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Monday, May 18, 2009

Wife beating - Qur'aan 4:34

This thing keeps popping up every few months and I am happy to reveiw and share another point of view. Finding the truth is your own responsibility.

Cultures determine one's behavior rather than the religion, indeed, religions are the product of environment; God says in Bhagvad Gita, "whenever unrighteousness takes over the society, I will emerge among you and reset the society to righteousness" and the Qur'aan, " to every nation, and to every tribe, there will be a messenger to put them back on the path of righteousness" and that's precisely what Jesus and Moses did; bring a sense of morality to the deviousness that preceeded them.

Religion is about justice, inclusiveness and common goodness.

Basam writes in his research paper, “A common criticism exists that Islam is an androcentric religion that authorizes the oppression of women both in public and private spheres. Wife beating is often cited to support this claim.”

Thanks to the variations in translations, it shows us the limitations of human understanding, and challenges us to strive to grasp the whole truth. What was hitherto cut and dry is no more. May be it is Allah's hint to us to get closer to understanding the truth. The monopolies would be gone and focus would be on the essence rather than literal meaning. Presently the 14 translations are available and Insha Allah it will be at http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/ soon.
.
Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar offers another meaning to the translation of the Arabic word "Idrib," traditionally translated as "beat," which has been mis-understood and abused over the centuries by men who would be abusive any way, whether they are Muslim or not. "Why choose to interpret the word as 'to beat' when it can also mean 'to go away' - either one from the other, may be it meant separation as a process of re-evaluation.

The passage is generally translated: "And as for those women whose ill will you have reason to fear, admonish them; then leave them alone in bed; then beat them; and if thereupon they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them. Behold, God is indeed most high, great!"
Instead, Bakhtiar suggests "Husbands at that point should submit to God, let God handle it -- go away from them and let God work His Will instead of a human being inflicting pain and suffering on another human being in the Name of God."

Insha Allah, I am working on presenting a paper on the myth of "wife beating" to our scholars and Imams to review, and if it is consistent with the essence of Qur'aan and if they concur, it will be a relief to the Muslim women around the world consistent with God being a just God.
I am optimistic with this particular development and welcome this new translation, even if it has a few flaws, it would wash off by the 15 other translations, but will take us closer to the essence of Qur'aan; Justice to one and all.

Continue: http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2007/03/woman-re-interprets-quraan.html


Jazak Allah Khair
Mike Ghouse

Introduction (Bassam and Syed)

A common criticism exists that Islam is an androcentric religion that authorizes the oppression of women both in public and private spheres. Wife beating is often cited to support this claim. The perception that Islam permits a husband to beat his wife resides with some non-Muslims and Muslims alike. Acknowledging this perception, we explore in this paper the Islamic legal perspective on wife beating specifically and wife discipline in general.The primary source of legislation on wife discipline in Islamic law is verse 34 of the fourth chapter of the Qur’an entitled “the Women.” The verse presents the disciplinary scheme in the latter sentence of the verse—hereafter referred to as the “Discipline Passage.” The verse in whole reads: (Husbands) are the protectors and maintainers of their (wives) 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 the women on whose part you fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them first, (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) spank them (lightly), but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means of (annoyance): for Allah is Most High, Great (above you all).

Continue: http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2008/01/wife-beating-434.html

===============

Abed and Ahmad, law students at Michigan State University, dispute the suggestion that wife beating is an accepted doctrine of Islam, although they posit a notion of permissible, rightly motivated, non-abusive physical discipline as a means of restoring proper marriage relations. It is a very difficult concept for us Westerners to accept.

Continue: http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2008/01/wife-beating-morale-434.html

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11 comments:

  1. "although they posit a notion of permissible, rightly motivated,non-abusive physical discipline as a means of restoring proper marriage relations. It is a very difficult concept for us Westerners to accept"

    What is your wife - some kind of child that needs to be disciplined? Forget about westerners think, there are sane Muslims out there who are as appalled at the idea that it is acceptable to even go around "spanking" your wife "lightly." Good grief, what a degrading and humiliating form of behavior towards anyone who is supposed to be defined as your equal! To seriously think that it is better option because it might have less of a "physical impact" is just ludicrous. I cannot believe that with all the recent work done by a new group of Muslim scholars to reinterpret the meaning of the verse there continues to be a group of Muslims who are still desperate to hang on to some interpretation that will still give pathetic men the option to exert some form of power and control over their wives. Do these men think they are doing women a favor by minimizing the abuse by suggesting that the "spanking them lightly" might make it all the more better?

    Beyond physical abuse there are other forms of abuse emotional, mental and psychological and any viewpoint held where a man has the right to "discipline" his wife can give permission to any kind of atrocity. If a man is unhappy with his wife because she is engaging in acts of "disloyalty and ill-conduct" (and this can we have seen interpreted in a multitude of ways from committing adultery to failing to have dinner on the table in time), he needs to get into marital counseling. And if he's still unhappy, end the marriage. And women who find themselves with men are inclined to discipline them need to show them the door - they'll start to end their domineering ways.

