Page 1

Is Beating Women Permitted In Islam? Contents I.

INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................................................... 4 1.

Scope and Methodology ................................................................................................................... 4

2.

Sources, Conventions and Disclaimers ............................................................................................. 5

II.

CONTEXTUAL ANALYSIS OF VERSE 4:34 ................................................................................................ 6 1.

Popular Opinion vs. Contextual Analysis Surrounding the “DRB” Root in Verse 4:34...................... 6

2.

The Equivocation Fallacy in Nushuz, and the Reckless Linguistic Abuse of “Obedience” ................ 8

3.

The Sweeping Generalization Fallacy of “Superiority” to Support “Beating” Women ................... 11

4.

But Aren’t Men “Bestowed” Superiority by God per Verse 4:34? .................................................. 12

5.

But Doesn’t Verse 2:228 Give Men at least an “Edge” of Superiority? .......................................... 16

6.

But Aren’t Men at least Superior as “Protectors” of Women per Verse 4:34? .............................. 19

7.

The Historical Context of Verse 4:34 .............................................................................................. 19

III.

TREATMENT OF WOMEN UPON MARITAL BREAKDOWN IN ISLAM ............................................... 20

1.

Verses 65:1-2 Implicitly Command Men to Separate (Depart) upon Marital Breakdown ............. 20

2.

Verses 65:6-7 Explicitly Command Men to Lodge Divorced Women in the Marital Home ............ 22

3.

Verse 2:231 Directly Contradicts “Beat” Translation in Verse 4:34 to Resolve Marital Conflict .... 23

IV.

GENERIC LOGICAL FALLACIES OFTEN INVOKED .............................................................................. 24

1.

Ad Verecundiam, Ad Populum, and Ad Antiquitatem Fallacies to Support “Beating” Women ...... 24

2.

The Critical Etymological Fallacy to Support “Beating” Women .................................................... 28

3.

The Guilt by Association Fallacy – The Last Recourse and #1 Islamophobia Propaganda Ploy ...... 28

V.

SUNNAH OF MUHAMMAD.................................................................................................................. 29 1.

Sunnah Supported by Hadiths ........................................................................................................ 29

2.

Aisha’s Lost Necklace Incident and the Questioning of Burayra .................................................... 31

3.

Sunnah Supported by the Quran .................................................................................................... 36

VI.

CONTRARY EVIDENCE FROM OTHER HADITHS? ............................................................................. 38

1.

Bukhari 72:715 ................................................................................................................................ 38

2.

Muslim 4:2127 ............................................................................................................................... 39

3.

Abu Dawud 11:2142, Ibn Majah 9:1986, and Malik 28:27 ............................................................. 42

4.

Abu Dawud 11:2141 and Abu Dawud 11:2139 ............................................................................... 44

VII.

ANALYSIS OF THE UNDISPUTED “DRB” CITATIONS IN THE QURAN ................................................ 47


DRAFT: Not for Publication 1.

God Sets Forth Examples/Parables to Inspire/Enlighten (28 Citations).......................................... 48

2.

Parting, Perhaps Forever, Away from One’s Home or Community (6 Citations) ........................... 49

3.

Separated Physically from the Rest of Humanity on the Day of Judgment (1 Citation) ................. 49

4.

Separated Temporally from the Rest of Humanity: the Companions of the Cave (1 Citation) ..... 50

5.

Separating the Quran from One’s Heart and Soul (1 Citation) ....................................................... 51

6.

God’s Divinity Is Never Separable into Idols or Other Gods (2 Citations) ....................................... 51

7.

God Separates Truth and Falsehood (1 Citation)............................................................................ 51

8.

Spread Apart Your Shawls to Protect Your Beauty (1 Citation) ...................................................... 52

“That Which God (Commands To Be) Guarded”: The Hijab Debate, Part 1 .......................................... 52 VIII.

ANALYSIS OF THE DISPUTED “DRB” CITATIONS IN THE QURAN ..................................................... 53

1.

QURAN 2:60:6 ................................................................................................................................. 54

2.

QURAN 2:61:37 ............................................................................................................................... 54

3.

QURAN 2:73:2 ................................................................................................................................. 55

4. & 5. 6.

QURAN 3:112:1 AND QURAN 3:112:18................................................................................... 59

QURAN 7:160:13 ............................................................................................................................. 60

7. & 8. 9.

QURAN 8:12:17 AND QURAN 8:12:20..................................................................................... 61

QURAN 8:50:8 ................................................................................................................................. 63

10.

QURAN 20:77:8 ........................................................................................................................... 64

11.

QURAN 24:31:64 ......................................................................................................................... 64

“That Which God (Commands To Be) Guarded”: The Hijab Debate, Part 2 .......................................... 65 12.

QURAN 26:63:5 ........................................................................................................................... 68

13.

QURAN 37:93:3 ........................................................................................................................... 69

14.

QURAN 38:44:4 ........................................................................................................................... 70

15.

QURAN 47:4:5 ............................................................................................................................. 75

16.

QURAN 47:27:5 ........................................................................................................................... 76

IX.

“BEAT” / “STRIKE”: IF NOT “DRB”, THEN WHAT ROOT FITS? ......................................................... 76

1.

The QTL and WKZ Roots .................................................................................................................. 76

2.

The JLD, QDH, and SKK Roots.......................................................................................................... 77

3.

Other Options: The SWB Root and “Hotumhoo” ............................................................................ 77

X.

THE SMOKING GUN: MUHAMMAD’S FAREWELL SERMON ............................................................... 77 1.

The Search for the Smoking Gun .................................................................................................... 77

2.

The Smoking Gun Definitively Revealed ......................................................................................... 80 2

Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication 3.

The Root Cause and Explanation for the Smoking Gun .................................................................. 82

4.

The Meaning of Verses 4:15-16 and the Judicial Punishment for Public Sexual Obscenity ........... 82

5.

But Can’t Women At Least be “Corrected” with a Tiny Little Miswak (Tooth Pick/Brush)? ........... 85

6.

Was the Smoking Gun Fired Maliciously or Innocuously? .............................................................. 87

7.

Muslim Scholars Must Acknowledge that the Smoking Gun is Logically Irrefutable ...................... 89

XI.

CONCLUSION ................................................................................................................................... 90

1.

Evidence from the DRB Root Used Elsewhere in the Quran........................................................... 90

2.

Evidence from the Contextual Analysis of Verse 4:34 .................................................................... 94

3.

Evidence from the Hadiths.............................................................................................................. 95

4.

Evidence from the Smoking Gun that Started it All ........................................................................ 96

5.

Evidence from the Sunnah of Muhammad ..................................................................................... 97

6.

The Final Word: Marriage in Islam as the Ultimate Expression of the Golden Rule ...................... 98

Appendix I: “Name and Shame” or “Name and Fame”?.......................................................................... 101 ** THE NAME AND SHAME LIST ** ....................................................................................................... 102 ** THE NAME AND FAME LIST ** ......................................................................................................... 103

3 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication

I.

INTRODUCTION 1. Scope and Methodology

There is one central question that this entire analysis is aiming to answer: Is beating women permitted in Islam? Islamophobes, and even the majority of “Muslim scholars”, assert that the answer to this question is “Yes”. However, almost the entire support for their conclusion rests on the translation of Quran verse 4:34 – or, to be more precise, the translation of a single Arabic word in that verse. Therefore, any conclusion to the contrary of such popular opinion would naturally require the marshalling of considerable evidence, based on all available facts, and a rigorous application of logic. And that is exactly the intention of this analysis. Unlike the parroted claims of Islamophobes and the superficial analyses of almost all self-proclaimed “professional Muslims” of various titles who have weighed in on this topic, I have gone far beyond just verse 4:34. I have done the following in an effort to extract every last piece of evidence on this topic: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Analyzed the full context of verse 4:34 for meaning and logical consistency, Examined the sunnah of Muhammad in directly implementing verse 4:34, Incorporated the teachings of all materially relevant and reliable hadiths on this topic, Analyzed the claims that some hadiths support the interpretation that beating women is part of Islam, 5. Conducted an unprecedented analysis of every last usage of the root in the Quran that is commonly translated as “to beat” or “to strike” to assess the accuracy of the translation of this root in verse 4:34 and elsewhere, and 6. Researched the root causes that could have triggered an incorrect interpretation of verse 4:34. Although verse 4:34 forms the core of the analysis herein, additional ancillary “misogyny topics” are covered as well that pertain to the marital relationship. The reason these topics are also important is in addressing what rights and level of equality a woman has in marriage that could either justify or contradict the meaning of “beat” as commonly interpreted. In a completely separate analysis (Part 2 of my upcoming book, which is beyond the scope of the analysis here), I will cover other misogyny topics and claims. All of these topics will focus on the position of women (including non-Muslims) before, after or outside of a marital relationship. Like here with verse 4:34, this separate analysis will have at its core one primary topic: in this case, whether sexual slavery is permitted in Islam. Based on my extensive experience with Islamophobes in debate, verse 4:34 and sexual slavery are the two core topics around which all other ancillary misogyny topics (and claims) revolve. The former focuses on the position of women within marriage, and the latter on the position of women outside of marriage. When ancillary topics overlap both (e.g., the “equality of 4 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication women” debate), the ancillary analyses will be split between the two core topics accordingly. It is the first core topic that I turn to below. 2. Sources, Conventions and Disclaimers The sources for virtually all of my citations are either from http://corpus.quran.com for the Quran quotations and root word analyses, or http://www.sunnah.com (English reference numbers) for the Hadith quotations. In general, I have relied upon the “Word by Word” translation of the Quran, as adjusted to conform to English grammatical conventions, readability, and analytical consistency of the same root used elsewhere in the Quran. This analysis is targeted at the general reader, including nonMuslims, so I have substituted phonetic transliterations for Arabic quotations. I have also omitted the perfunctory “(pbuh)” after “Muhammad” except when I am quoting it from hadith translations. Some view this seemingly innocuous invocation as a slippery slope towards hagiographic adulation, or as making a special distinction amongst God’s messengers, which the Quran condemns (in verses 2:285, 4:152, etc.). Therefore, I leave it up to the reader to express this sentiment on his or her own, or not. Note that any implied interpolations in translation are generally in parentheses; whereas explanatory information, such as Arabic transliterations, are in square brackets. On some occasions I have also provided dual translations, such as “maintainers/providers” and “obedient/devout”. The first translation can generally be considered the basic denotation, or primary translation; and the second translation can be considered the restrictive connotation. This is especially necessary when certain English words can have contradictory connotations or implications. For example, “maintainers” can imply either 1) an obligation to provide or 2) a right to control, and it is the former that is being implied by the restrictive connotation of “provider” after “maintainer”. The same applies to “obedient”, which can result from 1) coercive force or 2) devout choice – again, completely opposite connotations. It is the latter connotation implied by the dual translation “obedient/devout”. Both of these examples are actually discussed in more detail below in the context of verse 4:34. All conclusions are my own, and I make no claim that they are inherently superior to anyone else’s. Nor do I even claim to be an “Islamic scholar” or have any other “professional Muslim” status or title. My opinions are completely irrelevant, even if I were not anonymous. Only my arguments are relevant, so rebut them if you can. As I am constantly reminded, I am a “nobody”, so I can be ignored. But my facts and logic most definitely cannot be ignored. They demand to be heard, and they demand a reply. I welcome all feedback, especially on any demonstrable errors in my facts or logic. Since I am only human, there will no doubt be at least a few, no matter how many revisions I do. Therefore, I ask for your forgiveness and God’s forgiveness whenever I am wrong. In short, never assume that I am correct, even though it is my full intention to be so. Always challenge and verify my arguments for yourself. That way we can all learn from each other.

5 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication II.

CONTEXTUAL ANALYSIS OF VERSE 4:34

For reference purposes in the various analyses below, here is a translation of verse 4:34 in its entirety, along with verse 4:35 as additional context: Men are the maintainers/providers of women, because God has bestowed (more inheritance) (upon) some of them over others and because they spend from their wealth (to support those others). So the righteous women are obedient/devout (to God) [qānitātun], guarding [HFZ root] in the unseen [i.e., while no one sees but God] that which God (commands to be) guarded [HFZ root, perfect tense]. And those [allātī, feminine pural] (from) whom you fear disloyalty/ill conduct [nushūzahunna], (first) talk to them persuasively, (next) leave them (alone) in bed, (and last) separate (from) them [iḍ'ribūhunna]; then if they recommit (pledge willingly again) to you [aṭaʿnakum], do not seek a way/path [i.e., divorce] against them. Indeed, God is Most High, Most Great. (Quran 4:34) If you fear a breach [divorce] between them [husband and wife], appoint one arbiter from the people of the man and one from the people of the woman. If they wish to have a settlement, then God will reconcile them. Indeed, God is All-Knowing and Cognizant (of all things). (Quran 4:35)

1. Popular Opinion vs. Contextual Analysis Surrounding the “DRB” Root in Verse 4:34 Each part of these verses will be covered in detail, which will explain and support the meanings above. However, there is one very obvious place to start. Within verse 4:34, absolutely everything hinges on the translation of a single triconsonantal Arabic root (“ḍād rā bā”, or simply “DRB” for short). It often sounds phonetically like “daraba”, and in this verse it occurs in the form iḍ'ribūhunna, where the hunna suffix implies a feminine “them”. It is this word that has been variously translated – all incorrectly – as “to hit”, “to beat”, “to strike”, or even “to scourge”. What is shocking is that 23 translations out of about 31 considered “mainstream” use such synonyms. Another 9 out of 10 “controversial” translations use such synonyms, and 8 out of 9 “non-Muslim” or “new”/”partial” translations in progress do as well. That makes a total of 40 out of 50 translations supporting a translation roughly synonymous with “beat” for verse 4:34. For the full list, see http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/4/34/default.htm, along with http://al-quran.info for additional backup (e.g., for the Hamid S. Aziz translation, which is oddly truncated on the first site). If a debate could be won by popularity alone, then this debate would already be over, as even many Muslims concede. But ad populum and ad verecundiam fallacies (as discussed below) are ultimately just that – fallacies. They carry zero weight in debate. My challenge to all those who invoke such fallacies is simple. Show me the analysis behind any of those 40 bandwagon translations that remotely compares 6 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication to, let alone rebuts, the analysis that I have done here. Bring me your best “winning” rebuttals. Based on my research, my guess is that you will find hardly any analysis behind those 40 translations beyond bald opinions and despotic fatwas. So now let’s move beyond the obvious ad populum fallacy to see how this traditional misogynistic translation of the DRB root fits into the context of verse 4:34 after a wife’s “disloyalty/ill conduct” (nushuz), per the quotation above. The immediately preceding context of the DRB root word advises “leave them (alone) in bed”. This step allows critical time for cooler heads to prevail and to make both hearts grow fonder with absence before returning to intimacy. And the common sense advice before that step states, “talk to them persuasively”, which should always be the first step in addressing any marital conflict. I am sorry to be so blunt, but there is no other way to completely expose the euphemistic repugnance and irrationality of what most translators then state is the next step in this process, which I introduce with a question: How could such soft persuasion, and then such disciplined sexual self-restraint, on the part of the man to win over his wife’s heart, then follow with a command that effectively says “beat the wench back into submission” as the next step? If the intention is to beat a woman, it's illogical to think that there would be any "steps" at all before or after the beating. For wife-beaters, as those familiar with their psychology would tell you, the beating is the first and last "step". Do you not see the complete disconnect here? What most analyses of this verse fail to look at as crucial evidence in the interpretation of this singular all important word is what follows next. There is a much more common and widely accepted translation of this DRB root elsewhere in the Quran, which is “set forth/apart (from)” or “separate (from)”, per the detailed analysis below. This translation actually fits extremely well here with the word’s immediate context starting with the very end of verse 4:34. Here it states that husbands should “not seek a way/path” (i.e., divorce) against their wives if the wives reconcile of their own accord later (i.e., by renewing their marital commitment and coming to their husbands willingly after reconciliation). Notice the clear metaphorical journey link between 1) “setting forth/apart (from)”, as if starting a journey of separation, and 2) “seek[ing] a way/path [i.e., divorce] against them” as the next step in that journey. The latter step can be avoided if the wife willingly reconciles by pledging herself once again to her husband. And then in the next verse (4:35) after that it says what to do "if you fear a breach [divorce] between them [husband and wife]”. In other words, this verse commands what to do if the separation continues too long and the couple cannot reconcile of their own accord. In this case, the Quran offers the very sensible advice as follows: to "appoint one arbiter from the people of the man and one from the people of the woman. If they wish to have a settlement, then God will reconcile them." One must logically ask why formal arbiters would be necessary if the husband and wife were not already separated to prevent them from reconciling on their own. In other words, communication via arbitration clearly implies a preexisting separation! 7 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication One must also logically ask how the Quran's advice of arbitration to resolve differences could possibly fit with the immediately preceding verse translated to mean that the wife should be beaten into submission first! Any possible interpretation of domestic violence as the solution to marital conflict simply does not fit within the context of impartial, segregated reconciliation with arbiters as the very next step. In other words, both the context immediately before and the context immediately after this critical word make it abundantly clear that “separation” is the only logical translation for that word. 2. The Equivocation Fallacy in Nushuz, and the Reckless Linguistic Abuse of “Obedience” Some make the argument that a man has permission to hit his wife because of her nushuz, which is often translated as “disobedience”. The full word used in verse 4:34 is nushūzahunna, which is much better translated as “ill conduct” or “disloyalty” (actually “their ill conduct” or “their disloyalty” given the feminine suffix after the root). It is very simple to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that the translation of “disobedience” here is incorrect with the simple citation of Quran 4:128: And if a woman fears from her husband disloyalty/ill conduct [nushūzan] or desertion [iʿ'rāḍan, implying ceasing of intimacy without cause], there is no sin/blame [junāḥa] upon them if they make (amicable) settlement between them - and (amicable) settlement is best. And the souls are swayed by greed, but if you do (what is) good and are conscious of God, then indeed, God is All-Aware of what you do. (Quran 4:128) So based on the erroneous translation of nushuz, a husband must not only be obedient to his wife in Islam, but his wife has grounds for divorce from him if she merely “fears” that he will be disobedient to her! Don’t you see the blatant misogyny here regarding how the Quran has been traditionally translated in verse 4:34 but not in verse 4:128? It is the fault of medieval translations continuing to this day via the inheritance of erroneous scholarly tradition. We have all been grossly misled. What is interesting in comparing verses 4:34 and 4:128 is that a woman can potentially go straight to the divorce settlement proceedings and skip the separation step that husbands are required to do first in verse 4:34. This is because women don’t carry the burden of providing for the entire family like men do. Also, they are most likely to be the ones in a position of vulnerability. If a woman wants a divorce, she cannot avoid factoring in the consequences to dependents, including herself. However, a self-sufficient man with income and resources is not incented to do the same – hence the requirement for him to separate first. With greater influence must come greater responsibility. Such is the rule of balance in Islam. What is also interesting is the additional criterion in verse 4:128 allowing a woman to seek divorce if she is suffering from her husband’s apparent “desertion”. Note that this is not an additional criterion on top of, or necessarily connected with, nushuz. It is a completely separate criterion altogether. This is clarified by the coordinating conjunction “or” (“aw” in Arabic) as opposed to “and” (“wa” in Arabic) between the two criteria. In other words, a wife has the explicit right to physical and emotional 8 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication intimacy from her husband. Without that affection, she has grounds for divorce, even if her husband is fulfilling his financial and other obligations and he is not guilty of nushuz. A husband, by contrast, has no similar explicit right, per the Quran, to divorce on account of his wife’s “desertion”, sexually or otherwise. Nor does a husband have any right to, or even expectation of, sexual intimacy when there is a marital breakdown. As verse 4:34 requires, he must “leave her (alone) in bed” when there is a marital breakdown. Nevertheless, as a consequence of his wife’s desertion, a husband could ask, “What could be more indicative of lack of loyalty to one’s husband (nushuz) than a wife no longer wanting sexual intimacy?” Even so, the “leave her (alone) in bed” requirement still remains, and the next steps in verses 4:34-35 would apply. Physical coercion, sexual or otherwise, is never an option. Some argue that verse 4:128 always implies a happy “reconciliation” without divorce, or that such reconciliation is necessarily the preferred outcome of the woman seeking “settlement”. However, this is flatly contradicted by the use of the words “no sin/blame [junāḥa] upon them” in the context of that “settlement”, which implies amicable divorce, not a happy reconciliation. It is also contradicted by the warning “And the souls are swayed by greed” at the end of verse 4:128, which implies a divorce settlement having clear and substantial financial implications to both parties. So how do “scholars” get around this obvious dilemma of nushuz so that they can have their cake and eat it too? They do a deep dive into what is called an “equivocation fallacy”, whereby they define exactly the same word in completely different ways (in verses 4:34 and 4:128) by arguing that the context of the verse can magically morph the word into extremely conflicting meanings. Unfortunately for them, both of these verses are already in the same context of a marital breakdown caused by that very same nushuz! In other words, such “scholars” make the bold and repugnant argument that the Quran contradicts itself. Once you tumble down the rabbit hole of magically morphing words, the contradictions only accumulate. Verse 4:128 would then also totally contradict the definition of DRB as “beat” in verse 4:34, since the husband’s ill conduct of beating his wife (as commanded by God per the traditional interpretation of verse 4:34) would be sufficient grounds for the wife to seek divorce per verse 4:128! Making the argument even more absurd, a wife could seek divorce from her husband simply for “fearing” his ill conduct (per verse 4:128) of beating her before it even happens (i.e., if he merely threatens to follow God’s alleged command to beat his wife per verse 4:34). No matter how one tries to force the meaning of “beat” into verse 4:34, the end result is making an argument that the Quran blatantly and absurdly contradicts itself, which is a repugnant argument for so-called “scholars” to make, especially when such an argument is totally unnecessary. But can we really blame scholars entirely, or is there some extenuating reason for all this confusion surrounding the interpretation of nushuz as “disobedience (to one’s husband)”? I will give the scholars some benefit of the doubt in asserting that there are indeed extenuating sources of confusion here. There are not just two, but three, completely different roots in verse 4:34 that have all been translated by some scholars to mean “obedient” or “obey”. We already discussed nushuz and how absurd it would 9 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication be to interpret this word as meaning disobedience to one’s spouse. The two other such words will be discussed next. The second word in verse 4:34 associated with “obedient”, per the quotation above, is in the following sentence: “Therefore the righteous women are obedient/devout (to God) [qānitātun], guarding [HFZ root] in the unseen [i.e., while no one sees but God] that which God (commands to be) guarded [HFZ root, perfect tense]”. The word qānitātun implies devout spiritual obedience, and this root is always used in reference to spiritual obedience to God. I say always because there truly are no exceptions in all 13 instances where this QNT root is used in the Quran, as listed here (where the last number is the Arabic word number within the verse itself): (3:43:2), (33:31:2), (2:116:14), (2:238:8), (3:17:3), (16:120:5), (30:26:8), (33:35:6&7), (39:9:3), (66:12:17), (4:34:16), and (33:35:7). Note that 33:35:6 actually uses this QNT root in specifically referring to good men who are obedient, without adding the qualifying phrase “to God” after it, since such a qualification is totally redundant with this word. Verse 4:34 is no exception. Actually, wives’ obedience to God, and to God alone, is explicitly defined in verse 4:34 as follows: “guarding [HFZ root] in the unseen [i.e., while no one sees but God] that which God (commands to be) guarded [HFZ root, perfect tense].” So what has “God guarded” (by command) per the Quran (note perfect/completed tense of HFZ root here)? The answer is in this same verse 33:35, as well as in verses 24:30-31 and others, which command both men and women to “guard [HFZ root] their modesty/private parts” to avoid illicit sexual activity. Note how there is no pronoun in verse 4:34 here at all, thereby emphasizing that this command applies to both sexes, as Quran 33:35, 24:30-31, etc. emphasize. Thus a woman is “obedient” here when she is obeying an explicit command of God to “guard”. Her obedience to God’s command has nothing to do with any obedience (or lack thereof) to her husband’s commands. Moreover, how could this word be interpreted to mean obedience to her husband when the verse explicitly states that her husband cannot even see whether she is being obedient or not? Likewise, how could her “disobedience” be confirmed and punished by her husband when he can’t even see that either? The absurd irrationalities implied by the traditional interpretation continue to accumulate. The third word in verse 4:34 often associated with “obedient”/”obey”, also from the quotation above, is in the following phrase: “then if they recommit (pledge willingly again) to you [aṭaʿnakum], do not seek a way/path [i.e., divorce] against them.” The word aṭaʿnakum is often translated as “obey you”, but this is a grossly incorrect meaning. The English meaning of “obey” implies a conforming response to a command, whereas the Arabic word implies, at most, a positive response to a request. The TWE (ṭā wāw ʿayn) root used here always refers to one’s voluntary pledge, one’s free commitment, one’s open willingness – one’s deliberate choice – whereas the English word “obey” can also imply action that is done merely because of compulsion. Compulsion, such as coerced “obedience” from a physical “beating”, is definitely not implied in the meaning of the underlying TWE root. Nor is it implied anywhere else in the Quran where this root is used, and there are 129 instances of it.

10 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication Although the list of these 129 instances is simply too long to include here, what is most compelling about the lack of any compulsion implied in aṭaʿnakum is that the TWE root is used definitively several times in the Quran in conjunction with its exact antonym: “unwillingly”. In other words, not only is compulsion not implied in the TWE root at all, it is explicitly defined in the Quran as the antonym of compulsion! So where is the proof? Right here, in the examples below: So is it other than the religion of God they desire, while to Him have submitted [all] those within the heavens and earth, willingly [ṭawʿan = TWE root] or by compulsion, and to Him they will be returned? (Quran 3:83) Say, "Spend willingly [ṭawʿan = TWE root] or unwillingly; never will it be accepted from you. Indeed, you have been a defiantly disobedient people." (Quran 9:53) And to God prostrates whoever is within the heavens and the earth, willingly [ṭawʿan = TWE root] or by compulsion, and their shadows [as well] in the mornings and the afternoons. (Quran 13:15) Then He directed Himself to the heaven while it was smoke and said to it and to the earth, "Come [into being], willingly [ṭawʿan = TWE root] or by compulsion." They said, "We have come willingly [Ṭāi ʿ Īna = TWE root again]." (Quran 41:11) So why is this point regarding the meaning of the TWE root so important? It is very simple: because it describes the wife’s action that immediately follows the husband’s action defined by the DRB root word in the previous sentence of verse 4:34 (please refer again to the quotation of verse 4:34 above). If the DRB root word is defined to mean “beat”, then the TWE root word can only mean obedience that is forced via the compulsion of physical abuse. By contrast, if the DRB root word is defined to mean “separate (from)”, then the TWE root word can only mean a pledge or commitment that is done willingly without any compulsion, since such a wife is clearly already free from the force of compulsion because of the marital separation. Since the TWE root describing the reconciliation process is explicitly defined by the Quran as the antonym of compulsion, it is simply impossible for the DRB root word to mean “beat” here. That would imply the exact opposite type of “reconciliation”: one that is forced via extreme compulsion. There is no escape possible from this irrefutable logic. 3. The Sweeping Generalization Fallacy of “Superiority” to Support “Beating” Women Some make the argument that beating wives is permitted based on the implied premise of verse 4:34 that men are generally “superior” to women in Islam, thereby giving them some sort of de facto right to exercise that general “superiority” abusively. This is absolutely wrong and logically backwards. In Islam, men may take on a greater leadership role in the household for the sole reason (per verse 4:34) that they bear the heavy responsibility of being the maintainers/providers of the women and children in that household. If they cannot fulfill this responsibility, then arguably they may no longer qualify to assume that leadership role. After all, roles are only a natural function of the responsibilities that define them. 11 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication There is no factual basis or logical argument to support that men are “superior” to women in any general way in the Quran. Moreover, this verse applies only to the marital relationship and family unit – not to society at large or to any other organizational unit – with respect to the relative rights and responsibilities between men and women. Men, both Muslim and non-Muslim, generally have an unavoidable advantage in household influence over women. This is driven by their economic responsibility and, when abused, by their greater physical strength. Therefore, if anything, it is much more logical that verse 4:34 would be somehow counterbalancing or emphatically commanding men never to abuse this influence and strength, rather than give them the explicit authority to abuse it by commanding physical abuse! Islam is always about creating or reasserting balance, especially when there are situations of acknowledged and unavoidable imbalance. Some may still insist that this imbalance in household responsibility/influence is avoidable and that Islam should not imply roles and responsibilities for spouses within the family unit. However, such an argument is not even rational or reflective of the reality of modern non-Muslim households. That would be equivalent to making the argument that basic division of labor principles should not apply and all biological differences should be ignored. Ambiguous and suboptimal roles and responsibilities are not how successful social, political and economic organizations function, so why would families be any different? That said, one very important, overarching point needs to be kept in mind. The only role and responsibility (as financial provider) being imposed in the Quran here is upon men. There is no comparable imposition or mandate upon women. In fact, if someone prefers the alternative “modern” arrangement, whereby women should also be able to take on the traditional economic responsibility of men, then the response based on Islam would be, “Why not?” There is actually nothing in Islam preventing such a choice by women. Nor is there anything “modern” about this arrangement at all. Muhammad himself was an employee who married his employer, Khadija, an independent and very successful merchant businesswoman! In fact, it was she who proposed to him. This was his first and only wife until her death 25 years later. There is, however, one significant difference between Islam and the so-called “modern” arrangement. In Islam, the default burden of economic responsibility always remains on men, never on women. By contrast, in the “modern” arrangement, that default responsibility on men has almost ceased to exist, and most women are left to fend for themselves, often as single mothers. Women today are not only expected to take on this income earning responsibility too for their family. They are also expected to fulfil their traditional homemaker responsibilities at the same time. “Women’s liberation”, indeed. 4. But Aren’t Men “Bestowed” Superiority by God per Verse 4:34? But hasn’t God simply “made” men superior or “bestowed” superiority upon them? About 14 translations of the Quran (per the same link above) even use the following wording, or some variation 12 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication thereof: “…because God has made some of them excel others”. The absurdity of this translation would be comical if it did not have such serious implications. Contrary to this translation, there is only one Arabic verb in this phrase, not two; and it is neither “made” nor “excel”, as we will see below. The reason why two verbs are commonly forced into the translation here is to transform “some of them” (by assumption, the men) into the direct object acted upon by God instead of the indirect object receiving what “God has bestowed”. Let’s dig deeper on this point, since it is at the core of the misogynistic and demonstrably false translations. What almost all analyses by “scholars” fail to analyze as part of the context of verse 4:34 are the two verses immediately prior: verses 4:32-33. Although they seem to point to a completely separate topic given the traditional interpretation of verse 4:34, they are actually deeply connected in defining the pretext of verse 4:34 and the meaning of that critical “bestowed” phrase near the start of the verse, as follows: …God has bestowed [faḍḍala = FDL root] (more inheritance) (upon) some of them over others... (Quran 4:34) (Arabic transliteration: faḍḍala l-lahu baʿḍahum ʿalā baʿḍin) The parenthetical words “more inheritance” have been inserted here based on the exact meaning and scope of the above phrase, as it is explicitly defined in verses 4:32-33, discussed next. The critical verb in question (faḍḍala) is the FDL root for “bestowed”, which is often grossly mistranslated as “made superior”, “made to excel”, or a synonym thereof. As discussed below, this same very peculiar phrase that exists in verse 4:34 is actually defined explicitly in verse 4:32 to identify exactly what is being “bestowed” (via two extra qualifying pronouns, as discussed below) and to whom. In short, this phrase is an unambiguous reference to the inheritance rules per the Quran: Do not covet what God has bestowed [faḍḍala = FDL root] with it (upon) some of you over others. For men is a share of what they earned [i.e., are due], and for women is a share of what they earned [i.e., are due]. And ask God of his bounty [faḍlihi = same FDL root]. Indeed, God is of everything All-Knowing. And for all we have made heirs of what is left by parents and relatives. And those whom you have contracted your oaths (in marriage), then give them their share. Indeed, God is over everything a Witness. (Quran 4:32-33) Note in particular how the inheritance allocation between men and women is clearly highlighted in verses 4:32-33 as the most important and typical difference in what is “bestowed” as inheritance. The link between “what God has bestowed with it” to the “bounty” of inheritance is made abundantly clear by the use of the exact same FDL root, once as a verb and then the second time as a noun. This inheritance link and “bounty” is further made clear by the twice-repeated phrase “a share of what they earned [i.e., are due]”, as well as by the final sentence quoted above explicitly referring to “heirs”. I am frankly at a loss as to how the Quran could be any clearer in defining what is being bestowed and to whom, and in what very specific, restrictive context (i.e., inheritance/wealth). 13 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication To debunk the traditional translation still further, there is no way possible to extract an implication of any innate superiority “bestowed (upon)” any one gender, since the FDL root doesn’t have this scope of meaning anywhere in the Quran, and most especially here per verses 4:32-33 restricting it further. Also, neither gender is explicitly mentioned as always being bestowed less or more vs. all members of the other gender. Even the “others” word (ba din) quoted above is a genitive masculine indefinite plural noun, not feminine. So it is not even grammatically possible to twist this verse to say all male “some” (plural) are superior to all female “others” (ba din). Those “others”, per the Quran, are not even defined as females! This leads into the final words of verse 4:33 above, which come immediately before the opening of verse 4:34, where it states, “Men are the maintainers/providers of women”. Although this phrase will be discussed in detail in the next section, it is clear from the end of verse 4:33 how men fulfill this role with their additional inherited wealth: And those whom (you) have contracted your oaths (in marriage), then give them their share. Indeed, God is over everything a Witness. (the final words of Quran 4:33) In other words, men in general fulfill their role as “maintainers/providers” via their additional inherited wealth, given as a share to women upon the contracting of marriage. Note also the reference to God being “over everything a Witness”, which is an obvious reference to the contract most popularly invoked as ‘witnessed by God’, i.e., the marriage contract. Finally, also take note of the clear sequential connection of verses 4:32 -> 4:33 -> 4:34 via the word “then” in verse 4:33: 1) Men generally inherit more per verse 4:32, 2) “Then (you) [men] give them [women] their share” upon “contracting your oaths (in marriage)” per the end of verse 4:33, and 3) This financial commitment thereby places the obligation firmly upon men to be “the maintainers/providers of women”, per the beginning of verse 4:34, while at the same time explaining why women should “not covet” this extra inheritance, per verse 4:32. To validate this interpretation still more, let’s take a closer look at the extra words ma (“what”) and bihi (“with it”) in the verse 4:32 version of the peculiar FDL phrase (see highlighted quotation below). Both of these relative pronouns can only logically refer to the “what” (i.e., wealth) that God is commanding Muslims (particularly women) not to “covet” as a result of unequal allocations of inheritance, per the remainder of verses 4:32-33: Since the “what” and “it” relative pronouns both point to “more inheritance” bestowed, they thereby become superfluous and implied in verse 4:34 when this same peculiar FDL phrase is used once again. This is why these two extra relative pronouns are omitted in the Arabic in verse 4:34. Note that the “Do not covet” phrase also doesn’t exist in verse 4:34, of course, but it is included here to show the complete sentence and context within verse 4:32 as compared to the same peculiar FDL phrase in verse 4:34:

14 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication Do not covet what God has bestowed with it (upon) some of you over others. (Quran 4:32) (Arabic transliteration: walā tatamannaw ma faḍḍala l-lahu bihi baʿḍakum ʿalā baʿḍin) (Note that verse 4:32 differences vs. verse 4:34 quoted above are highlighted in bold) But let’s not stop there. Just in case this peculiar FDL phrase is not already 100% clear in referring to worldly “bounty” or “provision”, here is yet another usage emphasizing the very limited and tangible scope of what “God has bestowed (upon) some of you over others”: God has bestowed (upon) some of you over others in provision [RZQ root]. (Quran 16:71) (Arabic transliteration: wal-lahu faḍḍala baʿḍakum ʿalā baʿḍin riz'qi) The RZQ root is used 61 times in the Quran and has the unequivocal and consistent meaning of a tangible, worldly “provision” in every last instance (including “provider” and “provide”, as other noun and verb forms, respectively). Its modern meaning is also quite consistent with this Quran meaning. Given the clear meaning of this FDL phrase, verses 4:32-33 emphasize the critical link between the inheritance rules favoring some men (generally those of marriage age or not yet married, as discussed in a separate analysis) and what exactly must be done with that wealth per the preamble to verse 4:34. This preamble defines a man’s financial responsibility based on the premise that he is given more (on average) than his wife with respect to inheritance. And then it defines exactly what is to be done with that extra inheritance: 1) to be shared (as wealth/dowry) in significant part upon contracting marriage, and 2) to fulfill a man’s obligation to provide for (maintain) his wife and family on an ongoing basis with that wealth and his income from labor. Incidentally, verse 2:233 reiterates this obligation more explicitly, while again invoking the same RZQ root as above: And upon the father is (the responsibility) of their provision [riz'quhunna = RZQ root] and their clothing in a fair/proper manner. (Quran 2:233) Returning to the verse 4:34 preamble, note in particular the duplication of the word “because” to make clear both of the following: 1) why a man has been bestowed more by God with respect to inheritance and 2) how a man must use that extra inheritance to fulfill his financial obligations in marriage. This burden of responsibility upon men directly counterbalances the natural desire (most logically by women) to “covet” (per verse 4:32) the additional wealth that “God has bestowed (upon) some of them over others” in matters of inheritance per the Quran. The word “covet” further confirms something ‘bestowed by God’ of a purely materialistic or physical nature – not any intangible “superiority”, which is utterly nonsensical. Moreover, the FDL root (for “bestow”) is used 104 times in the Quran, and both the noun and verb forms consistently refer to a worldly ‘bounty”, not to something intangible in nature, let alone to any inherent “superiority”. In summary, the “superiority” interpretation relies on impossibly contorting “some of them” (by assumption, men) into being the direct object of God’s FDL action, instead of being the clearly intended indirect object. What is unequivocal here, in the context of verses 4:32-33, is that this preamble to verse 15 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication 4:34 is not emphasizing any right of men at all, contrary to popular interpretation. Rather, it is emphasizing exactly the opposite: men’s heavy obligation as a result of what extra wealth God has bestowed upon them with respect to inheritance. So wouldn’t it be appropriate for the Quran to emphasize what is the potential consequence upon those who have such a heavy obligation to share their “bounty”, yet fail to do so? Well, the Quran does, right in the final two verses that bracket this block of verses from verse 4:32 through verse 4:37. Pay homage to God, and make none his compeer, and be good to your parents and relatives, the orphans and the needy and the neighbors who are near you, and the neighbors who are strangers, and the friend by your side, the traveler, and those whom your oaths govern. Indeed, God does not love those who are proud (and) boastful, those who are stingy and enjoin stinginess upon (other) people, and hide what God has given them of His bounty [faḍlihi = same FDL root as above]. We have prepared for those who are ungrateful a humiliating punishment. (Quran 4:36-37) Note how these verses take a step back to emphasize the broader moral obligation on those with wealth to take care of those in need. However, perhaps most important of all here, note the reference to that same FDL root, pointing once again to the same “bounty” “bestowed” by God. The egregious absurdity of those who assert that this root could possibly imply “superiority” in verse 4:34 is literally and ironically condemned to hell here as the opposite of the FDL root blessing from God: Indeed, God does not love those who are proud (and) boastful [i.e., seeing themselves as superior because of their wealth], those who are stingy and enjoin stinginess upon (other) people, and hide what God has given them of His bounty. I will return to the topic of inheritance and equality of women in a separate and broader social analysis with respect to the misogyny claims outside the context of marriage (refer to Introduction above for more details). 5. But Doesn’t Verse 2:228 Give Men at least an “Edge” of Superiority? But what about verse 2:228? Although it is not part of the immediate context of verse 4:34, doesn’t this say that men are “superior” to women in marriage – or to women in general – because they have a small “degree” or “edge” (darajatun) over them? Absolutely not. It must first be noted that this verse is in the midst of the main block of verses in the Quran focusing specifically and only on the topic of divorce, as well as dissolution of marriage upon death (roughly, verses 2:226-237 and 2:240-242, with only a small but related diversion in verse 2:233). Moreover, it is clear, simply by quoting verse 2:228 alone, that this “degree”/”edge” is only in the context of rights in divorce and nothing else. Notice in the quotation below how the “degree”/”edge” is unequivocally with respect to divorce rights and obligations through the use of the referential noun “the like” and the relative pronoun “that (obligation) which”. This noun and pronoun thereby directly point to the 16 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication aforementioned divorce obligation upon women as the specific scope of the “degree”/“edge” in question: Women who are divorced have to wait for three monthly periods, and if they have faith in God and the Last Day, they must not hide unlawfully what God has formed within their wombs. Their husbands would do well to take them back in that case, if they wish to be reconciled. And for them [women] is the like (right) of that (obligation) which is upon them (in divorce) in a fair manner (with kindness) [bil-maʿrūfi], though men have an edge [darajatun] over them. And God is All-Mighty, All-Wise. (Quran 2:228) So what is this “edge” of rights over women with respect to divorce? Well, verse 2:228 indicates one possibility: women have the obligation (and hence men have an implied right) of a three month waiting period before consummating a divorce (or, for men, marrying such women already divorced) to verify whether they are pregnant or not. This is just biological common sense, since a woman will not definitively show her pregnancy until after the first trimester of pregnancy. It has nothing to do with any “superiority” of men over women whatsoever, since the waiting period is not even required if there have been no sexual relations prior to divorce (per Quran 33:49). Note how the overriding criterion of equity (not “superiority”) is made abundantly clear by basing this “edge” on the immediately preceding condition that it is for the purpose of divorcing “in a fair manner (with kindness) [bil-maʿrūfi]”. The waiting period is effectively a pre-divorce moral obligation upon men too, and not just women, so arguably even this is not an “edge” that men have. One could more persuasively argue that men have a different and distinct potential divorce “right” over women, and that is with respect to dowry and spousal support. Since it is only men who are obligated to pay these to women, and never vice-versa, it makes sense that they would at least have some “edge” in divorce rights to counterbalance this severe financial obligation. If not, perhaps Muslim men should be complaining of misandry due to a unilateral financial burden that is unconditional! If a man divorces a woman, he generally loses any right to contest the dowry that he committed to her per Quran 2:229 and Quran 4:20. However, only half is owing per Quran 2:237 if the marriage has not yet been consummated, which could be construed as a mutual/equal right. Moreover, both widowed and divorced women are normally entitled to spousal support after marriage per Quran 2:240-241 (i.e., above and beyond inheritance or dowry settlement), whereas men have no such entitlement. By contrast, if a woman divorces her husband unilaterally without cause or a man has substantial cause to initiate divorce, both marital gifts (i.e., dowry) and spousal support (per Quran 2:241) could be contested by her husband as part of the divorce process. This could happen, for example, in the case of marital fraud or a woman’s proven adultery. These contested divorce consequences parallel exactly the laws in most democratic countries today (e.g., around prenuptial contracts) and are simply based on common sense and universal justice, on a case by case basis. As verse 2:228 quoted above emphasizes, a divorce settlement “in a fair manner (with kindness) [bil-maʿrūfi]” is always the overriding criterion and why this “edge” is necessary. In other words, this safeguard against financial injustice is the only real 17 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication “edge” that men can have in divorce rights. It is the same “edge” that exists in modern democratic countries today after a premarital financial obligation is contracted by men upon marriage. But again, does this make men inherently “superior” in any way? Absolutely not. Again, it only applies to divorce – not during marriage – and all rights that can possibly be the same between men and women are equal. Moreover, the only reason men could have some edge in financial rights upon divorce is due to the unilateral financial obligation imposed upon them in the Quran, per verse 4:34, to be the “maintainers/providers” of their wives via dowry and spousal support. In other words, this “edge” of financial right over women in divorce is 100% offset by the same unilateral financial obligation that men incurred to initiate the marriage. Thus, there are no “superior” rights for men over women specified in the Quran whatsoever, particularly with respect to marriage and divorce taken as a whole. So if men are not generally “superior” to women, then why doesn’t the Quran just say so by clarifying women’s equality at the most fundamental moral level? Well, it does, and quite unequivocally: Oh mankind! Be conscious of your Lord, the One Who created you from a single soul, and created from it its mate. (Quran 4:1) [Although neuter genders are clearly implied here given the context of a “single soul”, it is interesting to note that “soul” and “it”/”its” are actually a feminine noun and pronoun, respectively, and “mate” is masculine. This ironically turns the Biblical narrative completely upside down, where – by contrast – the first physical female was purportedly created from the first physical male.] The Lord heard their prayer and answered: “I will not let the good deeds of any among you go to waste, whether male or female. Each of you is from [equal to] the other.” (Quran 3:195) Whoever leads a righteous life, whether male or female, while having faith, they will enter Paradise, and they will not be wronged (even as much as) a speck on a date seed. (Quran 4:124; very similar wording appears in Quran 4:40 too) Whoever leads a righteous life, whether male or female, while having faith, We will surely grant them a good life in this world, and We will surely pay them their full recompense (on the Day of Judgment) for their righteous works. (Quran 16:97) Indeed, the Muslim men and the Muslim women, and the men who have faith and the women who have faith, and the truly devout men and the truly devout women, and the truthful men and the truthful women, and the patient men and the patient women, and the humble men and the humble women, and the men who give charity and the women who give charity, and the men who fast and the women who fast, and the men who guard their modesty and the women who guard (their modesty), and the men who remember God much and the women who remember (God much), God Has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward. (Quran 33:35)

18 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication 6. But Aren’t Men at least Superior as “Protectors” of Women per Verse 4:34? What about the QWM root word in verse 4:34 that is often translated as “protectors” (qawwāmūna) at the very beginning of the verse? This root is used very extensively in the Quran – an overwhelming 660 times, to be exact. However, not even in one other instance is it normally translated as “protect”, “protector”, etc., let alone as “superior to”, which has absolutely no support whatsoever. If it can be translated by implication as “protector”, it would only be in the sense of financial protector, since the only context in verse 4:34 here, which explicitly defines this term, is with respect to wealth inherited and wealth required to be spent by men on behalf of women. The overwhelming relevant meaning of the QWM root in the Quran implies keeping “upright”, “standing firm” or “established”, including to “sustain/maintain”. The English idiom, “standing on one’s own two feet”, is directly comparable here with respect to firm financial “standing” – in other words, after “establishing” oneself and one’s family with a home and sufficient wealth. This is why the only logical meaning in the financial context of this verse is “maintainers/providers”, not “protectors”. And keep in mind that it is the women who are being kept “upright”/”maintained”/”provided for” by men. It is not the men who are “standing firm” and “upright”, as if standing like a statue to guard and “protect” against some alleged, random attack! Traditional scholarship on the Quran essentially describes a primitive caveman interpretation of verse 4:34, which invokes the unsupportable muscleman "protector" role of men. This is nothing more than medieval-era propaganda presented as an appealing, yet anachronistic, "faux obligation" upon men to make it more palatable to women. The true propaganda purpose here was – and still is – to transform that seemingly magnanimous muscleman "obligation" into its exact opposite: a dictatorial right. What dictatorial right could that be? Well, the supposed "right" of men to be "in charge of", “managers of” or “overseers of” women! Believe it or not, those phrases are actually considered by many to be mainstream translations of the QWM root word here. The absurdity of this caveman "protector" (i.e., dictator/controller) role is made even more ironic in the traditional interpretation, whereby this same "protector" is given the "right" – in the very same verse, no less – to "beat" the woman he is supposedly "protecting"! 7. The Historical Context of Verse 4:34 There are no hadiths on the historical context in which verse 4:34 was revealed. There is only an alleged incident referenced in a couple of 13th century commentaries, one by Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi in his Tafsir al-Kabir and another by Al-Qurtubi in his Tafsir al-Qurtubi. It supposedly links back to someone named al-Hasan al-Basri, but this was not even a companion of Muhammad. Therefore, this second-hand report roughly half a millennium later has effectively no reliability. That said, the gist of the story is that verse 4:34 was revealed in connection with a woman who complained to Muhammad that her husband slapped her on the face (which was still marked by the slap) after saying she wanted to leave him (implying nushuz). At first Muhammad said to her: “Get even 19 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication with him” (i.e., per the qisas provisions of Quran 5:45, 16:126, 42:40, etc. allowing equal retaliation as punishment), but then added, “Wait until I think about it.” Later on, verse 4:34 was supposedly revealed, after which Muhammad said: “I willed something, but Allah willed something better.” Regardless of the outcome, even in this story, Muhammad condemned beating so much that his first and only reaction was to demand qisas for it! There is no elaboration on what ultimately happened in this particular case in terms of punishment or forgiveness of the man. However, what this story is directly implying is that the correct response to nushuz should never be beating, but what verses 4:34-35 actually say: 1) talking to one’s wife persuasively (so that she doesn’t want to abandon the marriage), then 2) leaving her alone in bed, then 3) formally separating, and finally 4) divorce if inter-family arbitration fails. In other words, this story is simply emphasizing the best solution to domestic violence. That solution is not just to react to it after the fact, but to do “something better”, which is to prevent it from happening at all. It does so by placing a powerful moral obligation squarely upon men to increasingly remove themselves from their wives when verbal reconciliation fails, rather than try to coerce a reconciliation via beating.

III.

TREATMENT OF WOMEN UPON MARITAL BREAKDOWN IN ISLAM

1. Verses 65:1-2 Implicitly Command Men to Separate (Depart) upon Marital Breakdown Verses 65:1-2 implicitly proves that the Quran commands separation by men into separate homes upon marital breakdown, even before the finalization of divorce: When you [Muslim men] divorce [TLQ root] women, divorce [TLQ] them for their waiting period and keep count of the waiting period, and be conscious of God, your Lord. Do not expel them from their homes [buyūtihinnas, feminine plural], nor should they [themselves] leave (during that period) unless they have committed open sexual obscenity [bifāḥishatin mubayyinatin = “fahisha mubina”, as discussed below]. And those are the limits (set by) God. And whoever transgresses the limits of God has certainly wronged himself. You know not. Perhaps God will bring about after that (separation) a (different) situation/reunion [i.e., reconciliation before separation/divorce becomes final]. Then when they have reached their term, (either) retain them with kindness (in a fair manner) [bimaʿrūfin] or part with them with kindness (in a fair manner) [bimaʿrūfin]. (Quran 65:1-2) Separation is actually an intrinsic part of a tentative or phased “divorce” process per verses 2:228-229, 65:1 and other verses. A “divorce” starts with an agreed pronouncement and separation, followed by a second pronouncement later during this separation. It then finishes at the end of a three month separation (waiting period), upon which a third and final agreement to divorce is pronounced to finalize it irrevocably. This is described per verse 2:229:

20 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication The divorce (is pronounced) twice. Then retain (them) in a fair manner (with kindness) [bimaʿrūfin] or release (them) with kindness [bi-iḥ'sānin]. And (it is) not lawful for you [men] to take (back) whatever you have given them (of) anything, except if both fear that they cannot keep the limits of God. (Quran 2:229) This is where the English translation is a bit confusing. In English, a “divorce” can only imply after the divorce is finalized. However, in Islam it also includes the period of separation prior to the actual divorce finalization but after the first agreed pronouncement of divorce. Separation prior to this first agreement to divorce would also be common, as it is throughout the world today. Therefore, the total period of separation could likely be more than three months in total prior to divorce finalization. Note that verse 65:1 explicitly refers to marital homes as their (wives’) homes given that a feminine possessive pronoun is used here. Unlike German, but like French, Arabic has no separate neuter gender, so masculine gender forms can equally imply a neuter gender. The same applies to plurals, where masculine plural could equally imply a mix of both genders. By contrast, as in this verse, feminine singular and feminine plural gender forms can only imply the feminine gender in Arabic. Therefore, "their homes" is unequivocally referring to the wives’ homes here. Verse 65:1 further makes it clear that women cannot be forced out of their homes or even be the ones who should be expected to leave their homes. It is the husband who is obligated to leave as part of the standard separation and divorce process. Nearly half (9 out of 19) of the verb usages of the TLQ root in the Quran mean to “leave”, “set forth” or “depart” when used generically and not in the context of marital breakdown. The other ten verb usages are generally translated as “divorce” given that they are explicitly in a divorce context. Based on the non-marital contexts of the TLQ root and the explicit command for women to remain in the marital home upon divorce, it is abundantly clear that the Quran is commanding men to depart the home upon marital breakdown when it uses the phrase “When you [Muslim men] divorce [TLQ = depart from] women” in verse 65:1 above. This, as we shall see, is also the explicit command of verse 4:34. Therefore, instead of being an alleged right of men per the Quran, divorce – quite ironically – is actually an obligation upon men (to depart) when there is an irreconcilable marital breakdown. Note also how verse 65:1 ties in to the prior step of verse 4:34, where it is again the husband who is obligated to leave the wife alone in her bed prior to the separation step. The word used in verse 4:34 here (uh'jurūhunna) is the HJR root, meaning “emigrate from them” or “leave them” (as in the more well-known word “Hijra”). Clearly, “leave them” is more appropriate than “emigrate from them” here given the full phrase “leave them [feminine pronoun] (alone) in bed”. Complete separation in different homes is simply the next logical step after partial separation within the same home by not sharing the same bed. As an aside, yet another example of the flagrant misogyny in the mistranslations of verse 4:34 is converting the obligation of men to leave women alone in bed into a right to “banish them” (e.g., Pickthall and Arberry) or to “remove them” (e.g., Palmer, Rodwell, and Sale). Such repugnant distortions 21 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication of words into their exact opposite meaning is the height of either total incompetence or extreme hatred of women. In other words, verses 4:34-35 are merely outlining an increasing progression of separation – by men from women – after the step of speaking persuasively to one’s wife fails and marital breakdown ensues: 1) sleeping in separate beds, 2) living in separate homes, and 3) permanent separation via divorce if inter-family arbitration also fails. These are the same common-sense steps naturally followed in all modern cultures. These steps also coincide with the additional steps to finalize a divorce per the Quran, where divorce is agreed and pronounced three times with a significant space of time (usually a month or more) between each one, which again allows time for a possible reconciliation at any stage in the process. Again, the same theme of gradual, increasing separation is clear throughout the entire process, from marital breakdown through final divorce. The Quran repeatedly exhorts reconciliation, arbitration and time to reflect during this gradual separation process to allow the maximum opportunity to avoid divorce. This is what makes it so shockingly incongruous to throw in an alleged step implying physical coercion and ‘in-your-face’ abuse to save a marriage, which entirely contradicts this overall theme in the Quran. As we shall see later on, the DRB root word always has an implied meaning of separation while generally maintaining at least some connection, however tenuous, partial or virtual. The root for divorce (TLQ), by contrast, implies a complete “breach” or “split” (as described in verse 4:35), where all connections have been (or will soon be) completely broken or fully severed. 2. Verses 65:6-7 Explicitly Command Men to Lodge Divorced Women in the Marital Home Clearly, after divorce, it simply makes no sense for ex-spouses to continue to live in the same home. Although several Quran translations actually imply an absurd post-divorce cohabitation to avoid contradicting their misogynistic interpretations elsewhere, this is simply not true. Verse 65:1, discussed above, already makes this clear. And the correct translation of verses 65:6-7 makes this explicitly clear: Lodge them [askinūhunna = SKN root, masculine plural imperative verb form and feminine plural pronoun] from where you [as husbands] lodged [sakantum = SKN root, masculine plural perfect form] out of your means. And (do) not injure/harm them [tuḍārrūhunna = DRR root, feminine plural pronoun] (in order) to distress them. And if they are pregnant, then spend on them until they deliver their burden. Then if they suckle [take care of the child] for you, then give them their (child support) payment. And consult among yourselves (as ex-spouses) with kindness (in a fair manner) [bimaʿrūfin], but if you disagree, then another woman may suckle [take care of] the child. Let spend the owner of ample means (for his children and divorced wife), and (he) who is restricted in his provisions, let him spend from what he has been given by God. God does not burden any soul except (with) what He has given it. God will bring about ease after hardship. (Quran 65:6-7) 22 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication The key phrase to note in this verse is "Lodge them [askinūhunna = SKN root, masculine plural imperative verb form and feminine plural pronoun] from where you [as husbands] lodged [sakantum = SKN root, masculine plural perfect form]”. Although some translations use the present tense “lodge” in the second instance of the SKN root word here, this is categorically incorrect. Given that the perfect verb tense is used here, this means that this lodging by ex-husbands in the marital home is now complete, i.e., finished! In other words, ex-husbands must now find a new home, and they are told to pay for any extra lodging cost “out of your means”. Note also the use of the imperative verb tense in the first instance of the SKN root word, thereby implying a command by God (to ex-husbands) to allow divorced women to remain lodged in the marital home. Moreover, note how this lodging obligation upon men for their divorced wives extends at a minimum through an entire pregnancy and with no implication that divorced wives must ever find another home. Given that a pregnancy is nine months and the waiting period before finalization of divorce is only three months, this means that divorced women remain in their marital homes even after the finalization of divorce, and indefinitely beyond. After all, as verse 65:1 above makes clear, the marital homes are “their homes [feminine plural]”. Note also how verses 65:6-7 reiterate the obligation upon men (similar to verses 2:240-241 and others) to provide for their divorced wives and children with spousal/child support. The Quran also emphasizes that men who have more means must provide more spousal/child support in proportion to those means. At the end of this clear obligation imposed upon ex-husbands, the Quran emphasizes fairness, provides hope, and acknowledges how heavy and difficult this “hardship” is upon them: “God does not burden any soul except (with) what He has given it. God will bring about ease after hardship”. Finally, there is one more critical phrase in verse 65:6. It not only supports the “separate (from)” DRB root interpretation, but it also categorically condemns the alternative “beat them” interpretation: “And (do) not injure/harm them [tuḍārrūhunna = DRR root, feminine plural pronoun] (in order) to distress them.” Note how this verse is prohibiting men from taking any harmful action, physical or otherwise, against their divorced wives, both before and after finalization of divorce. The complete absurdity of a DRB root word interpretation permitting, let alone commanding, a man to beat his wife to “save a marriage” is unequivocal in light of this verse. This message of the Quran is elaborated upon further in the next section, where this prohibition upon men harming their wives prior to finalization of divorce is made exceedingly clear via yet another verse. 3. Verse 2:231 Directly Contradicts “Beat” Translation in Verse 4:34 to Resolve Marital Conflict Verse 2:231 provides still more critical context around what the relationship between husband and wife should be like in cases of marital separation after the divorce process has been initiated but before the divorce is finalized upon the expiration of the standard waiting period:

23 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication And when you divorce women and they are about to reach their term, either retain them with kindness (in a fair manner) [bimaʿrūfin] or release them with kindness (in a fair manner) [bimaʿrūfin], and hold them not back by injuring/harming [ḍirāran = DRR root] (them) so that you commit aggression [litaʿtadū = EDW root]. And whoever does that has certainly wronged himself. And do not take the verses of God in jest. And remember the favor of God upon you and what has been revealed to you of the Book and wisdom by which He instructs you. And be conscious of God and know that God is the All-Knower of everything. (Quran 2:231) Note that this verse also applies when a woman initiates the divorce. So if a woman wants a divorce, her husband is prohibited from injuring, harming, hurting or being aggressive with her in any way to force a reconciliation. However, according to the common but incorrect translation of verse 4:34, it would be permissible for the husband to beat his wife to force a reconciliation according to his terms, as long as she still wants to be married! This begs the ironic question of how beating a woman could ever be effective in saving a marriage if a woman is so tremendously incented to terminate the beating immediately (as verse 2:231 explicitly requires) simply by initiating the termination of her marriage. Even more absurd, the proponents of the “beating” interpretation always like to emphasize that “beating is the method of last resort” to resolve a marital conflict. Yet in the case of the most extreme and final marital conflict – imminent finalization of divorce – harming or aggressively coercing one’s wife in any way as “a method of last resort” is strictly prohibited according to all common interpretations and translations of verse 2:231. Where there is extreme error in interpretation, such as in the misogynistic translation of verse 4:34, extreme irony and contradiction are sure to follow. Such is clearly the case here – and, as we shall soon see, in many more cases to follow. If you dig deeper behind these ironies and contradictions, what you will inevitably find are logical fallacies. I’ve already shown several of these above as part of the contextual analysis, but there are more generic logical fallacies that come into play as well. These are often much more difficult to shake off, especially for Muslims. So before we continue with the factdriven analysis, let’s examine some of these generic logical fallacies that are desperate to support a contextual meaning of “beat them” in verse 4:34 in spite of the factual context to the contrary.

IV.

