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Salim I. Hassan (Salimullah)
March, 2017

As to what concerns me here, an acceptable translation of the above verse would be:
"But those wives from whom you fear arrogance, and nasty conduct, admonish them (first), (next) leave them alone in beds (and last), convince them of the need for change" (by giving practical example and citing relevant marital relationship good and bad cases).
Translations that are unacceptable as far as I understood from other Islamic sources:
"But those wives from whom you fear arrogance - first advise them; then if they persist, forsake them in bed; and finally, strike them".
Although great Muslim scholars – like Imam Tabari, Qurtubi, Zamakhshari interpreted the verse as above I am feeling no comfortable with their interpretations.

For many reasons which I have no chance to discuss here, I flatly refuse to accept the translation of the word daraba (Qur’an, 4:34) as 'hit' or 'strike' as the most authentic reliable one. To consider valid this meaning, that would be the only case in the entire Qur'an that the word daraba 'hit' or 'strike' appears alone and without specifying "where” you have to hit or with "what” instrument should the punishment be inflicted, since this verb is extremely polysemic in Arabic Language.

According to Sheikh Osama Abdullah: The Arabic word used in Noble Verse 4:34 above is "idribuhunna", which is derived from "daraba" which means "beat".  The issue with all of the Arabic words that are derived from the word "daraba" is that they don't necessarily mean "hit".  The word "idribuhunna" for instance, could very well mean to "leave" them.  It is exactly like telling someone to "beat it" or "drop it" in English.
Allah Almighty used the word "daraba" in Noble Verse 14:24 "Seest thou not how Allah sets (daraba) forth a parable? -- A goodly Word Like a goodly tree, Whose root is firmly fixed, And its branches (reach) To the heavens".  "daraba" here meant "give an example".  If I say in Arabic "daraba laka mathal", it means "give you an example". 
Allah Almighty also used the word "darabtum", which is derived from the word "daraba" in Noble Verse 4:94, which mean to "go abroad" in the sake of Allah Almighty… So "daraba" literally means "beat", or "go abroad", or "give" but not in the sense to give something by hand, but rather to give or provide an example.
Thus in Arabic Language, the verb daraba can be translated –in addition to ' strike' or 'hit'– into give directions or to forge (coin), to put (an example), to include (a saying), to mix, to multiply, to push, to beat, to fold (above), to ring, to fire, to bomb, to traveling, to inflict, to shoot, to place (a tent), to make (a spider its web), to impose, to make (salat or prayer), to separate, to split, to lean, to knock on the door, to break a record, to wall (a place o area) , to behead, to imitate, to skyrocket, to stay (head down), to take part, to delete a word, to strive in vain, to be filled with terror, to siege, to give (an injection), to evolve, to go around in circles, to hurt, to shake, to move, to set (a deadline), to kidnap, to turn (away), to point, to prevent (hearing), to do (the military salute), to make love, etc. ... ".

My comfortable stance is that I do not think Islam would allow corporal punishment against ill-conduct wives. Firstly the same Qur’an commands us not to harm our wives (Quran, 2:231).

Mu'awiyatul Qushayri narrated that: "I went to the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) and asked him: What do you say (command) about our wives? He replied: Give them food what you have for yourself, and clothe them by which you clothe yourself, and do not beat them, and do not revile them.  (Abu-Dawud, 11 (Kitab Al-Nikah), Hadith No: 2139)"

Over and again, Mu'awiyah ibn Haydah reported: "I said: Apostle of Allah, how should we approach our wives and how should we leave them? He replied: Approach your tilth when or how you will, give her (your wife) food when you take food, clothe when you clothe yourself, do not revile her face, and do not beat her.  Abu-Dawud, 11(Kitab Al-Nikah), Hadith No: 2138)"

Abu Huraira (R.A) reported the Rasul (S.A.W) as saying: "……….. Act kindly towards woman, for woman is created from a rib, and the most crooked part of the rib is its top. If you attempt to straighten it, you will break it, and if you leave it, its crookedness will remain there. So act kindly towards women.  (Sahih Muslim, (Kitab Al-Nikah) 008/3468)" 

This last hadith is a clear indication that no any corporal punishment encouraged against wives in Islam. Educationally and psychologically, corporal punishment has little or no impact at all in moulding undesirable behavior even in small children. Thus its improbability will be higher in wives.

Having said all the above, and to make stance clearer, I do not subscribe to any corporal punishment against wives. Patience and mutual respect is the best. If you cannot be patient with wives that means you are not eligible to live up to them.

Meanwhile I disown the emir’s (Sunusi Lamido) stance based on the following arguments as put forward by Sheikh Salihu Al-munajjid:
If a father mistreats his son, does the son have the right to hit his father? Why not?
If a mother mistreats her daughter, does the daughter have the right to hit her mother? Why not?
If a teacher mistreats his student, does the student have the right to hit his teacher? Why not?
If a commander mistreats a soldier, does the soldier have the right to hit his commander? Why not?
The answer in all the above cases is: No, and the reason for this is clear. It is because the father’s position is higher than that of his son, the mother’s position is higher than that of her daughter, and the teacher’s position is higher than that of the student. Hence it is not appropriate for the people in the lower position to punish those whose position is higher. The same applies to husband and wife: the husband is in charge of his wife, and she has to obey him and not go out without his permission, otherwise the stability of the family will be destroyed.

END. Salimullah


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