Hitting Women In the Quran (Tafsir) - 3rd Ramadan 1442/2021

As-salamu alaykum, wa rahmatullahi, wa barakatu. MashaAllah, the Holy month of Ramadan is upon us once again and InshaAllah all of your 'aamals will be accepted. Imam Husyan Development and Relief Foundation once again are running the Ramadan Food Basket Campaign. [ What is inside the basket?] Each food basket was it contains food essentials such as flour, rice, oil, meat, vegetables, tea, lemon and not forgetting steak. Each grid basket is 20£ or 25 US$ and can feed a family of four to ten days.

As-salamu alaykum, wa rahmatUllah. Is hitting Woman Allowed in the Qur'an? I must admit that one of the most troubling verses in the Holy Qur'an, which I always get asked about by Muslims and non Muslims alike, is the verse that discusses hitting woman. It is troubling for a number of reasons because on the first level, I am someone who is devoted to my faith, devoted to my literature, devoted to my scripture, and in being devoted to that scripture, living 1400 years away from when this scripture was being revealed means that I don't have access to the Prophet, peace be upon him and his family to ask him, what is the exact context of the verse that discusses hitting a female?

In my worldview, there surely is no situation, no context where a female should be hit by anyone. And yet I look at the book that I value the most and the book that I see is the most sacred. And I come to Surah 4, verse 34 of the Holy Qur'an, which I hope all the viewers are looking at this moment, and I see the word in the English language when I read the translation, I see "hit them", some say "beat them", some say "strike them". And you cannot deny that at this moment you are disturbed.

And I know people in the Muslim community who either want to ask the question about this Ayat, this particular verse, or are troubled by it, but are scared that if they ask a question concerning it, the community may condemn them. But how could you question what's in the Holy Qur'an? The reality is that my Lord, Subhana wa Ta'ala, asks me to reflect on the verses of the Holy Qur'an. My Lord asks me to reflect, to unlock, to delve deep into the secrets of the verses.

And the majority of the verses of the Qur'an about marriage seemed quite normal to me. If I look, for example at a verse like in Surah 30, verse 21 of the Holy Qur'an, I will find a verse which I think every Muslim and non Muslim will agree with me is a pretty pleasant verse. Surah 30, verse 21 of the Holy Qur'an, you will find for example a verse that many people will recite when it comes to their wedding ceremonies. It is a verse which is easy, it is a verse which is pleasant, it is not a verse which causes you much difficulty when you reflect upon it.

In Surah 30, verse number 21, Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala mentions to us His signs, and He tells us: "Wa min ayatihi an khalaqa lakum min anfusikum azwaajan li taskunu ilayha"(30:21), "and from His signs is that He has created for you mates, pairs, so that you may dwell with one another, live amongst one another". "Wa ja'ala bainakum mawaddatan wa rahmah"(30:21), "Allah has made between us, a reciprocal love and mercy". That verse, when I show it to people, they're like, wow, MashaAllah, marriage in Islam, it is very pleasant. That one of the signs of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala is that there is a partner for me somewhere in this world, and that partner for me is someone who we are going to enjoy reciprocity when it comes to love and mercy, maybe at the beginning it is complete love. Later on, we are merciful to each other as we grow older, for example.

Then you look at another verse of the Holy Qur'an. Again, marriage seems to be pleasant. Again, in other verses in the Qur'an where Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala says, "marry the single ones from amongst you. If they are poor, God will make them rich" (24:32). Or if you remember yesterday when I discussed: "they are a clothing for you and you are a clothing for them", "hunna libasun lakum wa antum libasun lahun"(2:187), "they are a clothing for you, you are a clothing for them".

Generally, the verses in the Qur'an that are discussing marriage are discussing happy family. Arguably, the verse which is always seen as being troublesome for Muslims and for non-Muslims is verse 34 of surah four of the Holy Qur'an. Now there are majalis that I and others give about such verses, but I don't think many people have actually opened Surat al-Nisa', and looked at the verse itself. But you may have had someone at University or someone at College say, Bro, does your religion allow wife beating? The sad thing is that in the Muslim world, I could say in the human population, sadly in general, because there are non Muslims in the world who sometimes the effect of alcohol has led them to leave more than battering and bruising on their wives, and more than battering or bruising on women in their society.

But in the Muslim world we find, that there are an unbelievable number of cases where men use physical violence, not just emotional abuse, which can be worse sometimes, but use physical violence against someone who they made a vow on a commitment that they would look after and that they would protect. They asked their in-laws one day for that girl's hand and they said, we will protect her. And you found that even though these people may be named after prophets, even though these people pray Salah, even though these people may be at Juma'a, even though these people may claim to love Muhammad and Aali Muhammad, you will still find situations where they have hit their wife.

When you sit with these people, some of them will admit that they have made a grievous error, they have made a huge mistake and they feel guilty because of what they have done. They have recognized that was a foolish thing that they have done. When you sit with others, they actually in some cases have used the Qur'an as a backup for why it is okay to hit your wife. Someone, when they hear them say that the Qur'an allows me, many Muslims have not memorized this verse of the Qur'an.

