Meaning of 'beating' in verses [4:34] and [38:44]
Fatwa No: 346402

  • Fatwa Date:20-2-2017 - Jumaadaa Al-Oula 24, 1438
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Question

Assalaamu alaykum, Scholar. May Allaah bless you for your efforts. Scholar, could you please interpret these two verses from the Quran, one of my mates says that the Quran states and supports beating women, and he quoted verses [Quran 4:34] and [Quran 38:44]. Please interpret them in detail with the etymology of the words beating the women in Arabic and in English so that I may convince him therewith, Allaah willing. Wassalaam.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

We have previously explained the interpretation of verse [4:34] in fatwas 85402 and 84120 and clarified the meaning of beating and its conditions in details.

As for the verse [38:44], it indicates that beating existed in the previous divine laws and that Prophet Ayyoob (Job)  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention had sworn to beat his wife and Allah guided him to fulfill his oath in the least painful manner. Allah, The Exalted, says (what means): {(We said:) And take in your hand a bunch (of grass) and strike with it and do not break your oath...} [Quran 38:44] The Arabic word Dhighth used in the verse means a bunch of something, like a handful of straws.

Ibn Katheer  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote:

Prophet Ayyoob  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention got angry with his wife and was upset about something that she had done, so he took an oath that if Allah healed him, he would strike her with one hundred blows. When Allah healed him, it would not have been proper to repay her service, mercy, compassion, and kindness to him with a beating. So Allah showed him a way out, which was to take a bundle of thin grass, with one hundred stems, and hit her with it once. Thus, he fulfilled his oath and avoided breaking it. This was the solution and way out for one who was sincerely pious and penitent.” [Tafseer Ibn Katheer]

Allah knows best.

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