Wife Beating in the Qur'an
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This article was written by non-Muslim Arabs in response to the strange translation of the verb darb (meaning "hit" "beat" or "strike") that has been presented on a few websites which claim to have "modern" translations of the Qur'an.
There is no argument made here against progressive thinking, this is something that should be encouraged. The objection and the need to respond lay in the fact that, rarely, are these arguments used in an attempt to "reform" Islam. It is only logical to conclude that you cannot reform something if you deny there was ever a problem with it to begin with.
These apologetic arguments are clearly directed at non-Muslims who are ignorant of Islam, as any Muslim who has an adequate command of the Arabic language or is familiar with the hadith and tafsir text related to this issue, will find the claim being presented to be ridiculous.
An example of this can be found in the case of Laleh Bakhtiar, an American Muslim apologist. She too has incorporated this error into her "translation" of the Qur'an, a translation which the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) refused to sell in their bookstore.
The following verse (4:34) does not mean "to beat them," but rather to "separate from them" or to "strike them out."
As we can see below, almost all Qur'anic translators have translated the term as "beat them".
Al-Hilali & Mohsin Khan:
Dr. T.B. Irving:
Muhammad Ayub Khan:
Ahmed Raza Khan:
Hassan Qaribullah & Ahmad Darwish:
Mahmud Y. Zayid:
Apologists attempt to back up their claim that darb does not mean "to beat them" (i.e. their wives) in verse 4:34 by providing us with several other verses in the Qur'an which contain the word darb, being used to describe an action other than "to beat" or "to strike" (which are both very similar in Arabic):
- To travel, to get out: See Quran 3:156; Quran 4:101; Quran 38:44; Quran 73:20; Quran 2:273
- To strike: See Quran 2:60,Quran 2:73; Quran 7:160; Quran 8:12; Quran 20:77; Quran 24:31; Quran 26:63; Quran 37:93; Quran 47:4
- To beat: Quran 8:50; See Quran 47:27
- To set up: Quran 43:58; See Quran 57:113
- To give examples: See Quran 14:24, Quran 14:45; Quran 16:75, Quran 16:76, Quran 16:112; Quran 18:32, Quran 18:45; Quran 24:35; Quran 30:28, Quran 30:58; Quran 36:78; Quran 39:27, Quran 39:29; Quran 43:17; Quran 59:21; Quran 66:10, Quran 66:11
- To take away, to ignore: See Quran 43:5
- To condemn: See Quran 2:61
- To seal, to draw over: See Quran 18:11
- To cover: See Quran 24:31
- To explain: See Quran 13:17
Evidently, they have searched through the Qur'an for any verses which contain a derivative of the verb darb and then have compared their meanings, concluding that there are ten different meanings for the verb darb and something other than "to beat" can be applied to verse 4:34. Each of these differing usages of the verb darb will be thoroughly analyzed through the verses supporting them.
Once you have studied all those verses, you will find that they do not effect the interpretation of verse 4:34 whatsoever, and that the verb darb was indeed correctly understood and translated as "beat".
In fact, all the other verses presented which contain darb are actually using the term figuratively. For example, "hit the sky" is a figurative expression; nothing can literally "hit" or "crash" with layers of gases, it is meant to be understood as "fly high through" the sky. These apologists will claim that this is a "different meaning" for the word "hit." So when someone says "I'll hit you," in actuality they meant "I'll fly high through you."
Comparison with English Usages
First of all, there is a very important concept that needs to be understood: The meaning of many verbs differ according to the objects they are applied to. Using the word "hit" in English as an example, which also means darb, we will do exactly as the apologists have done, and will extract ten different meanings from the verb "hit."
Ten Meanings for "Hit"
The ten meanings are as follows (note that the nouns in the brackets are the objects to be hit):
- Go through (Road)
- Click (Mouse)
- Drink (Bottle)
- Land (Target)
- Reach (Market)
- Press (Brakes)
- Go (Beach)
- Fulfill (Spot)
- Demonstrate (Streets)
- Win (Jackpot)
- When someone "hits the road," it means he "departed" or "went through the road." It surely doesn't mean he got a hammer and hit the road. Does "hit the woman" mean "go through the woman"?