    O, and to those who are now all hot and bothered because I talked about terminating a marriage if all else fails and want to give me all the verses about divorce, get over your self-righteous self and go help some sister in distress at your local shelter and then you'll learn what I'm talking about. The people who often complain about "leaving a partner" as an alternative to abuse 9/10 times are engaging in some form of abuse (emotional, mental, psychological and even physical) in their own homes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Mike,AA,

    This is in response to Mr.Yusuf's query:

    Looked at holistically,it is easy to reach the
    conclusion that it is a fallacy to think that
    women are equal to men in all situations.

    Men and women are equal as human beings as long as they are on their own.

    But when women...same as men... become a part of
    a system,then systemic rules take over.That
    system can be a family in which,man is the leader
    and woman and children the followers....and in
    the same family,the mother has a higher systemic
    status when compared to the father.

    Another common system these days is an office
    where a man or a woman can be the CEO and all
    other men and women have perforce to be the followers.

    This is not to discount the right of man/woman to
    be fully consulted in matters of concern for the
    family / office .However,once consultation has
    led to a decision then all,including the head of
    the family or the office,must obey the decision.

    It is in this situation that,in a family, a
    recalcitrant wife can be corrected by progressively harsher methods,which are:

    1.Admonition.

    2.Separation in bed and finally

    3.Physical punishment.

    1 and 3 above are also applicable to disobedient
    children according to their age and fault.

    I can say from personal experience,and I am sure
    that all men will agree, that the husband can
    bear the separation much less than the wife and
    the differences are generally settled at this
    stage itself in return for togetherness in bed.It
    is only the uncouth and the uncivilised ,both
    from among the men and women,who travel to no.3 above.

    Excesses by a man can be taken to the court where
    the punishment can be determined as well as
    carried out by the court / police .

    Regards,

    Farid.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Isn't it possible that the Quran contains both "mistranslated terms" and "cultural norms" of the time? We recognize that the Bible does -- but that's not a problem. We learn to recognize what is cultural, what is mistranslated, and what is spiritual in the Bible. Is this formula appropriate for the Quran also?
    Blessings, Marylou

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think Dr. Muzammil Siddiqui's web site has good answers to this questions and many other daily issues. "Pakistan link" has a link for this website too.

    Dr. Muzammil Siddiqui ( ex-president of ISNA) received his Islamic educaion in India and Saudi Arabia. After that he received his Masters and PhD in UK and USA respectively ( in World religions). His approach is pragmatic as he understands Eastern and Western culture.

    Thanks,

    Iqbal Kazmi

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dear Mike,
    Sorry to make you spent so much effort to respond regarding 4:34.
    My question was directed to the Islamic center of Southern California, in response to the article below.

    Jazak Allah Bechair

    To Separate Fact From Fiction...
    Originally published by Islamic Center of Southern California

    Contrary to widespread negative stereotyping, and Contrary to regrettable practices in some Islamic societies where anti-Islamic culture traditions have won over Islamic teachings and where women are subdued (and men even more so).

    This information has been written with the objective of briefing you on the true Islamic teachings regarding women laid down by the Quran and prophet Mohammad over 14 centuries ago.

    Islam declared women and men equal.

    Islam condemned pre-Islamic practices degrading and oppressing women.

    The same injunctions and prohibitions of Islam equally apply to both sexes.

    Islam gave woman the right of inheritance and the right of individual independent ownership unhampered by father, husband, brother, son or anyone else.

    Islamic Center of Southern California
    434 S. Vermont Avenue
    Los Angeles, CA 90020
    (213) 382 - 9200

    ReplyDelete
  6. I was reading Marylou G. and it seems her question merits an
    explanatory reply:

    As far as its text and its arrangement is concerned,the qur'an is today as it was when it was revealed to Muhammad * and written down by his scribes at his instructions....of this there is no doubt.

    As regards its mistranslation,it exists side by side with its authentic translation and explanation offered by Muhammad * but then it is also known to be so. For example,in this very case,the meaning given to the word,'idrib' by LBakhtiar is different from that given to it by Muhammad * and hence the selection between the two is clear at least to a muslim....till,of course,it is proved conclusively that Muhammad * said something different.

    It is worth mentioning that the authenticity of what Muhammad * said has been so important to muslims that right in the early
    years/centuries after his passing away they invented an authenticatory science called,'Asma ar Rijal' or 'Names of Men'.

    Books written for this purpose contain all the details (family
    tree,place of birth,dates of birth and death,whether he was truthful,intelligent enough to understand, remember and repeat,whether he had met the person from whom he claimed to hear
    what he had reported to the next narrator/s etc. etc.) about each and every person who was known to have been a part of the chain of
    narrators of Muhammad*'s words,explanations and acts.Anyone can read about any narrator and see for himself whether that person was a reliable narrator or not.

    As regards the Bible ,I need not repeat what Marylou G. has said
    about it . .Suffice to say that every new edition of the Bible
    omits one (or more) portion of the text contained in its previous
    edition... for the reason that it was not found in 'the earlier
    texts'....such that it keeps coming closer to what the qur'an states.

