Wife Beating in the Qur'an

From WikiIslam, the online resource on Islam
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Error creating thumbnail: Unable to save thumbnail to destination

This article or section is being renovated.

Lead = 2 / 4
Structure = 3 / 4
Content = 3 / 4
Language = 4 / 4
References = 2 / 4
2 / 4
3 / 4
3 / 4
4 / 4
2 / 4

The Qur'an's fourth chapter, An-Nisaa' النساء, deals with a number of issues relating to men and women, and the relationship between husband and wife. Amongst these issues is the issue of when it is permissible for a husband to physically strike or beat his wife. One verse in particular, 4:34, lays out a three-step scheme for how husbands are to deal with their wives if they fear nushūz نشوز, commonly understood to mean their disobedience, their rebellion, or disloyalty, though the exact meaning of the word is unclear (see Quran 4:128, which gives instructions to women who fear nushūzan from their husbands). In summary the steps are to first admonish her, then banish her to a different bed, and finally to beat her. The admonition is layed out in a matter-of-fact, very practical way, and it can thus be assumed that the Qur'an's audience was not highly disturbed nor surpised by this holy injunction for domestic violence. Over the centuries the mufassirun have taken up this verse and different scholars from different schools have come to different conclusions on the meaning of the verse vis-a-vis the three-step formula and what the meaning is exactly of nushuuz. All of the traditional scholars agree, however, that one way or another beating is an option that is available to the man. Modern progressive Muslims, under the influence of modern secular liberalism and its firm conviction that wife beating is never acceptable, have however rejected this tradition. Rather, they have sought a number of strategies to come to the conclusion that the Qur'an, and Islam as a whole, does not allow wife beating. These strategies include appeals to the hadith, appeals to perculiar juristic decisions, and linguistic reinterpretation, going so far as to make demonstrably false claims about the meaning of the word "daraba" in this verse.

Error creating thumbnail: Unable to save thumbnail to destination


The Qur'an takes up the issue of wife beating in two seperate passages. The first is Quran 4:34:

Yusuf Ali translation: 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).

Pickthall translation: 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.

Shakir translation: 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.

Sahih International translation:Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.

All of the agreed upon, relied upon Muslim translations of this verse into English agree that this verse instructs men on when and under what circumstances they are commanded to beat their wives. The verses sets out a three-part program for men dealing with "nushuuz" or disloyalty/disobediance. The three steps outlined are to first to admonish or sternly advise them to stop, then to seperate in the bedroom from them (somehow, commentators take up the question of what this means) and then, finally, to beat them. Yusuf Ali adds the word "lightly" to his translation, a word which is not found in the text of the verse. Rather, this word is found in the Farewell Sermon of the Prophet and a number of Hadith relating to the issue of wife beating. The particular turn of phrase here is "ghayr mubarrih" غير مبرح, a phrase meaning something like "not violently" or "not intensely." The scholarly consensus around this verse and the related traditions is that it is allowed and even instructed from Allah to strike a disobedient wife, however this strike must not cause grievous damage. The definitions of "grevious" or "serious" damage is subject to discussion by the commentators. The cause of the revelation, as will be seen below, leaves no doubt however that despite Muhammad's own wish on the matter it is the will of Allah that men strike their disobedient lives.

A second verse deals with the issue but much more obliquely.

They will say, "Exalted are You! You, [O Allah], are our benefactor not them. Rather, they used to worship the jinn; most of them were believers in them." But today you do not hold for one another [the power of] benefit or harm, and We will say to those who wronged, "Taste the punishment of the Fire, which you used to deny." And when our verses are recited to them as clear evidences, they say, "This is not but a man who wishes to avert you from that which your fathers were worshipping." And they say, "This is not except a lie invented." And those who disbelieve say of the truth when it has come to them, "This is not but obvious magic." And We had not given them any scriptures which they could study, and We had not sent to them before you, [O Muhammad], any warner.

ibn Kathir notes on this verse that Allah gave Ayub (Job) the option to hit his wife with a bundle of twigs without having to carry out his promise to beat her 100 blows:

(And take in your hand a bundle of thin grass and strike therewith (your wife), and break not your oath.) Ayyub, peace be upon him, got angry with his wife and was upset about something she had done, so he swore an oath that if Allah healed him, he would strike her with one hundred blows. When Allah healed him, how could her service, mercy, compassion and kindness be repaid with a beating So Allah showed him a way out, which was to take a bundle of thin grass, with one hundred stems, and hit her with it once.
Tafsir of ibn Kathir on Qur'an 38:41-44

This verse was later used in hadith and Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) to discuss alternatives to several hadd (corporal) punishments in the case of frail, vulnerable people. These discussions, however, did not very often touch on the propriety of rightness of wife beating; discussions on this topic tended to proceed from the discussions around 4:34.

Linguistic Analysis of Verse in Arabic

The operative clause in Quran 4:34 reads:

ٱلرِّجَالُ قَوَّٰمُونَ عَلَى ٱلنِّسَآءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ ٱللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَبِمَآ أَنفَقُوا۟ مِنْ أَمْوَٰلِهِمْ ۚ فَٱلصَّٰلِحَٰتُ قَٰنِتَٰتٌ حَٰفِظَٰتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ ٱللَّهُ ۚ وَٱلَّٰتِى تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَٱهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِى ٱلْمَضَاجِعِ وَٱضْرِبُوهُنَّ

"And those whom you fear their disobedience, admonist them, seperate from them in the bedrooms, and beat them."

This is the three-part path of spousal discipline the Qur'an offers husband. Transliterated into Latin letters it reads:

r-rijālu qawwāmūna ʿalā n-nisāʾi bi-mā faḍḍala llāhu baʿḍahum ʿalā baʿḍin wa-bi-mā ʾanfaqū min ʾamwālihim fa-ṣ-ṣāliḥātu qānitātun ḥāfiẓātun li-l-ghaybi bi-mā ḥafiẓa llāhu wa-llātī takhāfūna nushūzahunna fa-ʿiẓūhunna wa-hjurūhunna fī l-maḍājiʿi wa-ḍribūhunna

The first piece reads: r-rijālu qawwāmūna ʿalā n-nisāʾi bi-mā faḍḍala llāhu baʿḍahum ʿalā baʿḍin wa-bi-mā ʾanfaqū min ʾamwālihim ʾ ٱلرِّجَالُ قَوَّٰمُونَ عَلَى ٱلنِّسَآءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ ٱللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَبِمَآ أَنفَقُوا۟ مِنْ أَمْوَٰلِهِمْ which translates as "Men are in power/in charge of women by nature of what Allah has favored them one over the other and due to what they (the men) spend of their wealth."

r-rijālu--The men

qawwāmūna--In charge of/in power over

ʿalā--on, here with qawwāmūna meaning "of" or "over"

n-nisāʾ-- The women

The next piece reads: fa-ṣ-ṣāliḥātu qānitātun ḥāfiẓātun li-l-ghaybi bi-mā ḥafiẓa llāhu فَٱلصَّٰلِحَٰتُ قَٰنِتَٰتٌ حَٰفِظَٰتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ ٱللَّهُ "And the righteous women, the obedient women, guard in hiddiness what Allah has guarded", usually meaning that they dress modestly.

fa-ṣ-ṣāliḥātu--the righteous/pure/religiously observant women

qānitātun--the obediant woment

ḥāfiẓātun--femine plural active particple of "guard" id est they are guarding or they guard

li-l-ghaybi--in unseenness/occlusion/secrecy

bi-mā ḥafiẓa--of what (Allah) guarded

llāhu-- Allah

The final piece of the verse reads: wa-llātī takhāfūna nushūzahunna fa-ʿiẓūhunna wa-hjurūhunna fī l-maḍājiʿi wa-ḍribūhunna وَٱلَّٰتِى تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَٱهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِى ٱلْمَضَاجِعِ وَٱضْرِبُوهُنَّ

wa-llātī takhāfūna-- and those (feminine plural) whom you (masculine second person plural) fear

nushūzahunna-- their (feminine plural) insolence, disobedience, uprising, disloyalty; this word was key to understanding this verse, and the mufasirrun and jurists went to lengths to define this. For modern progressive Muslims the meaning of this word has also been important. As noted above, the meaning is unclear (see Quran 4:128, which gives instructions to women who fear nushūzan from their husbands).

fa-ʿiẓūhunna--(plural command form) scold them/admonish them (feminine plural them)

wa-hjurūhunna fī l-maḍājiʿi--and sepereate from them (feminine plural them) in the bedrooms

wa-ḍribūhunna--(plural command form) beat them (feminine plural them). In modern times some translators and progressive Muslims have made demonstrably false claims about the meaning of this word in this verse, translating it as things other than "beat them (the woman)"; see The Meaning of Daraba.

Asbab An-Nuzuul of the Verse

The أسباب النزول or "reasons of revelation" are a genre of Islamic literature that deals with the contexts in which particular verses and groups of verses were "revealed" to the prophet. According to traditional reckoning, the verses of the Qur'an were not revealed chapter-by-chapter but rather piecemeal and then later arranged into the individual surahs of the Qur'an. As such individual verses or groups of verses have unique stories in the Islamic tradition associated with them, explaining their context.

