Wife beating

>> Monday, July 4, 2011

I'm really sorry im struggling with the whole " beating woman " is allowed in islam..
my husband can hurt me if he wishes ..my dad hits my mom but he will still get heaven but what if my husband hurts me... what can i do? in the muslim socitey a divorced woman is like trash.. and Aisha was 9!
and jihad ? killing non believers ?
im so sorry but all these things scare me i lot
i do not want to be disrespectful i am really not
im struggling to understand ..i am trying.. even when i pray i have the thoughts in the back of my mind...
n sister u might tell me its Satan but itd me not getting it .. i am sorry
im very depressed coz of this i get nightmares



Dear Struggling Sis,

I’m sorry to hear that you’re having a hard time. InshaAllah, we’ll be able to shed some light on a few things because I do think there are several problems you’re facing. First of all, if your father beats your mom (and I really hope he doesn’t), your father is accountable for that. And no, he is not guaranteed heaven. For any action that we do- we are held accountable and will be judged on it.

The Qur’an says: And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet [in return] with one better than it or [at least] return it [in a like manner]. Indeed, Allah is ever, over all things, an Accountant. (4: 86)

If Allah takes into account whether we return a simple greeting or not, He will certainly take into account whether a husband beats his wife or not, whether the husband is oppressing his wife or not. 

You see, Islam never said that men can go about beating their wives tyrannically. Instead, Islam makes it very clear that wives deserve to be respected, cherished, and treated gently with love. Islam has explained that both husbands and wives have rights on each other:

And they (women) have rights (over their husbands) similar (to those of their husbands) over them as regards to what is reasonable, but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them.) [2:228].

Have I not heard that you fast all day and stay up all night in prayer?” ‘Abdullah said, “That is true, O Messenger of Allah.” The Prophet (Sallah Allahoo alyhee wa saalm) told him: “Do not do that. Fast and break your fast, sleep and get up. For your body has a right over you, your eyes have a right over you, your wife has a right over you, and your visitors have a right over you.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

In another verse, the Qura’n says: And live with them honorably


In fact, the Prophet (sallah Allah alyahee wa salaam) said that the best people are those that are the best to their wives.
“The believer who has the most perfect faith is the one whose behaviour is best, and the best of you are the ones who are best to their women.”
Some women came to the family of the Prophet (Sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam.) complaining about their husbands. So the Prophet (Sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam) announced to the men:
“Many women have visited the family of Muhammad, complaining about their husbands. Verily those are not the best among you.”
He also said that women are ‘fragile’ (delicate). How would you treat something 'fragile'? Would you beat it?
The prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam said: Treat women kindly, for woman was created from a rib. The part of it that is most bent is the top. If you try to straighten it you will break it, and if you leave it alone it will remain bent. So treat women kindly.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
The Quran makes it clear that we should treat our spouses with mercy and love.

 "And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them , and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect." (Ar-Rum 30:21)
. . . live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them it may be that you dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good." (Qur’an 4:19)

Khawlah, the daughter of Hakim, who was the wife of ‘Uthman ibn Maz‘un (Radiya Allah Anhuma), came to the wives of the Prophet (Sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam.) wearing a tattered dress and looking unkempt. They asked her, “What is wrong with you?” She told them about her husband: “At night he stays up in prayer, and during the day he fasts.” They told the Prophet (Sallah allahoo alyhee wa salam) what she had said, so when he saw ‘Uthman ibn Maz‘un, he admonished him and said, “Do you not have an example in me?” ‘Uthman said, “Of course, may Allah (S.W.T.) cause me to be sacrificed for you!” Later, she (Khawlah) came back wearing fine clothes and with a pleasant scent. According to another report, the Prophet (S.A.W.) told him: “O ‘Uthman, monasticism has not been prescribed for us. Do you not have an example in me? For by Allah (S.W.T), I am the one out of all of you who fears Allah (S.W.T.) the most and keeps most strictly within His bounds.”

If the prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam reprimanded that Companion and all he was doing was praying a lot and fasting and said that he wasn't giving his wife his rights in that way- what do you think he would have told someone who was oppressing his wife and beating her?