GENERIC LOGICAL FALLACIES OFTEN INVOKED 1. Ad Verecundiam, Ad Populum, and Ad Antiquitatem Fallacies to Support “Beating” Women

As discussed in section II.1 above, a shocking 40 out of 50 English translations of the Quran endorse some synonym of “beat” for the DRB root word in verse 4:34. There will be many who reject the factbased analysis of verse 4:34 because of nothing more than scholarly tradition, “which couldn’t possibly be so wrong”. Some may even be more nuanced in their appeal to “respected authorities” (ad vericundiam) or “common knowledge” (ad populum) by asking, “Why have Islamic scholars always held

24 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication that this word means ‘beat’, and why is it only in recent times (when domestic violence has supposedly ceased to be ‘acceptable’) that we now have some Muslims reinterpreting scripture?” I will examine the “reinterpreting scripture” claim in the next section. As for why so called “scholars” and popular opinion historically gravitated to the “beat” interpretation, do I really have to answer such an obvious question? How about my own questions in response to clarify the obvious: How many of those “scholars” were women? How many of those “scholars” lived in societies not dominated by males? No matter how one states or restates them, ad verecundiam and ad populum arguments are complete fallacies, which make them irrelevant. An even more insidious variation on the “appeal to tradition” fallacy of argumentum ad vericundiam in traditional Islamic scholarship is the argumentum ad antiquitatem fallacy. This latter fallacy runs so deep and shamelessly through traditional Islamic scholarship that it is not an exaggeration to assert that the entire edifice of such “scholarship” rests proudly upon it. These two fallacies are very similar, but not always the same. The authorities being appealed to in this latter fallacy are not just highly respected, but revered since antiquity. They are therefore considered to have been in possession of special knowledge that is simply no longer available to us “lesser mortals”. In other words, we must be forever beholden and enslaved to the “uncontestable” thoughts of men from antiquity. Once again, understanding this historical scholarship context is extremely important to understanding the traditional contextual analysis of verse 4:34, and why this “scholarship” has remained wrong for so very long. For Sunni Muslims (roughly 85% of all Muslims) and even other sects, this logical fallacy is not just implicit or descriptive of their doctrine, but explicitly prescriptive. This fallacy is literally institutionalized as unimpeachable truth in a broadly accepted tradition called taqlid. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taqlid and the external links on this page for a broad overview. One scholar perhaps defined taqlid best and most succinctly as “to take the statement of someone without knowing the evidence” – in other words, blind obedience to traditional interpretations of “elite” male scholars from antiquity. Shockingly, the Quran explicitly forbids blind obedience (see the quotations below as just two examples) and the elevation of any intermediary “scholars” as special interpreters of the Quran. Invoking such intermediaries is rebuked in the Quran as a form of polytheism or idolatry (see Quran 9:31 as yet another example). Yet this has not stopped such an anti-Islamic logical fallacy from becoming deeply embedded within the most mainstream sect of Muslims (Sunnis), and even within other sects to a large extent as well. The opposite of taqlid is ijtihad, which means “independent reasoning and analysis”. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ijtihad for a broad overview on that topic. Once upon a time, ijtihad was the predominant view of what Muslims should be doing, which puts the onus of scholarship upon every Muslim, since each person is accountable as an individual in Islam, never as a group. In fact, the Quran puts this burden squarely upon every Muslim to be a scholar of the Quran, which the Quran states is the only source of Scripture in Islam: 25 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication It is not (permitted) for any human being unto whom God has given the Scripture and wisdom and the prophethood that he should afterwards say unto mankind, “Worship [or revere] me beside God”; but rather (he should) say, “Be scholars of your Lord by virtue of your constant teaching of the Scripture and of your constant study thereof.” And he will not command you that you should take the angels and the prophets for lords. Would he command you to reject (God) [bil-kuf'ri] after you have become Muslims? (Quran 3:79-80) Shall I seek other than God as a source of Law, when He revealed this Book [Quran] fully detailed? Those to whom We gave the Book know that it is sent down from your Lord in truth, so do not be among the ones who doubt. The word of your Lord is complete in truth and justice. Nothing shall abrogate His words. He is the All-Hearer, the Omniscient. Yet, if you obey the majority of people, they will take you away from the path of God. That is because they follow conjecture, and they fail to think. (Quran 6:114-116) However, once the historical documents riddled with contradictions and errors known as “hadiths” became elevated to the status of “Scripture” by Sunnis and others, immense conflicts over man-made jurisprudence (fiqh) naturally developed. Hadiths is a topic for another analysis entirely, but I think it is important to highlight the root cause of all these schisms. These schisms became so great and debilitating that taqlid became an attractive and powerful stopgap measure enforced by powerful “Muslim” rulers to prevent further schisms. As a result, such rulers – many of whom were politically ruthless – commissioned “scholars” to produce interpretations (fatwas) that rubber-stamped the “officially correct” version of Islam. Torturous punishments for heresy and apostasy (i.e., political dissension) suddenly became official “Islamic doctrine” to exert autocratic control over the citizenry. False justifications for the very profitable slave trade, misogyny, political and economic empire building, etc. were also made official “Islamic doctrine”. The list goes on and on – in spite of the fact that the Quran explicitly contradicts all of these practices, as independent reasoning and analysis clearly demonstrate. The fanatical, politically-motivated doctrine of taqlid thus took hold during the medieval era after hadiths were recorded, which was over a quarter millennium after Muhammad. Then this so-called “Islamic doctrine” gradually hardened until it became nearly frozen by 1500 CE, around the end of the medieval era. Since this time, as many scholars have described the history of “Islamic scholarship”, “the doors to ijtihad (independent reasoning) have been closed”. Thus it is not Islam that needs reform, but rather Muslims, who need to discard all of this medieval political sludge heaped on top of the Quran, especially when this sludge comes from “scholars” who were commissioned by tyrants. Hadiths can still be valuable historical documents that shouldn’t be discarded entirely. In fact, they can help explain and validate the message of the Quran without creating new law or abrogating the Quran in any way, as I have demonstrated herein. The same can be said of learning tools like etymological dictionaries, books on Arabic grammar, and historical documents beyond hadiths. Unfortunately, the 26 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication grave mistake Muslims have made since the medieval era is in elevating these extremely flawed hadith narrations to the status of “Scripture”. They are absolutely nothing of the sort, as the Quran makes clear. I will cover this in a separate analysis, since this is beyond the scope here. That said, let me just dive into one example to illustrate my point with respect to common logical fallacies. One medieval mullah that both Islamophobes and Muslim zealots love to quote is Ibn Kathir (1301-1373). I have no doubt that a lot of Ibn Kathir’s analysis regarding politically non-controversial topics is reasonably accurate and, at times, even very insightful. Citing all these examples of great insight on non-controversial matters is what often allows others to stack a halo effect fallacy on top of the ad antiquitatem fallacy. However, it is Ibn Kathir’s political (including social-engineering) interpretations that are most often quoted, especially by Islamophobes. And these are the ones that have been compromised most severely by the oppressive forces that commissioned him. Ibn Kathir, like most of these medieval “scholars”, was not just a passively influenced observer, but an active participant in political oppression, which he then whitewashed as “Islamic”. To prove his political mettle upon the completion of his studies, Ibn Kathir obtained his first official appointment in 1341, when he joined an Inquisitorial commission formed to determine (and prosecute) certain questions of heresy. “Muslim” rulers followed the example of many “Christian” rulers in the medieval era by setting up institutionalized extra-judicial persecutions (and killings) for “heresy” (i.e., “Inquisitions”) as a means of political control and theocratic conformity. It seems Ibn Kathir was quite willing to participate in this persecution and oppression by taking a leadership role on the state’s Heresy Commission. As a result, he earned very favorable political appointments and commissions after this initial jumpstart to his career, including a prestigious professorial position at the Great Mosque of Damascus. Hence it is his work that survives to this day, unlike the works of many other Muslims that were not sponsored by a powerful tyrant. Therefore, the grand irony is that it is this Heresy Inquisitor’s work – financed on the payroll of a tyrant – that is revered to this day as an uncontestable source of “Islamic” interpretation! It is high time that this irrational and repugnant ad antiquitatem fallacy be discarded. Genuine independent thinking and fact-based analysis must begin once again, after nearly a millennium of medieval ossification. We need to thoroughly analyze all the facts on this topic (and many others) from scratch. But above all, we need to let the Quran speak for itself, first and foremost. The Quran is the only official interpreter of itself, and it is the only ultimate source in defining words of questionable modern meaning. After all, tafsir (interpretation) of the Quran by the Quran is universally considered the most reliable tafsir method of all. This, in short, is the approach that I am following in all of my analysis herein. Opinions in general are totally irrelevant in a debate. Only the facts and logic matter. Erroneous or unsupported English translations are no different. They are not facts. They are just bald opinions without analytical support. The only real text of the Quran is in Arabic, so all translations must comply with the factually and logically supported meaning of the original Arabic words, which I further analyze

27 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication below. Appealing to the bald authority of someone else’s translation or opinion is nothing but a logical fallacy, and all such claims are hereby rejected as being totally irrelevant. Facts matter. Fatwas don’t. 2. The Critical Etymological Fallacy to Support “Beating” Women Unfortunately, appealing to various “respected scholars” making bald claims does not qualify as a valid argument. But more important, the claim that “beat” is not correct only because of modern popular “reinterpretation” is completely backwards. Projecting a much more modern definition over a word’s original intended meaning is what is called an etymological fallacy. For more information on this critical fallacy, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etymological_fallacy. It is this fallacy that has been invoked with utter abandon with respect to the DRB root, as we shall see below. There are six classical Arabic dictionaries that I am aware of. Five of these six are well into the medieval period or beyond. Only one, Kitab al Ayn, which is still well over 100 years past the time of Muhammad, is more recent. In this dictionary, no entries for the DRB root mean simply "to hit/strike", as in more modern dictionaries. There is only an indirect reference to possibly hitting or striking with a sword, which I address fully below in my discussion of this root in the Quran (see analysis below on verse 8:12). Denotations of many words naturally change and evolve over time. However, under sociopolitical pressure, denotations of some pivotal words used in the Quran can change even more given that the Quran itself is unchangeable. In other words, in order to achieve the necessary sociopolitical legitimacy from religion (e.g., with respect to the status of women), language itself must be redefined to fit the desired sociopolitical interpretation. After all, what better way is there for a tyrant to subjugate his people? By officially redefining just one word via the many mullahs on his payroll, he can falsely legitimize one half of the population beating the other half into submission on his behalf. The tyrant then gets the bonus of giving the first half (the men, who are often too busy struggling to survive) the tyrannical illusion that they are the ones in political control. Per Newton’s laws of force and motion, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The same applies to etymology in terms of how language gradually (and sometimes quickly) absorbs sustained political and social pressures. To demonstrate this evolution, one should take note of the many pages in Lane’s Lexicon on the DRB root (vs. less than one page for most other words). This is a clear symptom of the root’s politically conflicted evolution during the medieval era and beyond, not a sign of its original consistent meaning per the Quran, as we will discover below. 3. The Guilt by Association Fallacy – The Last Recourse and #1 Islamophobia Propaganda Ploy This is the most pathetic generic fallacy of all, but it is used extensively in Islamophobia propaganda. Islam is supposedly guilty of being the cause of social problem X merely because social problem X can be prevalent in some Muslim-majority countries. Even if this were not a logical fallacy, and domestic 28 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication violence were not a worldwide issue, it presumes that the popularity of “beat” as an interpretation of verse 4:34 is in dispute. It isn’t, as I clearly highlighted above. Domestic violence truly is a pandemic, worldwide problem. For some basic statistics, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidemiology_of_domestic_violence. For example, one out of every three women in the U.S. has been physically assaulted by an intimate partner, and approximately 1.3 million women are physically assaulted each year in the U.S. And in India, where the dowry goes in the opposite direction (from women to men) vs. Islam (from men to women), around 70% of women are victims of domestic violence. Per this link, “a ‘bride burning’ occurs every two hours in India because the woman had a small dowry or to allow her husband to remarry.” When Islamophobia points the finger at “Islam” as the root cause of domestic violence, it degrades the millions of victims that have no connection to Islam whatsoever. It also ignores the underlying a priori motives by focusing on the post-facto justification. Of course, Muslims could just as easily play the same propaganda game with the same or similar guilt by association buzz words. Since all domestic violence involves an ego-damaged reaction, we could just as well assert that about 1,200 women per year are “honor-killed” in the U.S. by their intimate male partner, and 1.3 million women per year in the U.S. suffer from “honor violence”. But does this help solve the problem? Of course not.

V.

SUNNAH OF MUHAMMAD 1. Sunnah Supported by Hadiths

Now that we have looked at verse 4:34 and the surrounding context of that verse, let’s take a close look at Muhammad's behavior with his wives and others (his “sunnah”) to determine how he implemented verse 4:34 in his life and how he viewed the beating of others. Here are some quotes: Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "On the Day of Rising, retaliation will be taken from anyone who gives a beating." (Al-Mufrad 9:185) While some Ethiopians were playing in the presence of the Prophet, `Umar came in, picked up a stone and hit them with it. On that the Prophet (pbuh) said, "O `Umar! Allow them (to play)." Ma`mar (the subnarrator) added that they were playing in the Mosque. (Bukhari 52:150) How does anyone of you beat his wife as he beats the stallion camel and then he may embrace (sleep with) her? (Bukhari 73:68, quoting Muhammad) A'isha reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) never beat anyone with his hand, neither a woman nor a servant, but only in the case when he had been

29 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication fighting in the cause of Allah, and he never took revenge for anything unless the things made inviolable by Allah were made violable. (Muslim 30:5756) If the sunnah above is not clear enough, below is one hadith where Muhammad strongly advised a woman not to accept – for that reason alone – the proposal of a man who has been known to beat women, even though it appears that she wanted to marry him above two other suitors that she disliked. Reluctantly, she agreed to take Muhammad’s advice to marry the more pious of the other two instead, and she was extremely grateful that she did so, saying that she even became the envy of other women: Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said to me: When your period of 'Idda is over, inform me. So I informed him. (By that time) Mu'awiya, Abu Jahm and Usama b. Zaid had given her the proposal of marriage. Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said: So far as Mu'awiya is concerned, he is a poor man without any property. So far as Abu Jahm is concerned, he is a great beater of women, but Usama b. Zaid ... She pointed with her hand (that she did not approve of the idea of marrying Usama). But Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said: Obedience to Allah and obedience to His Messenger is better for thee. She said: So I married him, and I became an object of envy. (Muslim 9:3526) Muhammad was so adamant against the beating of women that he stopped his closest companion and successor, Abu Bakr, from hitting Aisha (Abu Bakr’s daughter and the wife of Muhammad) when Abu Bakr entered their home to find her arguing loudly with Muhammad. Muhammad even did this at the expense of causing a serious rift between himself and Abu Bakr, which they eventually mended a few days later, per this same hadith: When Abu Bakr asked the permission of the Prophet (pbuh) to come in, he heard Aisha speaking in a loud voice. So when he entered, he caught hold of her in order to slap her, and said: Do I see you raising your voice to the Messenger of Allah? The Prophet (pbuh) began to prevent him and Abu Bakr went out angry. The Prophet (pbuh) said [to Aisha] when Abu Bakr went out: You see, I rescued you from the man. Abu Bakr waited for some days, then asked permission of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) to enter, and found that they had made peace with each other. He said to them: Bring me into your peace as you brought me into your war. The Prophet (pbuh) said: We have done so – we have done so. (Abu Dawud 42:4981) Notice how Abu Bakr so vividly and explicitly described Aisha’s loud arguments against Muhammad as “war” before he reconciled with him, indicating that he had witnessed an extremely heated argument. If Muhammad’s own wife could argue with Muhammad himself in such an extremely heated fashion – without any fear of any physical correction – then what sort of sunnah example should that set for Muslims today, and for how we interpret verse 4:34? And how much greater is that sunnah example when Muhammad steps in to completely stop any physical correction against his wife by her own father at the most heated moment of her “war”-like argument against Muhammad? Wouldn’t it have been a lot easier to welcome Aisha’s father as an ally on his side if he didn’t believe Aisha had the right to argue with him so strongly? But yet he didn’t – he defended Aisha instead, 100%. And that is the whole point.

30 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication 2. Aisha’s Lost Necklace Incident and the Questioning of Burayra Some hagiographic devotees of “the companions of the Prophet” might argue that Abu Bakr would never really have hit his daughter. However, according to another hadith, he did, and painfully so. The WKZ root, which is actually used in the Quran and discussed in a later section below, is used in this hadith too. This root definitely and unambiguously means to physically strike someone else, generally unilaterally. The well-known incident being referred to in this hadith occurred after Aisha lost her necklace and went back to look for it. No one realized she was missing until long after the caravan left without her. This caused a very significant, aggravating delay and put much of the caravan at risk in returning to look for her due to their lack of any accessible water supply on their desert journey. Moreover, this almost caused the whole group to miss their prayers, and there was not even water available for ablution, which was the occasion on which the verse of dry/symbolic ablution (tayyammum, Quran 5:6) was revealed (per Bukhari 72:770, 65:4583, etc.). This is the context for the harsh reaction of Aisha’s father, Abu Bakr: Narrated Aisha: Abu Bakr came towards me and struck me violently [WKZ root] with his fist and said, "You have detained the people because of your necklace." But I remained motionless as if I were dead lest I should awake Allah's Messenger (pbuh) although that hit was very painful. (Bukhari 82:828, and almost identical per Bukhari 60:132) What is ironic about Islamophobes citing this verse supporting the “beat” interpretation is that it actually supports exactly the opposite interpretation. It shows once again how much against the grain of seventh century culture Muhammad truly was. When you put this hadith in the context of the prior hadith, it is easy to understand why Aisha “remained motionless as if I were dead lest I should awake Allah’s Messenger” even though “that hit was very painful”. She wasn’t just being polite to keep him from temporarily stirring awake, which she was successful in doing per other hadiths (Muhammad didn’t wake up again until the morning). She was desperately trying to keep her husband from learning what her father did to her, since Muhammad clearly did not approve of her father using any physical force against Aisha, per the hadith above. In other words, the only “sunnah” that can possibly be derived from this hadith is one of strong objection to beating given the extreme lengths to which Aisha went to hide her pain in silence from Muhammad, who remained sleeping right next to her. Incidentally, another Bukhari hadith on this incident expands on the context and describes the hit by Aisha’s father as “[he] hit me on my flank [not ‘chest’, as above] with his hand”, which is a significant discrepancy that calls into question the accuracy of both reports. On the other hand, both make it abundantly clear that this was still physically painful for Aisha and that she did her best to avoid making any sound or movement to wake Muhammad, who remained sleeping until he “got up when dawn broke” the next day (thereby implying no possible implication of “sunnah” approval): Narrated `Aisha (the wife of the Prophet): We set out with Allah's Messenger (pbuh) on one of his journeys till we reached Al- Baida' or Dhatul-Jaish, a necklace of mine was broken (and lost). Allah's Messenger (pbuh) stayed there to search for it, and so did the people along with him. 31 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication There was no water at that place, so the people went to Abu- Bakr As-Siddiq and said, "Don't you see what `Aisha has done? She has made Allah's Apostle and the people stay where there is no water and they have no water with them." Abu Bakr came while Allah's Messenger (pbuh) was sleeping with his head on my thigh. He said, to me: "You have detained Allah's Messenger (pbuh) and the people where there is no water and they have no water with them. So he admonished me and said what Allah wished him to say and hit me on my flank with his hand. Nothing prevented me from moving (because of pain) but the position of Allah's Messenger (pbuh) on my thigh. Allah's Messenger (pbuh) got up when dawn broke and there was no water. So Allah revealed the Divine Verses of Tayammum. So they all performed Tayammum. Usaid bin Hudair said, "O the family of Abu Bakr! This is not the first blessing of yours." Then the camel on which I was riding was caused to move from its place and the necklace was found beneath it. (Bukhari 7:330) But this is not the only fact from this incident that Islamophobes and misogynists cite in their fanatical zeal to legitimize violence against women in Islam. There is another, this time not from hadiths, but from the Sira of Ibn Ishaq (704-770 CE est.). This work was transcribed and edited via his students, and then via Ibn Hisham (died 833 CE) and al-Tabari (839-923 CE) who preserved the only recorded versions roughly 200 years after Muhammad. These two sources, in turn, were combined (generally using Ibn Hisham’s version as the base), further edited, and then translated into English by Alfred Guillaume (1888-1966), which is the version that virtually all English speakers quote today. Unlike hadiths, there is almost never any validation of Sira stories via authenticated chains of narration, and Ibn Ishaq would often record conflicting accounts of the same incident, to which he would just say, “God knows best”, and move on. With that background, here is the quotation of the full paragraph in question from Guillaume’s translation, narrated apparently via Aisha: As for ‘Ali he said: “Women are plentiful, and you can easily change one for another. Ask the slave girl, for she will tell you the truth.” So the apostle called Burayra [also spelled Birara and Buraira] to ask her, and ‘Ali got up and [then] gave her a violent beating, saying “Tell the apostle the truth,” to which she replied, “I know only good of her. The only fault I have to find with Aisha is that when I am kneading dough and tell her to watch it she neglects it and falls asleep and the sheep (Tabari: ‘pet lamb’) comes and eats it!” (Ibn Ishaq’s Sira, translated via A. Guillaume, p. 496) The key clause in this verse is bolded, after which virtually all quotations by Islamophobes stop. The reason for this coincidental truncation will be addressed later below. However, let’s focus for now on the key phrase, “[then] gave her a violent beating”, which comes from the Arabic “fa daraba [DRB root] darabun [DRB root] shadeedun”. It is not a surprise that the same DRB root word comes up again here, but it oddly comes up twice, not once as the translator implies. If we take this root to mean “separate (from)” or, more colloquially, “pulled aside”, this could be translated roughly as “[Ali then] pulled her aside, a strong pulling aside”. Ali could have done this to emphasize in private how important it was for her to tell the truth before she 32 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication took center stage to speak to everyone. Alternatively, perhaps when Muhammad “called Burayra”, he was doing so via Ali, who may have went out to retrieve her per Ali’s suggestion. In this case, Burayra would have been somewhere else and likely with someone else, so Ali would have separated her from what she was doing or who she was with to comply with Muhammad’s request. This is one theory that could innocuously explain this story. Another theory is that the DRB root word actually does mean “beat”, given that this connotation was already in use at the time this story was recorded in writing, per the version we have today. However, following upon the prior theory, perhaps Ali did this “beating” privately before Burayra entered the room upon retrieving her from outside the room. We don’t know for sure, but this is unlikely, since the wording is “called Burarya”, not “called for Burayra”, where only the latter could imply she was originally outside the room. On the other hand, even if Ali did this “beating” in front of Muhammad, we do not know if Muhammad subsequently took any action against Ali for doing so. Nevertheless, what we do know is that Burayra seemed to segue into a funny and somewhat trivial anecdote about Aisha without a hitch, in the very same sentence and immediately after this alleged “violent beating”. Obviously, those words and that kind of amusing, trifling reaction belie such a beating entirely. Any beating, let alone a severe one, seems interpolated and completely out of place here. And this is where we come to theory #3, that this beating could be false or interpolated as a result of its being contradicted by more reliable facts or versions of the story. This is also where we focus on the words that Islamophobes have so conveniently truncated from the quoted paragraph. These words constitute the uniquely identifiable response of Burayra, which undeniably connects it to not just one, but seven, other versions of this exact same incident. These versions are not just from any source, though. Five of these versions are from Sahih Bukhari, and two are from Sahih Muslim. But more important, all seven of these versions essentially agree and completely contradict the Sira version! Keep in mind that Bukhari and Muslim are considered the most reliable of all hadiths. In comparison, the Sira version is considered at best the weakest form of hadith, since it has no chain of transmission whatsoever, let alone one that is considered reliable. Now let’s see how severely these seven Sahih hadiths contradict the Sira version with respect to the incident in question: And as for 'Ali b. Abu Talib, he said: Allah has not put any unnecessary burden upon you (in regard to your wives). There are a number of women besides her and if you ask that maidservant (Barira) she will tell you the truth. So, Allah's Messenger (pbuh) called Barira and said: Barira, did you see anything in 'A'isha which can cause doubt about her? Barira said: By Him Who sent thee with the truth, I have seen nothing objectionable in her but only this much that she is a young girl and she goes to sleep while kneading the flour and the lamb eats that. (Muslim 37:6673) But `Ali bin Abi Talib said, "O Allah's Messenger (pbuh)! Allah does not impose restrictions on you; and there are plenty of women other than her. If you however, ask (her) slave girl, she will tell you the truth." `Aisha added: So Allah's Messenger (pbuh) called for Barira and said, "O Barira! Did you ever see anything which might have aroused your suspicion? (as regards Aisha). 33 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication Barira said, "By Allah Who has sent you with the truth, I have never seen anything regarding Aisha which I would blame her for except that she is a girl of immature age who sometimes sleeps and leaves the dough of her family unprotected so that the domestic goats come and eat it." (Bukhari 60:274) `Ali bin Abu Talib said, 'O Allah's Messenger (pbuh)! Allah has no imposed restrictions on you, and there are many women other than she, yet you may ask the woman-servant who will tell you the truth.' On that Allah's Messenger (pbuh) called Buraira and said, 'O Burair. Did you ever see anything which roused your suspicions about her?' Buraira said, 'No, by Allah Who has sent you with the Truth, I have never seen in her anything faulty except that she is a girl of immature age, who sometimes sleeps and leaves the dough for the goats to eat.' (Bukhari 48:829) `Ali bin Abi Talib said, 'O Allah's Messenger (pbuh)! Allah does not put you in difficulty and there are plenty of women other than she, yet, ask the maid-servant who will tell you the truth.' On that Allah's Messenger (pbuh) called Barira (i.e. the maid-servant) and said, 'O Barira! Did you ever see anything which aroused your suspicion?' Barira said to him, 'By Him Who has sent you with the Truth. I have never seen anything in her (i.e. Aisha) which I would conceal, except that she is a young girl who sleeps leaving the dough of her family exposed so that the domestic goats come and eat it.' (Bukhari 59:462) `Ali said, "Allah has not put restrictions on you and there are many women other than her. Furthermore you may ask the slave girl who will tell you the truth." So the Prophet (pbuh) asked Barira (my slave girl), "Have you seen anything that may arouse your suspicion?" She replied, "I have not seen anything more than that she is a little girl who sleeps, leaving the dough of her family (unguarded) that the domestic goats come and eat it." (Bukhari 92:462) Allah's Messenger (pbuh) sent for `Ali and Usama to consult them in divorcing his wife (i.e. `Aisha). Usama said, "Keep your wife, as we know nothing about her except good." Buraira said, "I cannot accuse her of any defect except that she is still a young girl who sleeps, neglecting her family's dough which the domestic goats come to eat (i.e. she was too simpleminded to deceive her husband)." (Bukhari 48:805) The rest of the hadith is the same but with this change that Allah's Messenger (pbuh) came to my house and asked my maidservant and she said: By Allah, I know no fault in her but this that she sleeps, and goat comes and eats the kneaded flour. Some of the Companions (of the Holy Prophet) scolded her and said: State the fact before Allah's Messenger (pbuh) and they even made a pointed reference (to this incident). She said: hallowed be Allah. By Allah, I know about her as does the jeweller know about the pure piece of gold. (Muslim 37:6675) If you have read all of these hadiths multiple times trying to find the key phrase where Ali wildly beats Burayra, you are not alone. You won’t find it because it does not exist! In fact, this one sentence regarding Ali absurdly and irrationally interjecting to give Burarya a “severe beating” before she even 34 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication has a chance to open her mouth is conspicuously absent. In these hadiths, there is not even a little peep coming out of Ali after Muhammad begins addressing Burayra, as commons sense would dictate. Amazingly, the rest of the incident is essentially the same as in the Sira version in all of these hadiths. The only slight exceptions are the second to last hadith, where Ali’s flippant advice to divorce Aisha is omitted (Is this another interpolation?); and in the last hadith, where this flippant advice is again omitted and Muhammad instead goes to Burayra (Aisha’s home) directly to question her (rather than “calling” her). In this latter hadith, Burayra also follows up with a second answer by providing a confident and glowing assessment of Aisha as “pure”. She does this after being “scolded” by Muhammad’s companions to provide more information beyond the funny goat/lamb and flour/dough story. It should be noted that the only severity implied in this “scolding” was that they “made a pointed reference (to this [necklace] incident)”. Clearly no “beating” is stated or even implied, in this hadith or any other. Now contrast these seven Sahih hadiths with the Sira version, where Ali appears to become inexplicably and suddenly possessed. He rudely interrupts immediately after Muhammad begins addressing Burarya by interjecting verbally and giving her a “severe beating”. And this is before Burayra even has a chance to speak! It is utterly nonsensical. Thus all seven independent Sahih hadiths 100% contradict this Sira account of a “beating”. As such, they prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that this irrational display of counterproductive violence in the Sira version must have been interpolated. Such an interpolation would have been easy anywhere along the story’s long and unknown chain of transmission over 200+ years. In other words, another argument in support of beating women is totally debunked. Before moving beyond the necklace incident and the subsequent Burayra questioning, there is one ancillary point to address in the translations above. It is the reference to Burayra as a “slave-girl” of Aisha in some versions, which touches upon a recurring mistranslation in hadiths that I will explore in a separate analysis on sexual slavery and slavery in general. I will also explore in that analysis the mistranslation of Aisha as a “young girl”, “little girl” or “girl of immature age” per the various translations above. The key point here is that there is no Arabic word for “slave” in these hadiths, let alone “slave-girl”. To highlight this error, the translations in the other hadiths above refer to her as Aisha’s “maid-servant” and “woman-servant”, emphasizing her employment status. These are not mere euphemisms for “slave-girl” either. We know this with absolute certainty because Burayra once was a slave, but she was freed the same day Burayra came to work for Aisha. In fact, Aisha herself freed Burayra via manumission, i.e., upon buying her from her owner in order to set her free. This manumission of Burayra by Aisha is documented in many independently transmitted hadiths, such as this one: Three traditions have been established because of Barira: `Aisha intended to buy her and set her free, but Barira's masters said, "Her wala' [reward for manumission] will be for us." `Aisha mentioned that to Allah's Messenger (pbuh) who said, "You could accept their condition if you

35 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication wished, for the wala is for the one who manumits the slave." Barira was manumitted, then she was given the choice either to stay with her husband or leave him. (Bukhari 65:341) 3. Sunnah Supported by the Quran But wait a minute – that’s not all. The best story is yet to come. We don’t just have the example of sunnah from hadiths here. In this very unusual instance, we actually have reference to sunnah from the Quran itself, as explicitly discussed in hadiths referencing such verses from the Quran. To elaborate on this point, hadith Muslim 9:3506 actually quotes, in part, these key verses from the Quran that were revealed in response to the famous incident when Muhammad had a severe disagreement with his wives: Prophet, say to your wives: ‘In case you desire the life and pomp of this world, come, I will provide you handsomely, and let you go [i.e., divorce you] with grace. But if you desire God, His Apostle, and the joys of life to come, then God has verily set apart for those of you who are good, a great reward. (Quran 33:28-29). Muhammad’s wives were upset that he did not live in luxury and was not giving his wives riches and status, even though he clearly had access to those riches because of his leadership role. Those riches, the 1/5 war spoils, were in fact not for him, but for the needy and indigent of the community, which his wives did not understand or accept in their act of group “rebellion”. That is the background to this hadith. In fact, his closest companions, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, seemed to be teasing him in a joking way about why he doesn’t just take firm action against his wives instead, since that is how they would do so with their wives (at least that was their tongue-in-cheek implication). Abu Bakr even “poked/jabbed” Aisha (his daughter) on the neck, and ‘Umar “poked/jabbed” Hafsa (his daughter) on the neck after the punch line for the joke that ‘Umar was telling. ‘Umar was telling a joke to “say something which would make the Prophet (pbuh) laugh”. Although Muhammad indeed laughed (just before his wives were “poked/jabbed” by their fathers in jest), his wives were naturally not amused by these antics and continued to assert their position undeterred. It was almost as if they were completely ignoring the attempt by Abu Bakr and ‘Umar to cheer up Muhammad, even though they clearly knew that their fathers were implicitly chastising them at the same time. Incidentally, the Arabic word used here actually means “poked/jabbed”, as quoted above, not “slapped” as the hadith translation states. The word for “slap” that is commonly used in other hadiths implying a violent action is based on the LTM root, which is a different word entirely. Muhammad’s starkly contrasting behavior vs. his companions’ cavalier jesting in leveraging their “superior authority” over their daughters just shows how against the cultural grain his sunnah truly was in dealing with wives. Muhammad actually joked to Abu Bakr and ‘Umar in return about the irony of his wives surrounding him and verbally beating him up instead, while he took no physical action against 36 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication them. Before the joke, the hadith states that Muhammad was simply “sitting sad and silent with his wives around him”; and then after the joke it states, “Allah's Messenger (mav peace be upon him) laughed and said: They are around me as you see, asking for extra money.” All of this was an effort by his companions to cheer him up with a joke and to try to encourage his wives to reconcile their very serious rift with him, which ultimately failed. So how did Muhammad finally resolve this dire situation? Did he take them behind some shed and beat all of them back into submissive obedience (i.e., to forcefully rid them of their “nushuz”), as most English translations of the Quran would have us believe, or did he flagrantly “disobey” those mistranslated words of God? The answer is in the very same hadith: [Umar says to the wives:] You ask of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) that which he does not possess. They [the wives] said: By Allah, we do not ask Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) for anything he does not possess. Then he withdrew from them for a month or for twenty-nine days. Then this verse was revealed to him:" Prophet: Say to thy wives... for a mighty reward" (xxxiii. 28). (Muslim 9:3506) The undeniable links here between verses 4:34-35 and verses 33:28-29 are crystal clear. Once persuasion and leaving a wife alone in bed fails to bring about reconciliation, the next step is not beating her. It is separation. And if separation does not work, then the final step is an offer of amicable divorce or one last chance at reconciliation, with the latter being strongly preferred, both per verses 33:28-29 (the perfectly applicable example of sunnah supported by the Quran itself) and verses 4:34-35 (the commandment of the Quran for all Muslims to follow). Could the answer be any clearer? Ultimately, it was Muhammad’s extended separation from his wives for one full month that resolved the seemingly intractable rift. So not only is separation — not beating – the true advice of Quran verse 4:34 for all Muslims to follow in such dire circumstances, it is also the example of sunnah that has been proven to work for Muhammad himself. So let’s recap: Muhammad never beat any woman, as his own wife and all reliable hadiths attest, even when his own wives were openly rebelling together against him and he was on the brink of divorce with all of them, all at once. But before moving on from the sunnah of Muhammad, this very same hadith has one final word of advice from Muhammad, spoken immediately after the rift with his wives was healed, thereby proving the value of his sunnah. His advice is a personal testament of his mission: to teach persuasively by example. It is directed at those who would choose to harm their wives with physical abuse rather than follow his more difficult, but rewarding, example: Allah did not send me to be harsh, or cause harm, but He has sent me to teach and make things easy. (Muslim 9:3506)

37 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication VI.

CONTRARY EVIDENCE FROM OTHER HADITHS?

