Wife beating is a culture of Men and not Islam, Quran 4:34

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This thing keeps popping up every few months and I am happy to review and share another point of view. Finding the truth is your own responsibility.

Cultures determine one’s behavior rather than the religion, indeed, religions are the product of environment; God says in Bhagvad Gita, “whenever unrighteousness takes over the society, I will emerge among you and reset the society to righteousness” and the Qur’aan, ” to every nation, and to every tribe, there will be a messenger to put them back on the path of righteousness” and that’s precisely what Jesus and Moses did; bring a sense of morality to the deviousness that preceded them.

Religion is about justice, inclusiveness and common goodness.

Basam writes in his research paper, “A common criticism exists that Islam is an anthropocentric religion that authorizes the oppression of women both in public and private spheres. Wife beating is often cited to support this claim.”

Thanks to the variations in translations, it shows us the limitations of human understanding, and challenges us to strive to grasp the whole truth. What was hitherto cut and dry is no more. May be it is Allah’s hint to us to get closer to understanding the truth. The monopolies would be gone and focus would be on the essence rather than literal meaning. Presently the 14 translations are available and Insha Allah it will be at http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/ soon.

.Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar offers another meaning to the translation of the Arabic word “Idrib,” traditionally translated as “beat,” which has been mis-understood and abused over the centuries by men who would be abusive any way, whether they are Muslim or not. “Why choose to interpret the word as ‘to beat’ when it can also mean ‘to go away’ – either one from the other, may be it meant separation as a process of re-evaluation.

The passage is generally translated: “And as for those women whose ill will you have reason to fear, admonish them; then leave them alone in bed; then beat them; and if thereupon they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them. Behold, God is indeed most high, great!”

No Muslim that I know of was comfortable with this thought, Muslim women in particular are pained to see this in Quran. Prophet was the kindest man to his women, he set the example of what equality was by doing a variety of things including doing  dishes in his house hold and freeing women from traditional bonds that held women as a chattel; a property. Even in America until a 100 years ago women were considered property of men, and was done with during the times of the prophet some 1300 years ago.  

No one dared question it, and those who did, asked the wrong people – I can never forget the animosity against me for doing that. An Imam was explaining with a smirk on his face to a lady asking the question in “Ask Islam” class about this – it was even difficult for him, even though he may have believed in it – he was saying beating with something as light as a traditional toothbrush made out of thin stick (Miswak) or the strength of a rose petal.

This did not make any sense and most people remained quite, but not me. I had rejected all that was dished out to me as Islam – and did my own independent study as Prophet Muhhammad’s last will suggested. He said, ” I am leaving this book to you for you to read and understand it – Indeed, I did and continue to learn and I boldly conclude, It is not about justness, fairness and kindness then it is not Islam no matter what religious scholar says otherwise, and if it is not common sense, it ain’t Islam.

Thank God, Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar comes along with her understanding,  “Husbands at that point should submit to God, let God handle it — go away from them and let God work His Will instead of a human being inflicting pain and suffering on another human being in the Name of God.”  This made perfect sense to me – it reflected the character of the teacher Muhammad, and the merciful God. 

Insha Allah, I am working on presenting a paper on the myth of “wife beating” to our scholars and Imams to review, and if it is consistent with the essence of Qur’aan and if they concur, it will be a relief to the Muslim women around the world consistent with God being a just God.

I am optimistic with this particular development and welcome this new translation, even if it has a few flaws, it would wash off by the 15 other translations, but will take us closer to the essence of Qur’aan; Justice to one and all.

Woman re-interprets Qur’an

Sometimes, our faithfulness to our understanding of anything in life makes us eager to reject any other expression, and prevents us from enlightening ourselves. We assume that seeing a different point of view is being disloyal, it is not. Islam is consistent in advising us to learn, whether from Romans or going as far away as China, we have to learn and we have to be open to learning.

First of all, we welcome this new additional translation of Qur’aan. In the spirit of learning, and learning well, the alternatives available to us will simply open up our up minds to understand the concept of Justness in God’s word in every aspect of life.

There was a time when most of the non-Arabic speaking Muslims (>75%) relied on translation in English or other languages, what was given to us, was all we knew. We did not know how close the translations reflected the values of Qur’aan, but that was the only source available to us one time. We also had translations where due to the inadequate comprehension of the audience, certain words were injected into the translations to explain the meaning of the terms. People have taken that literally and some people have been hurt with these unintended wrong translations. (Apology and Qur’aan translations power point presentations at http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/ )

Indeed, when Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) made the knowledge available to every human through the Qur’aan, he meant for every one to read and understand it. It was common for the Prophet SAW to ask the Sahaba to think a bit before he told them the actual meaning of anything. He sometimes used to initiate a conversation by asking a question “Do you know what xyz means?” It was simply a means of encouraging the Sahaba to think.

