ISLAM'S AUTHORIZATION TO BEAT DISOBEDIENT WIVES
This article is dedicated to our mothers, sisters, wives and daughters - to women all over the world.
One of the most controversial issues in Islam is the Qur'an's authorization for husbands to beat their disobedient wives. Many Muslim apologists have written articles seeking ways to defend this offensive command in the Qur'an. Since the command to beat wives exposes the degraded position of women in Islam, Muslim apologists try to minimize the damaging effect of this divine decree.To fully comprehend the issue of Islamic wife-beating, her position with respect to her husband must be first understood.Wife-beating is the consequence of the inferior position she is subjected to and occupies in the religion of Islam.
For example, a person with a severe virus may run a high fever. While the fever itself can be quite a grave problem, it is actually a symptom of another sickness at work. Wife-beating is the symptom of the wife's degraded status in Islam.Beyond the right of husbands to beat their disobedient wives, there is a deeper, more dangerous, destructive disease at work.Wife-beating is merely the bad fruitage of a rotten tree. Once this element is understood, the rationale behind Muhammad's command to beat disobedient wives comes into focus. This means the entire diseased tree has to be cut down and fed to the fire. To wait for Islam to reform is like waiting for a virus to mutate. It will only result in a more deadly, virulent disease.
While it is true that wife-beating do occur even among those who are non-Muslims, it must be remembered that Islam is the only religion that sanctions this degraded behavior in its theology. While wife-beating is considered a serious problem by civilized societies, the opposite is true in Islam. In Islam, it is considered as a solution, a process to administer "discipline" in matrimonial disputes. Since wife-beating is divinely ordained and justified by the Qur'an, Muslim societies do not and cannot see it as a problem. We will now reveal from the Qur'an, Hadith and other authoritative Islamic writings, the authorization of wife-beating in Islam. In addition, we will also prove that contrary to the claims made by some Muslim scholars, it is also harsh, physical and painful. The command to beat wives is found in the chapter called "Women" in the Qur'an.
Provided below are six English translations of Surah 4:34 from recognized scholars. They are provided for the sole purpose to show how similar the wordings in the different versions are.
SHAKIR:"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 the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great."
DAWOOD:"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."
ARBERRY:"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."
PICKTHALL: "Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath 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 hath guarded. As for those from whom ye 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."
ABDALHAQQ BEWLEY: Men have charge of women because Allah has preferred the one above the other and because they spend their wealth on them. Right-acting women are obedient, safeguarding their husbands´ interests in their absence as Allah has guarded them. If there are women whose disobedience you fear, you may admonish them, refuse to sleep with them, and then beat them.
YUSUF ALI:"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 whose part ye 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)."
This Qur'anic verse lays the foundation for wife-beating in Islam. Without it, the case for wife-beating would be somewhat weaker. Wife-beating is largely testified in the Hadith, but having a corroborating verse in the Book of Allah places the acceptability of wife-beating on a solid foundation in Islam. Muslim translators have struggled with this passage and have sought ways to tone down its clear meaning.
For instance, Yusuf Ali adds the word "lightly" in his translation of the Qur'an. However, the word "lightly" does not occur in the original Arabic. Hence, Yusuf Ali is playing god by adding words to Allah's Scripture. The Arabic word "beat" or "scourge" does not mean to beat lightly. It is the same word that is used as in, to beat a violent criminal or a camel. Yusuf Ali was translating the Qur'an in English for a Western audience and he knew that wife-beating is viewed as barbaric in the West.Consequently, he inserted his own words and comments, at many different places, into this single text to make it appear less harsh. This was deceptive on Ali's part. A quick review through Yusuf Ali's Qur'an will show that no other verse in his translation has that many insertions. Clearly, something was troubling him to cause him to add so many words to Allah's Scripture. Yusuf Ali was in part a Muslim apologist and his motive here was meant to hide and soften the Qur'an's real meaning. It is good to note that no other translation has added anything remotely close to the word "lightly" when describing about the physical beating a man is supposed to give his wife.
Though Muslim apologists frequently say that the beating should be light, the internal evidence proves otherwise. In the context of the Qur'an, it has to be severe enough to bring the wife into obedience. Since Surah 4:34 describes a progression of stronger actions that must be followed, something stronger needs to be done according to the Qur'an's progression. Wife-beating is the third and final step in the disciplinary process and therefore it must produce a stronger psychological effect than verbal chastisement or sexual desertion.To beat lightly at this point would defeat the very purpose that this Qur'anic injunction is aiming to achieve. In other words - it has to hurt. Therefore, Yusuf Ali is only fooling himself and others when he tries to imply that the beating should be given "lightly."