If you go to many Muslims in the world and you say to them that the ayat in the Qur'an: Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Rahim. "Al-rijalu qawwamoona 'ala an-nisa'i bima fadhdhala Allahu ba'dahum 'ala..."(4:34) have you memorized it? Many have not. So when someone says to them that I found an Ayah on the Qur'an, for many Muslims, they will be like, there is no way the Qur'an allows hitting woman. There's no way the Qur'an allows for a person to hit their wife. But then we see this Ayah. And when we see this Ayah, we encounter a couple of difficulties in what normally comes regarding an Ayah, you know, the moral unease that many people feel at the moment, when it comes to the verse concerning hitting a woman. I don't think there was that much moral unease 500 years ago.

In the Middle East and certain patriarchal societies where some male chauvinists were living, there was a misogynistic tendency in some cases, to say, well, what's wrong? What's wrong? You disobey me. I am the leader of this house. I am the man of this house. You disobey me, I will hit you, I will smack you. There are some people because the cooking is late, the food is late because she didn't answer the phone, who don't just smack, they will scratch the face and they will scratch the body of the person. We have had to deal with cases in the Muslim community where ladies have been bruised and battered, and men because of their worldview where they have seen their father say, listen, you're the man, act like a man. Acting like a man does not mean you beat somebody's daughter, or you hit somebody's sister.

But they can sometimes back it up by going to this verse of the Qur'an. When they go to this verse, this is not the only thing they back it up with, because what they will also do, they will go to some Maraja'. If you go, for example, on the website of a Marja', when you go to the section of Nikah, and under that the subsection of Nushoozs and Disobedience, you will find that even the marja' says that one of the steps, is that you hit her. Now we have an issue because we are going to look at the Qur'an, we're going to try and explain it. But can we deflect ourselves from the fact that in certain leading jurists, they still mention that hitting is one of the cures? One of the remedies? One of the things which is permissible according to the Holy Qur'an?

If your marja', and probably the most famous marja' in the Shi'i world, has on their website and the section of Nikah, under the section of Nikah, there is a section of Nushoozs. Under that section, he discusses the disobedience of the wife and he discusses the disobedience of the husband. Most of you watching at home can see that this verse is saying: "men are their caretakers of women and men have been provisioned by Allah of a woman and tasked with supporting them financially and right to your woman are devoutly obedience and when alone, protective of what Allah has entrusted them with. And if you sense ill conduct from your woman, advise them first. If they persist, do not share their beds, but if they still persist, then discipline them. Interesting in that translation for the viewers on the screen, what's interesting is that the word gently was included.

There is no word gently in the Qur'an. The word gently, a person had to refer to tafsir. But for many they will not go to tradition. They will stick with the Qur'an. Therefore, when a person looks at this verse, there is no mentioning of "wa dhribuhunna" gently. I see that in this verse of the Qur'an it says "and hit them", "and strike them", "and beat them". And there is definitely an unease in the Muslim community, because there are many in the Muslim community at the moment, who look at this verse and they are thinking, you know what, I would never do it, but I see it in the Qur'an.

But what context is it being revealed in the Qur'an? What's happening? Why is God mentioning such a thing? Because you know what our biggest problem is? What if someone takes it out of context and abuses it? At the end of the day, if we say the Qur'an is a book for mankind until the Day of Judgment, why wasn't there, for example, a chapter or a verse that abrogated this verse? Couldn't a Muslim come 500 years later and say, if my Lord allowed it, so what's your problem? I want to hit your mom.

Some of us, have been in houses where we have seen our fathers hit our mothers. What if our father comes to this Ayah? Therefore, tonight, my dear brothers and sisters, wherever you may be, pick up the Qur'an surah four, verse number 34, let's try and explore and break down this particular chapter. We begin. That the chapter itself, what's it named after? Surat al-Nisa', in English. What's Nisa? Sayyid Muhsin? Women.

So we have a chapter of the Holy Qur'an which is discussing issues concerning women. This chapter of the Qur'an, chapter four, looks at issues where women are leading normal lives, or where some woman may be leading abnormal lives. Women who are living in a pleasant life, woman who may be living in difficult lives, women who are facing trials with their marriages, where they are at fault, trials with their marriages, where others are at fault. Women who, for example, are living in a world where they have to share their marital life with other women.

Surat al-Nisa literally tries to open up every single situation that women who are living in Arabia at the time are facing. Surat al-Nisa' was not revealed to say, by the way, we're only going to talk about the good situations that every woman will go through and we're not going to talk about difficult moments in the life of the female. No. When a Chapter of a reveal text is named after this particular gender, it wants to open up on the many normal situations that many of us are used to, as well as abnormalities. There are some women who live in happy marriages. There are some women who live in sad marriages. There are some women who live in abusive marriages. There are some women who are not to blame for anything that happens in the house.