In fact, the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam made sure to remind people about the importance of taking care of women in his khutbat al wa'daa- the Farewell Pilgrimage. This is the khutbah in which the Prophet (S.A.W.) reiterated the essential points of Islam, when he realized that this was the last time he would stand and address the Muslims during Hajj.

“Fear God regarding women; for you have taken them [in marriage] with the trust of God.” [Mishkat]

Futhermore, in another event, the prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam was even recorded as saying:
 Could any of you beat your wife as he would a slave, and then lie with her in the evening?" This hadith clearly demonstrates the Prophet's disapproval of beating wives.

Now, there is one ayah that you might be thinking of. However, we have to keep in mind all of
the previous verses and hadiths to understand this one correctly. Islam is a comprehensive whole- taking one verse and dismissing all the previous verses we have already mentioned and the hadiths, means that you distort Islamic teachings. Allah (SWT) says in the Quran:

"…As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful), but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great." (An-Nisa’ 4:34)

First of all, what is meant by the word beating? 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. It is a beating that does not leave marks or injuries on the body. No marks or injuries.

Second, we have to realize that this verse first puts other measures to be used and in the order they should be used: first, the husband is told to ‘admonish’ or reprimand his wife. IF that doesn’t work, then he can sleep in a separate bed from hers. As a final and last resort, it says that he may lightly hit here. It has also been translated as percuss, which is the way a doctor taps someone.

However, what is even more important about this verse is that this verse explains ‘when’ it is allowed. You see, the ‘default’ is that ‘hitting your wife’ is not allowed. This verse provides the exception-

Let us take a look at the tafsir of a classical scholar named Ibn Kathir for the verse 4:35

When the Wife Obeys Her Husband, Means of Annoyance Against Her are Prohibited
Allaah 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 Allaah 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. Allaah’s statement,
[إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيّاً كَبِيراً]
Surely, Allaah is Ever Most High, Most Great.” reminds men that if they transgress against their wives without justification, then Allaah, 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.
[وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ شِقَاقَ بَيْنِهِمَا فَابْعَثُواْ حَكَماً مِّنْ أَهْلِهِ وَحَكَماً مِّنْ أَهْلِهَآ إِن يُرِيدَآ إِصْلَـحاً يُوَفِّقِ اللَّهُ بَيْنَهُمَآ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيماً خَبِيراً ]

In fact, once, a man went to complain to Omar Bin Al-Khattab about his wife. To his surprise, he heard Al-Khattab’s wife raising her voice over him. He started to slip away but Omar bin al Khattab came out and asked him what it is that he had wanted. He told him that he had come to complain that his wife would raise his voice over him but found that Omar bin al Khattab’s wife did the same! Omar bin al Khattab then explained that his wife took care of his house for him and his children and how she put up with him- he should also be patient and kind with her.

This is what the companions of the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam were taught. This is what Islam showed them. Think about it. Before Omar bin al Khattab was a Muslim, he was one of the men who had buried his daughters alive. But when Islam came, he realized the importance of women and honoring them- and he was teaching others the importance of being patient and kind with wives.

I pray your father learns the true teachings of Islam and he begins to treat your mother correctly. And I ask you for a teensy weensy favor- please don't judge Islam by what your father does because there are big chances your father is not following Islam correctly. May Allah ease your mother's hardship and guide us all.

As for your question regarding jihad, hunny, please check our article called "Kill Those Kaafirs".

And keep on writing to us and staying in touch. As always, we want this conversation to continue....and we'd love/ hope if the other sisters could also contribute with their own insights/ recommended videos and articles. We didn't have much time to answer this question as thoroughly as we wanted- you guys know we're on vacation- but we hope this helps reassure you a bit...

With love,

9 wonderful sprinkely thoughts:

Sabirah July 5, 2011 at 12:23 AM  

Great post, Masha'Allah.