Since the Qur'anic injunction clearly gives men the complete license to beat their women from whom they fear rebellion, the compilers of the Hadith felt the need to do some damage control for Allah. They falsely claim that wife-beating is nothing more than just a "gentle tap." In view of the fact that wife-beating is allowed in Islam, and if the wife is already in rebellion to her husband, would a "gentle tap" change her attitude. At this point, she would probably laugh in his face.
The crucial point that needs to be noted is the fact that nowhere does the Qur'an in the original Arabic, demands that the beating should be given lightly or that a man must not severely beat his wife. The text simply says - without any clause or qualification - that men may beat or hit their rebellious spouses.
The Arabic word for "beat" in Surah 4:34 is "idreb." It is a conjugate of the word "daraba" which primarily means, "to beat," "to strike" or "to hit." All verses that contain "idreb" against a human are always understood to mean "beat" or "strike" that human. To understand the meaning of this Arabic word "idreb," we must examine how this word is used in Surah 8:12:
"When thy Lord inspired the angels, (saying:) I am with you. So make those who believe stand firm. I will throw fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Then smite (idreb) the necks and smite (idreb) of them each finger." (Pickthall)
Allah is here telling the angels to strike (idreb) the infidels. Are we to believe that the angels are instructed to go around gently tapping the unbelievers? The vital issue that Muslims fail to realize is that regardless of the circumstances that allow a man to beat his wife, and regardless of how "gentle" (as they say) that beating may be, the fact that the Qur'an in principle allows a man to beat his wife, gives us a valid reason to reject at least one verse of the Qur'an.
Without any exception, all the Qur'anic expositors agree that Surah 4:34 authorizes the use of physical chastisement. As stated earlier, not only beating one's spouse is permissible in Islam, but it is also required as a procedure to administer "discipline." In contrast, many countries have established laws against spousal abuse in order to protect women from this tragedy. In the eyes of Islam, these laws are a direct violation of Allah's command in the Qur'an. Let us now look at the double standard of Allah. In Ahkamal-Qur'an (the Ordinances of the Qur'an), Vol. 1, p. 211, Imam Shafi'i wrote the following:
"In case of a husband's ill-treatment (of his spouse), the Qur'an permits reconciliation of the spouses and arbitration, but in the case of the wife it allows scourging her."
Take note of the discriminatory nature of Islam towards women. If the husband ill-treats his wife, Islam recommends reconciliation and a settlement of the dispute. However, in the case of the wife, it permits the husbands, no, it orders the husbands to beat the wives to settle the domestic dispute. Just imagine, even in cases where ill-treatment by the husband is established, no discipline is administered to prevent further injustices by the husband.
At the inception of Islam, a well-known incident is recorded by many Muslim chroniclers. In Riyad al-Salihin, "The Orchards of Righteous Men" (p. 107-108), Imam al-Nawawi chronicled the following incident:
"Umar Ibn al-Khattab came to Muhammad saying, 'Women have dared to disobey husbands.' He allowed their husbands to scourge them. Many women approached Muhammad complaining against their husbands because Muhammad received a verse for the Qur'an which commands their husbands to scourge them."
On account of the revelation of this single Qur'anic verse, wife-beating became a customary form of behavior in Islam. The women complained to Muhammad because of the change in the treatment they now received as a direct result of this Qur'anic verse. They certainly would not have done so if it did not hurt. This dispels the lies by some Muslim scholars that wife-beating is only a symbolic gesture in Islam. The account also says that many women complained. This means that wife-beating became widespread after Muhammad received this Qur'anic command. Thus, with Allah's consent, an appalling conduct was given legitimacy in Islam. Men with their greater bodily strength have certainly resorted to this unjust and cruel means since the earliest times, but its authorization by the law of Islam provides a justification for this barbarity.
The following Hadith will shed more light on this religious ruling on wife-beating during the early history of Islam.
Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2141:
Narrated Abdullah ibn AbuDhubab: Iyas ibn Abdullah ibn AbuDhubab reported the Apostle of Allah as saying: Do not beat Allah's handmaidens, but when Umar came to the Apostle of Allah and said: Women have become emboldened towards their husbands; he (the Prophet) gave permission to beat them. Then many women came round the family of the Apostle of Allah complaining against their husbands. So the Apostle of Allah said: Many women have gone round Muhammad's family complaining against their husbands. They are not the best among you.