- When someone says they will "hit the Mouse," they mean to say they will "click on the mouse." Does "hit the woman" mean "click on the woman"?
- When someone says they'll "hit the bottle," what they really mean is, they'll "drink the bottle" or "drink alcohol heavily." Does "hit the woman" mean "drink the woman"?
- When a darts player "hits the target," he didn't get the dart board and break it, he simply shot the dart and it "landed on the target." Does "hit the woman" mean "land on the woman"?
- When an author's book "hits the market," it means the book "reaches the market." Does "hit the woman" mean "reach the woman"?
- When someone says they'll "hit the brakes," it doesn't mean they'll break the braking pedal, but rather it mean they'll "press on the brakes" to stop the car. Does "hit the woman" mean "press on the woman"?
- When a family "hits the beach," they didn't fall from the 11th floor and "crash" into the beach, but they "went to the beach." Does "hit the woman" mean "go to the woman"?
- When someone says its fine but it didn't "hit the spot," they mean to say its fine but didn't fulfill their needs. Does "hit the woman" mean "woman fulfilled my needs"?
- When someone says the activists "hit the streets," it means the activists "demonstrated in the streets." Does "hit the woman" mean "demonstrate to the woman"?
- When someone says they "hit the jackpot" it actually means they "won the jackpot." Does "hit the woman" mean "win the woman"?
As you can clearly see, each of those sentences require a different interpretation of the word "hit", which is applied accordingly to the object used in combination with it. With all these supposedly "different meanings" of the word "hit" in mind, what is your understanding of the sentence "I will hit my woman?"
It still has no other meaning than "I will beat my woman."' The difference between, for example, "hit the road" and "hit the woman", is the object to be hit, and not the meaning of "hit" itself.
This is the "logic" used by apologists to defend the Qur'an:
Maybe a new device, with the name of "Xiner" will be around, and "hitting the Xiner" will mean "powering-on the Xiner."
- "Hit the Xiner" means "power-on the Xiner"
- Both statements "hit the woman" and "hit the Xiner" use the word "hit"
- Therefore, "hit the woman" can also mean "power-on the woman" or "energize the woman"
The above, clearly demonstrates the irrationality of this reasoning. The meaning of "hit" depends on the object to be hit. The sentence "hit the Xiner" does not, under any circumstance, change or add a new meaning to the word "hit". This is a non-sequitur argument. The repetition of the word "hit" in the two phrases does not make a connection between them, as each one is being used in a different expression, and its meaning is only correctly understood from its own context, and not the other's. Therefore the conclusion reached is irrelevant.
The problem here is that they derive the meaning of darb from a "packaged" expression. The whole expression is what gives it meaning; breaking up an expression and deriving new meanings from its verb is not a logical thing to do. If they see this as logical, then they must agree "I'll hit my woman" in English also has ten different possible interpretations (Go through, Drink, Click, Land....etc). It should be understood that:
- When the object named "road" is hit, the whole statement means "go".
- When the object named "Xiner" is hit, the whole statement means "power-on the Xiner".
- When the object named "woman" is hit, the whole statement means "beat the woman".
The ten interpretations that have been given for the word hit, are in fact very similar to those which apologists have provided from the Qur'an as "different meanings of the word darb."
The only way for "hit" to have multiple meanings in verse 4:34 is if it has been used more than once, against a human being, with different interpretations; for example, when "hit the woman" is found in the Qur'an to mean both "beat her" and to "abandon her," which is not the case.
Taking this into account, verses referring to hitting only parts of a human will not do the job sufficiently, as it can be claimed that when the Qur'an says "hit your feet" it simply means to "start walking"; thus verses mentioning the hitting of "ears" and "necks" will be dismissed. Although most of them do support the meaning "beat", the verses which mention hitting a whole human-being will be our only guide.