Thanks to the variations in translations, it shows us the limitations of human understanding, and challenges us to strive to grasp the whole truth. What was hitherto cut and dry is no more. May be it is Allah’s hint to us to get closer to understanding the truth. The monopolies would be gone and focus would be on the essence rather than literal meaning.  

Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar offers another meaning to the translation of the Arabic word “Idrib,” traditionally translated as “beat,” which has been mis-understood and abused over the centuries by men who would be abusive any way, whether they are Muslim or not. “Why choose to interpret the word as ‘to beat’ when it can also mean ‘to go away’ – either one from the other, may be it meant separation as a process of re-evaluation.

Insha Allah, I am working on presenting a paper on the myth of “wife beating” to our scholars and Imams to review, and if it is consistent with the essence of Qur’aan and if they concur, it will be a relief to the Muslim women around the world consistent with God being a just God.

I am optimistic with this particular development and welcome this new translation, even if it has a few flaws, it would wash off by the 15 other translations, but will take us closer to the essence.


Discipline as a Means to Marital Reconciliation


A common criticism exists that Islam is an androcentric religion that authorizes the oppression of women both in public and private spheres. Wife beating is often cited to support this claim. The perception that Islam permits a husband to beat his wife resides with some non-Muslims and Muslims alike. Acknowledging this perception, we explore in this paper the Islamic legal perspective on wife beating specifically and wife discipline in general.

The primary source of legislation on wife discipline in Islamic law is verse 34 of the fourth chapter of the Qur’an entitled “the Women.” The verse presents the disciplinary scheme in the latter sentence of the verse—hereafter referred to as the “Discipline Passage.” The verse in whole reads: (Husbands) are the protectors and maintainers of their (wives) 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 the women on whose part you fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them first, (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) spank them (lightly), but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means of (annoyance): for Allah is Most High, Great (above you all).

Continued: http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2008/01/wife-beating-434.html

Wife beating Morale 4:34

Surah 4:34 The (Wife) Beatings Will Continue ’til Morale Improves
Principles of human dignity are timeless and universal, you say? Well, maybe, but consider the complexity of the therapist’s task when a traditional Muslim husband and his not-so-traditional (Westernized) Muslim wife arrive in the office for marriage counseling and conciliation.

Bassam A. Abed and Syed E. Ahmad’s Discipline as a Means to Marital Reconciliation: the Husband’s Graduated Response to His Wife’s Disobedience Under Islamic Law explores “the Islamic legal perspective on wife beating specifically and wife discipline in general.”

Abed and Ahmad, law students at Michigan State University, dispute the suggestion that wife beating is an accepted doctrine of Islam, although they posit a notion of permissible, rightly motivated, non-abusive physical discipline as a means of restoring proper marriage relations. It is a very difficult concept for us Westerners to accept.

Continued http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2008/01/wife-beating-434.html

The Muslim Responsibility


God is about justice, justness and harmony, but a few men from Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and most certainly Islamic faith have interpreted a few verses to suit their manliness.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) instituted equal rights to women and men some 1400 years ago; remember that was not the case even in the west until 100 years ago. A woman could own her own business and property, initiate marriage and divorce, her signature was required to marry, meaning education was critical, she was even given the right to disobey her husband if he compels her to believe differently than what she believes in the matter of faith.  They sound like current day laws, but were lost in the Men’s culture for centuries. Thanks to America for leading the battle for equal rights, even we are not there yet, but together we all have to advance. Yes, we can do it.

Muslims have a collective responsibility to undo the men-interpretation and bring in God’s justness and dignity to every human. All it takes is to put a white paper together by Muslim Scholars and Imams, get their consensus, and make a declaration (fatwa) and ask for endorsements from major Muslim organizations.
 

Thank you.

Mike Ghouse
(214) 325-1916 – text/talk
www.MikeGhouse.net
 
To be a Muslim is to be a peace maker, one who seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful co-existence of humanity. Our work is geared towards building a cohesive society where no human has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. World Muslim congress is a think tank established in 2002 to bring Muslims of all denominations together, one small step at a time. If we can learn to respect the otherness of others and accept each other’s uniqueness, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.


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