This passage is revealing. It shows that Muhammad made a wicked decision upon receiving a complaint from one of his Companions. Once again, we are told that many of the women complained, and this can only mean that many of them were being beaten by their husbands. Rather than repealing the harsh ruling with a more merciful directive, Muhammad merely said that the women who complained are not "the best among you." As their spiritual guide, he did not speak one word of rebuke against the abusive husbands. Thus, both Allah and Muhammad authorized wife-beating as a means to subjugate the wives.
While some contemporary Muslim apologists squirm over this relatively straightforward verse from the Qur'an (Surah 4:34), Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradhawi, one of the most respected Muslim clerics in Islam, made the following statement:
"It is forbidden to beat the woman, unless it is necessary."
He also went on to say:
"One may beat only to safeguard Islamic behavior."
This clearly proves that in Islam, wife-beating is religiously sanctioned. Let us now briefly consider the historical background for the revealing of Surah 4:34.
Al-Razi, At-Tafsir al-Kabir states:
"A woman complained to Muhammad that her husband slapped her on the face, (which was still marked by the slap). At first, the prophet said to her: "Get even with him", but then added: "Wait until I think about it". Later on, Allah supposedly revealed 4:34 to Muhammad, after which the prophet said: "We wanted one thing but Allah wanted another, and what Allah wanted is best."
By saying that "We wanted one thing but Allah wanted another," Muhammad pretended that he was more merciful than Allah. He gave the impression that he did not wish for the wives to be beaten whereas Allah wants it to be implemented. And he added, "What Allah wanted is the best." Therefore, if Allah says it is best to beat women, what can he do?
It is also interesting to note Muhammad's reply to the woman who complained to him. He said, "Wait until I think about it." And before long, Muhammad receives Surah 4:34. Does not this give us a clue as to who it is that is doing the thinking for Allah?
In any case, how do you beat someone without causing him or her pain? The two concepts do not go together. If beating does not hurt, it is not a beating. With the revelation of Surah 4:34, Allah instituted wife abuse as a norm in Islam. This Islamic method of harsh discipline degrades and de-humanizes women. The wives are now treated as mere domestic animals that are to be disciplined physically when the husband feels she is disobedient. There is no way one can justify this institutionalized physical and psychological abuse of women in Islam. Thus, instead of solving the troubles in the marriage union, Islam adds to the existing problem.
It is common to find Muslims who tell how things were very different before the coming of Islam and how Islam improved the status of women. The more ignorant you are of Islam, the more glorious the picture of their religion will be painted to you. You may even notice a twinkle in their eyes as they speak of Islam's past glory and how women benefited with the coming of Islam. They will speak with such conviction as if they personally lived through the "Golden Days" of Islam. Do not be fooled by them. Let the facts speak for themselves. We will now look at the true-life situation that women faced and endured during the "Golden Days" of Islam.
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 72, Number 715:
Narrated 'Ikrima: Rifa'a divorced his wife whereupon 'AbdurRahman bin Az-Zubair Al-Qurazi married her. 'Aisha said that the lady (came), wearing a green veil (and complained to her (Aisha) of her husband and showed her a green spot on her skin caused by beating). It was the habit of ladies to support each other, so when Allah's Apostle came, 'Aisha said, "I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women. Look! Her skin is greener than her clothes!"
This Hadith reveals the true condition of women during the early days of Islam - during the time of Muhammad. A woman was beaten by her husband because of a marriage discord.She was severely beaten as her husband is given the authorization to do so by Allah. From the mouth of the wife of the Prophet, we learn that Muslim women were suffering more than their non-Muslim sisters. She stated, "I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women." Since when does a "gentle tap" cause so much suffering? According to Aisha, things were so bad for them, they had "to support each other."
While Muslim apologists dishonestly claim that wife-beating in Islam is only a symbolic gesture, the Islamic source materials prove otherwise. Aisha, the wife of the Prophet himself testified concerning the severity of the beating. Describing the injury of the victim, she stated, "Her skin is greener than her clothes!" Thus, the true situation shows that Muslim women were severely punished by the beatings they received during the "Golden Days" of Islam. These beatings take both a physical and mental toll on them. One of the more insidious aspects of wife-beating is the climate of fear that is created for those who are victimized by it.
These Hadiths give us a glimpse of how women fared during the early Islamic period - the "Golden Days" of Islam. They show us how women were viewed and how they were treated. Early Muslim scholars were able to develop an Islamic legislative system, based on these incidences. Through information based upon the Hadith and the Qur'an, Muslim leaders and scholars have been able to maintain the same oppressive spirit of Islam.
