Everything about beating women and beating wives in The Quran
The Quran maintains that a husband may, in some cases, discipline his wife or wives. The fourth chapter of the Quran, surat al-Nisa’ (women), contains a few passages that are understood to prescribe the female subordination to their husbands. The verses in question (Quran 4: 34), have become notorious.
“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”. (M.H. Shakir interpretation)
Many have defended the phrase ‘beat’ in the scripture to mean ‘lash’. The general idea was to have the unruly woman shamed rather than physically harmed. Others however believe that the ‘beatings’ are physical but only to be performed if the wife has become guilty of some openly immoral conduct, whilst some men simply follow the teachings precisely to the letter.
It is the use of the Arabic term ‘waidriboohunna’ that causes the debate. According to the Lane Lexicon (page 1779), arguably the best Arabic-English dictionary, the term waidriboohunna, means to ‘beat them’. Several respected translators of the Holy Quran have interpreted the word waidriboohunna with varying results.
The following are five interpretations by highly respected translators:
And last, beat them (lightly): Yusuf Ali interpretation.
And beat them: Arberry interpretation.
And scourge them: Rodwell interpretation.
(And last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful): Al-Hilali/Khan inter.
And beat them: M.H. Shakir interpretation.
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