Islam and the Quran

Beating Wives- or Restoring Their Rights to Divorce Men?

Verse 4:34 does not command beating women but establishes women's divorce right

Does God Command Beating Women?
The Arabic word “darb” in verse an-Nisa 4:34 is alleged to be the justification of violence against women in most of the traditional Islamic jurisprudence books. What is meant by “darb them” in the Qur’an? Does God ever command inflicting violence on any innocent creature on earth?

  • Does God Command Beating Women?

The Arabic word “darb” in verse an-Nisa 4:34 is alleged to be the justification of violence against women in most of the traditional Islamic jurisprudence books.
What is meant by “darb them” in the Qur’an? Does God ever command inflicting violence on any innocent creature on earth?


BY PROF. ABDULAZIZ BAYINDIR – Founder & President of Suleymaniye Foundation


In verse an-Nisa 4:34 it is decreed: “As for women whose nushooz you fear, give them advice/say kind words to them, and leave them alone in the bed, and darb them (there).”

This verse is almost always interpreted as if it grants husbands the right to beat their wives. When we review the reasons summarized below and find out the meanings of the words mentioned in this verse from within the Quran itself, we will have undoubted evidence that verse 4:34 is indeed about “iftida”, that is, the single-sided divorce rights of women.

Let us form a general opinion about the controversial words in this verse:

Nushooz =نُشُوزً means “rising slightly from a sitting position with the intention of leaving”[1].

The word darb= ضرب is used to refer to all types of actions in the Arabic language[2]. Its root meaning is hitting or affixing something on another thing.[3] The word we translate as “affixing” is the Arabic word “thubut”.  It is of the root “th-b-t = ث-ب-ت”.  When used about people, one of the connotations of thubut is “dwelling” [4]. The full meaning of the word “darb” varies depending on the entities that are hit or affixed and the types of these acts.

In classical translations, “nushooz” is translated as “rebellion”, and “darb” is translated as “beating”. The  translation of Sayyid Qutb is below:

الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنْفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ فَالصَّالِحَاتُ قَانِتَاتٌ حَافِظَاتٌ لِلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللَّهُ وَاللَّاتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلَا تَبْغُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيًّا كَبِيرًا.

“Men shall take full care of women with the bounties with which God has favored some of them more abundantly than others, and with what they may spend of their own wealth. The righteous women are devout, guarding the intimacy which God has ordained to be guarded. As for those women from whom you have reason to fear rebellion, give them advice/say kind words to them [first]; then leave them alone in bed; then beat them. Then, if they pay you heed, do not seek any pretext to harm them. God is indeed Most High, Great.” (Sayyid Qutb Translation)[5]


Almost every sentence of similar translations is false, but we will study the part  “darb of women” which is translated as “beating”. The correct translation must be as the following based on the facts we will manifest below:

“Men shall carefully protect and maintain women because God has granted each (party) some superior characteristics over the other (party), and because they (men) spend out of their possessions (to maintain women). Thus righteous women are obedient (to God) and guard themselves in the absence of witnesses in return for God’s protection. As for women whose nushooz/leaving you fear, give them advice/say kind words to them, and leave them alone in the bed, and darb them/let them dwell  (there). Then if they willingly obey you, do not seek another way against them. God is Exalted, Great.” (an-Nisa 4:34)”


The word “nushooz” cannot mean “rebellion” since it is already used in meanings other than this in the Quran. The word darb in this verse cannot be assigned the meaning “beating” because it breaks the integrity of the Qur’an, as well as the coherence of the verse itself.
Here is why:

وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

“Among His signs is [the fact] that He has created spouses for you from among yourselves so that you may find comfort in them. He has planted love and mercy between you; in that are signs for a group of people who reflect.” (ar-Rum 30:21)

If God has created spouses with love and mercy between them, there can be no room for beating in a family because it would annihilate all these positive emotions and plant the seeds of fear and hatred in between.

The opposition of man and woman in a family is inevitable, though. This is because God has created humankind to be tested and has designated them as khaleefah (al-Baqarah 2:30). The word “khaleefah = خَلِيفَة” consists of the word “khaleef = خَلِيف” and the suffix “ta = ة” which is added for overstatement. As an active participle (ism al-fail), the word “khaalif = الخالف” means “successor” or “frequent opposer” or “who stays behind”. As a passive participle (ism al-maful), the word “makhlouf = المخلوف” means, “one who is succeeded”, “one who is frequently opposed to”, “one who leaves somebody behind”[6]. The meaning “opposition” is prominent about humankind because The Almighty God decrees:

وَلَوْ شَاءَ رَبُّكَ لَجَعَلَ النَّاسَ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَا يَزَالُونَ مُخْتَلِفِينَ . إِلَّا مَنْ رَحِمَ رَبُّكَ وَلِذَلِكَ خَلَقَهُمْ وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَةُ رَبِّكَ لَأَمْلَأَنَّ جَهَنَّمَ مِنَ الْجِنَّةِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ

“Had your Master preferred so, He would have made the people a single community. Except those upon whom your Master has bestowed grace, they will continue to oppose each other. This is how He created them (with an innate characteristic of opposition and a conflicting manner to each other). The word of your Master is to be fulfilled: “I shall fill the Hell with jinni and humankind all together!” (Hud 11:118-119).


People are put to the most difficult tests of their lives inside their families because of this oppositional nature of human. As God expelled the first family of the history, Adam and Eve, from the garden they had dwelled, He said:

قَالَ اهْبِطَا مِنْهَا جَمِيعًا بَعْضُكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُم مِّنِّي هُدًى فَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ هُدَايَ فَلَا يَضِلُّ وَلَا يَشْقَى .  وَمَنْ أَعْرَضَ عَن ذِكْرِي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنكًا وَنَحْشُرُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَعْمَى . قَالَ رَبِّ لِمَ حَشَرْتَنِي أَعْمَى وَقَدْ كُنتُ بَصِيرًا . قَالَ كَذَلِكَ أَتَتْكَ آيَاتُنَا فَنَسِيتَهَا وَكَذَلِكَ الْيَوْمَ تُنسَى .

He said: “Clear out of here, both of you together! Each of you will covet the rights of the other. If a guide from Me comes to you, those who follow My guide neither stray (from the right path), nor will be unhappy.  Who turns away from My correct information (the Qur’an) will have a meager living and We shall bring him as a blind person to the place of gathering on the Day of Rising. He will say: “My Master, why have you brought me as a blind person when I was sighted (in the worldly life)?” He will say: “Thus did Our signs come to you, and you forgot them; that is why you have been forgotten today.” (Ta-Ha 20:123-126)

Not only husband and wife but all individuals in the family may oppose one another. Each of them may covet one another’s right and cause discord. Whoever wants to be happy and in peace should follow the commands in this verse:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّ مِنْ أَزْوَاجِكُمْ وَأَوْلَادِكُمْ عَدُوًّا لَّكُمْ فَاحْذَرُوهُمْ وَإِن تَعْفُوا وَتَصْفَحُوا وَتَغْفِرُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“O you who believe, some of your spouses and children may covet your rights, so beware of them! Yet if you pardon and start with a clean slate and forgive them, then surely God is the Most Forgiving, the Most Beneficent.” (at-Taghabun 64:14)

The expression translated as “who may covet your rights” is “aduw = عَدُوّ”. The root meaning of this word is “overstepping the bound and preventing the harmony”[7]. That means, husband and wife (and even children) may covet each other’s rights and disobey one another within a family. This is probable according to the verse. Islamic scholars, however, suppose that only women disobey their husbands, and they assign the meaning rebellion to the word “nushooz” only when the subject is woman. Then, they allege that the husband is permitted to beat his wife if she does not obey him upon giving advice to her and leaving her alone in bed. All of this contradicts the verses mentioned above.

All of the verses mentioned above prove that this traditional meaning assigned to verse 4:34 disrupts the coherence of the Qur’an message. The assigned mistranslation also disrupts the coherence of the verse within itself because the word “darb” is used in the same sentence as the expression “فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ = fa in ata’nakum = if they willingly obey you”. We will discuss the details of this expression and the meaning assigned to it in the section “THE TERMS “TAA’T= طاعة” AND “KARH = كره” IN ARABIC” in this article and see that obeying someone as a result of being beaten would not be called “TAA’T” in Arabic.

As for any coercive acts, God has decreed:

لاَ إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيِّ فَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِن بِاللّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَىَ لاَ انفِصَامَ لَهَا وَاللّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

There can not be coercion in this religion.[8] Facts are made distinct from fictions. Whoever rejects the transgressors[9] and trusts in God, they certainly have held onto the firmest handle which never breaks. God is all-listening, all-knowing.” (al-Baqarah 2:256)

Now, let us elaborate on the method of understanding the Quran, which we also used while conducting this research. This method is explained in detail in the Quran. When we learn about it, we will be able to understand whether a specific meaning assigned to a certain word is consistent with the meaning which God assigned in the Quran. Throughout history, many mistakes and wrong judgments have been made in the name of Islam since interpretations were not made according to the method manifested in the Quran. The reason is that scholars assumed themselves as if they were authorized to explain the Quran. However, it is God Who has explained the Quran, and we are only allowed to obtain His explanations by means of the method He has taught. God calls this method to obtain His explanations as a “science = علم” in the Quran. Let us take a brief look at this science:



The Almighty God has decreed in the following verse that He has explained the Quran in detail according to a science:

وَلَقَدْ جِئْنَاهُم بِكِتَابٍ فَصَّلْنَاهُ عَلَى عِلْمٍ هُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ

We have brought them a Book that We have explained in detail according to a science. It is a guide and grace for a group of people who believe (Al-A’raf 7:52).


The central principle of this science is that nobody but God has the authority to explain God’s verses. God explains His verses Himself by giving all the details about them in His Book. The Almighty God decrees:

الَر كِتَابٌ أُحْكِمَتْ آيَاتُهُ ثُمَّ فُصِّلَتْ مِن لَّدُنْ حَكِيمٍ خَبِيرٍ أَلاَّ تَعْبُدُواْ إِلاَّ اللّهَ إِنَّنِي لَكُم مِّنْهُ نَذِيرٌ وَبَشِيرٌ

Alif, Lam, Ra. This is a Book whose verses have been made decisive, and in the meantime[10] have been explained in detail by the One Who judges correctly and is All-Aware; so that you shall not be the servants of any other than God. (Oh, Muhammad, say to people:) Indeed, I am the one who warns you with this Book and gives glad tidings to you from It (Hud 11:1-2).


According to these verses, accepting and complying with the explanations made by human beings, rather than made by God, causes us to be servants of those people. This means that whoever claims authority to explain God’s verses has clearly strayed.

The details given by God may only be manifested by a group of experts[11]. We learn this from the following verse:

كِتَابٌ فُصِّلَتْ آيَاتُهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ

This is a Book whose verses are explained in detail as qurans in Arabic, for a group of people who know (Fussilat 41:3).

The group of people who know must have the knowledge of “The Science of Explaining the Quran” in the first place.

The word “quran” derives from the verbal noun (masdar) of the word “qaraa = قرأ” whose root meaning is “collection”[12]. It is used as a noun having the meaning “maqru = مقروء”, which can be translated as “unity” or “set”. Since “reading” is an act of “bringing the words together to understand the meaning”, the word “quran = قُرْآن” is also attributed the meaning “reading”. There is not a plural form of the word. The same word is used to refer to both singular and plural meanings. Therefore the word “quran” may also be attributed the meaning “more than one quran = qurans”. So, “quran” is “a set or sets of verses”.

