What the Hadith says about wife beating.
The hadith are Islamic historical documents, though not considered the word of Allah, are used by all Muslims as a reference for their religion. These Hadith give us glimpses of early Islamic life. They show us how women were thought of, and how they were treated. Later Islamic scholars were able to draw from these stories and develop an Islamic system of life. But, what the scholars, and Muslim leaders did was accurate, based upon the Hadith. If wives were beaten with Muhammad's approval, then that practice should continue today.

Click to View

Islam: Truth or Myth? start page



Click to ViewThe Koran 4:34, is clear and unmistakable. Exactly mirroring all legal systems that administer increasingly harsher penalties for continued wrongdoing, the Koran says the Husband should first verbally admonish her, next ground her to the bedroom like a child, and finally when all else fails, to beat her. But what does the Hadith say?

What the Hadith says about wife beating:

  1. "A women complained to Muhammad 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, after which the prophet said: "We wanted one thing but Allah wanted another, and what Allah wanted is best". [To beat your wife is best.] ("At-Tafsir al-Kabir" on 4:34, Razi (Quoted in "Beyond the Veil, Razi is one of the greatest Muslim scholars)
  2. "Narrated Ikrima: 'Rifaa divorced his wife whereupon Abdur-Rahman married her. Aisha said that the lady came wearing a green veil and complained to her (Aisha) and showed her a green spot on her skin caused by beating. It was the habit of ladies to support each other, so when Allah's messenger came, Aisha said, "I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women. Look! Her skin is greener than her clothes! When Abdur-Rahman heard that his wife had gone to the prophet, he came with his two sons from another wife. She said, "By Allah! I have done no wrong to him, but he is impotent and is as useless to me as this," holding and showing the fringe of her garment. Abdur-Rahman said, "By Allah, O Allah's messenger! She has told a lie. I am very strong and can satisfy her, but she is disobedient and wants to go back to Rifaa." Allah's messenger said to her, "If that is your intention, then know that it is unlawful for you to remarry Rifaa unless Abdur-Rahman has had sexual intercourse with you." The prophet saw two boys with Abdur-Rahman and asked (him), "Are these your sons?" On that Abdur-Rahman said, "Yes." The prophet said, "You claim what you claim (that he is impotent)? But by Allah, these boys resemble him as a crow resembles a crow."" (Hadith, Bukhari, vol. 7, # 715)
  3. "Iyas Dhubab reported the apostle of Allah as saying: "Do not beat Allah's handmaidens", but when Umar came to the apostle of Allah and said: "Women have become emboldened towards their husbands", he (the prophet), gave permission to beat them. Then many women came round the family of the apostle of Allah complaining against their husbands. So the apostle of Allah said, "Many women have gone round Muhammad's family complaining against their husbands. They are not the best among you". (Hadith Of The Sunan Of Abu Dawud, Chapter 709 - On Beating Women, #2141)
  4. "Umar reported the prophet as saying: "A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife". (Hadith Of The Sunan Of Abu Dawud, Chapter 709 - On Beating Women, #2142)
  5. "This shows that wives should obey their husbands...". On 2142: "This means that a man tries his best to correct his wife, but he fails to do so, he is allowed to beat her as a last resort. This tradition never means that a husband should beat his wife without any valid reason". (Abu Dawud's notes on Hadith Of The Sunan Of Abu Dawud, Chapter 709 - On Beating Women, #2141)
  6. Jabir b. 'Abdullah reported: Abu Bakr came and sought permission to see Allah's Messenger. He found people sitting at his door and none amongst them had been granted permission, but it was granted to Abu Bakr and he went in. Then came 'Umar and he sought permission and it was granted to him, and he found Allah's Apostle sitting sad and silent with his wives around him. He (Hadrat 'Umar) said: I would say something which would make the Holy Prophet laugh, so he said: Messenger of Allah, I wish you had seen (the treatment meted out to) the daughter of Kharija when she asked me some money, and I got up and slapped her on her neck. Allah's Messenger laughed and said: They are around me as you see, asking for extra money. Abu Bakr then got up went to 'Aisha and slapped her on the neck, and 'Umar stood up before Hafsa and slapped her saying: You ask Allah's Messenger which he does not possess. They said: By Allah, we do not ask Allah's Messenger for anything he does not possess." (Hadith, Sahih Muslim, Book 009, #3506, Muhammad doesn't slap his wives, but laughed at hearing about his friend Umar slapping his wife when they asked for more money. Muhammad's wife was slapped by her father upon hearing she too had been asking for more money.)
  7. "You have rights over your wives, and they have rights over you. You have the right that they should not defile your bed and that they should not behave with open unseemliness. If they do, God allows you to put them in separate rooms and to beat them, but not with severity. If they refrain from these things and obey you, they have right to their food and clothing with kindness. Lay injunctions on women kindly, for they are your wards having no control of their persons." (Muhammad's Farewell Address, Ibn Ishaq's "Sirat Rasulallah", Guillaume's translation, page 651)


Written by Brother Andrew


Click to View