Some individuals who are desperate to support a meaning of “beat” for verse 4:34 sometimes counter with a rebuttal that there are other hadiths contradicting the unambiguous hadiths above and the crystal clear sunnah of Muhammad himself that beating any women is always wrong, even under the pressure of the severest of marital conflicts. Let’s discuss each of these in turn. 1. Bukhari 72:715 For reference purposes, here is a quoted translation of this entire hadith: Narrated 'Ikrima: Rifa'a divorced his wife whereupon 'AbdurRahman bin Az-Zubair AlQurazi married her. 'Aisha said that the lady (came), wearing a green veil (and complained to her (Aisha) of her husband 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 Apostle 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 'AbdurRahman 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 Apostle! She has told a lie! I am very strong and can satisfy her but she is disobedient and wants to go back to Rifa'a." Allah's Apostle said, to her, "If that is your intention, then know that it is unlawful for you to remarry Rifa'a unless Abdur-Rahman has had sexual intercourse with you." Then the Prophet saw two boys with 'Abdur-Rahman and asked (him), "Are these your sons?" On that 'AbdurRahman said, "Yes." The Prophet said, "You claim what you claim (i.e., that he is impotent)? But by Allah, these boys resemble him as a crow resembles a crow." (Bukhari 72:715) It is alleged that this hadith is about a woman who was beaten and that it somehow condones such beating by ignoring it when it happens, based on a kind of “argument from ignorance” logic. I could point out the obvious, of course, that “argument from ignorance” is a blatant logical fallacy. However, such a rebuttal is not even necessary, as we shall soon discover. When the woman who had the green spot on her face (“caused by beating”) entered the room, she immediately launched into a loud complaint about her husband’s impotence, not about any beating, which should immediately raise a red flag about something likely being contradictory or very incongruous with this hadith. The rest of the hadith discusses how this impotence complaint was addressed, but does not extend beyond this to confirm what the cause of the green mark truly was, whether the woman continued to claim to Muhammad that she was beaten (as she apparently claimed to Aisha privately) or whether the beating issue was even addressed. Aisha was impassioned about the woman’s complaint, so clearly it could not have been ignored. So how could this hadith leave out the resolution of such an important point raised at the beginning of the hadith? 38 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication The answer is quite simple: the beating never happened, and the woman never even complained about any beating whatsoever! This is just yet another case of a grossly mistranslated hadith. The whole parenthetical phrase regarding a green spot “caused by beating” doesn't even exist in the original Arabic. In fact, the word “beat”, a DRB root word or any other possible word that could remotely be translated into “beat” does not even exist either! So what does the hadith actually say in this critical sentence? Here it is, translated in a literal word-for-word manner: “Aisha said, ‘A green veil, it (is) complained, caused/triggered (her) green skin.’" The grand irony here is that this woman was trying to use verse 4:34 to get a divorce from her husband not because he beat her, but because it is a husband’s obligation to provide proper clothing (food, etc.) for his wife! This clear obligation upon a husband is per verses 4:34 and 2:233, both quoted above, along with other hadiths quoted elsewhere herein. In other words, the clothing that he bought for her, in fulfilling his obligation to maintain her “in a fair/proper manner”, was actually defective, and the proof was that it gave her green skin. With this corrected translation, the hadith finally makes sense. For example, how could beating even cause green skin? Beating would cause bruised skin that is either black or blue in description – not green. Doesn't the cause-effect relationship per the corrected translation seem blaringly obvious now, given that her clothes were also green? Naturally, such a complaint about one piece of clothing leaking dye onto her skin would not be sufficient to get a divorce, so that explains why the woman’s primary focus was on her husband’s supposed impotence when she entered the room. The conclusion of the hadith then makes it abundantly clear that her complaint was essentially a complete ruse to create a justification for divorce. Her claim of her husband’s impotence was flatly contradicted by the clear evidence that her “impotent” husband had two sons that were obviously his beyond any shadow of a doubt. The woman implicitly admitted in the hadith that what she really wanted was “to go back to Rifa’a” instead (her ex-husband). Mystery solved. And yet another “pro-beating” interpretation completely debunked. 2. Muslim 4:2127 For reference purposes, here is a quoted translation of this entire hadith: Muhammad b. Qais said (to the people): Should I not narrate to you (a hadith of the Holy Prophet) on my authority and on the authority of my mother? We thought that he meant the mother who had given him birth. He (Muhammad b. Qais) then reported that it was 'A'isha who had narrated this: Should I not narrate to you about myself and about the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him)? We said: Yes. She said: When it was my turn for Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) to spend the night with me, he turned His side, put on His mantle and took off His shoes and placed them near His feet, and spread the corner of His shawl on His bed and then lay down till he thought that I had gone to sleep. He took hold of His mantle slowly and put on the shoes slowly, and 39 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication opened the door and went out and then closed it lightly. I covered my head, put on my veil and tightened my waist wrapper, and then went out following His steps till he reached Baqi'. He stood there and he stood for a long time. He then lifted His hands three times, and then returned and I also returned. He hastened His steps and I also hastened my steps. He ran and I too ran. He came (to the house) and I also came (to the house). I, however, preceded him and I entered (the house), and as I lay down in the bed, he (the Holy Prophet) entered the (house), and said: Why is it, O 'A'isha, that you are out of breath? I said: There is nothing. He said: Tell me or the Subtle and the Aware would inform me. I said: Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be ransom for you, and then I told him (the whole story). He said: Was it the darkness (of your shadow) that I saw in front of me? I said: Yes. He nudged/pushed [“la-ha-da”] me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you? She said: Whatsoever the people conceal, Allah will know it. He said: Gabriel came to me when you saw me. He called me and he concealed it from you. I responded to His call, but I too concealed it from you (for he Did not come to you), as you were not fully dressed. I thought that you had gone to sleep, and I Did not like to awaken you, fearing that you may be frightened. He (Gabriel) said: your Lord has commanded you to go to the inhabitants of Baqi' (to those lying in the graves) and beg pardon for them. I said: Messenger of Allah, how should I pray for them (How should I beg forgiveness for them)? He said: Say, Peace be upon the inhabitants of this city (graveyard) from among the Believers and the Muslims, and may Allah have mercy on those who have gone ahead of us, and those who come later on, and we shall, Allah willing, join you. (Muslim 4:2127) This is not referring to any beating whatsoever. In this hadith, Aisha lied to Muhammad when there was no reason for her to lie about her following him secretly when he went to meet Angel Gabriel. And, as Aisha herself then realized, even if there was a reason, she would not have been able to conceal her lie from God anyway. Note that Muhammad does not express any anger with her whatsoever, or even rebuke her, but merely asks a question to assuage her clear pangs of guilt in trying to deceive him: “Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you? She said: Whatsoever the people conceal, Allah will know it.” Note how Aisha expressed her loyalty (and her guilt in breaching his trust) with exaggeration before this by saying “may my father and mother be ransom for you”, which was an idiom of intense devotion commonly used in the region, per other hadiths. It was this expression of devotion that prompted Muhammad to assuage her pangs of guilt with his question. Immediately after this exchange, they continue without a hitch to converse about Muhammad’s meeting, and Aisha was very curious about what she heard Angel Gabriel tell him. So why is this hadith being stretched so egregiously to support “beating”? There are two reasons: 1) It is the only hadith where some physical action by Muhammad may have caused some “pain” to his wife, and 2) the Arabic word “la-ha-da” [LHD root] has been incorrectly translated as “struck” when it actually means “to nudge” or “to push” (as corrected above). Given that she was already lying down in bed, and she was referring to how “he nudged/pushed me on the chest” at the moment she admitted her guilt, 40 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication what she most likely was referring to was simply the pangs of guilt at the moment she saw his disappointment in finding out she lied to him. How else could Muhammad’s compassionate question and lack of any anger whatsoever make sense, since the only purpose of that question was to assuage her guilt? Given this context, including the expression of compassion on the part of Muhammad for her guilt and her curious and engaged behavior immediately afterwards, clearly it was not any “beating” and she did not consider this any “beating”. But the truth of this hadith is even more surprising upon further analysis of the original Arabic. It appears that even the interpretation of Muhammad “causing” Aisha some pain is totally incorrect. In fact, the true meaning is exactly the opposite, in that he nudged away her pain. What the original Arabic shows is that the LHD root was used not just once, as shown in the English translation, but twice. Here is how this key section of the hadith should actually be translated in an almost word-for-word manner given this duplication of the same verb: “So he nudged/pushed [LHD] me in my chest. He nudged/pushed (away) [LHD] my pain. Then he said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you?” The direct object of the first LHD verb is obviously Aisha (her chest). The word “pain” must therefore be the direct object of the second LHD verb given that this verb immediately precedes the word “pain”. In fact, there are no other nouns that could possibly be the direct object of the second LHD verb, and there is no other verb (like “caused”, as is erroneously shown in the English translation) that could be connected to the word “pain”. Therefore, this can only mean that the pain itself was being nudged away, as is abundantly supported by Muhammad’s words of consolation and mercy immediately after his nudge. Let’s not forget, of course, that we also have the authenticated hadith from the same Aisha herself, about how she was treated throughout her life by Muhammad: A'isha reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) never beat anyone with his hand, neither a woman nor a servant, but only, in the case when he had been fighting in the cause of Allah, and he never took revenge for anything unless the things made inviolable by Allah were made violable. (Muslim 30:5756). This narration is also supported by two hadiths of Muhammad from Ghazzali below referencing how to treat wives and how he treated his own wives: The most perfect of believers in faith are those who are the finest in manners and most gentle toward their wives. The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives. (also identically quoted in Tirmidhi 46:3895 and Ibn Majah 9:1977) But let’s not leave any stone unturned. Why would Muhammad nudge or push Aisha on the chest to make such a salient point to her? It is simple. This was a common cultural practice to symbolize an important point of communication – in effect, it symbolizes a key point that one is trying to drive home 41 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication “to the heart”, not just to the mind. It is the same or similar near universal practice that exists today when someone pokes his fingers into another person’s chest to drive home a very important point directly “to the heart”. But where is the proof that this was a cultural practice of the time, and that it was done specifically in the context of Muhammad driving home important “points of heart” to others, and clearly not in the context of any “beating”? The evidence is right there in other Sahih Muslim hadiths: Sa'd struck [nudged/pushed]) his [son’s] chest and said: Keep quite. I heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Allah loves the servant who is conscious of Allah and is free from want and is hidden (from the view of people). (Muslim 42:7072) I made the mention of it to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and he struck [nudged/pushed] his hand on my chest and said: O Allah, grant him steadfastness and make him the guide of righteousness and the rightly-guided one. (Muslim 31:6053) The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) asked them to recite and so they recited, and the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) expressed approval of their affairs (their modes of recitation). and there occurred In my mind a sort of denial which did not occur even during the Days of Ignorance. When the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) saw how I was affected (by a wrong idea), he struck [nudged/pushed] my chest, whereupon I broke into sweating and felt as though I were looking at Allah with fear. (Muslim 4:1787) [H]e [Muhammad] struck [nudged/pushed] his fingers on my chest and said: Does this verse that is at the end of Surat al-Nisa', which was revealed in the hot season, not suffice you? (Muslim 4:1151) Note how the last example actually specifies the usage of fingers in “striking” the chest, which parallels exactly the same practice used today across so many cultures. Also note how in every example a very important “point of the heart” is driven home to the other individual with this genuinely heartfelt and symbolic action with no hint of anger or abusive intent present. To attribute such an action to “beating” is simply absurd. 3. Abu Dawud 11:2142, Ibn Majah 9:1986, and Malik 28:27 For reference purposes, here is a quoted translation of the Abu Dawud 11:2142 hadith: Narrated ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: a man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife. (Abu Dawud 11:2142)

42 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication Abu Dawud is not considered to be the most reliable source of hadith. It has more contradictions and much less scholarly support than Bukhari and Muslim hadiths, but at least two Abu Dawud hadiths will be discussed anyway because they are often used to support clearly incorrect conclusions. Abu Dawud 11:2142 states according to one translation, “a man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife”. My answer to that is, of course he won’t be asked “Why?”, since there is no excuse for beating women. It is wrong - period. It is quite humorous how this hadith is even brought up in support of beating women by relying on the completely unstated assumption that beating a woman is expressly permitted in Islam, when in fact it is expressly prohibited for any reason. However, what makes this hadith even more twisted in interpretation is how the translation implies that a man will not be asked “Why?”, with the implication being that God will not hold him to account in the future when he is judged. However, this is not at all what the original Arabic states. The hadith is actually implying the present tense, and it is stated as a command rather than a prediction for the future, per this tentatively corrected translation: “A man should not be asked as to why he beats his wife.” This means that the hadith is referring to what other Muslims should do, not what God will do. Once again, this makes perfect sense, since there is no excuse for beating a woman, and asking “Why?” would only prompt a man to vilify his wife as the one to blame, or to try to justify what cannot be justified. But even this tentative correction is likely not correct. There is still one more twist to this hadith. The Arabic word used for “beat” here is once again the DRB root. Therefore, the true meaning of this hadith could be dramatically different from the popular interpretation. The DRB root could have possibly acquired the later connotation of “beat” when the Abu Dawud hadiths were recorded about 250 yrs. after the Quran – thereby implying that “beat” could potentially still be a valid translation of the narrator’s intended meaning. However, it is much more likely that the intended meaning of this hadith is in fact in accordance with the original meaning of the DRB root as follows: “A man should not be asked as to why he separates (from) his wife.” This interpretation makes even more sense, since the likely consequence of doing so would be to vilify the woman, to expose intimate marital information, and to create back-biting gossip in the community that would not be beneficial to a very vulnerable marital relationship. To confirm which translation could be correct, I searched for the same hadith wording elsewhere, with the hope of finding at least some critical missing context to clarify the true meaning. And, without a doubt, I found it. Not only does this hadith contain the exact same words of ‘Umar himself, it is considered “Hasan” (good) in reliability vs. the “Da’if” (very weak) hadith above that has no context attached. Here is a translation of this hadith with the correct “separate (from)” meaning included in this translation to fit the glaringly obvious context of separation: It was narrated that Ash'ath bin Qais said: I was a guest (at the home) of 'Umar one night, and in the middle of the night he separated (from) [DRB] his wife, a difference (he kept) between them when he went to bed. He said to me: “O Ash'ath, learn from me something that I heard 43 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication from the Messenger of Allah: ‘A man should not be asked as to why he separates (from) [DRB] his wife, and do not go to sleep until you have prayed the Witr.'” And I forgot the third thing. (Ibn Majah 9:1986) Note very clearly how this hadith literally explains the end result of the DRB root word here, as “a difference (he kept) between them when he went to bed”. To translate the DRB root word as “beat her” would not make any sense in this context. There is also a similar hadith about ‘Umar that may have become confused or conflated with the above hadiths. However, whether it is related to the same incident or not really makes no difference with respect to the consistency of the meaning of the DRB root clearly implying “separate” rather than “beat” (note that this change is also reflected in the corrected translation below): Yahya related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab from Said ibn al- Musayyab and from Sulayman ibn Yasar that Tulayha al-Asadiya was the wife of Rushayd ath-Thaqafi. He divorced her, and she got married in her idda-period. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab separated [DRB] her and separated {DRB] her husband with a (palm) whisk, and [i.e., until] he separated [DRB] a difference between them. Then ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said, "If a woman marries in her idda-period, and the new husband has not consummated the marriage, then separate them, and when she has completed the idda of her first husband, the other becomes a suitor. If he has consummated the marriage then separate them. Then she must complete her idda from her first husband, and then the idda from the other one, and they are never to be reunited." Malik added, ''Said ibn al-Musayyab said that she had her dowry because he had consummated the marriage." Malik said, "The practice with us concerning a free woman whose husband dies, is that she does an idda of four months and ten days and she does not marry if she doubts her period until she is free of any doubt or if she fears that she is pregnant." (Malik 28:27) The context of this hadith could not be clearer, that separation is the overriding objective of ‘Umar here, and therefore that separation is the only logical interpretation of the DRB root word. If a woman gets remarried prematurely before her idda period is complete (to confirm she is not pregnant from her prior husband) and before she consummates with her new husband, then she must remain separate from her new husband until this period is over, as Malik (the hadith compiler) confirms in his footnotes to this hadith. 4. Abu Dawud 11:2141 and Abu Dawud 11:2139 For reference purposes, here is a quoted translations of this entire hadith: 44 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication Narrated Abdullah ibn AbuDhubab: Iyas ibn Abdullah ibn AbuDhubab reported the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) as saying: Do not beat [DRB] Allah's handmaidens, but when ‘Umar came to the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) and said: Women have become emboldened/daring towards their husbands, he (Muhammad) gave permission to beat [DRB] them. Then many women came round the family of the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) complaining against their husbands. So the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Many women have gone round Muhammad's family complaining against their husbands. They are not the best among you. (Abu Dawud 11:2141) Here is yet another grossly mistranslated hadith. Instead of the common translation above, the two words that refer to “beat” are, once again, the DRB root. So if we apply the Quranic meaning of the DRB root (as proven below), what this hadith is saying is that Muhammad is commanding husbands not to “separate (from)” wives who are righteous, which just so happens to be defined at the beginning of verse 4:34. Note that he is not making the blanket command, “Do not DRB women”, but rather the specific command, “Do not DRB women who are servants of God” (i.e., righteous and pious, as described in verse 4:34). For those wives who do not meet this high standard and have become “emboldened” or “daring” (implying nushuz per verse 4:34), permission was given to separate from these women, with the DRB root used once again here. Therefore, this hadith is nothing more than a sunnah restatement of the true meaning of verse 4:34 without any contradiction whatsoever. Without this cross-reference to verse 4:34, this hadith presents the clear implication that Muhammad completely contradicted his previous injunction, as if he later realized that he made the wrong decision. However, with this cross-reference, there is no contradiction whatsoever. Both the original command (not to separate from pious women) and the following permission (to separate from women who may be guilty of nushuz) are fully compatible with and explained by verse 4:34. However, some will object that there could still be a contradiction based on the wording at the end of the hadith, where the translation states, “They are not the best among you.” If this “they” is implying the husbands, then it would make much more sense if DRB were translated as “beat”, since it would imply that beating a woman is wrong, whereas separation can be permissible. If this “they” is implying the wives, then this could imply that women do not have a right to object to whatever their husbands may be doing to them, which completely contradicts the Quran (e.g., verse 4:128 discussed above, among other verses). The truth, however, is far more shocking: this entire final sentence does not even exist in the Arabic! There is merely an additional phrase that belongs with the prior sentence. The correct translation of the last sentence is roughly as follows: “Many women have gone round Muhammad's family complaining against their husbands (who are) not of their choice/preference.” The sentence, “They are not the best among you” simply does not exist in the Arabic. In other words, what Muhammad is implying is that if the husbands are the ones guilty of nushuz instead of (or in addition to) the wives, as some wives may 45 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication be complaining, then the wives should simply exercise their choice to leave their husbands, per verse 4:128, rather than shamelessly broadcast their complaints in public. Note how Muhammad is also implying that some wives are not just complaining about their husbands, but also showing a clear preference for other men instead, thereby also addressing the husbands’ complaints that their wives may really be the ones guilty of nushuz (disloyalty). If so, then the wives would be extremely hypocritical in objecting to their husbands separating from them simply because of their nushuz in preferring/choosing other men, as Muhammad so crisply points out without actually judging who is really at fault. Either way, regardless if one or both sides may be guilty of nushuz, his recommendation per the Quran would be the same: amicable separation (and potential divorce settlement) to resolve an otherwise irreconcilable marital dispute. Therefore, even the last sentence of this hadith is in full compliance with the same equitable advice of the Quran directed towards women, especially in conjunction with the general prohibitions against backbiting and nushuz that are incumbent upon all Muslims, both men and women. It is also in compliance with a strongly recurring theme in the Quran: freedom of choice (in this case, with respect to marriage) always has priority over oppression of choice. To emphasize this point still further about the hadiths merely reinforcing the Quran, particularly with respect to verse 4:34, here is yet another command from Muhammad: Narrated Mu'awiyah al-Qushayri: I went to the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) and asked him: What do you say (command) about our wives? He replied: Give them food what you have for yourself, and clothe them by which you clothe yourself, and do not beat them, and do not revile them.” (Abu Dawud 11:2139) Note the parallel with Quran verse 4:34, how the obligation is on men to maintain women (e.g., with food and clothing on par with how men maintain themselves) and not to revile women but to do as verse 4:34 commands instead, which is to “talk to them persuasively” when there is a conflict. The translation also categorically states “do not beat them”, but the same DRB root is used here. It could still mean “do not beat them” based on other misuses of the DRB root in other hadiths (as discussed below), which would be a very positive message in compliance with the Quran and other hadiths. However, it could also mean “do not separate (from) them”, based on the same premise for this command as in Abu Dawud 11:2141 (as explicitly stated in that hadith but only implied here): that men should not separate from women who are righteous and not guilty of nushuz. Either way, the message of Abu Dawud 11:2139 is extremely positive and once again in full compliance with the true meaning of the Quran. It is a message of mercy and utmost civility that totally contradicts the incorrect translation of verse 4:34, which allegedly commands husbands to physically abuse their wives in an absurd attempt to force a marital reconciliation.

46 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication VII. ANALYSIS OF THE UNDISPUTED “DRB” CITATIONS IN THE QURAN Every verse that uses the DRB root is relevant in interpreting the meaning of that root, since only the Quran can be the ultimate authority in defining the denotations and connotations of all words that it uses. There are 58 DRB data points (citations) in the Quran to analyze, and 41 of those already support an innocuous translation of the DRB root according to just about all English translations available. For these 41, it would not even make logical sense to translate this root as “hit” or “strike” in these verses. So that leaves 16 “disputed” citations (besides 4:34:29) potentially supporting the argument that only “hit”/“strike” (or a similar synonym) makes sense as a translation in those verses; or, at the very least, that such a translation would be much better than “separate / set forth / travel / split / sever (from)” (or a similar synonym implying separation of, or into, two). Note that the last number in the data point citation is the word number in Arabic within the verse itself. So 4:34:29 refers to word #29 in verse 4:34 where the DRB root word is located. In short, the choice is between a causative translation implying physical aggression (“beat” or “hit”) and a reactive translation implying physical separation, generally between two parts, between two people, or between two points/positions/locations. For example, one can “travel away from” or “set forth/apart from” to accomplish this physical separation between two people/positions/things. As another example, one can “present/highlight/cite” one example separate (i.e., apart) from a larger group of many possible examples –again, with the separation of (or into) two being the common overriding principle. The aggressive vs. reactive (i.e., cause vs. effect) potential translations of the DRB root appear to be near polar opposites, so one would think that the context should generally preclude both translations from being appropriate, or, at the very least, make one appear more reasonable. Now let’s get to the data to see what it shows. Before we address the 16 citations in dispute (17 with verse 4:34), the 41 “undisputed” DRB root word usages will be analyzed first to see what information can be gleaned from those. Below is a list of the 41 data points that all reflect the same benign, non-aggressive interpretation of the DRB root according to a strong consensus view among all translations. However, not only is the starting fact-check score 41-0 against “beat”/”hit” before we even begin, it is also 41-0 in favor of some variation of “separate”!: # 1 2* 3* 4* 5* 6^ 7 8 9 10

DATA POINT REF. (2:26:6) (3:156:11) (4:94:5) (4:101:2) (5:106:22) (13:17:24) (13:17:40) (14:24:4) (14:25:7) (14:45:12)

TRANSLITERATION yaḍriba ḍarabū ḍarabtum ḍarabtum ḍarabtum yaḍribu yaḍribu ḍaraba wayaḍribu waḍarabnā

COMMON TRANSLATION set forth (one example apart from others) they set forth (separated from their home for war/emigration) you set forth (separating away from your home for war) you set forth (separating away from your home as refugees) (are) traveling) (separate from your community and home) God separates (truth and falsehood) God sets forth (some examples apart from others) God sets forth (one example apart from others) And God sets forth (some examples apart from others) and We set forth (some examples apart from others) 47

Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication # DATA POINT REF. TRANSLITERATION COMMON TRANSLATION 11^ (16:74:2) taḍribū set forth (a likeness of God as a separate new god) 12 (16:75:1) ḍaraba God sets forth (one example apart from others) 13 (16:76:1) waḍaraba And God sets forth (one example apart from others) 14 (16:112:1) waḍaraba And God sets forth (one example apart from others) 15 (17:48:3) ḍarabū they set forth (some examples apart from others) 16# (18:11:1) faḍarabnā So We separated (from above their awareness many years) 17 (18:32:1) wa-iḍ'rib And set forth (one parable separate from others) 18 (18:45:1) wa-iḍ'rib And set forth (one example apart from others) 19 (22:73:3) ḍuriba Is set forth (one example apart from others) 20^ (24:31:15) walyaḍrib'na And let them spread apart (their shawls over their bosoms) 21 (24:35:41) wayaḍribu And God sets forth (some examples apart from others) 22 (25:9:3) ḍarabū they set forth (some examples apart from others) 23 (25:39:2) ḍarabnā We have set forth (some examples apart from others) 24 (29:43:3) naḍribuhā We set forth (some examples apart from others) 25 (30:28:1) ḍaraba He sets forth (one example apart from others) 26 (30:58:2) ḍarabnā We (have) set forth (many examples apart from others) 27 (36:13:1) wa-iḍ'rib And set forth (one example apart from others) 28 (36:78:1) waḍaraba And he sets forth (one example apart from others) 29 (39:27:2) ḍarabnā We have set forth (many examples apart from others) 30 (39:29:1) ḍaraba God sets forth (one example apart from others) 31^ (43:5:1) afanaḍribu Then should We take away (separate) the Quran from you? 32^ (43:17:5) ḍaraba he sets forth (a likeness of God as a separate new god) 33 (43:57:2) ḍuriba is set forth (one example apart from others) 34 (43:58:7) ḍarabūhu they set it forth (as one example apart from others) 35 (47:3:15) yaḍribu God sets forth (some examples apart from others) 36# (57:13:16) faḍuriba Then will be separated (between them a wall) 37 (59:21:15) naḍribuhā We set forth for them (some examples apart from others) 38 (66:10:1) ḍaraba God sets forth (one example apart from others) 39 (66:11:1) waḍaraba And God sets forth (one example apart from others) 40* (73:20:37) yaḍribūna travel / set forth (separate away from their homes for war) 41* (2:273:9) ḍarban (to) travel / set forth (separate away from homes for war) Only the last one in this list is a noun (i.e., gerund) form of the DRB root, which is why it is out of sequence. Note how all 41 of these citations would make no sense being translated as “hit” or “beat”. 1. God Sets Forth Examples/Parables to Inspire/Enlighten (28 Citations) An overwhelming 28 of 41 DRB citations above (with numbers left unmarked in column #1) reference the “setting forth” of one or more examples/parables apart from all others. This is done to highlight, to elevate or to make distinct their importance separate from the larger message/group/whole that they are connected with. Note also how this “setting forth” is almost invariably done by God to inspire or enlighten. How could it possibly make sense for a physically intangible entity (i.e., God) to hit or beat a physically intangible concept or idea (i.e., an example/parable)?! There is not even a remote idiomatic contortion available to justify such an absurd meaning being attributed to these DRB root citations, as all translators agree. 48 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication Of course, it goes without saying that to “set forth (from)” one’s wife and marital home is exactly the obligation commanded upon men per verse 4:34 upon marital breakdown, since this is an obvious synonym for “separate (from)”. In fact, some would even argue that it is an even better translation for verse 4:34, since to “set forth (from)” also emphasizes a definitive traveling away from the marital home. This interpretation has already been supported above, and it will be further supported in even greater detail below. In other words, all 28 of these DRB root word citations already fully support the interpretation of verse 4:34 argued in this analysis without any modification to mainstream translations. So there is really nothing further to add here. 2. Parting, Perhaps Forever, Away from One’s Home or Community (6 Citations) Of these same 41 DRB citations, another 6 (marked with * above) are in direct reference to travelling away from, or “setting forth from”, one’s home or community. However, all six of these are also implying an uncertain separation or clear break from that home or community, leaving only a tenuous connection remaining. In other words, it is not just leisurely “travel” being referred to in the Quran here, as mainstream translations of the DRB root imply. In fact, 2-3 of these six citations imply a permanent separation due to a community schism or emigration, and the other 3-4 imply a significant possibility of never returning due to the consequences of war (note that for data point 2:273:9 war is implied by the phrase “in the cause of God”). In verse 5:106, it even advises to have a last will completed and witnessed by others as “death approaches” from the consequences of this travel (due to war or being persecuted as refugees). Traumatic separation from one’s home is exactly the same contextual meaning as in verse 4:34, where a husband has an obligation to “separate (from)” his home and wife upon marital breakdown, with a very real possibility that he may never return to live there. This assumes, of course, that the prior two steps in verse 4:34 failed to bring about reconciliation. 3. Separated Physically from the Rest of Humanity on the Day of Judgment (1 Citation) Similarly, another two citations (marked with # above) are in reference to one group of people being “separated” from all the others they once knew, either physically via a wall/cave or temporally via the elapse of time. This again fits the verse 4:34 contextual meaning of separating individuals that are considered part of a greater whole (or union) into two parts and places. Data point 57:13:16 represents a traumatic and permanent separation on “the Day (of Judgment)” between those destined for heaven vs. hell, and the separation is literally via “a wall”, so that separation is beyond obvious: “then will be separated between them a wall”. The emotional impact of this separation is intense, which is a theme with respect to the DRB root that I will circle back to later.