What has been explained here, can also be applied in Arabic, as even the expression "hit the road" is found in Arabic as "hit in the land", which means to "travel through the land." One of the most frequent Arabic expressions is also to "hit an example," which means to "give an example." So now, with this understanding, we can delve into the real work.
Most of the verses containing the ten different meanings which have been given by the apologists are using the verb darb (hit) not against human beings, but rather "hitting the land," "hitting an example," "hitting the truth"... etc. While in the few verses that darb was used against a human being, it meant to "beat" or "strike," which confirms our understanding of the use of darb in verse 4:34.
What will be discussed now is how the meaning of darb is not altered by its different interpretations in the given verses. We will present the transliteration, and word-by-word literal translation of the statement in Bold in each verse, which is the place where darb (hit) and its object (i.e. Land) are used; and above each verse you'll find the name of the object being hit. For example, if we encounter a phrase such as "hit an example," we will literally translate it as is, not as "give an example" like the standard Qur'anic translations. Although this translation may sound strange, it will make the object to be hit, easily identifiable for the non-Arabic speakers.
We translated all the verses for no other reason than to show that each time "darb" is used and has a different meaning than to "beat," it is not against a human being, but against other material and non-material objects. And each and every time it is used against a human, it had no other meaning than to "beat".
- The verses which mention hitting a whole human body will have their title in red.
- We will skip the meanings of number 2 [to strike] and number 3 [to beat] that are provided by the Islamic sites, as they already confirm that women are beaten, and they will be discussed at the end, once we are finished with meaning number 10.
- You do not have to go through all of the verses covered. You can simply read the first verse in each of the eleven sections and the ones with a red title. The reason why all of the verses have been refuted, is to make the argument against these "modern translations" complete and comprehensive.
Meaning number 1: To travel, to get out
Verse: 3.156 Object: Land
Transliteration: Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo la takoonoo kaallatheena kafaroo waqaloo li-ikhwanihim itha daraboo fee al-ardi aw kanoo ghuzzan law kanoo AAindana ma matoo wama qutiloo liyajAAala Allahu thalika hasratan fee quloobihim waAllahu yuhyee wayumeetu waAllahu bima taAAmaloona baseerun
daraboo is derived from darab, meaning "hit". Fee literally means "in". Al-Ardi means "the land". Thus, the whole statement daraboo fee al-ardi says "hit in the land" meaning something like "hit the road", which doesn't give a new meaning for "hit" (darab) at all.
Also, there was never something like "hit in the sea" or "hit in the city" to mean go through them. "Hit" gives that meaning only when it is against "land." It's a known expression.
Verse: 4.101 Object: Land
Transliteration: Wa-itha darabtum fee al-ardi falaysa AAalaykum junahun an taqsuroo mina aIssalati in khiftum an yaftinakumu allatheena kafaroo inna alkafireena kanoo lakum AAaduwwan mubeenan
darabtum fee al-ardi literally meaning "you (plural) hit in the land"
Verse: 38.44 Object: Grass
Transliteration: Wakhuth biyadika dighthan faidrib bihi wala tahnath inna wajadnahu sabiran niAAma alAAabdu innahu awwabun
biyadika dighthan faidrib bihi literally meaning "take in your hand a little grass, and strike therewith"
Verse: 73.20 Object: Land
Transliteration: Inna rabbaka yaAAlamu annaka taqoomu adna min thuluthayi allayli wanisfahu wathuluthahu wata-ifatun mina allatheena maAAaka waAllahu yuqaddiru allayla waalnnahara AAalima an lan tuhsoohu fataba AAalaykum faiqraoo ma tayassara mina alqur-ani AAalima an sayakoonu minkum marda waakharoona yadriboona fee al-ardi yabtaghoona min fadli Allahi waakharoona yuqatiloona fee sabeeli Allahi faiqraoo ma tayassara minhu waaqeemoo alssalata waatoo alzzakata waaqridoo Allaha qardan hasanan wama tuqaddimoo li-anfusikum min khayrin tajidoohu AAinda Allahi huwa khayran waaAAthama ajran waistaghfiroo Allaha inna Allaha ghafoorun raheemun
yadriboona fee al-ardi literally meaning "they hit in the land."
