Home > Islam > Domestic Violence Permitted by a False Hadith

Domestic Violence Permitted by a False Hadith

There is a false hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari. It permits domestic violence.

Rifa`a divorced his wife whereupon `Abdur-Rahman bin Az-Zubair Al-Qurazi 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 Messenger came, `Aisha said, “I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women. Look! Her skin is greener than her clothes!” When `Abdur-Rahman heard that his wife had gone to the Prophet, he came with his two sons from another wife. She said, “By Allah! I have done no wrong to him but he is impotent and is as useless to me as this,” holding and showing the fringe of her garment, `Abdur-Rahman said, “By Allah, O Allah’s Messenger! She has told a lie! I am very strong and can satisfy her but she is disobedient and wants to go back to Rifa`a.” Allah’s Messenger 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 `Abdur-Rahman 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.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 5825)

The woman with the bruised face is required to stay with her abusive husband according to this hadith. The man is never reprimanded by Muhammad for beating his wife according to the hadith.

I am appalled by this false hadith permitting men to beat their wives until their faces turn green. This hadith was written down over 200 years after Muhammad died. The compiler of the Sahih al-Bukhari collection of hadiths was born in 810 and died in 870. Muhammad died in 632.

It is not all right for a man to beat his wife in such a way. In the Koran, it says:

And of His signs is this: He created for you helpmeets from yourselves that ye might find rest in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy. Lo! herein indeed are portents for folk who reflect. (Koran 30:21, Pickthall)

A man who beats his wife like that has shown no love and mercy toward her. The Koran also says that men should live with their wives in kindness. (Koran 4:19) The Koran also says:

And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness, and men are a degree above them. Allah is Mighty, Wise. (Koran 2:228, Pickthall)

A man who beats his wife in such a way is definitely not practicing kindness toward her, nor is he demonstrating love and mercy toward her. One can unfortunately use this false hadith to misinterpret this verse from the Koran.

Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great. (Koran 4:34, Pickthall)

Yusuf Ali added a word in his translation in parentheses to help one better interpret this verse.

Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all). (Koran 4:34, Yusuf Ali)

I think that Koran 4:34 is teaching that a man should give his wife a gentle tap as a last resort in order to express his displeasure. Any such tap should be given lovingly, mercifully, and in kindness. In the Koran it says:

Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction. (Koran 4:82, Sahih International)

If one uses the false hadith to interpret Koran 4:34, then Koran 4:34 would contradict Koran 2:228, 4:19, and 30:21. If one uses Koran 2:228, 4:19, and 30:21 to help interpret Koran 4:34, then one should not think that Koran 4:34 is encouraging domestic violence.

Finally, think about these verses from the Bible.

So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. (Ephesians 5:28,29, NKJV)

Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:33, NKJV)

Now, think about these verses from the Koran.

Nothing is said to you, [O Muhammad], except what was already said to the messengers before you. Indeed, your Lord is a possessor of forgiveness and a possessor of painful penalty. (Koran 41:43, Sahih International)

Say: ‘I am not an innovation among the Messengers, and I know not what shall be done with me or with you. I only follow what is revealed to me; I am only a clear warner.’ (Koran 46:9, Arberry)

The Islamic prophet taught the same thing that is in the Bible. He did not encourage a man to abusively beat his wife. It says in the Second Surah.

Kind speech and forgiveness is better than charity followed by injury; and Allah is Self-sufficient, Forbearing. (Koran 2:263, Shakir)

That is how a man should behave toward his wife. He should speak to her kindly and forgive her. Behaving toward her this way is better than giving money to the poor while at the same time inflicting injury on her.

I am strongly opposed to such false hadiths. They encourage barbarism, contradict the teachings of the Koran and the Bible, and should be ignored by any decent human being. Domestic violence is not halal. It is haraam.

“For the Rest of My Life” by Maher Zain

  1. January 28, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    In the above Hadith, there are few points to notice and mention:

    1- The man failed to follow Noble Verse 4:34 which was sent by Allah Almighty to protect women from harmfull men.

    2- The woman was trying to get back with her first husband. In Islam, if a woman gets divorced or divorces herself from her husband through the Islamic court by “Khala'”, then the only way she can get back with her husband, or her husband gets back to her is by HER MARRYING ANOTHER PERSON, HAVE SEXUAL INTERCOURSE WITH HIM, AND THEN GET A DIVORCE FROM HIM. This is to guarantee that divorce would not be a joke among Muslims.

    3- The woman was claiming that her second husband was sexually no good. The husband disputed that, and brought his two sons from another marriage as a proof that he can perform sex. The Prophet peace be upon him then told the woman “by Allah, these boys resemble him as a crow resembles a crow”.

    4- Aisha’s opinion about the woman’s bruise doesn’t prove or disprove anything. She got angry because she saw another woman badly beaten, which is perfectly fine and acceptable. But her emotions and opinions are not Islamic Verdicts!

    Many authentic hadith proof that Islam liberated women and made them free. See hadith Sunan Abu-Dawud, Book 11, Marriage (Kitab Al-Nikah), Number 2138 & 2139.

    In ‘Sahih Muslim, Book 018, Number 4251’ we see that a woman in islam is even allowed to take from her husband’s property without his knowledge if he falls below this basic level of supporting her. Also Umar Ibn khattab told the prophet that ‘women had the upperhand over men in Medina in’ in Sahih Bukhari,Volume 7, Book 62, Number 119′ , the prophet showed a smile after hearing this.

    This clearly proofs that ayesha’s(ra) reaction was based on emotions, which is normal and perfectly fine. We also have to notice that in pre-islamic (before islam) time women were depressed by the arabs, Islam came to liberate those women and to give them many rights. Unfortunately some muslim men (still today) fail to follow the true message of Islam, instead of this they follow their evil (pagan) cultural practices and customs! , this has nothing to do with Islam! Islam honours women and clearly fobids the cruel beating of wives!

    Secondly the hadith tells only one part of the incident, it doesn’t mention anything about the decision made by the prophet after this incident , simply because only one part of the story is known and written down. So it’s rediculous to say that Islam and the prophet allowed wife beating, as a matter of fact the opposite is true!
    Read more: http://www.systemoflife.com/answering-islamophobes/abul-kasem/223-muhammad-recommended-wife-beating-and-also-beat-wife-ayesha#ixzz4X5uOxCbD

  2. August 27, 2017 at 6:06 pm


    If you can come up with something positive out of all of those hadiths and it helps you to do righteousness and not evil (Wife-beating is evil.), then that is great! However, I have a difficult time accepting a massive collection of hearsay as authoritative.

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