The earliest book around Asbab An-Nuzuul is a book of the same name by Ali ibn Ahmad al-Wahidi (d. 1075 CE). He did not cover the majority of verses in the Qur'an but he did cover these verses. Al-Wahidi writes:

قَالَ مُقَاتِلٌ: نَزَلَتْ هَذِهِ الْآيَةُ فِي سَعْدِ بْنِ الرَّبِيعِ وَكَانَ مِنَ النُّقَبَاءِ، وَامْرَأَتِهِ حَبِيبَةَ بِنْتِ زَيْدِ بْنِ أَبِي زُهَيْرٍ، وَهُمَا مِنَ الْأَنْصَارِ، وَذَلِكَ أَنَّهَا نَشَزَتْ عَلَيْهِ فَلَطَمَهَا، فَانْطَلَقَ أَبُوهَا مَعَهَا إِلَى النَّبِيِّ- صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ- فَقَالَ: أَفْرَشْتُهُ كَرِيمَتِي فَلَطَمَهَا. فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ- صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ-«لِتَقْتَصَّ مِنْ زَوْجِهَا»، وَانْصَرَفَتْ مَعَ أَبِيهَا لِتَقْتَصَّ مِنْهُ، فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ- صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ-«ارْجِعُوا، هَذَا جِبْرِيلُ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ أَتَانِي»، وَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى هَذِهِ الْآيَةَ، فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ- صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ-«أَرَدْنَا أَمْرًا وَأَرَادَ اللَّهُ أَمْرًا، وَالَّذِي أَرَادَ اللَّهُ خَيْرٌ»، وَرَفَعَ الْقِصَاصَ.

Muqaatil said "This verse came down in regards to Sa'd bin Rabi' and he was of the Nuqabaa', and his wife Habiba bint Zayd bin Abi Zuhayr, and the two of them were of the Ansar. What happened was that she was disobedient to him and he struck her, then her father set out with her to the prophet--peace and prayers of Allah be upon him--and he said "I gave my daughter to him and he hit her." The prophet--eace and prayers of Allah be upon him--said "let you take vengence from her husband." And she parted with her father to take vengence on him (by her father striking him), the The prophet--eace and prayers of Allah be upon him--said "return, Jibreel peace be upon him has brought me this" and then Allah the most High brought down this verse. Then the prophet--eace and prayers of Allah be upon him--said "We wanted one thing and Allah wanted (another) thing, and what Allah wants is good" and so ends the story.

Al-Wahidi also gives a second version of the same story:

حدَّثنا يونس عن الحسن:

أن رجلاً لطم امرأَته فخاصمته إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، فجاء معها أهلها فقالوا: يا رسول الله، إِن فلاناً لطم صاحبتنا. فجعل رسول الله يقول: القصاص القصاص. ولا يقضي قضاء، فنزلت هذه الآية: ﴿ٱلرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى ٱلنِّسَآءِ﴾ فقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: أَردنا أَمراً وأَراد الله غيره.

Yunis told us through Al-Hasan: A man struck his wife, she took the case to the prophet of god peace and prayer of All be upon him, and her parents went with her and they said: "Oh Prophet of Allah, someone struck our daughter. This made the prophet of Allah say: reprisal is reprisal (meaning let the repirsal happen). And he hadn't rendered his judgement, when this verse came down "Men are in power over women....." And the messenger of Allah peace and prayers of Allah be upon him said "We wanted one thing and Allah wanted something else."

He also offers a seemingly abridged 3rd version of the story:

إسماعيل، عن الحسن، قال:

لما نزلت آية القصاص بين المسلمين لطم رجل امرأته، فانطلقت إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، فقالت: إن زوجي لطمني فالقصاص، قال: القصاص، فبينا هو كذلك أَنزل الله تعالى: ﴿ٱلرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى ٱلنِّسَآءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ ٱللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ﴾ فقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: أردنا أمراً فأبى الله تعالى [إلا غيرَه]. خذ أيها الرجل بيد امرأَتك.

Isma'il said through Al-Hasan: When the verse of retribution between Muslims was revealed a man struck his wife, then they set out to the prophet, peace and prayers of Allah be upon him, then she said: verily my husband struck me, what of the retribution? He said "Retribution is between us" then as he did Allah revealed the verse of "Men are in power over women in what Allah has favored them in over eachother (4:34)." The prophet of Allah peace and prayers of Allah be upon him said: "We wanted one thing and Allah refused it (in favor of something else). Oh Man, take the hand of your wife (and leave without retribution)."

From all of these a general story can be extracted: a man hit his wife, there was a complaint against him in the community for this, and Muhammad ordered the punishment of the wife beater. The sources portray this desire of Muhammad to outlaw wife-beating as being opposed by the will of Allah (God). Allah sends down this verse in response to these circumstances, showing that contra Muhammad it is the will of Allah specifically, as opposed to the will of the prophet, that men should beat their own wives if they are disobedient.

Tafsirs of the Verse

Classical Tafsirs

Tabari (839-923)

(القول في تأويل قوله: ﴿وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ

قال أبو جعفر: يعني بذلك جل ثناؤه: فعظوهن، أيها الرجال، في نشوزهن، فإن أبينَ الإياب إلى ما يلزمهن لكم، فشدّوهن وثاقًا في منازلهن، واضربوهن ليؤبن إلى الواجب عليهن من طاعته الله في اللازم لهنّ من حقوقكم.

  • * *

وقال أهل التأويل: صفة الضرب التي أباح الله لزوج الناشز أن يضربها: الضربُ غيرُ المبرِّح.

  • ذكر من قال ذلك:

٩٣٧٨ - حدثنا ابن حميد قال، حدثنا حكام، عن عمرو، عن عطاء، عن سعيد بن جبير:"واضربوهن"، قال: ضربًا غير مبرح. ٩٣٧٩ - حدثنا ابن حميد قال، حدثنا يحيى بن واضح قال، أخبرنا أبو حمزة، عن عطاء بن السائب، عن سعيد بن جبير مثله.

As for the saying: "strike them (feminine them):" Abu Ja'afar said: The most high be praised means here: "Oh men, in their (feminine) disobedience, they refused to return what they are obgligated to you, so chain them in their (feminine) houses, and strike them that they might return to their duties from an obedience to Allah in what is necessary to them regarging your rights upon them.

The people of interpretation have said: "The description of the strike which Allah has allowed to the husband upon a disobedient (wife) is to strike her: the non-intense, measured strike (darb ghayr mubarrih)."

It was mentioned:

Ibn Hamid told use that Hakaam said from Umar from 'Ata' from Sa'id bin Jubayr: "Strike them (feminine them)." He said " a non-intense, measured strike (darb ghayr mubarrih)."

Ibn Hamid said, he was told be Yahya bin Wadih who said we have been told by Abu Hamzah from 'Ata' bin Sa'ib from Sa'id bin Jubayr like him.

Tafsir of Tabari on Qur'an 4:34

After the above quoted portion Tabari goes on to site multiple additional chains of narration, all attesting to the fact that disobedient women should be struck and reiterating that this strike should be "ghayr mubarrih" غير مبرح that is to say "measured, non-intense, light."

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

(Men are in charge of women) they are in charge of overseeing the proper conduct of women, (because Allah hath made the one of them) the men through reason and the division of booty and estates (to excel the other) the women, (and because they spend of their property (for the support of women)) through paying the dowry and spending on them, which the women are not required to do. (So good women) He says: those wives who are kind to their husbands (are the obedient) they are obedient to Allah regarding their husbands, (guarding) their own persons and the wealth of their husbands (in secret) when their husbands are not present (that which Allah hath guarded) through Allah's protection of them in that He gave them the success to do so. (As for those from whom ye fear) know (rebellion) their disobedience to you in bed, (admonish them) by means of sacred knowledge and the Qur'an (and banish them to beds apart) turn your faces away from them in bed, (and scourge them) in a mild, unexaggerated manner. (Then if they obey you) in bed, (seek not a way against them) as regards love. (Lo! Allah is ever High Exalted) above every single thing, (Great) greater than every single thing. Allah has not burdened you with that which you cannot bear, so do not burden women with that which they cannot bear of affection.

Al-Qushayri (d. 1072 CE)

Men are in charge of women because of that with which God has preferred the one over the other and because of what they expend of their property. Therefore righteous women are obedient guarding in the unseen because of what God has guarded. And those you fear may be rebellious admonish them and share not beds with them and strike them. If they then obey you do not seek a way against them. God is ever High Great. He distinguished men by their strength and then increased their burden for the burden is in accordance with [one's] strength. The lesson is to be taken through hearts and aspirations not through the lower selves and bodies. And those you fear may be rebellious admonish them and share not beds with them and strike them: that is increase your correction of them gradually and with kindness for if the matter can be reconciled with admonition there is no need to use the rod to strike. The verse contains the good manners ādāb of spousal companionship. Then He said “If they then obey you do not seek a way against them.” [This] means if she stops acting in a way that is injurious to the relationship and returns to obedience do not seek revenge on her for what has happened in the past. Do not withhold your acceptance of her excuse and do not be unyielding toward her. It is said do not seek a way against them in going beyond the measure of what you deem necessary out of spite.

Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi (d. 1075 CE)

(Men are in charge of women…) [4:34]. Said Muqatil: “This verse (Men are in charge of women…) was revealed about Sa‘d ibn al-Rabi‘, who was one of the leaders of the Helpers (nuqaba’), and his wife Habibah bint Zayd ibn Abi Zuhayr, both of whom from the Helpers. It happened Sa‘d hit his wife on the face because she rebelled against him. Then her father went with her to see the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. He said to him: ‘I gave him my daughter in marriage and he slapped her’. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: ‘Let her have retaliation against her husband’. As she was leaving with her father to execute retaliation, the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, called them and said: ‘Come back; Gabriel has come to me’, and Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: ‘We wanted something while Allah wanted something else, and that which Allah wants is good’. Retaliation was then suspended”. Sa‘id ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Zahid informed us> Zahir ibn Ahmad> Ahmad ibn al-Husayn ibn Junayd> Ziyad ibn Ayyub> Hushaym> Yunus ibn al-Hasan who reported that a man slapped his wife and she complained about him to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. Her family who went with her said: “O Messenger of Allah! So-and-so has slapped our girl”. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, kept saying: “Retaliation! Retaliation! And there is no other judgement to be held”. But then this verse (Men are in charge of women…) was revealed and the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “We wanted something and Allah wanted something else”. Abu Bakr al-Harithi informed us> Abu’l-Shaykh al-Hafiz> Abu Yahya al-Razi> Sahl al-‘Askari> ‘Ali ibn Hashim> Isma‘il> al-Hasan who said: “Around the time when the verse on retaliation was revealed amongst the Muslims, a man had slapped his wife. She went to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace and said: ‘My husband has slapped me and I want retaliation’. So he said: ‘Let there be retaliation’. As he was still dealing with her, Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other…). Upon which the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: ‘We wanted something and my Lord wanted something different. O man, take your wife by the hand’ ”.

Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi(1150 – 1209)

ثُمَّ قالَ تَعالى: ﴿فَعِظُوهُنَّ واهْجُرُوهُنَّ في المَضاجِعِ واضْرِبُوهُنَّ﴾ وفِيهِ مَسائِلُ:

المَسْألَةُ الأُولى: قالَ الشّافِعِيُّ - رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ -: أمّا الوَعْظُ فَإنَّهُ يَقُولُ لَها: اتَّقِي اللَّهَ، فَإنَّ لِي عَلَيْكِ حَقًّا وارْجِعِي عَمّا أنْتِ عَلَيْهِ، واعْلَمِي أنَّ طاعَتِي فَرْضٌ عَلَيْكِ. ونَحْوُ هَذا، ولا يَضْرِبُها في هَذِهِ الحالَةِ؛ لِجَوازِ أنْ يَكُونَ لَها في ذَلِكَ كِفايَةٌ، فَإنْ أصَرَّتْ عَلى ذَلِكَ النُّشُوزِ، فَعِنْدَ ذَلِكَ يَهْجُرُها في المَضْجَعِ وفي ضِمْنِهِ امْتِناعُهُ مِن كَلامِها، وقالَ الشّافِعِيُّ - رَضِيَ اللَّهُ تَعالى عَنْهُ -: ولا يَزِيدُ في هَجْرِهِ الكَلامَ ثَلاثًا، وأيْضًا فَإذا هَجَرَها في المَضْجَعِ فَإنْ كانَتْ تُحِبُّ الزَّوْجَ شَقَّ عَلَيْها، فَتَتْرُكُ النُّشُوزَ، وإنْ كانَتْ تُبْغِضُهُ وافَقَها ذَلِكَ الهِجْرانُ، فَكانَ ذَلِكَ دَلِيلًا عَلى كَمالِ نُشُوزِها، وفِيهِمْ مَن حَمَلَ ذَلِكَ عَلى الهِجْرانِ في المُباشَرَةِ؛ لِأنَّ إضافَةَ ذَلِكَ إلى المَضاجِعِ يُفِيدُ ذَلِكَ، ثُمَّ عِنْدَ هَذِهِ الهِجْرَةِ إنْ بَقِيَتْ عَلى النُّشُوزِ ضَرَبَها. قالَ الشّافِعِيُّ - رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ -: والضَّرْبُ مُباحٌ، وتَرْكُهُ أفْضَلُ. «رُوِيَ عَنْ عُمَرَ بْنِ الخَطّابِ - رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ - أنَّهُ قالَ: كُنّا مَعاشِرَ قُرَيْشٍ تَمْلِكُ رِجالُنا نِساءَهم، فَقَدِمْنا المَدِينَةَ فَوَجَدْنا نِساءَهم تَمْلِكُ رِجالَهم، فاخْتَلَطَتْ نِساؤُنا فَذَئِرْنَ عَلى أزْواجِهِنَّ، أيْ نَشَزْنَ واجْتَرَأْنَ، فَأتَيْتُ النَّبِيَّ ﷺ فَقَلْتُ لَهُ: ذَئِرَتِ النِّساءُ عَلى أزْواجِهِنَّ، فَأذِنَ في ضَرْبِهِنَّ، فَطافَ بِحُجَرِ نِساءِ النَّبِيِّ ﷺ جَمْعٌ مِنَ النِّسْوانِ كُلُّهُنَّ يَشْكُونَ أزْواجَهُنَّ، فَقالَ ﷺ: ”لَقَدْ أطافَ اللَّيْلَةَ بِآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ سَبْعُونَ امْرَأةً كُلُّهُنَّ يَشْكُونَ أزْواجَهُنَّ، ولا تَجِدُونَ أُولَئِكَ خِيارَكم» “ ومَعْناهُ أنَّ الَّذِينَ ضَرَبُوا أزْواجَهم لَيْسُوا خَيْرًا مِمَّنْ لَمْ يَضْرِبُوا. قالَ الشّافِعِيُّ - رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ -: فَدَلَّ هَذا الحَدِيثُ عَلى أنَّ الأوْلى تَرْكُ الضَّرْبِ، فَأمّا إذا ضَرَبَها وجَبَ في ذَلِكَ الضَّرْبِ أنْ يَكُونَ بِحَيْثُ لا يَكُونُ مُفْضِيًا إلى الهَلاكِ البَتَّةَ، بِأنْ يَكُونَ مُفَرَّقًا عَلى بَدَنِها، ولا يُوالِي بِهِ في مَوْضِعٍ واحِدٍ، ويَتَّقِي الوَجْهَ؛ لِأنَّهُ مَجْمَعُ المَحاسِنِ، وأنْ يَكُونَ دُونَ الأرْبَعِينَ. ومِن أصْحابِنا مَن قالَ: لا يَبْلُغُ بِهِ عِشْرِينَ؛ لِأنَّهُ حَدٌّ كامِلٌ في حَقِّ العَبْدِ، ومِنهم مَن قالَ: يَنْبَغِي أنْ يَكُونَ الضَّرْبُ بِمِندِيلٍ مَلْفُوفٍ أوْ بِيَدِهِ، ولا يَضْرِبُها بِالسِّياطِ ولا بِالعَصا، وبِالجُمْلَةِ فالتَّخْفِيفُ مُراعى في هَذا البابِ عَلى أبْلَغِ الوُجُوهِ. وأقُولُ: الَّذِي يَدُلُّ عَلَيْهِ أنَّهُ تَعالى ابْتَدَأ بِالوَعْظِ، ثُمَّ تَرَقّى مِنهُ إلى الهِجْرانِ في المَضاجِعِ، ثُمَّ تَرَقّى مِنهُ إلى الضَّرْبِ، وذَلِكَ تَنْبِيهٌ يَجْرِي مَجْرى التَّصْرِيحِ في أنَّهُ مَهْما حَصَلَ الغَرَضُ بِالطَّرِيقِ الأخَفِّ وجَبَ الِاكْتِفاءُ بِهِ، ولَمْ يَجُزِ الإقْدامُ عَلى الطَّرِيقِ الأشَقِّ، واللَّهُ أعْلَمُ.

Then the most high (Allah) said: “admonish them (the women) and expel them from the bedrooms and beat them” and these are the relevant issues for this verse: The first issue: Shafi’i, may Allah be pleased with him, said: as for admonishment this is what’s said of it:(to the wife) trust Allah, for I have right over you, and return to your business, and know that obeying me is a duty for you. And as for this, he (the husband) doesn’t hit her in this case; it is permissible that this be enough for her. Yet if she continues to insist on her disobedience, at that time expel her from the bedroom, and this could include refusing to speak to her. Shafi’i, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “expelling her from the bedroom should not happen more than three times, for if she is expelled from the bedroom and she loves him it will be hard on her and she will leave her disobedience, and if she hates him and is fine with her removal from the bedroom, then this is total proof of her disobedience.” And amongst them (the scholars) are those who who see the change in her attitude happening with only the first time; because the addition of that (not talking) to expelling her from the bedroom aids that (getting her not to be disobedient). Thus after this expelling from the bedroom if she remains disobedient beat her. Shafi’i, may Allah be pleased with him, said “Beating is allowed, but leaving/avoiding it is better.” (Citing a hadith) “It was reported by ‘Umar bin Al-Khatab, may Allah be pleased with him, said that when we were in the society of the Quraysh they used to rule their women, but when we came to Medina the women were ruling their men, then on account of this our women got confused and got angry at their husbands, ie they got uppity and rebellious. So I came to the prophet, peace and prayers of Allah be upon him, and I said to him ‘the women have risen up against their men’ and so he gave permission to beat them. Later, a gathering of the women came and loitered about the quarters of the wives of the prophet, complaining of their husbands. Then later the prophet, peace and prayers of Allah be upon him, said ’70 women spent the night at the house of Muhammad complaining of their husbands, and you will not find amongst them best of men.’ And its meaning is that those men that beat their wives are not better than those who do not beat their wives. And this hadith points to the idea that the first choice, if possible, must be to leave beating of the wife. However, if it proves necessary to beat the wife, it must not be conducive to causing no grievous damage to her or destroying her. This means this it should be spread over different parts of the body, not all concentrated in one place, and the face should be protected, and out of good conduct it should consist of less than forty (blows). And amongst our companions some have said: “It ought not to reach 20 (blows)” because that is the limit for slaves. And others have said “the blow should be with a wrapped handkerchief or a hand, and not with a whip or stick.” And in general the aforementioned sentence takes reduction into account in the most eloquent fashion. And I say: That which shows that the most high (Allah) began with admonishment, then moved to expelling from the bedroom, then to beating, this is a clear warning that paints a clear path that showing that whatever happens, the goal is to set foot upon the lighter path and it is a necessity to follow this path, and it’s not permitted to step upon the harsher path. And Allah knows best.

