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Explanation Of “Do Not Say ‘Salaam’ To Jews…” Hadith

Kaleef K. Karim

I have always advised Muslims and others that when you use a Hadith or a Quranic verse, you should know the historical background as why it was said and when it was revealed. If you do not know the very basics of when and why a verse of the Quran was revealed or why the Prophet (p) said a statement, don’t try give an explanation and lead  innocent people astray. Without its historical background one will at times give an interpretation that may be alien to the way it was understood when it was uttered. For example, the following Hadith is often quoted and twisted by individuals who want to paint the Islamic faith negatively:

“Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger as saying: Do not greet the Jews and the Christians before they greet you and when you meet any one of them on the roads force him to go to the narrowest part of it.” (Sahih Muslim Book 26, Hadith 5389. Eng. Tran., https://sunnah.com/muslim/39/16 )

And:

“Narrated Abu Hurairah: that the Messenger of Allah said: “Do not precede the Jews and the Christians with the Salam. And if one of you meets them in the path, then force them to its narrow portion.” (Jami at-Tirmidhi volume 5, Book 40, Hadith 2700. Eng. Tran., Sahih Darussalam, https://sunnah.com/tirmidhi/42/13 )

Just reading the above reports by itself may seem to give a reader an impression that the Prophet (p) discriminated against other religious groups. However, this is not the case when we consult historical sources on the same incident. This saying was uttered mainly against an enemy group who aimed to harm the Prophet (p) and the Muslims. There are two Hadith reports on this:

“It was narrated from Abu ‘Abdur-Rahman Al Juhani that the Messenger of Allah said: “I am riding to the Jews tomorrow. Do not initiate the greeting with them, and if they greet you, then say: Wa ‘alaikum (and also upon you)”. Sunan Ibn Majah volume 5, Book 33, Hadith 3699. Eng. Tran., Hasan Darussalam https://sunnah.com/ibnmajah/33/43 )

And here:

“Abu Basra al-Ghifari reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “I will ride to the Jews tomorrow. Do not give them the greeting first. If they greet you, then say, ‘and on you.’” (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad Book 44, Hadith 1102. Eng. Tran., Sahih Al-Albani, https://sunnah.com/adab/44/2 )

The part where it says, “I will ride to the Jews” or “I am riding to the Jews” indicates that the Prophet (p) was at war with this group of people in his time. There are two clear proofs from classical scholars that this statement was made in relation to war.

The 9th century Persian Islamic scholar Abu Isa Muḥammad ibn Isa as-Sulami ad-Darir al-Bughi at-Tirmidhi (824 – 892 CE) placed this Hadith in the category of “The Book on military expeditions” [1]:

“21 THE BOOK ON MILITARY EXPEDITIONS
(41)Chapter: What Has Been Related About Greeting The People Of The Book With Salam
Narrated Abu Hurairah:That the Messenger of Allah said: “Do not precede the Jews and the Christians with the Salam. And if one you meets one of them in the path, then force him to its narrow portion.” (Jami at-Tirmidhi volume 3, Book 19, Hadith 1602 Eng. Tran., Sahih Darussalam, https://sunnah.com/tirmidhi/21/65 

The 14/15th century Shafi’I scholar Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (1372 – 1449 CE) placed this Hadith in the category of “The Book On Jihad”:

“Bulugh al-Maram – The Book on Jihad
Abu Hurairah (RAA) narrated that The Messenger of Allah said: “Do not start by saluting the Jews and the Christians (when you meet them), and if you meet any of them on the road, force him to go to the narrowest part of the road.” (Bulugh al-Maram Book 11, Hadith 1350. Eng. Tran., https://sunnah.com/urn/2116100 )

It is quite clear that among classical scholars of Islam, they deemed this Hadith report to be in relation to war only.

Who exactly was this group that the Prophet (p) and his companions were at war with? This saying was uttered on the occasion of the Banu Qurayza incident. The Prophet and his people were marching to the Banu Qurayza tribe. This tribe just had violated the peace treaty and attacked the Muslim community. They had violated the treated and helped the Quraysh in war against the Muslims, in the battle of Khandaq: “Battle Of The Trench (al-Khandaq – al-Ahzab)“ https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/03/18/battle-of-the-trench-al-khandaq-al-ahzab/

For more information on Banu Quraizah incident, see the following article please: “Re-Examining Banu Qurayzah Incident” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/01/01/re-examining-banu-qurayzah-incident/

The medieval sunni scholar Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (1292 – 1350 CE) states that the Hadith was uttered in relation to when the Muslims “went out to Banu Quraizah” [2]:

“Regarding His Guidance In Giving Salutations Of Peace To The People Of The Scripture
It has been authentically reported from the Prophet that he said:
‘Do not anticipate them in offering salutations of peace; and if you meet them in the road, force them to the narrowest part of it.’
However, it has been said: That was in special circumstances, when HE WENT OUT TO BANU QURAIZAH and he said: ‘Do not anticipate them in offering salutations of peace.’ ” (Provisions for the Hereafter (Zaad Al-Ma’ad) by Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah, page 211 – 212)

Contemporary Professor Said Fares Hassan comments on this particular Hadith and gives a plausible explanation(s) as why the Prophet uttered those words on that occasion:

“The Qur’an is the ultimate source, and the Sunnah runs in its orbit and does not depart from it. Therefore if the Qur’an states the principle of justice and righteousness in dealing with non-Muslims, then prophetic hadith such as ‘do not initiate peace greeting i.e., saying ‘peace be upon you,’ with the Jews and oblige them to take the side of the road’ should be reinterpreted in terms of the Qur’an and not otherwise. Such a statement should not be taken at its face value. The Sunnah has to be considered as an integral structure in its own right, however closely linked to the Qur’an as an elaboration of its values in a relative specific context. Based on the principle, the above hadith is applicable only in its specific context. It is reported that the Prophet instructed Muslims not to greet the Jews when he was heading to war against the Jewish community of BANU QURAYZAH for the breaching of their covenant with him. Muslims were advised not to greet them because if they exchange greetings, THIS WILL BE LIKE GIVING THE JEWS AN AMAN, THAT IS, CONCLUDING A PEACE TREATY, which is not desired in this specific situation. Against this specific incident, the Qur’an lays the general principle that ‘Allah does not forbid you to deal justly with those who fought not against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes’ (Qur’an 60:8). If one adds to this some other prophetic Hadiths that support the Qur’anic principle, one can conclude the inapplicability of the statement preventing the greeting of non-Muslims.” (Fiqh al-Aqalliyat – History, Development, and Progress [Palgrave Macmillan, 2013], by Said Fares Hassan, page 104)

This explanation offered by Professor Said Fares Hassan has also been given by other classical scholars in the past. The highly respected scholar Ishaq bin Rahwaih (777 – 852 CE) comments in relation to the report under discussion. He writes:

“إذا كانت حاجة إليه فلك أن تبدأه بالسلام، ومعنى قول النبي (لا تبدؤوهم بالسلام)لما خاف أن يدعوا ذلك أمانا وكان قد غدا إلى يهود
“If there is a need for it, then initiate the greeting. As for the meaning of the words of the Prophet “Do not greet them”, he said this out of fear that this might signify to them that they are safe, while he already marched against the Jews (Banu Qurayzah).” (Masaa’il al-Imam Ahmad wa Ishaq bin Rahwaih, volume 1, page 87)

When the historical context of the Hadith is taken into account, we see that the Prophet (p) said this statement in the time of war. Hence, the Hadith reports under discussion has been understood from the earliest of days of Islam as a safeguard not to give false hope to the enemy. For example, since the Prophet (p) and his companions were going out to battle against a treacherous group of people, they did not want to greet them since that would amount to giving them security. Hence, that would be considered treachery on their part if they did. Thus, the companions at the time were prohibited from greeting them.

Furthermore, to better explain what scholar Ishaq bin Rahwaih (777 – 852 CE) is saying, we have to look Islamic teachings and see how strict Islam is when it comes to treachery:

“Aman may be given by Muslims to non-Muslims and by non-Muslims to Muslims. At the time of ‘Umar, the second Caliph, during a war, a Persian soldier took shelter at the top of a tree. A Muslims soldier told him in Persian cum Arabic ‘matrasi’ (don’t be afraid). His adversary thought that he was given a pledge and protection and came down. Sadly, he was killed by the Muslim soldier. The matter was reported to the Caliph, who warned the commander, saying ‘As God is my witness, if I hear anyone has done this I shall cut his neck.”’ (Badruddin Ayni, Umdah Al-Qari Sharh Saheeh al-Bukhari, (Cairo Al-Taba Muneeriya, n.d.), volume 15, page 94) (The Concept Of Treaty In Relation To War And Peace In Islam, [Fikr-O-Nazar Urdu Journal (July-Sept 2009)], by Dr. Muhammad Munir, volume 47, No. 1, page 43 – 65)

And according to Shaybani (749 -805 CE):

“‘Umar wrote to his commander in Iraq that if anyone gave pledge to any enemy soldier buy sing, inter alia, the Persian words ‘matrasi’, then these words are binding.’ (Shaybani, Siyar al-Kabir, volume 1, page 199) (The Concept Of Treaty In Relation To War And Peace In Islam, [Fikr-O-Nazar Urdu Journal (July-Sept 2009)], by Dr. Muhammad Munir, volume 47, No. 1, page 43 – 65)

Muwatta Malik (711 -795 CE):

“…DO NOT ACT TREACHEROUSLY. Do not mutilate and do not kill children.” (Muwatta Malik Book 21, Hadith 11 Eng. Tran.)

And:

“Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war, do not embezzle the spoils; DO NOT COMMIT TREACHERY; and do not mutilate (the dead) bodies; do not kill the children.” (Sahih Muslim Book 019, Number 4294)

Conclusion:

In light of the context, the Prophet Muhammed (p) was worried that he was going to give the enemy a false sense of security by imitating greetings. If one is responsible in any way for providing the enemy a false sense of security and then you fight him, Islam considers this to be an act of treachery. That is the justice of Islam. And so the Prophet was just trying to be extra cautious in regards to this situation with the Banu Qurayza.

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Related articles:

(1) – “‘Those Who Wage War And Make Mischief’ – Quran 5:33” (Ukil & Urayna) https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/03/18/those-who-wage-war-and-make-mischief-quran-533/

(2) – “Baseless Story Of Kinana Ibn Al-Rabi – Treasure?” https://discover-the-truth.com/2015/04/04/baseless-story-of-kinana-ibn-al-rabi-treasure/

(3) – “Hadith Without Context Is Meaningless: Abu Bakr’s ‘Apostasy’ Wars” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/10/17/hadith-without-context-is-meaningless-abu-bakrs-apostasy-wars/

(4) – “Revisiting Abu Bakr’s Conversation With Umar And The Delegation(s): Ridda Wars” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/10/22/revisiting-abu-bakrs-conversation-with-umar-and-the-delegations-ridda-wars/

(5) – “The Hadith ‘…Fight Until They Say There Is No god But Allah’ Explained” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/12/25/the-hadith-fight-until-they-say-there-is-no-god-but-allah-explained/

(6) – “Early Expeditions And Battles Of Islam” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/03/25/early-expeditions-and-battles-of-islam/

(7) – “Muhammed A Mercy: Analysing Dogs Killed In Madinah” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/12/06/muhammed-a-mercy-analysing-dogs-killed-in-madinah/

(8) – “What Happened To The Captive Women In Awtas Incident?” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/06/23/what-happened-to-the-captive-women-in-awtas-incident/

(9) – “Most Misinterpreted Verses Of The Quran?” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/05/27/most-misinterpreted-verses-of-the-quran/

(10) – “Did Jews Get Expelled From Arabia?” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/01/10/did-jews-get-expelled-from-arabia/

(11) – “Ali Ibn Abi Talib Did Not Burn Apostates Alive – Historical Analysis” https://discover-the-truth.com/2017/03/11/ali-ibn-abi-talib-did-not-burn-apostates-alive-historical-analysis/
Reference:

[1] Commenting on this, classical scholar Abu Eisa stated that those people were at war with they should not be honored:
[He said:] There are narrations on this topic from Ibn ‘Umar, Anas, and Abu Basrah Al-Ghifari the Companion of the Prophet.
[Abu ‘Eisa said:] This Hadith is Hasan Sahih. And regarding the meaning of this Hadith: “Do not precede the Jews and the Christians”: Some of the people of knowledge said that it only means that it is disliked because it would be honoring them, and the Muslims were ordered to humiliate them. For this reason, when one of them is met on the path, then the path is not yielded for him, because doing so would amount to honoring them.” (Jami at-Tirmidhi volume 3, Book 19, Hadith 1602 Eng. Tran., Sahih Darussalam, https://sunnah.com/tirmidhi/21/65 )
[2] 14th century scholar Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (1335 – 1393 CE) comments in regards to treachery:
“…if he makes a contract he is treacherous and does not fulfil the contract. He says:
Fullfill your contracts. Contracts will be asked about.’ Surat al-Isra:34)
And he says:
‘Be true to Allah’s contract when you have agreed to it, and do not break your oaths once they are confirmed and you have made Allah your guarantee’ – Surat an-Nahl: 91
And he says:
‘Those who sell Allah’s contract and their own oaths for a party price, such people will have no portion in the akhirah and on the Day of Rising Allah will not speak to them or look at them or purify them. They will have a painful punishment.’ – (Surah Al Imran:77)
There is in the two Sahih books from Ibn Umar that the Prophet said, ‘For every treacherous one there is a banner on the Day of Rising by which he will be recognised.’
And in a version, ‘The treacherous one will have set up for him a standard on the Day of Rising, and it will be said, ‘This is the treachery of so-and-son! Al-Bukhari (3188) and Muslim (1735)
They both also narrated it in a hadith of Anas in the same sense.
Muslim narrated a hadith of Abu Sa’id that the Prophet said, ‘Every treacherous one will have a standard at his buttocks on the Day of Rising.’ Muslim (1738)
TREACHERY IS HARAM IN EVERY CONTRACT between Muslims and another, EVEN IF THE PERSON WITH WHOM THE CONTRACT IS MADE IS A KAFIR. For this reason there is in the hadith of Abdullah ibn Amr from the Prophet ‘Whoever kills a person whom he has an agreement without a just cause will not smell the gragrance of the Garden, and its fragrance can be experienced at a distance of forty years travel.’ Al-Bukhari narrated it. (Al-Bukhari (3166, 6914).
Allah, exalted is He, commands in His Book that we fulfil idolaters contracts if they undertake to fulfil their contracts and do not fail in them.” (“Jami’al –Ulum Wal – Hikam”) – Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali [Translated by Abdassamad Clarke – Turath Publishing, 1428/2007], page 744 – 745)

Domestic Violence Laws In Muslim Countries

The article was taken with permission from the following website: https://discover-the-truth.com/2017/02/15/the-laws-on-domestic-violence-in-muslim-majority-countries/

The Laws On Domestic Violence In Muslim Majority Countries

Content:

1. Albania
2. Algeria
3. Azerbaijan
4. Bangladesh
5. Bosnia and Herzegovina
6. Brunei
7. Chad
8. Comoros
9. Gambia
10. Guinea
11. Indonesia
12. Jordan
13. Kazakhstan
14. Kosovo
15. Kurdistan (Iraq – KRG)
16. Kuwait
17. Kyrgyzstan
18. Lebanon
19. Libya
20. Malaysia
21. Maldives
22. Mauritania
23. Mayotte
24. Niger
25. Oman
26. Pakistan
27. Saudi Arabia
28. Sierra Leone
29. Sudan
30. Tajikistan
31. Tunisia
32. Turkey

The relationship of Islam and domestic violence is clear. Among the earliest scholars of Islam, they prohibited abuse, and or physical violence against one’s wife, See section 11 in the following website, https://discover-the-truth.com/2017/02/03/a-historical-analysis-of-the-beat-verse-quran-434/

This is one of the reasons many Muslim countries have adopted laws to protect wives from verbal and physical abuse from their husbands. The earliest days of Islam, scholars have punished abusive and intolerant husbands due to them hurting their wives.

The following quotes are the laws in Muslim-majority countries where you can get punished if one were to commit a criminal act of hurting his wife. The laws are not perfect, there is more to be done to protect women. Nonetheless, this is a step in the right direction at the moment.

1. Albania (“60% Muslim”):

“1. “Violence” is any act or omission of one person against another, resulting in violation of the physical, moral, psychological, sexual, social and economic integrity.
2. “Domestic violence” is any act of violence pursuant to point one of this one article committed between persons who are or used to be in a family relation
3. “Members of the family”…
1. Protection against domestic violence shall be ensured by/through:
a) immediately ordering the defendant (the perpetrator) to refrain from committing or threatening to commit an act of domestic violence against the petitioner (victim) or other family members of the victim as defined in article 3 point 3 of this law or as named in the order;
b) immediately forcing the defendant (perpetrator) to refrain from harming, harassing, contacting or communicating directly or indirectly with the victim or other members of their family as defined in article 3 point 3 of this law or as named in the order;
c) removing immediately the defendant (perpetrator) from the residence for a certain period of time, determined in the court order and restricting their re-entrance without court authorization;
d) prohibiting immediately the defendant (perpetrator) to be within a certain distance to the victim or members of their family as defined in article 3 point 3 of this law or as named in the order;
e) immediately forbidding the defendant (perpetrator) to approach/get near the house, workplace, the original family residence or the future couple’s residence or that of other persons and moreover the children’s school or any other place commonly frequented by the victim, unless this happens for work-related reasons;
f) immediately placing the victim and the minors in temporary shelters always keeping in mind the best interest of the child…” (Republic Of Albania – The Parliament – Law No. 9669 of 18.12.2006 “On Measures Against Violence In Family Relations”, online source, last accessed 15th February 2017,  http://www.stopvaw.org/albania )

2. Algeria (98% Muslim):

“On December 10, 2015, parliament adopted amendments to the penal code specifically criminalizing some forms of domestic violence. Assault against one’s spouse or former spouse can be punished by up to 20 years in prison, depending on the victim’s injuries, and the perpetrator can face a life sentence for attacks resulting in death.” (Country Summary Algeria – Human Rights Watch (HRW) – January 2017, page 4, online source https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/algeria_0.pdf )

 

3. Azerbaijan (96% Muslim):

“1.0.1. domestic violence – intentional causing physical or moral harm each other persons on which this Law, by abuse of the close related relations, the current or former cohabitation extends;
1.0.2. the person which was affected by domestic violence (further the injured person) – the person to which physical or moral harm as a result of the actions provided by articles 1.0.3-1.0.6 of this Law and intentionally perfect concerning it jointly the family member living with it, the close relative, the person with which it does not consist in the legal marriage or with which jointly lived earlier is done. …
1.0.9. the security order – the act of the restrictions applied to actions which the person which committed domestic violence concerning the injured person can make. …” (Law Of The Azerbaijan Republic of June 22, 2010 No. 1058-IIIQ. “About prevention of domestic violence”, online source, Last accessed 1st February 2017, http://cis-legislation.com/document.fwx?rgn=32050 )

4. Bangladesh (92% Muslim):

“3. Domestic violence.- For the purpose of this Act, domestic violence means physical abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse or economic abuse against a woman or a child of a family by any other person of that family with whom victim is, or has been, in family relationship. …
Explanation: For the purpose of this section-
(a) “Physical abuse”- that is, any act or conduct which is of such a nature as to cause bodily pain, harm, or danger to life, limb, or health or impair the health or development of the victim and includes assault, criminal intimidation and criminal force;
(b) “Psychological abuse”- that includes but is not limited to:-
(i) verbal abuse including insults, ridicule, humiliation, insults or threats of any nature;
(ii) harassment; or
(iii) controlling behaviour, such as restrictions on mobility, communication or self expression;
(c) “Sexual abuse”- that is, any conduct of a sexual nature that abuses, humiliates, degrades or otherwise violates the dignity of the victim. …
30. Penalty for breach of protection order.- A breach of protection order by the respondent shall be an offence under this Act and shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to 6(six) months, or with fine which may extend to 10(ten) thousand Taka, or with both and repetition of any offence shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to 2(two) years, or with fine which may extend to 1(one) lakh Taka, or with both.” (Government of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh Ministry of Women and Children Affairs. Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) [Act 58 of 2010], page 3 & 11)

5. Bosnia and Herzegovina (52% Muslim):

“Domestic violence shall be any act of inflicting physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm or suffering, as well as threats as regards the aforementioned, and lack of due care and attention which may seriously impede family members from enjoying their rights and freedoms in all areas of public and private life which are based on equality.
Acts of domestic violence, in terms of paragraph 1 above, shall include:
1) The use of physical force or psychological coercion to the physical or psychological integrity of a family member;
2) The behavior of a family member which may result in the physical, psychological, or financial damage;
3) Intimidation, threats or the violation of the dignity of a family member by blackmail or another form of coercion;
4) Physical attack of a family member by another family member, irrespective of the fact of whether there was physical injury or not;
5) Verbal attack, insult, profanity, name calling and other violent harassment of one family member by another;
6) Sexual harassment and harassment of a family member as defined in the Gender Equality Act of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of Bosnia and Herzegovina no. 16/03). (Based on Article IV.B.7 a) (IV) of the Constitution of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. “Law – On Protection From Domestic Violence”., page 2 – 3)

 

6. Brunei (67% Muslim):

“…authorities arrested individuals in domestic violence cases under the Women and Girls Protection Act. The police investigated domestic violence only in response to a report by a victim. The police were responsive in the investigation of such cases. Through September, 27 cases of domestic abuse were reported, of which 24 remained under investigation, two were being prosecuted, and one resulted in a conviction. The criminal penalty for a minor domestic assault is one to two weeks in jail and a fine. An assault resulting in serious injury is punishable by caning and a longer prison sentence.
A special unit staffed by female officers existed within the police to investigate domestic abuse and child abuse complaints. A hotline was available for persons to report domestic violence. The Department of Community Development in the Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sports provided counseling for women and their spouses. Based on individual circumstances, some female and minor victims were placed in protective custody at a government-sponsored shelter while waiting for their cases to be brought to court. Islamic courts staffed by male and female officials offered counseling to married couples in domestic violence cases. Officials did not encourage wives to reconcile with flagrantly abusive spouses, and Islamic courts recognized assault as grounds for divorce.” (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014 United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Brunei 2014 Human Rights Report, page 14)

7. Chad (53% Muslim (1993 Census)):

“Article 9 of Act No. 6/PR/2002 of 15 April 2002 on the promotion of reproductive health, states that: “All persons have the right not to be subjected to torture and to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of their body in general and of their reproductive organs in particular. All forms of violence such as female genital mutilation (FGM), early marriage, domestic violence and sexual abuse of a human being are prohibited.” (Chad – Law No. 006/PR/2002 of 15 April 2002, on the promotion of reproductive health [prohibits domestic violence].)

 

8. Comoros (98% Muslim):

“The law prohibits domestic violence, but fines and imprisonment were rarely imposed. … The government did take action to combat violence against women when that violence was reported; however, women rarely filed official complaints. During the year there were two cases of spousal killing. The husbands in both cases were charged and convicted for murder and were serving prison sentences at year’s end. While women can seek protection from domestic violence through the courts, most cases were addressed through extended family or the village. Domestic violence cases rarely entered the court system, but officials took action (usually the arrest of the spouse) when necessary.” (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013 United States Department of State – Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Comoros 2013 Human Rights Report, page 10)

9. Gambia (95% Muslim):

“The law prohibits any form of violence against women, and stipulates a fine of 50,000 dalasi ($1,250) or imprisonment not exceeding two years, or both. Victims underreported domestic violence due to social stigma, and victims settled most cases through family mediation. No statistics were available on abusers prosecuted or convicted. The government developed a national plan of action on gender-based violence (GBV) for 2013-17, with the goal of reducing the percentage of women who experience GBV from 75.5 percent to 30 percent. The Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP), one of the leading women’s rights NGOs in the country, included gender-based violence in its training modules for combating FGM/C. Another group, the Female Lawyers’ Association of The Gambia, educated women on their rights and represented them, often without charge, in domestic violence cases.” (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015. United States Department of State – Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. The Gambia 2015 Human Rights Report, page 20)

Gambia (95% Muslim):

“Between January and October, officials from the Department of Social Welfare recorded more than 375 cases of domestic violence, which included paternity and custody cases in addition to cases of violence against children and women. For example, on February 14, the Special Criminal Court in Banjul convicted and sentenced to death 81-year-old Sheriff Aba Hydara of Bakalarr village for shooting and killing his wife in 2010. Hydara stated his late wife had angered him over her control of his garden and that he had no regrets killing her.” (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012. United States Department of State – Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. The Gambia 2012 Human Rights Report, page 23)

10. Guinea (84% Muslim):

Violence against a woman that causes an injury is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to 30,000 GNF ($4.22). If the injury causes mutilation, amputation, or other loss of body parts, it is punishable by 20 years’ imprisonment; if the victim dies, the crime is punishable by life imprisonment. The law does not directly address domestic violence, although authorities may file charges under general assault, which carries sentences of two to five years in prison and fines of 50,000 to 300,000 GNF ($7 to $42). Assault constitutes grounds for divorce under civil law…” (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015 – United States Department of State – Bureau of Democracy. Human Rights and Labor. Guinea 2015 Human Rights Report., page 20 – 21)

11. Indonesia (87% Muslim):

“The passage of Law 23/2004 regarding the Elimination of Domestic Violence was an important milestone for public awareness. In implementing the Law on the Elimination of Domestic Violence and ensuring the protection of women from violence, the Indonesian Government has established an Integrated Service Centre for the Empowerment of Women and Children in 18 provinces and 113 districts/cities in Indonesia. The policies outlined by this law are implemented at the national, regional and village levels.” (CEDAW/C/IDN/6-7, para. 24) (Indonesia – Law on Elimination of Domestic Violence [2004])

 

12. Jordan (93% Muslim):

“Article 4
a) Notwithstanding the provisions of the Penal Code or any other relevant legislation, the provisions of this law apply to domestic violence cases;
b) All procedures and information related to domestic violence heard by any relevant body including
courts are dealt with the utmost confidentiality;
c) The court may take into consideration the reports related to domestic violence that are submitted to it by formal competent bodies.
Article 8
a) Providers of health care, social and education services from both public and private sector shall inform competent authorities once they learn about the incidence of domestic violence or see traces or marks they feel associated with domestic violence.
b) Officers in charge shall take appropriate procedures to safeguard the safety of the injured person of the family members once they learn about the incidence of domestic violence.
Article 9
Law enforcement agencies including PSD officers shall go to the place where domestic violence allegedly happened in the following cases,
a) Upon receiving a report that there currently is a situation of domestic violence or that it is about to happen;
b) Upon receiving a report that an effective restraining order issued under the provisions of this law has been violated. (Family Protection Law No. 6 of Jordan (2008) – Published on page 821 of the Jordanian Official Gazette issue number 4892 on March 16, 2008, online source, last accessed 1st February 2017 on “Corpus Of Law”,online source http://corpus.learningpartnership.org/family-protection-law-no-6-of-jordan-2008)