Sadly, they were forced into some marriages in Arabia at the time, there are women who are forced to marry their step-sons. Islam came and discussed it. What is this that you Arabs force the lady to marry her stepson? Imagine, for example, my father was married to my mum, my mum died. So my father married another lady. When my father passed away, that lady became my inheritance. So it would be discussed. What else would be discussed? Those ladies you can marry temporarily. Those ladies you can marry permanently. What else was discussed? Those ladies who are widows. What else was discussed? Those ladies who you could not marry. Can you marry your mother? No. Can you marry your sister? No.

So Surat al-Nisa' is not a chapter for the fainthearted. Surat al-Nisa' seeks to explore the many different situations that women may find themselves in, and that not all marriages are the same. Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, of course wants the Muslims living at that time, to make sure that they recognize that they live with their wives, with their partners, honorably. Because about 15 verses before verse 34, in surah four, verse number 19, you have got Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala saying: Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Rahim. "wa 'ashiruhunna bi 'l-ma'roof" (4:19). You live with them and that which is honorable. So 15 verses before this verse, nobody of course mentions what's come before this verse. They go straight to the verse. But 15 verses before this verse, Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala is telling us: "wa 'ashiruhunna bi 'l-ma'roof" (4:19), that you live with them with that which is honorable. There are other translations as well. In this verse, therefore, God is speaking right at the beginning about a very normal family structure Islamically.

Let's see what it says. Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Rahim. "Al-rijalu", men, "qawwamoona". If you look at the meaning of "qawwamoon", the problem is sometimes the translations we have can be translations written by someone who sees that he's in charge of his marriage, that lady is literally a slave for him. Then you could see no, know that there are others who recognize that my societal influence is not going to affect the way I look at the Tafsir. Rather, for me, I recognize "qawwamoona". Is there an eye on the Qur'an where Allah uses "Qaf" and Allah uses, for example, "Ya",Meem" to talk about how He is the caretaker for everything in the heavens and the Earth, and He protects everything in the heavens on the Earth?

In Ayat Al-kursi, how does this Ayat al-Kursi begin? "Allahu" Read Ayat al Kursi for me, Syed Mohsen/Muhammad Ayat al-Kursi, how does it begin? "Huwa al-Haiyyu al-Qaiyyoom" The One who is the caretaker of everything, the One... Because there are many who recite Ayat al Kursi, but they don't know what the meaning of what they are reciting. " Allahu la ilaha illa Huwa, al-Haiyyu al-Qaiyyoom"(2:255). Al-Qaiyyoom means the one who oversees everything. He is the one who protects everything. Caretaker of everything.

"Al-rijalu qawwamoona "(4:34) means that men are the protectors. "Al-rijalu qawwamoona 'ala an-nisa'i "(4:34).  Men are the protectors of women. Men are not the bosses of women. Men are not in charge of women. Men are the protectors, the maintainers is sometimes a translation that you see. "Al-rijalu qawwamoona 'ala an-nisa'i"(4:34), here, Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala is defining for us masculinity, in which way? Not in the sense of what muscles you have, or which car you drive, but in your readiness to protect that lady who you have taken into your life.

You know how a caretaker looks after a school? He looks after every single aspect of that school. He doesn't leave an area untouched. And that relationship is a trivial relationship. My Lord, if He is the caretaker of the heavens and the Earth, He has not left an area untouched. Every single thing is guided. Every single thing is protected. Likewise here "Al-rijalu qawwamoona 'ala an-nisa'i"(4:34), men are the protectors of women. Why? "Bima fadhdhala Allahu ba'dahum 'ala ba'adh"(4:34), because Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala has caused some men to excel in some things over some women. It doesn't mean men are the protectors of women because men are better than women. That's not what it says.

"Al-rijalu qawwamoona 'ala an-nisa'i bima fadhdhala Allahu ba'dahum 'ala ba'adh"(4:34),  Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala says "men are the protectors of women. Why? Because he has caused men to excel in some areas above some women". That is not a negative. Rather, on the one hand, if I say, for example, there are two doctors, and I say that this doctor is better suited for this job because he excels in some areas above that doctor, it doesn't mean that he's a better doctor. But maybe for that Ward, maybe for that Department, maybe for that institution, that doctor shoots this more than the other doctor.

Here many unfortunately, when they translate, they say: men are in charge of women because men are better than women. God has made men better than women. No, men are the protectors of women. Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, when He says "Al-rijalu qawwamoon"(4:34), He is reminding you: 'I am the "Qayyoom". Likewise, there is a "qiwama" which is given to you. "Al-rijalu qawwamoona 'ala an-nisa'i bima fadhdhala Allahu ba'dahum 'ala ba'adh"(4:34). Maybe socially speaking, at the time, and maybe in many parts of the world until today, men may have certain things within them, some men, which has caused them to excel above some women, and which allows them therefore, to maintain the women.

For example, if I was just to give one example, you see sometimes that there are certain countries where the only way you are going to be able to work and maintain your household is by working late at night. Late shifts. As much as we have lived in a society which has kept on stressing that there is nothing wrong with a lady taking on a late shift at work, and we agree, there are many [female] doctors, we would not be around if it wasn't for their late shift where they helped us in the hospital. But there is still a danger involved which sadly, we saw in London only a few weeks ago where a lady was butchered in a certain part of London because that lady coming back home, darkness of the night and so on, that lady was better than the person who killed her was better than probably most of the people in that area. But in terms of maintaining that house, in terms of protection, the man may be given certain things where they excel above what? Above the lady in the house. Yes.