Tafsir of Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi on Qur'an 4:34

ibn Kathir (1300-1373)


(beat them) means, if advice and ignoring her in the bed do not produce the desired results, you are allowed to discipline the wife, without severe beating. Muslim recorded that Jabir said that during the Farewell Hajj, the Prophet said; «وَاتَّقُوا اللهَ فِي النِّسَاءِ، فَإِنَّهُنَّ عِنْدَكُمْ عَوَانٍ، وَلَكُمْ عَلَيْهِنَّ أَنْ لَا يُوطِئْنَ فُرُشَكُمْ أَحَدًا تَكْرَهُونَهُ،فَإِنْ فَعَلْنَ ذَلِكَ فَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ ضَرْبًا غَيْرَ مُبَرِحٍ، وَلَهُنَّ عَلَيْكُمْ رِزْقُهُنَّ وَكِسْوَتُهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوف» (Fear Allah regarding women, for they are your assistants. You have the right on them that they do not allow any person whom you dislike to step on your mat. However, if they do that, you are allowed to discipline them lightly. They have a right on you that you provide them with their provision and clothes, in a reasonable manner.) Ibn `Abbas and several others said that the Ayah refers to a beating that is not violent. Al-Hasan Al-Basri said that it means, a beating that is not severe. When the Wife Obeys Her Husband, Means of Annoyance Against Her are Prohibited Allah said, فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلاَ تَبْغُواْ عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلاً (but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance),) meaning, when the wife obeys her husband in all that Allah has allowed, then no means of annoyance from the husband are allowed against his wife. Therefore, in this case, the husband does not have the right to beat her or shun her bed. Allah's statement, إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيّاً كَبِيراً

(Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great.) reminds men that if they transgress against their wives without justification, then Allah, the Ever Most High, Most Great, is their Protector, and He will exert revenge on those who transgress against their wives and deal with them unjustly.

Al-Jalalayn (the two Jalals) (1389–1460 & 1445–1505)

Men are in charge of, they have authority over, women, disciplining them and keeping them in check, because of that with which God has preferred the one over the other, that is, because God has given them the advantage over women, in knowledge, reason, authority and otherwise, and because of what they expend, on them [the women], of their property. Therefore righteous women, among them, are obedient, to their husbands, guarding in the unseen, that is, [guarding] their private parts and otherwise during their spouses’ absence, because of what God has guarded, for them, when He enjoined their male spouses to look after them well. And those you fear may be rebellious, disobedient to you, when such signs appear, admonish them, make them fear God, and share not beds with them, retire to other beds if they manifest such disobedience, and strike them, but not violently, if they refuse to desist [from their rebellion] after leaving them [in separate beds]. If they then obey you, in what is desired from them, do not seek a way against them, a reason to strike them unjustly. God is ever High, Great, so beware of Him, lest He punish you for treating them unjustly.

Al-Qurtubi (1214-1272)

Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others

They provide for them, and from men come out rulers; princes & warriors, whereas this is not found among women.

This verse was revealed because Sa’ad ibn Al Rabee’a slapped his wife Habibah bint Zaid after she deserted him. After which, her father said: O’ Messenger of Allah, I gave him my daughter (as a bed spread for him) but he slapped her. Then the messenger said: let us judge her husband. So she left with her father seeking judgment. But then the messenger said: come back, this is the angel Gabriel has come down to me. Then Allah revealed: (we willed something but Allah willed another). And in another story: (I willed something, but Allah willed something better).

It was told that due to this incident, Sura 20:114 "…and do not make haste with the Quran before its revelation is made complete to you…" Was revealed.

Abu Raouq said: this verse was revealed because of Jamilah bint Obey and her husband Thabit bin Qais. Al Kalby said: it was revealed because of Omayrah bint Muhammad bin Muslamah and her husband Sa’ad bin Al Rabee’a…Allah has revealed that the reason why men are excelled over women because men are the providers, and hence women will benefit from that. It is also said: men are excelled over women because they have more brain ability…

and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion

If the wife hates and desert her husband

Admonish them

By using Allah’s scripture. It means to remind them of their duties, toward their husbands, which were ordained to them by Allah. The prophet of Allah (saw) said: (if I was to order someone to prostrate to another person, I would have ordered the wife to prostrate to her husband)

and leave them alone in the sleeping-places

Ibn Masud said: it is the intercourse. As said Ibn Abbas and others.

I (Al Qurtubi) said, it is a good thing; since if she loves her husband then this abandonment will be hard on her. But if she despises him, then her disobedient attitude towards him will become the more clearer.

Ibn Abbas said: to leave them alone is to tie them up in their homes just as you would tie your ride. And this is Al Tabari’s own view on this. However, Judge Abu Bakr bin Al Araby renounced Al Tabari’s interpretation on the ground of tying the wife, as he believe that Al Tabari based his view on a strange hadith regarding Asma’ the daughter of Abu Bakr who was married to Al Zubair bin Al Awaam. She used to leave her home often until people began to gossip and fault her husband for that, As a result, Al Zubair blamed his second wife for this and tied Asma’s hair and the hair of his second wife together, then he beat both of them up very severely.

This abandonment is believed by many scholars to be around a period of one month.

and beat them

Allah ordered that men begin by admonishing their wives as a first step, then abandonment, then beating if they refused to repent. This is because men are responsible to straighten their wives up. The beating mentioned in this verse has to do with the kind that is not severe and used for discipline. The kind that does not break the bone. However, it is not a crime if it leads to death. In the same manner a disciplinary will beat his son or student to teach him the Quran and manners.

In a hadith in Sahih Muslim the Prophet said: (fear Allah with your wives. You were given them by Allah’s provision, and you were entrusted with their private parts by Allah’s word. You have the right that they do not allow anyone you dislike into your bed, but if they do, then beat them but not severely) the hadith. It was narrated on the authority of Jabir Al Taweel during Hajj. This means that they should not allow anyone into your home that you dislike whether relatives or foreign women.

Al Tirmithi reported that Amro bin Al Ahwas had attended the Farewell Hajj and heard the messenger of Allah say: "Lo! My last recommendation to you is that you should TREAT WOMEN WELL. Truly they are your helpmates, and you have no right over them beyond that - EXCEPT IF THEY COMMIT A MANIFEST INDECENCY (fahisha mubina = adultery). If they do, then refuse to share their beds and beat them WITHOUT INDECENT VIOLENCE (fadribuhunna darban ghayra mubarrih*). Then, if they obey you, do not show them hostility any longer. Lo! you have a right over your women and they have a right over you. Your right over your women is that they not allow whom you hate to enter your bed nor your house. While their right over them is that you treat them excellently in their garb and provision."

Atta asked Ibn Abbas: what is the non severer beating. Ibn Abbas answered: using a small stick or the like.

It was reported also that Omar beat his wife and said, I heard the messenger of Allah say: (No man should be asked why he beat his wife).

You need to know that Allah did not allow for beating in his book except in this situation and when the major sins have been committed. Therefore, Allah has made the disobedient of wives equivalent to the commitment of major sins.

And Allah granted this privilege to the husbands over the Islamic authorities (Rulers), and allowed it for them without the need for a judge or witnesses or evidences. They were allowed this because they were entrusted by Allah to handle to take care of their wives.

Al Muhallab said: the permission was given to beat the wives when they refuse to sleep with their husbands. By comparison, if she refuses to serve him too then he is permitted to beat her too.

Her disobedient and refusal to sleep with her husband is a ground for the husband to deny her her allowance and all of her spousal rights, along with that, the husband is allowed to admonish her; refuse to sleep with her; and to beat her. But if she repented, then all of her rights will be reinstituted. The prophet (saw) said: (Allah’s mercy is on the man who hang his beating lash (stick) and disciplined his wife).
Tafsir of Al-Qurtubi on Qur'an 4:34

Modern Tafsirs

As-Sa'di (1889-1956)

يخبر تعالى أن الرِّجَال قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ أي: قوامون عليهن بإلزامهن بحقوق الله تعالى، من المحافظة على فرائضه وكفهن عن المفاسد، والرجال عليهم أن يلزموهن بذلك، وقوامون عليهن أيضا بالإنفاق عليهن، والكسوة والمسكن، ثم ذكر السبب الموجب لقيام الرجال على النساء فقال: بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ أي: بسبب فضل الرجال على النساء وإفضالهم عليهن، فتفضيل الرجال على النساء من وجوه متعددة: من كون الولايات مختصة بالرجال، والنبوة، والرسالة، واختصاصهم بكثير من العبادات كالجهاد والأعياد والجمع.

وبما خصهم الله به من العقل والرزانة والصبر والجلد الذي ليس للنساء مثله. وكذلك خصهم بالنفقات على الزوجات بل وكثير من النفقات يختص بها الرجال ويتميزون عن النساء. ولعل هذا سر قوله: وَبِمَا أَنْفَقُوا وحذف المفعول ليدل على عموم النفقة. فعلم من هذا كله أن الرجل كالوالي والسيد لامرأته، وهي عنده عانية أسيرة خادمة،فوظيفته أن يقوم بما استرعاه الله به. ووظيفتها: القيام بطاعة ربها وطاعة زوجها فلهذا قال: فَالصَّالِحَاتُ قَانِتَاتٌ أي: مطيعات لله تعالى حَافِظَاتٌ لِلْغَيْبِ أي: مطيعات لأزواجهن حتى في الغيب تحفظ بعلها بنفسها وماله، وذلك بحفظ الله لهن وتوفيقه لهن، لا من أنفسهن، فإن النفس أمارة بالسوء، ولكن من توكل على الله كفاه ما أهمه من أمر دينه ودنياه. ثم قال: وَاللَّاتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ أي: ارتفاعهن عن طاعة أزواجهن بأن تعصيه بالقول أو الفعل فإنه يؤدبها بالأسهل فالأسهل، فَعِظُوهُنَّ أي: ببيان حكم الله في طاعة الزوج ومعصيته والترغيب في الطاعة، والترهيب من معصيته، فإن انتهت فذلك المطلوب، وإلا فيهجرها الزوج في المضجع، بأن لا يضاجعها، ولا يجامعها بمقدار ما يحصل به المقصود، وإلا ضربها ضربًا غير مبرح، فإن حصل المقصود بواحد من هذه الأمور وأطعنكم فَلَا تَبْغُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا أي: فقد حصل لكم ما تحبون فاتركوا معاتبتها على الأمور الماضية، والتنقيب عن العيوب التي يضر ذكرها ويحدث بسببه الشر.