13. Kazakhstan (70% Muslim):

“This Law establishes legal, economic, social and organizational grounds for state bodies, bodies of local self-government, organizations, and citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan to conduct activities for the PREVENTION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
Article 1. Main concepts used in this Law
The following main concepts have been used in this Law:
1) Victim is a physical person who may be suggested of having immediately suffered from moral, physical, and/or property damage inflicted by domestic violence;
2) Family and domestic relations means a scope of relationship between persons related by marriage; persons cohabiting in an individual residential house, apartment or other residential facility, also ex-spouses;
3) Domestic violence is a deliberate unlawful action or inaction of a person against other(s) in the field of family and domestic relations, causing or containing a threat of causing physical and/or mental suffering;
4) Prevention of domestic violence means a set of legal, economic, social and organizational activities of domestic violence prevention entities directed at the protection of constitutional rights, freedoms, and legal interests of a person and a citizen in the field of family and domestic relations, at the prevention and suppression of domestic violence, also at the detection and elimination of causes and conditions that trigger demonstration of domestic violence;
5) Domestic violence prevention entities shall be state agencies, bodies of local self-government, organizations and physical persons carrying out domestic violence prevention. …
Article 4. Types of Domestic Violence
1. Domestic abuse may express itself in the form of physical, psychological, sexual and/or economic violence:
2. Physical abuse shall be intentional infliction of harm to health by physical force or infliction of physical pain.
3. Psychological abuse shall be intentional mental effect on a person, humiliation of honor and dignity by threat, insult, blackmail or coercion (duress) to misdemeanors or to acts that pose danger to life or health, as well as by way of causing mental, physical or personal developmental disorders. … This Law shall be enacted 10 calendar days after its first official publication. President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N. Nazarbaev” (Law Of The Republic Kazakhstan “On Prevention of Domestic Violence” – Astana, Acorda, 4 December 2009. No. 214-IV ZRK., online source http://legislationline.org/documents/action/popup/id/16323 )

 

14. Kosovo (90% Muslim):

“(Law No.03/L –182 ON Protection Against Domestic Violence – Assembly of Republic of Kosovo, Pursuant to Article 65 (1) of the Constitution of Republic of Kosovo, Approved.)
1.2. Domestic Violence – one or more intentional acts or omissions when committed by a person against another person with whom he or she is or has been in a domestic relationship, but not limited to:
1.2.1.use of physical force or psychological pressure exercised towards another
member of the family;
1.2.2. any other action of a family member, which may inflict or threaten to inflict physical pain or psychological suffering;
1.2.3. causing the feeling of fear, personal dangerousness or threat of dignity
1.2.4. physical assault regardless of consequences;
1.2.5. insult, offence, calling by offensive names and other forms of violent intimidation;
1.2.6. repetitive behavior with the aim of derogating the other person;
1.2.7. non-consensual sexual acts and sexual ill-treatment;
1.2.8. unlawfully limiting the freedom of movement of the other person. …
1. Whoever violates a protection order, emergency protection order or an interim emergency protection order, in whole or in part, commits a criminal offence and shall be sentenced to a fine of two hundred (200) euro to two thousand (2000) euro or imprisonment of up to six (6) months.” (Official Gazette Of The Republic Of Kosovo / Pristina: Year V / No. 76 / 10 August 2010), page 2 & 12, online source, http://www.stopvaw.org/uploads/lawonprotection_on_domestic_violence2010.pdf )

15. Kurdistan (Iraq – KRG (94% Muslim)):

“In the Name of God, Most Gracious and Most Merciful In the Name of the People The Parliament of Kurdistan- Iraq In accordance to the rules of Clause 1 from Article 56 of Act No. 1 from 1992, amended, and based on what is proposed by legal number of the Parliament members, the Parliament of Kurdistan — Iraq, in its regular session N0. 28, dated 21/6/2011 passed the following Act: Act No. 8 from 2011 The Act of Combating Domestic Violence in Kurdistan Region- Iraq. …
First: any person, bounded to a family relationship, is prohibited to commit a domestic violence act including physical, sexual and psychological violence within the family. The following acts are regarded as examples of domestic violence acts:
10- Suicide due to domestic violence. 11- Abortion due to domestic violence. 12- Battering the children and family members under any justification. l3— Assaulting, insulting and cursing the family members, showing perception of inferiority to them, hurting them, putting psychological pressure on them, violating their rights and forced wife and husband sexual intercourses. Second: The victim of domestic violence shall have guarantees to protect him/her from violence.
With not defying any other more sever penalties speculated in the applicable laws in Kurdistan Region: Whoever commits a domestic violence is imprisoned for no less than six months and no more than three years and fined for no less than one million Iraqi dinars and no more than five million Iraqi dinars or punished by one million Iraqi dinars and no more than five million Iraqi dinars or punished by one of these two penalties. …
Muhammad Qadir Abdullah (Dr. Kamal Kirkuki) Speaker of the Parliament of Kurdistan- Iraq
Founding Reasons: Domestic violence is a negative phenomena in contrast to What divine religions and principles of human rights dictate, as the family is the founding base for the society and for the purpose of protecting it from disintegration and protecting its members and also pursuing legal actions to ensure its safety and stability along with preventing domestic violence through legal preventive methods before occurring and also searching for reconciliation and curative solution after occurring, this law is passed.” (The Parliament of Kurdistan-Iraq – Act No. 8 from 2011. The Act of Combating Domestic Violence Kurdistan Region-Iraq, page 1 – 5)

16. Kuwait (74% Muslim):

“Article 127 of the Personal Status Act, as amended by Act No. 29 of 2004, stipulates that the court must make every effort to reconcile the spouses on grounds of harm, inflicted by word or act, which renders continued cohabitation impossible; however, if reconciliation proves to be unattainable and harm has been established, the court must separate them. If harm has not been established, the court must appoint two arbitrators to decide whether the spouses should be reconciled or separated.” (Kuwait – Article 127 of the Personal Status Act No. 29 (2004). Type of Measure: Violence against women > Legislation. Form of Violence: Domestic violence/Intimate partner violence. Source A/HRC/WG.6/21/KWT/1 para 24, online source http://evaw-global-database.unwomen.org/en/countries/asia/kuwait/2004/article-127-of-the-personal-status-act-no29)

And:

“Article 160 of the Penal Code states that anyone who strikes, wounds, inflicts bodily harm on, or violates the physical integrity of another person in a tangible manner is liable to a term of up to two years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to 150 dinars. The penalty is increased if the offender inflicts severe harm (article 161) or if the harm inflicted causes permanent disability (article 162).” (Kuwait – Article 160 of the Penal Code (Punitive Actions against Violence). (2003). Type of Measure: Violence against women > Legislation. Form of Violence: Domestic violence/Intimate partner violence. Source A/HRC/WG.6/21/KWT/1 para 23, online source http://evaw-global-database.unwomen.org/en/countries/asia/kuwait/2003/article-160-of-the-penal-code-punitive-actions-against-violence)

 

17. Kyrgyzstan (88% Muslim):

“While the law specifically prohibits domestic violence and spousal abuse, violence against women and girls remained a significant problem, yet was underreported. Penalties for domestic violence convictions ranged from fines to 15 years’ imprisonment, the latter if abuse resulted in death. … The Ministry of Internal Affairs reported registering 1,819 cases of domestic violence during the first six months of the year. According to the ministry, it issued 1,578 temporary protection orders, opened 118 criminal cases, and brought administrative charges against 1,004 individuals based on these complaints. … Several local NGOs provided services to victims of domestic violence, including legal, medical, and psychological assistance, a crisis hotline, shelters, and prevention programs. Organizations assisting battered women also lobbied to streamline the legal process for obtaining protection orders. The government provided offices to the Sezim Shelter for victims of domestic abuse and paid its expenses. According to the shelter, its hotline received 546 telephone calls during the first six months of the year. Women made 96 percent of the calls, 32 percent of which involved domestic violence. The shelter provided consultations, advocacy, and shelter services to 1,100 individuals.” (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015 – United States Department of State – Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan) 2015 Human Rights Report, page 24)

18. Lebanon (59% Muslim – Law Passed 2014):

“Lebanon has a Draft Law on the Protection of Women from Family Violence (first drafted in 2008) under parliamentary consideration as of 2011. The draft law criminalizes all forms of domestic abuse, including spousal rape and crimes of honor. Included in the draft law is a stipulation of the death penalty for premediated homicide against female family members. The creation of specialzed family courts operating under civil law is required, and domestic abuse cases can be heard privately before judges.” (Encyclopedia Of Domestic Violence And Abuse, [ABC-CLIO, LLC., 2013] by Laura L. Finley (editor), volume 1 (A-R), page 324 – 325. Read this also, online source http://www.jurist.org/paperchase/2014/04/lebanon-parliament-passes-domestic-violence-law.php )

 

Lebanon:

“The wife may apply for divorce on many grounds, including discord. A reconciliation attempt is mandatory.” (The Status And Progress of Women In The Middle East And North Africa [The World Bank, 2009], page 20)

19. Libya (96% Muslim):

“Domestic violence is a problem in Libya. Article 17 of Law No. 10 of 1984 states that husbands should not cause physical or mental harm to their wives, but Article 63 of the penal code stipulates that evidence of injury is needed to prove assault.” (Women’s Rights In The Middle East And North Africa – Progress Amid Resistance [Rowan And Littlefield Publishers, INC., 2010] by Sanja Kelly & Julia Breslin (Editors), page 295)

20. Malaysia (61% Muslim [Act 1994]):

“domestic violence” means the commission of any of the following acts:
(a) wilfully or knowingly placing, or attempting to place, the victim in fear of physical injury;
(b) causing physical injury to the victim by such act. which is known or, ought to have been known would result in physical injury;
(c) compelling the victim by force or threat to engage in any conduct or act, sexual or otherwise, from the victim has a right to abstain;
(d) confining or detaining the victim against the victim’s will. …
8. Contravention of protection order.
(1) Any person who wilfully contravenes a protection order or any provision thereof shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding two thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both.
(2) Any person who wilfully contravenes a protection order by using violence on a protected person shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding four thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both.
(3) Any person who is convicted for a second or subsequent violation of a protection order under subsection (2) shall be punished with imprisonment for a period of not less than seventy-two hours and not more than two years, and shall also be liable to a fine not exceeding five thousand ringgit.
(LAWS OF MALAYSIA – Domestic Violence Act 1994 (Act 521) & Akta Keganasan Rumah Tangga 1994 (Akta 521), page 6 – 11, online source https://www.wcwonline.org/pdf/lawcompilation/malaysia_DVact1994.pdf )

Malaysia (61% Muslim [Amendment & addition in Act 2012[):

“(f) causing psychological abuse which includes emotional injury to the victim.
(g) causing the victim to suffer delusions by using any intoxicating substance or any other substance without the victim’s consent or if the consent is given, the consent was unlawfully obtained. …”
(Law Of Malaysia Act A1414 – Domestic Violence (Amendment) Act 2012), page 4, online source,
http://www.federalgazette.agc.gov.my/outputaktap/20120209_A1414_BI_JW001762%20Act%20A1414(BI).pdf )

21. Maldives (100% Muslim):

“In accordance with Article 92 of the Constitution, the “Domestic Violence Bill” passed in the 5th sitting of the 1st session of the People’s Majlis held on Monday the 9th of April 2012, has become law and has been published in the Government Gazette upon its ratification by the President on Monday the 23rd of April 2012 (2 Jumad’al Akhir 1433).
(a) This Act shall determine provisions for the prohibition and prevention of domestic violence; measures taken against persons who commit acts of domestic violence; protection of and support for victims of domestic violence; the role of the relevant State authorities; and the collaboration between such State authorities, in the Republic of Maldives.
(b) For the purposes of this Act, domestic violence refers to commission of any act described as an act of violence under this Act, by the perpetrator against the victim, provided such persons are bound by a domestic relationship. …
Purpose
The purpose of this Act is to achieve the following objectives:-
(a) to determine that every act of domestic violence, under any circumstance, in any form or manner, among persons is strictly unlawful;
(b) to provide adequate protection to victims of domestic violence, under the circumstance where such an act has occurred;
(c) to serve justice in a cost-effective, timely, and convenient manner to victims of domestic violence;
(d) to implement adequate programmes for victims of domestic violence and to ensure the recovery of such victims in order to resume their health and a normal life;
(e) to take all necessary measures to stop persons from committing acts of domestic violence and to support them in their rehabilitation; (f) to facilitate enforcement of court orders and legitimate orders from other state institutions issued in order to stop acts of domestic violence. …
Acts of domestic violence
(a) For the purposes of this Act, “domestic violence” shall mean any of the following acts by a perpetrator where such conduct harms, or may cause imminent harm to, the safety, health or wellbeing of the victim(s), and provided the victim(s) and perpetrator are in a domestic relationship:
(1) physical abuse;
(2) sexual abuse;
(3) verbal and psychological abuse;
(4) economic or financial abuse;
(5) Impregnating the spouse, without concern to her health condition and against any medical advice to refrain from impregnation for a specified period of time;
(6) Impregnating a women, who is trying to remove herself from a harmful marriage, against her will;
(7) Deliberately withholding the property of a person;
(8) intimidation;
(9) harassment;
(10) stalking.

Part 9
Thafriq
46. Thafriq – Thafriq refers to the special right of a woman under Islamic Shari’ah to demand the dissolution of a marriage where the court finds that any of the grounds stated under the Islamic Shari’ah for thafriq continue to exist.
47. Order for dissolution – Any marriage shall be dissolved under this Act pursuant to a thafriq order of the court. The legal principles applicable to a court judgment shall be applicable to such an order.
48. Circumstances under which “thafriq” is allowed – In the event a male perpetrator bound by marriage with a female victim has committed an act of domestic violence against the female victim, for the purposes of this Act, their marriage shall be dissolved at the request of the female victim where the court finds the existence of any of the following grounds which have been prescribed under Islamic Shari’ah as grounds under which “thafriq” is permissible:-
(a) The seriousness of the act of domestic violence has caused an impediment to the resumption of a peaceful life between the male perpetrator and the female victim.
(b) The protection and wellbeing of the female victim cannot be granted certainty due to the severity of such act of domestic violence.
(c) In spite of the implementation of other measures prescribed under this Act, the marital relationship between the two persons has irretrievably broken down as a result of the act of domestic violence that it is impossible to maintain the marital relationship any further. (Maldives – Domestic Violence Act. Act Number 3/2012., page 6 – 26. Online source,
http://countryoffice.unfpa.org/filemanager/files/maldives/the_domestic_violence_act_2012_maldives_english_translation_unofficial.pdf )

22. Mauritania (99% Muslim):

“In Mauritania, a Protection from Domestic Violence Act was passed in 1997 (Bowman 2003.” (Encyclopedia of Domestic Violence [Routlege – Taylor & Francis Group, LLC., 2007]by Nicky Ali Jackson (editor), page 1)

23. Mayotte (98% Muslim):

“France is governed by the provisions of the French Civil Code. However, both in MAYOTTE and the partly autonomous overseas territorial units in the Pacific (French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna), two personal statuses coexist: THE SAME LAW STATUS AS IN FRANCE, AND A LOCAL OR COMMON LAW STATUS (CUSTOMARY LAW). … There are new measures on gender-based violence that were adopted as part of the 2014 law on gender equality. The 2014-2016 National Plan to TACKLE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN covers various forms of violence, including domestic violence, sexual violence and female genital mutilation.” (Social Institutions & Gender Index (2014)– Mayotte, online source http://www.genderindex.org/country/france )

24. Niger (98% Muslim):

“While the law does not explicitly prohibit domestic violence, a woman can sue her husband or lodge criminal charges for battery, penalties for which ranged from two months in prison and a 10,000 CFA francs ($20) fine to 30 years’ imprisonment. The government tried with limited success to enforce these laws, and courts prosecuted cases of domestic violence when they received complaints. Charges stemming from family disputes were often dropped in favor of traditional dispute resolution mechanisms. While women have the right to seek redress for violence in the customary or formal courts, few did so due to ignorance of redress offered by the legal system and fear of spousal or familial repudiation, further violence, or stigmatization. Through several events that received wide media coverage, the Ministry of Population, Women’s Promotion, and Children’s Protection, international organizations, NGOs, and women’s organizations conducted public awareness campaigns on violence against women and legal recourse available. On May 13, Women’s Day, the government renewed its commitment to combating violence against women.” (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013 – United States Department of State – Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Niger 2013 Human Rights Report., page 16)

25. Oman (87% Muslim):

“The law does not specifically address domestic violence, and judicial protection orders from domestic violence do not exist. Charges could be brought, however, under existing statutes outlawing assault, battery, and aggravated assault, which can carry a maximum sentence of three years in prison. Allegations of spousal abuse in civil courts handling family law cases reportedly were common. Victims of domestic violence may file a complaint with police, and reports suggested that police responded promptly and professionally.” (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015 – United States Department of State – Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Oman 2015 Human Rights Report., page 14)

 

26. Pakistan (96% Muslim):

“Domestic violence is not specifically recognized as crime on its own in Pakistani law. At least it is not recognised as a crime in those words exactly. There are many elements involved in the crime of domestic violence, as is discussed in the definition given above. While domestic violence is not specifically recognized, the different elements involved are to a certain extent covered by the law in Pakistan.
In fact, a number of these elements have been recognized by a few courts in their judgments as a form of domestic violence. The relevant provisions of law are varied and wide but all contain elements of domestic violence or can be interpreted to include domestic violence, as has been done so internationally. Violence can be criminal and includes physical assault (hitting, pushing, shoving, etc.), sexual abuse (unwanted or forced sexual activity), and stalking.” (Laws against Domestic Violence in Pakistan, online source, http://legalpoint.pk/artical/Domestic%20Violence%20in%20Pakistan.html )

Sindh Province of Pakistan (Population 55 Million):

“The Sindh Assembly unanimously adopted the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2013. The passage of this Act came after 5 years of struggle by the Aurat Foundation, in collaboration with activists, jurists, lawyers and women legislators. The Act defines domestic violence as inclusive of but not limited to, all acts of gender-based, and other physical or psychological, abuse committed by a respondent against women, children or other vulnerable persons, with whom the respondent is or has been in a domestic relationship. The Act will be enforceable in the entire province of Sindh.
The new law provides for up to 2 years of imprisonment for offenders, and fines ranging from Rs 1000 and Rs 50,000, and also calls for the formation of a special committee to educate the complainants about their rights.” (Domestic Violence Act passed by Sindh Assembly in Pakistan, online source, http://cedawsouthasia.org/2423/domestic-violence-act-passed-by-sindh-assembly-in-pakistan )

 

Balochistan Province of Pakistan (Population 13.6 Million):

“No.PAB/Legis: V (07)/2014. The Balochistan Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill 2014, (Bill No.07 of 2014), having been passed by the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan on 1 st February, 2014 and assented to by the Governor, Balochistan on 11th February, 2014 is hereby published as an Act of the Balochistan Provincial Assembly.
Domestic Violence includes but is not limited to, all intentional acts of gender based or other physical or psychological abuse committed by an accused against women, children or other vulnerable persons with whom the accused is or has been in a domestic relationship. …
(j) “physical abuse” means any act or conduct which is of such a nature as to cause bodily pain, harm or danger to life, limb, or health or impair the health or development of the aggrieved person and includes assault, criminal force and criminal intimidation.

(I) “ sexual abuse” includes any conduct of a sexual nature that abuses, humiliates, degrades or otherwise violates the dignity of the aggrieved person;
(m) “ verbal and emotional abuse” means any or persistent degrading or humiliating conduct of the accused towards the aggrieved person, including but not limited to-
(i) insults or ridicule;
(ii) threat to cause physical pain; and
(iii) threat of malicious prosecution;
(n) willful or negligent abandonment of the aggrieved person;
(o) “wrongful confinement” as defined in section 340 of the said Code; and
(p) Any other repressive or abusive behavior towards the aggrieved person where such a conduct harms or may cause imminent danger of harm to the safety, health or well-being of the aggrieved person. …
13. (1) A breach of protection order, or of the interim protection order, by the accused shall be an offence and shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to one year but shall not be less than six months and with fine which may not be less than one hundred thousand rupees. The court shall order that the amount of fine shall be given to the aggrieved person.” (The Balochistan Domestic Violence (Prevention And Protection) Act 2014 (act No. VII Of 2014), page 3 – 7. Online source, http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/ELECTRONIC/96222/113659/F1709735228/PAK96222.pdf )

Punjab Province of Pakistan (Population 28 Million):

“Since the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, while guaranteeing gender equality, enables the State to make any special provision for the protection of women, it is necessary to protect women against violence including domestic violence, to establish a protection system for effective service delivery to women victims and to create an enabling environment to encourage and facilitate women freely to play their desired role in the society, and to provide for ancillary matters. …
(r) “violence” means any offence committed against the human body of the aggrieved person including abetment of an offence, domestic violence, sexual violence, psychological abuse, economic abuse, stalking or a cybercrime;
Explanations.- In this clause:
(1) “economic abuse” means denial of food, clothing and shelter in a domestic relationship to the aggrieved person by the defendant in accordance with the defendant’s income or taking away the income of the aggrieved person without her consent by the defendant; and
(2) “psychological violence includes psychological deterioration of aggrieved person which may result in anorexia, suicide attempt or clinically proven depression resulting from defendant’s oppressive behaviour or limiting freedom of movement of the aggrieved person and that condition is certified by a panel of psychologists appointed by District Women Protection Committee. …
18. Penalty for obstructing a Protection Officer.– Any person, who obstructs the District Woman Protection Officer or a Woman Protection Officer in the performance of the duties under this Act, shall be liable to imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or fine which may extend five hundred thousand rupees or both. …
20. Penalty for breach of orders.– (1) A defendant, who commits breach of an interim order, protection order, residence order or monetary order, or illegally interferes with the working of the GPS tracker, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or fine which may extend to two hundred thousand rupees but which shall not be less than fifty thousand rupees or both. (2) A defendant, who violates the interim order, protection order, residence order or monetary order more than once, shall be liable to punishment which may extend to two years but which shall not be less than one year and to fine which may extend to five hundred thousand rupees but which shall not be less than one hundred thousand rupees.” (The Punjab Protection Of Women Against Violence Act 2016 (XVI of 2016), page 3 – 13, online source, https://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/ELECTRONIC/102088/123288/F144185138/PAKD102088.pdf)

 

27. Saudi Arabia

Although there are no clear domestic violence laws for women in Saudi Arabia, however, there are laws in place for a wife. If there is proof that she has been physically abused, a Judge could dispense punishment on the perpetrator. In 2002, 2012 and 2015 cases were brought to court in relation to abusive husbands. The Saudi judges compensated the victims, and lashed the perpetrators for their actions against their wives. (On the 2002 case, this is recorded in The Saudi Ministry of Justice, Mudawwanat al-Ahkam al-Qada’iyya, page 113-17, quoted by Jonathan A. C. Brown in the following link, https://discover-the-truth.com/2017/02/03/a-historical-analysis-of-the-beat-verse-quran-434/ )

(1) – “Wife-beating husband gets 30 lashes” (2012) http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/wife-beating-husband-gets-30-lashes-1.1117591

(2) – “Saudi man gets jail and 30 lashes for slapping and spitting on his wife” (2015) http://english.alarabiya.net/en/variety/2015/11/13/Saudi-man-gets-jail-and-30-lashes-for-slapping-and-spitting-on-his-wife.html

Saudi Arabia (97% Muslim):

“A woman can ask her husband to divorce her in exchange for waiver of her financial rights (divorce by mutual consent, or khul‘), namely return of any dower and other remaining financial rights. A woman can seek judicial divorce (tafriq) when harm (darar) is inflicted upon her by her husband, which is interpreted as any harmful conduct of the husband (physical or mental) that makes conjugal life between the couple impossible. For example, if the husband does not fulfil his obligation to support his wife; if he is not capable of conjugal relations due to a physical or mental handicap; or if he is absent for a long period of time.” (Sharia Incorporated – A Comparative Overview of the Legal Systems of Twelve Muslim Countries in Past and Present [Editor Jan Michiel Otto. Leiden University Press, 2010], by Esther van Eijk, page 163)

28. Sierra Leone (77% Muslim):

“For the purposes of subsection (1), domestic violence means any of the following acts or threat of any such act:-
(a) physical or sexual abuse;
(b) economic abuse;
(c) emotional, verbal or psychological abuse, including any conduct that makes another person feel constantly unhappy, humiliated, ridiculed, afraid or depressed or to feel inadequate or worthless;
(d) harassment, including sexual harassment and intimidation;
(e) conduct that in any way harms or may harm another person, including any omission that results in harm and either-
(i) endangers the safety, health or wellbeing of another person;
(ii) undermines another person’s privacy, integrity or security; or
(iii) detracts or is likely to detract from another person’s dignity or worth as a human being.
(3) An offence under subsection (1) shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding Le5,000,000 or by a term of imprisonment not exceeding 2 years or by both such fine and imprisonment.” (Sierra Leone – The Domestic Violence Act, 2007., page 14. (Signed this 26th day of July, 2007 – Al-Haji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, President))

 

29. Sudan (97%):

“Sharia And National Law in Sudan
Divorce initiated by the wife in court (tatliq)
In the framework of the tatliq (divorce) procedure, which recognises various valid grounds for divorce, the court intervenes. Grounds for divorce that may be invoked by the wife include, for example, situations such as the husband suffering from an incurable physical defect (Art.s 151-152) or impotence (Art.s 153-161); cruelty of the husband or discord between the spouses (Art.s 162-169); divorce by redemption (Art.s 170-173); failure of the husband to pay maintenance to the wife (Art.s 174- 184); absence or imprisonment of the husband (Art.s 185-191); and refusal of the husband to have sexual intercourse with his wife (Art.s 192- 195).
Maintenance and financial compensation after a divorce
Following divorce, the wife is entitled to maintenance during the ´idda period (mentioned above), unless the divorce is the consequence of an illegal act on the part of the wife (Art. 72). A woman in the state of ´idda who is not breastfeeding has the right to receive maintenance after the divorce for a maximum of up to one year (Art. 73(a)). A woman in the state of ´idda who is breastfeeding receives maintenance for up to three months after the end of lactation. If she swears that her menstruation fails to appear due to breastfeeding, the period of maintenance will be prolonged to two years and three months after the birth of the child (Art. 73(b)).
In addition to the alimony described above, the divorced woman is entitled to a financial compensation (mut´a) equivalent to the maintenance of the ´idda, not exceeding six months and according to the solvency of the ex-husband (Art. 138, Ali 2001: 110). However, in the following cases, the mut´a is not due: a) if the reason for the divorce is the non-payment of maintenance due to the lacking solvency of the husband; b) if the divorce has been caused by a fault (´aib) of the wife; and c) if the divorce has been reached by mutual consent against a payment by the wife (Art.s 138 and 2(a-c)).” (Sharia Incorporated – A Comparative Overview of the Legal Systems of Twelve Muslim Countries in Past and Present [Editor Jan Michiel Otto. Leiden University Press, 2010], by Olaf Kondgen, page 208 – 209)

30. Tajikistan Law approved in 2012 combatting domestic violence (99% Muslim):

“Tajikistan’s parliament has passed the country’s first law specifically targeting domestic violence. Lawmakers on December 19 approved the law, which aims to give greater protections to women’s rights. It sets up administrative measures to deal with domestic violence, including up to 15 days’ imprisonment and fines for offenders. The law includes a statement that the elderly should play an active role in preventing domestic violence among young families. The advice of elders carries significant weight in traditional Tajik society. … Tajikistan has some 30 centers for victims of domestic violence, where women can seek counseling and legal advice and, in some places, temporary shelter.” (“Tajik Parliament Approves Law Against Domestic Violence”, last accesed February 2017, online source http://www.rferl.org/a/tajikistan-law-domestic-violence/24803038.html )

 

31. Tunisia (99% Muslim):

“Tunisia
The criminal code on Violence and Threats as amended in 1993 included aggravating circumstances in the event of physical violence. In fact, any person who deliberately injures, or commits any violence or assault which does not fall within the provisions of Article 319, shall be punished by imprisonment for one year and a fine of 1000 dinars. If the perpetrator is a descendant of the spouse of the victim, the penalty is two years in prison and a 2000 dinars fine. If there was premeditated, the penalty is three years imprisonment and a 3000 dinars find (Article 218).” (Women in Public Life – Gender, Law And Policy In The Middle East And North Africa [OECD / Cawtar, 2014], page 271)

 

32. Turkey (98% Muslim):

“…Turkey were the first countries to pass domestic abuse legislation in the region. In 1991, … During the same decade, Turkey adopted Law No. 4320 (1998) allowing for domestic violence protection orders; the law was further amended in 2007. Later, in 2004, the Turkish Penal Code redefined sex-based crimes, including criminalizing marital rape and increasing sentences for crimes of honor.” (Encyclopedia Of Domestic Violence And Abuse, [ABC-CLIO, LLC., 2013] by Laura L. Finley (editor), volume 1 (A-R), page 324)

 

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Related articles:

(1) – “A Historical Analysis Of The “Beat” Verse – Quran 4:34” https://discover-the-truth.com/2017/02/03/a-historical-analysis-of-the-beat-verse-quran-434/

(2) – “Refuting The Allegation That ‘Muhammed hit his wife Aisha’ and more!” https://discover-the-truth.com/2013/12/23/refuting-the-allegation-that-muhammed-hit-his-wife-aisha-and-more/

(3) – “Muhammed (p) ‘Never Hit Any Of His Wives’” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/08/05/muhammed-p-never-hit-any-of-his-wives/

(4) – “Fury at Russian move to soften domestic violence law” (*) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/19/russian-soften-domestic-violence-law-decriminalise-womens-rights

(5) – “Mongolian government reportedly fails to implement new laws combatting domestic violence” (*) http://akipress.com/news:583030/

(6) – “AMERICA: ‘30 Shocking Domestic Violence Statistics That Remind Us It’s An Epidemic’” (*) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/23/domestic-violence-statistics_n_5959776.html

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Closer Look At The Hudaybiyyah Treaty’s Stipulations [Part 2]

Kaleef K. Karim

We are revisiting the treaty of Hudaybiyyah once again. It is claimed by some that part of the treaty agreement was the stipulation that women have to be returned to the Meccans. They say that women were part of the agreement when it was signed.