If wives were beaten with Muhammad's approval, then it is necessary - no, it is vital - that the practice be maintained for all eternity by Muslim husbands.Thus, in countries governed by the Shariah (Islamic) laws, Muslim women today are placed in the same position as they were in during Muhammad's time. Even today, wife beating is a major social problem in Islamic countries, yet Muslim clergies insist it should be done. If challenged, they claim that their religious rights are violated.
According to Muslim jurist, disobeying a man in bed or going out of the house without his permission are some examples that are defined as legal rebelliousness (nushuz). As such, it legally allows a man to beat his wife in order to remove that rebelliousness. In fact, a wide range of behavior is considered as rebellious and this includes all sorts of disobedience caused by defiance and disdain. Included in this broad definition of rebelliousness are the following: failure to dress as the husband wishes, failure to bathe before prayer, and refusing sexual intercourse when the husband demands it. (Al-Manar 5:76. Quoted in "The Position of Women in Islam" by Hamdun Dagher, Chapter 18, How a Man Should Discipline his Wife, p. 51)
Most civilized men would find it unacceptable that Muslim jurists consider it a legal right for husbands to beat their wives as a means of demanding sex from her, when she is unwilling to do so. Should not love be the dominating driving force behind every sexual act in the marriage? Even if for any reason, a man is unable to receive the expected willingness from his wife, will beating her really solve the problem? Will it not drive her further away. Will it not be better to use a loving approach to find out the underlying cause for her reluctance?
There may be a multitude of valid reasons why a woman might not feel like having sex at a given moment. It can be reasons having to do with her health, stress, physical or mental fatigue or some other factors. Even in the absence of such valid reasons, will it not be better to use love, compassion, understanding, and discernment to win back the wife's affection and intimacy. The husband's heartfelt appeal to God - together with his wife - for the necessary wisdom to resolve problems in the marriage will do much to regain the deep respect of his wife than resorting to physical abuse. And with respect, willingness will come naturally.
Disobeying a man in bed is given as a valid reason for Muslims to beat their wives. To copulate with your wife after beating her for it (sex) is an act that belongs to the animal domain. It is doubtful that even these lowly animals will resort to such a course of action. Sexual relationship is not just about gaining access to your wife's vagina in order to release your sexual urge; it involves a lot more than that. Above all, it involves love. It involves the unifying of the hearts and minds of both the persons involved in this act of intimacy. It involves the mental, physical and emotional participation of both the persons completely. It also involves the seeking of happiness, joy and satisfaction of the other person rather than one's own because love does not look for its own enjoyment. The legitimacy of a sexual act is not validated by the act itself but by the sacred marriage union that consecrates it. Beating one's wife for sex will destroy the very institution that sanctifies this act of intimacy. It is like cutting the tree to access its fruits.
That is why there is no room for the kind of behavior sanctioned by Islam in a godly marriage. When Islam permits beating one's wife as a legal means of forcing her to submit to intercourse, it reduces the marriage union into a meaningless relationship. It has failed to understand that the divine purpose of sex is not only to procreate but also to act as a unifying factor in the marriage union. By beating his wife, a Muslim husband has not only a humiliated her but has also forced her into a situation by which she has to provide sex on demand without her love or her heart committed to it. This is as close as it could get to degrading one's wife to the status of a prostitute. The only difference is that in one case, currency is used and in the other fear.
Sex at all cost will cost you. Sex should be viewed as only a natural consequence of the love that crowns the marriage. Love, the vital ingredient that is necessary for a successful marriage should not be sacrificed at the altar of sex. If love is in the marriage, the willingness for sex will come naturally. Beating her will only alienate her and kill the love that is so vital between a man and his wife. Allah does not have a clue about love in the divine marriage institution.
If Allah encourages dialogue when a husband deliberately ill-treats his wife, why does he not give the same privilege for the wife whose wrong might even be much more negligible? Why does Allah consider beating as a therapy when it comes to women? Is there some kind of resentment that Allah has towards women? It is hard to comprehend why women, the more delicate of the human creation, is subjected to harsher judgment than those given to men. There can be only one reason for this discrimination. Allah is not our Creator. He is an imposter. He is not the God of Justice and Compassion that he assumes to be. If you feel that this statement is incorrect or unfair to Allah, then take a close look at the words of his Prophet in the following Hadith.
Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2142:
Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab: The Prophet (pbuh) said: A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife.