The most high (Allah) informs us that men are in charge over women, ie, in charge of them due to the necessity imposed by the rights that Allah has bestowed, for maintaining his statutes and avoiding their corruption, and men are charged with this, and they are also in charge of their provision, their needs and housing. Then (Allah) mentioned the reason why leadership of women by men has been granted, saying: “in what Allah has favored them over the other and in what they have provisioned for them from their wealth” ie because men have been favored over women and his preference for them. Men are favored (by Allah) for many reasons: because of the special state of existence of men, prophethood, apostleship, and their specialization in many types of worship such as jihad and Friday prayers, and also in what Allah has specified for men in terms of their (superior) minds, poise, patience, and constitution which are not possessed by women like men. And likewise his specification of men as the provisioners of their wives and he also posses many of the provisions which are specialized in by men and in which men are superior to women. Although this is the secret of Allah’s saying: “in what they spend in provisioning (of the women)” and the lack of a direct object for the verb here points to the general necessity of this provisioning. And we know from all of this that the man is the guardian and the master of his woman, and she is for him subservient, a prisoner, a servant, and his (the man’s) duty is to engage in what Allah has guided him to do. And as for her duty: it is to engage in obedience to her Lord and to her husband and for this the Lord said: “the righteous women, the obedient women” meaning obedient to Allah most high “guarding the unseenness” meaning obeying their husband when he is not there and guarding her husband with herself and her wealth, and this is what causes Allah to give the women safety and success, not their selves, for the self is a source of evil but whosoever depends upon Allah, Allah will give him sufficiency for his needs in his religion and in his world. Then Allah said “and those whom you fear from them disobedience” meaning their refusal to obey their husbands by disobeying them in word and deed, and for this he disciplines her in the easiest manner possible. And should this come to an end by necessity, he will either expel her from the bedroom, and if he does not sleep with her it means refraining from sex with her, and will attempt to achieve his goals with these steps. Otherwise, he will beat her, lightly. And if he achieves what he is seeking via these means and the follow what you say "do not seek a way against them" for you have achieved what you sought so leave what's in the past in the past, and bury the shames that harm the memory and happen because of evil.

Tafsir of As-Sa'di on Qur'an 4:34

Abul A'la Al-Maududi (1903-1979)

The Arabic word qawam or qawam stands for a person who is responsible for the right conduct, safeguard and maintenance of the affairs of an individual, an institution or an organization. Thus, than is governor, director, protector and manager of the affairs of women.

Men are superior to women in the sense that they have been endowed with certain natural qualities and powers that have not been given to women or have been given in a less degree, and not in the sense that they are above them in honor and excellence. Man has been made qawam (governor) of the family because of his natural qualities and woman has been made his dependent for her own safety and protection because of her natural drawbacks. A tradition of the Holy Prophet is the best commentary on this, He said, "The best wife is the one who pleases you when you see her; who obeys your orders and who guards your property and her own honor when you are not at home. " In this connection, it is necessary to give a warning. Obedience to Allah is of far greater importance than obedience to the husband and has precedence over it. 'therefore, it is the duty of the wife to refuse to obey her husband, if and when he orders her to do a thing which amounts to Allah's disobedience. In that case it shall be a sin to obey him. On the contrary, if the husband orders her not to observe a certain voluntary religious devotion, she must obey him, otherwise her devotion will not be accepted. If the wife is defiant and does trot obey her husband or does not guard his rights, three measures have been mentioned, but it does not mean that all the three are to be taken at one and the same time. Though these have been permitted, they are to be administered with a sense of proportion according to the nature and extent of the offense. if a mere light admonition proves effective, there is no need to resort to a severer step. As to a beating, the Holy Prophet allowed it very reluctantly and even then did not like it. But the fact is that there are certain women who do not mend their ways without a beating. In such a case, the Holy Prophet has instructed that she would not be beaten on the face, or cruelly, or with anything which might leave a mark on the body. "The two sides" refers both to the arbiters and to the spouses. Reconciliation can be effected in every quarrel, if the parties concerned desire it and if the arbiters try to effect it sincerely and justly. In this verse, a plan has been put forward for settling disputes between husband and wife within the family. An effort should be made to effect a reconciliation before resorting to a court of law or making the final breach. The plan is to appoint one arbiter from the family of each spouse for this purpose. The two should probe into the real cause or causes of the dispute and then try to find a way out of it. Of course, the relatives are best qualified for it, knowing as they do the true conditions of the spouses. Allah has left it unanswered as to who should appoint the arbiters so that each spouse may appoint one arbiter from his or her relatives, if they desire to patch up their differences, or the leaders of the two families may take the initiative and entrust the work of reconciliation to two arbiters, or if the case goes to the court, it may appoint two arbiters before taking any action. There is a difference of opinion regarding the powers of the arbiters. According to the Hanafi and the Shafi `i schools of thought, the arbiters are not authorized to pass any final decree but may recommend measures for reconciliation, which tray be accepted or rejected by the spouses. Of course, if the spouses themselves authorize them to effect divorce or khula' or take any other measure, then they shall be bound to accept their decision. Hasan Basri, Qatadah and some other jurists are of the opinion that the arbiters are authorized to enforce reconciliation but not separation. Ibn `Abbas, Said bin Jubair, Ibrahim Nakha 'i, Sha 'bi, Muhammad bin Sirin and some other jurists are of the opinion that the arbiters have full authority to enforce their decision about reconciliation or separation whichever they consider to be proper.

Caliph Uthman and Caliph 'Ali used to authorize the arbiters appointed by theta with full powers to effect reconciliation or separation as required by the circumstances. For instance, when the case of 'Aqil, son of Abu Talib, and his wife Fatimah, daughter of 'Utbah bin Rabi'ah, was brought in the court of Caliph Uthman, he appointed as arbiter Ibn 'Abbas from the family of the husband and Mu'aviyah bin Abi Sufyan from the family of the wife and told them that they ware authorized to cause separation between them, if required by circumstances. Likewise, Caliph `Ali appointed arbiters in a similar case and authorized them to effect reconciliation between the spouses or separate them. This shows that the arbiters as such do not possess judicial powers, but if at the tithe of their appointment, the authority concerned empowers them with judicial powers, their decision shall be binding and enforced like other judicial decisions.
Tafsir of Maududi on Qur'an 4:34

At-Tantawi (1928-2010)

روى المفسرون روايات في سبب نزول قوله- تعالى- الرِّجالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّساءِ الآية.

