:107, 73:20)

2)      DRB fee sabeeli Allah ضَرَبْتُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ = Journey in God’s way (4:95)

3)      DRB+Mathal يَضْرِبَ مَثَلاً = present forth or cite an example (2:27, 13:18, 14:25, 14:26, 14:46, 16:75, 16:76, 16:77, 16:113, 17:49, 18:33, 18:46, 22:74, 24:36, 25:10, 25:40, 29:44, 30:29, 30:59, 36:14, 36:79, 39:28, 39:30, 43:18, 43:58, 43:59, 47:4, 59:22, 66:11, 66:12)

4)      Kathalika yadribu Allahu كَذَلِكَ يَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الأَمْثَالَ (13:18) Thus does Allah illustrates/cites truth and falsehood.

5)      Fa darabna ala athanihim فَضَرَبْنَا عَلَى آذَانِهِمْ (18:12) So We sealed up their ears in the cave. The verse is literally saying the effect of daraba on their ears in the cave which lasted many years. This seems to suggest that God kept them isolated in the cave, when they were hiding, thus cut off from the outside world. This use of daraba seems to mean isolation.

There are many other uses of this word in the Holy Quran.

Coming back to the use of this word in 4:35, some have argued that the translation of this word is “leave them” or “separate from them” which fits better than “strike”, “beat”, or “chastise them”. This could be the next step in reconciliation process. But this separation is not divorce as Quran always uses the word talaq to mean divorce.

Another possible meaning could be citing them to the authority. In a situation of no resolution after the first two steps, the situation can be brought to the notice of the authority. The meaning of “citing” are used in the Holy Quran as well as supported by Arabic lexicon.

Wadrib la hum mathalan athhabul qarya وَاضْرِبْ لَهُمْ مَثَلاً أَصْحَابَ الْقَرْيَةِ (36:14) Cite for them the example of the people of the city.

This seems to be the best fit. In the next verse the authority is being addressed.

“If you (authority) fear a breach between them, then appoint an arbiter from his folk and an arbiter from her folk.” وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ شِقَاقَ بَيْنِهِمَا (4:36)

We should remember that these few verses are in the context of marriage. Quran is addressing a situation where a husband is facing ill conduct from his wife. It describes the remedial efforts in a stepwise fashion. Now when we look at the verse in light of above explanations, it could be translated as follows:

Men are providers for their wives (and families), because Allah has bestowed more on some than others and because they spend from their wealth. So virtuous women are those who submit (to God) and protect what Allah has commanded to protect. And those from whom you fear ill conduct, advise them and leave them alone in their beds and cite them to the authority. Then if they agree, do not pursue (the matter) further. Surely Allah is High, Great.

It should also be pointed out that such a teaching exists not only for men but also for women. In the same chapter (4:129-131) almost exact same words are used to describe ill conduct from a man and woman has the right to reconciliation or separation.

Now let us examine the sunnah of the Holy Prophet A whether he ever punished any one of his wives with beating or physical striking.

Narrated Mu’awiyah al-Qushayri: “I went to the Apostle of Allah A and asked him: What do you say about our wives? He replied: Give them food what you have for yourself, and clothe them by which you clothe yourself, and do not beat them, and do not revile them.”  (Abu-Dawud, Book 11, Marriage (Kitab Al-Nikah), Number 2139)

Narrated Mu’awiyah ibn Haydah: “I said: Apostle of Allah, A how should we approach our wives and how should we leave them? He replied: Approach your tilth when or how you will, give her (your wife) food when you take food, clothe when you clothe yourself, do not revile her face, and do not beat her.  (Abu-Dawud, Book 11, Marriage (Kitab Al-Nikah), Number 2138)”

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Apostle A as saying: “He who believes in Allah and the Hereafter, if he witnesses any matter he should talk in good terms about it or keep quiet. Act kindly towards woman, for woman is created from a rib, and the most crooked part of the rib is its top. If you attempt to straighten it, you will break it, and if you leave it, its crookedness will remain there. So act kindly towards women.  (Muslim, The Book of Marriage (Kitab Al-Nikah), Book 008, Number 3468)” 

Narrated Abu Huraira: “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger.  (Bukhari, Good Manners and Form (Al-Adab), Volume 8, Book 73, Number 135)”

Narrated Abu Huraira: “A man said to the Prophet A, ‘Advise me! ‘The Prophet said, ‘Do not become angry and furious.’ The man asked again and again, and the Prophet said in each case, ‘Do not become angry and furious.’   (Bukhari, Good Manners and Form (Al-Adab), Volume 8, Book 73, Number 137)” 

Abu Huraira reported: “I heard Allah’s Messenger A as saying: One is not strong because of one’s wrestling skillfully. They said: Allah’s Messenger, then who is strong? He said: He who controls his anger when he is in a fit of rage.  (Muslim, The Book of Virtue, Good Manners and Joining of the Ties of Relationship (Kitab Al-Birr was-Salat-I-wa’l-Adab), Book 032, Number 6314)”

There are some traditions (Ahadith) of the Holy Prophet A in which it appears as if he is condoning beating of wives. We should remember that those traditions (Ahadith) which are against the core message of Islam cannot be accepted as authentic. After all, they were collected by verbal narration, hundreds of years after the death of the Prophet A and are subject to human error.

