Take the 2-minute tour ×
Skeptics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for scientific skepticism. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I found this post on Reddit in which it is mentioned that the Quran advises men to beat their wives if they do not obey them.

This is a quote from the link:

Surah 4:34: "Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them"

Is this, and the other claims made on the site true? Are they misrepresented or quoted out of context?

share|improve this question
1  
It's clear enough for German courts... spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,473017,00.html –  vartec Jun 12 '12 at 9:16
4  
A random German judge is not necessarily an authority on the Koran. The article states The judge rejected the application for a speedy divorce by referring to a passage in the Koran that **some have controversially** interpreted to mean that a husband can beat his wife. (emphasis mine) –  apoorv020 Jun 12 '12 at 10:31
3  
NY Times article - nytimes.com/2007/03/25/world/americas/… –  Tom77 Jun 12 '12 at 12:34
3  
@GreenNoob - I have no desire or inclination to sift through the miasma of ignorance that is involved with that discussion. Could you at least quote the line with your claim in the question please. –  Chad Jun 12 '12 at 13:06
1  
@The claim is in the title post (the image linked to from reddit). –  Konrad Rudolph Jun 12 '12 at 14:40

2 Answers 2

up vote 26 down vote accepted

The Quran has some specific things to say about women, and how they are to be treated. These particular suras are the ones that may have some bearing on that particular belief (all emphasis mine):

4:34 Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great.

4:129 Ye will not be able to deal equally between (your) wives, however much ye wish (to do so). But turn not altogether away (from one), leaving her as in suspense. If ye do good and keep from evil, lo! Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.

66:10 Allah citeth an example for those who disbelieve: the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot, who were under two of Our righteous slaves yet betrayed them so that they (the husbands) availed them naught against Allah and it was said (unto them): Enter the Fire along with those who enter.

As with any text written in a poetic style, and based on mysoginistic viewpoints, the interpretation is up to the reader.

share|improve this answer
1  
@GreenNoob These are from The Meaning of The Glorious Quran by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall. I don't know if this is a particularly recognized translation. You'd have to ask a muslim about that. –  Brightblades Jun 13 '12 at 11:29
2  
The Skeptics Annotated Bible uses the Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall translation. If anything, I think this is a more moderate translation. –  Brightblades Jun 13 '12 at 17:44
8  
I can see how you would interpret admonish and banish as "give them a good beating", it's obvious –  Chris S Jun 13 '12 at 18:22
2  
@Chris: How so? Admonish just means to tell off, not bea; and banish to beds apart simply means don't sleep with them. I am sure most married men have had this treatment from their wives at least once! –  user7560 Jun 17 '12 at 7:55
2  
@user7560 my comment was sarcasm :) –  Chris S Jun 18 '12 at 10:22

http://quran.com/4/34

Sahih International

Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.

Credits:

About the Noble Qur'an

The Noble Qur'an is the central religious text of Islam. Muslims believe the Qur’an is the book of Divine guidance and direction for mankind, and consider the original Arabic text the final revelation of Allah (God).[1] All translations of the original Arabic text are thus interpretations of the original meanings and should be embraced as such.

For more information about the Noble Qur'an, you may visit its Wikipedia article.

Credits

This website was created by a few volunteers and was made possible with the will of Allah (Glory be unto Him) and with the help of the open source Muslim community online. Data sources include Tanzil, QuranComplex, Zekr and Online Qur'an Project.

The greek quran translation also has a similar translation:

http://www.alislam.org/quran/tafseer/?page=133&region=GK&CR=

This guy seems to agree:

http://www.bible.ca/islam/islam-wife-beating-koran-4-34.htm

Counterarguments(?):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An-Nisa,_34

http://www.flw.ugent.be/cie/bogaert/bogaert4.htm

I don't have any knowledge of the arabic language but, if words do have many different meanings, then it clearly depends on the eye (or mind?) of the beholder. If someone wants to beat his wife, he'll use the meaning that fits his purpose. If someone wants to be a "true believer", he will pat her with a toothbrush.

share|improve this answer

protected by Community Sep 20 '13 at 12:33

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.