Verse: 2.273 Object: Land
Transliteration: Lilfuqara-i allatheena ohsiroo fee sabeeli Allahi la yastateeAAoona darban fee al-ardi yahsabuhumu aljahilu aghniyaa mina aIttaAAaffufi taAArifuhum biseemahum la yas-aloona aInnasa ilhafan wama tunfiqoo min khayrin fa-inna Allaha bihi AAaleemun
darban fee al-ardi literally meaning "a hit in the land."
Meaning number 2 and number 3
As mentioned earlier, these will be skipped, as the interpretations provided by the Islamic sites ("to beat" and "to strike") already confirm that women are beaten, and will be discussed further at the end.
Meaning number 4: To set up
Verse: 43.58 Object: Example
Transliteration: Waqaloo aalihatuna khayrun am huwa ma daraboohu laka illa jadalan bal hum qawmun khasimoona
ma daraboohu laka literally meaning "what they have hit for you." The thing that is hit here is, from its previous verse Quran 43:57, is an example.
Verse: 57.13 Object: Wall
Transliteration: Yawma yaqoolu lmunafiqoona waalmunafiqatu lillatheena amanoo on uroona naqtabis min noorikum qeela irjiAAoo waraakum failtamisoo nooran faduriba baynahum bisoorin lahu babun batinuhu feehi aIrrahmatu wathahiruhu min qibalihi alAAathabu
faduriba baynahum bisoorin literally meaning "a wall was hit between them" which is understood as "a wall was stroke between them."
Meaning number 5: To give examples
Verse: 14.24 Object: Example
Transliteration: Alam tara kayfa daraba Allahu mathalan kalimatan tayyibatan kashajaratin tayyibatin asluha thabitun wafarAAuha fee aIssama
daraba Allahu mathalan literally meaning "Allah hit an example", which is a well known and frequently used expression meaning "give an example." It is important to mention that darab is used to mean "give" only when the object given is an example.
Verse: 14.45 Object: Example
Transliteration: Wasakantum fee masakini allatheena thalamoo anfusahum watabayyana lakum kayfa faAAalna bihim wadarabna lakumu al-amthala
wadarabna lakumu al-amthala literally meaning "we hit for you the example."
Verse: 16.75 Object: Example
Transliteration: Daraba Allahu mathalan AAabdan mamlookan la yaqdiru AAala shay-in waman razaqnahu minna rizqan hasanan fahuwa yunfiqu minhu sirran wajahran hal yastawoona alhamdu lillahi bal aktharuhum la yaAAlamoona
Daraba Allahu mathalan literally meaning "Allah has hit an example."
Verse: 16.76 Object: Example
Transliteration: Wadaraba Allahu mathalan rajulayni ahaduhuma abkamu la yaqdiru AAala shay-in wahuwa kallun AAala mawlahu aynama yuwajjihhu la ya/ti bikhayrin hal yastawee huwa waman ya/muru bialAAadli wahuwa AAala siratin mustaqeemin
Wadaraba Allahu mathalan literally meaning "And Allah has hit an example."
Verse: 16.112 Object: Example
Transliteration: Wadaraba Allahu mathalan qaryatan kanat aminatan mutma-innatan ya/teeha rizquha raghadan min kulli makanin fakafarat bi-anAAumi Allahi faathaqaha Allahu libasa aljooAAi waalkhawfi bima kanoo yasnaAAoona
Wadaraba Allahu mathalan literally meaning "And Allah has hit an example."
