"Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that God has preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for God's guarding. And those you fear may be rebellious admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them. If they then obey you, look not for any way against them; God is All-high, All-great." -- Qur'an 4:34
The three-million-dollar campaign of the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) to whitewash Sharia and fool Americans about its nature began in earnest yesterday. Is this nonsensical article part of it? Is ICNA paying Qasim Rashid and/or the HuffPo to retail these soothing deceptions? We may never know the answers to those questions, but it is certain that if Qasim Rashid were an anti-jihad, pro-freedom writer, the mainstream media would be all over him asking questions about his funding and his backers. Whoever Rashid's may be, certainly this farrago coalesces neatly with ICNA's "war is deceit" Sharia whitewash effort.
"The Islamic Solution to Stop Domestic Violence," by Qasim Rashid in the Huffington Post, March 5:
Critics incorrectly allege that Islam command's husband's to beat their wives, often citing the Quran verse 4:34. Unfortunately, like any Muslim man who harms his wife, critics miss the keen wisdom in verse 4:34 that actively pre-empts domestic violence.
In Virginia, I provide pro bono legal support to victims of domestic and sexual violence. Virtually all of our clients are female. Every nine seconds -- nearly 10,000 victims daily -- a woman in the United States is abused. In America, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women, more than car accidents, muggings and rape -- combined. Would those who blame Islam for domestic violence also blame Christianity every nine seconds?...
Domestic violence is found in every culture and every nation, among people of every religion. The difference in Islam, which Rashid is busy trying to obscure, is that Qur'an 4:34 gives the practice divine sanction. Christianity doesn't teach that God commands that a man should beat his disobedient wife. No other religion does, either. No other culture teaches such a thing. In every other context, domestic violence is considered a crime. In Islam, it is a husband's prerogative according to the words of Allah himself.
Pre-emptive deterrence is the key. And this precisely is the wisdom behind verse 4:34 to decrease and stop violence against women. The verse in its totality describes a process of restraint, anger management and reformation.
The verse begins by defining a family unit, holding the husband accountable as the household's guardian and provider. This obligation gives him certain authority, privileges and a requirement of magnanimity -- but never the right to employ domestic violence. The verse then urges women to also act virtuously, and protect the family unit by cooperating with their husband, listening to him in all good things and to not publicize private family matters.
Note that Rashid never actually quotes Qur'an 4:34; why not? Is that not a curious and telling omission in an article that purports to be about explaining it? In any case, clearly in this part of his article he is explaining this portion of the verse: "Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that God has preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for God's guarding." Notice how he glosses over the part about God preferring men "in bounty" over women -- or, as another translation has it, "Men have superiority over women because God has made the one superior to the other..." And in explaining the man's "authority, privileges" and "requirement of magnanimity," he said that he is never given "the right to employ domestic violence." But in fact, the rest of the verse gives him exactly that "right," and this part of the verse does not forbid him from exercising it. Rashid's claim that this part of Qur'an 4:34 forbids men to employ domestic violence is based on nothing in the text whatsoever.
Next, verse 4:34 employs the process of anger management, reformation and reconciliation. This process may only be employed after a wife has initially and deliberately undermined or attempted to destroy the family, as indicated by the words, "as for those on whose part you fear disobedience." But "disobedience" does not mean any random disagreement a wife may have with her husband. Arabic lexicon provides the correct understanding as that of a wife who has deserted her husband altogether or has unjustly attempted to destroy the family. Once a wife deliberately engages in this form of behavior, then the Quran describes a process to peacefully reconcile the dispute.
This is palpable hooey. All over the Islamic world men inflict the command in this verse upon women for far less than desertion or unjustly attempting to "destroy the family." And note also, Rashid's taqiyya fog doesn't quite manage to obscure the uncomfortable fact that the Qur'an doesn't envision any penalty for men who desert or attempt to destroy their families. The latter is so remote that Rashid is clearly trying to make the wife-beating command something that a Muslim would only resort to in the most extreme cases, but reality is different. Take the case of Pakistan: Amnesty International reports that “according to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, over 90% of married women report being kicked, slapped, beaten or sexually abused when husbands were dissatisfied by their cooking or cleaning, or when the women had ‘failed’ to bear a child or had given birth to a girl instead of a boy.” Women got "kicked, slapped, beaten or sexually abused" for far less than desertion and attempting to destroy the family.
The first step, anger management, obliges the husband to merely admonish his wife of his concern, essentially encouraging the parties to admit that a problem exists. This forces a man to strictly control himself in hopes that his wife will also incline to reconciliation.
