Verse about striking women 4:34

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

The Ayat 4:34 has been the subject of heated debate and controversy as critics object that it allows beating of women by men while apologists try to assign alternative meanings to the Arabic word ‘Daraba’ in the Ayat. We will review this Ayat and its implication in this post.

4:34  الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ ۚ فَالصَّالِحَاتُ قَانِتَاتٌ حَافِظَاتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللَّهُ ۚ وَاللَّاتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ ۖ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلَا تَبْغُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيًّا كَبِيرًا

Men take stand over women with what Allah has provided bounty to some over others and with what they spend from their wealth. Thus women are those who amend / correct and who are devout and they are preservers in absence, with what Allah has preserved. And those women from whom you fear of rebellion then sermon them, and abandon them in the beds and strike them. So if they obey you then do not seek over them a way. Surely Allah is all high, all great.

Men are those who take a stand over the women i.e protect them with a sense of belonging and spend on them. The women protect their home and it’s possessions in the absence of men. For those women, who men fear that they are not doing this, then they should sermon them according to the Ayas of Al-Quran and not with their own ideas and philosophies normally prevalent in society. In case the problem is not solved,  next step is to be separated from sleeping together. Women psychologies are based predominantly on emotions. They can sometimes become locked in their own emotions. The word strike in the above Ayat is in the sense of a shock treatment, to bring them out of a locked emotional state. In no case, the strike should cause bodily harm or fall within legal jurisdiction. The men who are not themselves acting on Ayahs of Allah i.e not taking a stand for their woman will not have any right to carry out this strike any way because it will not be effective.

4:59  يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ ۖ فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا

O’ you people who believe, obey Allah and obey the messenger and obey those among you who have the authority to give orders then if you dispute in anything then refer it towards Allah and the messenger, if you believe with Allah and the last day, that is better and the most beautiful interpretation

The above Ayat asks to obey Allah, the Messenger and those who can implement orders. Government has the power to implement orders therefore people should obey the law of land otherwise there will be chaos in the land. In case there is conflict with the law of the land, then the matter should be referred to Allah and Messenger i.e a plausible solution should be sought in the light of Ayahs. In essence, the law of the land should be respected.

The law of the land in all countries would prohibit domestic violence and physical beating. The shock treatment stated in the Ayat is to be such that it should not cause a legal implication. An example will be the treatment which we see sometimes on TV that  when people get in a state of shock (frozen state), then a sudden light strike or jostling would bring them back to normal state. The person carrying out this treatment is not blamed by any one for wrongdoing.  


A link to a related lecture by scholar Mohammad Shaikh is given below:


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