There are four different types of sets that bring the verses together. They are as follows:

1- The first meaning that comes to mind by the mention of the word “quran” is “the Main Book in Lawh al-Mahfooz (the Protected Tablet)”. The related verse is:

إِنَّهُ لَقُرْآنٌ كَرِيمٌ . فِي كِتَابٍ مَّكْنُونٍ . لَّا يَمَسُّهُ إِلَّا الْمُطَهَّرُونَ . تَنزِيلٌ مِّن رَّبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ .

It (that which is in the location of the stars) is a grand Quran. It (that Quran) is in a Book protected in its covering. No one touches It (that Quran) except the purified. It has been sent down by the Master of all beings (Al-Waqiah 56:77-80).

That grand Quran is the greatest set which is the source of all the verses God has sent down to the prophets (the nabi) from Noah (pbuh) onwards. The related verse is:

شَرَعَ لَكُمْ مِنَ الدِّينِ ما وَصَّى بِهِ نُوحاً وَالَّذِي أَوْحَيْنا إِلَيْكَ وَما وَصَّيْنا بِهِ إِبْراهِيمَ وَمُوسى وَعِيسى أَنْ أَقِيمُوا الدِّينَ وَلا تَتَفَرَّقُوا فِيهِ كَبُرَ عَلَى الْمُشْرِكِينَ ما تَدْعُوهُمْ إِلَيْهِ اللَّهُ يَجْتَبِي إِلَيْهِ مَنْ يَشاءُ وَيَهْدِي إِلَيْهِ مَنْ يُنِيبُ . وَما تَفَرَّقُوا إِلاَّ مِنْ بَعْدِ ما جاءَهُمُ الْعِلْمُ بَغْياً بَيْنَهُمْ وَلَوْلا كَلِمَةٌ سَبَقَتْ مِنْ رَبِّكَ إِلى أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى لَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُمْ وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ أُورِثُوا الْكِتابَ مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ لَفِي شَكٍّ مِنْهُ مُرِيبٍ

God has legislated for you the religion which He enjoined upon Noah. (Oh, Muhammad!) That which God has sent down to you, and that which He enjoined upon Abraham, Moses and Jesus is:[13] “Keep up this religion, and therein do not separate or divide”. (Oh, Muhammad!) What you are inviting the mushrik[14] (to do)[15] is deemed difficult by them.[16] God draws unto Himself the ones who make the right choice and guides to Himself the ones who keep heading for the right path.

They (the mushrik) separated after this science (of explaining the Quran) came to them, just because they desired to dominate one another. If it were not for your Master’s word to let people be free until a determined term, they would be judged expeditiously[17]. (Due to the behavior of the mushrik,) those who have been made to inherit the Book after them, fall into a dilemma doubting It (the Book)[18] (Ash-Shura 42:13-14).


2- The second type of set of verses is “surah”[19]. Each of the surahs (chapters) are also called “quran”. A relevant verse is:

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَاكَ سَبْعًا مِنَ الْمَثَانِي وَالْقُرْآنَ الْعَظِيمَ

We have granted you seven of those pairs (mathani), (which are) the great quran (chapter Fatiha) (Al-Hijr 15:87).


3- The sets of verses within the chapters (surahs) are also called “quran”. Indeed, the verses which have been sent down at the very beginning of Muhammad’s (pbuh) prophethood have been called “quran” by God because they constitute a set of verses within the chapter they reside in. The relevant verse is as follows:

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِيَ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ

Ramadan is the month when that quran (that set of verses) had been sent down (Al-Baqarah 2:185).


4- There are also sets of verses which are not bound together. These sets are collections of verses in different chapters, and they are formed by using the method of mutashabih – mathani (similar – pairs). A relevant verse is:

وَقُرْآنًا فَرَقْنَاهُ لِتَقْرَأَهُ عَلَى النَّاسِ عَلَى مُكْثٍ وَنَزَّلْنَاهُ تَنْزِيلًا

We have separated It into qurans (subsets), so that you may read It to the people while they are in expectation; (because) we have sent It down part by part (Al-Isra 17:106).

“Mukth = مُكث” means “expectation”[20]. When some new verses were sent down to the Messenger of God and those verses needed more detail to be able to make a decision using them on a related matter, it created expectations for further verses to be sent down. Those expected verses would be giving details about and explaining the previous verses sent down. This proves that verses belonging to the same semantic set could also be sent down part by part at different times. The following verse clarifies what is told above:

وَلَا تَعْجَلْ بِالْقُرْآنِ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يُقْضَى إِلَيْكَ وَحْيُهُ وَقُل رَّبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا .

Do not hasten (to judge) with the sets of verses (qurans) before their revelations are completed. Say: “My Master, increase my knowledge!” (Ta-Ha 20:114).

The above verse illustrates that a semantic set of verses which provides us with the complete information on a matter, and lets us make a judgment on that matter, is also called “quran” by God. This type of quran is the basis of “The Science of Explaining the Quran”. According to this science, every decisive verse has been explained in detail by other verses which are similar to the explained verse in some aspects, thus forming a semantic set together with the explained one. The whole Quran has been made “clear”[21] and “complete”[22] in this way by God.


Now, let us see how the semantic sets are formed in this science. Consider this example: Every phone number is a set of digits. Even a single mistake would dial a wrong number and prevent us from reaching the intended person. The Quran explains everything in a manner similar to this. Sound information can only be obtained when the correct and complete semantic set is formed. Therefore, the experts must not rush to come to conclusions before the whole meaningful set on the subject of interest is discovered. Only then will it become apparent that there is not a single branch of science that would not improve from the Quran.

Our Prophet (nabi) Muhammad (pbuh) is both the Messenger and the teacher who was sent to communicate and teach the Quran[23], whereas Gabriel is the messenger[24] and the teacher sent to him. Nabi Muhammad (pbuh) learned the Quran and the method of extracting sound information out of the Quran from Gabriel[25], and all of his sayings and practices comprise this kind of information. Therefore, the Example (Sunnah) of nabi Muhammad (pbuh) is in perfect harmony and unity with the Quran. If scholars stick with the correct method, they can easily see this unity and discover and manifest the mistakes that have been made until now on the subject of Prophet (nabi) Muhammad’s sayings (hadith).

Below is the verse which summarizes the subject:

هُوَ الَّذِيَ أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُّحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ في قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاء الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاء تَأْوِيلِهِ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلاَّ اللّهُ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلاَّ أُوْلُواْ الألْبَابِ

It is He Who has sent down this Book to you. Some of its verses are decisive (muhkam) and are the main (verses) of the Book. The others are similar (mutashabih) (to decisive) ones. As for those with deviation in their hearts,, they follow those (verses) in the Book which are similar (to the deviation in their hearts); seeking to cause affliction by seeking to reset the linkage (tawil)[26] in the way they desire. However, no one knows its linkage of verses (the tawil) except God. Those who have solid knowledge in this science (of discovering the explanations in the Quran) say: “We believe in this science; all of them (decisive one, similar one and the linkage between) are from the level of our Master.” No one may obtain sound information (dhikr) except the people of integrity (Al-e Imran 3:7).

A “muhkam = مُحكم” verse is “the main verse which includes a judgment (decision) about a matter”. So, we have translated the word “muhkam” as “decisive”. Almost all of the verses are decisive on certain matters. This judgment is detailed and therefore explained by other verses which are similar (mutashabih) to the decisive one.

“Mutashabih = مُتَشَابِه” is “any of the two similar things”[27]. In this science, it denotes the similarity between the verses which explain one another. This similarity may be both literal and semantic.

“Ta’wil = تَأْوِيلِ” is “directing something to its original target”[28]. The target (aim) of a similar verse is the main verse in that set of verses, which is: the decisive verse. When considered from this point of view, tawil is “linking the similar verse to the decisive one”. The linkages are set up by God; and a group of people that is comprised of experts in the Arabic language, this science, and the matter of interest can discover and manifest those linkages (relations).

“Mathani = مَثَانِي” means “pairs”. It expresses the system of pairs which consist of decisive and similar verses. The relevant verse is:

اللَّهُ نَزَّلَ أَحْسَنَ الْحَدِيثِ كِتَابًا مُّتَشَابِهًا مَّثَانِيَ تَقْشَعِرُّ مِنْهُ جُلُودُ الَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ ثُمَّ تَلِينُ جُلُودُهُمْ وَقُلُوبُهُمْ إِلَى ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ هُدَى اللَّهِ يَهْدِي بِهِ مَنْ يَشَاء وَمَن يُضْلِلْ اللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُ مِنْ هَادٍ

God has sent down the best of utterances (the verses) arranged[29] in similar pairs. This (the arrangement method) gives shivers to those who are in awe of their Master. Then, their bodies and their hearts soften to the information from God. This[30] is God’s guidance. He guides the ones who prefer it (following the guidance) by means of this (the system of similar and decisive verse pairs). Whoever God calls “astray”, there is no one who can call him “rightly guided” (Az-Zumar 39:23).


In conclusion, to be able to obtain the explanations by God, a group of experts must all together find the decisive verse concerning the matter, and then determine the similar (mutashabih) verses which have attributes in common with the decisive verse.


Below is an example that exhibits how “The Science of Explaining the Quran” has been extracted out of the set of verses related to this matter:


The Book being self-explanatory by the use of this method is not exclusive to the Quran. It is a particular attribute of all divine Books, including the Torah and the Gospel, as long as the similarities are studied in the original language and the original words of revelation. We learn this by the word “al-hikmat = الحكْمَة” mentioned in the Quran.


We have translated “al-hikmat” into English as “the Wisdom”[31]. In several verses both the method, as well as the sound information extracted out of verses utilizing the method are called “al-hikmat”.


All of the prophets (nabi) have taught the Wisdom to their community. Nabi is a person whose worth has been increased[32] by God by being granted the Book and the Wisdom. The Almighty God has mentioned the names of eighteen prophets (nabi) from Noah to Jesus[33] in verses 6:83-84 and their following verses, and has decreed:


اُولٰئِكَ الَّذٖينَ اٰتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحُكْمَ وَالنُّبُوَّةَ

Those are the ones to whom We have granted the Book, and the Wisdom[34] and the prophethood (nubuwwat /being nabi) (Al-An’am 6:89).


Every nabi is commissioned to deliver the message that has been sent down to him. Therefore, every prophet (nabi = نبي) is also a messenger (rasul = رسول).


We understand by the following verse that the Messenger teaches the Wisdom:

كَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا فِيكُمْ رَسُولاً مِّنكُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِنَا وَيُزَكِّيكُمْ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُعَلِّمُكُم مَّا لَمْ تَكُونُواْ تَعْلَمُون

Indeed, I have sent you a messenger from among yourselves. He recounts Our verses to you, and improves you, and teaches you the Book and the Wisdom. He teaches you what you did not know before (Al-Baqarah 2:151).

A messenger is not allowed to add anything to the message he must deliver. Therefore, teaching the Wisdom while acting in the capacity of a messenger can be possible only if the method to obtain the Wisdom (hikmat) resides in the Quran. This method is the science of explaining the Quran that God has placed in the Quran and that we have described above.