    Let all students of Bible patiently wait .There may well be yet other caves... yet other shepherds...and yet other discoveries of earlier biblical texts!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Mr. Ghouse, I did NOT miss the translation by Lelah Bakhtiar of which I am very familiar and coincidently, she is not the first or only person to present such a translation. Unfortunately, most people still wish to adhere to the interpretations and translations as presented by Mr. Farid below. Leave aside the fact that spanking lightly brings with it considerable problems as I have discusssed below, for some there isn't even any distinction between this term and physical punishment for noncompliant behaviors.

    And please note in the commentary below, the same behaviors of "discipline" that a man gives his wife are those that he gives a child regardless of the claim that she is his "equal." Plus the suggestion that women are more likely to agree to abusive behaviors out of fear of being alone indicates that the woman has very low self-esteem either before she married or as a result of her derogatory treatment.

    I think our religous leaders in our community might not have still brought into these novel ideas and interpretations otherwise we would not still continue to see such viewpoints exist.

    Disappointing.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Salam

    I think for far too long muslim scholars have been preoccupied in coming up with various, ridiculous to outrageous to cruel, excuses with regard to wife abuse. Analyse the hadith on the basis of which our scholars hurriedly interpret the Quran without stopping to ponder on what could it really mean?

    The companion of the Prophet come to him and seek permission on beat their wives as they were transgressing there limits (set by them and not Allah as when Allah's limit is transgressed, the punishment will be meted by the state not individuals).

    Here is how the hadith goes ""Iyas Dhubab reported the apostle of Allah as saying: "Do not beat Allah's handmaidens", but when Umar came to the apostle of Allah and said: "Women have become EMBOLDENED towards their husbands", he (the prophet), gave permission to beat them. Then many women came round the family of the apostle of Allah complaining against their husbands. So the apostle of Allah said, "Many women have gone round Muhammad's family complaining against their husbands. They are not the best among you". (Hadith Of The Sunan Of Abu Dawud, Chapter 709 - On Beating Women, #2141)".

    What does it speak about men (among the best people of ummah) who are declared by Allah as those who-

    spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) people and Allah loves those who do good- Quran Al Imran 134 and again Allah tells about them -

    "… and whenever they are angry they forgive. … And those who, when great wrong afflicts them, defend themselves. And the recompense of evil is punishment like it; but whoever forgives and amends, his reward is with Allah. … And whoever is patient and forgives — that surely is an affair of great resolution." — 42:37–43.

    And what does it speak of the great prophet? First he allows them to go and beat there wives. Then when the sahaba were through with the noble deed , he criticizes them!

    I think muslim scholars have to sit and decide what do they really want our prophet to be. There is no point in saying use tooth brush, miswak or hit them on back, but without leaving marks, or discipiline them- as we discipiline kids, bla bla. It makes us laughing stock of the people and adversely affect our weak ones who get sanction of beating from Quran. The word Dharaba has several meaning, choose the best that suits the general tone of Quran. Also, there isn;t any good in giving examples of corporates. In the modern world we have 'joint
    positions'.

    Wassalaam

    Khalid Faridi

    ReplyDelete
  9. AA, I guess some of you missed the commentary about Lelah Bakhtiar, posted originally and again here below



    Religion is about justice, inclusiveness and common goodness.

    Thanks to the variations in translations, it shows us the limitations of human understanding, and challenges us to strive to grasp the whole truth. What was hitherto cut and dry is no more. May be it is Allah's hint to us to get closer to understanding the truth. The monopolies would be gone and focus would be on the essence rather than literal meaning. Presently the 14 translations are available and Insha Allah it will be at http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/soon.

    Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar offers another meaning to the translation of the Arabic word "Idrib," traditionally translated as "beat," which has been mis-understood and abused over the centuries by men who would be abusive any way, whether they are Muslim or not. "Why choose to interpret the word as 'to beat' when it can also mean 'to go away' - either one from the other, may be it meant separation as a process of re-evaluation. The passage is generally translated: "And as for those women whose ill will you have reason to fear, admonish them; then leave them alone in bed; then beat them; and if thereupon they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them. Behold, God is indeed most high, great!"


    Instead, Bakhtiar suggest "Husbands at that point should submit to God, let God handle it -- go away from them and let God work His Will instead of a human being inflicting pain and suffering on another human being in the Name of God." Insha Allah, I am working on presenting a paper on the myth of "wife beating" to our scholars and Imams to review, and if it is consistent with the essence of Qur'aan and if they concur, it will be a relief to the Muslim women around the world consistent with God being a just God.

    I am optimistic with this particular development and welcome this new translation, even if it has a few flaws, it would wash off by the 15 other translations, but will take us closer to the essence of Qur'aan; Justice to one and all.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The correct translation of this verse can be found in the ground breaking work of http://www.Quran434.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. here is a western approach to spanking: fondlyandfirmly .com

    ReplyDelete