In the sixth year of Hijrah, a 10-year peace treaty was concluded at al-Hudaybiyyah, one article of which specified that any men emigrating to Prophet Muhammed’s camp without the permission of his guardian (or people) would have to be returned back to Makkah. Whereas any Muslim emigrating to Makkah would not be returned. This pact, however, was not regarded as covering the case of Muslim women. This verse of the Quran, Surah 60:10 was revealed on this occasion to reassure the Prophet (p) that women were not part of the agreement.

It is further asserted by some detractors that when the Quraysh came to Prophet Muhammed to return some women, Muhammed “refused” but he instead had ordered the Muslim women return the dowries that were given to them.

Now, the truth of matter is that the Quraysh men did not come. Only a few women came to argue the case that women were part of the treaty. However, the Prophet refused it on the ground that only men (Rajul) were part of the treaty. The Quraysh’s leaders did not object to Prophet Muhammed’s stance on this matter. We have already dedicated a thorough article on this claim, please see the following link: “Did The Treaty Of Hudaybiyyah Include Women?” https://discover-the-truth.com/2017/01/11/did-the-treaty-of-hudaybiyyah-include-women/

In this article, we aim to give further evidence which shows that part of the treaty agreement was only in regards to men. That the men only were to be returned to the Quraysh if they came to the Muslim camp.

Some reports in relation to this incident mention “Him”, “His”, “He”, this proves that conditions stipulated by the treaty was in regards to men as it has clear Arabic word(s) which are masculine pronouns.

Some critics unable to handle the fact that the treaty agreement was only in regards to men, they claim masculine pronouns used, refer to both genders collectively also. For this they present the following for their claims:

Surely the Safa and the Marwa are among the signs appointed by Allah; so WHOEVER makes a pilgrimage to the House or pays a visit (to it), there is no blame on HIM if HE goes round them both; and WHOEVER does good spontaneously, then surely Allah is Grateful, Knowing. S. 2:158 Shakir

who do not appeal to any other deity besides God [Alone]; nor kill any soul whom God has forbidden [them to] except through [due process of] law; nor misbehave sexually. Anyone who does so will incur a penalty. Torment will be doubled for HIM on Resurrection Day and HE will remain disgraced for ever in it, except for someone who repents and believes, and acts in a honorable manner. God will replace their evil deeds with fine ones, since God is Forgiving, Merciful. Anyone who repents and acts honorably should turn to God in repentance, and those who will not bear false witness, and when they pass by [people] gossiping, pass by in a dignified manner, who whenever they are reminded of their Lord’s signs, do not fall down deaf and blind [when reminded] of them; and [rather] who say: “Our Lord, bestow the comfort of our eyes on us in our spouses (min azwajina) and our offspring. Make us a model for those who do their duty.” Those will be rewarded with the Mansion because they have been so patient, and welcomed there with greetings as well as “Peace [be on you]!”, to live there for ever. How fine is such a residence and status! S. 25:68-76 T.B. Irving

As for HIM who giveth and is dutiful (toward Allah) And believeth in goodness; Surely We will ease HIS way unto the state of ease. But as for HIM who hoardeth and deemeth HIMSELF independent, And disbelieveth in goodness; Surely We will ease HIS way unto adversity. HIS riches will not save HIM when HE perisheth. Lo! Ours it is (to give) the guidance And lo! unto Us belong the latter portion and the former. Therefore have I warned you of the flaming Fire Which only the most wretched must endure, HE who denieth and turneth away. Far removed from it will be the RIGHTEOUS Who giveth HIS wealth that HE may grow (in goodness). And none hath with HIM any favour for reward, Except as seeking (to fulfill) the purpose of HIS Lord Most High. HE verily will be content. S. 92:5-21 Pickthall

The problem with the above verses and the reports is that both are using completely different words. The critic may have a point if the Arabic word Rajul was used, but nowhere in the above verses is the word used.

The reports are clear that the treaty agreement was in regards to men only (“He”, “Him”). Here is Sahih al-Bukhari (Bewley Translation):

“3945. Part of what ‘Urwa reported from Marwan ibn al-Hakam and al-Miswar ibn Makhrama, reporting about what happened with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in the ‘umra of al-Hudaybiyya, “When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, wrote out the truce treaty with Suhayl ibn ‘Amr on the Day of al-Hudaybiya, one of the preconditions of that Suhayl ibn ‘Amr made was: ‘IF ANY OF US (MEN) comes to you, even if HE has your religion, you will return HIM TO US and you will not come between US AND HIM.’ Suhayl refused to conclude the truce with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, except on that basis. The believers disliked that and were grieved by it and spoke against it. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, signed it and then the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, returned Abu Jandal ibn Suhayl on that very day to his father, Suhayl ibn ‘Amr, When any man came to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, he returned him in that period, even if he was a Muslim. Believing emigrant women came. and Umm Kulthum bint ‘Uqba ibn Abi Mu’ayt was one of those who went to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. She was a young woman. Her family came to ask the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to return her when Allah Almighty revealed what He revealed about believing women.” [i.e. 60:12] (The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari, Chapter 67. Book of Expeditions – XXXIII: The expedition of al-Hudaybiyya, (Bewley Translation), online source)

The above reported is also translated by Dr. M. Muhsin Khan.

The Arabic text for the above reports mention the word Rajul fourteen times. “He”, “him”, here the Arabic word used is Rajul. This word according to Arabic-English dictionaries means a “man”:

“رجل rajul pl. … rijal MAN; pl. … rijalat great, important MEN, leading personalities, MEN of distinction | … r. ad-daula statesmen; …
rijali men’s, for men (e. g., apparel) …” (Hans Wehr A Dictionary of Modern written Arabic [Edited by John Milton – Spoken Language Services, Inc. 1976], page 329)

Edward Lane’s Lexicon:

(TA. [See …]) He became a رجل or MAN; he rose to MANHOOD. )See an explanation of …, in what follows.). (Edward Lane’s Lexicon, page 1049, online source, http://ejtaal.net/aa/#hw4=394,ll=1086,ls=6,la=1532,sg=413,ha=246,br=364,pr=62,vi=158,mgf=336,mr=245,mn=458,aan=207,kz=802,uqq=115,ulq=767,uqa=143,uqw=586,umr=396,ums=325,umj=274,bdw=339,amr=244,asb=323,auh=607,dhq=196,mht=321,msb=88,tla=51,amj=263,ens=1,mis=1 )

Professor Francis Joseph Steingass:

“…rajul, pl. rijal, rijalat, rijla-t, rajla-t rijala-t, arijil, marjal, MAN; powerful MAN, MAN of great physical strength ; common MAN (opposed to a leader, &c.) …” (English-Arabic Dictionary: For the Use of Both Travellers and Students [LONDON – Crosby Lockwood And Son 7, Stationers Hall Court, Ludgate Hill, E.C.] by Professor Francis Joseph Steingass, page 405)

Arabic-English Dictionary Of Qur’anic Usage:

“… r-j-l a MAN, MANHOOD, masculinity, a foot, a leg, …”
Arabic-English Dictionary Of Qur’anic Usage [Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands, 2008] by Elsaid M. Badawi, Muhammad Abdel Haleem, page 350)

Dictionary And Glossary Of The Kor-an – John Penrice:

“…رجل A MAN,…” (Dictionary And Glossary Of The Kor-an, With Copious Grammatical References And Explanations Of The Text [Adam Publishers & Distributors, Shandar Market Chitli Qabar Delhi-110006., Printed in India, 1991] by John Penrice, B. A., page 56)

Dictionary Of The Holy Qur’an of With References and Explanation of the Text – Malik Ghulam Farid:

“… رجل means also a MAN perfect or complete in respect of bodily vigour. … He is a man among Men, i.e., very strong, perfect or vigorous man. …” (Dictionary Of The Holy Qur’an of With References and Explanation of the Text by Malik Ghulam Farid M. A., page 315 – 316)

A Dictionary Of Egyptian Arabic:

“… raagil/n pl riggaala, rigaal la MAN, ADULT MALE, raagil kibiir, an old MAN. || raagil il beet the master of the house. 1b one distinguished…” (A Dictionary Of Egyptian Arabic – Arabic English [Librairie du Liban, Riad Solh Sqaure, Beirut., 1986] by Martin Hinds & El-Said Badawi, page 327)

Dictionary Of The Holy Qur’an:

“… Rajulun … MALE human being; MAN; … Rajulun … MAN. Rajulan … /rajulain … (n. dual.) TWO MEN. Rijal … (n. plu.): MEN…” (Dictionary Of The Holy Qur’an – Arabic Words – English Meanings (With Notes) – (Classical Arabic Dictionaries Combined) [NOOR Foundation – International Inc., 2010] by Abdul Mannan Omar (Translator) – Subject Codifier Musnad Imam Ahmad Bin Muhammad bin Hanbal, page 203 – 204)

The Easy Dictionary of the Qur’an:

“4036 a right minded MAN … رجل” (The Easy Dictionary of the Qur’an (Compiled in the order of recitation) Compiled [Translated By(Late) AbdurRasheed Kamptee, Dr. Abdulazeez Abdulraheem & Shaikh AbdulGhafoor Parekh – Third Revised English Edition., 2000] by Shaikh AbdulKarim Parekh, page 164, online source http://understandquran.com/fileadmin/user_upload/vocabulary/dictionary/english/Easy_Dictionary_of_Quran_English_AK%20Parekh.pdf )

Bewley and Dr. Muhsin Khan’s translation report shown earlier with the word “he”, “him” in there, is translated elsewhere by non-Muslim academics. For example, in Mishkat Al-Masabih – translated by James Robson, D. Litt., D.D. (Emeritus Professor Of Arabic, The University of Manchester) the word “rajul” is translated as “man”:

“… Meanwhile Budail b. Warqa al-Khuza’I came with some members of Khuza’I and Urwa b. Mas’ud joined him. He went on with the tradition to the point where he said that when Suhail b. Amr came the Prophet said, ‘Write: This is what Muhammad God’s messenger has decided.’ Suhail protested, ‘I swear by God that if we knew you were God’s messenger we would not turn you away from the House or fight with you; but write: Muhammad b. Abdallah.’ The Prophet replied, ‘I swear by God that I am God’s messenger even if you disbelieve me; write Muhammad b. Abdallah.’ Suhail said, ‘And that a MAN will not come to you from us, even if he follows your religion, without your sending him back to us.’ Then when he finished drawing up the document God’s messenger said to his companions, ‘Get up and sacrifice, and shave.’“ (Mishkat Al-Masabih – English Translation With Explanatory Notes [Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, Publishers, Lahore, Pakistan., 1991] by James Robson, D. Litt., D.D. (Emeritus Professor Of Arabic, The University of Manchester), volume II (Vol. 2), page 861 – 862 (Chapter X – Peace.))

This is also the case in the report in “Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya” – translated by Professor Trevor Le Gassick:

“Al-Zuhri states, ‘This relates to his having said, ‘I’ll accept any request they make of me by which the sanctuaries of God are dignified.’
‘The Prophet (SAAS) then said, ‘on condition that you allow us access to the Ka’ba so that we may circumambulate it.’
‘Suhayl objected, ‘By God, we’ll not have the Arabs say that we accepted pressure; however, that can happen next year.’
‘So he wrote it. Suhayl then said, ‘A condition is that any of OUR MEN who come over to you, even if in your religion, you will return to us.’
‘The Muslims said, ‘Goodness gracious, how could someone be returned to the polytheists if he came as a Muslim!’
‘While this discussion was in progress Abu Jandal b. Suhayl b. Amr came along, dragging his chains, having escaped from below Mecca, and threw himself down among the Muslims.
‘Suhayl said, ‘This fellow, Muhammad, is the first whom I charge you to return to me.’ The Prophet (SAAS) said, ‘But we’ve not completed the agreement yet.’ In that case, Suhayl insisted, I’ll never make a pact with you over anything.’ The Prophet (SAAS) then said, ‘Release him to my custody.’ I’ll not release him to you,’ Suhayl said. ‘I insist that you release him!’ That I’ll not do,’ he replied. Mikraz then said, ‘Very well, we’ll release him to you.’” (The Life of the Prophet Muhammed (‘Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya’) [Translated by Professor Trevor Le Gassick, Garnet Publishing – Copyright 2000, The Center for Muslim Contribution To civilization], by Ibn Kathir, volume 3, page 238 – 239. This Hadith is also mention in Sahih Bukhari online source, https://sunnah.com/bukhari/54/19)

 

Kitab al-Maghazi by Ma’mar Ibn Rashid [Translated by Professor Sean W. Anthony]:

“… And that was due to the Prophet’s declaration, ‘I will grant them any course of action that magnifies the sanctity of God.’
The Prophet said, ‘Let it be stipulated that you grant us access to the Sacred House, so that we may circumambulate it.’
‘We can’t have the Arabs saying that we gave in under pressure; rather, that pilgrimage can wait until next year,’ replied Suhayl. So it was written. Then Suhayl continued, ‘And let it be stipulated that none of our MEN may come to you, even if they have accepted your religion, without you returning them to us.’
‘Glory be to God!’ said the Muslims…” (The Expeditions (“Kitab al-Maghazi”)- An Early Biography Of Muhammad by Ma’mar Ibn Rashid – According to the recension of Abd al-Razzaq al-San’ani [Edited and translated by Sean W. Anthony – Foreword by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem., NEW YORK University Press., 2014], page 35 – 36)

And [1]:

“The Prophet said, ‘I am the Messenger of Allah even though you do not believe me. Write, ‘Muhammad ibn Abdullah.’
He asked Ali to erase what he had written but Ali said, ‘By Allah no, I will not erase it.’
The Messenger of Allah said, ‘Show me the place,’ and he erased it himself. Then he said, ‘This is what the Messenger of Allah agrees provided that you give us leave to perform tawaf of the Ka’bah.’
Suhayk said, ‘By Allah, we will not allow the Arabs to say that we submitted to pressure. It will have to be next year.’ It was also written: ‘On the condition that if any of OUR MEN, even if he has your religion, comes to you, you will return him to us.’ …” (Muhammad The Last Prophet – A Model For All Time [UK Islamic Academy, 1995] by Sayyed Abul Hassan Ali Nadwi, page 118)

With the above evidences shown, we see that it was stipulated that if any men came over to the Quraysh they would not be sent back. With the above in perspective, now we will leave readers with scholars commenting on this incident.

Shaykh Allama Shibli Nu’mani (1857 – 1914 CE):

“The condition that those who fled from Mecca would be returned, related only to men, not to women. Concerning women the following verse was revealed:
‘O you who believe, when believing women come unto you as emigrants, examine them. Allah is the best Knower of their faith. Then if ye know them to be true believers, send them not back unto the infidels, they are not lawful unto them, nor are they lawful unto them. And give them that which they expanded. Nor is it any crime in you if you marry them, when ye have given them their hires. And hold not to the ties of the infidel women, and ask back that which ye have expanded, and let them ask back that which they have expanded. That is the judgment of Allah, He judgeth between you. And Allah is Knowing, Wise.’ (60:10)
The helpless among the Muslims, left at Mecca would often flee to Medina to escape the tortures inflicted by the infidels. The first to flee was Utba Ibn Ubaid (Abu Basir). The Quraish deputed two men to fetch him back. They came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and asked him to return their man. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) advised Utba to go back. …” (Sirat-Un-Nabi (The Life Of The Prophet) [Rendered into English by M. Tayyib Bakhsh Budayuni, Idarah-I Adabiyat-I Delli, 2009 Qasimjan St. Delhi (India)] by Shaykh Allama Shibli Nu’mani, volume 2 (vol. II), page 145 – 146)

Shaykh Safiur Rahman Mubarakpuri:

“The issue of Muhajir women
Shortly after the Treaty of Hudaybia, some Muslim women came to the Prophet seeking asylum, while the pagans demanded their return. The Prophet rejected the pagans demand, saying that the TREATY HAD NOTHING WITH THE WOMEN. …” (When The Moon Split (A Biography Of Prophet Muhammad) [Edited and Translated by Tabassum Siraj, Michael Richardson, Badr Asimabadi, Darussalam – Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh], Compiled by Safiur Rahman Mubarakpuri, page 215)

Scholar Martin Lings (Abu Bakr Siraj ad-Din):

“But the cut festered, and the wound proved to be mortal. He was able, none the less, before he died, to write a letter to his brother Khalid urging him to enter Islam. Only one Muslim woman escaped from Mecca at this time and took refuge in Medina, and that was Uthman’s half-sister, Umm Kulthum, the daughter of his mother Arwa and of Uqbah, who had been put to death on the way from Badr. But a Revelation now came forbidding the return of any believing women to the disbelievers. So when Umm Kulthum’s two full brothers came to take her back, the Prophet refused to let them have her, and QURAYSH ACCEPTED HIS REFUSAL WITHOUT PROTEST. THERE HAD BEEN NO MENTION OF WOMEN IN THE TREATY. Then Zayd and Zubayr and Abd ar-Rahman ibn Awf asked for her hand in marriage, and the Prophet advised her to marry Zayd, which she did.” (Muhammad – His Life Based On The Earliest Sources by Martin Lings, page 258 – 259, online source https://www.kalamullah.com/Martin%20Lings/muhammad_martin_Lings.pdf )

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan:

“It is perhaps easier to arrive at the truth by examining the wording of this particular condition of the pact. Here we quote Bukhari’s version, which may be taken as the most authentic: ‘You will have to return any of our men who come to you, even if they have accepted your faith.’ The expression ‘any of our men’ (rajul) obviously gave Muslims a loophole by which to exclude women from the application of this condition. This condition of the pact had not been put forward by them, but by the Meccans, and the actual wording had been dictated by the delegates of the Quraysh.
It seems that when one of them, called Suhayl ibn Amr, was dictating, he was thinking of both men and women, but that the actual word he chose in order to convey ‘any person’ (inclusive of both men and women) was rajul, which in Arabic is actualy used only for men. Most probably this was why the Prophet could legitimately refuse – according to Imam Zuhri – to hand over Umm Kulthum bint Uqbah to her brothers when they came to him to demand her return.
Razi is another annalist who records the Prophet on this occasion as having explained that “the condition applied to men and NOT to women.” 97 (97. Ibn Hajar al-Athqalani, Fath al-Bari, volume 9, page 345) Thus God, by means of a single word, saved virtuous Muslim women from the humiliation of being returned to their oppressors.” (Woman In Islamic Shari’ah [Goodword Books, 2002] by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, page 102 – 103)

Moulavi Cheragh Ali:

“Females and the Treaty of Hodeibia.
Females were not included in the truce of Hodeibia. The stipulation for the surrender of deserters referred only to the male sex. All women who were to come over to Medina from Mecca during the period of the peace were, by the dictates of Sura LX, 10, to be tried, and if their profession was found sincere, they were to be retained. They were prohibited from marrying the unbelievers. The guardians of such believing females were to receive from the Moslem commonwealth what they had spent upon their charges. …” (A Critical Exposition Of The Popular “Jihad” – Showing That All The Wars Of Mohammad Were Defensive; And That Aggressive War, Or Compulsory Conversion, Is Not Allowed In The Koran. With Appendices – Proving That The Word ‘Jihad’ Does Not Exegetically Mean ‘Warefare,’ And That Slavery Is Not Sanctioned By The Prophet Of Islam [Calcutta: Thacker, Spink And Co., 1885] by Moulavi Cheragh Ali, page 110)

Sayyid Ala Maududi:

“but the reporters have reported its purport in their own words. But since most of the traditions arc of the same nature, the commentators and traditionists generally have understood that the treaty was general, which applied to both men and women, and the women too were to be returned according to it. Later, when this injunction of the Qur’an that the believing women were not to be returned, came to their knowledge, they interpreted it to mean that Allah in this verse had decided to break the treaty in so far as it related to the believing women But this was not an ordinary thing which should be accepted so easily. If the treaty was general, without any exception in respect of men and women, it could not be lawful for one party to amend it unilaterally and change a part of it by itself. And even if such a thing happened, it is strange that the Quraish did not protest against it, whereas they remained on the lookout for an opportunity to raise objections against everything that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah’s peace) and the Muslims did. Had they found that the Holy Prophet had committed a breach of the treaty conditions, they would have raised a loud clamor. But we do not find any trace of it in any tradition that they took an exception to this ruling of the Qur’an. Had this question been carefully considered the problem could have been resolved by reference to the actual words of the treaty. But many people paid no attention they it; if some scholars (e.g Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn al-‘Arabi) did pay any attention, they did not hesitate to say that the reason why the Quraish did not raise any objection was that Allah had miraculously scaled their mouths in this matter. It is strange how these scholars felt satisfied at this explanation.
The fact of the matter is that this condition of the peace treaty had been proposed by the disbelieving Quraish, and not by the Muslims, and the words that Suhail bin ‘Amr, their representative, had-got included in the treaty were: “AND THAT WHICHEVER MAN (RAJUL) come to you from us, even if HE be on your religion, you will return him to us.” These words of the treaty have been reproduced in Bukhari (Kitab ash-Shurut: Bab ash-Shurut fil-Jihad wal-Masalahah) through authentic channels. It may be that Suhail used the word rajul in the meaning of a person, but this might be the meaning he had in his mind. The word written in the treaty was RAJUL, WHICH IS USED FOR A FULL-GROWN MAN IN ARABIC. That is why when the brothers of Umm Kulthum bint ‘Uqbah came to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah’s peace) and demanded her return, (according to Imam Zuhri’s tradition) the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah’s peace) refused return her, saying: “The condition was about the men, not the women. ” (Ibn al- Arabi, Ahkam al-Qur an; Loam Razi, Tafsir Kabir) Until then the people of Quraish themselves were under the delusion that the treaty applied to all kinds of emigrants, men or women; But when the Holy Prophet drew their attention to these words of the treaty, they were struck dumb and had to accept this decision.
According to this condition of the treaty the Muslims had the right to decline return of any woman who emigrated from Makkah to Madinah, for any reason whatever. But Islam was interested only in safeguarding the believing omen and not to make the holy city of Madinah a place of refuge for every kind of female fugitive. Therefore, Allah enjoined: “Ascertain by examination the faith of the women who emigrated to you and profess to have believed; and when it is fully ascertained that they have emigrated with genuine faith, and no other motive, do not return them.” Thus, the procedure adopted for carrying out this Command was was that the women who emigrated were questioned whether they believed in the oneness of Allah and the Prophethood of Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace) and had emigrated only for the sake of Allah and His Messenger, and not out of any worldly consideration, e.g. hatred of the husband, or love of somebody in Madinah, or some other worldly motive. Only those women who gave satisfactory answers to these questions were detained, others were sent back. (Ibn Jarir on the authority of Iba `Abbas, Qatadah, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Ibn Zaid).
In this verse a basic principle of the Law of Evidence also bas been stated and its further clarification has been made by the procedure that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah’s peace) had prescribed for implementing it, The verse enjoins three things:
(1) Examine the faith of the emigrating women who present themselves as believers;
(2) Allah alone knows the truth about their faith; the Muslims have no means to find out whether they have really believed or not; and
(3) when it has been ascertained that they are believers, they are not to be returned.
Then, in accordance with this injunction, the method that the Holy Prophet prescribed for examining and ascertaining the faith of the women was that the statement given by them on oath should be relied on and it should be made sure after necessary examination that they had no other motive of emigration than the Faith. First, it gives the principle that for taking decision on different matters it is not necessary for the court to have direct knowledge of the truth; for the court only that knowledge is sufficient which is obtained through evidence. Second, the statement given by a person on oath will be regarded as reliable until it is proved to be false by a clear evidence. Third, whatever declaration a person himself may make about his creed and faith, will be accepted and no search will be made into finding out, whether what he states actually constitutes his faith or not, unless there is a clear indication to the contrary. And fourth, in the personal affairs of a person, which no one else can know, his own statement will be trusted. e.g. in the matters of divorce and the waiting period (iddat) the woman’s own statement about her menstrual course and state of purity will be regarded as reliable, whether it is true or false. According to these very rules, in the science of the Hadith also, those traditions will be accepted, the apparent state of whose reporters testifies to their being righteous, unless, of course, there are other circumstances which forbid the acceptance of a particular tradition.” (Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi – Tafhim al-Qur’an – The Meaning of the Qur’an – online source, http://englishtafsir.com/Quran/60/index.html#sdfootnote14sym )

Conclusion, there is no doubt with the abundant evidence presented that the part of the treaty was only in regards to men.

