The Glorified Allah does not permit men to beat their wives. This action is considered as ZULM –Cruelty and an evil deed.
Only under strict conditions, the man can punish his wife. Men are protectors of women; just like the state being the protector of its citizens. Under some specific conditions, men are allowed and responsible for punishing their wives just like the state punishes the citizens for certain unlawful acts. These conditions have been clarified by verses and narrations.
The Glorified Allah commands:
“Men protect and maintain women by their capabilities which Allah has bestowed upon them and by spending of their wealth. Good women are obedient (to Allah), and protectors of the privacy in return of being protected by Allah. For those women you worry about deception; warn them, leave them alone in their beds and (finally) strike them. If they obey you, do not seek another way against them. Allah is High and Great.” (An-Nisa/The Women 4:34)
Let’s analyze the related parts of the verse:
1- (فَالصَّالِحَاتُ قَانِتَاتٌ حَافِظَاتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللّهُ) = Good women are obedient, and guardians of the privacy by the guarding of Allah…
The word ‘Qanit’ which means ‘obedient’ has also been used for men in the verse below:
إِنَّ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَالْمُسْلِمَاتِ وَالْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْقَانِتِينَ وَالْقَانِتَاتِ …
The men who submit (Muslim men) and the women who submit (Muslim women), and the believing men and the believing women, and the obeying men and the obeying women…” (Al-Ahzab/The Allies 33:35)
‘The obeying men and the obeying women…’ are those who obey Allah. As these verses explain each other, the ‘obeying women’ in the 34th verse of chapter Nisa are the women who obey Allah. The word ‘Qanit’ stands for “being obedient to Allah” in everywhere it passes in Quran. That’s why the phrase in 4:34 cannot be understood as women being obedient to their husbands. When both of the spouses obey the rules set by Allah, it leads to a clear satisfactory system in the family.
2- This command (حَافِظَاتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللّهُ) = protectors of the privacy in return of being protected by Allah states that Allah protects women.
When considering the protection of Allah, we will notice that He has created a protecting wall around them. The following verses are some of those which point to this fact:
a) “Men protect and maintain women by their capabilities which Allah has bestowed upon them and by spending of their wealth…” (4:34)
b) “And those of your women who are guilty of adultery – call to witness four of you against them; and if they bear witness, then confine them to the houses until death overtake them or Allah opens a way for them.” (4:15)
c) “And those who calumniate chaste women but bring not four witnesses – flog them with eighty stripes, and never accept their testimony thereafter for they are the sinners.” (An-Noor/The Light 24:4)
d) “As for those who accuse their wives and have no witnesses except themselves, their testimony should be taken four times, bearing Allah to witness that he is most surely telling the truth. The fifth (time) he wishes that the curse of Allah be on him, if he is one of the liars. And what will avert the chastisement from her is if she testifies four times, bearing Allah to witness that her husband is most surely lying. The fifth (time), she wishes that the wrath of Allah be on her, if he is telling the truth.” (24:6-9)
e) “They who concocted that lie (About the wife of the Prophet) are a party from among you. Do not regard it as an evil to you; it is good for you. Every man of them will have what he has earned of sin; he who took upon himself the main part thereof, he shall have a grievous chastisement.
Why did not the believing men and the believing women, when you heard of it, think well of their own people, and say: ‘This is a manifest calumny’?
Why did they not bring four witnesses? As they have not brought witnesses they are liars before Allah.” (24:11-13)
As it can easily be noticed, men are held responsible for the subsistence of family which is a strong protection for women. Four witnesses are required against women in order to prove the guilt of adultery. Lack of witnesses makes the accuser an impostor and asks for his punishment. These verses are all about women and show how they are protected and guarded. An evil woman can use this protection as a shelter for her erroneous actions. This is why the Glorified Allah asks women to guard the privacy of themselves and their family in return of His guarding.
There is no such specific guarding for men.
