(In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful)
and abandon them in their beds, and beat them, but if they return to obedience, do not seek a means against them. Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great [4:34]
Wife (Screaming): That time will never come, NEVER.
Husband (Browsing the laptop): In sha Allah give it some more time and we will buy
that house, don’t you have any other topic to talk?
Child (Comes crying): Mama, Api pushed me…*crying*, Hug me mama. MAMA….
Mama (Screaming and banging her pots): Go to your father, you all are just the same!!!!
Father (still on laptop, now frustrated): Don’t bother me, go to your mother!!
Husband(Browsing the laptop): Ma sha Allah, wasn’t that an awesome house?
Wife (Smiling): In sha Allah, we will have it someday. What’s more important to buy a
house on mortgage or to please Allah?
Child (Comes crying): Mama, Api pushed me…*crying*, Hug me mama. MAMA…
Mama (smiling): Go to your father, you are all just the same!!!
Father (still on laptop): Picks the child up and put her on his lap as he is still browsing.
Ironically today we live in a world where one needs an occasion to express love to the other. A fortnight before Mother’s Day and a month before Father’s I sense a kind of hustle behind my back. My seven-year old is practising her arabic poem “Ummi Ummi Uhibbu Ummi/MommyMommy I love you Mommy” for mother’s day.
Islam does not restrict us to A DAY, a sheer relief!
Apparently, kids don’t need just “A good mother” or “A good father” but rather we very often overlook giving children what they deeply want and need the most —“a mother and father who love each other”. There cannot be a healthy parent-child relationship without a healthy husband-wife relationship. The above two conversations come into effect here!
Remember the quote: “The best thing a father can do for his child is to love their mother.”
I choose this ayah as it perfectly teaches us the responsibilities of both the man and the wife simultaneously. If we as spouses fail to educate ourselves, our responsibilities, in the light of the Quran then I fear that children learn everything from us — through every Khaul/word and Feil/deed — whether we parents like it or not.
Directly and indirectly, parents educate their children on all kinds of things— love, communication, commitment, problem solving et al.
Also what more a reason than to dedicate this article to my two nieces and my lesson incharge who are soon getting married, In sha Allah. May Allah bless their marriage and make their spouses the coolness of their eyes and from their progeny leaders of the muslim nation. Ameen
Strikingly, this ayah comes right after the Ayahs of inheritance. I will not elaborate the details of the flow of the Ayahs.
So…….getting straight on track, the ayah starts with the role of the man.
Allah says that the man is the Qawaam/Guardian/Manager/Maintainer upon the women. He is the Qawwam Allaa Kulli Haal/ Manager upon every state.
In Islam, man is given the responsibility of his family, and it goes unsaid that if one is given responsibility then one needs authority. We cannot have two leaders run an institute, home etc.
Responsibility of the man endeavours every aspect of the women which includes her care, protection, finance, food, clothing, adab/manners and most importantly ensuring that she is growing mentally and spiritually in her Deen. Well, if he is responsible for the food for the body wouldn’t he be responsible for food (knowledge) for the soul.
The Ayah further elaborates as to why men are the Qawaam-
- Because of the Fadl of Allah (Fadl literally means to give extra).
Allah has given the men more strength than the women in the following
a. Quwwah Zahiri/Apparent Strength – which is physical/ bodily strength
b. Quwwah Batila/Internal Strength –Patience/Sabr, Azm/Determination,
- Because men are required to spend their wealth for the maintenance of women.
- Those women who are صـلِحَـتُ (righteous). They strike a balance by giving the Haqh of Allah and Haqh of their husband.
- Those women who are قَـنِتَـتٌ (obedient) to Allah and their husbands. The key factor of Qunoot is that their obedience is of humility with constancy
- Those women who are حَـفِظَـتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللَّهُ (guard in their husband’s absence what Allah requires them to guard) – What has Allah asked them to guard?
The Al Ghaib(that which is hidden):
a. They hide from other people their private parts, secrets of their husbands,
chastity and honour.
b. They protect husband’s property, wealth, children.
A woman who complains about the private matters is leaking her husband’s secrets. The poor man is striving his best. Who gives the wife the authority to talk about him????
Sadly in today’s era it goes unnoticed and unsaid when women/girls talk of every single matter to their parents, sibling’s and even friends. Sometimes, if the wife doesn’t say anything we find probing questions from the others. Alas, this arises in a society with lack of knowledge….not the secular knowledge but rather the religious knowledge, knowledge of the Quran.