Related articles:

(1) – “A Historical Examination Of The Sword Verse – Surah 9:5” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/04/22/an-historical-examination-of-the-sword-verse-surah-95/

(2) – “Early Expeditions And Battles Of Islam” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/03/25/early-expeditions-and-battles-of-islam/

(3) – “Most Misinterpreted Verses Of The Quran?” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/05/27/most-misinterpreted-verses-of-the-quran/

(4) – “The Hadith ‘…Fight Until They Say There Is No god But Allah’ Explained” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/12/25/the-hadith-fight-until-they-say-there-is-no-god-but-allah-explained/

(5) – “Revisiting ‘I Have Been Commanded To Fight…’ Hadith” https://discover-the-truth.com/2017/01/09/revisiting-i-have-been-commanded-to-fight-hadith/

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Reference:

[1] Kitab Futuh al-Buldan:
“MAKKAH
The cause of its invasion. When the Prophet made arrangements with the Kuraish in the year of al-Hudaibiyah and wrote down the statement of the truce to the effect that he who desires to make a covenant with Muhammad can do so, and he who desires to make a covenant with Kuraish can do so; and that HE of the Companions of the Prophet comes to Kuraish should not be returned, and HE of the banu-Kuraish or their allies who comes to the Prophet be returned, then those of Kinanah who were present rose and said, ‘We will enter into a covenant with Kuraish, and accept their terms’; but Khuza’ah said, ‘We will enter into the covenant of Muhammad and his contract.’ …” (The origins of the Islamic State, being a translation from the Arabic accompanied with annotations Geographic and historic notes of the Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan of al-Imam Abu’l Abbas Ahmad Ibn Jabir Al Baladhuri, [Translated by Phillip Khurti Hitti, PHD – NEW YORK: Columbia University, Longmans, Green & Co., Agents – London: P. S. King & Son. Ltd., 1916], volume 1, page 60)

“Beat” – Surah 4:34 Explained

Kaleef K. Karim

Disclaimer: This article is by no means a defense of domestic violence, but a comprehensive elucidation on the Quranic verse (S. 4:34), explaining the verse in question in great detail, using the Quran, Hadith, Muslim and non-Muslim Scholarly evidence so that readers understand the verse and its implications more thoroughly.

Content:

1. Introduction
2. Qawwamuna – ‘Protectors and maintainers’
3. The Arabic word ‘Nushuz’
4. The Connection of Nushuz And Fahishah Mubayyina In The Farewell Sermon Hadith
5. The Prophet Muhammed’s Conduct With His Wives
6. Speaking to your wife (1) and then separating beds (2)
7. The Arabic word “Daraba”
8. Non-Muslim Academics on Surah 4:34
9. Classical Scholars: ‘Do Not Hit Your Wife’
10. Physical Violence: A Right Of Divorce
11. Domestic Violence: Compensating The Wife – Punishing The Husband
12. LAW – Legal Frameworks Addressing Domestic Violence In Muslim Majority Countries
13. The Quran And Prophetic Statements On Wives
14. Conclusion

1. Introduction

“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel (strength) the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and GUARD in the husband’s absence what ALLAH ORDERS THEM TO GUARD. As to those women on whose part you SEE INFIDELITY (NUSHUZAHUNNA), admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly), but if they return to obedience, seek not against them. Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great.” – Quran 4:34

Some have cited the Quranic verse Surah 4:34 – as evidence that the Quran advocates and endorses wife abuse, despite the Prophet Muhammed’s example to the contrary.

This very well-known verse is cited often claiming that physical violence against one’s wife is endorsed by the Quranic verse if the husband feels that there is clear evident “Nushuz”. Nushuz according to some scholars and critics means that a simple argument or the wife raises her voice warrants the prescription described in S. 4:34. Indeed such an interpretation is problematic and against the very nature of the Quran and Prophetic model and conduct.

Over the years I have personally had a hard time as a believer understanding the verse under discussion. I felt uneasy speaking about the verse (S. 4:34) with other people, and often questioned it in my own mind why would God Almighty in All His Mercy reveal this on a wife. My own uneasiness of speaking about the verse may be due to the upbringing or the 21st century World we are living in. I firmly believe that God is Just and every verse of the Quran is a blessing. Other religious followers have their own fair share of debates and often question verses from their own sacred scriptures.

In any religious scripture, there is indeed verses where a believer and follower of that faith may feel unease at certain injunctions and orders laid out. The Bible has got his fair share of things that are deemed in today’s society to be shocking or for the believer to question and often even rejecting the literal interpretation of the reading. There is a verse in the Old Testament, for example, if a wife grabs hold of a man’s private parts defending and helping her husband out in a fight is ordered by the Bible to have her hand cut off. [1] There is the disciplining of the children in the Old Testament, where a disobedient child is ordered to be beaten with a rod (stick) until he/she comes back and listens to the father and mother. Some Christian believers have rejected this injunction and argue that it is part of the Old Testament and they are ordered to follow the New Testament. They are not obliged to follow Old Testament laws since Jesus came to abrogate it, as they argue. Other Christian scholars, Priests, and their fellow believers argue to the contrary and say that the verse of physical disciplining of one’s child is a good thing and parents should use the prescriptions described in the Bible. [2] Away from the Old Testament, there is an even more infamous verse from the New Testament, dubbed by some scholars to be an endorsement of “marital rape”. [3] The verse orders that a Christian wife has got no rights over her own private parts, and a man could go into her wife without the consent of her wife. Academics often have pointed out that the verse orders the wife to submit to the husband’s desires whenever he so wishes, and she cannot deny her husband that right. Indeed these verses are difficult for present day believers to understand. Is a present day believer going to reject these verses or are you going to interpret them to reflect today’s world? Are God’s Words to be followed and implemented forever or are they left to the society and environment these sacred passages were revealed in? These are difficult questions for a believer to answer, how we go about explaining them is left to the individual at the end of the day.

In this article, we will aim to answer the question of what is the true historical understanding for Surah 4:34? Does the verse give a husband a license to discipline his wife physically whenever he so wishes? A conclusion will be drawn by examining the reasons against this interpretation. We will aim to give earliest historical pieces of evidence backing our position that this interpretation is alien to the Prophetic model and conduct. We will aim to give a more plausible and more likely interpretation of S. 4:34 which mirrors how the Prophet Muhammed (p) himself originally understood it.

In order to understand Surah 4:34 we will go through three channels to find out its true historical meaning:

Tafsir of the Quran 4:34, let the Quran naturally explain itself i.e., having a closer examination of the words.
Tafsir of the Quran 4:34 in light of the Prophetic statements i.e., Hadith.
Tafsir of Quran 4:34 in light of the statement from companions of Prophet Muhammed (p) and the latter classical scholars.

With the above three routes, we will aim to understand the verse (S. 4:34) in its true sense.

2. Qawwamuna – ‘Protectors and maintainers’

The passage begins by stating that men are ‘protectors and maintainers’ of wives. I would like to highlight here that the verse does not say that men are superior to their wives in the sense of being a master or dictator over them. The Arabic word ‘qawwamuna’ used at the start of the verse literally means that men are “protectors and maintainers”. Dr. Ahmed K. Nazir comments on the word ‘Qawwam’ (‘qawwamuna’) in his book, he writes:

“Some quote the verse 4:34 (Men are the protectors and maintainers of women…) to say that, in Islam, men are the bosses of women. This phrase does not mean that men are the rulers or commanders of women. As human beings, Islam gives equal status to both men and women. This phrase means that men are protectors of wives and they are responsible to spend their money for the support of wives. The Arabic word ‘Qawwam’ (protectors) means ‘One who stands firm in another’s business, protects his interests, and looks after his affairs: or it may be, standing form in his own business, managing affairs, with a steady purpose.’” (Dispositions: Gazing Into the Amazing, Colorful, Global Crystal of Human Life [2009] by Dr. Ahmed K. Nazir M.D., page 108)

Thus, the Arabic word ‘Qawwamanu’ means, ‘to guard’, ‘protect’, ‘maintain’, and to take care of their wives. The claim made by some that “men are masters over their wives” is not supported from the verse. Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Religion: Q-Z also gives the meaning of the Arabic word Qawwam,

“Qawwam: Qawwam or qayyim is a person responsible for administering or supervising the affairs of either an individual or an organization, for protecting and safeguarding them and taking care of their needs.” (Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Religion: Q-Z [2005] by Dr. Ramesh Chopra, page 623)

Professor Abdur Rahman I. Doi:

“Allah informs us in this verse that men are Qawwamun i.e., protectors and maintainers of women. THE WORD QAWWAMUN SIGNIFIES A PERSON WHO TAKES THE RESPONSIBILITY OF SAFEGUARDING THE INTEREST OF ANOTHER. This position comes to men are opposed to women not only because, generally speaking, they have more physical strength and greater capacity for hard work…” (Shari’ah – Islamic Law [Revised and expanded Abdassamad Clarke – Ta-Ha Publishers LTD – Second Revised Edition, 2013] by Abd ar-Rahman I. Doi, page 216)

Islamic scholar Mufti Taqi Usmani (b. 1943):

“Now coming to the word used for men to lead, Allah Almighty has not used words like ‘king’, ‘ruler’, ‘owner’ or ‘lord’. He has used the word ‘Qawwaam’ (قوام) which REFERS TO THAT PERSON WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR SOME TASK WHICH DOES NOT AT ALL MEAN THAT HE OWNS THE WOMAN IN ANY WAY POSSIBLE. In Islam, the ruler is not one who sits on the throne and rules but a ruler is as defined by the Prophet (ﷺ):

سيد القوم خادمهم.
‘The leader of the nation is their SERVANT.’ (Kanz ul-A’maal, Hadith no. 17517)

In today’s time when we hear the word ‘ruler’, we get the image of a king or a big leader who do not even like to speak to their subjects and not consider speaking to them worthy of their honor but the LEADER AS PER QUR’AN AND HADITH IS ONE WHO SERVES and not the one who merely issues orders and seeks to enforce them.” (“Women in Islam: Are they subservient to men?” [Translated by Adeel T. Khan] by Mufti Taqi Usmani, online source (Last accessed, 7th February, 2017) https://qurananswers.me/2014/12/08/women-in-islam-are-they-subservient-to-men/ )

We can see that the word ‘Qawwamuna’ is someone who is a ‘protector and maintainer’ of a wife. A man who is financially responsible for the family. God Almighty has assigned men the role, to be a maintainer and guardian of the household, taking care of the wife’s needs i.e., food on the plate, clothing, shelter and protecting her physically and emotionally when she is down. The men are ordered in the Quran to treat their wives with dignity, kindness and are commanded that they should be protected when they feel low. In a Muslim society, the husband has full responsibility for the maintenance of his family. This is not only a moral but also a legal obligation. Anything a wife earns is her own to dispose of, either to use it herself or to contribute it to the family budget if she wishes to do so.

3. The Arabic word ‘Nushuz’

The Quranic verse hints to us that Nushuz here entails something to do with cheating. The words “Hafizatun Lil-Ghaybi Bima Hafiza” (“guarding in the unseen that which (orders) them to guard” straight after comes Nushuz. Nushuz here is connected to unfaithfulness in marriage i.e., sexual sin. It orders the wife to guard her chastity while the husband is away. In basic English terminology God commands the wife to safeguard herself and not cheat behind her husband’s back:

“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel (strength) the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and GUARD in the husband’s absence what ALLAH ORDERS THEM TO GUARD. As to those women on whose part you SEE INFIDELITY (NUSHUZAHUNNA), admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly), but if they return to obedience, seek not against them. Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great.” – Quran 4:34

The words “Hafizatun Lil-Ghaybi Bima Hafiza”, means the wife is told to guard the chastity of the marriage. In basic words, they don’t cheat on their husband. In this specific verse (4:34) we see that the words “Hafizatun Lil-Ghaybi Bima Hafiza” and Nushuz have a clear connection and are related to this article under discussion. Those words in the verse of the Quran here orders the wife to protect her chastity. Nusuhuz and the previous word are interconnected in order to understand the verse historically.

Another word which stands out under careful examination is “fear”. The verse starts off with telling the husband, “if you fear” (“Wa-Allati Takhafuna”/”وَاللَّاتِي تَخَافُونَ”) Nushuz. How are we determine what this means? In order to answer this, we need to ask the following question, what is there that would make a husband fear and make him worry about his wife the most in a relationship? Does shouting, raising one’s voice or have verbal discord at home sound like this suits the verse? No! The most logical explanation here is that the fear is in regards to evident cheating on the wife’s part. If you ask any husband what would make them fear or worry about their spouse doing? They would naturally say a wife being unfaithful, cheating behind his back. Committing adultery. Some of the Quran translations have alluded to this (“disloyalty” and “infidelity“):

Yusuf Ali (Orig. 1938):
“As to those women on whose part ye fear DISLOYALTY…” – Q. 4:34

Yusuf Ali (Saudi Rev. 1985)
“As to those women on whose part ye fear DISLOYALTY…” – Q. 4:34

Wahiduddin Khan (Edition, 2013)
“As for those from whom you apprehend INFIDELITY…” – Q. 4:34

Syed Vickar Ahamed (Edition, 2007):
“As to those women on whose part you fear DISLOYALTY…” – Q. 4:34

Talal A. Itani (New Translation. 2012):
“As for those from whom you fear DISLOYALTY…” – Q. 4:34

Bilal Muhammad (2013 Edition):
“As for those whom you suspect DISLOYALTY…” – Q. 4:34

We have gathered the following facts from Quran 4:34,

1. “Hafizatun Lil-Ghaybi Bima Hafiza” orders the wife to guard her chastity, basically not to cheat.
2. If you fear (“Wa-Allati Takhafuna”/”وَاللَّاتِي تَخَافُونَ”) Nushuz, further shows that the order in the verse is in relation to a unfaithful and a cheating wife.

A clarification for some our readers: nushuz part, equating it with adultery but this is not necessarily only that. A husband finding his wife walking with a man holding his hand or just kissing would also fall under this definition of Nushuz. Or whenever the man returns home, he finds a man walking out the back door which results him doubting his wife also falls under this term.

In this section, we have clarified from the Quran’s point of view that Nushuz is connected to cheating on the wife’s part.

4. The Connection of Nushuz And Fahishah Mubayyina In The Farewell Sermon Hadith

The Prophetic statement recorded in a number of Hadith connects Nushuz to infidelity (adultery). The Arabic word Nushuz is connected to “Fahisha” (“بِفَاحِشَةٍ”). In the Prophet Muhammed’s farewell sermon (“Khutbat al-Wadaa”) we are told that he ordered his people to be kind to their wives. And if they are guilty of Fahisha Mubayyinah or seen a man on his bed with his wife (cheating) he is allowed (or the courts) lightly to beat his wife, without leaving any marks:

“It was narrated that: Sulaiman bin Amr bin Ahwas said: “My father told me that he was present at the Farewell Pilgrimage with the Messenger of Allah. He praised and glorified Allah, and reminded and exhorted (the people). Then he said: ‘I ENJOIN GOOD TREATMENT OF WOMEN, for they are prisoners with you, and you have no right to treat them otherwise, unless THEY COMMIT CLEAR INDECENCY (FAHISHA MUBAYYINA/”بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُبَيِّنَةٍ”). IF THEY DO THAT, then forsake them in their beds and hit them, but without causing injury or leaving a mark. If they obey you, then do not seek means of annoyance against them. You have rights over your women and your women have rights over you. Your rights over your women are that they are not to allow anyone whom you dislike to TREAD ON YOUR BEDDING, NOR ALLOW ANYONE WHOM YOU DISLIKE TO ENTER YOUR HOUSES. And their right over you are that you should treat them kindly with regard to their clothing and food.’ ” (Sunan Ibn Majah volume 3, Book 9, Hadith 1851, Eng. Tran., Sahih Darussalam https://sunnah.com/urn/1319250)

Jami at-Tirmidhi:

“Sulaiman bin Amr bin Al-Ahwas said: “My father narrated to me that he witnessed the farewell Hajj with the Messenger of Allah. So he thanked and praised Allah and he reminded and gave admonition. He mentioned a story in his narration and he (the Prophet) said: “And indeed I ORDER YOU TO BE GOOD TO THE WOMEN, for they are but captives with you over whom you have no power than that, except IF THEY COME WITH MANIFEST FAHISHAH (“بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُبَيِّنَةٍ”). If they do that, then abandon their beds and beat them with a beating THAT IS NOT HARMFUL (“وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ ضَرْبًا غَيْرَ مُبَرِّحٍ”). And if they obey you then you have no cause against them. Indeed you have rights over your women, and your women have rights over you. As for your rights over your women, then they must not allow anyone whom you dislike TO TREAT ON YOUR BEDDING, NOR TO ADMIT ANYONE IN YOUR HOME THAT YOU DISLIKE. And their rights over you are that you treat them well in clothing them and feeding them.” (Jami` at-Tirmidhi volume 1, Book 7, Hadith 1163. Eng. Tran., Sahih Darussalam https://sunnah.com/tirmidhi/12/18 )

Jami at-Tirmidhi:

“Narrated Sulaiman bin ‘Amr bin Al-Ahwas: “My father narrated to me that he attended the Farewell Hajj with the Messenger of Allah. He expressed his gratitude to Allah and praised Him, and reminded and exhorted, then he said: ‘Which day is most sacred? Which day is most sacred? Which day is most sacred?’ He said: “So the people said: ‘The day of Al-Hajj Al-Akbar O Messenger of Allah!’ So he said: ‘Indeed, your blood, your wealth, your honor, is as sacred for you as the sacredness of this day of yours, in this city of yours, in this month of yours. Behold! None commits a crime but against himself, none offends a father for a son, nor a son for a father. Behold! … Behold! I ORDER YOU TO TREAT WOMEN WELL, for they are but like captives with you, you have no sovereignty beyond this over them, unless they MANIFEST LEWDNESS (FAHISHA MUBAYYINA/“ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُبَيِّنَةٍ”). If they do that, then abandon their beds, and beat them with a beating THAT IS NOT PAINFUL (“وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ ضَرْبًا غَيْرَ مُبَرِّحٍ”). 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, then they ARE NOT TO ALLOW ANYONE ON YOUR BEDDING whom you dislike, nor permit anyone whom your dislike in your homes. Behold! Indeed their rights upon you are that you treat them well in clothing them and feeding them.’” (Jami at-Tirmidhi volume 5, Book 44, Hadith 3087. Eng. Tran., Hasan Darussalam https://sunnah.com/urn/740930)

Imam Nasir al-Din Abu al-Khair Abdullah Ibn Umar al-Baydawi (d. 1286):

“You have a right over your women. [The right] is yours that they should not cause anyone you dislike to TREAD YOUR BEDS [la yuti’na furusha-kum/”أَلاَّ يُوطِئْنَ فُرُشَكُمْ”] and that they should not commit an open IMMORAL ACT (FAHISHAH MUBAYYINAH). If they do, God permits you to break off relations with them in beds and to beat them, but not severely. If they finally desist they shall have their maintenance and clothing in accordance with custom (bi-‘l-ma’ruf)” (Commentarius in Koranum, [Edition H. C. Fleischer, Leipzig, 1846-8], by Nasir al-Din Abu al-Khair Abdullah Ibn Umar al-Baydawi, page 121)

The Hadith recorded in Sunan al-Kubra by Abu Bakr Ahmed Ibn al-Hussayn al-Bayhaqi (994 – 1066), the words from Surah 4:34 is clearly mentioned in the farewell sermon:

“Fear Allah concerning your women, indeed they have rights over you and you have rights over them. THEY SHOULD NOT GIVE YOUR BEDS [FURUSHAKUM/” فُرُشَكُمْ”] TO ANYONE OTHER THAN YOU and they should not permit anyone you dislike into your houses [Buyutikum/” بُيُوتِكُمْ”]. IF YOU FEAR NUSHUZ from them, then admonish them, and abandon them in the bed, and hit them without causing extreme pain [Ghair Mubarrih/” غَيْرَ مُبَرِّحٍ”] (Quran 4:34). And their rights over you is that you provide for them and clothe them in a manner that is good. Indeed you have taken them as a trust from Allah, since you seek to make their private parts permissible to you with Allah’s word, and the one who has a trust must return it to the one who entrusted it to him.” (Sunan al-Kubra [Beirut – Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyya, 1994], by Abu Bakr Ahmed Ibn al-Hussayn al-Bayhaqi, volume 2, page 257)

So what exactly does the Arabic word “Fahisha” mean? According to Arabic-English dictionaries the word carries the meaning of “whoredom”, “harlot”, “Adultery”, “illicit sexual intercourse”, “fornicates”, and “fornication”. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16]

The companions of Prophet Muhammed (p) and the Tabi’een (individuals who did not meet the Prophet but met his companions)  such as, Abdullah bin Masud (d. 650), Ibn Abbas (619 – 687), Sa’id bin Al-Musayyib (637 – 715), Ash-Sha’bi (d. 722-23), Al-Hasan (d. 728), Ibn Sirin (653 – 733), Mujahid (642 – 722), Ikrimah (d. 723), Sa’id bin Jubayr (665 – 714), Abu Qilabah (d. 722-23), Abu Salih, Ad-Dahhak (d. 723), Zayd bin Aslam (d. 753), Ata Al-Khurasani (670 – 752), As-Suddi (d. 745), Sa’id bin Hilal and others have said that ‘Fahisa Mubayyina’ means “adultery” or advancing sexual desire or lust (cheating) to another man. [17] [18] [19] [20] [21]

The basic order of the Prophetic statement is that a wife should not allow any but the husband to tread the bed nor enter the house, nor should she commit an immoral act – not to cheat. Nushuz in light of Prophet’s Muhammed’s (p) statement means a wife that is caught bringing a man into the husband’s bed or committing an immoral act or advancing sexual lust to another man. [22] [23]

It is a husband’s nature, especially in a patriarchal society when this verse was revealed, over thirteen hundred years ago if he caught a man in his bed with his wife, he would do something that may endanger the life of her wife and the man caught in the act. The husband may take such an action that may lead to injury or even death of the man and his wife. There have been many cases where men have caught their wives cheating and it has led to the death of women in the Western world. Many heinous cases have been reported in the Western World where a husband has taken the life of his wife due to suspicion of her cheating. [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] Just a case recently where a woman was talking to another man, the husband (Robert Bance) saw the two talking to each other in the pub, he lost it and ended up stabbing his wife 20 times for merely talking. [37] The Quran and the Prophet (p) categorically condemns and prohibits such evil actions. But sadly this happens all around the world.

God in all his Mercy Knows that it was in the nature of patriarchal male that if he saw his wife advancing sexual attention or caught cheating the man in the vast majority of cases would take to harm his wife and the man. The steps categorized in Surah 4:34 was a way to prevent the man from harming his wife. It was of controlling the anger of the man. It was steps in anger management.

The first step that was utilized in this, was to approach the wife and advise her with words where there are issues at home in relation to arguments or any other matter. If she continues causing distress and arguments and feuds continue, the husband is to separate the bed, not sleep with her. This way the husband was giving her the time to calm down, reflect and sort things out as adults. The Quran’s last resort is in relation to evident cheating of the wife only. This last step was understood as to hit lightly in the case of clear evident adultery. Scholars like Ibn Ashur, Khaled Abu Fadl, Dr. Shabir Ally and others have pointed out that the light hit (Dharb Ghayr Mubarrih) the wife receives is meted out by the courts. The husband is not allowed to touch her. They use the Quranic evidence from 4:34-35 to point out that is the courts who inflict such a punishment, not the husband. [38] [39]

With the above in perspective, one can safely say with the evidences presented that Nushuz is connected to Fahisha. Which is the stage wherein it refers to unwarranted behaviour on the wife where she is making sexual advances to another party – be that in the house or outside or clear evident adultery.