3-(وَاللاَّتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ )= For those women you worry about deception; warn them…
The word ‘nushooz’ translated as ‘deception’ literally means ‘to rise up, go up against something’. ‘Neshz’ is the pinnacle of soil formed on the ground. It is a metaphor which stands for cheating. It is also used in 128th verse of the same chapter in regard of the cheating men. Deception has been considered as ‘rebellion’ by Allah.
“If a woman worries of a deception or an aversion from her husband, it is not wrong for them to reconcile with one another (by compromising on their rights), for the reconciliation is better, and (because) the human soul is always prone to selfishness. So do good and guard yourselves (against evil), Allah is all aware of what you do.” (4:128)
The word ’hawf’ translated as ‘worry’ signifies the negative expectation somebody finds himself in due to concrete or abstract indications. The worry for the women which is mentioned in 4:34, is the same negative expectation that arises due to an abstract belief or of a concrete piece of knowledge. When a woman invites her house a stranger (man) her husband does not want to, an abstract indication to her desire for another man emerges on her husband’s mind. In such a case the husband warns her. If she does not mind, he leaves her alone in bed in order to stand clear of a possible illicit pregnancy. If she still does not pay attention, he strikes her. The strike stands for a warning of the punishment of adultery which is stated in the 2nd verse of chapter Nur as “a hundred flogs in sight of the public”. That’s why, striking can only be done to the back of the woman. If she gives up on her attitude, he cannot seek another way against her.
The Prophet has forbidden men from staying alone with any woman, excluding the ones eternally prohibited to marry them. According to what Utbe b. Amir narrated the Messenger of Allah said: “I forbid you to enter near women when they are alone!” Then he was asked: “Messenger of Allah! What about the relatives of her husband?” He stated: “Being alone with them is like death!
Another statement of the Messenger of Allah is: “Be cautious! A woman and a man must not stay alone; unless any of the close relatives is thereby.” Then a man rose up and said: “My wife is on her way to fulfill the duty of hajj; I was registered as a soldier for this war so I am here.” The Prophet replied: “Turn back and go to hajj with your wife.
About the ‘worry’- the negative expectation explained above- based on concrete indication the Messenger of Allah states:
“It’s better if you pay attention to what is advised in relation to the women issue; together with you they guard themselves for you.
You are not owners of anything else upon them beside this, but if they come to you after having openly committed adultery, that is different. If they committed this, leave them alone in bed and strike them. If they obey you do not seek another way against them. You hold rights upon your wives and they hold rights upon you. Your rights over your wives are for them not to have your coverlets -stepped on by somebody else- and not to permit people you do not want into your houses. Take notice, their right upon you is you being nice to appropriately dress them and provide for them.”
A woman must not stay alone with a man who is not eternally forbidden to marry her. She has no right to permit people into her house whom her husband does not want to. Otherwise, her husband begins to doubt her.
Raghib Al-Isfahani, Mufredat. Item hvf, Damascus and Beirut 1412/1992.
Bukhari, Nikah 111; Muslim, Selam 20/2172
The expression translated as ‘they, who guard themselves for you’ is the word ___=awain. Traditionally this has been considered the plural form (___) of the active subject of the verb (___). If it was accurate then the word (__) would mean ‘the slaves’ and the meaning of the hadith would become: ‘It’s better if you pay attention to what advised in relation to the women issue; they are slaves near you.’ In our opinion this meaning is incompatible with the hadith’s main idea and against the verses of Quran. First, the hadith commands: ‘You are not owners of anything else upon them beside this…’ There is nothing related to a slave that does not belong to the owner; then what would be the point of such a statement on the Prophet’s part. Furthermore the Glorified Allah commands: “According to the Maruf the women’s rights over their husbands are compatible to men’s rights over them. The men have a degree above (them).”
(Baqara/The Cow 2:228)
According to this the woman is not the slave of her husband, as the slave and his owner cannot possibly have equivalent or even similar rights. In order to clarify it better, the only degree the men have above their wives is their right to marry more than once. While men hold the right to marry four times, women do not. So the previously given meaning to this hadith is incorrect.
The word (__)‘avanin’ is the plural form of (___)’aniye’.