Do you realize the liberty Islam has given to abusive husbands by this single statement? It means that the laws of Islam expects non-interference whatsoever from any outside source to mediate or plead the cause of these helpless women. Allah has made sure that the criminals are well protected in Islam. Any action taken by some Muslim governments on behalf of abused wives is not carried out because of Islam but in spite of it. Thus, any interference on their part to alleviate the suffering of these women at the hands of abusive husbands is a direct violation of the rulings of Islam. Of course, Muslim apologists will deny this. If Islam rules supreme and the laws of Shariah are implemented, can you imagine the sufferings that women will be subjected to under these laws? The exhortation to beat disobedient wife is not an aberration, oddity or stand alone element in Islam. Rather, the command to beat disobedient wives is enshrined in the Qur'an and founded upon a woman's subservient status in Islam. Accordingly, the Hadith states, "A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife."
Being caught between the pleas of his wives on behalf of the suffering women and his own permission to beat them, Muhammad came up with this convenient decree - "a man will not be asked why he beats his wife." It saved him the trouble of reproving the abusive husbands. In reality, what could he say to the abusive husbands? That he and Allah were wrong all along? That the husbands should now discontinue what was permitted earlier by him and Allah?
In strictly Islamic countries, not only are women battered by their husbands but these men are also given free rein, knowing that they would not be questioned, not even by the Islamic court. In very rare instances when someone very popular is the victim, even then only when the tragedy becomes widely known and only because of the mounting pressure from the civilized world or from the secular sectors within the Muslim country, some token action may be taken against the abusive husband. The token justice may be carried out - in violation of the Shariah law - as a necessity to do some damage control and sometimes to show to the civilized world that women are treated fairly in Islam. But when Islam rules supreme, even this token action will be a thing of the past. This is because in the light of the ultimate divine truth that descended from the heaven to mankind through the final Prophet of Allah and recorded in the glorious Qur'an, Muslim men have every right to scourge their wives - a right given by Allah and authorized by Muhammad.
Al-Kashshaaf (the Revealer) by Al-Zamakhshari (d. 1143 C.E.) is a major Tafsir on the Qur'an. It has been studied for centuries by Sunni scholars. In Vol. 1, p. 525, we read the following:
"On the authority of Muhammad (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him), he said: 'Hang up your scourge in a place where your wife (or wives) can see it.'"
This is an act of intimidation and a threat. It is as if the husband is telling his wife, "Beware of disobedience or this is the scourge which is ready to fall upon you." This is exactly how animals are trained to be submissive. To indicate the limits of its freedom, the trainer will place the rod that is used to beat the animal in front of it. The fear and pain that is attached to the rod will stop the animal on its tracks. Even in the absence of the master, the rod commands obedience. It is very telling that Islam means submission.
On the authority of Asmā, the daughter of Caliph Abu Bakr, the above Tafsir also stated:
'I was the fourth wife (among four) of al-Zubayr Ibn al-Awwam. Whenever he became angry at one of us he struck us with a hook rod until it was broken.'"
Think about the screams, the cries for mercy, the pleadings and the sobbing that could be heard coming from these helpless women as they are beaten mercilessly. Consider the pain, the fear, the suffering and sadness that these women experience and go through whenever this man becomes angry, only to be repeated time and again at the hands that are supposed to love and care.
The vital questions that we really need to ask are: (1) Who is this al-Zabayr Ibn al-Awwam? (2) How does Islam view this wicked man who beats his wives so mercilessly until the rod breaks? (3) Does Islam consider him as a bad example for Muslims?
Al-Zubayr Ibn al-Awwam was a cousin of Muhammad and one of his companions. He was an early convert to Islam. He served under Prophet Muhammad in various military expeditions and was a commander of one of the four armies that entered Mecca during the conquest of Mecca. He was also one of the ten whom Muhammad assured of paradise and one of the six whom Umar recommended for the Caliphate.
Sunan Abu Dawood, Book 40, Hadith 4632:
Narrated Sa'id ibn Zayd: Abdur Rahman ibn al-Akhnas said that when he was in the mosque, a man mentioned Ali (may Allah be pleased with him). So Sa'id ibn Zayd got up and said: I bear witness to the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) that I heard him say: Ten persons will go to Paradise: The Prophet (peace be upon him) will go to Paradise, AbuBakr will go to Paradise, Umar will go to Paradise, Uthman will go to Paradise, Ali will go to Paradise, Talhah will go to Paradise: al-Zubayr ibn al-Awwam will go to Paradise, Sa'd ibn Malik will go to Paradise, and AbdurRahman ibn Awf will go to Paradise. If I wish, I can mention the tenth. The People asked: Who is he: So he kept silence. The again asked: Who is he: He replied: He is Sa'id ibn Zayd.