49 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication 4. Separated Temporally from the Rest of Humanity: the Companions of the Cave (1 Citation) The second data point that is marked with # above, 18:11:1, is not so obvious, since it involves separating a group of faithful Christians both in space (in a secluded cave) and across time from everyone that they once knew who opposed or persecuted them. This is commonly referred to as the parable of the “Seven Sleepers” or the “Companions of the Cave” (hence “The Cave” as the title of the sura). The Quran says only God knows how many sleepers there were per verse 18:22, but it is at least clear that “they were asleep” (unconscious) for many years – 309 years to be exact – per verses 18:18 and 18:25, respectively. Since the sleepers were already in a cave with their eyes shut, the Quran refers to the sleepers’ “ears” as their only means of awareness of the outside world and of the passage of time. Here is the key verse: So we separated (from) [DRB] above/beyond [alā] their ears [awareness] in [fī] the cave many years [sinīna]. (Quran 18:11) Notice how I have highlighted the only two Arabic prepositions in this verse: alā and fī, which mean “above/beyond” and “in”, respectively. The two objects of these prepositions are “their ears” and “the cave” respectively. So what then is the direct object of the DRB root verb in here? The answer is obvious, since there is only one noun left in the sentence: “years”. This is confirmed by the Arabic word used for “years” (sinīna) due to the fortuitous clarity in the Arabic language of having different noun forms for the accusative case. This means that the “years” noun is being acted upon by a verb, which in this case can only be the DRB root verb. Once again, the correct translation of the DRB root as “separate (from)” in this verse provides a much richer interpretation of what is actually happening. Instead of their ears being “covered”, as many translations state, the passage of time is being “separated (from) above/beyond their awareness”. The former interpretation is incorrect because it confuses which noun (“years”, not “ears”) is explicitly the direct object per the original Arabic. So how do we know for sure this is the real point of verse 18:11? Well, let’s take a look at the words in the next two verses, and then in a few verses later, which circle back to the same moral of the story: Then We raised them up, (so) that We make evident which of the two parties best calculated for what (they had) remained (in) time (in the cave). We narrate to you their story in truth. Indeed, they (were) youths who believed in their Lord, and We increased them (in) guidance. (Quran 18:12-13) And similarly, We raised them up, (so) that they might question amongst themselves. Said a speaker among them, “How long have you remained (in the cave)?” They said, “We have remained a day or a part of a day.” They [the other party] said, “Your Lord knows best how long you remained (in the cave).” (Quran 18:19) So although these sleepers remained unconscious for over 300 years, they perceived that they were only asleep for “a day or a part of a day”. So why is the Quran highlighting how God can separate our awareness from the passage of time as the explicitly stated point of the whole parable? In my view, it is 50 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication because the Quran is emphasizing how near the Day of Judgment is, regardless of how much time passes until then. After we die, we will be separated from all awareness of time. When we are “raised up”, it will seem to us as if we had remained dead (asleep) for only a short period of time. In other words, the Day of Judgment is much, much nearer to all of us than we commonly imagine. This fact should stir the souls of those who dismiss this Day as something far too distant in time to ever think about. It is this enriched translation of the DRB root word here that makes this interpretation literally come to life once again (pun intended). Notice, in particular, how the Quran uses the generic words “We raised them up” without any mention of “from sleep”, both in verse 18:12 and verse 18:19 quoted above, to emphasize this ominous connection to the Day of Judgment. 5. Separating the Quran from One’s Heart and Soul (1 Citation) The remaining 5 out of 41 citations (marked with ^ above) are a bit different, but they all emphasize a critical and emotive separation, which invariably enriches the meaning. In data point 43:5:1, a DRB root word is used in a rhetorical question asking Muslims who transgress whether God should “separate from you the Reminder [i.e., Quran]”. The true beauty of this verse comes out through this enhanced meaning, since the Quran should be considered a part of a Muslim’s fundamental identity, at home within his heart and soul. Notice how the Quran is actually referred to here as “the Reminder [l-dhik'ra]” to emphasize its closeness to the heart. Separating the Quran from a Muslim’s heart invokes the same emotionally rending experience as separating him from his home and marital union, per verse 4:34. 6. God’s Divinity Is Never Separable into Idols or Other Gods (2 Citations) In two of those remaining five citations, 16:74:2 and 43:17:5, respectively, God is condemning those who try to split off from God’s divinity either 1) a likeness of God (as idols) or 2) other gods entirely (as daughters of God). Once again, the true beauty of these verses comes out in light of the consistent meaning of the DRB root in the Quran and the uncompromising message of monotheism (Tawheed) at its core. The whole point of these two verses is simple: you cannot separate the divinity of God. God is always One and always inseparable. 7. God Separates Truth and Falsehood (1 Citation) Another interesting data point from the remaining five is 13:17:24. The sentence that it occurs in, word by word, is as follows: “Thus (does) God separate [DRB] truth and falsehood.” The DRB root word here is often translated as “set forth” or “present”, but this does not make as much sense, since “truth and falsehood” are mutually exclusive and not being set apart from a larger whole. They are only being set apart from each other – hence, the “and” conjunction separating these two words, along with no subsequent prepositional phrase alluding to what the two together could be “separating from”. Also, such a mainstream translation is simply offensive to a Muslim’s ears. Why would God “set forth” or “present” falsehood too? The Quran only presents truth, not falsehood. Once again, the true beauty of this verse comes out only when the consistent meaning of the DRB root is applied. In other words, “God

51 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication separates truth and falsehood”, and this is done in the Quran by making the two clearly distinct and mutually exclusive from one another. 8. Spread Apart Your Shawls to Protect Your Beauty (1 Citation) The final data point of the remaining five (again, the ones marked with ^ above) is 24:31:15. The verse that it occurs in advises Muslim women to “spread [or draw] apart [DRB] their shawls [bikhumurihinna = KMR root] over their bosoms” for the sake of modesty and to avoid harassment. When a shawl is worn folded like a scarf, it cannot cover the bosom properly, but when it is spread apart (i.e., unfolded) and worn as a shawl, it can easily do so. Once again, a richer translation comes out when the consistent meaning of the DRB root is applied. Thus the verse not only makes it clear what to do with the shawl, but how to do it properly. I will touch upon this data point again below in discussing a related, but much more mistranslated, DRB root word in the same verse. “That Which God (Commands To Be) Guarded”: The Hijab Debate, Part 1

But before moving on to the analysis of the disputed DRB citations in the Quran, we should take note that there is only one other verse in the entire Quran advising, but not commanding, certain dress for women for their own protection. This advice is given in a specific historical context (as typically indicated by the “O Prophet! Say” introduction), where Muslim women were being sexually harassed, harmed and quite possibly raped per the verse context immediately before and after. But even in this context, there is no reference whatsoever to hijab, as some Muslims allege, and the focus again is on covering the torso, and perhaps hips, but not the head: Oh Prophet! Say to your wives and your daughters and (the) women (of) the Faithful, to draw [yud'nīna = DNW root] over themselves of their outer garments [jalābībihinna = JLB root] (when they leave the home). That (is) more suitable, that they should be known and not harmed [yu'dhayna = ADhY root]. God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Quran 33:59) Note also in this verse that, even though women are wearing these “outer garments” (coat or shawl), the women are still quite recognizable (“known”) to others. Thus a full facial covering is not implied even in this scenario where there is a threat of harm. If should also be emphasized that the verbs used to adjust the shawl and outer garments, respectively, are different in these two verses: the DRB root is used in verse 24:31, and the DNW root in verse 33:59. If verse 24:31 merely implied to “draw over” a shawl in the same manner as verse 33:59 does, then why would a different verb, implying to “spread apart”, be used in verse 24:31 instead? As for hijab, I leave it up to the readers to come to their own conclusions and to make their own personal choices, especially given the implied support for hijab in hadiths. However, if one considers the Quran as the only timeless criterion across all climates and regions, then such support cannot be 52 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication definitively found, particularly in light of the enhanced meaning of the DRB root word used in verse 24:31, as discussed above. The entire focus of the Quran here is on covering the bosom (breasts), not the hair or head. Moreover, “spreading apart” the fabric is what is required to cover the bosom, whether the shawl is also worn as a hijab or not. This “spreading apart” DRB verb makes no sense to describe how to cover the head with the shawl. Only a verb like “draw over” does (e.g., the DNW root in verse 33:59). It is also difficult to imagine how a smaller to normal-sized hijab could even be “spread apart” to fully cover the bosom and, presumably, upper torso as well, while also covering the head at the same time. However, larger hijabs (shawls) can do so, so it is not an either-or debate. The only debate is whether covering a woman’s head in some way is potentially required (like covering the bosom) or purely optional. Although we are going on an apparent diversion with this topic, I actually build on these facts in a subsequent analysis, so now is a convenient time to lay them clearly on the table. One extremely interesting fact to me is that he KMR root word for “shawl” (often translated as “head covering”) does have a much more common and surprising meaning in the Quran: “intoxicant/wine”, in six out of seven times this root is used in the Quran. Given that intoxicants directly affect the head, or perhaps “cover the head” in an idiomatic haze, perhaps hijab can still be inferred as the meaning here with respect to the KMR root word. On the other hand, even if it could be interpreted that way here, that still doesn’t explain why the Quran advises only on covering a woman’s “private part” (her breasts) with that piece of clothing, but not her head whatsoever. At any rate, more etymological and historical research needs to be done on this ancillary topic to form a better conclusion, but these are the facts as I currently see them. I will present a few more facts on this ancillary debate below when I discuss a disputed DRB citation that comes from this very same verse 24:31.

VIII. ANALYSIS OF THE DISPUTED “DRB” CITATIONS IN THE QURAN Now here is the list of the 17 data points (citations) in dispute (including 4:34:29 already discussed in detail), along with the commonly translated meaning of the DRB variant used in those contexts: # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

DATA POINT REF. (2:60:6) (2:61:37) (2:73:2) (3:112:1) (3:112:18) (7:160:13) (8:12:17) (8:12:20) (8:50:8)

TRANSLITERATION iḍ'rib waḍuribat iḍ'ribūhu ḍuribat waḍuribat iḍ'rib fa-iḍ'ribū wa-iḍ'ribū yaḍribūna

COMMON TRANSLATION Strike And were struck Strike him Struck and struck Strike so strike and strike striking 53

Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication # 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

DATA POINT REF. (20:77:8) (24:31:64) (26:63:5) (37:93:3) (38:44:4) (47:4:5) (47:27:5) (4:34:29)

TRANSLITERATION fa-iḍ'rib yaḍrib'na iḍ'rib ḍarban fa-iḍ'rib faḍarba yaḍribūna wa-iḍ'ribūhunna

COMMON TRANSLATION and strike let them stamp Strike striking and strike then strike Striking and [finally] strike them

Again, note that there are actually only 16 citations to analyze, not 17, since the translation of Quran 4:34:29 (last on this list) is what is in dispute. The translation of “separate (from)” in that verse has already been abundantly supported by other arguments made above. 1. QURAN 2:60:6 Quran 2:60:6, as the first data point, is commonly translated approximately as follows: And [recall] when Moses prayed for water for his people, so We said, "Strike [iḍ'rib] with your staff the stone." And there gushed forth from it twelve springs, and every people knew its watering place. "Eat and drink from the provision of God, and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption." (Quran 2:60) The use of “strike” here is borderline nonsensical. What makes more sense in terms of getting water to flow through a stone, which is otherwise completely impermeable? Should one just whack it with a wooden staff, or should one separate it with that staff used as a wedge by creating or enlarging cracks within that stone? The answer is as clear as water itself: regardless of how the end result was accomplished, with or without any miracle, stone must separate to allow water through it. 2. QURAN 2:61:37 Quran 2:61:37, the second data point, follows immediately after Quran 2:60. That context, as I will show, is critical in understanding the meaning of the DRB root at 2:61:37. It is commonly translated approximately as follows: And [recall] when you said, "O Moses, we can never endure one [kind of] food. So call upon your Lord to bring forth for us from the earth its green herbs and its cucumbers and its garlic and its lentils and its onions." [Moses] said, "Would you exchange what is better for what is less? Go down (to) a city and indeed, you will have what you have asked." And they were struck [waḍuribat] with weakness and misery and requited with anger from God [upon them]. That was because they [repeatedly] rejected the signs of God and killed the prophets without right. That was because they disobeyed and were [habitually] transgressing. (Quran 2:61) 54 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication What is interesting about this verse is that people are supposedly being “struck” according to this translation, but they are never touched physically, which blatantly contradicts the support for the DRB root implying to hit or strike physically. Moreover, the reality is that the weakness and misery supposedly doing the striking were simply the result of the people’s own doing. They were not “struck” with these by God, as this translation implies. If anything, they would have been subsequently “struck” by the judgment of God that they earned as a result, as the verse clearly implies in all common translations. However, if “struck” does not make much sense here, then what about some variant of “separated”, per the alternative DRB translation? Looking at the verse in isolation, it is not clear how “they” being separated or divided makes much sense. However, the previous verse makes the “separated” translation both abundantly clear and undeniably appropriate. The pronoun “they” is referring to none other than the 12 tribes of Israel, a story that is central in all of the Abrahamic faiths. Therefore, the separation being referred to here is of the twelve tribes of Israel – one of the most infamous separations in all of human history! This separation not only continues to this day, but it is the separation that defines the bulk of human conflict to this day. Note how the people who prefer the luxuries of the world are told by Moses to “Go down (to) a city” to dwell elsewhere and leave his community of tribes, which is exactly what they did. That is when the very next sentence in this verse confirms they “set forth” or “became separated” using the same DRB root. Could the correct translation be any clearer? Actually, it can. By far, the much more common translation of the SKF root word meaning “misery” (or sometimes “poverty”) here is “dwellings”, with the only other instance of “misery” being used in 3:112, which has the same incorrect “struck with misery” translation, as discussed below. If we use the much more accepted “dwellings” word, the clarity increases more, since they were not “separated with misery” but “separated in dwellings”, which is exactly what the verse describes. In other words, “they were separated with (spiritual) weakness and in (physical) dwellings”. To fully describe the extent of their spiritual and physical separation, I added the parenthetical words to explain why two types of separation were being highlighted together in the same verse. The moral of this story is to learn how humanity becomes separated spiritually and physically by rejecting God, killing God’s prophets, and choosing what is materially better at the expense of what is spiritually better. By mangling the translation of the DRB word to “struck” instead of the clearly more appropriate “separated” (or “set forth”), such translations practically destroy the moral of the whole story. 3. QURAN 2:73:2 Quran 2:73:2 is the third data point in the Quran where the DRB root is commonly translated as “strike” or “hit”. However, let’s show a common translation of not just this verse, but also the immediately

55 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication preceding context, which will subsequently be incorporated into the analysis to prove beyond any doubt that 2:73:2 is translated incorrectly here as “strike”: 67 And [recall] when Moses said to his people, "Indeed, God commands you to slaughter a cow." They said, "Do you take us in ridicule?" He said, "I seek refuge in God from being among the ignorant." 68 They said, "Call upon your Lord to make clear to us what it is." [Moses] said, "[God] says, 'It is a cow which is neither old nor virgin, but median between that,' so do what you are commanded." 69 They said, "Call upon your Lord to show us what is her color." He said, "He says, 'It is a yellow cow, bright in color - pleasing to the observers.' " 70 They said, "Call upon your Lord to make clear to us what it is. Indeed, [all] cows look alike to us. And indeed we, if God wills, will be guided." 71 He said, "He says, 'It is a cow neither trained to plow the earth nor to irrigate the field, one free from fault with no spot upon her.' "They said, "Now you have come with the truth." So they slaughtered her, but they could hardly do it. 72 And [recall] when you slew a man and disputed over it, but God was to bring out that which you were concealing. 73 So, We said, "Strike [iḍ'ribūhu] the slain man with part of it." Thus does God bring the dead to life, and He shows you His signs that you might reason. (Quran 2:67-73) These verses constitute the namesake of the longest sura in the entire Quran, “The Cow”, but does that mean we should not dare to challenge all those scholars who have been translating the DRB root in here as “strike” all these centuries? I really don’t care what those scholars say if their interpretation conflicts with the facts and logic. Let’s start with the logic by summarizing the typical translation of the last verse above, Quran 2:73: Common, everyday farmers of old could simply summon the power of literally resurrecting the dead whenever there was an unsolved murder by striking the victim with a bloody piece of a dead heifer. In doing so, the corpse of the innocent person would be desecrated by hitting it and covering it with the blood of a dead animal, but there seems to be no objection in the Quran to that unavoidable but repugnant consequence. Such a translation is patently absurd on so many levels: 56 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication 1. How could common farmers expect to perform such miracles on demand when only God has the power to resurrect, and not even prophets were given this power indirectly by God (per the Quran)? 2. Why would the community really even care who murdered the innocent victim anymore, since that person would now be resurrected, which means that the murderer could no longer be charged for murder, and the innocent victim could now live his life happily ever after? 3. How could desecration of an innocent victim’s corpse like this be justified when it is already forbidden to do so in Islam? It is simply stunning that the vast majority of scholars translating the Quran do not recognize the profound absurdity implied by their “resurrection via desecration” translation. Now this leads us into the correct translation of verse 2:73, which should instead be translated approximately as follows: So, We said, "Separate (from) [iḍ'ribūhu] the slain man some of it [i.e., the heifer]." Like this does God bring the dead to life, and He shows you His signs so that you might reason. (Quran 2:73) Taken alone, this translation also does not seem to make a lot of sense, since why would part of the heifer be separated from the man and the heifer? However, the answer becomes abundantly clear when one understands the unambiguous ritual being referred to here, which is directly from the Torah/Bible as a prescribed method to help solve an unsolved murder. Today, we too have the metaphorical power to “make a dead body speak”, as the CSI television show often says, but we do it with forensic medical analysis. By contrast, back then, the only way they could metaphorically “make a dead body speak” was through a psychologically powerful ritual to elicit a confession from the killer or, more likely, from someone who was a witness to the murder but reluctant to implicate a possible friend or relative. A metaphorical resurrection rather than a miracle is alluded to with the prefix phrase, “Like this”, along with the suffix phrase, “and He shows you his signs [āyātihi] so that you might reason”, both of which bracket the phrase, “…does God bring the dead to life….” The words “like” and “signs” signify a meaningful event that is 1) metaphorical yet 2) still natural, respectively. Most important, how this metaphorical “resurrection” should be understood is not through the miraculous at all, but through “reason” alone. Now let’s take a closer look at what this ritual is all about. Here is the quotation from Deuteronomy 21:1-9 (21st Century King James Version), which almost exactly parallels the ritual being referred to in the full quotation above (from Quran 2:67-73): 1 If one be found slain in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee to possess it, lying in the field, and it be not known who hath slain him, 57 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication 2 then thy elders and thy judges shall come forth, and they shall measure the distance unto the cities which are round about him that is slain. 3 And it shall be that the city which is next unto the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take a heifer which hath not been worked and which hath not drawn in the yoke; 4 and the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a rough valley, which is neither eared nor sown, and shall strike off the heifer’s neck there in the valley. 5 And the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come near, for them the Lord thy God hath chosen to minister unto Him and to bless in the name of the Lord; and by their word shall every controversy and every stroke be tried. 6 And all the elders of that city who are next unto the slain man shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley. 7 And they shall answer and say, ‘Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it. 8 Be merciful, O Lord, unto Thy people Israel, whom Thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto Thy people of Israel’s charge.’ And the blood shall be forgiven them. 9 So shalt thou put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 21:1-9, 21st Century King James Version) So what do we have here? According to the Bible, the slain man and a young, healthy, pure heifer are placed side by side. A piece (the head) of the heifer is removed (“beheaded”), and thereby separated from both the slain man and the heifer. This is unequivocal per verse 6 above, where it states, “And all the elders of that city who are next unto the slain man shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley.” And then an oath is taken by those present, while the “innocent blood” of the pure animal is washed on their hands, that they did not commit this murder and that they did not witness who did so. Note how there is no reference or even hint in the Bible about desecrating the corpse by hitting it with a piece of the dead heifer. The entire point of using the blood of the beheaded heifer as a substitute for the innocent blood of the victim is to avoid such desecration of the corpse. Note how verses 6 and 7 emphasize the symbolic importance of the blood in this ritual, and how both verses 8 and 9 emphasize the critical phrase “innocent blood” to make this symbolism unequivocal. 58 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication This is a very powerful ritual indeed. For someone to lie or to withhold the truth under such circumstances would be monumentally difficult. It would arguably be a nearly impossible moral challenge for anyone of that day and age in such close-knit communities. Imagine, if you can, being put into these circumstances: While looking at “innocent blood” all over your hands next to the corpse of the victim and being watched intently by all the respected elders of the whole region, you must somehow summon the ability to lie under oath with God as your witness that you are not lying or withholding any truth about the murder! That is how such a sacred ritual – directly from the Bible – is able to “bring the dead to life to reveal the truth”, as the Quran effectively says at the end of verse 2:73. No ridiculously contorted miracle is remotely required – just overwhelmingly powerful psychology. So how sure are we that this Biblical ritual is indeed the same ritual being referenced in the Quran? The parallels are unambiguous, but just in case you missed the key ones, here they are explicitly listed: 1. The whole point of these verses from the Quran– actually, more than 60 verses from Quran 2:40 through 2:102 – is to emphasize the scripture (Torah) and the covenant that God had with the Jews. This means that the Quran is blatantly acknowledging that verse 2:73 is something that should be found directly in the Bible because the Quran is openly referencing it as an historic ritual of the Jews, not as a new or existing ritual of the Muslims. 2. The objective of both versions of this ritual is to solve an unsolved murder, which is an extremely specific parallel. 3. The same commandment from God exists in both versions to slaughter a heifer in order to solve the murder. 4. The punctilious details regarding the type of animal used for the ritual are exactly the same: a young female cow (heifer) never yoked or used for labor. 5. The involvement of the entire community in this ritual is clear in both versions. 6. Both the heifer and the murder victim are placed together during the ritual (explicitly per the Bible and implicitly per the Quran). 7. Most important of all, a piece (the head) is separated from the heifer (and therefore away from the murder victim too). This conclusively and unequivocally answers how the DRB root word should be translated in this verse – in other words, in the same way it is translated everywhere else in the Quran. 4. & 5.

QURAN 3:112:1 AND QURAN 3:112:18

Quran 3:112 has two DRB root words as the fourth and fifth data points in the analysis (3:112:1 and 3:112:18), and both of these words reference the same action and reflect the same analysis, so I am combining them together. This verse is commonly translated approximately as follows: They have been struck [ḍuribat] with weakness wherever they are overtaken, except for a covenant from God and a rope from the Muslims. And they have drawn upon themselves anger from God and have been struck [waḍuribat] with misery. That is 59 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication because they rejected the verses of God and killed the prophets without right. That is because they disobeyed and [habitually] transgressed. (Quran 3:112) These two DRB root usages once again have nothing whatsoever to do with physical beating or striking, so that alone disqualifies them from supporting such a translation of the DRB root word in verse 4:34. However, what further disqualifies them is the same logic that was used above in 2:61:37 to disqualify the same exact phrase from being translated as “struck with weakness/misery”. What this verse is referring to, similar to the separation of the twelve tribes of Israel, is the spiritual and physical separation of the People of the Book. In order to support this conclusion, however, the context must support the argument that there are two different types of People of the Book and that “they are separated by their (spiritual) weakness and in their (physical) dwellings” in the same way that the 12 twelve tribes of Israel were in the verse above. Well, surprise, surprise, this context is right there, immediately before and after verse 3:112, where verses 3:110-111 reference the spiritually weak People of the Book and verses 3:113-115 reference the spiritually strong People of the Book: If only the People of the Book had believed, it would have been better for them. Among them are believers, but most of them are defiantly disobedient. They will not harm you except for [some] annoyance. And if they fight you, they will show you their backs; then they will not be aided. (Quran 3:110-111) They are not [all] the same; among the People of the Book is a community standing [in obedience], reciting the verses of God during periods of the night and prostrating [in prayer]. They believe in God and the Last Day, and they enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and hasten to good deeds. And those are among the righteous. And whatever good they do - never will it be removed from them. And God is All-Knowing of the God conscious. (Quran 3:113-115) Note how the separation between these two groups among the People of the Book is clearly highlighted, both in terms of their spiritual weakness (e.g., with the weak ones quickly “showing you their backs” when they attack Muslims) and in their physical dwellings (e.g., with the spiritually strong ones noted as living in a separate “community”). 6. QURAN 7:160:13 Quran 7:160:13, as the sixth data point, is commonly translated approximately as follows with respect to its immediate context: And We inspired to Moses when his people implored him for water, "Strike [iḍ'rib] with your staff the stone," and there gushed forth from it twelve springs. (Quran 7:160) The exact same arguments apply to this verse to debunk the “strike” translation as in Quran 2:60:6. A singular impermeable stone must separate to allow water through it, and it relies on a common sense 60 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication solution using a physical wedge (a simple machine) rather than whacking a hard stone with wood or by relying on a miracle. Occam’s razor strongly supports the simple machine approach of separating the stone. However, regardless of the method, miracle or not, the end result must be the same: separation of the stone to allow water to flow through it. 7. & 8.

QURAN 8:12:17 AND QURAN 8:12:20

Quran 8:12 has two DRB root words as the seventh and eighth data points in the analysis (8:12:17 and 8:12:20), and both of these words reference the same action and reflect the same analysis, so I am combining them together. This verse is commonly translated approximately as follows: [Remember] when your Lord inspired to the angels, "I am with you, so strengthen those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who rejected (God), so strike [wa-iḍ'ribū] above the necks and strike [wa-iḍ'ribū] from them every fingertip.” (Quran 8:12) This is perhaps the best example of why there is potential confusion in defining DRB incorrectly as “strike” or “hit”, since in this instance it is almost as correct as the true meaning of the root implying a division or separation of some sort. In this case, “separate” is an appropriate description of what is happening, since fingers and (possibly) heads are being separated from the body in battle. However, a much better English synonym for “separate” in this context would be “sever”, in the same way that we say spouses “separate” while we also say that a marital relationship “severs”, even though both imply the same meaning. What does not make much sense, though, is to “strike from them every fingertip”, which implies one strike for each fingertip. What makes much more sense is severing every fingertip in one motion rather than just hitting or striking them individually. Similarly, what makes more sense in emphasizing decisive, fatal blows is not just striking or hitting necks, but severing necks, which is what swords would almost invariably do after striking someone’s neck. Moreover, severing necks does not imply complete beheading. In fact, contrary to hyperbolic Islamophobia, the wording here implies a partial, but no less fatal, severing of the neck. A beheading could only be implied if the head, not the neck, were the direct object of the verb, like “every fingertip” is the direct object of the DRB verb per this same verse. Note also how the phrase “[DRB] from them every finger tip” focuses on the subsequent effect of the sword on what it hits rather than on what the sword is doing to cause that effect. The prepositional phrase “from them [min'hum]” connects the DRB verb to what the fingers are doing (separating from the body) rather than to what the sword is doing. This is a critical point, since what noun the DRB verb is most connected with implies how it should be translated. In short, although this is perhaps only one of two examples in the Quran where “strike”/”hit” is not a nonsensical translation of the DRB root (the other is in verse 47:4 using the same phrase of severing necks), it is still not the best translation. The reason the alternative (and correct) translation is better is 61 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication because the emphasis in this verse is on the effect of God’s direct assistance in the historical Battle of Badr, where Muslims were greatly outnumbered in defending against an aggressive attack. That is why this verse focuses on decisively severing necks and fingers in highlighting the decisive outcome of this battle, rather than on the indecisive causative actions of merely “striking” necks and fingers. Compare the translation above with the translation using “sever” as the synonym for “separate”: [Remember] when your Lord inspired to the angels, "I am with you, so strengthen those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who rejected (God), so sever [wa-iḍ'ribū] above the necks and sever [wa-iḍ'ribū] from them every fingertip.” (Quran 8:12) Again, this verse (like the similarly worded verse 47:4 discussed below) holds the key to the source of confusion surrounding the definition of the DRB root. In the earliest of the six classical Arabic dictionaries, Kitab al Ayn (which is still well over 100 years past the time of Muhammad), the example of striking with a sword is the only reference to using this root in the context of “striking”. But what makes this example so special? The reason is simple: because the action of striking with a sword as the cause is exactly concurrent with the reaction of severing/separating the neck or other body parts as the effect. Thus, notwithstanding any dictionary definitions to the contrary, no interpretation can change the fact that the DRB root is describing only the effect of severing/separating, not the cause of striking/hitting. See http://www.quran434.com/resources/Kitab-Al-Ayn-DaRaBa.html for the supporting reference and ultimate source link of this old dictionary definition. Also, note the quran434.com intermediary site, which I came across after almost completing my work. It is an additional excellent resource on verse 4:34. I cover the vast majority of what this site covers, but I also address significant deficiencies in its analysis leading to the conclusion that the DRB root has all kinds of meanings in the Quran. It simply doesn’t, as my analysis here clearly shows. That said, I do want to highlight two salient points from the quran434.com site that I did not make: 

Verse 4:34 allows a DRB response based on simple “fear” (takhāfūna = KWF root) of nushuz. If DRB implies punishment, then such a response is simply nonsensical, since no punishment can ever be meted out in Islam without proof of guilt. Although I argue this obvious point independently herein, quran434.com took the analysis one level deeper. There are 124 instances in the Quran where this KWF root word is used in the Quran, and this was the conclusion that the author reached: “[I]n ALL cases [where the KWF root is used] there is not a [single] mention of resorting to physical violence. To my utmost surprise, there was only one example [Quran 40:26] showing punishment or threat of physical punishment based on a fear/suspicion, and the figure threatening to do such a thing was the undisputed greatest tyrannical archetype in The Quran: Pharaoh.” How ironic indeed!

62 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication 

The quran434.com author also makes another stunning – but, in hindsight, predictable -observation based on his extensive review of all the traditional commentators on verse 4:34: “All [such commentators] base their understanding on traditional narrations/ahadith. It is very important to note that NO commentator who puts forward the meaning of beat/strike uses The Quran itself as evidence for their view.” Once again, this analysis supports my emphatic assertion that traditional “scholarship” was tragically incompetent, especially on political and social engineering matters where a certain outcome was desired by the politicians padding their medieval mullahs’ payrolls. The only way that these “scholars” could possibly support their fatwas was to dispose of the Quran as just another text that can be “abrogated”, dismissed or ignored. They did so extensively, via their endless fatwas and severely contorted and unreliable hadith interpretations, all in devout service to their political paymasters. All these commentators had to do was consult with the Quran itself to find out how God defines the usage and meaning of the DRB root no less than 58 times. After all, it is God’s Book! But they didn’t. And that’s the whole point. And that’s why they missed such a glaringly obvious conclusion. On that note, let’s move on to the next of the 58 data points. 9. QURAN 8:50:8

Quran 8:50:8, as the ninth data point, is commonly translated approximately as follows: And if you could but see when the angels take the souls of those who rejected (God), striking [yaḍribūna] their fronts/faces and their backs, (and saying), "Taste the punishment of the Burning Fire.” (Quran 8:50) The first question to ask is how could angels “striking their faces and backs” be punishment for “the souls of those who rejected (God)” when their bodies are already dead, unfeeling corpses? This is clearly another example of a nonsensical translation of the DRB root into “strike”. The metaphor here is describing the terrible pain that a rejecter of God feels as a result of his soul being ripped from his body. The pain is tremendous because a rejecter of God has lived an entire life in service to nothing else but his own body, so his soul has become extremely attached to it. The imagery of the pain is unambiguously metaphorical (i.e., not meant to be literal), since the verse itself states “If you could but see when the angels take the souls of those who rejected (God)” (which obviously can’t be seen) before describing what happens to their physical faces and backs (which obviously can be seen). So given this obvious metaphor and the very restricted roles for angels in Islam with respect to their inability to punish rejecters of God at their own discretion, what makes more sense?: 1) for the angels to strike the faces and backs unnecessarily in some ad hoc fashion and severity before the souls of those who reject God are even sent to hell for punishment or 2) to painfully separate the faces and backs of those who rejected God in order to rip their souls unwillingly from their bodies as the angels tell them they are going to hell? There is no doubt at all which translation would be more congruent with ripping something out from the inside of a tightly closed vessel, as well as which translation would be a more persuasive image with respect to the immense – and unavoidable – pain being described by the 63 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication separation metaphor. It thus becomes obvious how the correctly translated phrase, “separating their faces and their backs”, is not an additional action of the angels at all, but merely a traumatic metaphor describing exactly how “angels take the souls of those who rejected (God)”. 10. QURAN 20:77:8 Quran 20:77:8, as the tenth data point, is commonly translated approximately as follows: And We had inspired to Moses, "Travel by night with My servants and strike [fa-iḍ'rib] for them a dry path through the sea; you will not fear being overtaken [by Pharaoh] nor be afraid [of drowning]." (Quran 20:77) This is yet another ridiculous translation of the DRB root into “strike”. The true translation is beyond obvious here. What did Moses do to escape from Pharaoh per this famous story also spelled out so prominently in the Bible? He “separated for them a dry path through the sea”! In other words, Moses parted / separated the sea. He did not “strike a dry path through it”! 11. QURAN 24:31:64 Quran 24:31:64, as the eleventh data point, is commonly translated approximately as follows with respect to its immediate context:: And let them not stamp [yaḍrib'na] their feet to make known what they conceal of their beauty. (Quran 24:31) The obvious question here is, how can simply stamping (or striking) feet reveal beauty that is normally always concealed? This wording is utterly nonsensical. Yet again, what makes much more sense is the alternate (and correct) translation of separate (or spread apart), since a woman who separates/spreads apart her feet (and therefore her legs) is very much liable to reveal something that is otherwise quite concealed. The correct translation could not be more obvious. It is a truism of female modesty that has stood the test of time for millennia, even to today in modern secular society: And let them not spread apart [yaḍrib'na] their feet to make known what they conceal of their beauty. (Quran 24:31) Notice also how this use of the DRB root within an exhortation towards modesty, not aggression, is repeated again in this very same verse 24:31, already discussed in detail above. Moreover, this other citation utilizes the same exact meaning of spreading (or drawing) apart as a synonym of separation: And let them spread [or draw] apart [walyaḍrib'na] their shawls over their bosoms and not display/reveal their beauty, except to their husbands,…” (Quran 24:31)

64 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication Of course, it is simply impossible to translate this second DRB excerpt from verse 24:31 as “beat”, “hit”, “stamp” or anything remotely synonymous with those words. It even seems nearly impossible in hindsight that the other excerpt from verse 24:31 could be translated as such either (as “stamp”). Yet so many Muslim scholars suffering from taqlid groupthink have quite embarrassingly done so nonetheless. Incidentally, similar logic has led some Muslims to argue that DRB also means sexual intercourse, or “to cover”, based on a late 11th century reference to “darab al-fahl an-naqah” by Al-Raghib al-Isfahani, in his Al-Mufradat fi Gharib al-Quran (Quran dictionary). This phrase has been cited many times by subsequent scholars and has been translated to mean “the stud camel covered [DRB] the she-camel”. Here again we have a case where the DRB root word is assumed to describe the subject of the sentence (the cause) instead of the direct object of the action (the effect). Like verse 8:12 in striking (cause) vs. severing (effect) with a sword, this has led to the spawning of entirely new meanings for the DRB root. This example of “the stud camel covering [DRB] the she-camel” is also very much like the traditional “stamp their feet” misinterpretation too. Both DRB root word usages invoke a completely nonsensical or indirect meaning (“stamp” or “cover”) in order to obscure what is actually a more graphic sexual innuendo of “spreading apart”. Given the medieval theocratic origins of these more euphemistic interpretations, we should not find these oblique embellishments at all surprising. “That Which God (Commands To Be) Guarded”: The Hijab Debate, Part 2