ومن هذه الروايات ما ذكره القرطبي من أنها نزلت في سعد بن الربيع نشزت عليه امرأته حبيبة بنت زيد بن خارجة بن أبى زهير فلطمها فقال أبوها: يا رسول الله، أفرشته كريمتي فلطمها. فقال صلى الله عليه وسلم (لتقتص من زوجها) . فانصرفت مع أبيها لتقتص منه. فقال- عليه الصلاة والسلام- «ارجعوا هذا جبريل أتانى» فأنزل الله هذه الآية . وقوله قَوَّامُونَ جمع قوام على وزن فعال للمبالغة من القيام على الشيء وحفظه. يقال: قام فلان على الشيء وهو قائم عليه وقوام عليه، إذا كان يرعاه ويحفظه ويتولاه. ويقال: هذا قيم المرأة وقوامها للذي يقوم بأمرها ويهتم بحفظها وإصلاحها ورعاية شئونها. أى: الرجال يقومون على شئون النساء بالحفظ والرعاية والنفقة والتأديب وغير ذلك مما تقتضيه مصلحتهن. ثم ذكر- سبحانه- سببين لهذه القوامة. أولهما: وهبى وقد بينه بقوله: بِما فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلى بَعْضٍ. أى أن حكمة الله اقتضت أن يكون الرجال قوامين على النساء بسبب ما فضل الله به الرجال على النساء من قوة في الجسم، وزيادة في العلم، وقدرة على تحمل أعباء الحياة وتكاليفها وما يستتبع ذلك من دفاع عنهن إذا ما تعرضن لسوء. قال الفخر الرازي: واعلم أن فضل الرجال على النساء حاصل من وجوه كثيرة: بعضها صفات حقيقية وبعضها أحكام شرعية. أما الصفات الحقيقية فاعلم أن الفضائل الحقيقية يرجع حاصلها إلى أمرين. إلى العلم وإلى القدرة. ولا شك أن عقول الرجال وعلومهم أكثر. ولا شك أن قدرتهم على الأعمال الشاقة أكمل، فلهذين السببين حصلت الفضيلة للرجال على النساء في العقل والحزم والقوة. وإن منهم الأنبياء والعلماء، وفيهم الإمامة الكبرى والصغرى والجهاد، والأذان، والخطبة، والولاية في النكاح. فكل ذلك يدل على فضل الرجال على النساء» . والمراد بالتفضيل في قوله بِما فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلى بَعْضٍ تفضيل الجنس على الجنس لا تفضيل الآحاد على الآحاد. فقد يوجد من النساء من هي أقوى عقلا وأكثر معرفة من بعض الرجال. والباء للسببية، وما مصدرية، والبعض الأول المقصود به الرجال والبعض الثاني المقصود به النساء، والضمير المضاف إليه البعض الأول يقع على مجموع الفريقين على سبيل التغليب. وقال- سبحانه- بِما فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلى بَعْضٍ ولم يقل- مثلا-: بما فضلهم الله عليهن، للإشعار بأن الرجال من النساء والنساء من الرجال كما قال في آية أخرى بَعْضُكُمْ مِنْ بَعْضٍ وللإشارة إلى أن هذا التفضيل هو لصالح الفريقين، فعلى كل فريق منهم أن يتفرغ لأداء المهمة التي كلفه الله بها بإخلاص وطاعة حتى يسعد الفريقان. وأما السبب الثاني: فهو كسبي وقد بينه- سبحانه- بقوله: وَبِما أَنْفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوالِهِمْ. أى أن الله- تعالى- جعل الرجال قوامين على النساء بسبب ما فضل الله به الرجال على النساء من علم وقدرة. وبسبب ما ألزم به الرجال من إنفاق على النساء ومن تقديم المهور لهن عند الزواج بهن، ومن القيام برعايتهن وصيانتهن. قال الآلوسى: واستدل بالآية على أن للزوج تأديب زوجته ومنعها من الخروج. وأن عليها طاعته إلا في معصية الله- تعالى-. وفي الخبر «لو أمرت أحدا أن يسجد لأحد لأمرت المرأة أن تسجد لزوجها» . واستدل بها أيضا من أجاز فسخ النكاح عند الإعسار عن النفقة والكسوة. وهو مذهب مالك والشافعى، لأنه إذا خرج عن كونه قواما عليها فقد خرج عن الغرض المقصود بالنكاح. وعندنا لا فسخ لقوله- تعالى: وَإِنْ كانَ ذُو عُسْرَةٍ فَنَظِرَةٌ إِلى مَيْسَرَةٍ. واستدل بها أيضا من جعل للزوج الحجر على زوجته في نفسها وما لها فلا تتصرف فيه إلا بإذنه، لأنه- سبحانه- جعل الرجل قواما بصيغة المبالغة. وهو الناظر على الشيء الحافظ له» . ثم شرع- سبحانه- في تفصيل أحوال النساء. وفي بيان كيفية القيام عليهن بحسب اختلاف أحوالهن، فقسمهن إلى قسمين:فقال في شأن القسم الأول: فَالصَّالِحاتُ قانِتاتٌ حافِظاتٌ لِلْغَيْبِ بِما حَفِظَ اللَّهُ. أى: فالصالحات من النساء من صفاتهن أنهن قانِتاتٌ أى مطيعات لله- تعالى ولأزواجهن عن طيب نفس واطمئنان قلب، ومن صفاتهن كذلك أنهن حافِظاتٌ لِلْغَيْبِ بِما حَفِظَ اللَّهُ. قال صاحب الكشاف: الغيب خلاف الشهادة. أى حافظات لمواجب الغيب. إذا كان الأزواج غير شاهدين لهن، حفظن ما يجب عليهن حفظه في حال الغيبة من الفروج والأموال والبيوت. وعن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال. «خير النساء امرأة إن نظرت إليها سرتك، وإن أمرتها أطاعتك، وإذا غبت عنها حفظتك في مالها ونفسها» ، ثم تلا الآية الكريمة . و «ما» في قوله بِما حَفِظَ اللَّهُ يحتمل أن تكون مصدرية فيكون المعنى: أن هؤلاء النساء الصالحات المطيعات من صفاتهن أيضا أنهن يحفظن في غيبة أزواجهن ما يجب حفظه بسبب حفظ الله لهن ورعايته إياهن بالتوفيق للعمل الذي يحبه ويرضاه. ويحتمل أن تكون موصولة فيكون المعنى: أنهن حافظات لغيبة أزواجهن في النفس والعرض والمال وكل ما يجب حفظه بسبب الأمر الذي حفظه الله لهن على أزواجهن حيث كلف الأزواج بالإنفاق عليهن وبالإحسان إليهن، فعليهن أن يحفظن حقوق أزواجهن في مقابلة الذي حفظه الله لهن من حقوق على أزواجهن. فالجملة الكريمة تمدح النساء الصالحات المطيعات الحافظات لأسرار أزواجهن ولكل ما يجب حفظه من عرض أو مال أو غير ذلك مما تقتضيه الحياة الزوجية. هذا هو القسم الأول من النساء، أما القسم الثاني فقد قال- سبحانه- في شأنه: وَاللَّاتِي تَخافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ والمراد بقوله نُشُوزَهُنَّ عصيانهن وخروجهن عما توجبه الحياة الزوجية من طاعة الزوجة لزوجها. يقال: نشزت الزوجة نشوزا أى: عصت زوجها وامتنعت عليه. وأصل النشوز مأخوذ من النشز بمعنى الارتفاع في وسط الأرض السهلة المنبسطة ويكون شاذا فيها. فشبهت المرأة المتعالية على طاعة زوجها بالمرتفع من الأرض. والمعنى: هذا شأن النساء الصالحات القانتات الحافظات للغيب بسبب حفظ الله لهن، أما النساء اللاتي تخافون نُشُوزَهُنَّ أى عصيانهن لكم، وترفعهن عن مطاوعتكم، وسوء عشرتهن فَعِظُوهُنَّ بالقول الذي يؤثر في النفس، ويوجههن نحو الخير والفضيلة، بأن تذكروهن بحسن عاقبة الطاعة للزوج. وسوء عاقبة النشوز والمعصية، وبأن تسوقوا لهن من تعاليم الإسلام وآدابه وتوجيهاته ما من شأنه أن يشفى الصدور، ويهدى النفوس إلى الخير. قال ابن كثير: وقوله- تعالى-: وَاللَّاتِي تَخافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ أى النساء اللاتي تخافون أن ينشزن على أزواجهن فعظوهن. والنشوز هو الارتفاع فالمرأة الناشز هي المرتفعة على زوجها التاركة لأمره، المعرضة عنه المبغضة له، فمتى ظهر له منها أمارات النشوز فليعظها وليخوفها عقاب الله، فإن الله قد أوجب حق الزوج عليها وطاعته، وحرم عليها معصيته لماله عليها من الفضل، وقد قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: «لو كنت آمرا أحدا أن يسجد لأحد لأمرت الزوجة أن تسجد لزوجها من عظم حقه عليها» . وقوله وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضاجِعِ أى وعليكم إذا لم تنفع الموعظة والنصيحة معهن أن تتركوهن منفردات في أماكن نومهن. فالمضاجع جمع مضجع- وهو مكان النوم والاضطجاع. قال القرطبي: والهجر في المضجع هو أن يضاجعها- أى ينام معها في فراش واحد- ويوليها ظهره ولا يجامعها. وقال مجاهد: وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضاجِعِ أى تجنبوا مضاجعهن أى- اهجروا أماكن نومهن بأن تناموا بعيدا عنهن-» . روى أبو داود بسنده عن معاوية بن حيدة القشيري أنه قال: يا رسول الله: ما حق زوجة أحدنا عليه؟ قال: أن تطعمها إذا طعمت، وتكسوها إذا اكتسيت ولا تضرب الوجه. ولا تقبح. ولا تهجر إلا في البيت» . وقوله وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ معطوف على ما قبله. أى إن لم ينفع ما فعلتم من العظة والهجران فاضربوهن ضربا غير مبرح- أى غير شديد ولا مشين- فقد ثبت في صحيح مسلم عن جابر عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال في حجة الوداع» : واتقوا الله في النساء فإنهن عوان عندكم- أى أسيرات عندكم- ولكم عليهن أن لا يوطئن فرشكم أحدا تكرهونه. فإن فعلن فاضربوهن ضربا غير مبرح» . وقد فسر العلماء الضرب غير المبرح بأنه الذي لا يكسر عظما، ولا يشين جارحة، وأن يتقى الوجه فإنه مجمع المحاسن ولا يلجأ إليه إلا عند فشل العلاجين السابقين. وقد قال- سبحانه- وَاللَّاتِي تَخافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ ولم يقل: واللائي ينشزن، للإشعار بأن يبدأ الزوج بعلاج عيوب زوجته عند ما تظهر أمارات هذه العيوب وعلاماتها وأن لا يتركها حتى تستشرى وتشتد، بل عليه عند ما يخشى النشوز أن يعالجه قبل أن يقع، وأن يكون علاجه بطريقة حكيمة من شأنها أن تقنع وتفيد. وبعضهم فسر الخوف، بالعلم أى واللاتي تعلمون نشوزهن فعظوهن . . . إلخ. وبعضهم قدر مضافا في الكلام أى: واللاتي تخافون دوام نشوزهن، فعظوهن واهجروهن في المضاجع . . . إلخ. وبعضهم قدر معطوفا محذوفا أى: واللاتي تخافون نشوزهن ونشزن، فعظوهن واهجروهن في المضاجع . . . إلخ. وجمهور العلماء على أن من الواجب على الزوج أن يسلك في معالجته لزوجته تلك الأنواع الثلاثة على الترتيب بأن يبدأ بالوعظ ثم بالهجر ثم بالضرب، لأن الله- تعالى- قد أمر بذلك، ولأنه قد رتب هذه العقوبات بتلك الطريقة الحكيمة التي تبدأ بالعقوبة الخفيفة ثم تتدرج إلى العقوبة الشديدة ثم إلى الأكثر شدة. قال الفخر الرازي: وبالجملة فالتخفيف مراعى في هذا الباب على أبلغ الوجوه. والذي يدل عليه اللفظ أنه- تعالى- ابتدأ بالوعظ. ثم ترقى منه إلى الضرب. وذلك تنبيه يجرى مجرى التصريح في أنه متى حصل الغرض بالطريق الأخف، وجب الاكتفاء به، ولم يجز الإقدام على الطريق الأشق. وهذه طريقة من قال: حكم هذه الآية مشروع على الترتيب. وقال بعض أصحابنا: «تحرير المذهب أن له عند خوف النشوز أن يعظها، وهل له أن يهجرها؟ فيه احتمال. وله عند إبداء النشوز أن يعظها أو يهجرها، أو يضربها» . ثم بين- سبحانه- ما يجب على الرجال نحو النساء إذا ما أطعنهم وتركن النشوز والعصيان فقال- تعالى-: فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلا تَبْغُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ كانَ عَلِيًّا كَبِيراً. أى فإن رجعن عن النشوز إلى الطاعة وانقدن لما أوجب الله عليهن نحوكم أيها الرجال، فلا تطلبوا سبيلا وطريقا إلى التعدي عليهن، أو فلا تظلموهن بأى طريق من طرق الظلم كأن تؤذوهن بألسنتكم أو بأيديكم أو بغير ذلك، بل اجعلوا ما كان منهن كأنه لم يكن، وحاولوا التقرب إليهن بألوان المودة والرحمة. إِنَّ اللَّهَ كانَ عَلِيًّا كَبِيراً فاحذروا مخالفة أمره، فإن قدرته- سبحانه- عليكم أعظم من قدرتكم على نسائكم. فالجملة الكريمة تذييل قصد به حث الأزواج على قبول توبة النساء، وتحذيرهم من ظلمهن إذا ما تركن النشوز، وعدن إلى طريق الطاعة والإنابة. قال بعضهم: وذكر هاتين الصفتين في هذا الموضع في غاية الحسن، وبيانه من وجوه:الأول: أن المقصود منه تهديد الأزواج على ظلم النساء. والمعنى: أنهن إن ضعفن عن دفع ظلمكم وعجزن عن الانتصاف منكم، فالله- سبحانه- ينتصف لهن منكم لأنه علىّ قاهر كبير. الثاني: لا تبغوا عليهن إذا أطعنكم لعلو أيديكم، فإن الله أعلى منكم وأكبر من كل شيء. الثالث: أنه- سبحانه- مع علوه وكبريائه لا يكلفكم إلا ما تطيقون، كذلك لا تكلفوهن محبتكم، فإنهن لا يقدرن على ذلك. الرابع: أنه مع علوه وكبريائه لا يؤاخذ العاصي إذا تاب، بل يغفر له، فإذا تاب المرأة عن نشوزها فأنتم أولى بأن تتركوا عقوبتها وتقبلوا توبتها. الخامس: أنه- تعالى مع علوه وكبريائه اكتفى من العبد بالظواهر ولم يهتك السرائر فأنتم أولى أن تكتفوا بظاهر حال المرأة، وأن لا تقعوا في التفتيش عما في قلبها وضميرها من الحب والبغض»