Attempting to explain the verses of the Quran in a way other than instructed by this science means putting the self in God’s place. Although God has such explicit decrees, we cannot find any scholars who recognize or use this method. As a result of this, it is almost impossible to find a translation or commentary in which the verses describing this science have not been distorted.

This science was unfortunately forgotten after the era of the Companions. After forty years of cumulative research to achieve a better understanding of the Quran, through God’s will, we at Suleymaniye Foundation have regained this science. This must be because He decrees:

وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

We shall certainly guide those who strive for Us to our ways. Certainly, God is with those who behave kindly (Al-Ankabut 29:69).

The natural order that God has established on the earth is in perfect harmony with the commands He has decreed in His books. God has set the order and then has sent divine books as guides to be followed in order to maintain and preserve this natural order. In His books, He has linked certain verses to other verses methodically, which has constituted sets of verses that are fully manifest of meaning. He has described His method of linking verses to one another within the very same books. So, a group of God’s servants who have integrity and who have learned this method from the books will be able to discover the linkages among verses correctly and will be able to learn the explanations of God’s verses from His books. In this way, no one will have to revere or obey other people who claim the authority to explain God’s books.

This is a perfect equilibrium set by God. If we abide by “The Science of Explaining the Quran” instead of considering human beings as the authority on God’s Book, the equilibrium will be preserved, and there will be no unsolvable problems left.

Let us study the subject of “nushooz” and “darb” in compliance with this science.



The Science of Explaining the Quran allows us to utilize the Qur’an as a lexicon to find out the accurate meanings of important words. Let us review the sentences with the word root “نشز = na-sha-za” in the Qur’an. So that we can see how appropriate it is to assign the meaning “rising slightly from a sitting position with the intention of leaving”[35]   to the word “nushooz = نُشُوزً” in Arabic.


  1. Nushooz of the Skeleton

In this verse, the word “nunshiz =نُنشِزُ” is used to mean “to raise from the ground”, which is the active participle of the first person plural conjugation of “nushooz”

أَوْ كَالَّذِي مَرَّ عَلَى قَرْيَةٍ وَهِيَ خَاوِيَةٌ عَلَى عُرُوشِهَا قَالَ أَنَّىَ يُحْيِـي هَـَذِهِ اللّهُ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا فَأَمَاتَهُ اللّهُ مِئَةَ عَامٍ ثُمَّ بَعَثَهُ قَالَ كَمْ لَبِثْتَ قَالَ لَبِثْتُ يَوْمًا أَوْ بَعْضَ يَوْمٍ قَالَ بَل لَّبِثْتَ مِئَةَ عَامٍ فَانظُرْ إِلَى طَعَامِكَ وَشَرَابِكَ لَمْ يَتَسَنَّهْ وَانظُرْ إِلَى حِمَارِكَ وَلِنَجْعَلَكَ آيَةً لِّلنَّاسِ وَانظُرْ إِلَى العِظَامِ كَيْفَ نُنشِزُهَا ثُمَّ نَكْسُوهَا لَحْمًا فَلَمَّا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ قَالَ أَعْلَمُ أَنَّ اللّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

“Have you also ever imagined the person who passed by a city whose ceilings were collapsed and covered with wreckage of the walls, who then said: “How will God give life to this city after its death?” God made him die for a hundred years and then resurrected him. God asked: “How long have you stayed?” He said: “I have stayed one day, maybe less than a day.” God said: “No, you have stayed here for a hundred years! Now, look at your food and drink; they are not decayed. Look at your donkey! We did this in order to make you a sign for the people. Now, look at the bones to see how we nunshiz/raise them up and clothe them with flesh!” When it was all made manifest to him, he said: “Now I know that God is the establisher of the measure of all things[36] (al-Baqarah 2:259)



  1. Nushooz from a Sitting Position

In this verse, nushooz is used in the meaning of “rising slightly from a sitting position with the intention of leaving”:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا قِيلَ لَكُمْ تَفَسَّحُوا فِي الْمَجَالِسِ فَافْسَحُوا يَفْسَحِ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَإِذَا قِيلَ انْشُزُوا فَانْشُزُوا يَرْفَعِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ دَرَجَاتٍ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ

“Oh, you who believe! When you are told “Make room!” in the assemblies, make room, so that God may relieve you[37]. And when you are told “Anshuzoo/Rise!”, rise, so that God may raise the ranks of those who trust and are granted (the knowledge of) the science among you. God is aware of the real face of everything you do.” (Mujadilah 58:11)


A mere expression “rise!” announced to everybody at a meeting can only mean “rise in order to leave”. This is the exact match of the word’s lexical meaning.


  1. Nushooz of a Man

Nushooz of a man is his will to leave his wife. The verse below describes the way the wife must follow in such a case:

وَإِنِ امْرَأَةٌ خَافَتْ مِنْ بَعْلِهَا نُشُوزًا أَوْ إِعْرَاضًا فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا أَنْ يُصْلِحَا بَيْنَهُمَا صُلْحًا وَالصُّلْحُ خَيْرٌ وَأُحْضِرَتِ الْأَنْفُسُ الشُّحَّ وَإِنْ تُحْسِنُوا وَتَتَّقُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا

“If a woman fears (about) her husband leaving (her) or turning aside (from her) , there is no sin upon either of them that they should try to come to terms. Coming to terms is good while souls are always ready for jealousy. If you act kindly and protect yourselves by being mindful of God, (do know that) God is aware of the real face of everything you do.” (An-Nisa 4:128)


The husband’s will to leave his wife bothers the wife. Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:

“Sawdah feared that the Prophet (pbuh) was going to divorce her, so she said: ‘Do not divorce me, but keep me and give my day to ‘Aishah.’ So he did so, and the following was revealed: Then there is no sin on them both if they make terms of peace between themselves, and making peace is good (4:128). So whatever they agree to make peace in something then it is permissible.[38]


The two verses following the verse above are also about the nushooz of men:

وَلَن تَسْتَطِيعُواْ أَن تَعْدِلُواْ بَيْنَ النِّسَاء وَلَوْ حَرَصْتُمْ فَلاَ تَمِيلُواْ كُلَّ الْمَيْلِ فَتَذَرُوهَا كَالْمُعَلَّقَةِ وَإِن تُصْلِحُواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا. وَإِن يَتَفَرَّقَا يُغْنِ اللّهُ كُلاًّ مِّن سَعَتِهِ وَكَانَ اللّهُ وَاسِعًا حَكِيمًا.

“You will never manage to maintain (absolute) justice among women no matter how much you desire (to do so), yet do not completely incline towards one of them so you leave another in suspense. If you come to terms and protect yourselves by being mindful of God, (know that) God is forgiving and the  Beneficent.

Yet if the spouses should separate, God will meet their needs by granting them each out of His abundant means. God has ample means, and He judges correctly” (an-Nisa 4:129-130)

As we can clearly see, “nushooz” is a term used in the context of divorce and separation when relevant people are husband and wife.

  1. Nushooz of a Woman

According to the Qur’an, similar to a man’s right, a woman also has the right to divorce her husband even though he does not agree. So, a man may also fear that his wife will leave him. Therefore, “nushooz” of a woman is her “will to leave” her husband. The verse an-Nisa 4:34 describes the way the husband must follow in such a case:


وَاللاَّتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلاَ تَبْغُواْ عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلاً

“As for women whose nushooz/leaving you fear, give them advice/say kind words to them, and leave them alone in the bed, and darb them/let them dwell (there). Then if they willingly obey you, do not seek another way against them. ” (an-Nisa 4:34)


Below is an applied example of this verse from the history of Islam. Notice the word “nashazat” which means “performed nushooz” in the narration:
Al-Bayhaqi narrated that al-Shaabi said: “A woman nashazat/decided to leave her husband and they brought this matter to Qadi Shurayh[39]. Shurayh said: ‘Send an arbitrator from his family and an arbitrator from her family.’ So they did. The two arbitrators looked into their matter, and decided on their separation. The man disliked this. Shurayh then said, ‘What have we been here for today?’ and approved the matter (their separation)[40].


Qadi Shurayh had decided in compliance with the verse 4:35 which is also about the nushooz of women:

وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ شِقَاقَ بَيْنِهِمَا فَابْعَثُواْ حَكَمًا مِّنْ أَهْلِهِ وَحَكَمًا مِّنْ أَهْلِهَا إِن يُرِيدَا إِصْلاَحًا يُوَفِّقِ اللّهُ بَيْنَهُمَا إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا خَبِيرًا

“(O believers!) If you fear a split between the spouses, send an arbitrator from his family and an arbitrator from her family. If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it between them. God is all-knowing and He is aware of the real face of everything.” (An-Nisa 4:35)

These verses prove that nushooz is not related to rebellion.



In Arabic, “accepting and doing something willingly” is “طاعة = taa’t”[41]. The noun (masdar) related to it is “al-taw’ = الطوع”.

The antonym of “al-taw’” is “al-karh =  الكره”[42]. The words derived from it are used to refer to dislike, aversion, compulsion, coercion, unwillingness, etc.

In the Quran, we find two verses that clearly manifest that “al-taw = willing obedience” is the opposite of “al-karh =unwilling obedience/obedience under coercion”. The Almighty God has decreed:

وَلَهُ أَسْلَمَ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ طَوْعًا وَكَرْهًا

 “All that is in the heavens and the earth is in submission to Him – willingly or unwillingly.” (Ale-Imran 3:83)

ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى إِلَى السَّمَاء وَهِيَ دُخَانٌ فَقَالَ لَهَا وَلِلْأَرْضِ اِئْتِيَا طَوْعًا أَوْ كَرْهًا قَالَتَا أَتَيْنَا طَائِعِينَ

“Then turned He to the heaven when it was smoke, and said unto it and unto the earth: Come both of you, willingly or unwillingly. They said: We come in willing obedience.” (Fussilat 41:11)

As we can clearly see in these verses, “taa’h = طاعة” exactly means “willing obedience”, as opposed to “karh = obedience under coercion/unwilling obedience”.


Even devils and the most relentless adversaries of God survive by willingly following most of the rules set by Him, such as breathing, eating, sleeping, copulation, etc. The test of a human being begins when the worldly benefits of human contrast to the rules set by God. Those who rebel against God do wrong knowingly because they choose their benefits over God’s rules. They thus commit crimes. Free will serves to make the choice. The Almighty God has decreed:

لاَ إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيِّ فَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِن بِاللّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَىَ لاَ انفِصَامَ لَهَا وَاللّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

““There can not be coercion in this religion.[43] Facts are made distinct from fictions. Whoever rejects the transgressors and trusts in God, they certainly have held onto the firmest handle which never breaks. God is all-listening, all-knowing.” (al-Baqarah 2:256) ”

The command “darb the women” is a  command of God. Since there is no room for coercion in His religion, that expression can not be translated as “beat them”.

Yet, according to the information above, the expression “فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ = fa in ata’nakum” in  verse 4:34 can only mean “ if they willingly obey you”.