Talking about the rights of women, Promised Messiah D has said, “Protection of the rights of women in Islam cannot be matched by any other Faith. It is clearly stated that men and women have similar rights over each other. وَلَهُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِي عَلَيْهِنَّ (2:229) I hear about some who consider women inferior and force them to perform difficult tasks. They abuse them and look down upon them. They enforce the injunction of “Pardah” (veil) in a manner that it destroys the life of the woman. The relationship of man and wife should be like two fast friends. Women are the witnesses of one’s decent manners and closeness to God. If this relationship of husband and wife is not strong, then how one can expect to be straight with God? Holy Prophet A has said, “Best among you is the one who is best with his family.” (Malfuzat, Vol 3, page 300)

Talking about the rights of women, Promised Messiah D said, “Women should not think that they have been wronged. They have many rights over men. Women have been elevated to a high position. Man has been commanded to look after them and be responsible for her needs.” (Malfuzat, Vol 5, page 30)

Promised Messiah said, “Other than manifest ill conduct, one should accommodate all other excesses of women. It is a travesty for a man to fight with woman. God has made us men and this is His blessing and gift. In return we should treat the women fairly and graciously. Huzoor was informed of an Ahmadi who treated his wife very sternly. Huzoor was visibly disturbed and said, “My friends should not be like that!” The he talked at length about women and said, “Once I addressed my wife in a loud voice and she was obviously hurt, although I had not said anything harsh. Upon this I asked for repentance (Istighfar) (from God) for quite a while. With great sincerity and humbleness I offered nafl prayers and gave away some money in charity. I thought that my harsh manner was a result of my sins. (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, page 307)

People have made errors in their dealings with women and children and have strayed from the straight path. Holy Quran says, ” وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ “Deal with them in an excellent manner”. These days people are acting contrary to this command. There are two types of people. Some have removed all boundaries and Faith has nothing to do with them. They openly act against the teachings of Islam. Others have not created this freedom, but they deal with women in such harsh manner that there appears to be no difference from animals. They treat them worse than slaves. They beat them without mercy as if she is not a living being. So much so that in the province of Punjab they compare the woman with a shoe: Take off one and wear another. This is terrible and against the teachings of Islam. Holy Prophet A is the perfect example in all matters. Look at his life and see how he treated the women. I consider him a coward and an imbecile who stands against a woman…. Holy Prophet A used to play with Hadhrat Ayesha. Sometimes he would win and sometimes she would win. It is documented that once few Africans came who performed the tricks of circus. Holy Prophet A brought Hadhrat Ayesha with him to watch the circus. (Malfuzat, Vol. 2, page 387)

We should remember that this verse of the Holy Quran is talking about the relationship of a husband and wife. It is common to have disputes in this relationship. Suspicions and distrust happens. The Holy Quran is describing and giving guidance for conflict resolution in these situations. Therefore it is perfectly understandable when the first step is that both parties should talk and try to resolve the matter among themselves. If this measure fails then the next step should be suspension of marital relations as this might focus the minds on the problem and lead to a resolution of the matter. If this also fails then the couple needs to have an independent person who can mediate between them. If this also fails, then it is getting really serious. More formal arbitration needs to take place and in the interest of fairness Quran directs that two people should be appointed, one from the family of the wife and the other from the family of the husband. If this also fails then the difference is irreconcilable. The legal separation or divorce will be the next option. At any point in this process, if we permit one party to physically beat the other party, it is difficult to see how this would serve the purpose of reconciliation. If anything it will help to ensure that the parties never come together. In fact it may become impossible to have them both in the same room. Beating as a method of obtaining compliance or consent does not succeed. It does not generate any love between the parties. In fact it is properly referred to as domestic violence or spousal abuse and is a crime in most civilized societies.

Beating is punishment. It is not an inducement. If we allow husbands to beat their wives on suspicion of infidelity or for any other reason, it would effectively mean that husbands are the accusers. Then they are also the judge and further they are the executioners of the punishment too. No sane person can accept this type of logic in any system. We should not accuse Holy Quran of advocating this type of thinking. On the other hand the Holy Quran promotes the highest standards of justice. It preaches fairness, forgiveness and charity.

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