5. The Prophet Muhammed’s Conduct With His Wives

Some have argued that a simple argument, or the wife being harsh means that the husband can use physical force. Although some have interpreted Nushuz as a wife who disobeys her husband in regards to arguing with her husband or having disputes – this interpretation is alien to the Prophet Muhammed. The wives of the Prophet (p) did not hesitate to speak their mind when there were issues. For the Prophet (p) to connect Nushuz to Fahisha Mubayyina is clear, that Surah 4:34 relates to sexual advances or the wife caught cheating (adultery). There are numerous instances where the Prophet (p) had disputes and his wife annoying him, where he would not speak to them for days. He did not lash out or raise his hand against them. There is a number of famous Hadith reports where some of the wives shout, throwing mood swings and arguing with the Prophet (p). At times Hafsa, the Prophet’s wife used to argue to the extend of upsetting him, yet he kept cool [40]:

“Narrated Ibn `Abbas: For one year I wanted to ask `Umar about the two women who helped each other against the Prophet but I was afraid of him. One day he dismounted his riding animal and went among the trees of Arak to answer the call of nature, and when he returned, I asked him and he said, “(They were) `Aisha and Hafsa.” Then he added, “We never used to give significance to ladies in the days of the Pre-lslamic period of ignorance, but when Islam came and Allah mentioned their rights, we used to give them their rights but did not allow them to interfere in our affairs. Once there was some DISPUTE BETWEEN ME AND MY WIFE AND SHE ANSWERED ME BACK IN A LOUD VOICE. I said to her, ‘Strange! You can retort in this way?’ She said, ‘Yes. Do you say this to me while your daughter TROUBLES ALLAH’S MESSENGER?’ So I went to Hafsa and said to her, ‘I warn you not to DISOBEY ALLAH AND HIS APOSTLE.’ I first went to Hafsa and then to Um Salama and told her the same. She said to me, ‘O `Umar! It surprises me that you interfere in our affairs so much that you would poke your nose even into the affairs of Allah’s Messenger and his wives.’ So SHE REJECTED MY ADVICE. … A great event has happened!’ I asked him, ‘What is it? Has the Ghassani (king) come?’ He said, ‘Greater than that! Allah’s Messenger has divorced his wives! I went to them and found all of them weeping in their dwellings, and the Prophet had ascended to an upper room of his. At the door of the room there was a slave to whom I went and said, “Ask the permission for me to enter.” He admitted me and I entered to see the Prophet lying on a mat that had left its imprint on his side. Under his head there was a leather pillow stuffed with palm fires. Behold! There were some hides hanging there and some grass for tanning. THEN I MENTIONED WHAT I HAD SAID TO HAFSA AND UM SALAMA and what reply Um Salama had given me. Allah’s Messenger SMILED AND STAYED THERE FOR TWENTY NINE DAYS AND THEN CAME DOWN.” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 7, Book 72, Hadith 734. Eng. Tran. https://sunnah.com/bukhari/77/60 )

Sahih Muslim

“Abdullah b. Abbas reported: …He (the narrator) stated that ‘Umar had said: By Allah, during the days of ignorance we had no regard for women until Allah the Exalted revealed about them what He has revealed, and appointed (turn) for them what he appointed. He said: It so happened that I was thinking about some matter that my wife said: I wish you had done that and that. I said to her: It does not concern you and you should not feel disturbed in a matter which I intend to do. She said to me: How strange is it that you, O son of Khattab, do not like anyone to retort upon you, whereas YOUR DAUGHTER RETORTS UPON ALLAH’S MESSENGER UNTIL HE SPENDS THE DAY IN VEXATION. ‘Umar said: I took hold of my cloak, then came out of my house until I visited Hafsa and said to her: O daughter, (I HEARD) THAT YOU RETORT UPON ALLAH’S MESSENGER UNTIL HE SPENDS THE DAY IN VEXATION, WHEREUPON HAFSA SAID: BY ALLAH, WE DO RETORT UPON HIM. I said: You should bear in mind, my daughter, that I warn you against the punishment of Allah and the wrath of His Messenger. You may not be misled by one whose beauty has fascinated her, and the love of Allah’s Messenger for her. I (‘Umar) then visited Umm Salama because of my relationship with her and I talked to her. Umm Salama said to me: Umar b. al-Khattab, how strange is it that you meddle with every matter so much so that you are anxious to interfere between Allah’s Messenger and his wives, and this perturbed me so much that I refrained from saying what I had to say, so I came out of her apartment, and I had a friend from the Anar. … My friend, the Ansari, came to me, and he knocked at the door and said: Open it, open it. I said: Has the Ghassani come? He said: (The matter is) more serious than that. The Messenger of Allah HAS SEPARATED HIMSELF FROM HIS WIVES. I said: Let the nose of Hafsa and ‘A’isha be besmeared with dust. I then took hold of my cloth and went out until I came and found Allah’s Messenger in his attic to which he climbed by means of a ladder made of date-palm, and the servant of Allah’s Messenger who was black had been sitting at the end of the ladder. I said: This is Umar. So permission was granted to me. I narrated this news to Allah’s Messenger and as I NARRATED THE NEWS CONCERNING UMM SALAMA, ALLAH’S MESSENGER SMILED. ….” (Sahih Muslim Book 9, Hadith 3508 https://sunnah.com/muslim/18/41 )

Sahih Muslim:

“I wish if you had seen how we the people of Quraish had domination over women but when we came to Medina we found people whom THEIR WOMEN DOMINATED. So our women began to learn from their women. One day I became angry with MY WIFE AND SHE BEGAN TO RETORT UPON ME. I did not approve that she should retort upon me. She said: You do not like that I should retort upon you, but, by Allah, THE WIVES OF ALLAH’S APOSTLE RETORT UPON HIM AND ANY ONE OF THEM SEPARATES HERSELF FROM HIM FOR A DAY UNTIL NIGHT. I said: He who did that amongst them in fact failed and incurred loss. Does any of them feel safe from the wrath of Allah upon her due to the wrath of Allah’s Messenger, and she has certainly perished. ALLAH’S MESSENGER SMILED, I said: Messenger of Allah, I visited Hafsa and said: (THE BEHAVIOUR) of your companion (‘A’isha) may not mislead you, If she is more graceful than you and is dearer to Allah’s Messenger than you. Allah’s Messenger SMILED for the second time. … I said: Allah’s Messenger! seek pardon for me. And he (Allah’s Messenger) had taken an oath that he would not visit them for a month DUE TO EXTREME ANNOYANCE with them until Allah showed His displeasure to him (Allah’s Messenger).” Sahih Muslim Book 9, Hadith 3511. Eng Tran. https://sunnah.com/muslim/18/44 )

In the first report, it mentions where we are told that the Prophet Muhammed (p) isolated himself for 29 days, and he returned to his wives. Aishah (ra) informed the Prophet that he returned one day early, and it is not 30 days yet. The Prophet smiled and told her that there are 29 days in some months in a year. The purpose of it here is that the Prophet (p) loved his wives so much so that he wanted to get back to them. He didn’t demand them to apologise for what was said to him prior.

In another similar version, Umar Ibn Khattab was about to raise his hand against his daughter Hafsa for upsetting the Prophet. Prophet Muhammed (p) immediately walks in and did not allow him to touch her:

“Hafsa, like A’isha with whom she became close friends, was never at a loss for words, and was not afraid to argue with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who was content to allow her to say what she thought. One day, while speaking to Hafsa’s mother Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “I think I shall so and so.” Whereupon his wife replied, “But it would be better if you did such and such.” “Are you arguing with me, woman?” said Umar who was a fierce man who did not expect his wives to talk back at him. “Why not?” she answered. “Your daughter KEEPS ARGUING WITH THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH UNTIL SHE UPSETS HIM FOR THE WHOLE DAY.” Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) immediately put on his cloak and went directly to his daughter’s house. “Is it true that you argue with the Messenger of Allah?” he asked. “INDEED I DO.” She replied. Umar was just about to chastise her for what he considered were bad manners, when THE PROPHET (PEACE AND BLESSINGS OF ALLAH BE UPON HIM) CAME INTO THE ROOM AND WOULD NOT ALLOW HIM TO EVEN TOUCH HER. So Umar went round to visit Umm Salama, to whom Umar was related in order to try and influence Hafsa’s behavior through her.
“I wonder at you, Ibn Khattab,” she said, after she had listened to him. “You have interfered in everything. Will you now interfere between the Messenger of Allah and his wives?” Sayiduna Umar when relating this incident, continued, “And she kept after me until she made me give up much of what I thought proper.’” (Muhammad’s Life – The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad, by Ibn Kathir, [translated by Sheikh Muhammad Gemeiah, Office of the Grand Imam, Sheikh Al Azhar, Edited by: Aelfwine Acelas Mischler], Online source http://web.archive.org/web/20030728194043/http://www.islamic-paths.org/Home/English/Muhammad/Book/Wives/Chapter_04.htm )

A similar incident is also reported between Aisha and the Prophet (p) [41]:

“It is narrated by Nu‘man ibn Basheer: Abu Bakr came and sought permission to enter the Prophet’s house. He heard ‘A’ISHAH RAISING HER VOICE OVER THAT OF THE PROPHET’S. After being permitted, he entered, got hold of her, and said: O daughter of Umm Rooman, why are you raising your voice over that of the Messenger of Allah? The Prophet intervened and PREVENTED HIM FROM HITTING HIS DAUGHTER. When Abu Bakr left, the Prophet consoled her and said: Did you see how I saved you from him? After a while, Abu Bakr returned, sought permission to enter, and this time he saw the PROPHET JOKING AND LAUGHING WITH ‘A’ISHAH. Abu Bakr said: O Messenger of Allah, allow me to be part of your peace, just as you have allowed me to be part of your conflict.” (Related by Ahmed, graded as hasan) (The prophet Mohammad The Best of All Husbands (“Al-Nabi Sallahu Alayhi Wa-Sallam Zawja”) [Translated by Najwa Jaffer] by Dr. Ghazi al-Shammari, page 35 – 36)

There is also the incident of Aisha deliberately breaking a bowl of food out of jealousy in front of Prophet Muhammed (p) and his companions:

Anas narrated: “One of the wives of the Prophet gave the Prophet some food in a bowl. Then ‘Aishah broke the bowl with her hand, and discarded what was in it. So the Prophet said: “Food for food and vessel for vessel.” (Jami at-Tirmidhi, volume 3, Book 13, Hadith 1359. Eng. Tran., Sahih Darussalam https://sunnah.com/tirmidhi/15/39)

In another version, it is said that a bowl was struck deliberately so that it breaks. The Prophet (p) calmly picks up the food:

“Anas said: “The Prophet was with one of the Mothers of the Believers when another one sent a wooden bowl in which was some food. SHE STRUCK THE HAND OF THE PROPHET AND THE BOWL FELL AND BROKE. The Prophet picked up the two pieces and put them together, then he started to gather up the food and said: ‘YOUR MOTHER GOT JEALOUS; EAT.’ SO THEY ATE. He waited until she brought the wooden bowl that was in her house, then he gave the sound bowl to the messenger and left the broken bowl in the house of the one who had broken it.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i volume 4, Book 36, Hadith 3407. Eng. Tran. Sahih (Darussalam https://sunnah.com/nasai/36/17 )

And:

“It was narrated that Anas bin Malik said: “The Prophet was with one of the Mothers of the Believers (his wives) and another (wife) sent a bowl containing food. SHE (THE FIRST WIFE) STRUCK THE HAND OF THE MESSENGER OF AND THE BOWL FELL AND BROKE. THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH TOOK THE TWO PIECES AND PUT THEM BACK TOGETHER, THEN HE STARTED GATHERING UP THE FOOD and putting it in (the bowl). HE SAID: ‘YOUR MOTHER WAS JEALOUS. EAT.’ So they ate, and she (the wife who broke the bowl) brought the bowl that was in her house and gave the intact bowl to the Messenger, who left the broken bowl in the house of the one who broke it.” (Sunan Ibn Majah volume 3, Book 13, Hadith 2334. Eng. Tran. Sahih Darussalam https://sunnah.com/ibnmajah/13/27 )

What sort of a husband today would tolerate such an act? Here we see Prophet Muhammed (p) calmly picking up the food and eating it without reprimanding his wife.

The qualities of mercy, kindness, and leniency and patience in the Prophet Muhammed’s personality are best exhibited in his relationship with his wives and this can be seen in the following example also:

“It is narrated by Anas: Every night, the Prophet’s wives used to collect in the house of the wife whose turn it was. Zaynab entered ‘Aishah’s house and the Prophet extended his hand, so ‘Aishah said: She is Zaynab. So the Prophet closed his fist, and both (wives) began arguing until their voices became very loud. Abu Bakr, who was passing by, heard them and said: I feel like throwing dirt in their mouths. The time for prayer approached, so the Prophet got up and left without saying anything to her, but Abu Bakr came back and scolded ‘Aishah. (Sahih Muslim Book 8, Hadith 3450 Eng. Tran., https://sunnah.com/muslim/17/61 )

The Prophet’s patience can be seen clearly here. Even though his wives were arguing in front of him he did not reprimand them.

This is the magnificent patience that the Prophet (p) shown in all these instances. When Umar Ibn al-Khattab’s wife retorted to her husband over some issues, he took it as a great offence, yet the Prophet Muhammed’s wives were used to answering him back, arguing with him, raising their voices and having discussions with him, and he would calmly listen to them without denying them this indulgence. This shows the humility, mercy, and kindness and patience with which he dealt with his wives. In fact, he was so kind and patient with his wives that they would talk back to him and abandon him until night came, but he would remain patient and forgiving. Based on these instances,  and Prophet Muhammed’s use of the words ‘Fashishah Mubayyinah’ in his Khutbat al-Wadaa (farewell sermon) it shows that Surah 4:34, Nushuz refers directly to cases in which there is a clear and evident adultery or something equal to that. Not disobedience or mere violations on to the husband’s whims and wishes. For the life of Prophet Muhammed (p) refutes the claim that mere disobedience to husband warrants striking a wife, this act is abhorred, alien and unheard of when we analyse the Prophet Muhammed’s life.

6. Speaking to your wife (1) and then separating beds (2)

It is also important to highlight that when a wife was disobedient in the sense of arguing, being confrontational or raising their voices – the Quran orders to sort their differences with words. When the verbal complaint to the wife was exhausted and the wife continues with the same old behaviour in the case where it is seriously disturbing the marriage, the Quran orders the husband to separate beds. Depriving her of sexual needs. In the case of a wife who was caught inviting men into the house (cheating), making sexual advances, seriously disturbing the peace in marriage God granted the husband only in this instance to hit the wife lightly. The rule here was an exception, not the norm. Touching a wife in any other instance besides unfaithfulness (adultery) on the wife’s part, is clear that he had broken the covenant of Allah and his Messenger. Even in this case, it was suggested by some scholars it is best not to touch her, file a divorce and go your separate ways.

7. The Arabic word “Daraba”

The phrase ‘Id’ribuhunna’ for chapter 4 verse 34, has been by many critics, especially Anti-Islam propagandists have twisted and distorted the verse. The claim that the word sanctions (approves) of wife abuse has no historical basis. ‘Id’ribuhunna’, the verb of which is Daraba (“ضَرَبَ“). Daraba has many meanings, here are some of them:

“Daraba (darb) to beat, strike, … to play … (to play musical instrument)l to make music; to type ( on a type writer); to sting (scorpion); to separate, part (… people); to impose (… on s.o. s.th.). to turn away from, leave, forsake, abandon, avoid, or shun s.o. or s.th.; – (darb, … daraban) to pulsate. … to move, stir, to rove, roam about, travel. …” (M…” (Hans Wehr A Dictionary of Modern written Arabic [Edited by John Milton – Spoken Language Services, Inc. 1976, 4th edition], page 629)

In this case it is understood for the passage (Q 4:34) to mean ‘beat’ lightly (non-violent). This final step the husband was allowed to take, was in the case of clear adultery or something equal to that.

When one looks at the verse in its historical perspective, it was always understood in a symbolic way. It was pointed out by the earliest scholars of Islam that the husband is not allowed to hurt, bruise, break any part of her body and must avoid the face. Prophet Muhammad (p) stated in his farewell pilgrimage as we showed earlier:

“Treat women kindly, they are like captives in your hands; you do not owe anything else from them. In case they are guilty of open indecency (Fahishah Mubayyinah), then do not share their beds and beat them lightly but if they return to obedience, do not have recourse to anything else against them. You have rights over your wives and they have their rights over you. Your right is that they shall not permit anyone you dislike to enter your home, and their right is that you should treat them well in the matter of food and clothing.” (Jami at-Tirmidhi, volume 1, Book 7, Hadith 1163. Eng. Tran., Sahih Darussalam)

We see from the above narration the Prophet (p) commanding his early followers that they treat their wives with kindness. The Prophet (p) also mentions that if his wife is found to be “guilty of indecency” (Fahisha Mubayyina), in this case, he was allowed to strike lightly in this instance only. Furthermore, how do we know that the strike is non-violent, non-aggressive and light?

This last resort was understood by Prophet Muhammed in the above Hadith and scholars as ‘beat lightly’ or “non-violent strike’ (“ضَرْبًا غَيْرَ مُبَرِّحٍ”), touching her in such a way as to not leave a mark, nor hurt her. Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (838 – 923 AD) who is one of the earliest commentators of the Quran writes on Surah 4:34. Tabari has a tradition going back to one of the Companions of the Prophet (p) explains the word ‘beat’ as:

“I asked Ibn Abbas: ‘What is the hitting that is Ghayr Al-Mubarrih?’ He replied [with] the siwak (toothbrush like a twig) and the like’. [Narrated by al-Tabari in his tafsir [Dar al-fikr] volume 5, page 68)

Furthermore, Al-Razi (865 – 925 AD) who was a scholar also comments on the verse and mentions that as a rule,
(a) it must be a light beating and (b) the face must be avoided. He added that certain Shafi’I jurists said “coiled scarf (mindil malfuf) or his hand may be used but not a whip nor a stick (Al-Razi volume 3, page 222).

Sufyan Ibn Uyaynah (725 – 814 AD) states clearly that the punishment is “non-violent” [42] [43] [44]. From the evidence presented, it is abundantly clear that the beat was non-violent and light, that one was to use a Miswak (toothbrush) or “coiled scarf”, as the scholars stated. It is evident that the force utilised by a ‘folded scarf’ or a ‘miswak’ is, therefore, purely symbolic, it was in no way meant to hurt her. It was more of a shock.

8. Non-Muslim Academics on Surah 4:34

John Louis Esposito (b. 1940) is a professor of International Affairs and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University. He is a Catholic Christian he says in his book “What does Islam have to say about domestic violence?” He states that domestic violence is completely forbidden and the Prophet’s conduct is clear that he never touched any of his wives:

“Domestic violence is a serious social problem in the West and globally, and the Muslim world is no exception. Many grass-roots movements and women’s organizations who work to eradicate it through education for both men and women emphasize Quranic teachings about the rights and responsibilities of men and women and about marital relations. In some Muslim societies, men use the Quran to justify domestic violence. However, many verses in the Quran teach that men and women are to be kind to and supportive of each other. Love and justice in family relationships are emphasized, and cruelty is forbidden. Quran 30:21 states, ‘And among his signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your [hearts]: behold, verily in that are signs for those who reflect.’ Quran 4:19 further commands, ‘O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness. On the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take dislike to them it may be that you dislike a thing through which God brings about a great deal of good. ’Chronologically, the last Quranic verse to be revealed that addressed relations between husband and wife was 9:71, in which women and men are described as being each other’s protecting friends and guardians, emphasizing their cooperation in living together as partners, rather than adversaries or superiors and subordinates.Likewise, the hadith (Prophetic traditions) note Muhammad’s respect for and protection of women. Muhammad said, ‘The best of you is he who is best to his wife.’ Muhammad’s wife Aisha narrated that Muhammad never hit any servant or woman and never physically struck anyone with his own hand. Neither the Quran nor the hadith record Muhammad as ever mistreating or losing temper with any of his wives, even when he was unhappy or dissatisfied. Those who use the Quran to justify wife-beating point to 4:34, which says, ‘Good women are obedient, guarding in secret that which God has guarded. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them, then banish them to beds apart and strike them. But if they obey you, do not seek a way against them.’ In recent years scholars have argued that ‘obedience’ refers to women’s attitude toward God, not toward her husband. Furthermore, obedience in this verse is tied to the women’s guarding of her chastity, so that an obedient women is one who does not commit sexual immorality. The word typically translated as ‘disobedience’ (Nushuz) refers to disruption of marital harmony in which one spouse fails to fulfil the required duties of marriage. It is applied elsewhere in the Quran to bother men and women. The end of the verse admonishes men not to mistreat women who obey them. Rather than granting men the right to strike their wives, reformers argue, this verse reminds men of their responsibility to treat women fairly. Quran 4:34 lists three methods to be used in resolving marital disputes. First comes admonition or discussion between the husband and wife alone or with the assistance of arbiters. This practice, also recommended by 4:35 and 4:128, is also to be used for couples considering divorce. If this fails, the second option is physical separation, sleeping in separate beds, which gives the couple space for cooling off and thinking about the future of their marital relationship. The third and final method is to strike or hit. The striking takes the singular form grammatically, so that only a single strike Is permissible. Quran 4:34 was revealed early In the Medinan period of Muhammad’s ministry, a time and place in which cruelty and violence against women remained rampant. Thus some Muslim scholars today argue that the single strike permitted in this verse was intended as a restriction on an existing practice, not as a recommended method for dealing with one’s wife.
In the major hadith collections– Muslim, Bukhari, Tirmidhi, Abu Daud, Nasai, and Ibn Majah- hadith about striking all emphasize that striking should be done in such a way AS NOT TO CAUSE PAIN OR HARM. THESE SOURCES TRESS STRESS THAT IN CASES WHERE A SINGLE STRIKE IS USED, IT SHOULD BE MERELY SYMBOLIC. The founder of the Shafii law of school maintained that it is preferable to avoid striking altogether. Despite the fact that domestic violence continued to exist in male-dominated cultures and to be legitimated in the name of religion, neither the majority of Quranic verses nor the hadith support or permit it.” (What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam: Second Edition [Copyright 2011] by John L. Esposito page 114 – 116)

Rev. Dr. Ira Gilbert Zepp, Jr., professor emeritus of the Religious Studies department at McDaniel College, also comments on the Quranic passage 4:34, he writes the following:

“The husband is the head of the household, is the final authority, and has due obedience and cooperation from his wife. If the wife is rebellious or disobedient, there are several options open to the husband. He may first try dissuade her with kind and gentle reasoning. If this fails, he may then refrain from sleeping with her. And if the above are not effective, he has Quranic permission to ‘beat her lightly’ (4:34).
Such ‘slight physical correction’ (as Yusuf Ali says) avoids her face and other sensitive areas. Striking your wife in the face (as was pictured in the film Not without my Daughter) and other forms of verbal and physical cruelty have no sanction in the Quran.
Many Muslims feel that although permitted, such activity is not advisable and is the exception much more than the rule. If all else fails, the next verse (4:35) suggests the couple seek help and counsel from a mediator. Perhaps the disagreement between husband and wife can be resolved in this open, balanced and neutral way.” (A Muslim Primer: Beginner’s Guide to Islam, [Copyright 1992] by Ira G. Zepp Jr page, volume 1, 127 – 128)

Dr. Chris T. R. Hewer ‘comes from a background in Christian theology, education, Islamic studies and inter-faith studies and has worked in the field of Muslims in Britain and Christian-Muslim relations since 1986.’ Dr. Chris T.R Hewer who is of Christian faith, is another in line of respected experts commenting on the Quranic passage 4:34, he says:

“An adult woman has many rights within Islam that were granted by the Qur’an and Hadith of Muhammad but for which Western women have had to fight in the twentieth century. Both men and women have an equal responsibility to follow the Islamic way of life (Q. 33.35). A Muslim woman is allowed to own property in her own right and dispose of it without reference to her husband. She normally keeps her own name after marriage. She is permitted to make her own will to dispose of her goods after death. She has an entitlement to education at all levels equal to that of a man. She is entitled to sexual fulfilment. She has a right to engage in any profession or business. She should be consulted in public affairs, following the example of Muhammad who habitually sought the opinion of some of the Muslim women before making a decision. She has the right to keep and control her earnings, it being the duty of the husband to meet all domestic expenditure, house his family and educate his children (Q. 4.34).
There are no grounds for her to be a domestic drudge, it technically being the husband’s duty to see that hot food is laid before his wife. The only duty laid upon a wife is to be open to bear children, should God bless them, and to nurse them when they are young, although even here a wet-nurse can be retained. These are of course the ideals as provided by Islamic law but the realities in Muslim families around the world do not always follow these prescriptions.
Reference is often made to the verse of the Qur’an that appears to allow a husband to beat his wife (Q. 4.34). The context here is one of nushuz, a violation of duties on the part of the religious wife. This verse of the Quran lays down four steps to be taken, which may be seen as a correction and limitation of pre-Islamic practices. First the man should speak to his wife. If this fails, he should then refuse sleep with her. Only if this fails to change her ways, is he allowed a kind of symbolic humiliation by striking her with his miswak, a piece of wood smaller than a pencil, the tip of which is used for brushing the teeth. Even this is considered inadvisable in some schools of Islam, and any form of cruelty, including verbal abuse, is unanimously forbidden. Should all this fail, then the couple should seek arbitration within the family.”(Understanding Islam: The First Ten Steps [Copyright 2006] by Dr. Chris T. R. Hewer, Allan Anderson page 129 – 130)

Christian scholar Dr. Winfried Corduan states that the verse in question is in regards “marital infidelity”. The claim often spouted that the wife can be disciplined whenever the husband so wishes is not true. I don’t agree with everything he states, but nonetheless, he presents some things that are line with the historical understanding of the verse:

“Please note that his verse is NOT an unlimited licence for Muslim men to commit spousal abuse.
– Does this verse say that husbands may thrash their wives whenever they are upset with them? OF COURSE, NOT.
– Does it say that if the wife does not obey the husband in some unspecified matter, he is allowed to proceed through the sequence of disciplines: admonition, denial of marital relations, and finally light physical discipline? STILL, NO.
– The occasion for application of this verse is very clear. The only two areas to which it applies are (1) if the wife squanders her husband’s earnings, thereby putting both of them into economic jeopardy, and (2) (based on surrounding material) if the husband has good reason to suspect MARITAL INFIDELITY ON THE PART OF THE WIFE.
Thus, there are limits to a husband’s physical discipline of his wife in both occasion and method… If the issue is not resolved, the expected OUTCOME IS DIVORCE, NOT ESCALATING unilateral punishment of the woman.” (Neighboring Faiths: A Christian Introduction to World Religions [IVP Academic – An Imprint Of InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois. Second edition, 2012] by Winfried Corduan, page 127 – 128)

Although some of the opinion(s) was not true as we have already explained earlier, however, One thing that stands out here is that the above scholars all agree that cruelty is forbidden. And that the rule here was an exception, not the norm.

9. Classical Scholars: ‘Do Not Hit Your Wife’

Some of the leading classical scholars have opined to the point of not hitting at all. Rather the husband should find other ways of solving their issues:

“The vast majority of the ulama across the Sunni schools of law inherited the Prophet’s unease over domestic violence and placed further restrictions on the evident meaning of the ‘Wife Beating Verse: A LEADING MECCAN SCHOLAR FROM THE SECOND GENERATION OF MUSLIMS, ATA’ BIN ABI RABAH, COUNSELED A HUSBAND NOT TO BEAT HIS WIFE even if she ignored him but rather to express his anger in some other way. Darimi, a teacher of both Tirmidhi and Muslim bin Hajjaj as well as a leading early scholar in Iran, collected all the Hadiths showing Muhammad’s disapproval of beating] in a chapter entitled ‘THE PROHIBITION ON STRIKING WOMEN. A thirteenth century scholar from Granada, Ibn Faras, notes that one camp of ulama had staked out a stance FORBIDDING STRIKING A WIFE ALTOGETHER, declaring it CONTRARY TO THE PROPHET’S EXAMPLE AND DENYING THE AUTHENTICITY OF ANY HADITHS THAT SEEMED TO PERMIT BEATING. Even IBN HAJAR, the pillar of late medieval Sunni Hadith scholarship, concludes that, contrary to what seems to be an explicit command in the Qur’an, the Hadiths of the Prophet leave no doubt that striking one’s wife to discipline her actually FALLS UNDER THE SHARIAH RULING OF ‘STRONGLY DISLIKED’ OR ‘DISLIKED VERGING ON PROHIBITED.” (Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari, 9:378-79) (Misquoting Muhammad – The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy [Oneworld Publications, 2014], by Jonathan A. C. Brown, page 275 – 276)

Ibn al-Arabi (d. 1148) agrees with the opinion of scholar Ata Ibn Abi Rabah’s (653 – 732 AD) who met the companions of Prophet Muhammed (p). Ata’s statement is that even when a woman who disobeys or does something which is against the husband he should not touch her:

“…women should not be beaten, even when they disobey their husbands’ orders. They should limit themselves to be angry with their wives.” (Ahkam al-Quran [Dar al kotob al Ilmiyyah , Beirut, Lebanon] by Abu Bakr Ibn al-Arabi, volume 1, page 469)

Classical jurist Imam al-Shafi’I states that although light beating was permissible as evidenced in Surah 4:34, but it is not compulsory (fard) nor a religious duty. He ends with the words it is better and preferable not touch your wife, rather the husband should use words or other means to sort things out as Prophet Muhammed (p) did throughout his life he never raised his finger against any of his wives:

“…we choose what the Messenger of Allah chose himself, and we prefer that the husband does not beat his wife when she goes too far against him in her words and similar things…” (Kitab Al-Umm [Edited by Muhammed Zuhri al-Najjar. Cairo – Maktabat al-Kulliyyat al-Ashariyya, 1381/1961], by Imam Al-Shafi’I, volume 5, page 194)

The great classical Quranic commentator, Imam Jalal al-Din as-Suyuti (1445 – 1505 AD) states in regard to 4:34:

“If strife ensues between a man and wife, HE SHOULD SEEK COUNSEL from the righteous men and someone who is his peer in righteousness among the women so they can determine which one of the two is in the wrong (and help them correct it).” (Jalal al-din as-Suyuţi, Al-durar al-manthur fi tafsir bi’l ma’thur, retrieved August 30, 2010 from AlTafsir.) (The Prohibition Of Domestic Violence In Islam – A Fatwa issued by Shaykh M. Hisham Kabbani and Dr. Homayra Ziad [World Organization for Resource Development And Education, 2011], page 24)

Abu l-Qasim Abdu l-Karim al-Qushayri (986 – 1072 AD):

“What is meant here is to encourage them to correct themselves in stages and with KINDNESS. But if the matter is settled by admonishing then ONE SHOULD NOT BEAT HER (with a stick or the hand) BECAUSE THE VERSE IMPLIES the conduct of engaging in sexual relations.” (Abu l-Qasim Abdu l-Karim al-Qushayri, Laṭa’if al-isharat bi tafsir al-Qur’an (Egypt: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2000), retrieved August 30, 2010 from Altafsir website.) (The Prohibition Of Domestic Violence In Islam – A Fatwa issued by Shaykh M. Hisham Kabbani and Dr. Homayra Ziad [World Organization for Resource Development And Education, 2011], page 23)

10. Physical Violence: A Right Of Divorce

The right of divorce is not always afforded to victims of abuse in some religions. For example, in the New Testament (Bible), Jesus says that only in the case of clear adultery does a wife have a right of divorce. If she divorces the husband without him being unfaithful (cheating) and marries again, she is called an “adulterous” woman (Matthew 5:32; 19:9, Luke 16:18 & Mark 10:10-12). The Law in the New Testament is so strict that even if a wife were to get abused physically or verbally she is forbidden from divorcing her husband. In Islam however, this is not the case. A wife has got the right to divorce if the husband abuses her physically or even verbally.