Verse: 18.32 Object: Example
Transliteration: Waidrib lahum mathalan rajulayni jaAAalna li-ahadihima jannatayni min aAAnabin wahafafnahuma binakhlin wajaAAalna baynahuma zarAAan
Waidrib lahum mathalan literally meaning "and you, hit for them an example."
Verse: 18.45 Object: Example
Transliteration: Waidrib lahum mathala alhayati aIddunya kama-in anzalnahu mina aIssama-i faikhtalata bihi nabatu al-ardi faasbaha hasheeman tathroohu aIrriyahu wakana Allahu AAala kulli shay-in muqtadiran
Waidrib lahum mathala literally meaning "and hits for them an example."
Verse: 24.35 Object: Example
Transliteration: Allahu nooru aIssamawati waal-ardi mathalu noorihi kamishkatin feeha misbahun almisbahu fee zujajatin aIzzujajatu kaannaha kawkabun durriyyun yooqadu min shajaratin mubarakatin zaytoonatin la sharqiyyatin wala gharbiyyatin yakadu zaytuha yudee-o walaw lam tamsas-hu narun noorun AAala noorin yahdee Allahu linoorihi man yashao wayadribu Allahu al-amthala liInnasi waA ahu bikulli shay-in AAaleemun
wayadribu Allahu al-amthala literally meaning "And Allah hits the examples."
Verse: 30.28 Object: Example
Transliteration: Daraba lakum mathalan min anfusikum hal lakum mimma malakat aymanukum min shurakaa fee ma razaqnakum faantum feehi sawaon takhafoonahum kakheefatikum anfusakum kathalika nufassilu al- ayati liqawmin yaAAqiloona
Daraba lakum mathalan literally meaning "hit an example for you."
Verse: 30.58 Object: Example
Transliteration: Walaqad darabna liInnasi fee hatha alqur-ani min kulli mathalin wala-in ji/tahum bi-ayatin layaqoolanna allatheena kafaroo in antum illa mubtiloona
darabna liInnasi fee hatha alqur-ani min kulli mathalin literally meaning "We have hit in this Quran for every example for the people."
Verse: 39.27 Object: Example
Transliteration: Walaqad darabna liInnasi fee hatha alqur-ani min kulli mathalin laAAallahum yatathakkaroona
Walaqad darabna liInnasi fee hatha alqur-ani min kulli mathalin literally meaning "And we have hit in this Quran from every example for the people."
Verse: 39.29 Object: Example
Transliteration: Daraba Allahu mathalan rajulan feehi shurakao mutashakisoona warajulan salaman lirajulin hal yastawiyani mathalan alhamdu lillahi bal aktharuhum la yaAAlamoona
Daraba Allahu mathalan literally meaning "Allah hit an example."
Verse: 43.17 Object: Example
Transliteration: Wa-itha bushshira ahaduhum bima daraba liIrrahmani mathalan thalla wajhuhu muswaddan wahuwa katheemun
bima daraba liIrrahmani mathalan literally meaning "in the examples hit by the Merciful."
Verse: 59.21 Object: Example
Transliteration: Law anzalna hatha alqur-ana AAala jabalin laraaytahu khashiAAan mutasaddiAAan min khashyati Allahi watilka al-amthalu nadribuha liInnasi laAAallahum yatafakkaroona
watilka al-amthalu nadribuha liInnasi literally meaning "and these are the examples that we hit for the people."
Verse: 66.10 Object: Example
Transliteration: Daraba Allahu mathalan lillatheena kafaroo imraata noohin waimraata lootin kanata tahta AAabdayni min AAibadina salihayni fakhanatahuma falam yughniya AAanhuma mina Allahi shay-an waqeela odkhula aInnara maAAa aIddakhileena
Daraba Allahu mathalan literally meaning "Allah has hit an example."