Eventually we see the others have no respect left for the women’s husband. If people cannot respect your husband, then I’m sorry they will not respect YOU! We need to bear in mind that respecting your husband is respecting yourself, and secrets should always remain secrets!!!!!
Has not Allah protected the wife through her husband? Certainly, he has.
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (RadiAllahuunhu)said: It was said to the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)Which of women is best? He said: “The one who makes (her husband) happy when he looks at her, obeys him when he tells her to do something, and does not disobey him with regard to herself or her wealth in a way that he dislikes.” Narrated by al-Nasaa’i (3131); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i
Subhan Allah, little did I realise the importance to this level to obey one’s husband before my study with the Qur‘an. Ignorance is indeed bliss!
The men are now addressed again وَاللَّـتِى تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ (and those women you fear their rebellion/ill conduct), Nushooz means to be high, lifts up her head to another, ill-treatment. This is understood when a woman refuses to do that which is obligated on her by Allah. She also disobeys, shows disrespect, ignores, dislikes, acts above her husband. She does not give him his Hakh which is Ita’ah, Qunooth.
We mostly see women treat their husbands either like a child or a servant and she has the audacity to say we are being FRANK, but the Qur’an says we are being in Nushooz.
So what does Allah tell the husbands to do?
Allah mentions the order of steps to be taken by the man, gradually one after another for disciplining the wife. Tarbiyah/ Disciplining to another should be done in stages as Islah/Reformation does not happen in a single stage, method or style.
- فَعِظُوهُنَّ (admonish them) –The first remedial
step to be taken is the TALKING STAGE. The men are required to talk to
their women, explain to them, calm them down.
Waaz means an effective speech which will soften their hearts by mentioning the rewards and reminding them the consequences leading them to repent.
- وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِى الْمَضَاجِعِ – The second remedial step is the IGNORING STAGE. The men are advised to ignore the women in their beds.
Generally ignorance from her man gives the woman the worst of feelings.
هْ جُ رُ is to leave or abandon either by body, tongue or heartThe men are told, to separate their beds i.e. either not to sleep in the same bed, room or house only so that the women may realise their mistake and correct herself. Another important wisdom behind this is that most women need time to themselves. This will make them think on their own, and this space without her husband along with the guilt in her heart would result in a yearning to get back in her husband’s arms. The arms where she finds solace and tranquility, peace and contentment.
- وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ - The third remedial step is the
PUNISHMENT STAGE. It is now (in the third stage) the men are given
permission/allowance to STRIKE their wives (not HIT, BELT etc). This
again is for the purpose of Islaah/reformation and not Ijrah/ to give a
wound to them.Also one must make sure it is a light striking.Ibn Abbas
the most famous interpreter of the Quran, when asked about this verse
and the way to beat the wife, answered “You beat them with a miswak”.
Miswak is a thin wooden stick Arabs use to clean their teeth. Also men are discouraged to strike on the women’s face.
“Fear Allah with regard to women, for you have taken them as a trust from
“The best of you is the one who is best towards his wife, and I am the best of you towards
my wives.” (Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah, saheeh by al-Albaani).
The reason behind the “revelation” is detailed by various Muslim scholars. The quote below comes from Razi’s commentary, “At-Tafsir al-Kabir,” on 4:34
“A women complained to Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) that her husband slapped her on the face, (which was still marked by the slap). At first the prophet said to her: “Get even with him”, but then added: “Wait until I think about it”. Later on, Allah supposedly revealed 4:34 to Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam), after which the prophet said: “We wanted one thing but Allah wanted another, and what Allah wanted is best.”
We have to understand this ayah came as permission/ an allowance and not as a right for the man to hit her women.
The Ayah ends فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلاَ تَبْغُواْ عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلاً إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيّاً كَبِيرا
Subhan Allah, Allah says, “then if they obey you (after applying some or all of the stages of reformation), take no further actions against them and do not make excuses to punish them. Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great”
After disciplining a person, don’t remind them of their past. People work very hard to change themselves tasting every pain and bitterness to reform them and after all their effort, what do we do? Either repeatedly or at times remind them of their past and make that as an excuse to harass, punish or beat them.
Narrated Abu Huraira (Radhiallaho Anho) the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “’The most perfect of believers in belief is the best of them in character. The best of you
are those who are the best to their women. “[at-Tirmidhi]
How could I possibly end without telling my mother(my husbands mother is more mine by heart and not by law) and my mother, that ”Ummi Ummi Uhibbu Ummi”
May Allah bless our mother’s, father’s, husband’s, wive’s and kids with the best in Deen, Duniya and Akhira and increase them in beneficial knowledge.