Some might say to me: "Sayyidna, there are some ladies who are breadwinners now. There are some ladies who are earning more than their husbands. I don't deny that, that there are ladies who earn more. But generally speaking, generally, you will find that in the majority of the continents in the world, men are the breadwinners, men go out of their houses. Men sometimes come back late, alone. They could walk through anywhere at any time. They don't face any situation where they find a particular difficulty. So here you see that the beginning of the verse is trying to establish a particular family structure, that men are the protectors of women.

And even today, there are some people who aren't Muslim, but they still will agree with this. There are some people we know that they will attack. They say, look at Muslims saying men are higher than women. There are some who still say that there is nothing more beloved to me than walking hand in hand with my husband, who acts as a shield for me, a protector for me. I feel so comfortable when I am walking with my husband in the middle of the park. I feel so comfortable when I am away on holiday with my husband. He acts as somebody who I know is a pillar of strength for me.

So here this beginning of this verse is saying: "Al-rijalu qawwamoona 'ala an-nisa'i bima fadhdhala Allahu ba'dahum 'ala ba'adhin, wa bima anfaqu min amwalihim" (4:34), "and they are the ones who have to maintain the woman". By what? By "Nafaqa", they are the ones who must make sure that the payment, that everything that are expenses for that marriage, the man is the one who it is obligatory on them to maintain their wife and to maintain the household.

A Muslim woman can work. No problem. No problem at all. But does she have to pay for what's in the house? No. Is she obliged to? No. Who is maintenance on? Husband, the husband. It is obligatory on them to maintain their wife. Here Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala says," wa bima anfaqu min amwalihim". They protect their wife. And in the protection of their wife, they are to maintain her. Even if that wife came from a certain type of living before, say, you marry a girl and that girl lived a particular luxury life before, can she demand from you that you make her live that life until today? Yes, she can. In Islam she can. So here the husband, unfortunately, you have some who are under the assumption that when you get married, both of you are the ones have to pay. No "Nafaqa" dictates that the husband, the right of the wife over the husband is what is that he maintains her.

If the husband stops maintaining, then the husband falls into the category of disobedience. "Al-rijalu qawwamoona 'ala an-nisa'i bima fadhdhala Allahu ba'dahum 'ala ba'adhin, wa bima anfaqu min amwalihim"(4:34). That's, of course not to say that the wife cannot help the husband. There are many who, for example, today in the Muslim community, when they want to come together, for example, to pay the tuition fees of a school, that wife may work, the husband may work and the wife may contribute. But is that contribution something obligatory on her? Not at all. Does she even have to contribute a penny? Not at all.

Then the Qur'an continues, "fa as-saalihatu", in terms of those righteous wives; "qanitatun", they are wives who are obedient to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. Some say: "no Sayyidna, it is obedient to me! I am the husband. That wife is obedient to me". Obedience to Allah will bring obedience to you, don't worry. Someone who's obedient to their Lord is going to be somebody who's going to make sure that on their areas where it is the right of the husband, they are going to be there and they're going to be obedient to what their Lord has commanded.

"Qanitat" in many cases refers to obedience to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. "Fa as-saalihatu, qanitatun, hafidhatun li 'l-ghaibi bimaa hafidha Allah"(4:34) Righteous wives, who are they? They are the ones who are obedient to their Lord. They guard that which their Lord has dictated that they guard. I guard, for example, the secrets of the house. I guard with dignity, when I go out, I guard with modesty, I guard with respect. So here the righteous wives are the ones who there is an obedience to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, and a guarding of that dignity which Allah ordained for them to God. The opposite of this would be disobedience. Do you agree?

The opposite of this criteria would be someone who is the opposite of righteous. The righteous are those who are obedient to Allah. So someone who is opposite would be what? Disobedient to Allah. The righteous are those who got their dignity. The opposite would be someone who completely breaks their dignity.

We move here from a family structure that is seen as happy, family and normal to a case where in Surat al-Nisa', God is referring to a particular disobedience that may affect some women in their lives. What does the Qur'an says, "wallati takhafuna nushuzahunna"(4:34), "those who you continue to be afraid of them and their disobedience". Sometimes "nashaz, nashazu min al-ardh", those who suddenly they are rising to a level which is outside the boundary of what is expected in terms of a wife in Islamic thought, "wallati takhafuna nushuzahunna"(4:34).

"Takhafun" means you continue to fear a disobedience from them. Those wives, those ladies you are married to, you continue to fear a particular disobedience which is now part of their life. What's" Nushooz"? "Wallati takhafuna nushoozahunna"(4:34). Those wives, who you fear a continuing form of disobedience, that doesn't seem to stop. You have noticed that there is a particular form of disobedience that you have seen in front of you. Opposite to what God had wanted. God had wanted obedience. Now this person is performing an act which is in disobedience to God. What they were guarding in terms of dignity, now they are doing something which is not dignified.