As discussed in the introduction, al-darb = الضرب  is hitting or affixing something on another thing. The word can be used to express all types of acts[44]. Some of the contexts it is used in the Qur’an are below:


  • Beating

If “al-darb = “الضرب” is used in the context of kicking, slapping, smacking or hitting with a stick on someone’s body, it is assigned the meaning “beating”. The Almighty God had commanded the angels as follows during the Battle of Badr:

إِذْ يُوحِي رَبُّكَ إِلَى الْمَلآئِكَةِ أَنِّي مَعَكُمْ فَثَبِّتُواْ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ سَأُلْقِي فِي قُلُوبِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ الرَّعْبَ فَاضْرِبُواْ فَوْقَ الأَعْنَاقِ وَاضْرِبُواْ مِنْهُمْ كُلَّ بَنَانٍ

“I am with you, so brace those who believe. I shall cast terror into the hearts of those who ignore. Adribu/beat, then, at the nape of their necks and beat every [last] fingertip of theirs!”  (al-Anfal 8:12)

Since angels do not beat the way human beings do, there is no narration about the marks of strikes left on the bodies of ignorers. This verse, however, has been misused seriously later on[45].



  • Killing

Hitting someone’s body with a deadly weapon kills that person. The Almighty God has decreed:

فَإِذا لَقِيتُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَضَرْبَ الرِّقَابِ حَتَّى إِذَا أَثْخَنتُمُوهُمْ فَشُدُّوا الْوَثَاقَ فَإِمَّا مَنًّا بَعْدُ وَإِمَّا فِدَاء حَتَّى تَضَعَ الْحَرْبُ أَوْزَارَهَا

“When you meet those who ignore (in battle), fadriba/smite their necks (with your swords) until you suppress them, and then cordon (the rest of) them off strictly; thereafter set them (the captives) free, either by an act of grace, or against ransom. Do this, so that the burden of war is laid down.” (Muhammad 47:4)

  • Giving an Example

The word “darb” is also used to express giving an example, because giving an example aims to put a matter permanently in one’s mind. Putting something permanently to somewhere is “affixing”.  One of the relevant verses is:

أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ ضَرَبَ اللّهُ مَثَلاً كَلِمَةً طَيِّبَةً كَشَجَرةٍ طَيِّبَةٍ أَصْلُهَا ثَابِتٌ وَفَرْعُهَا فِي السَّمَاء

“Don’t you see how God daraba/gives an example?: ‘A good word is like a good tree whose roots are firm and branches reach to the heaven’.” (Abraham 14:24)

  • Walking

Walking is performed by affixing the foot on the ground at every step. Therefore, the word “darb” is also used to refer to walking.  One of the relevant verses is below:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا شَهَادَةُ بَيْنِكُمْ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَكُمُ الْمَوْتُ حِينَ الْوَصِيَّةِ اثْنَانِ ذَوَا عَدْلٍ مِنْكُمْ أَوْ آَخَرَانِ مِنْ غَيْرِكُمْ إِنْ أَنْتُمْ ضَرَبْتُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَأَصَابَتْكُمْ مُصِيبَةُ الْمَوْتِ

“O you who believe! Call to witness two trustworthy witnesses among you when death approaches one of you at the time of bequest or two others from outside if you are darabtum fi/walking (on a journey) on the land and the incident of death should befall you.” (al-Ma’edah 5:106)


  • Covering

Covering is  affixing something on top of another, so that the covered thing is hidden from the sight. A cover may be permanent or temporary.

  • A Permanent Covering

Something may be affixed on another thing permanently. One of the related verses is below:

ضُرِبَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ الذِّلَّةُ أَيْنَ مَا ثُقِفُواْ

“(There are such people among the People of the Book that)  humiliation is duribat/covered over them wherever they may be.” (Al-e Imran 3:112)

Humiliation surrounds them like a covering, and they can not get rid of it.


  • A Temporary Covering

Hijab or other types of head coverings are not constantly worn, but when they are worn, they are affixed over the head and the neck. A relevant verse is as follows:

وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ …

“Let them (the believing women) yadribna/cover a part of their head-coverings over their necks.” (an-Noor 24:31)

About The Seven Sleepers (Ashab al-Kahf) who slept in the cave for 309 years it is decreed:

فَضَرَبْنا عَلَى آذانِهِمْ

“We darabna/covered over their ears.” (al-Kahf 18:11)

Zamakhshari interprets this verse as the following:

“We covered a veil over their ears.[46]

Because of that veil, they could not hear the sounds outside during those 309 years.

  • Darb of Women (ضرب)

In verse an-Nisa 4:34 the following three commands and one prohibition are mentioned:

وَاللاَّتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلاَ تَبْغُواْ عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلاً

As for women whose nushooz you fear, give them advice/say kind words to them, and leave them alone in the bed, and darb them/let them dwell (there). Then if they willingly obey you, do not seek another way against them.

Let us review the verse part by part to understand the matter of “darb” accurately:

  • وَاللاَّتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ = As for women whose nushooz you fear…

As “nushooz” is the “decision of leaving” the spouse, the first thing to do is talking. Therefore, the verse commands the husband to talk to his wife:


  • فَعِظُوهُنَّ = give them advice/say kind words to them

“Wa’dh = وعظ” is “reminding someone of that which is good, right, etc., which will soften  up the reminded person”[47].

The husband must first try to gain his wife’s acceptance to keep on the marriage through kind and convincing words. He can try to learn the problems on the woman’s mind and suggest solutions to them, as well as expressing his own concerns. He can remind her of their earlier happy lives, their children, the advantages of marriage and disadvantages of divorce.

Yet, if the woman insists on her decision to divorce, the husband must respect her decision and cease his sexual relation with her. The command of leaving the woman alone in the bed has been therefore given to the man as the second step in the verse:


  • وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ = leave them alone in the bed

The man leaving the bed causes the woman think over her decision. It also avoids pregnancy from the man she intends to leave. During this period, the man can not send his wife away from the house. The command of darb as the third step in the verse is related to this:

  • وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ = darb them/let them dwell (there)

As we have seen, the word “thubut = ثبوت” having the connotation “dwelling” is in the definition of “darb = الضرب”.

Providing the wife with sustenance, clothing and a dwelling is already the duty of the man during the marriage. So, this part of the verse is meant to emphasize that the man’s responsibilities are still due and that he can not send his wife away from the house during the period they sleep in separate beds. Rather, he must continue to let her dwell in the house without any sexual relation. Otherwise, a wife who fears losing or has already lost  her housing would be under pressure, which could prevent her from deciding freely. However, according to the next part of the verse, the woman must be giving up the idea of divorce of her own free will:


  • فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلاَ تَبْغُواْ عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلاً = Then if they willingly obey you, do not seek another way against them.

As discussed earlier in this article[48], the expression “fa in ata’nakum” can only mean “if they willingly obey you”. This expression following the command of “darb” precludes the possibility that darb may mean beating.

The command following this conditional clause is also highly important. A man who has convinced his wife to continue the marriage must not use this separation as an instrument of oppression against his wife in the coming days of their marriage. He must not have a superior esteem of himself due to convincing his wife. The spouses must start with a clean slate. This is closely related to the verse at-Taghabun 64:14 mentioned at the beginning of the article.



There are similarities and differences between the divorce by men and divorce by women according to the Qur’an. When we see the similarities, we can more easily conclude that the verse 4:34 is about divorce. The verse pointing to the similarities and differences between two types of divorce is:

وَلَهُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِي عَلَيْهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَلِلرِّجَالِ عَلَيْهِنَّ دَرَجَةٌ

“According to the known terms of the Quran, women’s rights over men are equivalent to men’s rights over women. But men have a degree[49] over them (in the matter of divorce).” (al-Baqarah 2:228)


In both types of divorce, spouses do not leave the house but separate the beds.

Let us review the verses related to the single-sided divorce by men in order to see the analogy between the divorce by men and divorce by women according to the Qur’an:

The verse about the women divorced by their husbands is this:

وَٱلْمُطَلَّقَاٰتُ يَتَرَبَّصْنَ بِأَنفُسِهِنَّ ثلاثة قُرُوٓءٍ

“The women whose husbands pronounced the word of divorce shall wait by themselves for three clean periods[50].” (al-Baqarah 2:228)


The woman “waiting by herself” means that she does not sleep in the same bed as her husband. This is the equivalent of the command “leave them alone in the bed” given to men during the divorce by women.


The verse related to “not leaving the house” is the following:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِذَا طَلَّقْتُمُ النِّسَاءَ فَطَلِّقُوهُنَّ لِعِدَّتِهِنَّ وَأَحْصُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ رَبَّكُمْ لَا تُخْرِجُوهُنَّ مِنْ بُيُوتِهِنَّ وَلَا يَخْرُجْنَ إِلَّا أَنْ يَأْتِينَ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُبَيِّنَةٍ وَتِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّهِ وَمَنْ يَتَعَدَّ حُدُودَ اللَّهِ فَقَدْ ظَلَمَ نَفْسَهُ لَا تَدْرِي لَعَلَّ اللَّهَ يُحْدِثُ بَعْدَ ذٰلِكَ أَمْرًا

“O Prophet, when you [Muslims] divorce women, divorce them by regarding their waiting period and keep count of the waiting period, and fear God, your Master. Do not turn them out of their [husbands’] houses, nor should they [themselves] leave unless they commit a manifest immoral act. These are the bounds set by God. And whoever oversteps the bounds set by God has certainly wronged himself. You know not; perhaps God will bring about after that a [different] matter.” (at-Talaq 65:1)

The waiting period is the time that a woman whose husband pronounced the word of divorce needs to spend in her husband’s house until the divorce is finalized. The waiting period is three clean periods for women having regular periods, three months for women with irregular periods or women not having periods due to specific reasons, and until the birth for pregnant women (see at-Talaq 65:4).


In the process of divorce by women, there is not a waiting period. However, the man leaves the bed just as the woman does in her waiting period.

In both types of divorce, the party who decided to divorce has the right to change his/her mind. When the nushooz of woman emerges, i.e., when it becomes apparent that the woman wants to divorce her husband, the man talks with her kindly in order to change her mind. We have seen above that everything will be settled if the woman willingly accepts the words of her husband and gives up the idea of divorce.

If the party who decided to divorce first is the husband, he has the right to return to his wife within the waiting period, as long as he has good intentions. The relevant verse is:

وَبُعُولَتُهُنَّ أَحَقُّ بِرَدِّهِنَّ فِي ذٰلِكَ إِنْ أَرَادُواْ إِصْلاَحًا

“If their husbands desire to reconcile, they have the right to take their wives back within this (period)[51].” (al-Baqarah 2:228)


If the man does not change his mind during the waiting period, the marriage comes to an end. One of the relevant verses is:

فَإِذَا بَلَغْنَ أَجَلَهُنَّ فَأَمْسِكُوهُنَّ بِمَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ فَارِقُوهُنَّ بِمَعْرُوفٍ وَأَشْهِدُوا ذَوَيْ عَدْلٍ مِّنكُمْ وَأَقِيمُوا الشَّهَادَةَ لِلَّهِ ذَلِكُمْ يُوعَظُ بِهِ مَن كَانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجًا

“And when they have fulfilled their term, either retain them according to known terms (maruf)  or part with them according to known terms. Bring to witness two just persons from among you and establish the testimony for [the acceptance of] God. That is instructed to whoever should believe in God and the Last day. And whoever protects themselves by being mindful of God – He will make for them a way out.” (at-Talaq 65:2)


Having reviewed the process of divorce by men and having seen its analogy between the divorce by women, we can move on to the following steps in the divorce by women:

If the woman does not change her mind and is determined to divorce while she sleeps in a separate bed in the same house as her husband, the commands in the very next verse an-Nisa 4:35 must be fulfilled:


  • وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ شِقَاقَ بَيْنِهِمَا فَابْعَثُواْ حَكَمًا مِّنْ أَهْلِهِ وَحَكَمًا مِّنْ أَهْلِهَا

“(O believers!) If you fear a split between (the spouses), send an arbitrator from his family and an arbitrator from her family. ” (An-Nisa 4:35)


Arbitrators play an important role in divorce of women. It is decreed that the arbitrators be from the family, because they know the spouses better than other people do.