As promised above, for those who are interested, let’s turn once again to the ancillary topic of hijab, while also clarifying what verse 4:34 means when it refers to “that which God (commands to be) guarded”. To do so, we first need to look at the entirety of verse 24:31, along with the related verse 24:30 preceding it: Say to the believing men, that they should lower their gaze, and they should guard [wayaḥfaẓna = HFZ root] their modesty/private parts [furūjahum = FRJ root]. That (is) purer for them. Indeed, God (is) All-Aware of what they do. (Quran 24:30) And say to the believing women, (that) they should lower their gaze, and they should guard [wayaḥfaẓū = HFZ root] their modesty/private parts [furūjahunna = FRJ root] and not display/reveal [yub'dīna = BDW root] their beauty [zīnatahunna = ZYN root], except what becomes apparent/exposed [ẓahara = ZHR root] of it [i.e., by accident, like per Quran 24:58]. And let them spread [or draw] apart [walyaḍrib'na = DRB root] their shawls [bikhumurihinna = KMR root] over their bosoms and not display/reveal [yub'dīna = BDW root] their beauty [zīnatahunna = ZYN root], except to their husbands or their fathers or the fathers of their husbands or their sons or the sons of their husbands or their brothers or the sons of their brothers or the sons of their sisters or their women [female employees, friends, etc.] or whom their oaths govern or the attendants having no physical desire among the men or the children who (are) not aware of the naked aspects [ʿawrāti = EWR root, feminine plural] of the women. 65 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication And let them not spread apart [yaḍrib'na = DRB root] their feet to make known [liyuʿ'lama = ELM root] what they conceal of their beauty [zīnatihinna = ZYN root]. (Quran 24:31) Let’s focus first on the FRJ root word, which defines exactly what both men and women are commanded to “guard”. In seven out of nine times it is used in the Quran, it is in the context of modesty/private parts. However, it is in the two remaining citations that a clearer etymological meaning becomes apparent with respect to the main seven citations. In these two, the FRJ root word is translated as “cleft (asunder)” as a verb in verse 77:9, and as “cracks/rifts/gaps” as a noun in verse 50:6. A clear etymological connection to (and connotation of) “private parts” is implied by the FRJ root via these two citations, rather than a more vague reference to “modesty” alone. Cleft, rift, crack, gap, cleavage, etc. are all descriptive, though rudimentary, physical references to private parts, either fully or partially exposed. Hence my more specific dual definition of this root word above as “modesty/private parts”, which the majority of translators already agree with. Let’s focus next on the EWR root word in verse 24:31. It is well known in modern Arabic that ʿawrāti refers definitively to private parts as well. However, the emphasis in this root is more on the “nakedness” or “exposure” of those private parts. This is confirmed in the three other usages of this root in the Quran (for a total of four). Verse 24:58 refers to the “times of nakedness [ʿawrātin]” during the day and night to be mindful of, and verse 33:13 (with two citations) refers to the exposure (nakedness) of homes from attack when men travel away for war. Clearly, homes have no “private parts”, and the focus in verse 24:58 is on “times of nakedness”, not directly on private parts. The only common theme amongst all four citations is complete exposure or nakedness. Therefore, the EWR root only indirectly refers to “private parts” (i.e., as a consequence of that nakedness) when this root is used in the context of humans. Incidentally, also take note that ʿawrāti is a femine plural noun, implying that women have more than one private part, which I will soon circle back to below. Finally, let’s focus on the HFZ root verb (“guard”) above and in verse 4:34. Based on the 44 instances of this root in the Quran, there appear to be only three things or practices that God is commanding Muslims to “guard” per the Quran: 1) the FRJ root word (“private parts”), as discussed above; 2) “your oaths/contracts” (per verse 5:89), and 3) prayers (per verses 2:238, 6:92, 23:9, and 70:34). The latter is an obligation only to God, never to one’s spouse. As for “your oaths/contracts”, the only obligation to one’s spouse implied here is the marital contract, as referenced in verse 4:33 and discussed above. That leaves only “private parts” (#1) commanded by God to be “guarded”. This is essentially the only relevant one of the three that must be guarded with respect to marriage (and verse 4:34), since sexual fidelity is also the dominant obligation of the marital oath/contract for women. So given this analysis above with respect to what “beauty” (ZYN root) must be “guarded” per the Quran, it seems that the Quran can only support a requirement for hijab (as headscarf) if a woman’s hair is considered one of her “private parts”. Some might try to stretch the FRJ root to imply this. However, per the analysis above, this does not appear to have any etymological or contextual merit. Moreover, verse 24:31 clarifies what the FRJ root implies by directly linking it to the EWR root word (ʿawrāti), which

66 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication in modern Arabic clearly encompasses what we universally and euphemistically refer to as “private parts” today. In other words, this would not include a woman’s hair, face or head. However, most important of all, verse 24:31 literally and exactly specifies what those “private parts” are: 1) the bosom (breasts) and 2) what is between the legs. And the only reason that this degree of clarity is possible is because of the much improved translation of the DRB root words in verse 24:31, meaning to “spread (or draw) apart” in each of the instances where the two “private parts” are discussed. The Quran (i.e., God) not only commands that these two areas be “guarded”, but it tells women how to do so as well. This interpretation is further supported by verse 4:34 reminding women (and men) to “guard [HFZ root] in the unseen [i.e., while no one sees but God] that which God (commands to be) guarded” in order to avoid “disloyalty/ill-conduct [nushuz]”. Clearly, when a spouse is guarding her (his) private parts even when not being seen in public, she (he) is also guarding her (his) marital loyalty as well. After all, sexual affairs are always done in secret, i.e., “in the unseen”. So, in summary, there appears to be no support in the Quran for a requirement to wear a shawl as a headscarf/hijab. However, perhaps the etymological origin of the KMR root (for “shawl”/”headscarf”) as “intoxicant” (discussed above) provides a proverbial “hat tip” (pun intended) to hijabs as a positive devotional practice nonetheless. At the very least, one could still argue that the Quran’s mention of this extra piece of cloth, which would very often be used as a hijab, indicates that a hijab should be considered normal, even if it is not technically required. Also, even though verse 24:31 defines what private “beauty” not to “display/reveal”, the “shawl” in verse 24:31 and the “outer garments” in verse 33:59 both clearly imply that some sort of normal fitted clothes or substantive undergarments are already being worn underneath. If this were not the case, then verse 24:31 would be stating that it is permissible for brothers, fathers, etc. to see a woman’s bare breasts (i.e., without the “shawl” or “outer garments”), which is absurd. Thus, these extra pieces of clothing are not so much to cover a woman’s bare breasts, but to conceal visible cleavage and the welldefined shape of breasts as well. In other words, when leaving the home, normal fitted clothing (over the bosom) or substantive undergarments worn freely in the home (amongst those listed per verse 24:31) are not enough coverage. But just to be clear, this does not imply a legal obligation – only a moral one. Ironically, this common-sense advice of the Quran seems to elude even many women who devoutly wear a hijab. There is no substantive research that I am aware of supporting male sexual arousal due to women not wearing a headscarf/hijab. However, there is plenty of such research to support the existence of, and rationale for, men’s biological fixation on women’s breasts, such as these: 

Proves that such a fixation naturally exists among men: http://static.squarespace.com/static/512c2269e4b091ea7fcc8dfa/t/51ba3aaee4b0306d8e87c3 2b/1371159214910/Dixson+et+al.+-+2011+-+Eye67

Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication

Tracking+of+Men+%E2%80%99+s+Preferences+for+Waist-toHip+Ratio+and+Breast+Size+of+Women.pdf Offers at least one compelling rationale for this fixation: http://www.livescience.com/23500-why-men-love-breasts.html.

The Quran’s commands are not meant to be an arbitrary burden. They are for our own practical benefit and protection from harm given natural human weaknesses, as verse 33:59 emphasizes per the quote above. Ultimately, I have no objection against those who choose to wear hijab, or even against those who see it as “required” for them personally. However, I emphatically object to those who hypocritically obsess over hijab at the expense of flagrantly ignoring what the Quran is actually advising women to cover with their “shawl” or “outer garments”. I also object to those who deem hijab to be required upon all Muslim women. Even if one could somehow argue that hijab is an obligatory, there is a very simple social solution -- per the Quran – to all “inappropriate dress”. It is not to force everyone to conform to a dress code. It is to put the burden squarely upon Muslim women and men who follow the Quran to “lower their gaze” when they encounter those who don’t dress as the Quran advises. As Quran 2:256 should remind us again and again, “There is no compulsion in religion.” 12. QURAN 26:63:5 Quran 26:63:5, as the twelfth data point, is commonly translated approximately as follows: Then We inspired to Moses, "Strike [iḍ'rib] with your staff the sea," and it parted [FLQ root], and each portion [FRQ root] was like a great towering mountain. (Quran 26:63) This is identical to the analysis of data point 20:77:8. The only difference is that it makes it crystal clear here that the sea was actually “parted”, as if we needed confirmation of this famous story. Moses did not “strike” the sea with his staff. He separated/parted the sea. Another interesting point in this verse is the use of the FLQ and FRQ roots. Like the TLQ root for “divorce”, both of these roots imply a complete break and distinct division. By contrast, the DRB root has an implied meaning of separation while still maintaining at least some connection, however tenuous, partial or virtual, between the two nouns in question. Note how the DRB root word applies while the water is a singular “sea” in the process of separating. However, the FLQ and FRQ root words then apply when that separation becomes complete, resulting in two distinct bodies of water, where “each portion was like a great towering mountain”. If we connect this back to data point 20:77:8 above referring to this same parting of the sea, we can see this distinction between the DRB root and the FLQ/FRQ roots even more. In that citation, it says that when the “separation” finished, there was not even wet earth or a thin film of water connecting these “towering mountains” of water. The separation was now 100% complete – so much so that Moses’ 68 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication people could miraculously walk on a completely “dry path”. Hence, the DRB root is used to describe the process of separation while there is still some connection between the bodies of water, and the FLQ/FRQ roots are used when this separation is 100% complete. This is a convenient time to bring up an ancillary hadith related to this exact same root word distinction. It is where Muhammad supposedly tells Muslims to “beat” their children to pray when they become ten years old. However, this translation is once again wrong, as will become obvious given the true and original meaning of the DRB root. It is obvious due to context at the end of this hadith that no one seems to remember. With the “beat” translation, this context seems disconnected. However, with the correct translation below, it is now perfectly clear and quite connected with what comes before it in terms of what else to do when children reach ten years old: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: Teach your children to pray when they are seven years (old), and separate them [DRB root] when they are ten years (old), and completely separate them [FRQ root] in their beds. (Dawud 2:495) The latter part of this hadith is merely reiterating the advice in Quran 24:58-59, where children who “reach/start puberty” (roughly around 10 years old) must ask (and be asked) permission when entering private rooms during the three “times of nakedness” each day. This logically implies children being in “separate” (DRB root) bedrooms from parents and that each child must now have a “completely separate” (FRQ root) bed. It is amazing how the mistranslation of a single word can totally destroy the original meaning. Instead of advocating some new form of domestic violence in total contradiction to the Quran, per the common mistranslation, this hadith is actually doing nothing more than reiterating an existing message of the Quran. 13. QURAN 37:93:3 Quran 37:93:3, as the thirteenth data point, is commonly translated approximately as follows (in its fuller context): Then he [Abraham] turned to [farāgha ilā] their gods [ālihatihim] and said: "Will you not eat (of the offering before you)? What is the matter with you that you speak not?" Then he turned upon them [farāgha alayhim; i.e., the idols], striking [ḍarban] with the right hand. Then they [the worshippers of idols] came towards him, hastening. He said: "Do you worship that which you (yourselves) carve while God has created you and what you make? They said: "Build for him a building [like a furnace] and throw him into the blazing fire!” (Quran 37:91-97) In this story of Abraham, Abraham is set to be burned alive for merely “striking” idols, which doesn’t make sense unless we know what happened to the idols after being struck. Also, the idol worshippers came running after he did so, but why did they come running unless they heard a much more serious noise of idols breaking? That is why “striking” is a deficient word in this context and simply a wrong 69 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication translation of the DRB root used here. The root word here is describing the effect of Abraham’s action, not the action itself, since it is the “separating” effect (i.e., breaking into two pieces) of his action that is so critical in triggering the subsequent chain of events. We also know from this quotation above that the idols he broke were “carved”, which means they were all made out of solid wood and would likely have broken into two pieces (rather than many) when he loudly cracked them in half with his right hand. Note that there is no direct object for the DRB root word at all, which implies that his right hand was used more indirectly in the action, not by “striking” them, which would generally require a direct object (“them”). Therefore, instead of “striking” the idols directly with his right hand, Abraham clearly must have split them, which, of course, is yet another synonym for separating into two component pieces one original whole (similar to two individuals separating from their marital union, as in verse 4:34). Note also here how unrealistic it would be to destroy solid wooden idols by punching or chopping them with just a single right hand. The only logical way to destroy several solid wooden idols in a short space of time would be to split each of them into two pieces in an indirect way with one’s right hand (e.g., with leverage, a tool, or by picking up the idols and striking them against a large solid stone, not by striking the idols directly with one’s hand as the wrong translation implies). Especially when one knows that others would soon be arriving to find out what all the noise is about, taking the time to split each wooden idol into more than two pieces would likely not be an option. This further supports the interpretation of “split” rather than simply “break” into many pieces, which would imply a different Arabic root choice (e.g., the “qāf ṭā ʿayn” root for “clove asunder”). Finally, take note how Abraham was already “turned to” (farāgha ilā) the idols while he talked directly with them in a mocking way, face to face, just before he “turned upon them” (farāgha alayhim) in the immediately following sentence. Therefore, it is clear that there could not have been any literal “turning” of Abraham’s body or even face in the second instance, which means “turning upon” must have the same meaning as this idiom does in English: to attack in a sudden or surprising way. This is supported by some mainstream translations of the Quran, which actually translate this phrase as “attacked them” (e.g., the Pickthall translation). So why is this important? Because this wording of the Quran proves that there is both a cause (attacking) and a specific effect (splitting of the idols) in describing what Abraham did and what the end result was. If we translate the DRB root word as “striking”, then that would mean the sentence is describing the cause (attacking) followed by another general cause (striking) with no mention whatsoever of the all-important effect: the splitting of the idols into two. 14. QURAN 38:44:4 Quran 38:44:4, as the fourteenth data point, is commonly translated approximately as follows:

70 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication (We said to Job), "And seize in your hand a bunch (of grass) and strike [fa-iḍ'rib] with it and do not break your oath." Indeed, We found him patient, an excellent servant. Indeed, he was one repeatedly turning back (to God). (Quran 38:44) Reading this verse, it is all but impossible for anyone to conclude that it is anything but nonsense without some proper context. In fact, the almost silly wording above begs the question of whether this translation could even be correct, since it is totally meaningless without context, and it would seem to require a lot of imagination to make such trivial actions with grass as meaningful as this verse implies. More specifically, how could seizing a bunch of grass in one’s hand and “striking” with it prevent some solemn oath from being broken? Like the quirky but highly effective murder investigation ritual described in verses 2:67-73, we can only scratch our heads at something that seems silly without this context to make it clear and not silly. Similarly, even if we change “strike with it” to the alternative DRB root translation of “separate with it” or “set forth with it”, that does not make much sense either without the context. Frankly, both translation alternatives seem silly at face value. The only way to decide which translation makes more sense is to research what this context is or could be. However, before discussing what the research shows, let’s digress a bit to what two famous unnamed translators of the Quran have done here as an illustration of the entrenched misogyny underlying historical translations of the Quran. One translator simply worded the key phrase as such: And take in your hand a bundle of thin grass and strike therewith (your wife), and break not your oath. Notice how the phrase “(your wife)” was inserted parenthetically into the translation with absolutely zero factual support in the Arabic or any context for this insertion. It appears to have been done for no other reason than to corroborate the misogynistic translation of the DRB root in verse 4:34. Another famous translator was wise enough not to add this flagrantly fallacious insertion into his translation, but, ironically, what he said in his interpretative footnote to the verse was arguably much worse. He argued that the interpretation of Job beating his wife with the bunch of grass should indeed probably be there, and this was his convoluted rationale for why: “He [Job] must have said in his haste to the woman [his wife] that he would beat her: he is asked now to correct her with only a wisp of grass [to fulfill his oath], to show that he was gentle and humble as well as patient and constant.” So not only is this translator promoting the same misogynistic interpretation as the other translator, but his interpretation goes one step further by falsely denigrating a prophet (Job) with zero factual basis for the allegation that Job pledged to beat his wife. Moreover, there are zero factual contexts in the Quran, the Bible or anywhere else to support the bald claim that Job ever did these silly wife-beating-with-grass actions to fulfill a nonexistent pledge to beat his wife. Once again, such translations and interpretations

71 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication of the Quran speak volumes about how and why such glaring misogynistic errors can continue to this day. By the way, who do we really have to “thank” for this egregious and unfounded interpretation denigrating a great prophet of God? Is it just this one translator? No, of course not. He was just parroting the ever-popular medieval Heresy Inquisitor, Ibn Kathir, as introduced above, who is venerated by Islamophobes and millions of Muslims alike! Since whatever Ibn Kathir said can no longer be questioned due to taqlid, then how could his Job wife-beating fairy tale ever be refuted – no matter how wild and imaginary it is? Clearly, Ibn Kathir had a sociopolitical agenda to fall into line with. So if an imaginary context is not the answer, then what context is? Well, how about the real one, per the Book of Job? I have skimmed and read the entire Book of Job several times now to discover and confirm this context, and I could not find any pledge whatsoever about Job threatening to beat his wife. However, what I did find is only one singular pledge by Job in the entire Book of Job, and it is a solemn and impassioned pledge, representing nothing less than the final words of Job before God finally responds to his painful pleadings after excruciating suffering and spiritual tests that God allowed Job to endure. From the “Complete Jewish Bible” translation (except for 2-3 common Jewish words that I changed into English using other translations), here is Job’s oath and his final words before God replies: 35 I wish I had someone who would listen to me! Here is my signature (final word and solemn oath); let the Almighty answer me! I wish I had the indictment my adversary has written! 36 I would carry it on my shoulder; I would bind it on me like a crown. 37 I would declare to him every one of my steps; I would approach him like a prince. 38 “If my land cried out against me, if its furrows wept together, 39 if I ate its produce without paying or made its owners despair; 40 then let thistles grow instead of wheat and noxious weeds instead of barley! “The words of Job are finished.” (Job 31:35-40) 72 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication The Book of Job does not discuss or even allude to how Job absolved himself of his oath like the Quran does, but one can logically connect the dots between the oath and what God could indict him for to conclude how he would do so. If one looks at all the claims of righteousness of Job, almost every last one is very specific in terms of what good Job has done or what bad he has never done, with all of them being very plausibly correct per Job’s assertion. However, there is one glaring exception that anyone can see based on God’s final indictment against Job. God ultimately indicted Job not for any worldly action that he ever committed, but for his willful ignorance in alleging that God’s plans for Job with respect to his excruciating tests were “dark”, malevolent or wrong (per Job 38:1-2). And in Job 40:2, God says to Job, “Does the critic [i.e., Job] still want to dispute the Almighty? Let him who wants to correct God give an answer!” Job then immediately replied, “I am too ashamed; I have nothing to say. I lay my hand over my mouth” (Job 40:4). In short, it is clear that Job has sinned in questioning God’s will. So if Job has indeed sinned, as Job himself acknowledges, which claim of righteousness did Job violate, and what would be the consequences of violating that claim with respect to the following: 1) the taunting request for punishment if that claim were violated, and 2) his solemn oath to his indictor (i.e., God) with respect to what he is being indicted for. Based on my review, there is one particular claim that Job makes in his anger against God punishing him as a righteous man that he can no longer assert as true. Unlike his other specific claims of righteousness, in this much more general claim, he is effectively arguing that he has never even sinned (per Job 31:7-8, just before his solemn oath in Job 31:35-40 quoted above): 7 “If my steps have wandered from the way, if my heart has followed my eyes, if the least dirt has stuck to my hands; 8 then let me sow and someone else eat, let what grows from my fields be uprooted. Job was indeed guilty of ‘his steps wandering from the way’ (i.e., in criticizing God). Job was indeed guilty of ‘letting his heart follow his eyes (i.e., in letting his heart judge by only what his own eyes see and not by all that he knows God must see, which is infinitely more). And, finally, Job was indeed guilty of having ‘the least dirt stuck to his hands’ (i.e., of having at least some blemish of sin upon him). So how could Job fulfill his solemn oath to his indictor while at the same time fulfilling the punishment that he called down upon himself in this verse here? The punishment that he called for if he were guilty is, once again, as follows: “then let me sow and someone else eat, let what grows from my fields be uprooted”. And, from above, we also know what Job must do to fulfill his oath: 73 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication I wish I had the indictment my adversary has written! 36 I would carry it on my shoulder; I would bind it on me like a crown. 37 I would declare to him every one of my steps; I would approach him like a prince. The indictor, of course, is none other than God. It is only logical that God’s indictment would be the punishment that Job called upon himself for his claim of sinless righteousness. Thus it now becomes clear what Job must do to fulfill his oath to God: He must uproot the harvest from his own field, as atonement for the punishment he asked for. He must carry it as a bushel (or “bunch”) on his shoulder, bound to him and big enough to tower above his head like a crown, as he promised. He must declare (i.e., acknowledge) God in every one of his steps of redemption, and approach (God, his King) with the manners and respect of a prince, as he promised. And then he must journey to bring that bushel of harvest to someone else to eat, as atonement for the punishment he asked for. And with that, his oath – and its atonement – would be fulfilled. So what originally appeared to be quite a silly story without any context now becomes surprisingly beautiful, redemptive, and even powerfully uplifting in its true context. Even the earthly purpose of fulfilling the oath itself transforms from something totally nonsensical --seizing grass and “striking” a mystery object like some magical ‘oath-breaking’ incantation – into something very meaningful: feeding those in need of food on a journey of atonement. This entire story is a seemingly wonderful digression, but it is much more than that. It represents nothing less than demonstrable proof regarding the true meaning of the DRB root word in Quran verse 38:44. Let’s read it again, but this time with the corrected translation emphasized, to see how it all makes sense now: (We said to Job), "And uproot in your hand a bushel (of harvest) and set forth with it and do not break your oath." Indeed, We found him patient, an excellent servant. Indeed, he was one repeatedly turning back [to God]. (Quran 38:44) To cap it all off, note the final wording of this verse emphasizing Job’s act of redemption in carrying out this oath: “Indeed, he was one repeatedly turning back [to God]”. It was never about just fulfilling an oath in order to fulfill an oath. It was all about spiritual redemption being fulfilled through a journey of atonement. This story, including how Job fulfilled his pledge to reconcile with God, would likely have once been common knowledge to Jews and Muslims alike. However, because his means of reconciliation with God 74 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication has been totally omitted from the Bible, it is no longer common knowledge to anyone. In fact, this connection between the Biblical trials of Job and the Quranic redemption of Job has been completely lost – until now. I have not seen anyone else make this connection. Without this connection, Job’s final redemption seems totally disconnected and almost nonsensical in the Quran to today’s Muslims who are ignorant of this context. Fortunately, that context has now been discovered, and the true beauty of his redemption becomes exceedingly clear. 15. QURAN 47:4:5 Quran 47:4:5, as the fifteenth data point, is commonly translated approximately as follows: So, when you meet (in battle) those who reject (God), striking [faḍarba] the necks until you overpower them, bind them firmly. Then either (grant) a favor afterwards [i.e., free them graciously] or (ask for) ransom until the war lays down its burdens [i.e., ransom, including POW exchange, is only applicable in negotiating an early release before the war is over]. (Quran 47:4) Although it ultimately doesn’t make much difference to the DRB root word analysis here, note that the noun (gerund) form of the DRB root is used in this verse, unlike in verse 8:12, where the verb form is used. What this subtle difference accomplishes is to change the DRB root word from a prescriptive command (verb) to a descriptive action (noun), which most translations totally miss. In other words, this verse merely describes the killing that normally happens during every war without necessarily commanding any specific act of violence. Verse 8:12, by contrast, uses the verb form, which does imply a command. However, that verse clearly cites an historical command in a specific battle (Badr) given to a specific group of individuals. Unlike verse 47:4, verse 8:12 is not a blanket command applicable to all Muslims for all time. The commands contained in verse 47:4 are with respect to taking POWs and releasing POWs (i.e., all of them by the time the war is over), since that is the entire focus of this verse. The translation of the DRB root word in this specific war context has already been covered in the analysis of the DRB root word in 8:12:17, which even uses essentially the same phrase (see above). Although this is only one of two examples (the other being in verse 8:12) where using “strike” or “hit” does not lead to a nonsensical translation in context, it is still clear that “severing” makes much more sense here than “striking” for the same reasons as in verse 8:12. For example, note how much more decisive “severing” sounds than “striking” as a lead in to the next phrase, “until you overpower them” (i.e., until the number of opposing combatants is sufficiently reduced to qualify the Muslims as an overpowering force). This more accurate translation also makes it clear that the “them” being referred to is the entire opposing force in battle, not the individuals who have just had their necks severed (i.e., who would have been killed), since they could no longer be taken captive and subsequently released per the final words of the verse. By contrast, the word “strike” implies that the same individuals who just had their necks hacked with a sword would still be alive to be taken captive. Although not necessarily nonsensical, such a translation is barely credible. 75 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication 16. QURAN 47:27:5 Quran 47:27:5, as the sixteenth and final disputed data point, is commonly translated approximately as follows: Then how (will it be) when the angels take them in death, striking [yaḍribūna] their fronts/faces and their backs? (Quran 47:27) This nonsensical translation has already been covered exactly in the analysis of the DRB root word in 8:50:8, which even uses the exact same phrase (see above). It is abundantly clear that “separating” makes much more sense here than “striking” for precisely the same reasons.

IX.

“BEAT” / “STRIKE”: IF NOT “DRB”, THEN WHAT ROOT FITS?

After all this overwhelming proof from the Quran itself that the DRB root does not describe any beating or striking, there is one loose end remaining for those who are determined to beat a square peg into a round hole (pun mocking absurd irrationality fully intended). A sure sign of a desperate argument is when logical fallacies are employed as the last resort. In this case, the “argument from ignorance” fallacy is summoned to the task: So if the DRB root does not mean “beat” or “strike” in the Quran, then what word does (implying that if no other root fits, then the DRB root must fit)? 1. The QTL and WKZ Roots This hollow argument is easy to debunk as well. In addition to the QTL root meaning to fight (i.e., mutually beat or strike), there is actually a very specific root meaning to beat or hit unilaterally with one’s hands, which would be the perfect word to choose for verse 4:34 if that were the intended meaning of this verse. This WKZ root can be found in the story of Moses in the Quran, where Moses beat a man with his fist and killed him unintentionally: And he [Moses] entered the city at a time of heedlessness [i.e., lawlessness] by its people and found therein two men fighting [yaqtatilāni = QTL root]: one from his faction and one from among his enemy. And the one from his faction called for help to him against the one from his enemy, so Moses struck him with his fist [fawakazahu = WKZ root] and (unintentionally) killed him. [Moses] said, "This is from the work of Satan. Indeed, he is a manifest, misleading enemy." (Quran 28:15) What is interesting about this verse is that it includes both the QTL and WKZ roots, with the implication that the QTL root involves mutual beating or striking and that the WKZ root implies beating only unilaterally with one’s bare hands. This same meaning is supported in the hadith quote in section V.1 above, where Abu Bakr inflicted pain on Aisha (his daughter) via WKZ action, and then Aisha desperately 76 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication (and successfully) hid this fact from Muhammad to prevent him from getting upset. If verse 4:34 were supposed to mean beating unilaterally with one’s bare hands, then WKZ would have been the precisely appropriate root to choose for the Quran here. But it wasn’t chosen – and that is the whole point. 2. The JLD, QDH, and SKK Roots Other roots could have been chosen as well, such as the JLD root, meaning “lash/flog”, in reference to the penalty for adultery – for example, in verse 24:2. Yet another could have been the QDH root (used only in verse 100:2), meaning “strike” in the context of horseshoed hooves striking the ground causing sparks. And still another could have been the SKK root, also meaning “strike”. This latter word is quite interestingly used in the Quran to describe a woman striking her own face in passionate grief, but it is also used only once (as faṣakkat, in verse 51:29). Both the JLD and SKK roots imply physical beating or hitting in a forceful fashion, so either of these words could have also been used in verse 4:34 if the intention of this verse were to command a physical punishment of women to “correct them”. But neither was chosen – and, once again, that is the whole point. 3. Other Options: The SWB Root and “Hotumhoo” There is also the SWB root, used 64 times in the Quran (as in verse 2:156), but this is almost exclusively in reference to be being “stricken” by disaster, calamity or God’s punishment, not by human action. Another option is a common word like “hotumhoo”, which definitively means a physical “beating”. However, as far as I can tell, this word or its root is not used anywhere in the Quran, though clearly it could have been used if that were the intended meaning of verse 4:34.

X.