Look at the privilege that Islam has given this monster. Muhammad assures this man - who violently beats his wives with unrestrained strength - of a place in Paradise. And why not? Is he not a good Muslim who is just applying the disciplinary methods outlined in the Qur'an? In the eyes of Muhammad, he is one of those who are worthy to be emulated. Muhammad ranked him as one of the top ten persons in Islam. Can he be viewed as an exemplary Muslim if wife-beating in Islam is just a "gentle tap"? Ask yourself, why was this man not punished but rewarded.
Can we really believe that this violent man patiently applied the progressive disciplinary action outlined in Surah 4:34? If Allah had any sense, he would have known that in a moment of anger, by virtue of the fact that wife-beating is allowed in Islam, a man will, but beat his wife instantly. As it will be shown later, even Muhammad was incapable of applying the disciplinary progression that was outlined in the Qur'an. Muslims can lie all they want, but the truth is, most Muslim men who beat their wives in a moment of anger, will neither care nor have the discipline to apply the first two steps in the disciplinary progression. And who is there to ask?
There was no reaction or rebuke whatsoever from Islam for this utmost cruel behavior by a very prominent Muslim. Instead, he was rewarded and what does that tell you about this religion? For those who are still blind, are these not sufficient proofs that wife-beating is sanctioned in Islam? How many more lies are Muslim apologists willing to tell? How many more tragedies will it take for Muslims to recognize the truth about the evil nature of this religion?
Contemporary scholars also acknowledge that wife-beating is sanctioned in Islam. In his book, "The Individual Guarantee in the Islamic Law" (p. 63), Ahmad Ahmad, a professor at the college of Law at the University of Qatar, wrote the following under the title, "Family Problems' Solution":
"If a woman is afraid that her husband may turn away from her or detest her, she will hasten to bring understanding and reconciliation. But if the husband is afraid that his wife may rebel against him, he hastens to bring mutual understanding by means of exhortation, then by abandonment of the bed, then by the scourging which deters."
"By the scourging which deters." At least, this Islamic professor is honest. He has made it crystal clear as to how the beating should be administered. Light or symbolical beating can never be described as "scourging which deters." To be described as such, the beating should be both forceful and at the same time instill fear. There are many other references, both ancient and contemporary, which explain Surah 4:34. Actually, this verse does not need any explanation because it is self-explanatory. Words are meant to convey thoughts, and in this case, the thoughts of Allah are very clear. To beat or scourge can only mean one thing and honest Muslims know what it means. Surah 4:34 authorizes Muslim men to beat their wives into subjection.
It is evident that many countries regard wife abuse as a crime punishable by law. If it is legally unacceptable for a man to even ill-treat an animal, how much so when it involves someone who has lovingly swore to become a companion for life. Someone who is willing to share not only the man's happiness but also his sorrows. Someone who is there to nurse him in sickness and be there when he needs love. How can a man even think of hurting the one who is willing to carry his child in her delicate womb and bear alone the pain that she of necessity must experience in order to bring forth that child of his into the world? What right has Islam to subject her to more pain?
A wife is truly a blessing and a precious gift from God. Yet, according to the Islamic faith and by distinct orders issued by Allah, a man is allowed to scourge his wife with an undisturbed conscience because he is carrying out Allah's commandment as recorded in the Qur'an. Would a loving God send down a revelation that promotes domestic violence in his sacred text?
Now lets us look at the example of Muhammad - the compassionate and merciful Prophet. The one who is considered by Allah as the greatest example for mankind. Let him kindly show how Muslim husbands ought to treat their wives when they (the husbands) become upset by anger. Perhaps Muslim men can learn something from Muhammad about restraint and self-control when they administer Allah's disciplinary progression as outlined in Surah 4:34.