There was an incident in the life-time of Prophet Muhammed (p) where a man by the name of Thabit Ibn Qays hit his wife and injured her. The wife went to the Prophet (p) asking for a divorce, he granted her the wish:

“Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin: Habibah daughter of Sahl was the wife of Thabit ibn Qays Shimmas He beat her and broke some of her part. So SHE CAME TO THE PROPHET AFTER MORNING, AND COMPLAINED TO HIM AGAINST HER HUSBAND. The Prophet called on Thabit ibn Qays and said (to him): Take a part of her property AND SEPARATE YOURSELF FROM HER. He asked: Is that right, Messenger of Allah? He said: Yes. He said: I have given her two gardens of mine as a dower, and they are already in her possession. The Prophet said: Take them and SEPARATE YOURSELF FROM HER.” (Sunan Abi Dawud Book 12, Hadith 2220 Eng. Tran. Sahih al-Albani https://sunnah.com/abudawud/13/54 )

This incident is also reported in Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir – Muhammad Ibn Sa’d (784 – 845) [45]:

“…Habiba bint Sahl married Thabit ibn Qays. Thabit beat her and she went to the door of the Messenger of Allah in the morning in the darkness to COMPLAIN ABOUT HIM. She said, ‘I will not remain with Thabit. ‘The Messenger of Allah said, ‘Take back from her what you gave her.’ SHE HAD A … DIVORCE from him for what he had given her, and she remained with her family.’” Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir (“The Women Of Madina”) [Translated by Aisha Bewley – Ta-Ha Publishers LTD, 2015] by Muhammad Ibn Sa’d, volume 8, page 288)

Prophet Muhammed (p) disapproved of husbands’ who hit their wives. In these above reports, the Prophet (p) clearly expresses strong dislike and disapproval domestic abuse, as such considered it was a legitimate cause for a wife to get a divorce if the husband touched (beat) his wife. [46]

11. Domestic Violence: Compensating The Wife – Punishing The Husband

Where there was a wife abused the scholars made sure she was compensated and at times the husband was even punished (lashed). The judges used to dissolve the marriage:

“In articulating their understanding of what God meant in Qur’an 4:34, no Muslim scholar has understood the verse as granting a husband unrestricted license to strike his wife. On the contrary, beginning with Muhammad (or what Muslims imagined to be Muhammad), THE MAJORITY OF THE ULAMA STRONGLY DISCOURAGED ANY ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WIVES. And all schools of law offered the wife protection and required THE HUSBAND TO PAY HER COMPENSATION FOR INJURIES. Most allowed a JUDGE TO DISSOLVE THE MARRIAGE without the wife losing any financial rights. If one takes Shariah courts as the primary interpreters of God’s law, then they repeatedly said ‘no’ to the evident meaning of the Qur’anic verse. As defendants before a Shariah court, husbands effectively had no legitimate right to strike their wives.” (Misquoting Muhammad – The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy [Oneworld Publications, 2014], by Jonathan A. C. Brown, page 286)

There is an interesting case in which the companion of Prophet Muhammed (p), the second Caliph Umar Ibn al-Khattab (579 – 644 AD) meted out a punishment, a beating on a man as a result of him causing trouble and being harsh to his wife. After the punishment, the man returns to his wife this time kind and gentle and resolves the past issues between themselves. [47]

If a wife is injured by the husband it is an “actionable as a criminal offence” according to 12th Century scholar Al-Barakat Aimad Al-Dardir (d. 1201):

“Furthermore, any “HITTING” WHICH IS INJURIOUS or leaves a mark on the woman’s body is actionable as a CRIMINAL OFFENSE.”‘ (Al-Sharh Al-Saghir [Dar Al-Ma’aref], by Al-Barakat Aimad Al-Dardir, page 512) ((An Islamic Perspective on Domestic Violence [Fordham International Law Journal, Issue 1 2003 Article 8], Azizah Y. al-Hibri, volume 27, page 221)

There was a case in the 17th century Ottoman court where a wife testified against her husband. She showed evidence that she was beaten and abused by her husband. The court reprimanded the husband and ordered that he be given “discretionary corporal punishment” (Ta’zir):

“In one court case from May 1687 Fatima bt. Hajj ‘Ali filed a lawsuit against her husband testifying that he was abusing her, he had hit her with a stick on her body and on her mouth causing her to bleed. She claimed that he was constantly abusive. In her defense [sic] she brought along five witnesses. The court reprimanded the abusive husband, ordering that HE BE GIVEN TA’ZIR (DISCRETIONARY CORPORAL PUNISHMENT). (The Ottoman Empire. Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Culture: Family, Law and Politics [Leiden, The Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill NV, 2004], by E. Semerdjian, volume 2, page 121)., (A Critical Examination of Qur’an 4:34 and its Relevance to Intimate Partner Violence in Muslim Families [Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia, 2010] by Nada Ibrahim and Mohamad Abdalla, page 12 -13)

Professor Jonathan A. C. Brown shows instances in history where a wife was abused or beaten the Muslim scholars reprimanded, punished the husband and made sure the wife was compensated for her injuries:

“If the husband was in fact abusive, under the Maliki school in North Africa and Andalusia judges could TERMINATE THE MARRIAGE AND AWARD THE WIFE COMPENSATION. If the wife’s behavior was unbearable, the husband could receive a divorce by judicial decree. (27. Fierro, 324-33) … a famous tenth-century Hanafi jurist in Rayy (now absorbed into modern-day Tehran) wrote that it is the judge’s, responsibility to PREVENT A HUSBAND FROM ABUSING HIS WIFE, both by assigning the wife to live in the house of a trustworthy neighbor and by requiring compensation from the husband for any injury she suffered. Traveling in the fourteenth century through Mardin, near the contemporary Turkey-Syria border, Ibn Battuta recounts how the city’s chief judge had been approached by a woman COMPLAINING THAT HER HUSBAND HAD BEATEN HER. The court had closed for the day, but the judge accompanied the woman to the couple’s home and calmly spoke with the mortified husband in the presence of a crowd of prying neighbors, instructing him to put his affairs in order and GIVE HIS WIFE SATISFACTION. Despite the limitations that the empire’s official Hanafi school placed on judges in such matters, Ottoman court records suggest a similar receptiveness to wives seeking assistance. The influential sixteenth-century chief of the Ottoman religious establishment, Ebusu’ud Efendi, issued a fatwa that a judge was permitted to use any means possible TO PREVENT A HUSBAND FROM HURTING HIS WIFE. A leading Shariah consultant (mufti) to the courts in seventeenth-century Ottoman Palestine issued a fatwa that a husband who had knocked out three of his wife’s teeth HAD TO PAY THE SET COMPENSATION SUM OF ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY GOLD COINS. A series of cases from Shariah courts in and around Aleppo in the late 1600s and early 1700s demonstrated another phenomenon: women who had stipulated in their marriage contracts that if their husbands ever struck them THEY WOULD BE DIVORCED IMMEDIATELY, keeping their dower payment and with the husband responsible for spousal maintenance. (28. Elyse Semerdjian, of the Straight Path, 138-44.) Ottoman Shariah courts could end up extending their jurisdiction into the non-Muslim minorities in the empire. In 1529, the Ottoman Shariah court in a Greek town heard the complaint of a Christian family whose daughter had been beaten to death by her husband, ultimately awarding them her wergild amount. (29. Mathieu Tillier, ‘Women before the Qadi Under The Abbasids,’ 284; Ibn Battuta, Travels, 2:354-55; Judith Tucker, In the House of the Law, 66; Yvonne Seng, ‘Invisible Women: Residents of early Sixteenth-Century Istanbul,’ 250.) Shariah courts that continued under colonial rule and others that continue to function today have taken a similar approach. Women who come before the judge with complaints of abuse and evidence to prove it receive compensation for their injuries and, should they wish, judicially declared divorces and full maintenance rights. If a woman has no witnesses or other evidence that abuse has occurred, the judge might still house her with a neighbor temporarily. Shariah court records from Zanzibar between 1900 and 1950 show that judges would refuse to dissolve the marriages of wives who claimed their husbands abused them but could provide no witnesses, from among the neighbors or family, or other evidence to that effect. If there were any witnesses, the judges immediately housed the wife with a reliable neighbor, dissolved the marriage and fined the husband. (30. Elke E. Stokreiter, Child Marriage and Domestic Violence: Islamic and Colonial Discourses on Gender Relations and female Status in Zanzibar, 1900-1959s, in Domestic Violence and the Law in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa, ed. Emily S. Burrill, et al., 138, 143-44.) In French West Africa in 1911, courts in Kita and Jenne (both in present-day Mali) GRANTED DIVORCES TO NUMEROUS WOMEN WHO CLAIMED THEIR HUSBANDS HAD BEATEN THEM and either brought witnesses to corroborate this or when the husband admitted it. The courts usually AWARDED THE WIFE COMPENSATION FROM THE HUSBAND, DISSOLVED THE MARRIAGE and allowed the wife to keep her dower gift. One case records the husband explaining to the judge why his wife deserved a beating. The court ignored him since, by dint of requiring legal remedy, his actions had exceeded his rights to discipline her.” (31. Emily Burrill and Richard Roberts, Domestic Violence, Colonial Courts, and the End of Slavery in French Soudan, 1905-12, in Burril., et al., 45-46.) A case from Casablanca in 1917 shows how the classical principles of Shariah procedure were still active. If neighbors claimed they heard a wife screaming but saw nothing (i.e., they could provide no evidence of abuse), THE JUDGE WOULD STILL PUNISH THE HUSBAND. In the Maliki school it was reasoned that, if the husband had not sought help from anyone when his wife was screaming, it could be assumed that he had been responsible for her distress.” (32. Fierro, 336) (Misquoting Muhammad – The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy [Oneworld Publications, 2014], by Jonathan A. C. Brown, page 282 – 284)

The Hanafite scholar Al-Jassas (917 -981) states that a judge must prevent a husband from abusing his wife, and if it continues the judge was allowed (permitted) to sentence him to physical punishment (“Ta’zir”) [48]:

“An ill-treated woman might file a complaint against her husband. … according to al-Jaṣṣaṣ, THE QADI MUST PREVENT HER HUSBAND FROM ABUSING HER. (Al-Jaṣṣas, in al-Khaṣṣaf, Adab al-qadi, p. 652) He can order a man to let his wife live in the house of respectable neighbors (Saliḥin) who will inform the qaḍi about the husband’s behavior with his wife. If it appears that he is in fact maltreating her, the qadi will REPRIMAND HIM OR SENTENCE HIM TO PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT. (Al-Khassaf, Adab al-qadi, p. 652.” (Women before the Qadi Under the Abbasids [BRILL – Islamic Law and Society 16 (2009)] by Mathieu Tillier, page 284)

In recent times, in Saudi Arabia for example, there have been cases of domestic abuse. A husband was punished in 2002 for beating his wife. He was made to pay over 2000 dollars as compensation to the wife and he received 30 lashes:

“In an effort to create a format for regularizing judicial rulings, the Saudi Ministry of Justice has begun publishing yearly compilations of case records that offer examples for how to rule on types of cases. The model for domestic abuse is a 2002 case handled in the Riyadh lower claims court, which heard the case of a woman who accused her husband of beating her and abusing her verbally. Hospital reports confirmed that she had suffered bruises on her back, arms and thighs as well as a black eye. The husband admitted insulting her and that he had hit her `to discipline her’ because she had insulted him foully. The JUDGE DEEMED THAT THE HUSBAND HAD VIOLATED THE QUR’ANIC PRINCIPLE REQUIRING HUSBANDS TO `LIVE WITH THEM [WIVES] ACCORDING TO WHAT IS RIGHT‘ (4:19) and, based on the medical reports, ruled THAT THE HUSBAND SHOULD PAY HIS WIFE 9,000 RIYALS (AROUND $2,400) COMPENSATION FOR HER INJURIES AND RECEIVE THIRTY LASHES for his insulting language. The excuse that the husband gave, that his wife had insulted him, held no weight before the court. Unlike the husband, she had not admitted using abusive language, nor had the husband provided any evidence for his claim.” 33 (The Saudi Ministry of Justice, Mudawwanat al-Ahkam al-Qada’iyya, 113-17. A Similar ruling in the region of Qatif recently made headlines, with a man receiving thirty lashes and ten days in prison after he admitted hitting his wife; ‘Saudi Arabia: Judge Ignores Wife, Sentences Husband to 30 Lashes for Domestic Violence,’ International Business Times, June 6, 2013, http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/saudi-arabia-man-slaps-wife-domestic-violence-475491 ) (Misquoting Muhammad – The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy [Oneworld Publications, 2014], by Jonathan A. C. Brown, page 284 – 285)

There are many more cases in history where a husband was punished as a result of his actions towards his wife. Abuse of a wife was abhorred by the earliest scholars of Islam. If a husband was to harm his wife, the wife was compensated and at times made sure that he was punished (lashed). There was permanent laws enacted by scholars from earliest of days to punish abusive husbands. [49] [50] [51] [52] [53]

12. LAW – Legal Frameworks Addressing Domestic Violence In Muslim Majority Countries

Many Muslim majority countries around the World have implemented laws in order to protect women from being physically or verbally abused by men or their husbands. See the following article for the countries that have implemented these laws: “The Laws On Domestic Violence In Muslim Majority Countries“.

13. The Quran And Prophetic Statements On Wives

Islamic scripture has strongly emphasized and taught to love your wife, to feed them, to treat them with kindness, as it is clearly shown in the following statements from Prophet Muhammad (p) [54]:

“I went to the Messenger of Allah 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.” (Sunan Abi Dawud Book 11, Hadith 2139. Eng. Tran., Sahih Al-Albani, https://sunnah.com/abudawud/12/99 )

The above is a clear command from Prophet Muhammed (p) not to hit your wife.

The Prophet (p) used to treat women very tenderly. [55] [56] [57] [58] He said:

‘Whoever remains patient with regards to the misbehaviour of his wife, Allah will give him a reward as great as Ayub’s (Job) for his affliction. Likewise, if a woman keeps patient with regards to the misbehaviour of her husband, Allah will give her a reward as great as Aishah’s Bint Bint Muzahim, (the Pharaoh’s wife).’ (Al-Hakim in Al-Mustadrak – Transmitters of this Hadith are trustworthy) (Major Sins [translators: Abdul-Hamid A. Eliwa Ali M. As-Sawi, Wa’il A. Shehab, Mahmud AI-Qastawi] by Imam Shamsu ed-Deen Dhahabi, page 136, online source http://www.islamtomorrow.com/books/major_sins/majorSins.pdf )

The best husband is the one who is best to his wife [59]:

“The Prophet said: ‘THE BEST OF YOU IS THE ONE WHO IS BEST TO HIS WIFE, and I am the best of you to my wives.’” (Sunan Ibn Majah volume 3, Book 9, Hadith 1977. Eng. Tran., Hasan, Darussalam https://sunnah.com/urn/1262960)

The most perfect faith are from the men who have the best bahviour towards their wives:

“Messenger of Allah said, ‘The believers who show the most perfect Faith are those who have the best behaviour, and the best of you are those who are the best to their wives.’” (Riyad as-Salihin Book 1, Hadith 278. Eng. Tran., https://sunnah.com/riyadussaliheen/1/278 )

A husband should not hate his wife because if he dislikes something in her, he will find something else he likes about her:

“Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger saying: A believing man should not hate a believing woman (wife); if he dislikes one of her characteristics, he will be pleased with another.” (Sahih Muslim Book 8, Hadith 3469. Eng. Tran., https://sunnah.com/muslim/17/81)

God loves kindness:

“’A’isha, the wife of Allah’s Apostle, reported that Allah’s Messenger said: ‘A’isha, verily Allah is kind and He loves kindness and confers upon kindness which he does not confer upon severity and does not confer upon anything else besides it (kindness).” (Sahih Muslim 2593 Book 32, Hadith 6273. Eng. Tran., https://sunnah.com/muslim/45/99 )

Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (1058 – 1111 AD) – Ihya Ulum-Id-Din:

“The Prophet of God said, “the most perfect of believers in faith are those who are the finest in manners and most gentle toward their wives.” He said, “The best among you are the most charitable toward their wives…” (Book On The Etiquette of Marriage – Being the Second Book of The Section on Customs In The Book: The Revival of the Religious Sciences (“Ihya Ulum al-Deen”) [Translated by Madelain Farah], by Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali, part 2 (II), page 96)

Buying gifts for your spouse, there will be love between one another:

“…that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Give gifts and you will love one another.” (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad Book 30, Hadith 594. Eng. Tran., Hasan, Al-Albani https://sunnah.com/adab/30/57 )

Classical Scholar, Shaykh Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (1058 – 1111 AD) has put the above report in the section of “The Etiquette Of Marriage”:

“Exchanging gifts is desirable, and results in friendship.’ The Prophet said, “If you exchange gifts, you will love each other.” (Book On The Etiquette of Marriage – Being the Second Book of The Section on Customs In The Book: The Revival of the Religious Sciences (“Ihya Ulum al-Deen”) [Translated by Madelain Farah], by Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali, part 2 (II), page 89)

Sahih al-Bukhari:

“Whatever you spend (on your wife) will be considered a Sadaqa (charity) for you, even the mouthful of food you put in the mouth of your wife.” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 7, Book 64, Hadith 266. Eng. Tran. https://sunnah.com/bukhari/69/4 )

Live with your wife in kindness (Quran 4:19):

“O you who have believed, it is not lawful for you to inherit women by compulsion. And do not make difficulties for them in order to take [back] part of what you gave them… And LIVE WITH THEM IN KINDNESS. For if you dislike them – perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good.” – Quran 4:19 (Sahih International)

Friends and allies of one other:

The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those – Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” – Quran 9:71 Sahih International)

The husband and wife are likened to clothing in the Quran (S. 2:187). They guard, respect and honour each other:

“They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them.” – Quran 2:187 (Sahih International)

In Quran 30:21 it says that God has placed “tranquality”, “affection” and “mercy”:,

“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” – Quran 30:21 (Sahih International)

Ibn Kathir’s (1301 – 1373 AD) commentary on the above verse:

“Out of Allah’s perfect mercy He made their wives from their own kind, and CREATED LOVE AND KINDNESS BETWEEN THEM. For a MAN STAYS WITH A WOMAN BECAUSE HE LOVES HER, or because he feels compassion towards her if they have a child together, or because she needs him to take care of her, etc.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) [Abridged by A Group of Scholars Under The Supervision Of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri. Maktaba Dar-us-Salam – Second Edition, 2003], volume 7, page 535)

Muhammad b. al-Sa’ib al-Kalbi (d. 763 AD) exegesis on S. 30:21,

“(And of His signs) of the signs of His divine Oneness and power (is this: He CREATED FOR YOU SPOUSES) human beings like yourselves (from yourselves that ye might find rest in them) so that the husband may find rest in his wife, (and He ordained between you) HUSBAND AND WIFE (LOVE) LOVE OF THE WIFE FOR HER HUSBAND (AND MERCY) of the husband towards his wife; it is also said that this means: love of the young ones of the old ones and mercy from the older ones towards the young ones. (Lo, herein) in that which I have mentioned (indeed are portents) signs and lessons (for folk who reflect) upon what Allah created.” – (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas on Surah 30:21 – online source http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=73&tSoraNo=30&tAyahNo=21&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2 )

14. Conclusion:

Based on Prophet Muhammed’s use of the words ‘Fashishah Mubayyinah’ in his Khutbat al-Wadaa (farewell sermon) it shows that Surah 4:34, Nushuz refers directly to cases in which there is a clear and evident adultery or something equal to that. [60] [61] Not disobedience or mere violations on to the husband’s whims and wishes. For the life of Prophet Muhammed (p) refutes the claim that mere disobedience to a husband warrants striking your wife, this is alien and unheard of when we analyse the Prophet’s life. A careful reading of the words in Surah 4:34 also reveals that Nushuz has connotations of a sexual act outside of marriage or advancing sexual lust/desire to another man.

If she was guilty of cheating, and the husband has proof he may take his case to a court before things escalate or the man takes things into his own hands. If he happens to continue to live with her and not amending her ways, the Quran, 1300 years ago gave the approval of a husband to take the step of approving her behaviour, by a light strike. Anything beyond that he would have broken the covenant of God and his Messenger (p). And therefore a judge would have reprimanded him and punished him. Mere suspicions did not give a sanctioning or endorsement in the steps described in Surah 4:34. For a wife to be guilty, there had to be clear and evident proof from the husband’s side. Mere suspicions are discouraged and sinful at times. [62]

The Quran recognises that the male in patriarchal society fourteen hundred years ago seeing his wife cheating, the first thing he would do is to uncontrollable anger beat his wife black and blue, or at times even kill his wife. The Quranic verse (S. 4:34) was sent down to prevent the husband from carrying out such violent and detestable crime. In preventing this, it was a way of steps in anger management. The steps taken in the verse was actually to calm down the husband.

Finally, I will end with the words of Professor Azizah Y. al-Hibri [63]: The Quran states very clearly in the following:

“The parties should either hold together on equitable terms or separate with kindness.” – Quran 2:229

Thus, the Quranic approach to the problem of husbands hitting their wives aims at eliminating such behaviour altogether, but it takes into account the very nature of human beings (males), the complexity of their emotions, and the need for “a gestation period” for them to achieve a higher stage of development. It also helps them reach that higher stage through a series of prescribed behavior aimed at self-control and anger management as mentioned earlier, and by describing and exhorting by words and the example of the Prophet the blissful higher stage of marital life. The Quranic verse was revealed in ancient Arabia, over fourteen hundred years ago when the world as a whole viewed beating one’s wife as a right in the male dominated patriarchal society. Today, our society has moved decidedly beyond that stage, and views wife abuse as a crime, it really is. The Prophet Muhammed and earliest Muslim jurists agree on this. How do we move forward? It is now time for the rest of the Muslims to catch up with this vision, and help the troubled men within it to move to the higher stages of consciousness described in the Quran and implemented by the Prophet Muhammed’s (p) own conduct and model. In this way, we can achieve the Quranic marital ideal of tranquility, affection, and mercy, or gracefully follow God’s injunction of parting ways in kindness. [64] [65]

Related Articles:

(1) – “Refuting The Allegation That ‘Muhammed hit his wife Aisha’ and more!

