Monday, February 16, 2015

What does Allah mean by rebellious women in verse 4:34?

I've already discussed the first part of this verse here:

What we know so far about this verse (I'm carrying on from what I came  up with in the above link):

1) Gender roles are not mentioned for women in Islam, and are only indirectly mentioned for men
2) Gender roles are culturally constructed and interpreted as religion by some Muslim countries
3) There's no difference between men and women, as we see women excel in many things along side men (but remember these are branded as "unnatural" by some Muslim "scholars" and their blind worshippers).
4) There's many pro-women and gender neutral Quran verses and hadiths. There's also hadiths than condemn the beating of women.
5) Women are very independent today. They don't need a man's assistance, as they can assist themselves.
6) Verse 4:34 does not say men are to control or dominate women. When the Quran says men are the protectors and maintainers of women, it refers to the context at the time (women we not treated well by the society) and a woman's physical and emotional ability during pregnancy, something which does not affect men.
7) When the verse speaks of obedience, it means obedience to ALLAH, not the husband. We know from hadiths that if there were disagreements between Aisha and the Prophet Muhammed, they would go to someone and ask who's correct. Notice how the Prophet didn't say Aisha had to obey him.
8) According to Tahir Ul Qadri and Laleh Bakhtiar, two scholars on Islam, verse 4:34 doesn't mean to "beat" women, but to separate from them (like the well known saying "beat it", or striking a separation (Qadri's translation)). And even if some take the view that beating is the correct translation, there has always been a consensus among scholars throughout history, and even among the hardline orthodox ones today, that this "beating" refers to a light tap only.

But there's the main question: WHY?? Why isn't there a similar verse for men being beaten/separated by their wives?? I've researched this for quite some time, and I'm CONFIDENT I got the real answer.

If ya'll read fatwas from Islam QA and other screwed up scholarly sites, women need to be disciplined, because apparently it a man's job to make sure they don't go to hell. And the reason she needs to be disciplined is for not sleeping with the husband, not beautifying herself, not doing her chores, and other insanely demented reasons. One thing I'll give them is that they all seem to agree the beating shouldn't be harsh and it shouldn't cause any pain or marks. Great. But I don't buy any of those reasons. They make ZERO sense.

Lets just get the verse out of the way. Like always, I'll post 6 translations from Like I said above, I've already explained much of the verse in my other article, so I won't be talking about anything other than this specific part of women being rebellious.

Sahih International

"Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand."

Muhsin Khan

"Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband's absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husband's property, etc.). As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful), but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great."


"Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great."

Yusuf Ali
Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all).
"Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great."
Dr. Ghali Men are the ever upright (managers) (of the affairs) of women for what Allah has graced some of them over (some) others and for what they have expended of their riches. So righteous women are devout, preservers of the Unseen for. And the ones whom you fear their non-compliance, then admonish them and forsake them in their beds, (Literally: a madajic= reeclining) and strike them, (i.e. hit them lightly) yet in case they obey you, then do not seek inequitably any way against them; surely Allah has been Ever-Exalted, Ever-Great.

So again, lets just concentrate on the "WHY" part. The "WHY" is what we're wondering about. What does God mean by women who deserve a (light) beating or a separation?

I'm gonna introduce verse 4:19 real quickly:

"O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness, that ye may Take away part of the dower ye have given them,-except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good."

This is Yusuf Ali's translation. You can search up others that might make more sense. Anyways look at the bolded part. It says you cannot treat women with harshness (which INCLUDES not sleeping with them or lightly hitting them) UNLESS they're openly lewd. Translations have differed on this, like Sahi International says "clear immorality". Now go look at the translations I have for 4:34. Look at how they all speak of wives needing to guard what Allah wants them to. And what would that be? The answer is in Quran verse 24:30-31

"Say to the believing men that they Should lower their gaze and guard Their modesty: that will make for Greater purity for them: And God is well-acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: and they should not display beauty and ornaments expect what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they must draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their Beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husband's sons, or their women, or their slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their ornaments." 

So to understand we gotta go from 4:34 to 4:19 to 24:30-31. 4:34 says women must guard what God wants them to (they're bodies), 4:19 says men cannot be harsh in ANY WAY AT ALL to women EXCEPT when they show clear immorality. Verse 24:30-31 speak of women needing to dress properly. EVEN THOUGH the Quran calls men also to dress modestly, the Quran addresses women in a more specific manner. The Quran says women should not dress in a provocative way (tight, revealing, short clothes). How do we know that the verse speaks of provocative clothes? A woman's "ornaments" here refer to the parts which cause arousal (breasts, butt, vag, legs). Now lets put in a little context. Women's bodies are used to sell products, and they're used to putting other women down. When a woman is portrayed in a sexual way, it is very offensive and many men don't like it when their wives are getting eye raped, or worse, assaulted. Now I am NOT IMPLYING CLOTHING WILL LEAD TO RAPE. It does however, cause sexual advances, and causes men to get all turned out in a way only MEN can understand (it's some universal understanding that we men share, regardless of religion, or lack of it). I've seen teen boys pertending to "text" when they're actually filming a woman's @$$. It wouldn't have happened if the woman didn't dressed in tight revealing clothes. Many men, regardless of religion, don't like it when they're wives or daughters get a good stare down. Remember by distinction between finding someone beautiful and finding them lustfully attractive. The first causes men to warn others, while the latter causes them to get pretty angry (this is yet another universal understanding among men in how we want others to see our wives and daughters-NOT in a sexual way).

There's a concept in Islam called gheerah. It basically means protective jealousy, and there's hadiths that say a man should have it towards his women (wives, daughters, sisters). There's hadiths where women should have it too. But like I mentioned above, many men have this inside them where they do not like it when their wives or daughters or sisters dress inappropriately or if they get lustful stares. You also see this in our favorite tv shows- husbands and dads protective of their women. Look, I know Muslim parents who don't give a crap about what their daughters wear or who looks at them in a lustful way. This is NOT right. I also know sometimes the wives don't object to their daughters or sisters outfits and how they present themselves to others. Sometimes the wives are against the husband's wishes in his objections towards his daughters choice of clothing. IF she's like that, then she's also falling within the women described by verse 4:34.

Obviously, the levels of protective jealousy should NOT be too much. It should NOT be to a point where the husbands dominate and control their wives, daughters, and sisters. And try not to google this gheera term too much, as there are a BUNCH of salafist and wahabist sites which use the word to dominate and control their women.

SO, the Quran is calling on wives NOT TO show off your body, and not to let their daughters show off either. THIS is the message 4:34 sends. Women must not wear tight, short, revealing clothes. Using your body for immoral purposes means you are not thankful to Allah SWT for giving you that body. HOWEVER, I don't want people to get the wrong perspective here. The women who don't cover their heads DON'T FALL INTO THIS CATEGORY. I'm literally talking about TIGHT, SHORT and REVEALING clothes.

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