To Beat Or Not To Beat

Sura 4:34 of the Qur'an[1] in Arabic and English reads as follows:

Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and forsake them in beds apart, and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surely God is high, supreme.

According to many Muslims[2], this particular translation is not accurate and particularly, the word beat is incorrect and should be more like a little tap. However, the word in question is shown below along with a standard translation[3]. Its position in the text is also marked above.

When looking at the dictionary translation, it is clear that the Arabic word means beat with the main example also containing this verb giving the meaning to beat up. Muslims that claim otherwise are clearly trying to outwit or deceive and should seriously consider whether they are guilty of trying to change the Qur'an.

For further reading, see the article Wife Beating in Islam.

[1] Translation by N.J.Dawood, The Koran with Parallel Arabic Text, Penguin Books, 1997, ISBN 0-14-044542-0, p. 83
[2] Several conversations during 1999-2000 at Speaker's Corner, London, UK.
[3] The Concise Oxford English-Arabic Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 1982, ISBN 0-19-864321-7, p. 32

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