THE SMOKING GUN: MUHAMMAD’S FAREWELL SERMON

There is still one lingering question that remains in all of this mistranslation mess of the DRB root: How could so many scholars have gotten it wrong for so long? An obsequious attachment to traditional interpretations, along with widespread misogynistic motivations, no doubt can explain the bulk of how this mistranslation of verse 4:34 was perpetuated. But how did it all begin before it was perpetuated? 1. The Search for the Smoking Gun Part of how it began has already been touched upon in the analyses of verses 8:12 and 47:4 above, where it refers to the severing (separation) of necks. The action of striking and severing are simultaneous, which could naturally allow the two verbs to be conflated together during the normal evolution of language. We actually see this evolution in comparing the most ancient Arabic dictionary to modern dictionaries with respect to the meaning of the DRB root. Although this conflation of action (striking and severing) explains how easily this conflation of meaning could have gained traction and evolved, it still doesn’t fully explain how this confusion could have been initially triggered in the first place with respect to verse 4:34 in particular. In other words, the smoking gun behind the interpretation error still appears to be missing. 77 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication Or does it? My contention is that there is actually a very obvious smoking gun indeed, in various traditions of Muhammad that have not yet been discussed above. These traditions cover one of the most famous incidents and some of the most famous words of Muhammad ever recorded: his “Farewell Sermon” given upon his final pilgrimage to Mecca before he died. The reason why it is important to emphasize the notoriety of these words is because that explains how powerful their impact truly was upon Muslims throughout all future history from that point forward. Let’s start with a representative hadith quoting from this somewhat lengthy Farewell Sermon, excerpted to highlight only the parts relevant to the interpretation of verse 4:34: Fear Allah concerning women! Verily you have taken them on the security of Allah, and intercourse with them has been made lawful unto you by words of Allah. You too have right over them, and that they should not allow anyone to sit/lie on your bed linens whom you do not like. But if they do that, you can chastise/beat [DRB] them, but not severely. Their rights upon you are that you should provide them with food and clothing in a fitting manner. (Muslim 7:2803) This full hadith (covering much more than just the Farewell Sermon) is actually over 2,200 words long in the English translation, which is extremely long by hadith standards. A virtually identical version of this hadith (with respect to this excerpted portion) is found in Abu Dawud 10:1900, which is also about 2,200 words long. Considering that this hadith was recorded by the hadith compiler (Muslim) about a quarter of a millennium after it was spoken and transmitted linearly (and orally) across a significant number of narrators, it is safe to say that this hadith likely has many deviations in it vs. the original version, even with narrators who may have had the best of intentions and capability in preserving it. Before analyzing it, though, let’s compare it to another version from Ibn Ishaq. Although his work is considerably less reliable overall due to the lack of supporting chains of narration in his traditions and a lack of scholarship in filtering out many traditions that were quite possibly fabricated (by his own admission), he compiled his work only about 125 years after these words were spoken (vs. 250 years for Sahih Muslim). Given the extreme length of the Sahih Muslim version of this hadith, I personally would consider the passage of time a greater degradation factor on reliability than the generally lower reliability of Ibn Ishaq, especially when there is no reason to believe such words were deliberately altered. This is Ibn Ishaq’s version of the exact same excerpt from Muhammad’s Farewell Sermon: O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under a trust from God and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste. [End of paragraph] (Ibn Ishaq)

78 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication Note how the message between these versions is roughly the same, except for the addition of one completely new sentence in the Muslim (and Abu Dawud) version above: “But if they do that, you can chastise/beat [DRB] them, but not severely.” Is it any surprise that this “beating” permission was the only part that was added to the Muslim (and Abu Dawud) versions? Most scholars consider Sahih Muslim to be much more reliable, in general, than Ibn Ishaq, and quite rightly so. However, the fact that there is a major difference here vs. an earlier historical document on such an extremely long hadith should at least prompt the question of whether it could be an error in Sahih Muslim. So let’s do that. Take a look at what comes before the permission to “beat” [DRB] per the Muslim version, which is therefore the condition or criterion to determine when such a “beating” could be permissible: “they [your wives] should not allow anyone to sit/lie on your bed linens whom you do not like.” What this condition and the following sentence are basically saying in a euphemistic manner (given the traditional DRB translation) is the following: ‘If your wife sleeps with another man, you have the permission to have her beaten.’ So doesn’t this support the traditional interpretation of verse 4:34? No, absolutely not! If that were the interpretation, then verse 4:34 would not apply, but rather verse 24:2, since this would be adultery! Moreover, the DRB root would not apply, but rather the JLD root (per verse 24:2) meaning “lash/flog”. The ultimate absurdity of the traditional interpretation is highlighted by the same exact punishment being applicable upon guilty husbands. In other words, if a husband is found guilty of sleeping with another woman outside of wedlock, then his wife likewise has the full “permission” from none other than God to have him lashed/flogged as well! What is also quite amusing as yet another indication of blatant interpolation in the Muslim hadith here is that it really doesn’t matter at all if the other man who sleeps with your wife is someone “whom you do not like”. How could that possibly be relevant as a qualifier if he just slept with your wife, and how could such a man not be disliked? The obvious inference here is that the interpolated sentence was originally worded as a clarification of nushuz (disloyalty) rather than adultery, which is the only way that the phrase “whom you do not like” could be relevant. This conclusion is supported by the wording in the Ibn Ishaq version, which clearly describes a situation of nushuz, based on the same “whom you do not like/approve” criterion, separate and apart from being unchaste (implying adultery). Unfortunately, this hadith then likely evolved into an interpretation of adultery instead of nushuz being described, thereby rendering this qualification phrase nonsensical. This evolution (via conflation of nushuz with adultery) would have also made the “beat” interpretation of the DRB root mandatory so that the hadith could still reconcile with verse 24:2. The possibility of this evolution is further supported by the fact that the Arabic word for “bed linens” can also be translated as “rug” or “mat”, and the Arabic word implying “sit/lie” can also be translated as “step/tread”. So based on this alternative translation, if a woman invites into her house (i.e., to step foot on her husband’s rug) a man whom her husband disapproves of, this could be an example of nushuz without necessarily implying adultery. In this case, the DRB word could still be translated as “separate from” in this hadith to make it compatible with verse 4:34. The only problem is that the hadith qualifies this consequence with the phrase “but not severely” (ghayr mubarrih), which makes much more sense with a “beat” translation. It is quite possible, therefore, that there was no interpolated sentence at all, 79 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication but rather just this single interpolated phrase, “but not severely”, in order to qualify and soften the meaning of the DRB word once it became interpreted as “beat” instead of “separate (from)”. So what further evidence do we have that this interpolation evolved into “beating” of wives being made explicitly permissible in this Farewell Sermon tradition? Also, how do we know for sure that scholars falsely concluded that this interpretation was the “correct” one given the potential ambiguity in the Muslim hadith, where “bed linens” might actually mean “rug” instead, and “sit/lie” could actually mean “step/tread” instead? The answer, is simple: there are other hadiths to back up this conclusion with strong evidence, if not proof. Although there appear to be no other Muslim or Bukhari hadiths (the two most reliable) that cover this part of the Farewell Sermon about women, other hadiths considered reliable by scholars do. Let’s look at what appears to be one example of this evidence next. The “beat” interpretation as the explicitly intended meaning for “DRB” here is further confirmed by another version of this Farewell Sermon hadith by an independent hadith transmitter, Ibn Majah, with the key two sentences in question (and the only part that is a bit different) reproduced here: Your rights over them [your wives] are that they should not allow anyone whom you dislike to sit/lie on your bed linens. If they do that, then beat [DRB] them, but in a manner that does not cause injury or leave a mark. (Ibn Majah 25:3074) Notice the key difference at the end of the second sentence, which elaborates upon the “not severely” wording in the Muslim version of the hadith (as discussed above) to imply unambiguously that physical beating is being advised here, not separation. However, this additional confirmation in English is misleading, since this hadith actually agrees essentially word-for-word with the Arabic in the Muslim version of the hadith. The elaborate phrase “in a manner that does not cause injury or leave a mark” simply does not exist in the Arabic here. It only states “not severely”, just like in the Muslim version of the hadith. It is interesting to note how many so-called “scholars” quote this elaborate phrase in their “fatwas” on 4:34 while being total oblivious to the fact that it doesn’t even exist! 2. The Smoking Gun Definitively Revealed Given that the last hadith example didn’t really provide any new or substantial evidence, we have to look for another hadith on the Farewell Sermon to find unambiguous confirmation of a smoking gun in the original Arabic. We find two such hadiths in the Tirmidhi collection, one of the six major hadith collections for Muslims who identify as Sunnis. Both hadiths quoting the Farewell Sermon use almost the exact same wording in this key excerpt in question, so only one hadith needs to be quoted here: [Y]ou have no sovereignty beyond this over them [your wives], unless they manifest [“mubina”] obscenity/lewdness [“fahishah”]. If they do that, then abandon their beds, and beat [DRB] them with a beating [DRB] that is not painful. Then if they obey you, then there is no cause for you against them beyond that. Behold! There are rights for you upon your women, and rights for your women upon you. As for your rights upon them, they are not to allow 80 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication anyone on your bed linens whom you dislike, nor to permit anyone whom you dislike in your homes. Behold! Indeed their rights upon you are that you treat them well in clothing them and feeding them. (Tirmidhi 44:3087, with almost identical wording here in Tirmidhi 7:1163) What first jumps out about this hadith is that it contains an almost line by line cross reference to verse 4:34, along with other wording clearly interpolated within it. Note the same obligation of men to maintain their wives, which is also in verse 4:34. Note also the same step by step procedure mentioned in verse 4:34: abandoning wives in their beds, the DRB step next, and then a direct reference to the text of verse 4:34 immediately following the DRB step that should actually be worded in translation as follows (as discussed above): “then if they recommit (pledge willingly again) to you [aṭaʿnakum], do not seek a way/path [i.e., divorce] against them.” In other words, there is no doubt whatsoever that this hadith is attempting to convey the intended meaning, and even words, of verse 4:34 within the Farewell Sermon. There also appears to be no doubt that this Farewell Sermon is the only recorded incident where Muhammad provided any direct interpretation or reference to the meaning and words of verse 4:34 with respect to the DRB root – assuming, of course, that this hadith is correct. Therefore, the hadiths covering this incident would be of monumental importance to future scholars in deciding upon the interpretation of this verse, and especially the DRB root, particularly where there may be any uncertainty in meaning. The next interesting point to note about this hadith is how it actually makes it clear exactly what it means when a women allows another man to be on her husband’s bed linens. This implies something quite distinct from merely allowing another man whom the husband does not like to enter his home: “they [your wives] are not to allow anyone on your bed linens whom you dislike, nor to permit anyone whom you dislike in your homes.” In other words, the first criterion would imply outright adultery (zina), and the second would imply only disloyalty (nushuz). However, the most important point by far in this hadith is the key phrase used as the criterion for when a wife should be “beaten”, given the unmistakable interpretation of the DRB root as “beat” in this hadith. The threshold for such punishment has been crossed only when she is guilty of “manifest lewdness” or “open obscenity” (i.e., mubina fahishah are the root words being referenced in Arabic). These words imply an undeniable implication of unlawful sexual activity that has become manifest/open to third parties, if not to the community as a whole. Although not necessarily the implication, the most likely scenario being referred to here would be one of prostitution given that the sexual lewdness/obscenity has become openly manifest to the public. So here we finally have the confirmation of the smoking gun that we have been looking for. But why exactly is it a smoking gun? The two key reasons are as follows: 1) these are the only two hadiths that are explicitly quoting the meaning and words of verse 4:34 with respect to the DRB root, and 2) although these two hadiths purport to quote the Quran here, in reality they flagrantly and provably misquote the Quran and conflate completely unrelated verses of the Quran together with verse 4:34. In other words, the only way that these hadiths could be interpreted to be the true meaning of verse 4:34 is if scholars judged these hadiths to be more reliable than the Quran citation that it flagrantly contradicts! 81 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication As already emphasized above, what these hadiths are stating, even if they are interpreted at essentially face value (with DRB=”beat”), is that there is a physical punishment for public sexual obscenity/adultery. Well, yes, of course there is, and that is per verse 24:2 of the Quran, not at all per verse 4:34. Also, this punishment applies equally to men as it does to women, so in no way can this hadith be interpreted to imply that men have a unique or unilateral right to have women beaten for adultery any more than it is implying that women have a unique or unilateral right to have men beaten for adultery. Both men and women would be physically punished just the same if such adultery became a public/open sexual obscenity (as discussed below). 3. The Root Cause and Explanation for the Smoking Gun Now that we have found the smoking gun behind the incorrect interpretation of verse 4:34, there is still one more stone left unturned. How do we know for sure that verse 4:34 became conflated with the penalty for adultery in verse 24:2 in this hadith? For example, the word used as the criterion for punishment in verse 24:2 is zina, but the root word phrase in this hadith is mubina fahishah, which doesn’t exactly match. The missing link is actually somewhere else, in verses 4:15-16, which, by the way, are only a few verses away from verse 4:34: And those [allātī: feminine plural relative pronoun] who commit unlawful sexual intercourse [fāḥishata] of your women - bring against them four (witnesses) from among you. And if they testify, confine the guilty women to houses until death takes them or God makes for them (another) way. And the two [alladhāni: masculine dual relative pronoun] who commit it (i.e., fāḥishata per above) among you, punish them both [faādhūhumā, masculine dual object pronoun]. But if they repent and correct themselves, leave them alone. Indeed, God is OftForgiving, Most-Merciful. (Quran 4:15-16) Now we have finally come full circle. The exact same fāḥishata root word as a criterion for punishment exists in verses 4:15-16 as in these hadiths. This confirms that it was actually verses 4:15-16 that were incorrectly conflated with verse 4:34 in these hadiths. Note also how the same four witnesses rule applies here as in verse 24:2, thereby also confirming that these verses are definitively referring to public sexual obscenity (intercourse), just like verse 24:2. Even more relevant is that this “witness” detail exactly parallels the publicly exposed nature of the unlawful sexual intercourse per the hadiths, which specify that the criterion for punishment is “manifest/open sexual obscenity” (fahisha mubina). 4. The Meaning of Verses 4:15-16 and the Judicial Punishment for Public Sexual Obscenity Before continuing with the “smoking gun” analysis, it is important to get a clear understanding of the meaning of verses 4:15-16 so that there is no confusion. Contrary to traditional interpretation, it is not private sexual obscenity that actually becomes judicially punishable in Islam, but rather public sexual obscenity. Four witnesses is the threshold in defining what is considered “public” and no longer

82 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication “private”. In other words, 1-3 individuals might accidentally witness a private sexual obscenity, but 4+ witnesses implies a definitive public sexual obscenity. On a side note, there is actually not a single legal punishment specified in the entire Quran for any private immorality, contrary to the hysteria-fuelled warnings of “sharia law” threatening to regulate private morality. Nor is there any allowance for morality wardens in Islam, let alone some absurd theocratic “Caliphate”, which I will discuss in a separate analysis. Even the Quran makes it 100% clear on multiple occasions that Muhammad’s role was only to warn, not to be a warden over anyone’s private morality: If they turn away, then (know that) We have not sent you as a warden over them. You have no duty except delivering (the message). (Quran 42:48) Again, this same message prohibiting Muhammad from being a morality warden is repeated many times in the Quran. So if even a Prophet of God was emphatically denied this oversight role of morality warden, then what right would any future state have to be a warden over anyone else’s private morality? Absolutely none. Returning to verses 4:15-16, note that the key reason we know that these verses are also applicable to men are the pronouns embedded in alladhāni (“the two”) and faādhūhumā (“punish them both”) in verse 4:16. Both are masculine dual pronouns. In Arabic, there are not just singular and plural pronouns, but also dual pronouns such as these two. Given that these are masculine dual pronouns, this means at least one of the two individuals being referred to must be male. If not, then a feminine plural (or dual) pronoun would have been used instead, such as the non-dual plural allātī used immediately prior in verse 4:15. The reason why a multi-plural feminine pronoun is used in verse 4:15 is because this verse is referring only to prostitutes and their temporary segregation, not to the men who go to them. Verse 4:15 can only logically refer to prostitutes, not to lesbians as some incorrectly interpret, due to the unambiguous pronoun distinctions in Arabic between verses 4:15 and 4:16, as discussed, which are inevitably lost in translation. Moreover, verse 4:16 cannot refer to male homosexuals as some ignorantly allege, since it specifically refers to the two individuals committing the sinful action described in verse 4:15 (via the relative pronoun “it”): i.e., “the two who commit it”. If verse 4:16 were referring only to men here, then it would also have been multi-plural like verse 4:15 and prefixed with the same clarifying introduction as in verse 4:15 by using the word “men” instead of “the two”. To illustrate this point by comparison, here is how verse 4:15 is prefixed: “And those [feminine multi-plural] who commit sexual obscenity from among your women…” Note also that there are actually two separate punishments being referred to in verses 4:15-16: one specifically for the prostitutes, and one for the man and the prostitute committing fahisha. Given that there is no system of jails or prisons as punishment in the Quran or sunnah, prostitutes are confined to their houses instead, with the primary objective being to prevent the moral degradation of society via prostitution. Anti-prostitution laws are actually quite similar in many modern democratic nations, 83 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication except with much harsher confinement to jail cells where such women could easily be subjected to abuse. However, per the Quran, this confinement is only to their houses and is to occur only so long as it takes for prostitutes to find another means of livelihood or subsistence that is lawful: i.e., “(until) God makes for them (another) way.” For the man and the woman committing fahisha, the same lashing/flogging (JLD root) punishment as verse 24:2 would apply. However, there appears to be an opportunity to repent to avoid this punishment altogether in the case of fahisha with prostitutes (per verse 4:16): “But if they repent and correct themselves, leave them alone.” This exception does not otherwise exist under verse 24:2 alone, with its additional zina (adultery) criterion. In other words, if a guilty individual is married, then the judicial punishment per verse 24:2 must apply. Perhaps this repentance alternative is a concession to the economic and carnal despair that often drives prostitution for women and unmarried men, respectively. Or perhaps it is a concession to the possibility that extra-marital affairs (whether prostitution is involved or not) are more threatening to the family unit and socially-accepted norms in the long run, which is what Islam is protecting most. Prostitution is rampant in all countries throughout the world, and always has been given its euphemistic description as “the world’s oldest profession”. However, evidence shows that it only tends to become a threat to the social fabric when it is solicited and practiced in public as manifest/open sexual obscenity. It is this public sexual obscenity that the Quran is addressing and punishing here, both for women and men. So how is this understanding of verses 4:15-16 relevant to the analysis here? Well, one example is the desperate attempt to reconcile the Farewell Sermon hadiths discussed above with verse 4:34. The only remote way to do so is to make nushuz equivalent to zina or fahisha. As discussed above, this translation is simply absurd, since nushuz has no such scope or specificity of meaning. Morever, even if it did, it could still never justify any “beating” per the traditional translation of verse 4:34. Why? Because the criterion in verse 4:34 is as follows: “And those [allātī, feminine pural] (from) whom you fear disloyalty/ill conduct [nushūzahunna]…”. In other words, mere “fear” of nushuz is all the “evidence” that is required before the DRB step. By contrast, as highlighted above, both fahisha and zina must be proven with four witnesses (i.e., made public or “open”/”manifest”) per verses 4:16 and 24:2, respectively, before any involuntary punishment is permitted. Mere “fear” of fahisha or zina logically implies the exact opposite: that no proof whatsoever exists. We could continue with the absurdity of this example by asking why there is no provision to “beat” men in verse 4:128 when the exact same nushuz condition applies as a justification for a woman to seek divorce: “And if a woman fears from her husband disloyalty/ill conduct [nushūzan]…”. If nushuz is in any way equivalent to zina/fahisha, as hypothetically alleged, then the Quran requires that a guilty man be corporally punished in exactly the same way as a guilty woman per verses 4:16 and 24:2. We can only condemn the embarrassing hypocrisy of traditional male translators of verse 4:34 in advocating that the Quran contradicts itself in a misogynistic fashion, when it demonstrably does not.

84 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication We could further continue with the absurdity of this example by asking, How do husbands get to be the judge, jury and unilateral executioner of punishment for this alleged synonym of zina in verse 4:34 when sura 24 (cross-referenced in verses 4:15-16) requires a judicial process? There is only one possible response to this obvious contradiction, which posits that verse 4:34 is addressed to the Muslim community or courts as a whole, who would then carry out this alleged “beating”. So based on this logic, why would the entire Muslim community or court representatives “talk to [this woman] persuasively” via a public forum or institution about her zina when they only “fear” that this zina actually occurred? Note that the imperfect verb tense of “fear” is used in verse 4:34, so there is absolutely zero wiggle room to assert that the fear is now completed (via a hypothetical perfect tense),thereby desperately implying that zina may have somehow been later confirmed. Will all these noble individuals then submit to 80 lashes per verse 24:4 when the woman denies her zina and they can’t bring four witnesses to confirm their “fear” of her zina? Moreover, why would the entire Muslim community or court representatives have to “leave [this woman] (alone) in bed” immediately prior to carrying out this alleged punishment for zina? Doesn’t that logically imply that her judges should be punished for the same zina that they also participated in with her? I am not sure whether I should laugh or cry when I hear such absurd logic masquerading as “scholarship”. Unfortunately, the absurdity gets even worse – and in a far more popular interpretation – as we shall see next. However, before moving on to this next absurdity, there is a related interpretation to quickly address, which is proffered by the quran434.com web site mentioned above. It too invokes the larger Muslim community via the DRB root word at the end of verse 4:34, but only as an innocuous lead in with respect to verse 4:35 advising arbitration. This site also argues that the DRB root can’t possibly support any “beat” interpretation, but that it actually means “cite her”, as in “cite her to the divorce court” or another independent judicial authority. However, verse 4:35 describes a family assisted arbitration with only a representative from each side as the next step, not a judicial settlement process. If it were a judicial process, then it would be like each side having a lawyer but no judge to mediate and decide. A divorce settlement is implied in verse 4:35 only if arbitration fails. Also, just like the absurd interpretation of verse 4:34 immediately above describing a “fear” of her zina, it makes no sense to “cite” anyone legally based on nothing but a “fear” of wrongdoing. This is especially true when there is a severe penalty for making such a false citation (accusation) of zina without proof. Finally, the key word “if” and the phrase “if you fear a breach [divorce]” are used in verse 4:35 to imply that both the couple and the families are uncertain whether divorce or reunion is the right reconciliation option. “Cite her”, by contrast, implies the immediate initiation of the divorce process. 5. But Can’t Women At Least be “Corrected” with a Tiny Little Miswak (Tooth Pick/Brush)? Islamophobes and Muslim misogynists are desperate to find justification for domestic violence in Islam still hiding in the remote crevices of obscure interpretation somewhere. However, I am not about to leave them even one last crumb to feed their message of hate. Ironically, this next citation appears to have been an argument against the “beating” interpretation of verse 4:34 -- not to refute it, but to 85 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication soften or to put some apologetic restraint on the permissibility of domestic violence against women. The reason this citation is relevant with respect to the Farewell Sermon is not because it was part of that sermon, per se, but because it arose out of a later interpretation of the Arabic words ghayr mubarrih, translated above as “not severely” (i.e., as in “beat [DRB] them, but not severely”) in hadiths describing that portion of the Farewell Sermon. Many Muslims opposed to domestic violence against women ironically cite an unreferenced tradition that states it should only be done with the equivalent of a miswak (or siwak), which is a tiny twig of sorts used as a primitive toothpick or toothbrush. But what most Muslims don’t realize is that there is no authoritative support for this citation whatsoever – not even one single hadith. It represents nothing more than the opinion of a later scholar, likely one with misplaced good intentions in attempting to downplay the permissibility of domestic violence that may be implied from the Farewell Sermon hadiths he was directly addressing by interpreting the ghayr mubarrih phrase. `Ata' said: "I asked Ibn `Abbas: 'What is the hitting that is ghayr al-mubarrih?' He replied: '[With] the siwak and the like'." (Narrated by al-Tabari in his Tafsir, Dar al-Fikr reprint 5:68) In other words, Muhammad never gave permission to beat any woman, even with a tiny little miswak, contrary to what many Muslims believe. Some Muslim “scholars” have even gone so far as to inject still more mythology into this fairy tale. They do so by taking advantage of the fact that primitive miswaks are no longer widely available, so they propose their own “equivalent” beating instrument. Naturally, this provides yet another opportunity to downgrade the “beat” interpretation to what are now comical levels of absurdity. For example, instead of tiny miswak twigs, now the weapon of choice to save a marriage is a handkerchief – or, as some downplay it even further, a “hankie”. How exactly you could even “beat” someone with a single “hankie” is beyond me. However, I would love to see such a “scholar” make a complete fool out of himself trying to upbraid a woman volunteer with a “hankie” on a public stage! But the irony doesn’t stop there. Believe it or not, it gets much better. Muhammad actually stated, very specifically, that it is forbidden to hit a woman even with a tiny little miswak twig! Here are the words, and unlike the other popular citation pulled from some medieval “scholar’s” backside, these words are based on an actual hadith: Narrated Umm Salama: "The Prophet (pbuh) was in my house and there was a siwak in his hand. He called for Wasifa [the servant-girl] to come to him or to her [i.e. to serve Umm Salama] but she tarried until anger was visible on his face. So Umm Salama went out to her and found her playing with an animal. She said to her: "You are playing while the Messenger of Allah is calling you?" She replied: "No, by the one who sent you with truth! I did not hear you." Whereupon the Prophet (pbuh) said: "Were it not for fear of exaction [qawad] on the Day of Resurrection, I should surely make you sore [la'awja`tuki] with this toothpick [siwak]."

86 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication (This hadith was cited by Ibn Sa`d in al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Al-Tabarani in al-Mu`jam al-Kabir, Abu Ya`la in his Musnad, Abu Nu`aym in Hilyat al-Awliya' and al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak…. Al-Munawi in Fayd al-Qadir mentioned that al-Mundhiri and al-Haythami declared its chain of transmission good. Al-Suyuti graded the hadith ‘fair’ (hasan) in al-Jami` al-Saghir. Al-Muttaqi cited it in Kanz al-`Ummal (#39820, 39821, 39829).) So even using a tiny little miswak twig to reprimand a woman is considered unequivocally morally wrong per this hadith. This should come as no surprise, really. Note how this hadith is corroborated with the hadith already referenced above about the dire consequences in the hereafter of beating any human being: Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "On the Day of Rising, retaliation will be taken from anyone who gives a beating." (Al-Mufrad 9:185) 6. Was the Smoking Gun Fired Maliciously or Innocuously? Based on demonstrably poor scholarship, we can blame so many later Muslim “scholars” who endorsed a misogynistic interpretation of verse 4:34 for their part in perpetuating such repugnant interpretations. However, can we similarly blame the narrators of hadiths in firing the smoking gun to begin with? The obvious, but superficial, answer would seem to be a resounding “yes”, based on the glaring interpolation sticking out like a sore thumb in the smoking gun hadiths. However, I would argue that the answer is most likely a shocking “no”. Based on the pieces of the smoking gun discussed above, let’s deconstruct how this gun was most likely fired to see why. Perhaps the best way to do this is with a narrative and interpretive timeline, as follows: 

Starting with the earliest version of the Farewell Sermon from Ibn Ishaq (about 125 yrs. after Muhammad), it states, “And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste.” Note the clearly separate prohibitions against nushuz vs. fahisha/zina (i.e., being “unchaste”).

In the Muslim and Abu Dawud hadiths (about 250 yrs. after Muhammad), the separate prohibitions completely disappear and become conflated together into a single multi-purpose statement: “they [your wives] should not allow anyone to step (or sit/lie) on your rug (or bed linens) whom you do not like. But if they do that, you can DRB them”. As I alluded to above, this wording is actually perfectly compatible with the correct interpretation of verse 4:34 if the parenthetical multi-purpose meaning is omitted and the DRB word has the true meaning of “separate (from)”.

I purposely omitted the qualifier, ”but not severely” (ghayr mubarrih), at the end of the words quoted above from the Muslim and Abu Dawud hadiths to hypothesize that this qualifier was 87

Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication subsequently added at this point by one of the narrators in the transmission chain. This narrator most likely would have read the hadith as follows, i.e., according to the parenthetical translation only: “they [your wives] should not allow anyone to sit/lie on your bed linens whom you do not like. But if they do that, you can DRB them”. Based on this narrator’s innocuous interpretation of the Arabic words that he correctly transmitted in the first sentence, he would have been forced to conclude that zina was being described here, for which a physical punishment is prescribed per the Quran. Not only would this force the meaning of DRB to imply a physical punishment, such as beating, but it would leave the hadith transmitter with quite a dilemma to deal with given the discretionary usage of DRB by husbands in verse 4:34. In other words, the hadith transmitter would be forced to endorse a discretionary physical punishment of wives by their husbands without any Islamic precedent whatsoever. So what does he do with purely good intentions to strike a compromise for the sake of his own conscience? Simple - just add the innocuous qualifier, “but not severely” (ghayr mubarrih). After all, how wrong could it possibly be to soften the implication of a discretionary beating? 

Unfortunately, the answer to that question is quite ironic: absolutely disastrous. If the hadiths that followed are the smoking gun, then this little phrase would be the equivalent of the actual trigger. In my opinion, it is this trigger that fired the bullet at the heart of the true meaning of DRB in verse 4:34 as “separate (from)” because it permitted a mass scholarly acquiescence to an abusive meaning for DRB that otherwise would not have been possible. An open-ended permission to beat wives without restraint would likely have been properly researched and rejected long ago, but a permission to beat wives “not severely” sounds reasonable enough for just about all male scholars not to question, even though this qualifier is extremely weak, very subjective, and (pun intended) subject to widespread abuse.

The timeline now leads into the hadiths by Tirmidhi, who actually studied just after and partly under the tutelage of both Muslim and Abu Dawud. In his two hadiths, the Farewell Sermon becomes the complete smoking gun. Curiously enough, the descriptions of nushuz and fahisha (using the implicit “homes” vs. “bed linens” references, respectively) once again reappear as clearly separate prohibitions in Tirmidhi’s version, as in the oldest Ibn Ishaq version. They are no longer totally conflated together as in the Muslim and Abu Dawud versions. However, the DRB consequence is now firmly attached only to a completely separate and now explicit “fahisha” criterion. This is extremely odd given that this is a repeat of the fahisha criterion a second time in the same hadith: once implicitly (via “bed linens”) and again explicitly (via the phrase “fahisha mubina”). Such a redundant repetition is not only extremely odd, but a glaring red flag for these Farewell Sermon hadiths, since it implies that the explicit criterion was likely added later on to “explain” the implicit criterion already there. This is especially true given the obvious confusion that must have been generated by transforming the DRB root into a physical punishment. Note that DRB is no longer associated at all with the nushuz criterion in the Tirmidhi hadiths (like it is in verse 4:34) or with a generically malleable criterion (like it is in the Muslim and Abu Dawud hadiths). As a reminder, the malleable criterion could be interpreted to imply either nushuz or fahisha, depending on the interpretation of certain Arabic words discussed above (i.e., “lie” vs. 88

Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication “step”, “bed lines” vs. “carpet”). At this point in time, the smoking gun has been definitively fired, since it now becomes almost impossible according to traditional scholarly criteria to ever detach the meaning of “beat” from the DRB root given the unequivocal requirement of a physical punishment for “fahisha mubina” per the Quran. 

The final step in the smoking gun timeline was the subsequent reinterpretation of the “not severely” (ghayr mubarrih) qualification attached to “beating” [DRB] in the Farewell Sermon hadiths. This brings us full circle back to the same interpolated phrase that most likely triggered this whole mess to begin with. There is no precedent for this ghayr mubarrih phrase in the Quran or any other hadiths with respect to any prescribed or permissible punishment, which is an astounding red flag on its own given how ambiguous yet important this phrase truly is. Therefore, later scholars were quick to converge en masse towards the convenient interpretation of one early scholar who arbitrarily decided to downgrade this phrase to be the equivalent of a token whisking from a tiny little twig. This has allowed the “beating” interpretation of verse 4:34 to stand the test of time as is, virtually unchallenged. Scholars seem content to deflect and muffle any objections by belittling all the factual and logical contradictions of this traditional interpretation with the same quaint straw man fallacy made of nothing but tiny little twigs. Unfortunately, the men who think they have the green light to beat women are not made of straw. Nor are they using tiny little twigs to do so!

7. Muslim Scholars Must Acknowledge that the Smoking Gun is Logically Irrefutable Fortunately, there are two very simple ways to eradicate this egregious DRB interpretation error from scholarly tradition. The easiest way by far would simply be to acknowledge that the Farewell Sermon hadiths are unambiguously addressing the punishment of beating/flogging/lashing prescribed per verses 4:15-16 and 24:2, not the marital separation step recommended per verse 4:34. The adultery criterion, which is without any doubt absent from verse 4:34 but an explicit DRB condition in all the Farewell Sermon hadiths mentioning DRB, makes this conclusion unavoidable and logically irrefutable. There is absolutely zero support for interpreting DRB as “beat” anywhere else in the Quran or hadiths, as the analysis above demonstrates. Therefore, this simple scholarly admission would remove the last buttress of support for the egregious historic error that Islam somehow permits the beating of women. Once the smoking gun is exposed, the entire “house or twigs” must fall, since there is absolutely nothing else left to hold this fragile structure up. The second, yet much more honorable way, to eradicate this error from scholarly tradition would be to admit the obvious truth: that the Tirmidhi hadiths on the Farewell Sermon must be rejected as blatantly incorrect due to their unambiguous conflation of completely separate verses of the Quran together (i.e., verse 4:34 with verses 4:15-16), thereby causing the erroneous transformation of the DRB root into a corporal punishment in verse 4:34. What should also be rejected is the obviously interpolated phrase, “but not severely” (ghayr mubarrih), added within the Muslin and Abu Dawud versions, which is most 89 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication likely what triggered the whole transformation of the DRB meaning in the timeline to follow. It is a virtual certainty that this phrase was added to soften the unavoidable implication of transforming the DRB root into a discretionary corporal punishment in verse 4:34, as opposed to the true meaning of “separation” supported by all 58 instances of this root in the Quran. Unfortunately, what Muslim scholars have done for centuries instead, up until this very day, is choose the laziest path of least resistance. Muslim communities, in turn, have dutifully obliged in choosing to play along with this ludicrous charade. Scholars decided that the best way to bury this obvious contradiction was simply to double down on the appeasement approach. They endorsed the absurd view of an early scholar that “beating” can be further downgraded from “not severely” to the equivalent of a token whisking from a tiny little twig. If even a single scholar had bothered to demonstrate to an audience of Muslims how this so-called “beating” should be done in real life with a tiny little twig (or “hankie”), he would have been laughed out of the room – first and foremost by the woman he was “beating” for demonstration purposes! “Beating” a woman with a tiny little twig has absolutely zero support from the Quran, the hadiths or any practice recognized by Muhammad. In fact, he explicitly prohibited correcting a woman even with something so small as this exact same, tiny little twig that scholars have laughably endorsed with their heads buried in the sand!