The commentators gave narrations of the cause of revelation of the saying of the most high (Allah) in the verse “men are in charge of the affairs of women.” And from these narrations it is mentioned by Al-Qurtubi that this was revealed when Sa’d bin Rabi’ suffered disobedience from his woman, Habiba bint Zayid bin Kharija bin Abi Zuhayr, so he struck her. Then her father said “O apostle of Allah, he harmed my honor and he struck her.” Then the prophet peace and prayers of Allah be upon him said “take vengeance from her husband.” Then she set out with her father to take vengeance. And then the prophet peace and prayers of Allah be upon him said “come back, Jibril has come to me with this” then Allah revealed this verse. And the word “qawwaamun” is the plural of “qawaam” which is on the Arabic pattern of fa’aal meaning in charge of a thing and protecting/guarding it. It is said in Arabic: so-and-so is “qawwaam on this” meaning he’s in charge of it, thus he is a steward of this, he guards it and takes care of it. And in Arabic it is said: this is “her qawwaam” to those who undertake in commanding her and being interested in her well-being and in guarding her and in her well-being and her the stewardship of her matters. Meaning: the men are in charge of the affairs of women, in guarding and stewarding them and provisioning for them and ensuring their manners and more in the matters that concern her well-being. Then he Allah, praised be he, mentioned two causes for this stewardship of men over women: The first of the two: their gifts and he mentioned it in the saying “in what Allah has favored the one over the other.” Meaning that the wisdom of Allah judged that the men should be in charge of women because of what he has favored men in as opposed to women as far as physical strength, increased knowledge, and ability to bear the burdens of life and life’s sorrows, and what that entails for defending them if they are exposed to danger in the world. Fakhr Ar-Razi said: I know that the favor of the men over women comes from many causes: some of them are characteristics of reality and some of them are the judgements of the shari’ah. As for the characteristics of reality, I know that the favors of reality go back to two causes: Knowledge and ability. There is no doubt that the mind of men and their knowledge are greater. And there is no doubt that their ability to work hard (is greater), so for these two reasons men have been favored over women (by Allah) in the mind, resoluteness and power. And of the men are the prophets and the scholars, and the great and small Imams, and (those who engage in) jihad, and (those who call) the adhan (call to prayer), and (those who give) the khutbah (Friday sermon), and guardianship for the female relatives in giving permission for marriage. And all of this points to how men are favored over women. And the intended meaning of the favor of men over women in the verse is a favor of one sex over the other, not the favor of one individual over another. For there are women who are stronger of men and greater of knowledge than some men. The first “baa’” (letter “B” in Arabic, a preposition) indicates cause, not a verbal noun, and the first “ba’ad” mean the men, and the second “ba’ad” means the women, and the pronoun which is attached to the first “ba’ad” indicates the joining of the two groups in the superiority (of the men). Allah the most high said “in what Allah has favored the one over the other” and he did not say, for example, “in what Allah has favored them (the men) over them (the women)” in order to show that the this favor is for the good of both parties, and it’s up to each of the two parties to fulfill their important duties that Allah has appointed them to with loyalty and obedience that the two parties might be happy. And as for the second cause: it is as a prisoner and Allah, praised be he, showed it in his saying: “in what they spend for provisioning from their wealth.” Meaning that Allah, lofty is high, made the men in charge of the women because of his favor to them, favoring the men over the women in knowledge and ability. And because of what the man has been compelled to provision for women from their wealth, and giving them mahrs (dowers) at the time of marriage, and taking care of them and maintaining their lifestyle. And Al-Aalusi said: and he (Allah) indicated that the man has the right to discipline/give manners to his wife and prevent her from leaving. And that she must obey him except should it cause harm, Allah is most high. And there is also the report (in the hadith) “If I (Allah) had commanded people to prostrate to any person, I would have commanded the wife to prostrate to her husband.” And this indicates also that it is possible to dissolve a marriage if the man is too poor to provide provisioning and vestments (for the wife). And this (is the opinion of) the Shafi’i and Maliki schools (of Islamic jurisprudence), because if he has left his state of authority over her then he has left the intended point of the marriage. And we have no annulment for Allah saying, high is he, that “and if it were a rough patch, look forward to the light at the end of the tunnel.” And it also indicates that anyone who makes a restriction upon the husband towards his wife herself and not what is to her, then she should not act in it except for his permission, because Allah, praised be he, made the man in charge of her totally. And he is the overseer of her affairs, and keeps them safe. Then Allah, praised be he, set down the law in description of the circumstances of the women:And in the manner of stewardship on them (the women) according to the difference of their (the women’s) circumstance, their division is two: for he said as for the first: “a good women are obedient and guard what is hidden from what Allah had preserved for it.” Meaning: the good women are described in that they are obedient, meaning obeying Allah, lofty is he, and their husbands with a good soul and a content hear, and they are also described as guarding what Allah has kept hidden. Zamkhashri said: the hidden is against the shahadah. The women who guard it have a duty to the “unseen.” If their husbands were not observing them, they guard what is necessary for them to guard in the case of the unseen, (that is) their vaginas and the wealth of the house. And the prophet, peace and prayers of Allah be upon him, said that: “The best women are those if you look at her in your belly button, and if you command her to obey you, and if you leave her, she will protect you in herself and your money.” And the “what” in Allah’s saying “in what Allah has guarded” is expected to be that of a verbal noun, so the meaning is: that these good women are given their characteristics and also that they guard “the unseen” for their husbands, which must be kept because of what Allah has guarded for them and stewarded for them, for the success of the work that he wants and which pleases him. And it’s expected to be a connection, meaning that they (the women) guard the unseen for their husbands in themselves and their honor and their wealth and everything which must be guarded because of the matter than Allah has saved for them for their husbands, whereas their husbands must strive to provision for them with the best of them, and thus it’s up to the women to guard the rights of their husbands in return for that which Allah has saved for them (the women) for their rights (ie what they deserve) from their husbands. And in truth this precious thing gives praise to the good women, the giving women, the guarding women, who guard the secrets of their husbands and all of what must be guarded, honor and wealth or anything else, from what is judged to be part of their married life. This is the first area of responsibility of the women, and the second is what Allah, high is he, said about the matter: “those women that you fear rebelliousness from them, admonish them, banish them from the bedrooms, and beat them.” The meaning of this saying “their rebelliousness” is their insubordination and their leaving of their duties in married life, that is obedience of the wife to the husband. And it’s said: “The wife has rebelled” meaning: she made things hard for her husband and refused to follow what he says. And the origin of the (Arabic word for) “rebelliousness” is “nashz” meaning raising up from a flat plain to create an abnormality in the landscape. And thus the woman rising upon the obedience to her husband resembles a raised abnormality in the earth. The meaning is: this issue is of the good, obedient, women who guard the “unseen” because of what Allah has preserved for them, whereas the ones from whom you fear disobedience, meaning their disobedience (using a different word for “disobedience”) to you all (the men), and you will know them by their obedience to you, or their bad treatment of you, so admonish them saying what will affect their soul, and send them on the path to the good and beautiful, by mentioning to them how good the results of obeying the husband are. And as for the evil consequences of disobedience and bad behavior, lead them to the teachings of Islam and its manners and point them to what will heal their heart, and lead their soul to goodness. And ibn Kathir said: “Allah most high said ‘those from whom you fear disobedience’ meaning the women from whom you fear disobedience and who are disobedient to their husbands, those ones admonish them.” And the disobedience is the rising up of the disobedient women, and when she has risen up against her husband leaving (ignoring) his orders, her presence to him is odious, so when a sign of disobedience from her appears, let him admonish her and scare her of the punishment of Allah, for Allah has made incumbent the right of the husband upon her and her obedience, and has made forbidden bad disobedience/lack of faith to her wealth from his largesse, and the prophet, peace and prayers of Allah be upon him, said “if I would tell any person to bow down to another, I would have commanded a wife to bow down to her husbands due to the greatness of his right upon her.” And his (Allah’s) saying “expel them from the bedrooms” meaning this is what you need to do if you do not get any benefit from the admonishment, and the advice is to leave them alone in the sleeping places. “Bedrooms” is the plural of “bedroom” and it’s the sleeping place and the place of rest. And Qurtubi said: the expulsion from the bedroom is to end sexual relations with her and sleeping with her in one bed, and show her his back and not have sexual relations with her. And mujahid said: “expel them (the women) from the bedrooms” meaning avoid the bedroom meaning expel (them) from the places where they sleep and sleep far from them. And Abu Dawud narrated from Mu’wiya bin Hayda Al-Qushayri that the apostle of Allah said: “what is the right of a wife of one of us about it? He said: to feed her if she needs to eats, to clothe her if she needs clothes, and not to strike the face.” And do not be disgusted. And don’t expel her to anywhere but (somewhere else) in the house. And his saying “strike them (the women)” inclines upon what is before it. Meaning if you do not benefit from what you have done from admonishment and expulsion, then strike them (the women) with a ‘non-intensive’ strike, meaning not overly strong or disgraceful, and it has been proven in sahih Muslim from Jabir from the prophet, peace and prayers of Allah be upon him, that he said in his farewell statement: “Depend on Allah for the women, for they are a dependent upon you, meaning your prisoners, and that no one tread in your bed that you might hate.’” And therefore do not strike them harshly/violently. And the scholars explained the “non-intense” strike that it not break the bone, and not cause injury, and leave the face, and it is in summary to be good and not to resort to it except when the other two remedies have failed previously. And Allah most high said, “and those from whom you fear disobedience from them (the woman)” and he did not say “those who are disobedient” to show that the husband must begin with curing the burdens of the wife from what appears of the signs of these burdens and their signs, and to not leave her until her until she becomes intensely mad and inflamed, but rather it’s up to him when he fears disobedience to solve the issue before the dime falls, and to be the one giving the cure in a wise way for her sake to convince and benefit her. And some of them explained the fear in that knowledge meaning that the (female) ones who know their disobedience, admonish them. etc And some of them add to this, saying: those women from whom you fear the duration of their disobedience, admonish them and drive them out of the bedrooms.etc. And some of them are able to say with an adjoining meaning: those women from whom you fear disobedience and who have disobeyed, admonist them and expel them from the bedrooms. etc. And the majority of scholars agree that it’s up to the husband to behave in a way to cure his wife with those 3 steps, the admonishment, then the expulsion then the beating because Allah most high ordered that and put the order in place of these punishments in that wise way that begins with the light punishment then steps up to the more sever punishment then to the most sever punishment. Then Fakhr Ar-Razi said: in general, mitigation should be taken into account as much as possible. And what the he points to the saying of Allah most high and starts the admonishment. Then he escalates to the strike. And that is sharp warning to those taking this course when the goal is in the lighter path, it must be followed, and it’s not allowed (in that case) to set foot up on the more severe path. And this is the path of those who said “this verse has made this order law.” And some of our companions said “the opinion of our school of jurisprudence is that when there is fear of disobedience he ought to admonish her, so must he expel her (from the bedroom)? There is a possibility. And at the expression of disobedience he (the husband) ought to admonish and expel her from the bedroom, or beat her. Then Allah the most high revealed what is necessary for men towards women if they don’t obey them (the men) or left their disobedience and rebellion. Allah the most high said “if they obeyed you all do not seek a path upon them for Allah is high and great.” Meaning if they return from their disobedience to obedience and they submit when Allah has imposed it upon them towards you all o men, do not seek a way (back) to enmity with them, or do not oppress them in any way such as injuring them with your tongues or hand or anything else, rather make it as though it didn’t happen and try to draw close to them in a manner of friendship and love. “Verily Allah is high and great” so avoid opposing his order, for Allah, , exalted is he, has appointed you (the men) to be greater than them (the women). The noble revelation is meant to encourage husbands to accept the repentance of their women, and warn them from oppressing them, and warning them (the men) from oppressing them (the women) if they (the women) left their disobedience, and returned into the path of obedience and repentance. And some of them have said: these two lines in this context have the aim of good, and its cause are thus: first, the intended is to warn husbands from oppressing women. Meaning: that they (the women) were weaked from the pressure of oppression and were not able to get justice from you, so Allah, praised be he, made justice for them from you because he is a great conqueror. The second: do not seek (a way) upon them if they obey you, for Allah is greater than you all in all things. And the third: that Allah, exalted is he, with his loftiness and greatness does not burden you except that you can bear that burden, and as such do not burden them (the women) out of your love, for they will not be able to bear it. The fourth: that with his loftiness and greatness the rebellious is not taken if he repents, but rather he is forgiven, and if the women repents of her rebelliousness, for you should first leave their punishment and accept their repentance. The fifth: that the most high, with his greatness and loftiness, satisfied the servant (the Muslims) with the outward appearances and did not tear apart the conscience, for you first out to be satisfied with the outward appearance of the woman, and don’t fall into searching for what is in her heart and her conscience from love and hate.
At-Tasfir Al-Wasit on Qur'an 4:34