Aziza July 5, 2011 at 9:14 PM  

Islam truly is the best isn't it? It freed women and gave them dignity. :)

Anonymous,  July 6, 2011 at 12:27 AM  

BUT WHY??!?!!??!?!?
WHY ALLOW BEATING WOMAN WHAT SO EVER????
if Muhammad said women r delicate
they WHY even give a rule that practically says
" oh my wife doesnt listen to me so lets beat the hell out of her "!!!! if MY religion is soo peaceful then why allow women beating at all
and what if my husband doesnt listen to me ? oh he is just gna be "NOT THE BEST" but that doesnt do the woman any good!
GIRLS AND GUYS ARE THE SAME! please.. and yes my dad beats my mom all the time weather u u believe it or not it happens...my sister gets beaten to... n my aunt
my aunt even shares her beating with my uncle's other wife.. HOW AMAZING RIGHT!!!! lets beat WOMAN!
i am so sorry but if u saw ur mother with bruises it would be the same for u !
..... i mean this in the best possible way..
why cant the Quran be updated??
and have bad things like "beating woman"-" KILLING non believers" " men being second to dear Allah"
and have things like " LOVE ALL LIVES! N MATTER WHAT RELIGION THE R FROM OR WHAT THERE JOBS ARE OR WHAT THEY WEAR!"
just stop n think woulndt the world be a better place if little muslim girls didnt get beaten my her dad n husband ? or if girl had a choice to do what she wanted ?

Minji July 6, 2011 at 4:18 AM  

To anonymous: I see that you have had terrible experience in your family. and I understand the way you got to dislike whole Islam and Muslims altogether.
but what you get by showing your anger like this? not giving any proof by showing us some relevant Quran verses, hadith, or scholarly teaching.
You can tell us how bad things you've gone through and ask us some solution. even though it would be really hard:( yeah, it would be real painful. home is for rest, and one cannot find rest there... that is too sad thing. Your accusing Islam hurts our hearts so much. If you stop insulting our religion and open your heart to find real solution, many of us are ready to listen to you, insha Allah.
written for the suffering sisters sake

Umm Khaleel July 6, 2011 at 7:35 AM  

Assalam alaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh

To anonymous: Dear sis, would you change your mind if I told you that my dad has NEVER laid a finger on my mom nor on my sister and me? Or that even at this age (I'm 20+ years old), he still kisses me goodnight and lets me bully him for most of the time? Or that I told you in my large family, NONE of my uncles have beaten up my aunties?

You'd probably still tell me NO, that doesn't change your mind one bit. Why I'm telling you this is that just because your father beats your mother and sister, that doesn't mean EVERY Muslim man is the same. How your father behaves DOES NOT reflect Islam in any way. Islam is independent of the behaviour of Muslims because some of them don't behave according to the teachings of Qur'an and Sunnah. How we learn Islam is not from the behaviour of Muslims but from the Qur'an and the texts itself.

Would you like it then if I judged you simply from your comments and questions? You would be saying, that is unfair, you don't even know me! So yea sis, the same goes for Islam :) It's not fair that you have not tried learning Islam properly and instead, understanding it through the actions of your father. It's not fair that you come to a conclusion about Islam before you even look into it.

I'm not sure if you have read the previous posts by the Aunties. There are steps before one can 'beat' the wife but even so, the husband cannot hurt her. It's like using a miswak (toothbrush) and tapping on the wife. THAT'S the type of 'beating' that is allowed in Islam. Are you surprised? To be honest with you, even I was surprised when I first learnt of it. Anything that results in hurting the wife is NOT IN ISLAM. So for that type of beating (and the kind of beating we've been seeing in the news) you've probably been enduring all your life, that is in NO WAY allowed in Islam.

And you may ask WHY? Why is there even a need to allow beating if this is a religion of peace? Islam is not a religion that dehumanizes woman (in contrary, it lifts the status of women). Man and woman although they are equal, they are made to function differently, wouldn't you agree with that? Woman are generally made to be more sensitive whilst man sees things differently from us.Women can sometimes react irrationally in situations and be stubborn thus after many steps that a husband takes to reprimand the wife, 'beating' is seen as the VERY LAST resort to show his displeasure for her actions.

Umm Khaleel July 6, 2011 at 7:38 AM  

(continued)..

To answer your question about why can't Qur'an be updated.. The Qur'an is a manual that is not for a specific era but till the end of time. If we were to adhere firmly to Qur'an and Sunnah firmly, the Ummah wouldn't be as weak as we see nowadays. The one who needs updating is US because we think we are living in this modern era but in fact the reason for so many social ills that we see nowadays is due to our 'backward' way of thinking.

