“Wife” in Quran, Can husband hit her?

As I search for God and study Islam, I found something to be very disturbing in the Quran. How can Allah, the God of everything in the universe, allow husbands to hit their wives.

But those [wives] from whom you fear betrayal – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], leave them alone in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they mend their ways, seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted. (Quran 4:34)

As I searched more, I found that the word translated as “to strike” is “Idriboo-hunn” from the root word “Daraabaa”. This one word in Arabic has multiple meanings and is used in Quran many times with different meanings, such as:

  • To travel, to get out: 3:156; 4:101; 38:44; 73:20; 2:273
  • To strike: 2:60,73; 7:160; 8:12; 20:77; 24:31; 26:63; 37:93; 47:4
  • To beat: 8:50; 47:27
  • To set up: 43:58; 57:13
  • To give (examples): 14:24,45; 16:75,76,112; 18:32,45; 24:35; 30:28,58; 36:78; 39:27,29; 43:17; 59:21; 66:10,11
  • To separate, to ignore: 43:5
  • To condemn: 2:61
  • To seal, to draw over: 18:11
  • To cover: 24:31
  • To explain: 13:17

To my horror, most of the renowned scholars have translated this word to mean “to strike” even though it goes against the spirit of the Quranic use of the word “Idriboo”. Whenever Idriboo is used in a way of telling anyone “to strike” anything, the object of hitting or which body part to hit is also always described:

  • 2:60 Strike the rock with your staff
  • 8:012 Strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them
  • 20:77 Strike the sea with your staff

So in essence, Allah can never give permission to a Husband “to strike” or “Idriboo-hunn” his wife without specifying the object to hit with or the body part hence giving the Husband unhindered permission to hit the wife in whatever way he wants. This is NOT POSSIBLE especially when Allah tells Husbands to treat their wives with “extreme kindness” (Quran 4:19).

I fail to understand that why most scholars did not translate this word to simply mean “To Separate”. Hence, with this meaning, the verse 4:34 becomes clear and logical.

But those [wives] from whom you fear betrayal – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], leave them alone in bed; and [finally], separate from them. But if they mend their ways, seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted. (Al Quran 4:34)

This makes more sense as Allah tells in the very next verse that what to do incase of separation:

And if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it between them. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Acquainted [with all things]. (Quran 4:35)

Allah knows best.

HAMZA ALI ABBASI is a Pakistani theater, film and television actor, model and director. He is best known for his role as Afzal in drama serial Pyarey Afzal and Azam in drama serial Meray Dard Ko Jo Zuban Miley.

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