Verse: 66.11 Object: Example
Transliteration: Wadaraba Allahu mathalan lillatheena amanoo imraata firAAawna ith qalat rabbi ibni lee AAindaka baytan fee aljannati wanajjinee min firAAawna waAAamalihi wanajjinee mina alqawmi aIththalimeena
Wadaraba Allahu mathalan literally meaning "And Allah has hit an example."
Meaning number 6: To take away, to ignore
Verse: 43.5 Object: Admonition
Transliteration: Afanadribu AAankumu aIththikra safhan an kuntum qawman musrifeena
Afanadribu AAankumu aIththikra literally meaning "shall we hit the admonition from you." Again, this is a known expression.
Meaning number 7: To condemn
Verse: 26.1 Object: Humiliation
Transliteration: Wa-ith qultum ya moosa lan nasbira AAala taAAamin wahidin faodAAu lana rabbaka yukhrij lana mimma tunbitu al-ardu min baqliha waqiththa-iha wafoomiha waAAadasiha wabasaliha qala atastabdiloona allathee huwa adna bia athee huwa khayrun ihbitoo misran fa-inna lakum ma saaltum waduribat AAalayhimu aIththillatu waalmaskanatu wabaoo bighadabin mina Allahi thalika bi- annahum kanoo yakfuroona bi-ayati Allahi wayaqtuloona aInnabiyyeena bighayri alhaqqi thalika bima AAasaw wakanoo yaAAtadoona
waduribat AAalayhimu aIththillatu literally meaning "and the humiliation was hit on him." The humiliation is what was hit, not Moses himself.
Meaning number 8: To seal, to draw over
Verse: 18.11 :Over the ears
Transliteration: Fadarabna AAala athanihim fee alkahfi sineena AAadadan
Fadarabna AAala athanihim literally meaning "we have hit over their ears," which is a common expression in Arabic that means "we will make your ears hear nothing." Just like "hit your feet" can mean "start walking." What was hit here was the ears, not the people themselves.
Meaning number 9: To cover
Verse: 24.31 Object: Veils and Feet
Transliteration: Waqul lilmu/minati yaghdudna min absarihinna wayahfathna furoojahunna wala yubdeena zeenatahunna illa mathahara minha walyadribna bikhumurihinna AAala juyoobihinna wala yubdeena zeenatahunna illa libuAAoolatihinna aw aba-ihinna aw aba-i buAAoolatihinna awthabna-ihinna aw abna-i buAAoolatihinna aw ikhwanihinna aw banee ikhwanihinna aw banee akhawatihinna aw nisa- ihinna aw ma malakat aymanuhunna awi aIttabiAAeena ghayri olee al-irbati mina aIrrijali awi aIttifli allatheena lam ya haroo AAala AAawrati aInnisa-i wala yadribna bi-arjulihinna liyuAAlama ma yukhfeena min zeenatihinna watooboo ila Allahi jameeAAan ayyuha almu/minoona laAAallakum tuflihoona
This verse mentions the verb darb twice. In the first occurrence, it says walyadribna bikhumurihinna AAala juyoobihinna literally meaning "and they should hit their veils over their bosoms," which also does not reflect that the word darb means "cover" as has been alleged. If it were, then it should be written as such: "and they should hit themselves with their veils over their bosoms."
In the second occurrence, wala yadribna bi-arjulihinna literally means "they should not hit their feet;" and here "hit" is meant literally as "hit" or "strike."
Meaning number 10: To explain
Verse: 13.17 Object: Truth and Vanity
Transliteration: Anzala mina aIssama-i maan fasalat awdiyatun biqadariha faihtamala aIssaylu zabadan rabiyan wamimma yooqidoona AAalayhi fee aInnari ibtighaa hilyatin aw mataAAin zabadun mithluhu kathalika yadribu Allahu alhaqqa waalbatila faamma aIzzabadu fayathhabu jufaan waamma ma yanfaAAu aInnasa fayamkuthu fee al-ardi kathalika yadribu Allahu al-amthala
Another two instances of "darb" here: yadribu Allahu alhaqqa waalbatila literally meaning "Allah hits the truth and the vanity," as in "Allahs explains the truth and the vanity."
yadribu Allahu al-amthala literally means "Allah hits an example."