Example, I fear that, I have noticed my Mrs is, for example, hanging out with somebody quite regularly, even though they are just supposedly friends. There are people who face those situations. And I don't want to say that adultery is something that only affects the female. It affects the male, obviously. But there are some crazy stories about adultery. And anyone who reads the tabloids or other newspapers or watches certain TV shows, you always are in disbelief how this person, they found out that they were in affair with so and so, and that they had been happily married to so and so. There are some famous Hollywood actors and actresses who have been involved in affairs where you could be married to somebody from one of the most famous shows in the world, and you end up marrying the lady who you worked on a film with. Both of them are the two most beautiful ladies in the world. But because you worked with one particular lady on a particular film, you completely forgot the friend that you had, the wife that you had, and you moved on to another lady completely.

Sometimes that meaning of "Nushooz" at the most extreme, is that you have noticed that this person is hanging with so and so, they are going out with them everywhere. They are spending late nights with them. Let's not talk about today. Today in terms of many men, it will be like, Bro, it is just a friend to her. Honestly, it is just a friend. They just go uni together. Arabs are now being spoken to who, in those days, if they found out that their Mrs was, for example, in a relationship with somebody else, you think the Arab would come and sit with the Mrs and be like, listen, there is something I want to talk with you about, but can we go for a coffee and talk about it? Arab would be like, Where is my sword? Bring me a knife, I am going to kill. And it weren't just the Arabs. There were many empires that had that. There were many empires. If they found out that their missus was with somebody else, there was no such thing as discussion.

When I am reading this chapter of the Holy Qur'an, my dear brothers and sisters, I am going back 14 centuries. I am going back to people who wouldn't allow a baby girl to grow up because they were worried she might fall in love with the son of a tribal leader who they hated. So instead of letting the girl grow up, they would actually batter the girl and bury her alive. "Wa idha al-maw'udatu su'ilat"(81:8), "bi ayyi dhambin qutilat?"(81:9), the female baby will ask on the Day of Judgment, for what reason was I buried alive?

When this Qur'an speaks up, it knows that, listen, we are trying to structure an understanding in all your minds that a woman in your life is to be protected, is to be honored. You have to look after her financially in absolutely everything. But we also appreciate that these relationships can go wrong. If they do go wrong, and you feel that there is a continuing disobedience, "wallati takhafuna nushoozahunna "(4:34),  you feel that there is a continuing, you fear that there is a continuing disobedience, don't pick up a sword and kill her. Don't get up and say that, you know what? Tribal death, honour death.

That might not be the only meaning of "Nushooz", however. Another meaning of disobedience is when you blatantly notice that every time you want to come near her for physical relations, she blatantly just boils you off. She just says, no. I am maintaining this house and I am going to protect you. I won't let a human touch you. I won't let anyone near you. I will build the best house as I can. I have a right, a physical desire as a human being. No, I am busy. No, you know what? Saufa, saufa, saufa. Later, next time. I am tired, I am busy. We will come to that discussion, by the way, because that can be looked at negatively and positively. There are some who do it purposely. Maybe they are not attracted to the guy anymore. Maybe they have got feelings for another guy. And you have noticed that your Mrs, who used to be really close to you, doesn't even stand you when you come to the bedroom anymore.

What is going on? What is going on? I used to be the best and most good looking things and sliced bread, and now when I come near you, what is going on? I am not understanding why you're not talking to me. Is there someone else? What is happening? Tell me. They say another example of "Nushooz" is to continuously, for example, I see her leave the house and nothing has being discussed with me. Now, again, it can be looked at positively and negatively. You know, this discussion, there is a no win situation because there will always be someone who will say, but wait, I understand, I understand completely. That is why we find sometimes an uneased with discussing this, because we can never imagine putting ourselves in this situation.

But the aim of Surat al-Nisa, is to try and look at every situation that could come about. Surat al-Nisa' is trying to show that, listen, this could happen as well. Where you have got somebody who, instead of being obedient to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, completely disobedient, even the laws of Fiqh, doesn't make a difference to me now. And not only that, the dignity that they had is gone. They don't mind. You know what? I am going out with my friends, you could do nothing about it. Okay? Going out with your friends can be something which is pleasurable for the guy. Sometimes there are guys who joke that, you know what? I don't mind her going out, because sometimes it gives me a break from the lectures that I am receiving at home.

One of my friends said to me, you know why I miss so much about Majalis al-Husayn in Covid? He goes, not just the majlis he goes. I can take a break from the Mrs for a few hours now. I am just saying that in jest, by the way, I don't mean that in disrespect to any lady out there, but there will be some who will say that, you know what? I don't mind my Mrs going out for a certain period of time. But then it could reach a situation. It could. You're no one to tell me when I could go out. I will come back whenever I want to come back. I will go to whoever's house I want to go. Okay, but why are you coming back at those hours? What has happened to our marriage? What happened to the relationship? So you have Nushooz being defined in different ways. Either fear, for example, that somebody is having an extramarital affair, because I am noticing that you are very close to this person and you are not with me anymore. Or that this person, when I am even going near them for physical relations, they are not interested, and they make excuse after excuse, or that they are just leaving the house and they come back, and even when they come back at whatever time they want to, if I dare say something...