(2) – “Muhammed (p) ‘Never Hit Any Of His Wives’

(3) – “Wife-beating husband gets 30 lashes” (2012) (*)

(4) – “Saudi man gets jail and 30 lashes for slapping and spitting on his wife” (2015) (* *)

References & Notes:

[1] The verse from Deut. 25:11-12, on the punishment of a wife for defending her husband:
“11 If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, 12 you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.” Deuteronomy 25:11-12 New International Version (NIV) https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+25
[2] On physically beating a child, this is mentioned in Proverbs 23:13-14,
“Don’t withhold discipline from a child — if you beat him with a stick, he won’t die! 14 If you beat him with a stick, you will save him from Sh’ol.” Proverbs 23:13-14 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+23%3A13-14&version=CJB. There is an article written on this verse and others: “Does the Bible Teach child Abuse, ‘Beat him with a rod?’” https://discover-the-truth.com/2013/10/09/does-the-bible-teach-child-abuse-beat-him-with-a-rod/
[3] “Does The New Testament Endorse Marital Rape?” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/07/27/does-the-new-testament-endorse-marital-rape/
[4] Professor Francis Joseph Steingass:
“…fahish, a, shameless, obscene; excessive, unproportional; -fahisa-t, FORNICATES, WHORE; pl. fawahis, sin, FORNICATION.” (English-Arabic Dictionary: For the Use of Both Travellers and Students [LONDON – Crosby Lockwood And Son 7, Stationers Hall Court, Ludgate Hill, E.C.] by Professor Francis Joseph Steingass, page 769)
[5] Hans Wehr:
“…fahsa’ monstrosity, abomination, atrocity, vile deed, crime; ADULTERY, FORNICATION, WHOREDOM.
… fahhas obscene, lewd…”
…Fahisha HARLOT, WHORE, PROSTITUTE: – (pl. fawahis) monstrosity, abomination, atrocity, vile deed, crime, ADULTERY, FORNICATION, WHOREDOM…” (Hans Wehr A Dictionary of Modern written Arabic [Edited by John Milton – Spoken Language Services, Inc. 1976, 4th edition], page 817 – 818)
[6] Edward William Lane – Arabic-English Lexicon:
“…[gross, immodest, lewd, or obscene… Also, Adultery, or fornication; (S, Mgh, Msb, K; and so …: Bd in xii. 24; &c.:) so in the Kur iv. 23 and lxv. 1 (as well as in numerious other instances]…”
(Edward William Lane – Arabic-English Lexicon, page 2399 – 2400, online source)
[7] Rev. F. J. G. Hava, S. J.:
“بِفَاحِشَةٍ enormity. Abomination. ADULTERY. Prostitute.”
(Arabic English Dictionary for the use of students [Byrut – Catholic press, 1899, By the Rev. F. J. G. Hava, S. J., page 540)
[8] Arabic-English Dictionary Of Qur’anic Usage:
“…f-h-sh to be excessive… obscene… adultery, to commit adultery. …Lewdness, fornication, adultery, immoral act, indecency (12:24)…” (Arabic-English Dictionary Of Qur’anic Usage [Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands, 2008] by Elsaid M. Badawi, Muhammad Abdel Haleem, page 696)
[9] Dictionary And Glossary Of The Kor-an – John Penrice:
“فاحشة… Filthiness, uncleanness, a filthy report, a crime, FORNICATION OR ADULTERY; Plur. … (2nd declension) Abominable crimes.” (Dictionary And Glossary Of The Kor-an, With Copious Grammatical References And Explanations Of The Text [Adam Publishers & Distributors, Shandar Market Chitli Qabar Delhi-110006., Printed in India, 1991] by John Penrice, B. A., page 109)
[10] Dictionary Of The Holy Qur’an of With References and Explanation of the Text – Malik Ghulam Farid:
“…evil, gross, lewd, obscene, or it became excessively so, (as also …). … immoral, lewd or obscene… or crime… ADULTERY OR FORNICATION. …” (Dictionary Of The Holy Qur’an of With References and Explanation of the Text by Malik Ghulam Farid M. A., page 641)
[11] Vocabulary of the Holy Quran – Dr. Abdullah Abbas Al-Nadwi:
“Adultery (2) – … And for those of your women who (may) commit adultery. [415] indecency (n.) …” (Vocabulary of the Holy Quran (“Qamus al-Faz al-Quran al-Karim”) by Dr. Abdullah Abbas Al-Nadwi, page 449)
[12] A Dictionary Of Egyptian Arabic – Arabic English – Martin Hinds & El-Said Badawi:
“..faahis /adj/outrages, extreme. Zulm fahis MONSTROUS INJUSTICE. Fahsa, faahisa, n pl fawaahis/ (act of) ADULTERY, FORNICATION. … fawahsi /adj and pl –yyal adulterous.” (A Dictionary Of Egyptian Arabic – Arabic English [Librairie du Liban, Riad Solh Sqaure, Beirut., 1986] by Martin Hinds & El-Said Badawi, page 643)
[13] Dictionary Of The Holy Qur’an – Arabic Words – English Meanings – (Classical Arabic Dictionaries Combined:
“Fahusha … Immoral conduct; indecent or LEWD or abominable… Flagrant indecency; ADULTERY, FORNICATION; SODOMY. ILLICIT SEXUAL INTERCOURSE. Its plu. Is Fawahish… Fahishatun … (act. Pic. F. sing.): ill-deed; Act of indecency; Manifest improper conduct;…” (Dictionary Of The Holy Qur’an – Arabic Words – English Meanings (With Notes) – (Classical Arabic Dictionaries Combined) [NOOR Foundation – International Inc., 2010] by Abdul Mannan Omar (Translator) – Subject Codifier Musnad Imam Ahmad Bin Muhammad bin Hanbal, page 418 – 419)
[14] Scottish scholar Robert Bertram Serjeant in footnote 13 states that there is no doubt that fahisha mentioned in the farewell sermon is about adultery:
“leave us in no doubt that fahishah means “adultery”, ‘fornication’” (Arabic Literature To The End Of The Umayyad Period [Cambridge University Press 2003] by R. B. Serjeant, page 121 (footnote 13))
[15] Fahisha Mubayyina implies adultery according to the majority of the companions of Prophet Muhammed and the Tab’ieen:
“‘except in case they are guilty of Fahishah Mubayyinah.’ meaning that the divorced wife is not to abandon her husband’s house unless she commits FAHISHAH MUBAYYINAH, in which case, she vacates her husband’s house. For example, FAHISHAH MUBAYYINAH IMPLIES ADULTERY, according to `Abdullah bin Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib, Ash-Sha`bi, Al-Hasan, Ibn Sirin, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Abu Qilabah, Abu Salih, Ad-Dahhak, Zayd bin Aslam, `Ata’ Al-Khurasani, As-Suddi, Sa`id bin Hilal and others. (At-Tabari, volume 23, page 438, Al-Qurtubi, volume 18, page 156, and Ad-Durr Al-Manthur volume 8, page 194) Fahishah Mubayyinah implies disobeying her husband openly or when she abuses her husband’s family in words and actions, according to Ubay bin Ka`b, Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah and others.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) [Abridged by A Group of Scholars Under The Supervision Of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri. Maktaba Dar-us-Salam – Second Edition, 2003], volume 10, page 36)
[16] Ibn Athir (1160 – 1233) and AI-Jawhari defined Fahisha Mubayyina in the Prophet’s Khutbat al Wadaa as “Adultery”:
“FAHISHAH” MEANS SIMPLY ADULTERY.92 (bal abuse). “92. See, e.g., 10 Ibn Mathur, Lisan al-Arab, page 192 (Beirut: Dar Ihya’ Al-Turath Al- ‘Arabi, 2nd printing of a 13th century reprint 1992) (quoting IBN AI-ATHIR as defining fahisha mubayyinah, occurring in the Prophet’s last address, AS ADULTERY … AL-ZABIDI, supra note 81, at 331 (quoting AI-Jawhari and Ibn Al-Athir as defining fahisha mubayyinah as adultery). …” (An Islamic Perspective on Domestic Violence [Fordham International Law Journal, Issue 1 2003 Article 8], Azizah Y. al-Hibri, volume 27, page 217)
[17] Many classical jurists stated that Fahisha Mubayyina means “adultery”:
“So what is “Fahishah Mubayyinah”? As stated earlier, MANY JURISTS SAID THAT IT WAS ADULTERY.” (Al-Tabari, supra note 32, at 211-12.), An Islamic Perspective on Domestic Violence [Fordham International Law Journal, Issue 1 2003 Article 8], Azizah Y. al-Hibri, volume 27, page 217)
[18] Commenting on Surah 7:80–81, classic scholar al-Tabari (838 – 923) connects fahisha to intercourse (“sexually”):
“The transgression [FAHISHA] that they approach, for which they were punished by Allah, is “PENETRATING MALES SEXUALLY” [ityan dhukur]. The meaning is this: it is as if Lut were saying “You are, all of you, you nation of people, coming to men in their rears, out of lust, rather than coming to those that Allah has approved for you and made permissible to you from the women. You are a people that approach what Allah has prohibited for you. Therefore you rebel against Allah by that act.” That is what the Qur’an means by going beyond the bounds [israf] when Lut said, You are a people who go beyond all bounds.” (Tafsir al-Tabari min Jami al-Bayan ‘an Ta’wil Ayi al-Quran, [ed. Bashar Awwad – Beirut, Muassasat al-Risala, 1994], by al-Tabari, volume 3, page 463)
[19] Al-Qurtubi (1214 -1273):
“Do you approach the TRANSGRESSION [FAHISHA] MEANS “SEXUALLY ENTERING MALES” [idkhal al-rijal]. Allah mentions this act with the term the transgression [fahisha] in order to make it clear that this act is adultery [zina]. It is just like Allah’s statement in another verse, Do not approach adultery [zina] for it is a transgression [fahisha] (Surat al-A‘raf 7:80–84).” (Tafsir al-Jami‘ fi Ahkam al-Qur’an [Cairo, Dar al-Qalam, 1967], by Al-Qurtubi, Muhammad ibn Ahmad, volume 7, page 243)
[20] “You [men] have rights against women, and they have rights against you. It is your right that they do not bring someone you dislike INTO YOUR BED, or that they commit FAHISHAH (AN ACT OF ADULTERY) Mubayyinah (which is clear and evident to all). If they do, then God has permitted you to desert them in bed, and [then] hit them lightly. If they stop, you are obliged to maintain them.”‘ (Al-Bidwaya wa Al-Nihaya Al-Hafidth Ibn Kathir, p. 202 (Beirut: Maktabat al Ma’arif 1979); Tarikh al-Tabari Muhammad Ibn Jareer p. 206 (Beirut: Dar A1-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah 1988). (An Islamic Perspective on Domestic Violence [Fordham International Law Journal, Issue 1 2003 Article 8], Azizah Y. al-Hibri, volume 27, Page 216)
[21] Professor Azizah Y. al-Hibri:
“Furthermore, even if the Prophet was not providing the meaning of the “Chastisement Passage” in his hadith, he must have been providing examples. But an instructive example must be adequately illustrative of the meaning. The examples given by the Prophet referred to two types of possible actions: (a) actions for which God has decreed hudud [specific punishments], and (b) actions that are a proximate cause of type (a) actions (such as BRINGING SOMEONE INTO ONE’S HUSBAND’S BED – A PROXIMATE CAUSE FOR ADULTERY). Had the ayah intended to cover less egregious actions, such as violations of the husband’s whims and wishes, the Prophet would have indicated so and given men a more accurate idea about the scope of their rights. He did not do so.” (An Islamic Perspective on Domestic Violence [Fordham International Law Journal, Issue 1 2003 Article 8], Azizah Y. al-Hibri, volume 27, page 218)
[22] 11th Century Scholar Raghib Al-Isfahani (d. 1108) connects Nushuz to a wife’s sexual “lust toward another man”:
“‘Neshz’ is the pinnacle of soil formed on the ground; rebellion of the woman and her LUST TOWARD ANOTHER MAN IS ‘NUSHOOZ’ (Raghib Al-Isfahani, Mufredat. Item hvf, Damascus and Beirut 1412/1992., online source http://www.islamandquran.org/research/beating-women.html )
[23] Modern scholars have also agreed that Nushuz here is in reference to “sexual lewdness”:
“If the Prophet used the expression fahisha mubina (a grave and known sin) to mean nushuz, then nushuz in verse 4:34 cannot simply mean “disobedience” of the wife but a “GRAVE SEXUAL SIN”, OR “SEXUAL LEWDNESS” (ABOU EL FADL, 2009, P. 110). HADDAD (2000) AGREES THAT NUSHUZ IN THE VERSE IS A EUPHEMISM FOR ADULTERY because a wife’s primary marital responsibility is spelled out in the hadith as “not allowing whom you hate to enter your bed or your house”. Therefore, nushuz refers to some serious level of misbehavior which could threaten the continuation of the marriage, not just some minor annoyances and the natural give-and-take between partners. The issue of nushuz is particularly important in Islamic law as this is the one condition where jurists agree that the wife revokes her right to maintenance by her husband (Abd al Ati, 1977, pp. 157-159), and where the imperative wadribuhunna may be practiced. But what exactly is meant by wadribuhunna?” (A Critical Examination of Qur’an 4:34 and its Relevance to Intimate Partner Violence in Muslim Families [Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia, 2010] by Nada Ibrahim and Mohamad Abdalla, page 18)
[24] “Jealous husband arrested after killing wife and crashing car in Somerset – jailed for life” NAME: Neil Winn. 10 Jul 2015, http://www.somersetcountygazette.co.uk/news/somerset_news/13382256.Jealous_husband_arrested_after_killing_wife_and_crashing_car_in_Somerset/
[25] “Jealous husband jailed for strangling nurse wife in her hospital intensive care unit”. NAME: Royston Jones. 11 Feb 2015. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/11406273/Jealous-husband-jailed-for-strangling-nurse-wife-in-her-hospital-intensive-care-unit.html
[26] “Jealous husband killed adulterous wife and tried to strangle son”. NAME: Craig Bidgway. 30 Jun 2008 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2223015/Jealous-husband-killed-adulterous-wife-and-tried-to-strangle-son.html
[27] “Jealous husband jailed for baseball bat terror”. NAME: Edward Wright. March 06, 2015, http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/jealous-husband-jailed-baseball-bat-terror/story-26130344-detail/story.html
[28] “Jealous husband ‘killed’ wife over suspected online affair” (Italy). NAME: Giuseppe Castro. 31 Mar 2009, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/5085140/Jealous-husband-killed-wife-over-suspected-online-affair.html
[29] “Jailed for life: Jealous husband who murdered international concert pianist Natalia Strelchenko is locked up”. NAME: John Martin. 21 MAR 2016 http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/natalia-strelchenko-murder-jailed-life-11075910
[30] “Jealous Husband Kills Wife’s Lover”. NAME: Ezekiel Igbokwe. Aug 11 2016 https://newtelegraphonline.com/crime/metro/jealous-husband-kills-wifes-lover/
[31] “Jury finds Trevino guilty of murder”. Jeffery Trevino killed his wife due her texting messages to another man: “Prosecutors said Trevino killed Steger after he got fed up with her texting the co-worker throughout their date night. Her last text to the man was at 11:44 p.m. telling him that the Minnesota Wild won their game. Prosecutors believe Trevino killed her in their master bedroom within two hours of that text message, put her in the trunk of her car, fueled the car at a gas station on Larpenteur Avenue about 2:10 a.m. on Feb. 22, and dumped her in the river.” OCTOBER 3, 2013, http://www.startribune.com/jeffery-trevino-found-guilty-of-murdering-his-wife-kira-steger/226213221/
[32] “Insanely Jealous Husband Shoots Wife’s Friend Over Facebook Messages”. NAME: Christopher Romoleroux. May 1, 2015. http://crimefeed.com/2015/05/husband-arrested-allegedly-shooting-man-messaging-wife-facebook/
[33] “Cops: Jealous husband turns violent”. NAME: Vernon Degroat Jr. Jul 2, 2015 http://www.recordonline.com/article/20150702/NEWS/150709797
[34] “Jealous Medway man Peter Wood jailed for trying to murder estranged wife Tina Wood in brutal stabbing in Wainscott when she started new relationship”. NAME: Peter Wood. 14 July 2014., http://www.kentonline.co.uk/medway/news/medway-peter-wood-jailed-20163/
[35] “Husband charged over dancer’s death”. NAME: Parminder Singh. January 10, 2015., http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/husband-charged-over-dancers-death/news-story/f00020f1c4d30443e9b18da8c5649322
[36] “Jealous husband jailed for life”. NAME: Ian Bains. 16 July 2008., http://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/jealous-husband-jailed-for-life-1-1151873
[37] “Jealous dad-of-eight knifed wife in heart after seeing her talking to another man.” NAME Robert Bance. 20 JAN 2017., http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/jealous-dad-eight-knifed-wife-9656492
[38] Islamic scholar Muhammed al-Tahir Ibn Ashur (1879 – 1973):
“IBN ASHUR ARGUES THAT THE SOLE ADDRESSEE OF 4:34 AND 4:35 WAS THE COURT AUTHORITIES. In most societies, he explained, no license can be given to husbands to discipline their wives violently. This is clear if one applied Shariah procedure at a family level, for only in exceptional circumstances can a person involved in a case also act as the judge who decides guilt and metes out punishment. In addition, experience shows that husbands cannot be trusted to restrain themselves in private. Even if they are told that they can only use light blows, husbands will inevitably ‘quench their anger’ and In all likelihood transgress the limits.’ In urbanized societies and modern states, which enjoy functioning legal systems, Ibn ‘Ashur suggests that the whole verse is addressed to the state and the organs of the court. The authorities (wulat al-umur) are obligated to announce that any man who beats his wife will be punished and assign the duty of disciplining wives to the courts alone. It is the Shariah court judge who hears complaints of a wife’s unacceptable conduct. If she is guilty, the judge admonishes her, separates the couple if necessary and finally orders a beating administered should she refuse to reform.” 22 (al-Tahrir wa’l – Tanwir by Muhammad Tahir Ibn Ashur, volume 5, page 43 – 44) ((Misquoting Muhammad – The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy [Oneworld Publications, 2014], by Jonathan A. C. Brown, page 280)
[39] Professor of Law Khaled Abou El Fadl:
“ALTERNATIVELY 4:34 IS NOT ADDRESSED TO HUSBANDS AT ALL BUT TO THE STATE. Meaning, if there is an allegation of a grave and known sin and it is proven by the resolution of a court, a separation or corporal punishment may be ordered. In case of a disagreement not involving a grave and known sin, an arbitration may be ordered. In other words, THE REMEDY IS NOT LEFT TO THE DISCRETION OF HUSBANDS BUT IS GIVEN TO A COURT. Nothing in 4:34 necessitates that the remedy be in private hands, for history and creation have shown that when it comes to punishment husbands are hardly the one to be trusted.” (The Search for Beauty in Islam: A Conference of the Books [Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, INC, 2006] by Khaled Abou El Fadl, page 112)
[40] There is a report recorded by Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (1058 – 1111 AD), in his book titled, ‘Iyha Ulum al-Deen’ wherein we are told that one of the wives of the Prophet HIT HIM on his chest. The woman’s mother finding out what she had done, “scolded” her In turn the Prophet (p) responded by saying to leave her alone:
“It was also related that one wife hit the Prophet in the chest, so her mother scolded her. The Prophet said, ‘Leave her alone; they [wives] do worse than that.’ (Book On The Etiquette of Marriage – Being the Second Book of The Section on Customs In The Book: The Revival of the Religious Sciences (“Ihya Ulum al-Deen”) [Translated by Madelain Farah – Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1984], by Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali, part 2 (II), page 95)
[41] This incident is also reported in Musnad Ibn Hanbal:
“It was narrated that Nu‘maan ibn Basheer said: Abu Bakr came and asked permission to enter upon the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), and HE HEARD ‘AA’ISHAH RAISING HER VOICE TO THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH. He gave him permission to enter, so he entered and said: O daughter of Umm Roomaan! – and he grabbed her – do you RAISE YOUR VOICE TO THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH? THE PROPHET SEPARATED THEM, and when Abu Bakr left, the Prophet started saying to her, to make her feel happy: “Do you not see how I intervened between the man and you?” He said: Then Abu Bakr came and asked for permission to enter upon him, and HE FOUND HIM LAUGHING WITH HER. Permission was given to him, and he entered, and Abu Bakr said to him: O Messenger of Allah, make me a partner in your peace as you made me a partner in your war.” (Narrated by Ahmad in al-Musnad, volume 30, page 341- 342. The commentators said: Its isnaad is saheeh according to the conditions of Muslim) (Online source, https://islamqa.info/en/164216 )
[42] “non-violent (ghair Mubarrih)… doing it with a Miswak (a small stick used cleaning the teeth in the East/Africa) or something that is similar to that.” (Tafsir Sufyan Ibn Uyaynah [Maktabah Asamah – Edition Ahmad Salih Muhayyari – Riyad, 1403/1983], page 235)
[43] In context of Surah 4:34 the earliest exegesis ordered that the beating must not produce open wounds where blood is seen nor broken bones. (See Ahkam al-Quran [Dar al kotob al Ilmiyyah , Beirut, Lebanon], by Ibn al-Arabi, volume 1, page 468; Tafsir Kitab Allah al-Aziz [Beirut – Dar al-Gharb al-Islami, 1990], by Hud b. Muhakkam Huwwariyy, volume 1, page 377; Al-kashshaf an haqaiq ghawamid al-tanzil by al-Zamahshari, volume 1, page 506; and Muharrar, by Ibn Atiya volume 3, page 107) Others went as far as to say that no trace or wound is not permissible. No beating should on the wife’s face (See al-Tafsir al-Kabir by al-Razi, volume 10, page 90 and Hadith reports)
[44] The original English translation of this was not in accord with Arabic text of Imam Ghazali’s Iyha Ulum al-Deen. As such it was amended to suit its original intent of the text:
“Know that good conduct with her means not harming her, also enduring harm from her and forbearance in the face of her fickleness and anger in emulation of the Prophet; for his wives used to talk back to him, and on occasion one would leave him for the whole night.” (Book On The Etiquette of Marriage – Being the Second Book of The Section on Customs In The Book: The Revival of the Religious Sciences (“Ihya Ulum al-Deen”) [Translated by Madelain Farah], by Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali, part 2 (II), page 94)
[45] This report is again cited in Sunan an-Nasai, with a slight variation of words:
“Ar-Rubayy’ bint Mu’awwidh bin ‘Afra’ narrated that Thabit bin Qais bin Shammas hit his wife and broke her arm –her name was Jamilah bint ‘Abdullah bin Ubayy. Her brother came to the Messenger of Allah to COMPLAIN ABOUT HIM, and the Messenger of Allah sent for Thabit and said: “Take what she owes you AND LET HER GO.” He said: “Yes.” And the Messenger of Allah ordered her to wait for one menstrual cycle and then go to her family. (Sunan an-Nasa’i volume 4, Book 27, Hadith 3527. Eng. Tran. Hasan Darussalam. https://sunnah.com/nasai/27/109)
[46] A Man by the name of al-Walid was hitting his wife. The woman came to the Prophet (p) complaining of the mistreatment, the Prophet (p) told her to go back and tell him that she is under the protection of him and that she should not be touched. Al-Walid did not listen. The Prophet (p) asked Allah to deal with him and cursed him for disobeying his order:
“The wife of al-Walid b. Uqbah came to the Prophet of God and complained that her husband hit her. [Prophet Muhammad] said to her, ‘Return to him and tell him ‘The Prophet of God has taken me under his protection [qad ajarani].’ So she went away for an hour or so and then returned saying, ‘O Prophet of God, he did not desist [from beating] me. Muhammed cut a fringe from his robe and handed it to her, saying, ‘Tell him, ‘The Prophet of God has taken me under his protection, and this is a fringe from his robe.’ She left for an hour and returned, saying, ‘O Prophet of God, he only increased in hitting me.’ Then the Prophet of God raised his hands and prayed, ‘O Allah, you deal with al-Walid, for he has sinned against me twice.’ He repeated this two or three times.” (Ghayat Al-Maqsad fi Zawa’id al-Musnad [Beirut – Dar al-Kutub, 2001] by Nur al-Din Ali Ibn Abi Bakr al-Haythami, volume 2, page 262 – 263)
Prophet Muhammed’s stance in this Hadith report clearly conveys very strong disapproval of men who hit their wives.
[47] There is an interesting case in which the second Caliph Umar Ibn al-Khattab (579 – 644 AD) tries to sort out a material issue between a husband and a wife. He sent out two family members two deal with the issues, so that the husband and wife amend their past issues and get on with each other (Surah 4:35). The husband was stubborn, and it seems was continuing to be harsh and cause trouble in his household, Umar Ibn al-Khattab beats him for it. The husband then returns, this time being kind/gentle towards his wife and reconciled their issues. This story is mentioned by the great clasical scholar, Imam Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali (1058 – 1111 AD):
“Umar sent an arbitrator to a couple, but he returned without succeeding in reconciling them; whereupon he [‘Umar] BEAT HIM saying, “Almighty God says, ‘If they desire amendment [reconciliation], Allah will make them of one mind’ [Quran 4:35].“ So the man returned and with [good] intention[s] and gentleness toward them, he reconciled them.” (Book On The Etiquette of Marriage – Being the Second Book of The Section on Customs In The Book: The Revival of the Religious Sciences (“Ihya Ulum al-Deen”) [Translated by Madelain Farah], by Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali, part 2 (II), Page 105)
[48] The Hanafite scholar Al-Jassas (917 -981) did not beieve a wife can get a divorce if her husband was abusive, however, he states that the Muslim authorities (Qadi) could do anything in their power to stop him from touching her. And the husband should get punished (Taz’ir) if he hurts her. Some among the Hanafite school believe only the husband has a right of divorcing the wife, not the other way around. The divorce being on the husband’s only is not reflective of Prophet Muhammed’s model and condcuct. For we seen earlier the Prophet (p) divorced Thabit Ibn Qays’s wife when he hurt her.
[49] Classical scholar Al-Nawawi opined that if the husband hit his wife in a way of injury she was entitled to a divorce and “retiribution”:
“18th century reprint 1972) (noting that the hitting may not affect the wife’s bones or flesh. The husband may not resort to hitting his wife if he knows that it would be useless. If the husband hits his wife despite this knowledge, SHE IS ENTITLED TO DIVORCE AND RETRIBUTION). (AL-Nawawi, supra note 91, at 676-77 (stating that hitting may not cause harm or be heavy, cannot be on the face or other vulnerable areas, and if it causes harm, THE WOMAN IS ENTITLED TO DAMAGES); Al-Zuhail, supra note 106, at 7856-57 (noting that the Hanafi and Shafi’i schools of thought would find the HUSBAND LIABLE IF HE HARMED HIS WIFE…). (An Islamic Perspective on Domestic Violence [Fordham International Law Journal, Issue 1. 2003. Article 8], Azizah Y. al-Hibri, volume 27, page 221 – 222)
[50] This was also the opinion of scholar Al-Zuhail:
“Also, if the husband reaches that unfortunate stage of “hitting,” he may hit the wife only with something as gentle as a miswak or handkerchief. 112 (112. See AL-TABARI, supra note 32, at 44; 5 Al-Nawawi, supra note 91, at 676-77 (hitting may not cause harm or be heavy and cannot be on the face or other vulnerable areas and IF IT CAUSES HARM, THE WOMAN IS ENTITLED TO DAMAGES); Al- Zuhail, supra note 106, at 7856.) (An Islamic Perspective on Domestic Violence [Fordham International Law Journal, Issue 1 2003 Article 8], Azizah Y. al-Hibri, volume 27, page 222)
[51] “Ali Gomaa has built on this theme in a small book of fatwas recently written for women. He took the standard late Shafi’i school position that it is not recommended for a man to strike his wife and that HE MUST PAY HER COMPENSATION FOR ANY INJURY HE CAUSES. Men who truly want to follow the model of the Prophet WOULD NEVER BEAT THEIR WIVES.” (Misquoting Muhammad – The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy [Oneworld Publications, 2014], by Jonathan A. C. Brown, page 278)
[52] “109. Among these is the sequential interpretation of the Qur’anic verse 4:34. See supra note 106 and accompanying text. Other limitations are mentioned in Al-Tabari, supra note 32, at 43-45 (noting that the man MAY NOT HIT THE WOMAN DHARB GHAYR MUBRAH WALA MU’ATH.THIR [IN THE FACE, OR HIT SO AS TO CAUSE PAIN OR HARM]); Al-Nawawi, supra note 91, at 676-77 (hitting may not cause harm or be heavy, cannot be on the face or other vulnerable areas. IF IT CAUSES HARM, THE WOMAN IS ENTITLED TO DAMAGES). See id. at 7856-57 (citing medieval jurists as requiring that the “hitting” does not cause fear in the wife, is not directed against the face or abdomen, and other places that could result in serious harm). (An Islamic Perspective on Domestic Violence [Fordham International Law Journal, Issue 1 2003 Article 8], Azizah Y. al-Hibri, volume 27, page 221
[53] While hitting was permissible in situations where the wife was guilty of lewdness or sexual lusfulness towards another man, it was preferable to abandon hitting and more graceful. In Jordan and other Muslim countries, verbal abuse was grounds for granting the wife the right to divorce:
“Finally, given the Qur’anic ideal of marital relations, the majority of Muslim scholars concluded that while the act of “hitting” is permissible in Islam, ABANDONING IT IS PREFERABLE AND MORE GRACEFUL [lajmal]. (Abd Al-Karim Zaydan, Al-Mufassal Fi Ahkam Al-Mar’ah Wa Al-Bayr page, 318 (1994); 5 Al-Razi, supra note 51, at 93.) They also concluded that A WOMAN ABUSED PHYSICALLY OR VERBALLY IS ENTITLED TO DIVORCE FROM HER HUSBAND. (114 This view has been adopted by some personal status codes such as Jordanian Code, Personal Status Code, Provisional Law No. 61 (1976), ch. 12, art. 132; Kuwaiti Code, Personal Status, pt. 1, bk. 1, tit. 3, ch. 1, art. 126.)
They lowered the bar significantly on what counts as abuse, so as to make it include verbal abuse. This interpretation is still reflected in the laws of some Muslim countries today. 115 (115. Certain Codes explicitly specify that VERBAL ABUSE IS GROUNDS FOR GRANTING THE WIFE THE JUDICIAL DIVORCE. See Jordanian Code, supra note 114, ch. 10, art. 132; Kuwaiti Code, supra note 114, pt. 1, bk. 2, tit. 3, art. 126.) (An Islamic Perspective on Domestic Violence [Fordham International Law Journal, Issue 1 2003 Article 8], Azizah Y. al-Hibri, volume 27, page 222)
[54] Imam Ghazali:
“Umar said, “It is necessary that a man be like a child in his family; but if they seek what he possesses, he should be found a man.’ Luq­man said, “A wise man should be like a child in his family, and when he is in public, he should be found a man.” In a commentary on the related khabar, [it is stated that] “GOD DETESTS the ja’zari al jawwaz”; THAT IS, ONE WHO IS HARSH TOWARD HIS FAMILY AND WHO IS ARROGANT. The same explanation has been offered for the term ‘utul used by Almighty God [Qur’an 68:13]: for it has been said that ‘utul designates one who has a harsh tongue and who is cruel toward his family.” (Book On The Etiquette of Marriage – Being the Second Book of The Section on Customs In The Book: The Revival of the Religious Sciences (“Ihya Ulum al-Deen”) [Translated by Madelain Farah], by Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali, part 2 (II), page 96)
[55] “The Prophet said, “Let none of you come upon his wife like an animal, and let there be an emissary between them.” He was asked, “What is this emissary, Messenger of God?” He said, “THE KISS AND [SWEET] WORDS.” He also said, “There are three qualities which are considered deficiencies in a man: one, that he should meet someone whose acquaintance he wishes to make but parts from him before learning his name and lineage; second, that he should be treated kindly and reject the kindness’ done unto him; and third, that he should approach his wife and have sexual contact with her before exchanging tender words and caresses, consequently, he sleeps with her and fulfills his needs before he fulfills hers.” (Book On The Etiquette of Marriage – Being the Second Book of The Section on Customs In The Book: The Revival of the Religious Sciences (“Ihya Ulum al-Deen”) [Translated by Madelain Farah], by Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali, part 2 (II), page 106 – 107)
[56] Al-Hasan the grandson of Prophet Muhammed, ‘Ali’s son. and the Prophet (p) both emphasised giving daughters away to those who are God fearing. When one who fears God, he will love his wife and be kind to her:
“A man said to al-Hasan, ‘A number of suitors have asked for my daughter’s hand in marriage; to whom should I give her?” He replied, “To the one who fears God; because if he loves her, HE WILL BE KIND TO HER; and if he hates her, he will not wrong her.” The Prophet said, “Whoever gives his daughter in marriage to a licentious man has betrayed her womb.” ’ (Book On The Etiquette of Marriage – Being the Second Book of The Section on Customs In The Book: The Revival of the Religious Sciences (“Ihya Ulum al-Deen”) [Translated by Madelain Farah – Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1984], by Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali, part 2 (II), page 91)
[57] He the Prophet discouraged women from marrying men who are known for their harshness, as evidenced in the story of Fatimah bint Qays narrated in Sunan Ibn Majah and Sahih Muslim. The Prophet instructed her not marry someone who is abusive. The Prophet (p) wanted her to marry someone who is kind and loving. This Hadith report shows that he very strongly detested abusive men towards women and discouraged marriage with such men:
“I heard Fathima bint Qais say: ‘The Messenger of Allah said to me: “When you become lawful, tell me.” So I told him.’ Then Muawiyah, Abu Jahm bin Sukhair and Usamah bin Zaid proposed marriage to her. THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH SAID: ‘As for Muawiyah, he is a poor man who has no money. As from ABU JAHM HE IS A MAN WHO HABITUALLY BEATS WOMAN. But USAMAH (IS GOOD).’ SHE GESTURED WITH HER HAND, SAYING: ‘USAMAH, Usamah!?’ The Messenger of Allah said to her: ‘Obedience to Allah and obedience to His Messenger is better for you.’ She said: ‘So I married him and I was pleased with him.” (Sunan Ibn Majah volume 3, Book 9, Hadith 1869. Eng. Tran. Sahih, Darussalam)., https://sunnah.com/urn/1261870 )
[58] This story is mentioned in Sahih Muslim also:
“My husband Abu ‘Amr b. Hafs b. al-Mughira sent ‘Ayyish b. Abu Rabi’a to me with a divorce, and he also sent through him five si’s of dates and five si’s of barley. I said: Is there no maintenance allowance for me but only this, and I cannot even spend my ‘Idda period in your house? He said: No. She said: I dressed myself and came to Allah’s Messenger. He said: How many pronouncements of divorce have been made for you? I said: Three. He said what he (‘Ayyish b. Abu Rabi’a) had stated was true. There is no maintenance allowance for you. Spend ‘Idda period in the house of your cousin, Ibn Umm Maktum. He is blind and you can put off your garment in his presence. And when you have spent your Idda period, you inform me. She said: Mu’awiya and Abu’l-Jahm were among those who had given me the proposal of marriage. Thereupon Allah’s Apostle said: Mu’awiya is destitute and in poor condition and ABU’L-JAHM IS VERY HARSH WITH WOMEN (or he beats women, or like that), YOU SHOULD TAKE USAMA B. ZAID (AS YOUR HUSBAND).” (Sahih Muslim Book 9, Hadith 3527. Eng. Tran., https://sunnah.com/muslim/18/61 )
[59] Muhammad ibn Umar and others report that the Prophet said on this occasion: “She among you who fears God and does not commit a manifest abomination [fahisha mubayyina] and sticks to the back of her mat [zahr hasiriha] is my wife in the hereafter” (Ibn Sa’d, Muhammad. Fi l-nisa of Kitab al-tabaqat al-kabir. [Ed. Carl Brockelmann. Leiden: Brill, 1904] Volume 8, page 150). (Women in the Qur’an, Traditions, and Interpretation [Oxford University Press, 1994] by Barbara Freyer Stowasser, page 116)
[60] The triliteral root fa ḥa shin (ف ح ش) occurs 24 times in the Quran, in two derived forms: 17 times as the noun faḥishat (فَٰحِشَة) seven times as the noun faḥsha (فَحْشَآء). The following are the verses: 3:135, 4:15, 4:19, 4:22, 4:25, 6:151, 7:28, 7:33, 7:80, 17:32, 24:19, 27:54, 29:28, 33:30, 42:37, 53:32, 65:1, 2:169, 2:268, 12:24, 16:90, 29:45. In vast majority of these verses the word has connotations of adultery or sexual sin on the part of the wife or the man. http://corpus.quran.com/qurandictionary.jsp?q=fH$#(12:24:15)
[61] “The Prophet said, “There is a type of jealousy which God detests, and that is the unjustifiable jealousy of a man over his wife when THERE IS NO JUSTIFICATION [FOR SUSPICION]” because that suspicion we have DECREED AGAINST. Certain [types of] SUSPICION ARE SINFUL. ‘Ali said, “Do not indulge excessively in showing jealousy over your wife lest she be accused of evil behavior because of you.” (Book On The Etiquette of Marriage – Being the Second Book of The Section on Customs In The Book: The Revival of the Religious Sciences (“Ihya Ulum al-Deen”) [Translated by Madelain Farah], by Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali, part 2 (II), Page 99)
[62] Profesor Azizah Y. al-Hibri on the story of Job:
“An important Qur’anic precedent on the issue of domestic violence is found in the story of Job. (Qur’an 38:44) When Job was being tested, his wife lost her faith and blasphemed.’ As a result, he took an oath to hit her as punishment. A dilemma was thus created: a prophet should not engage in violent and unworthy behavior towards his wife. On the other hand, a prophet may not violate his oath. The divine solution to this dilemma is expressed in a Qur’anic verse, which instructs Job to satisfy his oath to hit his wife by “hitting” her with a handful of fragrant grass (or basil). 123 The intent was to satisfy the promise without harming the wife. In this way, Prophet Job resolved his dilemma. 123 (123. The word dighth in Qur’anic verse 38:44 means a handful of grass or even basil. See 5 Ibn Abdin, Radd Al-Muhtar 659 (Dar Al-Kutub Al-‘Ilmiyya, 19th century reprint 1994) (explaining the meaning of dighth as a handful of basil, also noting that others stated that it meant “a handful of grass or thin branches”). Cf Ibn ‘Abdin argues that the use of basil by Job is a special case, reflecting God’s mercy, and cannot be generalized to other women.) (An Islamic Perspective on Domestic Violence [Fordham International Law Journal, Issue 1 2003 Article 8], Azizah Y. al-Hibri, volume 27, page 223)
[63] (An Islamic Perspective on Domestic Violence [Fordham International Law Journal, Issue 1 2003 Article 8], Professor Azizah Y. al-Hibri, volume 27, page 223 – 224)
[64] The Maliki Madhahib which is in North Africa, West Africa and parts of central eastern Arabian peninsula allowed a woman to get automatic divorce if the man was cruel, or failed to maintain her and other reasons:
“The Maliki Sunnis allowed a woman to divorce on several additional grounds, including cruelty, desertion, failure to maintain, affliction with a dangerous disease or insanity.” (Women’s Studies Encyclopedia – Revised And Expanded Edition, [Library Of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication, 1999] (edited) by Helen Tierney, volume 2, (G-P), page 748)

