The purpose of this site is to fight the misconceptions about Islam, and the reasons behind such propaganda in the media. These are topics many Muslims discuss and refute, albeit poorly. It is for these reasons there are such conflicting articles on the internet. Also bear in mind that Allah promised to protect and preserve the Qur’an from corruption. Ahadith are not the words of God, therefore, interpolations have been made, and you will find some fabricated and/or weak ahadith. Ahadith cannot be in conflict with the Qur’an.
The first rule of tafsir is to interpret the Qur’an using the Qur’an. So all we need to do is look at other verses of the Qur’an, and then look at the Sunnah.
Now, some translators and commentators have taken a verse from the Qur’an to mean that a man may “beat his wife lightly” as a last resort. Their entire evidence for this rests on an interpretation of one single word in the Qur’an, and that this beating is a symbolic act, done with a miswak.
Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand. [Qur’an, 4:34]
See this excellent analysis – “Beat Them?” – in which the author discusses this verse at length and breaks down the meaning of the words. Please also refer to my articles “Does the Qur’an and Islam Really Permit Child Marriage and Pedophilia?” and “Understanding the Media and Muslim Grooming Gangs.”
The Qur’an, addresses the believers (i.e., Muslims) in regard to their respective duties, rights, virtues and merits as equal:
And due to the wives is similar to what is expected of them, according to what is reasonable. [Qur’an, 2:228] Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do. [Qur’an, 16:97]
Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so – for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward. [Qur’an, 33:35]
Muslim Men cannot mistreat women in Islam, nor can Muslim men force them into marriage: O you who have believed, it is not lawful for you to inherit women by compulsion. [Qur’an, 4:19]
However, Muslims are not infallible, and many do defy their own religion. Their actions and ignorance leads them to intolerance which destroys the true image of Islam. When people look at him, or her or them, they then think that is what Islam really is.
In verses of the Qur’an, we see that Allah ordered excellent treatment towards the wife. Allah, said:
And do not make difficulties for them in order to take [back] part of what you gave them unless they commit a clear immorality [i.e., adultery]. And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them – perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good. [Qur’an, 4:19]
The Prophet pbuh said: A believer man must not hate (his wife) believing woman; if he dislikes one of her characteristics he will be pleased with another. [Muslim]
A woman has rights towards her husband, just as the husband has towards her. Allah says: And due to them [i.e., the wives] is similar to what is expected of them, according to what is reasonable. [Qur’an, 2:228]
And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought. [Qur’an, 30:21]
They might argue that the Prophet pbuh hit or push Aisha r.a. on the chest and it caused her pain, according to this hadith:
She said: the Holy Prophet) entered the (house), and said: Why is it, O ‘Aisha, that you are out of breath? I said: There is nothing. He said: Tell me or the Subtle and the Aware would inform me. I said: Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be ransom for you, and then I told him (the whole story). He said: Was it the darkness (of your shadow) that I saw in front of me? I said: Yes. He struck me on the chest which caused me pain.
However, it is rather strange considering Aisha r.a. also narrated that the Prophet never hit a woman nor a servant, which is recorded in the same collection:
Aisha reported that Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him, never beat anyone with his hand, neither a woman nor a servant, but only, in the case when he had been fighting in the cause of Allah…[Sahih Muslim]
So it is very clear contextually that beating wives is not allowed, and we must interpret Q4:34 appropriately. A Muslim husband is forbidden to harm or abuse his wife. He has to act kindly towards her:
Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Apostle (May peace be upon him) as saying: He who believes in Allah and the Hereafter, if he witnesses any matter he should talk in good terms about it or keep quiet. Act kindly towards woman, for woman is created from a rib, and the most crooked part of the rib is its top. If you attempt to straighten it, you will break it, and if you leave it, its crookedness will remain there. So act kindly towards women. [Sahih Muslim]
Men are the protectors and maintainers of women because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient to Allah and to their husbands, and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g., their chastity).
Now we can properly understand that Allah has commanded the men to provide for the women and what a husband should do if his wife should be guilty of lewd or indecent conduct.
What is the Islamic solution for the problem wife?
He made the solution in three stages.
- Admonition and guidance: The husband should try to touch his wife’s heart with
kind words and behaviour to soften her heart, making her feel special, lettting her how important she is and that he wishes good for her and the family.
- Turning their back in bed: If admonition and guidance has no result, then the husband should turn his back to her in bed, denying sexual intercourse with her for three days maximum. This is so she can think during those 3 days that her husband is affected by her behaviour.
- Beat with Siwak: If the first two solutions have had no affect on his wife, then the husband is allowed to beat her imperceptibly using a Siwak.
These solutions are for the wife who is immoral and stubborn, disobedient and arrogant, namely for very serious things, and not a solution for your every day common quarrells.
All religions have people who commit horrendous acts in the name of God. Muslims are supposed to show mercy and compassion to one another, especially to ones spouse. That has been made clear. Allah says:
O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do. [Qur’an, 5:8]
The most perfect faith are from the men who have the best behaviour towards their wives: Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “The believers who show the most perfect Faith are those who have the best behaviour, and the best of you are those who are the best to their wives”. [At-Tirmidhi]
A Muslim husband is forbidden to harm or abuse his wife. He has to act kindly towards her. The Qur’an could not be any more clearer than that.