The Religion of Peace

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Killed 206
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The Religion of Peace

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It's far easier to act as if critics of Islam have a problem with Muslims as people than it is to accept the uncomfortable truth that Islam is different.

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Charbonnier
"I’d rather die standing up
than live on my knees."
Stephane Charbonnier
(1967-2015)




The Religion of Peace

Wife Beating: 
Good Enough for Muhammad,
Good Enough for You

Verse 4:34 of the Quran is a challenge for
contemporary Muslim apologists in the West.


The three major English translations of the Quran were completed early in the 20th century.  Though working independently, each Muslim translator came to the same conclusion concerning verse 4:34 - namely that it tells husbands to beat their wives in a manner that causes pain - if the circumstances agree (Yusuf Ali tried to mitigate this somewhat by adding the word "lightly" in parentheses). 

Beating the wife who will not submit (albeit as a last resort) is very much in line with the traditional interpretation that Islamic clerics have held since the time of Muhammad.  After all, the Quran plainly states that men are in charge of women.

Enter the modern age, when wife-beating isn't quite as trendy as it used to be, and contemporary Muslim apologists living in Judeo-Christian societies are suddenly having epiphanies as to the original meaning of verse 4:34.  Apparently the true intention of the verse was hidden from Islamic scholars and ordinary Muslims for fourteen centuries, and it is only now coming to light that hitting a woman for any reason is "completely against Islam" - although this curiously coincides with modern Western revulsion.

Muhammad used the Arabic word 'idribuhunna' in the verse, which is derived from the root 'daraba' and almost always means "to strike."  However, one less common derivation of this root is "to go abroad," which leaves our desperate apologist with an exit strategy, it seems.  This is what Muhammad must have truly meant, they tell us.  If a man can't get the little woman to come to her senses, then he should move out of his own house and back in with his parents until she does.

Sure, sure.  This sounds like Islam, doesn't it?  The religion that sprang out of the harsh Arabian Peninsula to lay waste to an ever-widening swath of homes, fields and hapless populations with shocking brutality... the religion that cannibalized entire cultures and turned vibrant people into terrorized, subordinate slaves and dhimmis... is really just trying to bring out the Alan Alda in your man after a hard day of pillaging.

But how realistic is it that Muhammad, who taught that women should be made to share the marital bed with three other wives at their husband's discretion (but stoned for adultery)... who established the "triple talaq" rule that a woman can be thrown out of the house at any time... who encouraged his men to rape women captured in battle... how likely is it that Muhammad would be telling a man to move out of the house rather than use physical force to keep his woman in line?

Not likely. Not likely at all. 

(For one thing, it doesn't seem fair to the other wives, who would also be abandoned... but perhaps that's just us).

Fortunately, however, we don't have to guess at what Muhammad's position on wife-beating actually was and which meaning of 'daraba' he intended.  Certainly there are multiple derivations used in the Quran, but the specific derivation is plainly written in verse 4:34 and it is the same one (idriboo) that clearly means "to strike"

Consider that the same derivation is used in one other place in the Quran, verse 8:12:

"I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: strike ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them"

Not much ambiguity there.  Neither do there seem to be any apologists rushing in with similar parenthetical mitigations - like "smite (lightly) all their fingertips..."

The same word is also used in the Hadith.  Sahih Muslim 5564 offers an example in which 'idriboo' is used to define the blow required to kill a gecko.

Secondly, the Hadith records at least one instance in which Muhammad struck his own (underage) wife in the chest while she was lying in bed.  This would be Aisha, his favorite wife, and he did so because she left the house without his permission.  Now, if he treated his favorite wife this way, one can only imagine how he might have acted toward his other wives, concubines and slaves.

Naturally, the apologists leave this out of their arguments.  Nor do they educate their audience of another case that is recorded in one of Islam's most sacred books in which a woman came to Muhammad for help after being beaten so badly by her husband that "her skin was greener than her clothes."  The prophet simply rebuked the woman and sent her back to her man with explicit instructions to have more sex.

Look, we're all in favor of Muslims bringing their religion out of the 7th century, but if this can only be done through strategic omission and fringe sophistry, then we have to ask what is the point of salvaging Islam?  Why not just pick another religion that's closer to what you want Islam to be?

Is it because the Religion of Peace threatens to kill anyone who leaves?

Never has this means of intimidation been more necessary than in the information age, when many Muslims are learning for the first time about the history and true teachings of their religion, and how poorly it contrasts with others.


[Additional Note - Not all Muslims in the West are as intent on disguising their religion with slight-of-hand.  The multilingual site, IslamQA.com is quite blunt about the four conditions under which a husband may beat his wife

Discipline. The husband has the right to discipline his wife if she disobeys him in something good, not if she disobeys him in something sinful, because Allaah has enjoined disciplining women by forsaking them in bed and by hitting them, when they do not obey.

The Hanafis mentioned four situations in which a husband is permitted to discipline his wife by hitting her. These are: not adorning herself when he wants her to; not responding when he calls her to bed and she is taahirah (pure, i.e., not menstruating); not praying; and going out of the house without his permission.
 

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