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Despite advances in modern psychology and improved understanding
of behavioral patterns of men, civilized and uncivilized, a suc-cessful
solution to this aggressive behavior has not been found by man.
A solution has however been presented to the world in the Quran,
the Final Testament, more than 1400 years ago, in verse 4:34.
[4:34] The men are made responsible for the women,
and GOD has endowed them with certain qualities, and made them the
bread earners. The righteous women will cheerfully accept this arrangement,
since it is GOD’s commandment, and honor their husbands during
their absence. If you experience rebellion from the women, you shall
first talk to them, then (you may use negative incentives like)
deserting them in bed, then you may (as a last alternative) beat
them. If they obey you, you are not permitted to transgress against
them. GOD is Most High, Supreme.
At first glance this verse may appear as if promoting physical
abuse of women. But when reading 4:34 carefully one realizes that
it actually prohibits abuse and beating of women by using the best
The advice to first talk and then avoid sexual contact, provides
the necessary time and space for both parties to cool off, reason,
examine the problem and reach a favorable agreement for both of
Abuse of a wife will NOT happen if the man learns to follow the
clear commandments of God in this verse and in the order decreed.
Abuse will only happen when a man does
NOT follow these commandments, and thus fails to cool off and reason
with himself or with his wife.
Sura 4, where we read 4:34, entitled “The Women,” is
one of the longest chapters in the Quran. It deals with many of
the rights and responsibilities of women, rights that were first
available to western women only a few decades ago, and some that
still aren’t. The theme of this sura (chapter) is to defend
women’s rights, and countering injustice and oppression of
women. Thus, any interpretation of verses in Sura 4 must be in favor
of the women, not the other way around.
Unfortunately 4:34 is extremely abused by many of the so-called
“Muslim” men in the world. While disregarding their
own obligations and their own righteousness, these men only focus
on the third step of handling this difficult condition as described
in 4:34, skip the first two necessary steps and give themselves
the excuse to beat their wives. They find support for their misguided
and biased views, and for treating their spouses unjustly, in the
fabrications of the so-called Hadith and Sunna. They thus misrepresent
the true Islam (Submission), and divert people from this perfect
and just religion for all.
We have to remember that the right given to the man in 4:34, can
only be claimed when you have a situation with a righteous man on
one hand dealing with a situation in which his wife repeatedly commits
“Neshooz” which is an unrighteous, wicked and rebellious
act. Abusing this law and the attempt to apply it to regular daily
marital disagreements is not warranted by the strong and selective
wording of the verse. Furthermore, for a man to demand or claim
right, he must first give that woman
all the rights God has given her and follow all aspects of the commandment
without skipping any part of it. God clearly says in the Quran that
He has decreed for the men and the women rights and obligations
In reality, a believing husband would most probably NEVER come
to the stage where he would actually lay a hand on his wife. He
would be much too careful to examine his own motives first, as a
God fearing man, before exercising this right. As we see in the
verse immediately following 4:34, when the marriage reaches this
stage it’s on its way to end, as the very next words in the
Quran reads; “If a couple fears separation…”
Most women in the world today do not enjoy the protection verse
4:34 grants them. Instead they are unjustly abused, verbally and
physically, by unrighteous men in unrighteous ways, and get beaten
up for the most trivial of reasons, or for no reason at all. According
to 4:34 even if the husband has a good reason, he is not allowed
to lay a hand on his wife until he has passed all the previous steps.
The woman’s responsibility in a marriage starts the day
she chooses a husband. If she wants to enjoy her God given rights,
she must obey her God given commands, and choose a believing husband.
Thus, she can expect him to treat her in accordance with God’s
decree, and not transgress against her. She can expect from a believing
husband that he will heed any reminder she gives him, if he forgets.
If she chooses to disregard God’s commands, she has to know
that there will be consequences.
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