Meaning number 2 and 3 Examined
All the verses that were given by the Islamic site so far, which were intended to show that darab has a meaning other than "beat" or "strike," have not used darab against a human being. Thus, they are irrelevant to this discussion.
Again, when someone says "I'll hit my woman," it does not have any other meaning than to say "I'll beat her" Despite all the other meanings it can have when used against other objects, its use against this specific object (i.e. the human body) remains unchanged.
As has been mentioned earlier, the only way for darab to have multipile meanings in verse 4:34 is if it has been used more than once, against a human being, with different interpretations; for example, when "hit the woman" is found in the Qur'an to mean both "beat her" and to "abandon her,". Thankfully [for the truth], there are a few verses in the Quran which use darab against humans, that have also been given by the Islamic site themselves, and we shall examine them in the next two sections.
Meaning number 2: To strike
Verse: 2.60 Object: Rock
Transliteration: Wa-ithi istasqa moosa liqawmihi faqulna idrib biAAasaka alhajara fainfajarat minhu ithnata AAashrata AAaynan qad AAalima kullu onasin mashrabahum kuloo waishraboo min rizqi Allahi wala taAAthaw fee al-ardi mufsideena
idrib biAAasaka alhajara literally meaning "hit the rock."
Verse: 2.73 Object: Human
Transliteration: Faqulna idriboohu bibaAAdiha kathalika yuhyee Allahu almawta wayureekum ayatihi laAAallakum taAAqiloona
idriboohu bibaAAdiha literally means "beat him with part of her." The one to be beaten is the dead man [a whole human], which is the equivalent of the wife [a whole human] who is to be beaten as instructed in verse 4:34. The only possible meaning here for darab is "strike" or "beat." The mysterious translation of "separate from them" that was used instead of "beat" in 4:34 cannot be applied here, as the cow and the man were definitely not connected in any way to be "separated." On this occasion, the Islamic site also agrees with this understanding of the word darab. This verse confirms for us, that when you are told to darab a man, it means to strike or beat them. Thus, it is logical to conclude that darab against a woman will also mean to "strike" or "beat" them, not "separate".
Verse: 7.160 Object: Rock
Transliteration: WaqattaAAnahumu ithnatay AAashrata asbatan omaman waawhayna ila moosa ithi istasqahu qawmuhu ani idrib biAAasaka alhajara fainbajasat minhu ithnata AAashrata AAaynan qad AAalima kullu ona_sin mashrabahum wa allaln a AAalayhimu algham_a_ma waanzalna AAalayhimu almanna waalssalwa' kuloo min -tayyib'ati ma' razaqna'kum wama' alamoon a wal a kin k a noo anfusahum ya limoona
idrib biAAasaka alhajara literally meaning "hit the rock."
Verse: 8.12 Object: Human Necks
Transliteration: Ith yooh ee rabbuka il a almal a -ikati annee maAAakum fathabbitoo alla_th eena a manoo saolqee fee quloobi allat_h eena kafaroo aIrruAAba faidriboo fawqa al-aAAnaqi waidriboo minhum kulla bananin
faidriboo fawqa al-aAAnaqi waidriboo minhum kulla bananin literally meaning "hit over the necks and hit from them all their fingers." The first "hit" means "beat" and the second means "cut-off." Both objects here are not whole bodies, but only parts (necks and fingers), and I don't think the "modern liberal Muslims" would like to use this either, since the first is the correct meaning they reject in verse 4:34, and the second ("cut off") is no softer than "beat."
Verse: 20.77 Object: Road
Transliteration: Walaqad aw'hayn'a ila' moos'a an asri biAAib'adee faid'rib lahum -tareeqan fee albah'ri yabasan l'a takhafu darakan wala takhsha
faid'rib lahum -tareeqan literally meaning "so hit a road for them."