According to the Qur’an, problems may arise from the following two reasons:

1- The man may have witnessed his wife having sexual relation with another man. If he has four more witnesses, he can take it to trial. If he does not have the witnesses, he can still take the issue to trial and end his marriage through “lia’an = لِعان”[52]. In both cases, he cannot take anything back of what he had granted to his wife upon marriage as mehr/the legal share of bride[53]. Additionally, the reputation of his wife becomes damaged.

If he wants to divorce without damaging his wife’s reputation, he can obligate his wife to divorce him (iftidaa)[54]. The relevant verse is below:

وَلاَ تَعْضُلُوهُنَّ لِتَذْهَبُواْ بِبَعْضِ مَا آتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ إِلاَّ أَن يَأْتِينَ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُّبَيِّنَةٍ.

“Do not oppress them in order to take back (even) a part of what you granted them unless they commit a manifest immoral act.” (an-Nisa 4:19)


2- The man may be oppressing his wife as if she had committed an immoral act, so that he might take back the legal share of bride he had given her and marry someone else using those possessions. The verse relevant to this case is:

وَإِنْ أَرَدتُّمُ اسْتِبْدَالَ زَوْجٍ مَّكَانَ زَوْجٍ وَآتَيْتُمْ إِحْدَاهُنَّ قِنطَارًا فَلاَ تَأْخُذُواْ مِنْهُ شَيْئًا أَتَأْخُذُونَهُ بُهْتَاناً وَإِثْماً مُّبِيناً. وَكَيْفَ تَأْخُذُونَهُ وَقَدْ أَفْضَى بَعْضُكُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ وَأَخَذْنَ مِنكُم مِّيثَاقًا غَلِيظًا.

“If you decide to divorce a wife in order to take another, do not take back anything of what you have given the first one, even if you had given her a cantar (i.e. a great amount) of gold. Would you take it back by slandering her and committing a manifest offense?

How can you take it back when you have had intercourse with each other, and they have made a solemn agreement with you?” (an-Nisa 4:20-21)


Considering these, we can understand why the marriage and divorce of women are subject to supervision. Let us go back to the verse al-Baqarah 2:228, and study the “degree” of men over women in detail:

“According to the known terms of the Quran, women’s rights over men are equivalent to men’s rights over women. But men have a degree[55] over them (in the matter of divorce).” (al-Baqarah 2:228)


This “degree” mentioned in the verse is a critical point to consider. As the previous sentence informs us about the equivalence of men’s and women’s rights, and the context is divorce, this degree is pertinent to the matter of divorce only. When a man decides to divorce his wife, he does not need to apply to the legal authority or to call the arbitrators, but in the end he has to leave all the money or possessions he had given his wife upon marriage. He can not take back anything because he is the one who wants to divorce.

On the other hand, when a woman decides to divorce her husband, arbitrators have to be appointed. Though this may seem to be a disadvantage about women, it is in fact to protect the woman from exploitation of her husband or other persons. God created women with a nature different than men’s, and He decrees accordingly.

As an example: a woman who may be ill-treated by her husband or someone else in the family may usually choose redeeming herself over manifesting the full truth of her bad experiences at a court case or in public. This is a common example even in this day and age. Women remain silent due to their sensitive nature and dignity. When we consider such a case, the woman would have to give back the legal share of bride she had taken upon marriage and also she would lose her right of sustenance and accommodation. Whereas, the man who ill-treats her would take the full advantage of woman’s dignity and pay no price. To avoid abuse of women’s sensitive nature in such ways, divorce of women has been subject to arbitration.


  • إِن يُرِيدَا إِصْلاَحًا يُوَفِّقِ اللّهُ بَيْنَهُمَا إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا خَبِيرًا

“If they both desire reconciliation, God will cause it between them. God is all-knowing and He is aware of the real face of everything.” (An-Nisa 4:35)

This part of the verse is usually assigned the meaning “if the arbitrators desire reconciliation…”. This translation is unacceptable because helping reconciliation is already a duty of the arbitrators.

Since arbitrators are chosen of the people who are closest to the spouses and who know them inside out, they may learn the real reason behind woman’s will to divorce. If both of the spouses desire reconciliation but they can not come to terms by themselves, arbitrators would help them.

h-   The Woman’s Divorce Being Registered

If reconciliation is not possible or one of the spouses is unwilling to reconcile, arbitrators are responsible for forming an objective opinion on the rate of mehr[56] the woman would need to return to her husband in order to divorce.


وَلَا يَحِلُّ لَكُمْ أَنْ تَأْخُذُوا مِمَّا آَتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ شَيْئًا إِلَّا أَنْ يَخَافَا أَلَّا يُقِيمَا حُدُودَ اللَّهِ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا يُقِيمَا حُدُودَ اللَّهِ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا فِيمَا افْتَدَتْ بِهِ تِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّهِ فَلَا تَعْتَدُوهَا وَمَنْ يَتَعَدَّ حُدُودَ اللَّهِ فَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ.

“It is not lawful for you to take back anything of what you have given to women[57] unless you (and your wife) both fear that the two of you (as a couple) will not be able to keep within the bounds of God. (Oh, you believers who act as arbitrators!) If you also fear that this couple will not be able to keep within the bounds of God, (approve that) there is no sin upon either of them in case the woman redeems herself (by giving back of the legal share of bride she had taken from her husband). These are the bounds set by God; do not overstep them. Those who overstep God’s bounds are the wrongdoers.” (Al-Baqarah 2:229)


The expression “…of what you have given to women” in the verse may refer to either all or some of the possessions and money her husband had given upon marriage (mehr). The arbitrators decide on the rate of mehr that the woman must return to her husband. They inform the woman of this opinion.

If the wife is inculpable in divorce and the man is putting pressure on her to marry someone else, the woman can be unwilling to continue the marriage. In this case, arbitrators find a symbolic amount of return sufficient. However, according to verses an-Nisa 4:20-21, the husband in such a situation does not have the right to take back even that symbolic amount[58].

If the husband is inculpable in divorce, the woman gives back all of the money/possessions. During the lifetime of Nabi Muhammad (pbuh) the following happened:

“The wife of Thabit bin Qais came to the Prophet (pbuh) and said, “O Allah’s Messenger (pbuh)! I do not blame Thabit for defects in his character or his religion, but I, being a Muslim, would not like to be ungrateful (if I remain with him)[59]. By Allah, were it not for fear of Allah when he enters upon me I would spit in his face.’[60] ” On that Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said (to her), “Will you give back the garden which your husband has given you (as Mahr)?” She said, “Yes.” Then the Prophet (pbuh) said to Thabit, “O Thabit! Accept your garden, and divorce her once.”[61]

In any case, the last say belongs to the woman. If she is determined to divorce, the arbitrators report their opinion to the lawful authority[62] . She pays the determined rate of legal share of bride (mehr) back to her husband, and the authority registers the divorce. Notice that the lawful authority does not decide but registers only.


As we can see, the words “darb them” mean “let them dwell in the house”. The meaning “beating” is irrelevant in this context.


  • THE WORD “DARB = الضرب” IN AHADITH[63]

Narrations that include the expression “darb the women” were mentioned during the Farewell Sermon of Nabi Muhammad (pbuh). The only narration including both of the words “nushooz” and “darb” together is below:

“Protect yourselves by being mindful of God in the matters about women. They are awanin (those who protect themselves for you) near you. They cannot do whatever they want in this matter. They have rights over you, and you have rights over them. It is your right over them that they do not sleep with anyone else and do not admit anyone you do dislike to your houses.

If you fear that they will leave you, give them advice/say kind words to them, and leave them alone in the bed, and darb them in a ghayr mubarrih way.

It is their right that you provide them with sustenance, accommodation and clothing in accordance with the known terms. You have taken them only under Allah’s trust and have made their private parts (involvement in sexual activity) lawful for you with His permission.[64]


The root of the the word “mubarrih = مُبَرِّح” is “tabrih = التَّبَرُّح”. It means “to cause discomfort and adversity[65]”. The word “ghayr” is used to denote anything other than specified right after this word. The meaning of the expression “darb them in a ghayr mubarrih way” is therefore “leave them in their beds without causing them discomfort or adversity”.


  • Inconsistent Narrations

The term “hadith = ” is used to refer to the sayings of Prophet (Nabi) Muhammad (pbuh). The second generation of Muslims who had not seen Nabi Muhammad but his Companions (sahaba) are named as “tabi‘un = التابعون‎”.

The hadith collectors who wrote up the hadith many years after the pass away of Nabi Muhammad (pbuh) determined a chain of narrators for every hadith.

In that era, the Science of Explaining the Qur’an was forgotten. Therefore, it was not understood that the hadith of Nabi Muhammad (pbuh) are the wisdoms that were extracted out of the Qur’an. So, the soundness of the hadith were judged by the trustworthiness of the people in the chain of narrators. Though, Nabi Muhammad was warned in the matter of putting trust in people:


“When you look at them, their forms please you; and when they speak, you listen to their words. Yet, they are as pieces of timber propped up. They think that every cry is against them. They are the enemies; so beware of them. May Allah destroy them! How are they mislead to lie!” (Al-Munafiqun 63:3-4)


Since hypocrites can please even Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) with their words and attitude, we should be aware that many hypocrites who may please Muslims with their knowledge, words and attitudes may have the opportunity to ascribe words which are obviously contrary to the Qur’an to Nabi Muhammad (pbuh).


As The Wisdom -the method of extracting sound information out of the Quran- was lost, Muslims also lost their ability to find solutions to their problems basing on the Quran. Therefore, they started to prioritize the Example of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), which is called “Sunnah”, over the Quran. Al-Shafii (d. 204/820) considered Sunnah to be the equivalent of the Quran by offering  some verses which he took out of their context as proof[66].

During the era of Tabi’un the term “Sunnah” also started to be used instead of the term “hadith”. It is narrated that Yahya ibn Abu Kathir (d. 129/747) of the Tabi’un went even further and said:

السُّنَّةُ قَاضِيَةٌ عَلَى الْكِتَابِ وَلَيْسَ الْكِتَابُ قَاضِيًا عَلَى السُّنَّةِ

“Sunnah has the final say about the Book, but the Book does not have the final say about Sunnah[67]


It is also narrated that Makhul (d.112/730), one of Islamic jurists of the Tabi’un, said:

الْقُرْآنُ أَحْوَجُ إِلَى السُّنَّةِ مِنَ السُّنَّةِ إِلَى الْقُرْآنِ

“The need of the Quran to Sunnah is more than the need of Sunnah to the Quran[68].


