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.
Jazak Allah Khair
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).
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.