The Arab in the 7th century, what do you think his reaction would have been? If the Mrs comes home at 04 a.m.? What's the Arab doing? Arab would say: sword. Do you agree that there are some Arabs who will still take the sword out today? Do you think that "Jahiliyah"[ignorance] ended? Jahiliyah has not ended! There are still tribes in the Arabian Peninsula, if his daughter comes home at a certain hour, he is not sitting talking to her. The Qur'an wanted to change that. The Qur'an said "Wallati takhafuna nushoozahunna"(4:34), you now as a man, you have got a certain feeling that you know, I don't know what is going on. I go near her, not interested. I see her chatting to others. I don't know who they are. They are all hanging out with each other. I don't know which one she is attracted to. I don't know which one she chills with. I don't know if there is actually a relationship. There isn't a relationship. I don't know what to say. I don't know what to do. This is getting to me.

The Qur'an people said was a book only of history. What is happening here in the Qur'an happens exactly in London today. Happens in New York, happens in Toronto, happens in many places. The moral unease that I find with the hitting woman verse, normally stems from my perception that Allah is giving a free ride, cart blanche to anyone to go and hit. The context that has being discussed is that Allah is talking to a community that when they had a bit of doubt they would just kill. Here it says, "Wallati takhafuna nushoozahunna, fa idhuhunna"(4:34).

Number one: you think the Mrs is having an affair with someone. You think that when you approach the Mrs fortune fulfill your desire, she is not interested must mean that she is with someone else. You think, for example, that your Mrs is going out late. She is not even caring whether you accept, whether you don't accept. I have got my life. I am independent. First thing: "fa idhuhunna". fa idhuhunna" means what? Talk to them, sit and talk to them. Advice. But make sure you're in a position to advice. If I am going out until 4 a.m., 5:00 a.m. every night and then I want to come advise the Mrs when she's going out, practice what you preach. "lima taquluna ma la [taf'alun]" (61:2). "Why do you say that which you don't do?".

When the Qur'an said if I fear a continuing form of "Nushooz", a continuing form of disobedience with my Mrs. I am telling my Mrs. for example, why is it that you, so and so, you are talking to this guy and you are talking to that guy. I fear something is happening here, and I am an Arab, I am living in the 7th century, I want to do something in the Qur'an said first talk to her but make sure you're not the type of guy who's with everybody while your Mrs is at home. People forget to mention. Someone says no but you know, men, it is different for men and so on. Okay? They will bring you all the traditions that the man has a particular right and that he has the right to be jealous, but a lady cannot be jealous. But the world that we live in today, you can't be coming and telling something to your Mrs which you yourself are not practicing.

What the Qur'an wanted was for you to sit with each other. Listen, you know what? Why you and that guy hanging around with each other so much? You come home, you don't chat to me but with him you chat for hours. You enjoy going for a meal with that person but with me, there is nothing. What is wrong? Tell me. And if at that moment the two of you feel the relationship is dying there is a couple of things. Either, on the one hand seek counseling, sit with somebody who could advise you. Maybe the relationship does need working on.

On the other hand, not something we want to encourage, but if the relationship has died, don't force it because of your parents, or because of your tribe. If you can tell that this person when you are advising them, the Qur'an says the first thing you do is advise. Never ever do you go near hitting your wife because of this. You sit with her. You have been given a task to protect her in good times and bad. Sit and talk. Had the Qur'an said ""Wallati takhafuna nushoozahunna, fa dhribuhunna" then I'd be like....[But it is] "Wallati takhafuna nushoozahunna", then what do you do? "Fa idhuhunna"(4:34). First thing you do is advice, sit with each other.

"Id'u ila sabeeli Rabbika bi 'l-hikmati, wa 'l-mu'idhata al-hasana, wa jadilhum billati hiya hasan" (16:125), "invite towards the way of Allah with what? With a kind exhortation and wisdom, and say to them that which is better". My dear, if I have neglected my duty towards you, tell me. I love you. I miss you. I am willing to come back. Maybe I have neglected you, my dear, I am sorry. Because sometimes when your partner, you see in the shoes from them, sometimes it was all your fault, nobody else's. You neglected the Mrs.. Where was your love note to the Mrs.? Where was your text messaging? Where was the moments of saying to her you look beautiful?

Do you know how many men cause hurt to their wives, because all they do is make fun of her day and night? And then later, where does that lady end up? When she ends up not wanting you to come near her physically, or she ends up wanting to leave the house, she leaves the house because the energy in the house is negative. The energy in the house is an energy which is destructive. You look fat today, oh, you have got fatter, or you don't look nice in that. Oh, you don't look nice at this. Oh, your cooking is this. Oh, you are this is this.