Evidence from the Hadith

Mutliple hadith sources take up the issue of wife beating. They mostly serve to endorse and qualify the practice. As with Slavery the idea is found that not hitting your wife is a meritorious act but not necessary to be a good believer/Muslim.

First off, the hadith confirms that Muhammad did allow men to beat their wives.

Iyas b. Abdullah reported God's messenger as saying, "Do not beat God's handmaidens;" but when `Umar came to God's messenger and said, "The women have become emboldened towards their husbands," he gave licence to beat them. Then many women went round God's messenger's family complaining of their husbands, and he said, "Many women have gone around complaining of their husbands. Those are not the best among you." Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and Darimi transmitted it.
Mishkat Al-Masabih: Volume 2, page 692
Narrated Abdullah ibn AbuDhubab: Iyas ibn Abdullah ibn AbuDhubab reported the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) as saying: Do not beat Allah's handmaidens, but when Umar came to the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) 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 (peace be upon him) complaining against their husbands. So the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Many women have gone round Muhammad's family complaining against their husbands. They are not the best among you.
It was narrated that Iyas bin 'Abdullah bin Abu Dhubab said: "The Prophet said: 'Do not beat the female slaves of Allah.' Then 'Umar came to the Prophet and said: 'O Messenger of Allah, the woman have become bold towards their husbands? So order the beating of them,' and they were beaten. Then many women went around to the family of Muhammad,. The next day he said: 'Last night seventy women came to the family of Muhammad, each woman complaining about her husband. You will not find that those are the best of you.' " (Sahih)

The beatings were so frequent a part of community life that 'Aishah is said to have complained that the believing women suffer more than any other:

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!" When 'AbdurRahman heard that his wife had gone to the Prophet, he came with his two sons from another wife. She said, "By Allah! I have done no wrong to him but he is impotent and is as useless to me as this," holding and showing the fringe of her garment, 'Abdur-Rahman said, "By Allah, O Allah's Apostle! She has told a lie! I am very strong and can satisfy her but she is disobedient and wants to go back to Rifa'a." Allah's Apostle said, to her, "If that is your intention, then know that it is unlawful for you to remarry Rifa'a unless Abdur-Rahman has had sexual intercourse with you." Then the Prophet saw two boys with 'Abdur-Rahman and asked (him), "Are these your sons?" On that 'AbdurRahman said, "Yes." The Prophet said, "You claim what you claim (i.e.. that he is impotent)? But by Allah, these boys resemble him as a crow resembles a crow,"

Here Muhammad seems to condone and take part of the practice.

The hadith clarify how the beatings should be conducted:

Fear Allaah regarding women for you have got them under Allah’s security and have the right to intercourse with them by Allah’s word. It is a duty from you on them not to allow anyone whom you dislike to lie on your beds but if they do beat them, but not severely.

Another hadith lays out the specifics of how far the beating can go:

Then he said: 'I enjoin good treatment of women, for they are prisoners with you, and you have no right to treat them otherwise, unless they commit clear indecency. If they do that, then forsake them in their beds and hit them, but without causing injury or leaving a mark.

Modern Views and Perspectives on the Meaning of Qur'an 4:34

The view that men should beat their wives flies in the face of modern conventions about gender relations. As such it has lead to a number of discussions and revisions in the modern Islamic community. On the one end progressive Muslims such as Leila Bakhtiar, who went so far as to mistranslate the word "daraba" in order to hide the plain meaning of the text, instructing men to beat their wives in certain situations. The Yaqeen Institute on the other hand calls the idea that men can beat their wives a "myth" while admitting in the same article that the plain meaning of the text of the Qur'an allows it. On the other hand are traditionalists such as Daniel Haqiqatjou, who defends the Qur'an by claiming that wife-beating allows authority to be "distributed across kinship groups" as opposed to being concentrated in the cold, unfeeling hands of the modern nation-state. He compares wife beating to the discipline that employers enforce on their employee by forcing them to leave the premises of the building in which they are situated with the implied threat of force from the police or company security forces. For such Occidentalist critics, the cold and calculating nature of the west means that even practices which violate human rights are preferable to the modern, western, liberal state. As Michael Cook observed over a decade ago in The Koran: A Very Short Introduction commentators who take the verse come up with a number of strategies to deal with it, but whether by embracing or "swimming against" the Western tide all of them are in one way or another engaging with western, liberal modernity.

See Also

External Links