This part of the verse actually says, "And those you fear may be rebellious admonish..." There is nothing there whatsoever about the man having "to strictly control himself." This again is Rashid's whitewash. There is nothing inherent in giving someone a warning that involves controlling oneself. And given the content of the verse, what kind of self-control is Rashid saying is called for anyway? Apparently Rashid is saying that the husband must control his impulse to beat his wife -- no other form of self-control enters into the verse at all.
Should this fail, the second step is separating beds for up to four months. This act further diminishes the chances of domestic violence, as a man physically separates himself from the emotionally charged situation for an extended period of time. If the wife engaged in an action to which the husband over reacted, then his extended time apart will help him realize the foolishness of his own behavior. Likewise, if the wife indeed engaged in an improper act, then her husband's separation will encourage her to realize the unreasonableness of her behavior. Either way, this step avoids violence altogether while actively promoting reconciliation.
This part of the verse is "banish them to their couches." There is absolutely nothing in this about the husband realizing "the foolishness of his own behavior." The emphasis is entirely on sending the wife out of the marriage bed as a punishment. Here again we see a hint of the Islamic idea that female sexuality is strong, dangerous, and must be controlled: the idea that a wife is punished, but not a husband, by banishing her from the marriage bed only makes sense in light of an assumption that women are unable to control themselves sexually in the way that men can.
Employed effectively, these two steps help reconcile the vast majority of domestic disputes. Should the first two steps fail, however, the Quran allows -- never commands -- men to consider the third step, translated as "to chastise them."
Actually, the directive to "beat them" is not an allowance at all, but a straightforward, matter-of-fact command. And the words وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ, wa dariboohunna, do not just mean "and chastise them," or Rashid wouldn't have had to write this article in the first place. They mean "and beat them," and that or a variant of that is how they are uniformly translated:
Pickthall: “and scourge them”
Yusuf Ali: “(And last) beat them (lightly)”
Al-Hilali/Khan: “(and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful)”
Shakir: “and beat them”
Sher Ali: “and chastise them”
Khalifa: “then you may (as a last alternative) beat them”
Arberry: “and beat them”
Dawood: "and beat them"
Rodwell: “and scourge them”
Sale: “and chastise them”
Asad: “then beat them”
Rashid, however, ignores this and continues whitewashing in earnest:
But to understand "chastise" as sanctioning violence ignores the lengthy process employed in the first two steps to eliminate violence, the proper meaning and scope of "chastise," and the precedent of peaceful reconciliation Prophet Muhammad himself established.
In reality, Aisha reports that Muhammad struck her. Once he went out at night after he thought she was asleep, and she followed him surreptitiously. Muhammad saw her, and, as Aisha recounts: “He struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you?” (Sahih Muslim 2127) Aisha herself said it: “I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women.” (Sahih Bukhari 7.72.715)
First, it is unmerited to suggest that the Quran requires such extensive lengths to avoid violence, only to ultimately permit it.
Actually, it is quite merited.
Next, Arabic lexicon demonstrates that the word translated "chastise," i.e. daraba, employs definitions like "to heal," having nothing to do with violence. While daraba may also mean, "to strike," the proper scope of "strike" is best understood through Prophet Muhammad's example. Prophet Muhammad explained that for that man incapable of controlling his anger -- the first two required restrictions notwithstanding -- any act, such as a "strike," must heal and "not so much as to leave a mark."
Here again, Rashid is expecting his marks at the HuffPo to believe that all those translators I listed above, including both Muslim and non-Muslim scholars, got this word wrong in their translations. And he is banking on their not knowing about Muhammad's striking Aisha.
Elaborating on this, Prophet Muhammad explicitly admonished Muslims, "Do not beat your wives." He led by example and never struck his wives, therefore demonstrating in word and in deed that Muslim men cannot harm women for any reason.
Generally Muslim scholars teach that if a hadith contradicts the Qur'an, it is a false, forged hadith, and they acknowledge that there are many of those. So if Muhammad is purported to have said, "Do not beat your wives," while the Qur'an says, "beat them," most Muslims would consider that to be a weak hadith. But useful to deceive gullible non-Muslims, to be sure.
...Finally, remember that domestic violence occurs because men let their anger rule their behavior. If the nearly 10,000 American women who are abused daily received the pre-emptive protections that verse 4:34 offers, then how many women would actually be subject to domestic violence at all?
Probably just as many as would have been before.
So why is the HuffPo fronting for this? Why is the HuffPo allowing itself to be a forum for someone who wants to deceive us about the Qur'an's justification for beating women? Doesn't the Huffington Post care about women?