"Mu'idhah" should come from a pure heart where a person reflects, why has this happened? And I believe that when a person does reflect and they are sincere, there are ways of reconciling. There is no need to move on to stage two or to stage three at all straight away. When you are like, listen, you know what? I have neglected you. Or if you want to go out, let's have dinner. Let's talk about it. Let's change atmosphere maybe. Maybe we go on holiday. Sometimes there are people who have kids as soon as they have kids, they never go on holiday alone with each other. Why? Because one side or the other is saying, I can't leave the kids. But, you know, my husband is a big problem. Okay, but make your mind up. As in like he is telling you, let's go on holiday. You're saying I will only go on holiday if the kids come. Baba, there are grandparents there, who could look after the children, go for a few days, rekindle the relationship. And believe you me, when the Qur'an was saying this, you think an Arab was understanding this easily. Arabs are like, what? She doesn't come near my bed, and you're telling me that I go and sit with her and rekindle over a candle like camel?

Honestly, there were some Arabs who are baffled by this, because there were some Arabs who are like, I have seen my girl be quite rude on some things, I am not going to be the one who's to blame. You know what's all her. No. The Qur'an said, "wallati takhafuna nushoozahunna"  you clearly have a fear of them continuing this "Fa idhuhunna". Sit with them, talk. It is not the end of the world. Sayyidna, question, what if I sat with her? I took her out for dinner. We had a great Munch. I bought dessert. I bought things I never buy. I took her to a restaurant. A week later, still back to normal, back to the same, unfortunately, there has been no change. There has been no change, talk to her again!

The aim of this verse was saying what she is not masooma, she may make a mistake. Make 100 excuses for her mistake, talk to her. Sayyidna, I said to her, you know what? Next week let's go out and watch a film together. So we went out and watched the film. We came back a few days later. I go near her, not interested. She went out and said to me, Listen, you like it? You don't like it? I am going out and I am not coming back. Of course, she came back Sayyidna, but what do I do? The Qur'an said, the second stage.

Because most people have the impression that as soon as you're unhappy, hit the wife. And there are unfortunate Muslims who do that. There are Muslims who batter their wives, why was she late? I am going to batter her. Baba, wait, talk, discuss, after that what did the Qur'an say? "Wahjuroohunna fi 'l-madaji'i"(4:34). "Wahjuroohunna fi 'l-madaji'i" means what?  Some say, separate the beds. Normally he will be on the couch and the Mrs will stay on the bed. Or, for example, turn your backs to one another. When you're sleeping. Although they say it is never advisable for a couple to sleep on a fight. Sort out your issue, then go to sleep. But in this situation. Listen, bro, I took her out for lunch. I bought her flowers. I bought her chocolates. I said to her, I love you. I said to her, Let things change. She's still doing what she's doing, bro. Come on. 20 years ago, we used to bury these girls alive, and now you're telling me I have to follow a step by step process?

That was the aim of [Surat al-] Nisa'. It was telling you that the Nisa' are to be treated in a certain way, and that isn't you burying them alive, nor you battering them. If you don't follow these ways, then it is a sin on you. So if you claim to be a Muslim who is submitting to the path of God, then you follow these steps. What's the second step? I have advised, I have told her that things change. Nothing has changed. Now, when we go up to bed, I put my back to her. I don't even want to look at her. You'd think at this stage the heart might soften, do you agree? That at this stage, she might turn around and say, you know what? I miss you. And there are some situations where, you know, the guy might just touch the lady and it just be like, you know, I miss you. Or crack a joke, for example, with one another, which brings back a certain memory. You know, there are ways, never should it reach a stage where you hit your wife. There are ways in which you talk with the person, change the atmosphere, listen to them. Sometimes love is not about what you buy, it is about how much you listen, how much you empathize, how much you appreciate.

Sayyidna, you know what happened? I tried. It didn't work. I said, what do you mean? I said, Bro, I took her out for dinner. Nothing happened. I went out with her to watch a film. Nothing happened. I even sat down and listened to my father in law's stories just for her for 3 hours and nothing happened. Sayyidna again, she still when I for example, have certain needs, she is not interested. Not just she is not interested, Sayyiydna. She has made it a point that even she has tried to make herself in a certain way where I don't even want to come near her, and she is now going out as she pleases. And I fear that when I tell her that you are talking to somebody...

Look at how many situation we are talking about. We are not talking about why is the food late? It is disgusting for a person to lose their temper with somebody Allah has enjoined on them to be their maintainer, over why is the food late? Or why is this give this? Or why is that this? We are talking here some of the most serious issues that can affect any human being's relationship. Any human being's relationship can be affected with these issues. I now have tried number one, not working. I try number two, not working. If I try number two and it is not working, could this be possibly a moment in which I call someone to come in? Why not? Just because this I have three stages, does not mean that because it has three stages, it does not mean that I have to go to the third, which is known as what?

What does it say? "Wallati takhafuna nushoozahunna, fa idhuhunna, wahjuroohunna fi 'l-madaji'i, wa dhribuhunna"(4:34). Only those ladies who you fear a disobedience that you see that is still continuing. Not happened once. If you fear it is still continuing, talk to them politely, they will change. Still no change? Second one. Still no that? Then the third one is what? The third one, according to many of the scholars, is hitting. There have been some scholars who have said that the word "dharaba" can also mean to travel. The word "dharaba", they use different examples in the Qur'an, where they say that the word "dharaba" can mean to separate maybe, that you guys go for a separation period. One of the best things that may remedy a marriage is to separate, and they show Verses where a person the word "dharaba" used to show someone traveling far away, or someone separating.