The most dangerous people are the hypocrites who are disguised as scholars or men of religion. They are talented in calumniation through ascribing their own sentences to prestigious people.  God warns us about them:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ إِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الأَحْبَارِ وَالرُّهْبَانِ لَيَأْكُلُونَ أَمْوَالَ النَّاسِ بِالْبَاطِلِ وَيَصُدُّونَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللّهِ

“Oh you who believe! Most of the scholars and men of religion[69] consume the possessions of people through falsehood and prevent them from the cause of God.” (at-Tawba 9:34)



These hypocrites may ally with interest groups to issue religious edicts in favor of them. These groups may have the power to silence the real men of religion and to fabricate a new religion by distorting the meanings of verses and hadith. Today, when we carefully review the main books and interpretations of all major sects in the light of the Science of Explaining the Quran, we see that learned hypocrites have manipulated most of these books, thus fabricating a new religion. This can be the only explanation that in this new religion, women do not have the right of single-sided divorce from their husbands.

Going back to our subject, it is alleged that Nabi Muhammad said the following in the broadest narration about “darb of women”:

“I enjoin good treatment of women, for they are prisoners with you, and you have no right to treat them otherwise, unless they commit clear indecency. If they do that, then forsake them in their beds and hit them, but without causing injury or leaving a mark. If they obey you, then do not seek means of annoyance against them. You have rights over your women and your women have rights over you. Your rights over your women are that they are not to allow anyone whom you dislike to tread on your bedding (furniture), nor allow anyone whom you dislike to enter your houses. And their right over you are that you should treat them kindly with regard to their clothing and food.”[70]

In this narration, some expressions were added to a section of the verse an-Nisa 4:34, ending up as the following:

فَإِنْ فَعَلْنَ فَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ ضَرْبًا غَيْرَ مُبَرِّحٍ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلَا تَبْغُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا

“If your wives commit clear indecency, forsake them in their beds and hit them, but without causing injury or leaving a mark. If they obey you, then do not seek means of annoyance against them.”


The expression “if you fear of their nushooz” in the verse was replaced with “if they commit clear indecency” although the other two commands in the verse were kept as is in this narration. What can be the relation between “man fearing of women’s nushooz” and “women committing indecency”?


A shorter narration is: “You too have right over them, and that they should not allow anyone to sit on your bed whom you do not like. But if they do that, you can chastise them but not severely.[71]

Here, only a single word of the verse was taken and the following sentence was made up:

فَإِنْ فَعَلْنَ ذٰلِكَ فَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ ضَرْبًا غَيْرَ مُبَرِّحٍ

“… they should not allow anyone whom you do not like to sit on your bed .”

Is the opposite of this sentence probable to come true? Can a woman allow someone her husband likes on her bed? This sentence, therefore, can not belong to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Scholars of hadith have assigned the meaning “beating but not severely” to the expression “darb in a ghayr mubarrih way”.   It is said that Qatada (d. 117/735) assigns the meaning “to beat without damaging her reputation”, and Hasan al-Basri (d. 110/728)  says “to beat without leaving a mark”[72]. We have already seen that the accurate meaning is “letting them dwell without causing discomfort or adversity”.

Because of these mistakes, no scholar of commentary could consider these narrations while assigning meaning to the word “nushooz”, neither could day interpret the verse 4:34 correctly.


  • Women Considered “Prisoners”

In the narrations above, it is expressed that Nabi Muhammad said about women:

فَإِنَّهُنَّ عِنْدَكُمْ عَوَانٍ

“Women are awanin with you”

“Awanin = عَوَانٍ” is the plural form of “aniyah = عانية” which is of the root “عناية = inayah”. “Aniyah” means “a woman who looks after and protects herself”[73]. This is because the woman sexually aims only her husband, and she protects herself for him. This word lets us correctly understand the expression “righteous women … guard themselves in the absence of witnesses in return for God’s protection” in the verse. The sentence “they cannot do whatever they want in this matter” in the first hadith also confirms this.

Hadith scholars, however, consider the word “awanin = عوان” to be derived from the root “عنو = unuww” rather than “inayah = عناية”. Unuww means “capturing[74] (sth)”. Considering the connotation “take prisoner” of the word “capture”, we reach the following result: “aniyah = عانية” means “a woman who takes prisoner”, NOT “a woman taken as prisoner”, because it is a simple fact that the word “aniyah” is an active participle noun in Arabic. In a statement by Nabi Muhammad (pbuh) this word was used as follows:
أَنَا وَارِثُ مَنْ لَا وَارِثَ لَهُ، أَفُكُّ عَانِيَهُ، وَأَرِثُ مَالَهُ

“I am the heir of him who has none, freeing him from his aniyah (that which captures/gains control of him), and inheriting what he possesses.

Nabi Muhammad receives the inheritance of him who has no heirs by acting in the capacity of the head of state. Indeed, debts gain the control of people. Therefore, the inheritance is used to pay off the debt of the deceased in the first place. This is the ruling set in the verse about inheritance:

مِنْ بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍ يُوصِي بِهَا أَوْ دَيْنٍ

”(Portion of the inheritance is) after fulfilling the bequest or paying off the debt” (an-Nisa 4:11)
We can assuredly call the hadith above “a statement by Nabi Muhammad” because it exactly matches the ruling in the verse 4:11.

If the word “aniyah” in the narration which mentions beating women is the same word as in this hadith, the hadith would read:

“The women are those who take you as prisoners with you.”

Assigning this meaning becomes inevitable because the word “awanin” is active participle and denotes the doer of the act taking as prisoner. However, this meaning was not of any use to the manipulators. So, they distorted the meaning by changing it from active participle (ism al-faail) to passive participle (ism al-maf’ul). They even played on dictionaries.

In that case, Nabi Muhammad (pbuh) would have said: “Your wives are prisoners with you.”

This meaning disrupts the coherence of the hadith, as well as the Quran. Because, the hadith continues “and you have no right to treat them otherwise”.
What is meant in this expression? Does it forbid men from treating women in a way other than a prisoner would be treated? What kind of a treatment is “otherwise”? Is there a worse way a woman could be treated? Apparently, this sentence cannot belong to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Besides, the Almighty God decrees:

وَلَهُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِي عَلَيْهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ

“According to the known terms of the Quran, the rights of women over the men are equivalent of the rights of men over women.” (al-Baqarah 2:228)

Taking this verse into account, the wife can not be a prisoner with her husband because a prisoner and her master do not have equivalent rights. Therefore, assigning the meaning “prisoner” to the word “awanin = عوان” in the hadith is unacceptable.



The main reason for such mistakes is that The Science of Explaining the Quran was lost over the course of time. In the matter of violence against women, the coherence break-down caused in the verse an-Nisa 4:34 was neglected and other relevant verses were ignored. Making this kind of mistakes while interpreting the verse and using it as a permission to beat women may have no other excuse than the loss of The Science. One of the painful results of this loss is that there is not a single Islamic sect which did not deprive women of their single-sided divorce right[76].

It is natural to reach a consensus on a universal good. However, reaching a consensus on a  universal evil cannot be possible without external influence. Such influence can not have applied to the founders of sects since they had lived in diverse geographical regions and in diverse periods. The only possibility left is that the main books of sects and the Quran commentaries were manipulated later on. Otherwise, it would be impossible for so many people to come to a consensus on the same wrong idea.


Because almost all of the books were manipulated, detecting the mistakes takes great effort and patience. As we also were not able to notice some of the manipulations, we had written as the following in our first research:
“The husband who has provided solid evidence that her wife has committed adultery holds the right to leave her out of the marital bed and to beat her. [77]


Yet, we were not satisfied with that result and continued our research in the light of The Science of Explaining the Quran. Hence, we have come to the above conclusion.

Success may be granted by God only.

[1] Al-Khalil ibn Ahmad al-Farahidi, (100-175 h.) Kitab al-Ayn, (tahqiq: Mahdi al-Makhzoomi, Ibrahim as-Samrai), Iran 1409 h./1988.

نشز ينشز نشوزا وينشز لغة. ونشزَ ينشز، إذا زحف عن مجلسه فارتفع فويق ذلك

[2] al-Ayn, art. ضرب.

الضَّرْبُ يقَع على جميع الأعمال :  “Darb falls under all categories of acts”.

[3] Mufradat, art.  الضرب and  الوقوع

الضرب: إيقاع شيء على شيء ((الوقوع: ثبوت الشيء وسقوطه

“al-Darb: Iqa’u shay’in ala shay’in  (al-wuqu’: thubut’u al-shay’i ve suqutuhu)”

[4] Lisaan al-Arab, art. ثبت.

ثبت:… ويقال: ثَبَتَ فلانٌ في المَكان يَثْبُتُ ثبُوتاً، فهو ثابتٌ إِذا أَقام به.

Th-b-t: …it is said: Someone dwelled in that place, He is (called) “thabit” when he inhabits there. ثبوت :

( اسم ): مُكُوث


– noun gerund of verb to lodge

– stay; inhabitancy; inhabitation; dwelling

[5] In many works the word “nushooz” is translated as “rebellion”. Some of its examples are Maududi, Muhammad Taqi Usmani, Shabbir Ahmed, M. M. Pickthall, Hasan Al-Fatih Qaribullah, Rashad Khalifa. The word “darb” is translated as “beating” or “scourging” in almost all translations.

[6]Jamal al-din Muhammad ibn Muqrim Ibn Manzur (630-711), Lisan al-Arab, Beirut n.d., art. خلف

[7] Mufradat: Abul-Qasim al-Hussein bin Mufaddal bin Muhammad Ar-Raghib Al-Isfahani (d. 425 h.), Mufradat al-Fazl al-Quran, (tahqiq: Safwan Adnan Dawoodi), Damascus and Beirut 1412 h./1992.


[8] The basis of belief is approval of the heart. Heart is the inner-world of a human where they are fully free. Therefore, nobody can be compelled to have a certain belief. Intention is the prerequisite for all types of worship. Since intentions without the approval of the heart are invalid, worship can not be performed under coercion.

[9] Whoever does not obey the transgressors.

[10] The word “thumma = ثمَ” in the verse is assigned the meaning “in the meantime” because the root meaning of the word is “coming together kindly” (Maqayis).

[11] The word we translate as “group of people” is “qawm = قوم”. In this sentence, the “qawm = group” consists of at least three people because the verb following it “ya’lamun = يَعْلَمُونَ = know” is in plural form. In Arabic, plural form denotes at least three people, and the singular and dual verb forms have different conjugations..

[12] Lisan, art. قَرْء.

[13] Since the art of iltifat in Arabic literature does not exist in English literature, it is ignored in the translation (see the ftn. of verse al-Baqarah 2:49).

[14] God is closer to every human being than their jugular veins (Qaf 50:16). Placing anything before the jugular vein causes death. Similarly, placing any other being between the self and God breaks the most vital connection with God, thus leading to disastrous problems in human life. Therefore, relegating God to the second priority, and prioritizing anything above Him (His commands) is the greatest sin that will never be forgiven in the afterlife, unless the person repents and amends themselves before death approaches (an-Nisa 4:48, 116). This sin is called “shirk”, and the people who place others between themselves and God are called “mushrik” in the Quran.

[15] To comply with the Book

[16] The mushrik are being called to comply with this Book. They find this difficult because they take on their traditions as their religion and they do not want to change the established order.

[17] God has shown people the right path (al-Insan 76:3). He has given people free will, allowing them to do good or bad till the end of their lives, which is the term determined by God for each individual (an-Nahl 16:61).