As for 'killing of disbelievers', again that's another one misconception about Islam. We have 1.8 billion Muslims in the world.. if this is what Islam teaches us, then why haven't all of us gone on a killing rampage yet? Prophet sallallahu alayhi salam, lived amongst non-Muslims.. again, if this is part of teaching of Islam, wouldn't the Prophet have killed the non-Muslims already..? (Don't be confused with fighting disbelievers in wars). In fact, even though they were not Muslims, he actually cared for them.

Like for example, there was a woman who would always leave trash outside of Prophet sallallahu alayhi salam's house. He didn't retaliate but instead picked the trash each time she threw it there. One day, when Prophet saw there was no garbage left outside, he was worried and even concerned if that woman was well.

Islam values the life of people sis - and I mean including non-Muslims too. Have you heard of the ayaah that says: '..if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land - it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind..' [5:32]? Now that you've read the ayaah, do you still think Islam doesn't value the sanctity of life?

I'm not in your shoes sis, so I wouldn't know exactly what you are going through and how much you are suffering. I've always hated it when I hear or watch in news about men beating their wives, girlfriend etc because it shows the kind of person they are, beating someone who is not physically as strong as them.

One of my non-Muslim friend come to school one day with blue black bruises on her arms and legs because her father had severely beaten her up. Another friend's father who beat up his whole family (even her brother was not spared!) all their life till her teenage years when eventually he decided to take his own life. It's from them that I understood what it was like to suffer from domestic violence.

What I can tell you is that, let's be fair.. If you want to learn about Islam, then don't learn from how your father treats your mother and you. No doubt it will be difficult to push aside all those feelings towards your father but I ask that you at least try because you'd actually be able to see the beauty of Islam despite all that.

I leave you with this question.. if Islam truly is a violent religion and allows woman-beating etc, then why is it that so many people have embraced Islam..? And why is it that these new Muslims are usually women..?

Little Auntie July 8, 2011 at 2:23 AM  

Thank you Minji and UmmKhalil for your comments to anonymous :) I hope Anonymous you realize how much we all want to help you....so please, just take a few minutes and read what we write with an open mind :)

Here's the thing.

In no way does Islam allow men to beat 'the hell out of women'. What your father is doing is not allowed in Islam. If he is beating the hell out of your mother, he is sinning.

And that's the thing.

the Qur'an doesn't need to be updated. What needs to be updated is people's lack of knowledge of the Qur'an and the manners of our prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam. Your father beats your mother- that shows his LACK of understanding of the Qur'an and ahadith of the prophet. That reflects negatively on your father not on Islam- as the above post shows, told Islam men to treat women well and NOWHERE did it give permission for men to 'beat the hell outta women'. If you understood that is allowed in Islam, let me make it clearer for you: it is not allowed to beat the hell out of women. It not allowed to even leave a single injury or mark on a woman. Umm Khalil explained that some scholars said it is like using a miswak- you know what a miswak is?

I'm going to ask you to do a small favor for me?

Anonymous, let's take a look at this (albeit irrelevant) verse together (you and me):

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me..."

When you read this verse, what do you think?

And where is this verse from?

That verse is from the Bible- it's supposed to be a quote of Jesus alyhee as salam (but Allah knows if that's true or not).

So why do I bring it up?

Any person can 'cut' and 'paste' verses from any of the religious Books and make it sound like religions are 'bad/ violent/ need to be updated'. But when we do that, when we cut a verse here and there, and remove it from the context, ultimately we are distorting the message. I'm sure you're quiet familiar with the message that Jesus is said to have brought- love and mercy to one another? Would it be fair to categorize his whole message with this single verse?

No, that is why when we look at religious teachings, we have to look at it as a whole. You have to consider all the verses together.

In this post, I showed you many verses that state that husbands and wives have rights upon each other. A Muslim has to live by ALL the verses in the Qur'an- not just choose one verse and live by it (like your father thinks he's doing but he's not even doing- since the kind of beating he is doing is unacceptable).