Sahih Muslim, Book: 004, Number 2127:
He (Muhammad b. Qais) then reported that it was 'A'isha who had narrated this: Should I not narrate to you about myself and about the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him)? We said: Yes. She said: When it was my turn for Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) to spend the night with me, he turned his side, put on his mantle and took off his shoes and placed them near his feet, and spread the corner of his shawl on his bed and then lay down till he thought that I had gone to sleep. He took hold of his mantle slowly and put on the shoes slowly, and opened the door and went out and then closed it lightly. I covered my head, put on my veil and tightened my waist wrapper, and then went out following his steps till he reached Baqi'. He stood there and he stood for a long time. He then lifted his hands three times, and then returned and I also returned. He hastened his steps and I also hastened my steps. He ran and I too ran. He came (to the house) and I also came (to the house). I, however, preceded him and I entered (the house), and as I lay down in the bed, he (the Holy Prophet) entered the (house), and said: Why is it, O 'A'isha, that you are out of breath? I said: There is nothing. He said: Tell me or the Subtle and the Aware would inform me. I said: Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be ransom for you, and then I told him (the whole story). He said: Was it the darkness (of your shadow) that I saw in front of me? I said: Yes. He struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly?
Does the above narration give you an impression that our gentle Prophet gave a "light tap" on the chest of his beloved wife as Muslim apologist wants us to believe? Islam is a lie and Muslims have no qualms about lying to defend it. If this is how the Prophet treated his favorite wife, imagine what is in store for the rest of the wives of ordinary Muslims. There is a further lesson that we can learn from this incident. Even after hitting his wife on the chest that caused her pain, the Prophet asked her, "Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly?" Thus, the Prophet is making it very, very clear that in Islam, it is not an act of injustice to beat one's wife, painfully or otherwise. This is the undeniable Sunnah of the Prophet. The Prophet of Islam is a wife-beater. None is as blind as the one who does not want to see. And Muslims are blind.
There is yet another vital point to consider. Why did not Muhammad apply the first step of the disciplinary procedure? Why did he not admonish Aisha first, as required by Allah? Notice that the admonishment came only after he struck her in the chest painfully. In the words of Aisha: "He struck me on the chest which caused me pain," (the beating) "and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly?" (the admonishment). A complete reversal of the Islamic disciplinary procedure. And what happened to "beds apart"? Notice too that there was not only a complete reversal but there was also no waiting period between the disciplinary procedures. Everything came in one uncontrolled scoop fall. If Muhammad, the supposedly greatest exemplar for mankind, failed to apply Allah's law effectively, do you think the average Muslim husband would be able to do so? In this single episode, Muhammad proved the impracticality of Allah's disciplinary progression as outlined in the Qur'an. He also proved that Islam is a lie. If only Allah had commanded Muslims to love their wives instead of commanding them to beat, the outcome of the above incident may possibly have ended differently.
Many women in the Islamic world live in dreadful fear of being beaten by their husbands.The home environment is shrouded in a climate of fear. The permissibility of wife-beating in Islam has sadly deprived women of the safety and security in the very place where it should be found. Wife-beating has also resulted in a major social problem in the Muslim community. Muslim clergies insist it is a right in Islam to beat the disobedient wife.
Contrary to the claims made by Muslims, the records show that the physical damage in many cases has been quite severe. The injures suffered by the wives may range from bruises to broken bones. In some very severe incidences, it has even resulted in death. Some Muslims claim that it is not "Islamic" to break her bones. The fact that wife-beating is allowed, a husband with the best of intentions, can injure his wife by accident while beating her. Or the husband may not intend initially to injure his wife but once the beating begins, an angry husband could take it too far.In both cases, the wife is damaged severely, and the mental scars remain after the body heals.These so-called "Islamic guidelines" for wife-beating are a coward's way of dealing with normal marriage difficulties. Of course, there are no such "guidelines" in the Qur'an. Allah just gave the authorization to scourge disobedient wives with no bylaws attached.
Studies also show that children, who grow up in homes where their mothers are beaten, grow up thinking it is an acceptable behavior. Thus, wife-beating is fostered. Boys grow up into men thinking it is acceptable to beat their wives and sadly, girls grow up thinking it is alright for them to be beaten. Islamic wife-beating is a serious problem for Muslim women. It is much more serious and widespread than any one of us can imagine. Many Muslim women are either unwilling or unable to get help. Muslim women accept this abuse as Allah's will. They will not go for help because that would be considered as a greater degree of rebellion, both towards their husbands and Allah.This is a tragic dilemma for these unfortunate women. They are trapped between an abusive husband, and a god that allows the abuse.
The great Islamic scholar Al-Tabari stated in his commentary:
Tabari IX:113: "Allah permits you to shut them in separate rooms and to beat them, but not severely. If they abstain, they have the right to food and clothing. Treat women well for they are like domestic animals and they possess nothing themselves. Allah has made the enjoyment of their bodies lawful in his Qur'an."