But if I go to Ayatullah Sistani's website today and I go to the section on "Nushooz", he makes it clear that the Qur'an has prescribed three cases. The first one, is that you talk with each other, it should be resolved. Second one, separate, the best, but it should be resolved. Third one, is to hit. But the hitting, you see, notice that hitting "wa dribuhunna" in this situation, you don't see the word "latum". You don't see a "suf", you don't see "wakaz", you don't see "rakel", for example. These are different forms of hitting. What's "Latum"? Latum will be see people who beat their chest. But the word "Latum" is not here. What is "suff" for example, "suff" for example, is that you may have someone who may strike. You may have, for example, "wakaz". All of these are different ways in which a strike is spoken about in terms of that which is hard, in terms of that which leaves a bruise. So you have Ulama' who say that it can never leave a bruise or a redness. But the problem is you then go into the territory of those Hadiths that talk about a "miswak".

Now you tell me, I have never understood this, by the way, the reality is that we took notes in the classes of our teachers and they said that there are Hadith that say that, number one, when your wife, you fear blatant disobedience from her. Number one, you advise her. Number two, separate beds. Number three, you get a "miswak" with my friend and umra is continuously at Jannat al-Baqi' playing with his teeth in front of us by Jannat al-Baqi' he's moving the "miswak". Now you tell me if I am going to get a "miswak" and I am going to go to the Mrs. You know what? You have done this. So honestly, what's the "miswak "going to do? In all honesty? Someone might say, well, the miswak is symbolic. Someone else tried to give an interpretation. And what was their interpretation? Their interpretation was Sayyidna, that no, it means that you don't hit them. You hit them by making sure food and drink doesn't come to them. What is this, a prison?

The reality is it should never reach this level. Either it goes good or you separate or you divorce. But for a group of Arabs for who hitting was number one, it now became number three. As much as I find unease defending this position in 2021, I cannot but deny that the Prophet came to some pretty primitive people, and to some pretty ignorant people. And, you know, sometimes when you advise some people, how do you advise them? They're like, no, I want to do this. I say, listen, do this, then we will look at that. Don't you do that? They're like, no, I want this organized right now. Listen, let's do this first one, see if that doesn't work, we do the second one. I promise we will think about the third one later on.

People have every right to say that this could be abused. I cannot deny it. And nor am I going to be someone who's going to push this and say that it has been used by scholars to lower the position of the female by not explaining it with the depth that deserves. But when I look at it, I look at Surat al-Nisa', a chapter that talks about incest and woman, adultery and woman polygamy and woman. Surat al-Nisa' sought to open every single possible situation that Arabia was facing, and somehow tried to reform the mindset of the person. Today, in the year 2021, of course, somebody who looks at this, it will be troublesome. But if I am looking at it, back then someone says well how about the men? It is just women who are disobedient? Ayatullah as-Sitani says men are also subject to this question. Men are also in a position where they can be disobedient and females also may be in a position where they fear the disobedience of their men.

Go 100 verses or so later, sort of four verse 128, my brothers and sisters, because many people say why do you say that the women are disobedient? How about the men who are disobedient in Surah four verse 128? The same in surah, Surat al-Nisa', Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala says: "Wa inimratun khafat mim ba'lihaa nushoozan"(4:128), there are women who what? And if there is a woman who fears disobedience from her husband. In the Qur'an, Surah 4, verse 128 of the Qur'an, Allah Subhana wa Ta'alais saying, it is not just men who fear disobedience from their wives. How about those wives who could blatantly see that their husbands are the ones who are disobedient, then what? They can either reach a position of compromise, of peace between the two amicably, or she can take it to the judge and say this person is in the same way I could be called "nashiz". You call them "nashiz" as well.

Someone asks how could the man be in a situation of disobedience, the woman we said, for example, the man comes near her physically she doesn't want. It can happen exactly the same for the female, where she wants to go near the husband and he constantly boils her off. Constantly is not there for her, or constantly, you will find that when she wants to have him sleep next to her, not interested in being there, or suddenly travels and goes away. There are some men you will find who will suddenly travel and they will just go away. That is also "Nushooz". Ayatollah Sistani mentions all of these. A person who just leaves their house, a person who just leaves their bed, a person who has no interest in any physical desires. Each and every one of these men can fall into the category of "Nashiz". And most importantly the man who doesn't maintain the Mrs anymore. At that moment she can take it straight to the Islamic judge. My right was for him to maintain me. Now he is bringing all sorts of excuses. I can't. I don't have money. I have my money stored elsewhere. I cannot give you money, I cannot do this. That is a form of disobedience and that goes straight to "Hakim ash-Shara'".

As I said, a troublesome verse and a verse which a person has to look at this context but we can't shy away from the fact that many have abused it. We will continue with discussing such verses InshaAllah in the Qur'an.

Wa as-salamu alaykum, wa rahmatu Allah.

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