Verse: 24.31 Object: Feet and Veil This verse is a repeat and has already been discussed under the section 9 - To cover.
Verse: 26:63 Object: Sea
Transliteration: Faawhayna ila moosa aniidrib biAAasaka albahra fainfalaqa faka_na kullu firqin kaalt_t awdi alAAa eemi
aniidrib biAAasaka albahra literally meaning "to hit with your stick the sea."
Verse: 37.93 Object: Human
Transliteration: Faragha AAalayhim darban bialyameeni
This is a great example. Here, darban bialyameeni literally means "hit them [people] with the right [hand]." According to this verse, when verb daraban is applied to humans, it means "beat" or "strike." It cannot be translated as "separate them from your right hand," as that is utterly ridiculous. The Islamic site in question, also agrees that darab here means "strike."
Verse: 47.4 Object: Human Necks
Transliteration: Fa-itha laqeetumu allatheena kafaroo fadarba aIrriqabi hatta itha athkhantumoohum fashuddooalwathaqa fa-imma mannan baAAdu wa-imma fidaan hatta tadaAAa alharbu awzaraha thalika walaw yash a o All a hu lainta_s ara minhum wala kin liyabluwa baAA d akum bibaAA d in waaa th eena qutiloo fee sabeeli All a hi falan yu d illa aAAm a lahum
fadarba aIrriqabi literally meaning "the hit of the necks." as in "beaten on their necks," and the Islamic site once again agrees.
Meaning number 3: To beat
Verse: 8.50 Object: Human Faces
Transliteration: Walaw tara ith yatawaffa allatheena kafaroo almala-ikatu yadriboona wujoohahum waadbarahum wathooqoo AAathaba alhareeqi
yadriboona wujoohahum literally meaning "hit their faces," which is translated by the Islamic site as "beat their faces."
Verse: 47.27 Object: Human Faces
yadriboona wujoohahum literally meaning "hit their faces." Also translated correctly by the Islamic site, Just like the previous verses.
Comparing the Two Terms
Beat them and leave them are different phrases in Arabic. The arabic word idribohunna driven from the root word Darab does not have any other meaning than Beat when it comes to mean "Yadreb Ahadan" = Hit someone. Idriboohunna (أضربوهن) means beat them (for female plural). Adriboo Anhunna (اضربوا عنهن) is the one that means abandon or leave them. According to the Arabic lexicon.:
|أضربوهن (used in 4:34)||Idriboohunna||Beat them|
|اضربوا عنهن||Adriboo Anhunna||abandon them, leave them|
Qur'an 4:34 says Idriboohunna أضربوهن not Adribu Anhunna اضربوا عنهن. These two phrases have different meanings.
All the verses that contain darb against a human are understood to mean "beat" or "strike" that human, by their context, and this is agreed upon by these obscure "modern" translations. Why then do they consider verse 4:34 to be a special case and translate "darb" to mean "separate from them"?
If the apologists are to be believed, their arguments only prove the extreme vagueness of the Qur'an, to the extent that the credibility and works of its finest scholars are called into question. And that the Arabic language is deficient, in the sense that it could not present the Qur'an's teachings in a clear and understandable manner.
- Arabic Lexicon (page in Arabic language)
- Such as Free-Minds.org and Progressive-Muslims.org
- Quran 4 the World - Quran 4:34 (Daryabadi)
- Islam Awakened - Qur'an 4:34
- The Koran - English Translation by T.B Irving
- Submission.org - Quran 4:34 (Khalifa)
- Quran Browser - Quran 4:34
- Multimedia Quran - Quran 4:34 (Raza Khan)
- Quran 4:34 - Zayid
- The use of "Idriboohunna" in verse 4:34 has been confirmed by Errors in English Translations of the Quran (From the Introduction of Quran: a Reformist Translation, Brainbow Press) which itself is attempting to use the "leave them" apologetic that is refuted on this page.