[18] Conflicting opinions and contradictory judgments about the verses in the Book cause Its inheritors to fall into a dilemma about the authenticity of the Book. If the Book isthe Book sent down by God, then there must be no conflicts within. However, translations and interpretations of the Book are full of conflicts, and the current rulings of scholars that are presented as Islam are against sound mind and human nature. Obeying them causes many inconveniences. As a result, people lose their trust in the Book. They doubt whether or not this is the Book of God.

[19] Every chapter beginning with Basmala (except Chapter at-Tawbah) and ending in a known last verse is called a “surah = سورة‎‎”.

[20] Maqayis, art. مُكْث

[21] Joseph 12:1, ash-Shuara 26:2, al-Qasas 28:2, az-Zukhruf 43:2, ad-Dukhan 44:2 and several other verses.

[22] Al-An’am 6:38

[23] Al-Baqarah 2:151, Al-e Imran 3:164

[24] Al-Haqqa 69:40, at-Takweer 81:19

[25] A messenger conveys only the words of the person who appoints the messenger. The angel messenger Gabriel communicated the words of God to Prophet (nabi) Muhammad (pbuh). Therefore, the real teacher is God.

[26] Verses are linked to each other according to the science (algorithm) explained by God. However, those who seek deviation in the path of God break the links by manipulating verses or their meanings. They reset the linkages, or in other words, attempt to rearrange the verses in such a way that they try to achieve their worldly goals while they are pretending to be pious, religious or truthful. Such behavior is called “kufr = كفر” in Arabic and “to cover, to conceal, to ignore” in English. Throughout this study, we have preferred the verb “to ignore” to refer to such an attitude, because covering up the truth can only be possible by ignoring God and the truth. People who behave this way are called “kafir =كَافِر = ignorer” because they have covered up the verses by ignoring God and the linkages (the method). Additionally, they are called “mushrik (polytheist)” because they consider themselves (or scholars) to be rulers or authorities besides God. So, it is impossible to become an ignorer without being a mushrik or to become mushrik without being an ignorer.

[27]  Lisan, art. شبه; El-Ayn, art. شبه; Mufradat, art. شبه;

[28] Mufradat, art. أول

[29] The word we translate as “arranged” is “kitaban = كِتَابًا”. The root of this word is “كتب” which means “to add something to another one and arrange” (Mufradat, art. كتب).

[30] The system of similar and decisive verse pairs, in other words, the science of explaining the Quran.

[31] “al-Hikmat = الحكْمَة” is of the same root as “hukm = حُْكمْ” which means “judgment”. They are both verbal nouns (masdar), but hikmat is a specific type of hukm. “Correct judgment” is called hikmat.

[32] Lisan al-Arab, art. نبأ.

[33] The order in the verses is: “Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Noah, Zechariah, John, Jesus, Elijah, Ishmael, Elisha, Jonah and Lot. (Peace be upon them!).

[34] The word “hukm” is mentioned in the verse. “Hikmat = الحكْمَة” is of the same root as “hukm= الحُْكمْ”. They are both verbal nouns, but hikmat is a specific type of hukm. The right and good hukm is called hikmat. What is granted to prophets is surely the right and good type of hukm, and therefore it is also hikmat.

[35] al-Ayn, art.  نشز.

[36] The word “qadeer = قدير” is a derivative of the word “qadr =قدر” which means “measure”, as in “an indication of the degree, extent, or quality of something (”. Qadeer itself means “one who establishes the measure”. Establishing a measure is determining the criteria, amount,  degree or extent of the conditions which must be fulfilled for any thing or event to come into existence or to take effect. However, in Islamic tradition the word qadeer is attributed the meaning “powerful” or “capable”. Indeed, it is the most powerful one who establishes the measure, but when the verse is assigned the meaning “God has power over everything”, relation between the words “qadeer” and “measure” is lost. Losing this relation is the main cause of false belief of predestination in Islamic tradition and is therefore utterly critical.

[37] The word-by-word translation of this expression is “so that God may make room for you”. This is an idiomatic expression which means “to put someone at ease, to relieve someone”.

[38] Jami at-Tirmidhi » Tafsir

English reference  : Vol. 5, Book 44, Hadith 3040; Arabic reference : Book 47, Hadith 3314

[39]al-Qadi Shuraih ibn al-Hârith (d. 80/699): One of the prominent judges of ıslamic law during the period of the Companions and the Followers. Judge of Qufa.

[40]Abu Bakr al-Bayhaqi   (d. 458 h.), Sunan Al Kubra, Tahqiq, Muhammad Abdulqaadir Ata, 3rd Ed, v. VII, p. 500, Beirut, 1424/200.

روى البيهقي عَنِ الشَّعْبِيِّ، أَنَّ امْرَأَةً نَشَزَتْ عَلَى زَوْجِهَا فَاخْتَصَمُوا إِلَى شُرَيْحٍ فَقَالَ شُرَيْحٌ:” ابْعَثُوا حَكَمًا مِنْ أَهْلِهِ وَحَكَمًا مِنْ أَهْلِهَا” فَفَعَلُوا فَنَظَرَ الْحَكَمَانِ إِلَى أَمْرِهِمَا فَرَأَيَا أَنْ يُفَرِّقَا بَيْنَهُمَا فَكَرِهَ ذَلِكَ الرَّجُلُ فَقَالَ شُرَيْحٌ:” فَفِيمَ كُنَّا فِيهِ الْيَوْمَ وَأَجَازَ أَمْرَهُمَا “

[41] Mufradat, art. طوع

الطَّوْعُ: الانقيادُ، ويضادّه الكره قال عزّ وجلّ: ائْتِيا طَوْعاً أَوْ كَرْهاً

al-taw’u: Conformity, opposite of al-karh. God said:“Come, willingly or unwillingly”

[42] Op. cit.

[43] The basis of belief is approval of the heart. Heart is the inner-world of a human where they are fully free. Therefore, nobody can be compelled to have a certain belief. Intention is the prerequisite for all types of worship. Since intentions without the approval of the heart are invalid, worship can not be performed under coercion.

[44]al-Ayn,art. ضرب.

الضَّرْبُ يقَع على جميع الأعمال :  “Darb falls under all categories of acts”.

[45] İmâm Maturîdî bu âyetin “Siz bunların boyunlarının üstüne vurun” kısmını ayırarak Muhammed 4. âyette geçen “Boyun köklerini vurun” sözüyle birleştirmiş ve şöyle demiştir: “Allah Teâlâ’nın “boyunlarının üstüne ve parmak uçlarına vurun” sözü ile “boyun köklerini vurun” sözü; öncelik, sonralık ve gizli özne düşünülmezse şöyle anlaşılabilir: “Kâfirlerle savaştığınızda boyun köklerini vurun. Onları sindirip etkisiz hale getirir, esir alırsanız o zaman da boyunlarını vurun.”

Bunun gerekçesini de şöyle açıklamıştır:

“Çünkü bize göre devlet başkanı zafer kazanıp esirler alırsa ister öldürür, isterse cizyeye bağlayıp serbest bırakır.” (Ebû Mansûr Muhammed b. Muhammed b. Mahmûdel-Mâtürîdî es-Semerkandî (ö.333/944) Te’vîlât’ul-Kur’ân, c. XIII, s. 386. İlmi Neşre Hazırlayan: Mürteza Bedir, Kontro, Bekir TOPALOĞLU, İstanbul, 2008) Bu açıklamayı “… esirleri ya karşılıksız ya da fidye alarak salıverin.” âyetini tefsir ederken yapmış ve âyetin hükmünü tamamen  saptırmıştır.

[46]Abu al-Qasim Mahmud ibn Umar al-Zamakhshari (d. 538 h.), Al-Kashshaaf, Kahf 11, v. II, p. 705. Beirut, 1407 h.

[47] Al-Ayn.  وعظ: وهو تذكيرُك إيّاه الخيرَ ونحوَه ممّا يرقُّ له قلبُهُ


[48] See the heading “C- THE TERMS “TAA’T= طاعة” AND “KARH = كره” IN ARABIC: WILLINGNESS AND OBEDIENCE UNDER COERCION” in this article.

[49] The degree mentioned in the verse is discussed in detail under the heading f-  If you fear a split between (the spouses)…

[50] This waiting period is the time that the divorced woman will spend in her husband’s house (At-Talaq 65:1). Since intercourse is prohibited during the menstruation periods, the time that she will wait ‘by herself’ denotes the clean periods when intercourse is permissible. Therefore, the three “qurooin = قُرُوَءٍ” mentioned in the verse are “three clean periods”.

[51] The man, only if he has good intentions, may return to his wife before the end of the waiting period. The word  “ahaqq = أحق” is “sifat mushabbaha”, an adjective expressing permanence.

[52] Li’aan is reciprocally calling the curse (lanat) of God upon oneself to prove the truthfulness of his words. This is the method used in indecency trials. The relevant verses are: “And (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.” (An-Noor 24:6-9)

[53] “Mehr = “مهر”, translated as “the legal share of bride”, is the possessions or money that a man has to grant his wife upon marriage. Its amount is settled between the spouses-to-be, and by regarding the amount of mehr (mehr al-mithl) for an equivalent woman.

[54] The word “iftidaa = اِفتدا” is of the root “fidyah = redemption”.  The woman who has committed indecency would return the legal share of bride she had received from her husband and divorce him without going to the indecency trial which would damage her reputation. The legal share of bride she gives back would be the redemption.

[55] The degree mentioned in the verse will be discussed under the headline f-

[56] Legal share of bride, which is the money or possessions that the woman receives from her husband upon marriage.

[57] The man who pronounces the word of divorce to his wife can not take back the legal share of bride (mahr) or the gifts which he has given her.

[58] Arbitrators decide on that symbolic amount because it is possible that there may be things they do not know.


[59] Bukhari, Divorce, 13.

[60] Ibn Majah, Divorce 22.

[61] al-Muwatta, Divorce 11.

Reference : Sahih al-Bukhari 5273

In-book reference : Book 68, Hadith 22

USC-MSA web (English) reference : Vol. 7, Book 63, Hadith 197 (deprecated numbering scheme)

[62] The lawful authority who registers a divorce in a society can be a judge, the church, officials of the state, etc.

[63] Ahadith is the plural form of “hadith =: حديث‎‎”, which means “sayings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).”

[64] Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad 5/73, Abu Dawood Nikah 42

فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ فِي النِّسَاءِ، فَإِنَّهُنَّ عِنْدَكُمْ عَوَانٌ، لَا يَمْلِكْنَ لِأَنْفُسِهِنَّ شَيْئًا، وَإِنَّ لَهُنَّ عَلَيْكُمْ، وَلَكُمْ عَلَيْهِنَّ حَقًّا: أَنْ لَا يُوطِئْنَ فُرُشَكُمْ أَحَدًا غَيْرَكُمْ، وَلَا يَأْذَنَّ فِي بُيُوتِكُمْ لِأَحَدٍ تَكْرَهُونَهُ، فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ، وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ ضَرْبًا غَيْرَ مُبَرِّحٍ «وَلَهُنَّ رِزْقُهُنَّ وَكِسْوَتُهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ، وَإِنَّمَا أَخَذْتُمُوهُنَّ بِأَمَانَةِ اللَّهِ، وَاسْتَحْلَلْتُمْ فُرُوجَهُنَّ بِكَلِمَةِ اللَّهِ  ”

[65]  Lisan al-Arab, art. برح .