I'm sorry you've had really bad experiences with Muslims. Like Umm Khalil, my father has never ever laid a hand on me. He cooks and cleans the house. He has never treated my brother differently from me. Why? Because he is trying his best to follow the example of the Messenger and what Islam says.

Little Auntie July 8, 2011 at 2:31 AM  

As for 'killing non-believers', again, sister, you need to read our article on Killing all Kaafirs.

Killing innocent people is not allowed in Islam. Islam does not say anything against being nice and friendly to ordinary non-Muslims.

And what about 'updating the Qur'an?"

Well, you see, Anonymous, that's the thing. You seem to think that the Qur'an was written by Prophet Mohammed sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam. It wasn't.

The Qur'an is the word of Allah, Himself.

And He is the All-Knowing.

Allah knows

What has already passed
What is happening now
What will happen

What would have happened if something that hadn’t happened had happened!

Alright, so what’s my point?

Don’t you think He who has Infinite Knowledge would know if ‘His rules would not be applicable/things were to change’?

Instead, Allah Subhanoo Wa’ Tala clearly says:

“…This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion…(3:5)

You see, the rules were not written for 1,400 years ago. Their revelation was ‘completed’ 1,400 years ago…to stand the test of time.

They were decided by the One who knows us better than we know ourselves.

Whether we are in 2011 or 5011, Islam doesn't need to change. the Qur'an actually teaches us to have the best manners. we just need to read it more and understand it better.

Look at this verse in the Qur'an:

Nor can Goodness and Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!" (Surah 41, Verse 34).

^need we say anymore? :)

x@hu July 14, 2011 at 4:09 PM  

@Anon: I'm really very sorry to hear about your situation, but in truth, domestic violence has little to do with religion and far more to do with culture and the degree to which violence is acceptable either in the home or in wider society.

In some Muslim families and communities, the Quran and hadith have been used to foster a culture of patriarchy so absolute that many Muslim men perceive it as their right to expect abject obedience from their wives and justify all sorts of barbarous treatment of women.

But it should be acknowledged that neither the Quran nor hadith and none of the imams or scholars are advocating domestic violence as we think of it - a man hitting his wife in rage, hurling abuse verbally and physically at her.

Rather they are predicating a calm scenario, one in which the man first admonishes his wife about her lapses, then spends a few nights away from her bed, then finally resorts to a calm, reasoned, and limited physical punishment.

Unfortunately, due to lack of understanding, many men feel justified in their physical abuse, pointing to the fact that the Quran and imams say it is ok to hit one's wife, while ignoring all the other limitations placed upon that hitting.

Worse, they feel entitled and empowered by these misguided patriarchal norms, seeing themselves as the kings of their home, rather than as domestic partners as the Quran teaches and the Prophet modeled for them.

I have NEVER come across a hadith or phrase or fatwa or anything that proves that our Prophet used to hit his wives. In fact, there is a hadith narrated by his wife Aishah, who reported; "The Messenger of Allah never struck a servant of his with his hand, nor did he ever hit a woman. He never hit anything with his hand, except for when he was fighting a battle in the cause of Allah."

Our Prophet always obeyed Allah, didn't he? Was he not the embodiment of the Quran? The character of the Messenger of Allah was the Quran, wasn't it? He was the walking, talking Quran!!

In which case, when the Prophet had problems with his wives, he admonished them, he refrained from sleeping with them, but he NEVER went to the third step and hit them!

What does that tell you? Was he being disobedient to Allah? No. He was showing us how to interpret verse 4:34! Showing us how Allah meant for that particular command about disciplining women to be carried out.

In short, Islam leaves no room for men domineering themselves over women, or for physical or emotional abuse within the family. Using Islam as an excuse for repugnant behavior is actually very lame, especially since no force on earth compels us humans to behave in a certain way, we ourselves choose how we behave!

What reason would you give for all those millions of non-Muslim men who torture their wives? Domestic violence is a human flaw, not a flaw in Islam.

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Asalamu aialkum!
Well, what do you think? You know, you're part of the team, as well. Please help a sister out and share your own advice/experiences/etc. One for all and all for one =)
P.S. I reserve the right to remove any disrespectful comment ;)

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