Real Muslim Husbands Don’t Hit Their Wives

On 8 April, Women from Hizb-ut-Tahrir released a video on their Facebook page about how Muslim husband can hit their wives. Sadly, women from Hizb-ut-Tahrir have a misinterpretation about the Holy Quran. They translate the Arabic word “daraba” in verse 4:34 as “hitting”, a violent word. On the contrary, “daraba” is an Arabic word for “chastise” to heal, not to show any violence act. If you look this verse a whole, not just one part, you can see the Holy Quran never command husbands to hit their wives as a punishment.

Pre-emptive deterrence is the keyword for this verse. According to the first part of verse 4:34, Husbands are described as a leader and a manager in a family. They are given authority to be responsible for “maintenance” in a family, including discipline their wives. At the same time, wives are encouraged to be supportive and always listen to their husbands in all good thing and never told her private family matters to anyone.

The second part of the verse explains the process of how husbands can discipline their wives without hitting them. If wives do not act according to Islam ways as such it can destroy their family, husbands can advise them in the best way without anger hoping there is a reconciliation. Founder of Islam, The Holy Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) as the best example of how Muslim men should behave commanded us “the best among you are those who treat your wives in the best manner”.

If this doesn’t work, husbands can separate from his wives in bed for up to four months. Again, no violence conduct permission for husbands. In fact, husbands should introspect himself why there is a dispute between them. Wives will follow their husband’s behavior naturally. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Founder of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community explained “The wives of the Prophets and the righteous were pious, because they were the recipients of their husbands’ benign influence. The wives of the wicked and vicious are also like their husbands. How can the wife of a thief ever think of getting up to pray in the latter part of the night, when she knows that her husband has gone to steal. This is why it is said (in the Holy Quran) “men are guardians over women”. Women are influenced by their husbands. To the extent that a husband excels in piety and righteousness, his wife will also partake of it. Similarly, if the husband is wicked, the wife too will share his evil” (Malfuzat, vol. 5, pp 217-218, cited in Essence of Islam, vol 3, pp 324). In other words, while husband is separating himself with their beloved, they should correct their own behaviors.

Should first two steps fail, then Husband can chastise them. However, chastise does not mean hitting as Hizb-ut-Tahrir suggest. They forget that the Holy Prophet  (peace and blessing be upon him) commanded us “Do not beat your wives”, completely refute their translation. Instead, husbands can chastise their wives with an intention to heal them without leaving any mark. Furthermore, this chastise is permissible if it is being used to defend yourself from violent wives. In other words, it is a permission for husbands if their wives are acting with violence. Then, in the next verse (4:35) Islam also encourage arbitration to solve problems in a family. This further eliminates husband’s permission to hit their wives. Should every family implements this Islamic way of chastisement, how many women would receive domestic violence in their home? The answer is none.

Fariz Abdussalam
twitter: @fariz47
Master of Technology and Innovation Management candidate at UNSW
Write is life, write is love.

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