XI.

CONCLUSION 1. Evidence from the DRB Root Used Elsewhere in the Quran

I have not only proven the claim utterly false that verse 4:34 permits “beating” woman in Islam. I have gone far beyond that. I have proven that every last usage of the DRB root in the Quran is much better translated in a completely innocuous way other than “to beat” or “to strike”, even when it is used in the context of human beings. That makes a final fact-check score of 58-0 against the standard translation of this word. In just about any sport, that would be called a total rout. In a debate, it represents nothing less than complete destruction of the opposing argument. It is also very important to note that not one tafsir of verse 4:34 supporting a meaning of beat/strike uses the Quran itself as evidence, as I’ve done here – not even one. And this is in spite of the fact that both traditional and modern scholars of the Quran universally agree that a tafsir of the Quran by the Quran is by far the best form of tafsir! But that is not even half the story. What is so stunning from this analysis is that every last usage of the DRB root in the Quran can be translated using the same basic meaning of “separate”. Contrary to the conclusion of several Muslim scholars that the Quran implies many basic meanings for the DRB root, the truth is that there is only one basic meaning for the DRB root used in all 58 instances. A more parsimonious and stunning demonstration of Occam’s razor here is not even possible. Clearly there are synonyms of “separate (from)” that are sometimes more appropriate in interpreting the DRB root depending on the context, such as “set forth”, “sever”, “split” or “spread apart”. However, the common theme in the Quran is always a separation of, or between, two nouns (persons, 90 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication communities, places, things, body parts, groups, examples, etc.) that were once joined completely or part of a unified whole. In addition, as alluded to several times in the analyses above, the core meaning of “separate (from)” is not the only commonality among all the DRB root word usages in the Quran. Another surprising commonality is a connotation of emotional inspiration/enlightenment or trauma as a result of such separation. In other words, a bland division of what was once whole into two parts is not a complete description of what is generally implied by the DRB root. Rather, it is a separation that also invokes dramatic inspirational or traumatic impact. Let’s review a summary of both the undisputed and disputed DRB citations (respectively) in light of this common emotive connotation: COUNT 28 6 2 1 2 1 1 41

DRB SYNONYM EMOTIVE IMPACT Set forth Inspiring/Enlightening Separate/Travel Traumatic Separate Traumatic Separate Traumatic Separate Inspiring/Enlightening Separate Inspiring/Enlightening Spread apart Inspiring/Enlightening TOTAL Undisputed DRB Citations

ESSENTIAL “SEPARATION” MEANING OR MESSAGE God sets forth examples/parables to inspire/enlighten Parting, perhaps forever, away from home or community Separated physically/temporally from the rest of humanity Separating the Quran from one’s heart and soul God’s divinity is never separable into idols or other gods God separates truth and falsehood Spread apart your shawls to protect your beauty

2 2 3 3 2 1 1 1 1 1 17

Separate Inspiring/Enlightening Separate/Part Inspiring/Enlightening Separate Traumatic Sever Traumatic Separate Traumatic Spread apart Inspiring/Enlightening Split Inspiring/Enlightening Separate Inspiring/Enlightening Set forth/Travel Inspiring/Enlightening Separate Traumatic TOTAL Disputed DRB Citations

Moses separated stone to release much needed water Moses parted the sea to save his people Schisms of Jews and Christians into two opposing groups Severing the necks and fingers of combatants in battle Separating “faces and backs” to extricate damned souls Do not spread apart your feet to reveal your beauty Abraham split apart carved idols, risking his life for God Separating head of heifer in a ritual to reveal a murderer Job set forth to atone for his sin and oath against God Separation upon marital breakdown per verse 4:34

58

TOTAL Count of All DRB Citations

As a result of these undeniable emotive implications within the DRB root across all 58 instances, what is perhaps most stunning is how some verses and stories are completely transformed by this more accurate translation of the DRB root. Instead of implying something silly, outlandish or nonsensical per traditional interpretations, they transform into something quite meaningful, or even powerfully moving. The psychologically charged ritual to solve unsolved murders and the story of Job’s atonement are the two most prominent examples. Similarly, the story of Abraham splitting the wooden idols invokes inspiration and enlightenment for Muslims who identify with his unshakeable faith, even against an entire mob of his community elders around him. However, what I did not note above is that the story of 91 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication Abraham also invokes extreme psychological trauma from the idolaters’ point of view, upon learning that their “gods” are actually nothing but worthless pieces of wood. Another example includes the very practical and culturally universal warning to women to be careful about spreading their feet/legs apart so that they don’t unwittingly disclose their hidden beauty to others, whereas the majority of English translations ridiculously warn women not to “stamp/strike their feet” to disclose their beauty! This citation, in combination with another DRB root citation in the same verse (24:31) advising women to “spread [or draw] apart their shawls over their bosoms”, finally provides some much needed clarity on the contentious hijab debate as well. This was a very surprising byproduct of the DRB root word analysis, so I broke this out into a separate, independent analysis. Yet another example of the transformative reinterpretation of the DRB root is the metaphorical imagery of angels separating the faces and backs of those who rejected God to rip out their unwilling souls from within the hearts of their bodies. Now contrast this traumatic and intense spiritual metaphor with the traditional translation of angels meting out strange and random punishment by literally “striking their faces and their backs”, which does not even suit the role of angels before these souls are sent to hell. Even more obvious, the bodies of these hell-bound souls are already dead corpses, so any physical striking of “their faces and their backs” could not even be felt! Finally, with respect to the disputed citations, two of the most famous separations in all of humankind highlight the absurdity of poor translations still more: 1. Instead of Moses parting/separating the sea with his staff, mainstream translators would rather have us believe that “striking” the sea is a better translation; and 2. Instead of the twelve tribes of Israel separating into two spiritually and physically separated groups (with the consequences of that separation felt deeply to this day), mainstream translators would rather have us believe that the real point of the story was to emphasize how the spiritually weak were “struck with weakness and misery” (instead of earning God’s anger as the verse actually states), thereby completely mixing up cause and effect and destroying the historical point of the whole story. But that is not all. There are startling surprises even in the 41 undisputed DRB citations, especially in the 13 beyond the 28 essentially unchanged ones implying to “set forth examples/parables”. The underlying message of all 13 citations is enriched – and sometimes transformed – by tweaking the DRB root word translations into “separate (from)”, or a synonym thereof. For example, six of these 13 citations refer to the heart-wrenching separation from one’s home and entire community, always with a strong – sometimes virtually certain – possibility of never returning again. One more DRB citation refers to the traumatic separation of the damned from the rest of humanity on the Day of Judgment. And yet another invokes this same ultimate separation from the rest of humanity via the allegory of the Companions of the Cave. Instead of just being a quaintly odd story, the powerful moral of this story is fully revealed. Per the much enriched DRB root word translation, the 92 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication entire point – as the Quran emphasizes – is to teach how God can separate the passage of time from our conscious awareness before we are “raised up”. So, to illustrate this point, if you were to die today, what the Quran is saying is that the Day of Judgment would seem to you exactly like tomorrow. That is why the parable doesn’t even need to ask us the most obvious question already in our hearts: Are we prepared for that fateful appointment… tomorrow? In the remaining five of those 13 DRB citations, the traumatic or inspiring/enlightening impact embedded in the DRB root continues. In one example, it is used to describe the implied rending of the heart if God were to separate “the Reminder” (Quran) from Muslims who transgress. In two others, it highlights the theme of the entire Quran by inspiring us with its core message: that God’s divinity is completely inseparable. And along the same lines, yet another DRB citation emphasizes the ultimate purpose of the Quran: to “separate truth and falsehood”. Finally, in two other citations (including the related 24:31:64 data point), the DRB root is used in the context of enlightening women on how to protect their beauty, not just that they should do so. This is done via the “spread apart” synonym, a nuance that is completely absent from the traditional translations of the DRB root word used here. Once we grasp the emotive importance of the DRB root, even the 28 undisputed DRB root word usages meaning “set forth examples/parables (apart from others)” start to come alive. Instead of describing a perfunctory distinction or division, the DRB root words used here now imply a moral message of great significance. These are examples and parables highlighted and elevated by God above all others. As such, we should deeply reflect upon all of them based upon the consistent meaning of the DRB root in the Quran, which implies a separation with dramatic emotive impact. This is an appropriate time to highlight a subtle but important distinction between the DRB root and the more generic English word “separate”, the latter of which usually implies a physical – not emotional – dividing into two. This distinction also explains why the implied “(from)” suffix is usually required in English to express the same Arabic meaning. To illustrate, if someone says “He separated her”, the unintended meaning that this evokes in English is “He physically dismembered her”! However, when we say, “He separated from her”, the emotional relationship separation becomes unambiguous. In this respect, a much more analogous English word to the DRB root is “divorce”, even though the denotations of these two words are very different, as discussed above. The word “divorce” has no generic connotation beyond a permanent emotional and legal break in a relationship. Therefore, it is redundant to say, “He divorced from her.” In fact, it simply sounds wrong. We need only say, “He divorced her,” without a preposition. “Divorce” already has a specific emotional and legal meaning, so the “(from)” suffix is not required to clarify what “type of divorce” is involved when the direct object of the verb is specified. This is exactly why the DRB root verb does not require such a prepositional suffix (in Arabic) either, whether in verse 4:34 or elsewhere, even though it is generally required in English for clarity of meaning. In other words, even though “divorce” also implies a physical separation and ultimate break, its primary connotation is emotional (and legal), not physical. The same applies to the DRB root. Even though it 93 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication also often implies a physical separation, its primary and predominant connotation is an emotional, not physical, separation of some sort. Hence, it is sufficient to say, “[DRB] them,” like in verse 4:34, without any ambiguity in meaning, and without invoking any absurd connotation of dismemberment like in English. By contrast, in verse 8:12, where the DRB root actually is used in the nonstandard context of a traumatic dismemberment of fingers in battle, the Arabic predictably includes a prepositional phrase (min'hum = “from them”) to qualify the meaning to imply a predominantly physical separation/severing. In essence, prepositional usage in Arabic is the exact opposite vs. English here. This Arabic prepositional phrase suffix would be redundant in English in the context of a physical separation or severing. All that would be required in English is to specify the direct object without any prepositional qualification at all. Quite ironically, following upon these same DRB root exceptions, only two of the unique DRB citations in the entire Quran can be translated as “beat” or “strike” without creating logically nonsensical interpretations. And once again they are in verses 8:12 and 47:4. Even in these two instances, the translation of “separate” (or” sever”, as a more precise English synonym) results in a far superior and more logically sound translation. The only reason that “strike” seems to work with respect to these two citations is because the cause (striking) is exactly concurrent with the effect (severing). In both citations, a sword is used to accomplish this concurrency. Moreover, the revealing focus on both occasions is not on what the sword is doing, but on the severing effect of what the sword has already hit. It is this concurrency of cause and effect in striking with a sword that appears to be the etymological root source of confusion for linking the DRB root to “striking”, since the example of using a sword with this verb is the only referenced link to “striking” for the DRB root in the oldest classical Arabic dictionary. In other words, what we are seeing today in mainstream translations of the Quran showing “beat” is essentially nothing more than an etymological fallacy. Translators have projected a politically evolved, modern denotation of the DRB root back onto a very different original meaning per the Quran. 2. Evidence from the Contextual Analysis of Verse 4:34 The flagrant ignorance in these translation errors – as we see them now – is simply stunning in comparison. Similar shocking contradictions arise in the contextual analysis of verse 4:34 when one tries to impose an interpretation of “beat” or “strike”. The contextual analysis of the verse itself makes this translation nonsensical. For example, the traditional interpretation advocates the beating of a woman into submission immediately after trying to persuade her with kind words and disciplined sexual restraint, and then illogically proceeding into neutral arbitration after this physical coercion. Also, the verbal gymnastics that are required to make this translation work are almost comical. For example, interpreting nushuz as disobedience to one’s spouse implies that a woman can demand a divorce per verse 4:128 simply for fearing her husbands’ disobedience/nushuz to her! These contradictory verbal gymnastics continue surrounding two words in verse 4:34 that are also incorrectly associated with arbitrary or compulsory obedience: 1) qānitātun, which actually means obedience to God only, never to one’s husband; and 2) aṭaʿnakum, which actually means a sincere pledge/commitment done freely and willingly, never obedience as a result of any compulsion 94 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication whatsoever. What is perhaps most surprising is that aṭaʿnakum is the literal antonym of compulsion per the Quran’s own definition! I also demonstrated quite persuasively how we stubbornly avoid factual and logical analysis by shielding our minds with fallacies. These include the fallacy of sweeping generalizations, such as the premise that men are generally “superior” to women in Islam (wrong), which somehow gives them the de facto right to exercise that general “superiority” abusively. Even the desperate appeal to verse 2:228 to grant men an “edge” of superiority over women was summarily debunked. There are also generic fallacies that appeal to “common knowledge” (ad populum), “respected authorities” (ad vericundiam), and “uncontestable antiquity” (ad antiquitatem), all of which are meaningless arguments designed to shut down our thinking and to flippantly discard fact-based analysis. Therefore, it should be no surprise that the final and overwhelmingly compelling conclusion is exactly opposite to the culturally dominant interpretation of verse 4:34, which is deeply rooted in “respected tradition”. In fact, after analytically validating each part of verse 4:34 in detail, we find that the overwhelming and only message to men in verse 4:34 is with respect to their obligations. This conclusion is exactly opposite to the traditional interpretation of verse 4:34 emphasizing men's rights. In short, verse 4:34 is not about rights at all – it does not grant or even imply any new right. Verse 4:34 is only about obligations and responsibilities. It is time to recognize and correct this egregious and fundamental error. Oddly enough, instead of granting any right, verse 4:34 explains that the heavy obligations imposed upon men in verse 4:34 are “because” of the additional inheritance generally “bestowed (upon)” men elsewhere in the Quran. The meaning of the FDL root here is made explicit by the usage of the same “bestowed (upon) some of you/them over others” wording immediately prior to verse 4:34 in verses 4:32-33. These two verses clearly define this wording as being only in the context of financial inheritance. Moreover, the FDL root overwhelmingly and consistently refers to a worldly, tangible “bounty” (wealth) in the Quran across all 104 instances it is used. It never refers to intangible personal qualities, let alone to any inherent “superiority”. We also need to discard the syrupy propaganda of men being “in charge of women” as "protectors". These translations of the QWM root word at the very beginning of verse 4:34 are not just demonstrably wrong. They lead to the completely contradictory caveman logic of such muscleman “protectors” ironically also having the dictatorial right to "beat" the very same women that they are supposedly "protecting"! 3. Evidence from the Hadiths There are simply no facts left to analyze from the Quran on the DRB root. I have covered every last one, and all of them strongly support my conclusion, without exception. The only facts left are from the hadiths, and I have also covered just about every reliable (and even less reliable) hadith on this topic. All facts have essentially been exhausted. In every last case, I have completely debunked the standard 95 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication interpretation that verse 4:34 permits—let alone commands – any physical abuse of women. I have surprisingly shown, upon deeper analysis of the original Arabic hadith wording, that absolutely none of the hadiths remotely support the claim that Islam permits, promotes or advocates any beating of women whatsoever. Contrary to popular opinion amongst Muslims, not even a tiny little miswak twig (or “hankie”, as the latest invented substitute!) can be used to physically “chastise” a woman. In other hadiths, Muhammad himself unambiguously exclaims that it is never acceptable to beat a woman, contrary to some who claim that this directive was never made explicit. After all is said and done, there is literally not a single fact left standing in support of the traditional (medieval) interpretation that Islam permits the beating of women by their husbands. Not a single fact from the Quran, or even from the hadiths. Not one. The decimation of the opposing argument is complete, and shockingly absolute – far beyond my wildest expectations when I began this research project. 4. Evidence from the Smoking Gun that Started it All Another huge surprise from my point of view was finding the actual smoking gun hadiths that allowed all this shameful, repugnant endorsement of domestic violence to take root throughout the history of Islamic jurisprudence. These roots grew quickly and deeply and became well established over centuries because of the tragic incompetence and mindless taqlid groupthink of Muslim “scholars”. What made the problem even more deep-rooted was that virtually all of these scholars were (and still are) male, largely shackled within non-diverse monocultures emphasizing patriarchal, tribal tradition over facts and reason. These smoking gun hadiths cover none other than the famous words of Muhammad at his Farewell Sermon, which explains why they carried so much interpretive weight amongst scholars. They also carried immense interpretive weight with respect to verse 4:34 because these are the only hadiths that are explicitly quoting (in a flagrantly and provably wrong way) the meaning and words of verse 4:34 with respect to the DRB root. What no doubt exacerbated the problem even further is the enormous length of these hadiths. Just try to imagine, roughly 2,200 words transmitted orally and linearly across a quarter millennium of potential political manipulation before finally being historically recorded. It is sheer fantasy to assume that nothing got lost or inserted in that delicate linear chain of transmission or that no parts of these lengthy hadiths were conflated together, even accidentally. Unfortunately, as should be expected, these falsely interpreted hadiths do indeed contain a glaringly interpolated sentence that is completely absent from other versions of this Farewell Sermon. The meaning of the DRB root became grotesquely transformed into “beat” in verse 4:34 only because these hadiths blatantly conflated the words of verse 4:34 with the words of verses 4:15-16. These hadiths did so by making the “beating” (i.e., the DRB step of separation) contingent not upon nushuz per verse 4:34,

96 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication but upon the commission of manifest/open sexual obscenity (fahisha mubina) per verses 4:15-16. These are two vastly different criteria that cannot possibly be conflated together. What is perhaps most absurdly ironic about the interpolated sentence in these hadiths is that one could argue that the hadiths are not even really wrong when taken strictly at traditional face value, which assumes that the DRB root could indeed magically transform into a word for physical punishment. Why? Because there already is a physical punishment for unlawful sexual intercourse, which these hadiths are unambiguously describing. Even when a man is guilty of fahisha mubina, he too would be flogged/beaten as the punishment for his actions! In the same way that these hadiths imply a physical punishment for women because of sexual transgression, the exact same physical punishment would apply to men when they commit this sexual transgression, per verses 4:15-16 and verse 24:2. So whether something was interpolated or not into these hadiths is actually a completely moot point. If these hadiths are interpreted strictly at traditional face value (i.e., with the interpolation and with DRB=”beat”), then they become nothing more than a reiteration of the existing punishment for unlawful sexual intercourse. In that case, they add absolutely nothing to what the Quran already states in verses 4:15-16 and verse 24:2 with respect to this punishment, which is applicable equally, without discrimination, to both women and men. Unfortunately, all of these nasty consequences appeared to have evolved not because of any malicious intent by hadith transmitters, but almost certainly because of an ironic desire to mollify the perceived implication of discretionary physical beating of women being permitted. With the simple and seemingly innocuous addition of the “not severely” (ghayr mubarrih) qualification, the final chain of events in the smoking gun timeline were set into motion. Just as this smoking gun buried the truth for centuries, leaving a monstrous lie in its place, the smoking gun itself is now the key to resurrecting the truth – by shooting this beast, and forever dispatching it into the casket of history. Once the smoking gun is exposed and widely acknowledged by Muslim scholars as logically irrefutable, it can then be used instead to fire the fatal shot against this egregious lie. The entire “house or (miswak) twigs” still shielding this lie will then fall too, since there is absolutely nothing else left to hold this fragile structure up. As I have clearly proven, there is not even one single fact left in support of the opposing argument. 5. Evidence from the Sunnah of Muhammad But what is perhaps most compelling of all, at least to me, is Muhammad’s own life example, as supported by the Quran itself: Muhammad never beat any woman, as his own wife Aisha and all reliable hadiths attest, even when his own wives were openly rebelling together against him and he was on the brink of divorce with all of them, all at once. After all else failed to resolve his wives’ materialistic disputes with him, what did he do to finally – and successfully – resolve those disputes? For one entire month, he separated from all of them. Separation – never beating – is the clear example of Muhammad and the explicit commandment of the Quran that all Muslims must follow under such dire marital 97 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication circumstances. It also just happens to be the modern legal standard that all democratically developed countries follow today. We have also learned something else from the example of Muhammad, which is also an explicit command of the Quran to men. The onus is always upon husbands to separate (i.e., to “set forth”) from their wives so that separation can be meaningful and effective. It is the responsibility of the husband, not the wife, to find alternative accommodation during the time of separation, just like it is his responsibility to find an alternative bed in the prior step of verse 4:34. Separation is actually referred to in Islam as the initiation of a tentative or phased “divorce” process per verses 2:228-229. It is never to be viewed as a punishment upon women by placing this burden of alternative accommodation upon them. It is always a genuine good faith effort by men to achieve amicable reconciliation. But again, hadiths are not even required to make this point either. The Quran already does so per verses 65:1, 65:6-7, 2:228-229 and 2:231, discussed in detail above. Moreover, these same Quran verses explicitly prohibit the injuring, harming or distressing of any women in order to “save a marriage” on the brink of final divorce. Committing any aggression against such wives is also explicitly prohibited here. In fact, the exact opposite is commanded by God upon men throughout the entire marital breakdown, separation and divorce process: “(Either) retain them with kindness (in a fair manner) [bimaʿrūfin] or part with them with kindness (in a fair manner) [bimaʿrūfin]”. For even greater emphasis, this command by God to be kind and fair during this traumatic process is not just given once to men in these verses. This command is given to men four times in all four excerpts of these verses! 6. The Final Word: Marriage in Islam as the Ultimate Expression of the Golden Rule Under no circumstances can there ever be an excuse for domestic violence or physical abuse of women of any kind. Verse 4:34 also represents the only possible extrapolated support – however tenuous – for so-called “honor violence” and “honor killings” against women. Such cultural atrocities have been proven to predate Islam by hundreds, if not thousands, of years, and they are explained almost entirely by geographic, not religious, variables. However, it is important to debunk all justifications for such violence, no matter how desperate those justifications may be. Muslims who support or participate in any such acts of violence against women should be ashamed of themselves. As for all you “Muslim scholars” still endorsing or tacitly approving this proven medieval innovation, we hereby demand that you now openly condemn this categorically anti-Islamic thuggery. Women don’t want any more of your “hankies” to help clean up the mess that you left behind. The relationship between husband and wife is actually just one of many relationships that Muslims have, no different from everyone else. All of those relationships are governed by the same universal principal: the Golden Rule. It is important to take a step back to put this entire debate into a larger framework and perspective – to see the proverbial forest, instead of just the trees. So let’s do that.

98 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication Islamophobes have spread the deliberate and outrageous lie that there is no such thing as the Golden Rule in Islam, but this claim could not be further from the truth: The Prophet (pbuh) said, "He who is not merciful to others, will not be treated mercifully.” (Bukhari 73:42) The Prophet (pbuh) said, “On the Day of Rising, retaliation will be taken from anyone who gives a beating." (Al-Mufrad 9:185) The Prophet (pbuh) said, “None of you has believed until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” (Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and Nasa’i all cite this hadith or one nearly identical to it) The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever wishes to be delivered from the fire and enter the garden should die with faith in Allah and the Last Day and should treat people as he wishes to be treated by them.” (Muslim 20:4546) The Prophet (pbuh) said, "Anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should not harm his neighbor.” (Bukhari 73:47) The Prophet (pbuh) said, “The neighbor has more right to be taken care of by his neighbor (than anyone else)." (Bukhari 86:110) The Prophet (pbuh) said, "[Angel] Gabriel continued to recommend me about treating the neighbors kindly and politely so much so that I thought he would order me to make them as my heirs.” (Bukhari 73:43) Pay homage to God, and make none his compeer, and be good to your parents and relatives, the orphans and the needy and the neighbors who are near you, and the neighbors who are strangers, and the friend by your side, the traveler, and those whom your oaths govern. (Quran 4:36 – Note how this is immediately after verses 4:34-35 discussed herein) There is even what I call the “reciprocal Golden Rule” or the “Golden Rule of Justice” in Islam, which can be summarized as, “Do unto yourself (in Justice) what you would have yourself do unto others”. This is perhaps best summarized here, among several other verses reiterating a similar message: Oh you who choose Faith, stand firm [QWM root, as discussed above] for Justice, as witnesses for God, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether someone is rich or poor, God is close to them both. So follow not the behest of passion, lest you deviate (from Justice). And if you distort (your testimony) or refuse (to give it), then indeed God is All-Aware of what you do. (Quran 4:135)

99 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication The Golden Rule is so strong and deep in Islam that it applies to relationships with everyone, even “neighbors who are strangers”. So how could it also not apply – even more so – to a marital relationship? Two individuals who choose willingly to share their entire lives and most intimate companionship together surely should care enough to apply the Golden Rule at least between themselves, if between no one else. Therefore, the idea that a husband could be commanded by God to commit unilateral domestic violence against his own wife is not only completely contradictory to the letter of the Golden Rule, but totally repugnant to the spirit of it as well. The relationship between husband and wife in Islam can only be founded upon love and mercy, never upon fear of punishment and pain. To argue otherwise is simply offensive to everything that Muhammad taught. But marriage is not just governed by the Golden Rule. Marriage is the ultimate expression of the Golden Rule itself. Marriage is how we understand the deepest meaning underlying the Golden Rule, and why this universal principle is so important. When we say, “We should treat others as we wish to be treated by them,” it is not just because it is polite to do so, but because there is ultimately no such thing as “the other”. We are all connected and a part of each other in the most fundamental way. The message of Muhammad and the Quran is that all of mankind is so connected that we are like a single person – created even from a single soul – so what one does to “the other”, one does equally to oneself. In Islam, marriage is our most intimate experience of this profound connection between all of humanity. It is far too fragile and trusting to ever be abused, as some would have us falsely believe God commands. In marriage, “the other” is transcended altogether, thereby taking the Golden Rule to a whole new level. By our own free choice and commitment, “the other” becomes utterly inseparable from “we”. Contrary to the traditional misogynistic narrative, now totally debunked, what God truly desires for a man in marriage is something in exact opposition to this narrative: to be able to see his wife as if he is seeing his own soul clothing hers, adorning her vulnerability with nothing but the tranquility of his love and mercy: Oh mankind! Be conscious of your Lord, the One Who created you from a single soul, and created from it its mate. (Quran 4:1) They [your wives] are your garments, and you are their garments. (Quran 2:187) And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you love and mercy. Indeed, in that are signs for a people who reflect. (Quran 30:21)

100 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication Appendix I: “Name and Shame” or “Name and Fame”? I realize that it is not easy to overturn more than a millennium of ossified thinking. It is even more difficult when the majority of those who oppose my conclusions think that they can refute my arguments simply by invoking irrational ad hominem against my anonymity. Since the only weapon to protect the status quo that traditional “scholars” have left is willful ignorance of my facts and logic, my aggressive countermeasure is very simple, and will be applied to Islamophobes and Muslims alike: “Name and Shame”. I am demanding from all “scholars” of Islam either 1) a fact-driven rebuttal to this analysis or 2) public agreement with this analysis and its unequivocal conclusion. For those prominent “scholars” who choose neither path, I will Name and Shame you, no matter who you are or how much I otherwise like you, Muslim or non-Muslim. And I encourage all Muslims to do the same to reclaim their faith from both misogynists and passive supporters of the status quo. Likewise, for those who have signed on in agreement to at least the core conclusion opposing any and all physical or coercive “correction” against women, I will put you on a list of honor: a “Name and Fame” list. For those who choose a sincerely argued rebuttal instead, the outcome of our debate will expose who is shamed and who is not. However, I will give you the benefit of the doubt in “faming” you regardless. As for all other “scholars”, be warned. I and others will continue to hound you for a definitive response, and we will show no mercy to the willfully ignorant or to those who invoke logical fallacies to shield their indefensible claims. For all those “scholars” who support any form of domestic violence, including those who continue to hold open this evil door with a “harmless hankie” or utterly vague “chastising”, I promise to publicly embarrass you if you ever cross my path with your arguments. And I encourage all Muslims to do the same to reclaim their faith from misogynists and this medieval cesspool of taqlid that so many Muslim “scholars” are wallowing in today. I am only one person, so please challenge all Muslim scholars with this analysis and inform me (with evidence) of any who should be Named and Shamed, any who should be Named and Famed, and any who have rebutted or should be moved from one list to another. I will try to keep these lists up to date, at least until I formally publish, God willing. Another reason I have created these lists is due to the unbelievable willful ignorance that I have already encountered simply to get so-called “scholars” to consider – let alone to read –a view that debunks the traditional taqlid-driven interpretation. Even prominent Muslim women and those who claim to be active in opposing domestic violence either completely dismiss this analysis or ignore its critical importance. And, quite shockingly, they have all done so without even reading it! After trying for several months to get just one “scholar” to read what I wrote, not a single one has been willing to do so, even after I tell them that they are wrong or after I easily dismantle their arguments on this topic. They seem to have no concern that they could be wrong in supporting domestic violence or in keeping the door clearly open to it. I have quite a few names to add to these lists already, but I am keeping most of them off until I release a subsequent draft. I would like to give those individuals some benefit of the doubt to reconsider their position. That said, there are at least a few that deserve naming and shaming right out of the gate. 101 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication ** THE NAME AND SHAME LIST ** The Hate Preachers Who Fanatically Legitimize Domestic Violence and Refuse To Defend their Claims: 1. Ali Sina (@AliSinaOrg on Twitter): After firmly agreeing to debate me on the very topic of this document (and three other agreed topics), he conceded the debate before it even started. He did so after I completely eviscerated his anti-Islam book just to “warm up” for the debate. I now call him “my little Islamophobe pet”. Here’s the link to my total public humiliation of this clown: http://issuu.com/islamophobiadebunked/docs/alisinabookreview 2. Robert Spencer (@jihadwatchRS): He is, at least in my estimation, the #1 hate preacher falsely and fanatically legitimizing domestic violence by parroting the same arguments that I have debunked herein. He is a classic fanatic, since he refuses to defend his hate claims on this topic after I have challenged him innumerable times. 3. David Wood (@Acts17) and Sam Shamoun (@SamShamoun): Owners of Answering Islam hate site. They continue to refuse all my debate challenges. 4. Anjem Choudary (@anjemchoudary): No further words are necessary to describe this fanatic. I have challenged him many times to debate, but he simply runs. I challenge him again now. 5. Glen Roberts (sp?): Owner of The Religion of Peace (TROP) hate site. I humiliated him in a private email debate, and now he refuses to respond. 6. Bonni Benstock-Intall: Owner of the Bare Naked Islam (BNI) hate site. Bonni has never had a scholarly debate in her entire life and runs from all such challenges. She is just a pure propagandist running a pro-Zionist hate machine. 7. Zuhdi Jasser: A fanatic Zionist who claims to be a Muslim while supporting mass discrimination against Muslims based on his “stealth jihad” conspiracy hysteria. 8. Brigette Gabriel: Another hate group leader highly paid by Zionist funders. She seems completely incapable of debate. 9. Ayan Hirsi Ali: Yet another Zionist supported hate preacher, who claims to be ex-Muslim. 10. David Horowitz (@horowitz39), Frank Gaffney (@frankgaffney), etc.: Various funders and leaders of fanatical Zionist lobbying groups, all of whom never debate the propaganda that they spew out. “Scholars” and Leading Muslims Who Disagree but Who Have Refused to Read This Analysis Names currently withheld, but you know who you are! “Scholars” Who Disagree and Have Read This Analysis but Who Refuse to Rebut None. Orgs. Who Claim to Oppose Dom. Violence but Who Have No Interest in Debunking Its Justification Names currently withheld, but you know who you are!

102 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014


DRAFT: Not for Publication ** THE NAME AND FAME LIST ** “Scholars” and Anti-Dom. Violence Orgs. Who Have Read and Rebutted This Analysis 1. Peter Townsend (@PeterTownsend7): Although we disagree strongly, I still give credit to Peter to stepping up to the plate to debate me. His rebuttal is forthcoming. “Scholars” Who Have Read and Endorsed This Analysis None. Orgs. Who Claim to Oppose Dom. Violence Who Endorse This Analysis None.

103 Author: Chameleon_X

Last Updated: December 30, 2014

Is Beating Women Permitted in Islam?  
Is Beating Women Permitted in Islam?  
Advertisement