وأَصلُ التَّبْرِيحِ: المشقَّةُ وَالشِّدَّةُ. وبَرَّحَ بِهِ إِذا شَقَّ عَلَيْهِ

[66] See Abdulaziz BAYINDIR, Dogru Bildigimiz Yanlislar, 5th Ed., p. 497 onwards. İstanbul 2014 (Turkish only).

[67] Muhammad ibn Nasr al-Marwazi (d. 294 h.),al-Sunnah, p. 33, tahqiq Salim Abdullah al-Salafi, Beirut 1408.

[68] al-Marwazi, op.cit., p. 33.

[69] Almost all of the translations use the words “rabbis/priests” instead of “scholars”, and the word “monks” instead of “men of religion”, thus distorting the meaning. However, the verse begins with an address to the believers of the Qur’an. Why would God warn a follower of the Qur’an about a rabbi, priest or monk?

[70]Ibn Majah, Nikah, 1851.

اسْتَوْصُوا بِالنِّسَاءِ خَيْرًا فَإِنَّهُنَّ عِنْدَكُمْ عَوَانٍ لَيْسَ تَمْلِكُونَ مِنْهُنَّ شَيْئًا غَيْرَ ذٰلِكَ إِلَّا أَنْ يَأْتِينَ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُبَيِّنَةٍ فَإِنْ فَعَلْنَ فَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ ضَرْبًا غَيْرَ مُبَرِّحٍ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلَا تَبْغُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا إِنَّ لَكُمْ مِنْ نِسَائِكُمْ حَقًّا وَلِنِسَائِكُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ حَقًّا فَأَمَّا حَقُّكُمْ عَلَى نِسَائِكُمْ فَلَا يُوَطِّئَنَّ فُرُشَكُمْ مَنْ تَكْرَهُونَ وَلَا يَأْذَنَّ فِي بُيُوتِكُمْ لِمَنْ تَكْرَهُونَ أَلَا وَحَقُّهُنَّ عَلَيْكُمْ أَنْ تُحْسِنُوا إِلَيْهِنَّ فِي كِسْوَتِهِنَّ وَطَعَامِهِنَّ.

[71]. This expression belongs to Muslim (Muslim, Sahih, Hajj, 2137) The text is:

وَلَكُمْ عَلَيْهِنَّ أَنْ لاَ يُوطِئْنَ فُرُشَكُمْ أَحَدًا تَكْرَهُونَهُ فَإِنْ فَعَلْنَ ذٰلِكَ فَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ ضَرْبًا غَيْرَ مُبَرِّحٍ.

[72] Badr al-din al-Ayni (d. 855 h.), v. XX, p. 192, Beirut.

[73] Lisan al-Arab, عناية.

[74] Capture: v(t) to take by force or stratagem; to take prisoner; to gain control of: (

[75] Reference : Sunan Abi Dawud 2901

In-book reference : Book 19, Hadith 17

English translation : Book 18, Hadith 2895


[76] See Abdulaziz Bayındır, Doğru Bildiğimiz Yanlışlar, p. 369 onwards.

[77] Bayındır, op. cit.  p. 399 onwards.


  • Salam, very detailed explanation but I’m not sure about the usage of the picture used at the top of the page. Jazakallah khayr

  • Thank you for this interesting reflection on the verse. Please also consult newly rising parallel efforts as they too are progressive and methodical. There is a new book of about 350 pages by Professor John Andrew Morrow that has gathered most of such efforts, analyzes and compares them in detail, and then leaves it to its readers to choose or to find their own way of understanding.

    Please let us be more dialogical rather than self-asserting with more than 100 percent certainty in our interpretation and let the text speak instead of putting words into its mouth. Following are some reflections in contrast to yours only to stimulate more dialogue.

    “I do not want to do what I am forbidding you from. I only intend reform to the best of my ability. My success comes only through Allah. In Him I trust and to Him I turn.” (11:88)

    ‘Noshuz’ in general means one side of a thing being raised above the other side. It mostly means gaining the upper hand or superiority when it comes to relationships between people (whether for leaving or not for leaving is not the matter!).

    The Arabic language has a word to mean ‘leaving’, which is much clearer as I am sure you know, and that is ‘Taraka’ (ترک). So, if this was all about a woman leaving or intending to leave and a man fearing it, it would have used this exact and much more straightforward verb instead of twisting it with the idea of ‘Noshuz’.

    Please also read the verse in its broader textual context by including the few verses earlier and please remember the very first of the surah (chapter 4) that declares universal gender equity from an existential point of view (creation of the sexes) rather than from a social contractual one. Few verses before Verse 34 (perhaps for the first time in human history) declare women’s financial independence. It is very possible (and there are narratives to support this) that this declaration/recognition caused fears or concerns among the Arab men in that old patriarchal context when they heard this verse advocating the idea that men are primarily responsible to women regarding their material and security needs “to the extent to which” (not because of!) “they are naturally (God) bestowed with more resources, skills, and opportunities” and “by sharing their income and wealth” (Verse 4). By saying that, at the beginning of the verse, Quran seems to highlight the very basic idea that with power/resources/opportunities comes responsibility, and since men in most societies and all across history are advantaged, then they are seen as responsible for protecting women. Of course, the Quran does not admire and does not want to perpetuate the privileges that are artificial or achieved through power relations or gender inequality. It, however, acknowledges that even in the ideally just societies some advantages that nature has given men especially in the post-agricultural revolution era where the masculine labor is rewarded/waged results in men having greater control over resources. Surely, humanity should strive to remove structural barriers to any injustices but to the extent to which these barriers remain, the resulted inequities should be canceled out by rearranging the rights and responsibilities to favor the underprivileged (the meaning of equity vs. equality).

    To demand men to be responsible by default does not mean that these conditions should continue and that women have no right to work for themselves until or after barriers are removed (say as the result of modernization and changes in the type of jobs people can do). Even in the latter case and in a rather just society, most women, due to the reproductive roles, may not still be able to gain enough control over resources and be able to achieve equality. The emphasis on the relativity of power-responsibility in such an unleveled field allows for any alteration that comes after the genuine agreement between the two sexes or changes in the social roles of women, so this men’s responsibility to provide would not be used as an excuse to exclude women from playing greater roles in society. After all, as per the earlier verses, women are free to make their own money without any commitment to share it with their men.

    Let’s also pay attention that in this verse, the words used are ‘men’ and ‘women’, rather than “husbands” and “wives”, (unlike Verse 128). This indicates that equity at the beginning of the verse should be secured at all levels and not just the household.

    What is then expected of women? As the verse continues, women are expected to be ‘Saalih’, ‘Ghaanit’, and ‘Haafiz’.

    Saalih means someone who sets things right, a reformer, a reconciliator, restorer, peacemaker, whoever brings things to peace or harmony or a righteous. Ghaanit means modest in their demands and expectations, or tune with existing capacities. Haafiz means protector, and as per this verse, protector of “ghayb”, i.e. “privacy” of only those things that God accepts as private, i.e. excluding the immoral private behaviors of their husbands (the ‘personal is political’ after all).

    Also remember, in 33:35 both men and women are expected equally to show such moral characteristics and thus this expectation is not presented here as an exchange for material provision and protection!

    Why did then Arab men fear their women’s superiority after these verses were revealed first? If women are now entitled to own their properties and keep heritages and gather wealth without any commitment to share it with their men, and if men are seen as responsible to support women to the extent they are naturally advantaged (the unnatural advantages are categorically rejected as immoral in a just Islamic community), then there is a likelihood (in the eyes of men) that women gain supremacy.

    In such a context of men fearing inferiority due to their higher responsibility and the recognized rights to personal ownership for women, the rest of the verse advises men to take three steps. This is of course to cause a pause/delay, but it can also mean to convey a message to men who were concerned about the sudden elevation of women’s status in early Islam, rather than a blueprint for action. A message to promote calmness and patience.

    If this was about women intending to leave their husband, it did not need to advise the second step (avoiding intimacy); if someone wants to leave, they should be allowed to leave after the dialogue fails, instead of being taken captive by men to see if they come back to their sense (as defined by men!). It is against the Quranic gender equity (Verse 1 of 4) to give men a special authority to cause delay or alter the process of leaving. It is obvious that in most cases, women do not decide to leave suddenly and there must have been many issues and quarrels for months or years in advance.

    The verse, as per my understanding, only makes sense when the female partner is seeking superiority. In this case, instead of instantly publicizing the issue and seeking outside help, men are asked to get involved in a dialogue on their rights and moral terms so the partner may get to their sense if the fear is not baseless, then if this doesn’t work, they are advised to take a greater distance by showing their disappointment/resentment through avoiding intimacy or abstain from sex (depriving a wrongdoer of positive reward psychologically works better than giving them negative/punitive response) and then again even if the second step does not work, man “abstain” fully (from) his wife (or leave the house or separate themselves in the same house) only temporarily (without abandoning his financial support for the household as this has its rules under the title of talaagh/divorce) to see if this may result in something positive.

    A growing number of revisionists translators now tend to choose this meaning. As among the many meanings of ‘dharaba’, this one seems to be most relevant in this context. Is there anywhere in the Quran that the verb means beating? No, there is none! There are places that it means heating something by something once but nowhere it means beating someone. Is there anywhere else that dharaba is used to mean abstaining from/separating/keeping away. Yes. In 13:17, where it says Allah separates truth from falsehood (by giving two examples where the truth is what sustainability benefits people and falsehood is what is not self-sustaining and useless, it uses the same verb. In 20:77 of the mythologized story of the Exodus, Moses is asked to split the sea to open a path. In 43:5, it uses the same word to say: “Then should We turn the message away, disregarding you”.

    Can this interpretation be backed up by the Prophet’s conduct? There is of course a famous story about the Prophet himself who abstained from his wives for a few weeks and took refuge somewhere else as he was under pressure by his wives.

    So perhaps this recommendation on the “gradual distancing” makes more sense, practically and theoretically? And more than offering a roadmap that can be followed by men, it gives a stronger message: do not react swiftly just because you fear something, do not resort to any violation of the rights even if your female partner is a domineering one. So, this verse is guiding men to tolerance, and to avoid any punitive, autocratic solution, let alone a violent one.

    If the third step does not work, then as per the end of the same verse and the next one suggests, they can seek help from outside (relatives of both sides to form a committee to deal with the issue). Again, seeking constructive intervention to settle the problem only makes sense when rights and responsibilities are disputed rather than when someone wants to leave!

    Why then there are NO three steps when husbands become domineering (in verse 128)? Why gradual distancing only when a woman seeks superiority. Men holding the position of the provider (by default in a society where the masculine labor is favored and rewarded more directly) at the beginning of the verse can make a woman vulnerable to any immediate response or separation and a woman’s socially constructed fragility can make her vulnerable in the future or result in the loss of status in the society even if she has been the oppressor. The delayed three-step plan (or anything equivalent) not only gives her the chance to reflect on her conduct but also gives them the chance to prepare for final separation.

    Again, these are my understandings which I have seen mentioned by others as well and I am sure there are other ways of approaching this verse which we should carefully consider and discuss without any arrogance. Inshallah.

    If we want to fix our understanding of the verse, we better not to add more confusion. Let’s step back and discuss the feasibility, reasonability, and implications of our understandings in real life.

    May Allah guide us all to the truth. Amen.