Take note that the words "not severely" are not the words of Allah's but words interjected by Tabari. There is no way to rationalize this degrading physical and psychological abuse of women that is commanded by Allah. Like a prized animal, woman is to be treated well as long as she pleases her husband (master) by allowing her body to be used for his enjoyment but when she fails to meet his requirements, she is to be severely disciplined. As the above Hadith states, women are like domestic animals in Islam. It does not matter if they are severely injured with broken bones, contusions, disfigurations or if they suffer mental depressions. You can always replace one domestic animal with another. This is one of the great failures of the Islamic system. Therefore, Islam is not the solution, it is the problem. In contrast to the loving teachings of Jehovah, Allah could give a command in the Qur'an for husbands to beat their wives but not a command to love their wives.That is why the women in Christianity fare much better than the women in Islam. In the Bible, Christian husbands are given the following commands:
Ephesians 5:28-30: "In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church."
Just as the husband will not hurt himself, neither is he allowed to hurt his wife. This is the kind of love that is required of a Christian husband. This is the kind of love that he is commanded to demonstrate towards his wife. Wife-beating is not an option in Christianity. It is forbidden. The laws of Jehovah are the laws of a loving Creator. The purpose of a Christian marriage is something that is too profound and too divine for one with the Muslim mind-set to understand.
The relationship between the Christian husband and his wife serves as an illustration of the relationship between Christ and his congregation. Thus, Christian husbands are even required to lay down their lives in sacrificial love for the protection and welfare of their wives should the situation warrant it. And in this safe and cherished embrace of such a loving husband, the Christian wife naturally becomes a willing partner and submits to his headship willingly.
Colossians 3:19: "You husbands love your wives and do not ye be bitterly angry with them."
If it is even forbidden for a Christian husband to be bitterly angry with his wife, would he then be permitted to beat her? Through the laws of marriage laid down in the Bible for Christians, we can learn much about unconditional love, respectful honor and lessons in forgiveness. Christian couples are taught to handle their shortcomings with love and insight. Not only will this result in true happiness between the husband and the wife but it will help them to draw closer to their God. This is one of God's purposes for designing the covenant of marriage. When God is in the marriage, love dominates. There is no room for physical violence in a godly marriage.
In contrast to the Bible, the Qur'an outlines the steps to be taken when a husband is dealing with a "rebellious" wife. The third step to be taken is physical violence. Period. It is given as a command and not as an option. As for the term "rebellious," it is very subjective. It can be applied to any wide range of actions that a Muslim husband may personally view as rebellious. And depending on the mental disposition of the husband, what is considered "rebellious" may vary from time to time according to the mental state he is in. It may also differ from one husband to another. Thus, Allah's laws in the Qur'an and the Hadith have subjected women to life of grave uncertainties. His laws have brought untold suffering to Muslim wives. His indifference towards the distresses of women shows that he cannot be the true God. He is too wicked to be mankind's Creator.
"Allah the Merciful" and "Muhammad the Prophet of Mercy" spoke with one voice concerning the dignity of women in Islam. And this is what they said: "A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife." This means, not even by Allah!
The Islamic source materials provided in this article establish the fact that the command to beat of "disobedient" wives is part and parcel of the teachings of Islam. Wife-beating occurred in early Islam with Muhammad's approval. It became an integral part of Islam's theology for family management. Moreover, contrary to lies proliferated by Muslim apologists, this beating is meant to inflict pain in order to bring the wife into submission to her husband.
Muslims must be realistic about their expectation of their Prophet. Just how realistic is it that Muhammad would give a command to Muslim husbands to apply love and forgiveness to settle family disputes rather than use physical force to subdue their wives? Consider this: Can anything good come from a man who taught that a Muslim wife should be made to share her marital bed with three other wives at her husband's discretion? Can anything good come from a man who established the "triple talaq" rule so that a wife can be thrown out of the house at any time? Can anything good come from a man who encouraged his men to rape women captured in battle? As Jesus wisely said, it is absolutely unrealistic to "gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles." (Matthew 7:16). Similarly, nothing good can come from a wife beater. And Muhammad was a wife-beater.
It is urgent to expose this abhorrence in the guise of religion before it destroys many more innocent lives. The very first step to solve any issues is to acknowledge that the problem exists. Muslims must, therefore, be willing to admit honestly that a serious problem exists in Islam. A problem rooted in the Qur'an. This shows us why it is inexcusable for any decent human being to accept Islam or its teachings. Wife-beating is unacceptable.