What Is The Understanding Of ‘I Have Been Commanded To Fight…’ Hadith

Kaleef K. Karim

This is a part two on this Hadith report (below) which is often quoted out of its historical context. In the previous piece, which can be seen here: “The Hadith ‘…Fight Until They Say There Is No god But Allah’ Explained“, we showed evidence that the Hadith was never understood by the Prophet nor his companions of carrying out forced conversion of polytheist Makkans:

“I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establish the prayer and pay the Zakah.” (Fath al-Bari, volume 1, page 95) (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) [Abridged by A Group of Scholars Under The Supervision Of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri. Maktaba Dar-us-Salam – Second Edition, 2003] volume 4, page 377)”

When we analysed the report in its historical context, we saw that the Prophet (p) gave amnesty and forgave the polytheists for the wrong they had done to the Muslims and their non-Muslim ally, Banu Khuza’a.

The polytheists Makkans with Banu Bakr attacked and murdered members of Banu Khuza’a, an ally of Prophet Muhammed. Previous to this incident, the Quraysh agreed to a treaty two years back promising not to break the treaty they agreed too with the Muslims. Soon after, the Quraysh with Banu Bakr attacked and murdered members of Muhammed’s ally, the Banu Khuza’a tribe. This led to the conquest of Makkah.

In this article, we will show further evidence from the Hadith itself and classical to contemporary commentaries that forced conversion did not take place because the very report that is used refutes this. Let’s now turn to the reports:

“The Messenger of Allah said: “I have been ordered to fight the people until they say: ‘La ilaha illallah’. So when they say that, their blood and their wealth are safe from me, except for a right, and their reckoning is for Allah.” Then he recited: So remind them – ‘YOU ARE ONLY ONE WHO REMINDS. YOU ARE NOT A DICTATOR OVER THEM’ (Quran 88:21-22). (Jami at-Tirmidhi volume 5, Book 44, Hadith 3341 (Eng. Tran., Sahih, Darussalam))

This is also reported in Sahih Muslim:

“It is narrated on the authority of Jabir that the Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded that I should fight against people till they declare that there is no god but Allah, and when they profess it that there is no god but Allah, their blood and riches are guaranteed protection on my behalf except where it is justified by law, and their affairs rest with Allah, and then he (the Holy Prophet) recited (this verse of the Holy Qur’an):” THOU ART NOT OVER THEM A WARDEN” (lxxxviii (88), 22).” (Sahih Muslim Book 1, Hadith 32 http://sunnah.com/muslim/1/35 )

Pay close attention to both reports where the following is said:

“YOU ARE ONLY ONE WHO REMINDS. YOU ARE NOT A DICTATOR OVER THEM’ (Quran 88:21-22).”

And:

“then he (the Holy Prophet) RECITED (this verse of the Holy Qur’an):” THOU ART NOT OVER THEM A WARDEN” (lxxxviii (88), 22).”

The Prophet (p) is literally quoting word for word Quran 88:21-22. So what is the significance of these words some may ask? Well, since we know for a fact that he quoted those words in the same sentence of fighting the idolaters, the verse shows that the Prophet (p) forbade forced conversion. He commanded his companions not to forcefully convert anyone.

Classical to contemporary scholars all agree that this verse was revealed to the Prophet (p) that forcing someone to convert to Islam is categorically forbidden (Haram). Let’s read S. 88:21-22,

“21. So remind them (O Muhammad, YOU ARE ONLY A ONE WHO REMINDS.

22. You are NOT a dictator over them.” Q. 88:21-22 Hilali & Khan Translation

 

The Quranic verse 88:21-22 is clear that the Prophet (p) was not sent to force anyone to Islam. Some missionaries not handling the fact that the Prophet (p) was sent only to preach, and not force anyone’s will, they claim that Surah 88:22 was abrogated by Surah 9:5 (“Sword verse”).

If this verse was abrogated by Surah 9:5, then the question needs to be answered as to why the Prophet (p) uttered Surah 88:21-22 on the occasion of Surah 9:5? If it was abrogated, why would he insist his companions not to force anyone to accept Islam on the occasion of when Q. 9:5 was revealed? To the contrary, this shows that Prophet (p) did not see Q. 88:21-22 abrogated, but rather a command that is to be followed until the day of judgement.

Furthermore, another way for some missionaries to try to bypass this clear command of Surah 88:21-22, that forced conversion is Haram (forbidden), they try to present the following verses after S. 88:22,

“21. So remind them (O Muhammad), you are only a one who reminds.

22. You are not a dictator over them.

23. Save the one who turns away and disbelieves

24. Then Allah will punish him with the greatest punishment.

25. Verily, to Us will be their return;

26. Then verily, for Us will be their reckoning.” S. 88:21-26 Hilali-Khan Translation

 

Some of these missionary critics do acknowledge and admit here that forced conversion is not allowed, but they say since the individuals at Prophet Muhammed’s lifetime rejected Islam, he is somehow allowed to murder them since he is “Allah’s agent of judgement” sent to harm non-believers for refusing to accept Islam, they claim. This kind of deceptive interpretation goes against the very text of Quran and a classical exegesis. Sadly this type of deceptive interpretation by missionaries is rampant online.

Since we know that Surah 88:21-22 was uttered on the occasion of Surah 9:5, on the conquest of Makkah, where is the evidence of polytheists being put to death for rejecting Islam? It does not exist. We know from the earliest sources of Islam that the polytheists were fought against as a result of them breaking a treaty and murdering members of the non-Muslim tribe Banu Khuza’a, who at the time were an ally of the Muslims. As a result of Banu Bakr and Quraysh attacking and murdering Muhammed’s non-Muslim ally the Banu Khuza’a, the conquest of Makkah took place. We have written a detailed article on this matter, please click on the following article: “The Hadith ‘…Fight Until They Say There Is No god But Allah’ Explained“. They were fought against because they broke the treaty and killing innocent people, not their beliefs.

I would like to add another important information about Surah 88:21-22 – the chapter as a whole is regarded by the companions of Prophet Muhammed (p) and the majority of scholars to have been revealed in Makkah. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]

The Muslims did not raise their hand against the Quraysh, let alone try to kill them. The Muslims were a minority in Makkah, they were persecuted, tortured, imprisoned and even killed. This is a historical fact. This lasted for over ten years, this is when the Muslims fled to Madinah to find safe sanctuary. Even there they were pursued and persecuted because they denied, and rejected polytheism. We have documented many incidents when the Muslims arrived in Madinah, they were persecuted by the Quraysh as soon as they arrived: “Did Quraysh Persecute Muslims When They Fled To Madinah?“. So the idea perpetuated by some that the Prophet (p) was ordered to kill those who rejected Islam is false since we know that the whole chapter 88 of the Quran was revealed in Makkah and no fighting ever took place in Makkah, while they were a minority. And since no fighting or forceful conversion did not take place, then by default the command would also be the same when the Prophet (p) uttered the same words of Q. 88:22 on the conquest of Makkah. Besides the Quranic verse (S. 88:21-22), the earliest sources of Islam on the conquest of Makkah also refute this oft-repeated myth about forced conversion.

In view of the immediate context of S. 88:21-26, one sees that the passage is ordering that Prophet Muhammed, and his companions (p) are not allowed to force anyone to Islam. And those who have been presented with the truth and reject it, they will be dealt with on the day of judgement by God. The punishment that is described against those who reject the truth is from God, the words,

“Allah will punish him…” – Quran 88:24

These words couldn’t get any clearer. That the one who punishes is God Himself. Let’s now show some evidence from classical to contemporary exegesis.

Muslim and Non-Muslim Exegesis on Quran 88:21-22

Reverend E. M. Wherry was a notorious Christian missionary who in his writings does not hide his hatred towards Islam and Muhammed, he says the following:

“(21, 22) See note on chap. Ii. 119.”
A Comprehensive Commentary On The Quran – Comprising Sale’s Translation And Preliminary Discourse,With Additional Notes And Emendations Together With A Complete Index To The Text, Preliminary Discourse And Notes, [London – Kegan Paul,, Trench, Trubner, & Co. Ltd. Paternoster House, Charing Cross Road., 1886] by The Rev. E. M. Wherry, M. A., Vol. IV (vol. 4), page 248- 249)

E. M. Wherry directs us to look for chapter 2, verse 119 for the explanation of Surah 88:22, and here he clearly admits that conversion to Islam was through “persuasion”:

“(119) We have sent there … a preacher. This is Muhammad’s claim concerning himself. He ever sets himself forth as a preacher, yet as a messenger of God, an apostle, by whom the Quran was to be conveyed to and enforced upon the world. The power by which it was to be enforced, AT THE TIME THIS PASSAGE WAS WRITTEN, WAS PERSUASION. The pains consequent on unbelief were the pains of hell-fire. …” (A Comprehensive Commentary On The Quran Comprising Sale’s Translation And Preliminary Discourse, With Additional Notes And Emendations – Together with A Complete Inter To The Cert, Preliminary Discourse And Notes, [LONDON. Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Limited Paternoster House, Charing Cross Road, 1896] by the Rev. E. M. Wherry, M. A., vol. I (vol. 1), page 333)

Notice E. M. Wherry saying the “pains” of unbelief is dealt with in “hell-fire”.

The 20th-century scholar Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi says that the Prophet (p) was not appointed to force the will of the deniers (unbelievers):

“8 That is, “If a person does not listen to reason, he may not. YOU HAVE NOT BEEN APPOINTED TO FORCE THE WILL OF THE DENIERS. Your only task is to distinguish the right from the wrong for the people and warn them of the consequences of following the wrong way; so this is the task you should continue to perform.” (Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi – Tafhim al-Qur’an – The Meaning of the Qur’an – online source http://englishtafsir.com/Quran/88/index.html )

Classical scholar Ibn Kathir (1301 – 1373 AD) commenting on Q. 88:21-22, he says that one cannot force a person to “faith” i.e., forcing someone to believe in Islam is prohibited:

THE MESSENGER IS ONLY CHARGED WITH DELIVERING THE MESSAGE
Allah says,

‘So remind them — you are only one who reminds. You are not a Musaytir over them’ meaning, “O Muhammad! REMIND THE PEOPLE with what you have been sent with to them.”

YOUR DUTY IS ONLY TO CONVEY (THE MESSAGE) and on Us is the reckoning.’ (13:40) Then Allah says,

‘You are not a Musaytir over them.’ Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and others said, “You are not a dictator over them.” This means that you CANNOT create faith in their hearts. Ibn Zayd said, “YOU ARE NOT THE ONE WHO CAN FORCE THEM TO HAVE FAITH.’

The Threat for Whoever turns away from the Truth
Concerning Allah’s statement,

(Save the one who turns away and disbelieves.) meaning, he turns away from acting upon its pillars, and he disbelieves in the truth with his heart and his tongue. This is similar to Allah’s statement,

(So he neither believed nor prayed! But on the contrary, he belied and turn away!) (75:31-32) Thus, Allah says,
(Then ALLAH WILL PUNISH HIM with the greatest punishment.) Allah then says,
(VERILY, TO US WILL BE THEIR RETURN) meaning, their place of return and their resort.
(Then verily, for Us will be their reckoning.) meaning, `WE WILL RECKON THEIR DEEDS FOR THEM AND REQUITE THEM FOR THOSE DEEDS.’ If they did good, they will receive good, and if they did evil, they will receive evil. This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Ghashiyah.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathird (Abridged) – (Surat At-Taghabun to the end of the Qur’an) [Abridged by A group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri., Darussalam., Second Edition, 2003], volume 10, page 463 – 465)

Muhammad b. al-Sa’ib al-Kalbi (d. 146/763) [14]:

“‘(Remind them) admonish them, (for thou art but a remembrancer) YOU ARE BUT A WARNER BY MEANS OF THE QUR’AN; it is also said that this means: you are only an admonisher by the Qur’an and through Allah. Thou art not’ O Muhammad ‘at all a warder over them’ you are NOT imposed on them such that you force them to accept faith. … (ALLAH WILL PUNISH HIM) IN THE HEREAFTER (WITH DIREST PUNISHMENT) I.E. WITH THE PUNISHMENT OF THE FIRE. (Lo! unto Us is their return) in the HEREAFTER. (And Ours their reckoning) their steadfastness in the life of the world and reward and punishment in the Hereafter’. ” (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas on Surah 88:21-22 online source, http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=73&tSoraNo=88&tAyahNo=22&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2 )

 

A Thematic Commentary on the Qurʼan – Shaykh Muhammad Al-Ghazali (1917 – 1996):

SURAH 88
Al-Ghashiyah
(The Overwhelming Event)

The Surah opens with a reverberating question: ‘Have you heard of the overwhelming event?’ (1). The title of this Surah, al-Ghashiyah (The Overwhelming Event), DENOTES THE DAY OF RESURRECTION because it is a day when people’s minds will be overwhelmed. The Surah then continues to provoke fear and hope through promises and threats, before it calls on the Arab mind to look around its environment and observe the camels and the mountains and the stretching horizons. The Arabs were directed to conclude that only One God was deserving of worship and that the idols they had inherited should be abandoned.

The Surah closes by defining the mission of the Muslim community, namely to ENLIGHTEN AND REMIND. As people forget or overlook the purpose of their existence, Muslims are expected to take up the task of confronting ungodliness and evil in the world. They draw their power and strength from the Qur’an, the book that had brought them honor and respect, but which they have now all but neglected.

The Surah threatens the wrong-doers with misery, describing their faces: ‘On that day there shall be downcast faces, worn out, haggard’ (2-3). They will drink seething water and eat food of no benefit to them. As for the believers, they will be in a different world altogether. ‘There shall be radiant faces, of men pleased with their labors, residing in a LOFTY PARADISE’ (8-10). Paradise is a place that is free of idle talk or vain chatter, because such behaviour does not befit wise and pious people.

Believers should use their minds to increase understanding of the world and that which lies beyond its physical presence. ‘Would they not reflect on how camels were created and how the heavens were raised on high?’ (17-18). It is an open invitation to mankind to reflect on all aspects of the universe and all its phenomena and creatures. Very few of the early Muslim scholars can escape the criticism that they were too infatuated with the study of Hellenistic Greek philosophy rather than devoting their attention to the study of the Qur’anic philosophy of matter.

The Surah then makes a most profound statement which encapsulates the essence of the mission of Islam. It says:

‘Therefore, admonish, for you are but a warner; you have no power them’ (21-22).

THIS IS A CLEAR AFFIRMATION THAT MUSLIMS ARE NOT DIRECTED TO ESTABLISH TYRANNICAL, colonialist community steeped in greed, but a community that liberates the human mind and DIRECTS MANKIND TOWARDS PERFECTION. A Muslim state is not established for the benefit of one particular race or ethnic group; rather, it is the outcome of sincere and honest endeavour to please God Almighty.

Virtue in today’s world has been stifled as evil, injustice, and vice find protection and promotion. There has never been a greater need for a believing authority to rise to protect the good, establish justice, and work for faith and reform. Whatever the outcome, THE FINAL RETURN SHALL BE TO GOD ALMIGHTY: ‘TO US IS THEIR RETURN, AND WE WILL BRING THEM TO ACCOUNT’ (25-26). “(A Thematic Commentary on the Qurʼan, [Translated from the Arabic by Ashur A. Shamis – Revised by Zaynab Alawiye – The International Institute of Islamic Thought, 1421 AH/2000AC] by Shaykh Muḥammad Ghazali page 717 – 718)

An Enlightening Commentary into the Light of the Holy Quran:

“Verily, the creation of the sky, earth, mountains, and animals indicate that there is a plan and purpose for the creation of man and the world. The Prophet’s mission is to make people acquainted with the goal of that creation, with his admonishments and lead them to the path of development and nearness to Allah. Of course, the path of development is paved when they do it willingly and without any outer forces, otherwise it is meaningless. THE PROPHET (S) CANNOT FORCE THEM TO OBEY ALLAH AND EVEN IF HE COULD, IT WOULD BE USELESS.

Some have supposed that this instruction has been abrogated when the verses of the command for Holy War were revealed.

WHAT A GREAT MISTAKE! The Prophet’s mission for publicity of Islam and admonition began from the early days of his prophecy and continued until the last moments of his life. It has been continuing since then; at first by his sinless successors and then by the Islamic scholars. This responsibility will never stop. The lack of obligation on the people, in accepting Islam, is also a permanent principle.

However, Holy War is different. The goal is mainly to stand AGAINST TRANSGRESSORS and remove the hindrances from the path of true believers.

This matter is somewhat similar to that of Surah Nisa, No.4, verse 80 which says:

“…But IF ANY TURN AWAY, WE HAVE NOT SENT THEE TO WATCH OVER THEIR (EVIL DEEDS)”.

It is the same in Surah An’am, No. 6, verse 107 and Surah Shura, No. 42, verse 48.

The term /musaytir/ is based on /satr/ ‘a line of a book or writing’ and means ‘a person who arranges the lines of a book’ or ‘one who has absolute authority over a thing or a person and writes down its manner of action, or makes him do something by force’.

In the next verse, as an exception, it says:

“But whoever turns back and disbelieves.”

Opinions are divided about the commentary of this ‘exception’: The first idea says that the exception is from the object of the verb /fathakkir/ to ‘give admonition’. Accepting this, it means ‘you do not need to give admonition to the enemies who reject Allah and do not take your advice’.
This is similar to what is said in Surah Zukhruf, No. 43, verse 83:

SO LEAVE THEM TO BABBLE AND PLAY (WITH VANITIES) until they meet that Day of theirs, which they have been promised”.

The second idea denotes that if the sentence is considered as a conditional sentence, there is something omitted in the sentence and hence the meaning is,

‘Do thou give admonition, because admonishment is useful for all, unless they are enemies of Allah’.
It is similar to what is said in Surah A’1a, No. 87, verse 9:

“Therefore give admonition in case the admonition profits (the hearer)”.

The third idea says that the exception is from the pronoun /’alayhim/ in verse 22, then it would mean: ‘Thou art NOT one to manage (men’s) affair, except in so far as you receive authority to do so against those who reject Allah and do wrong with you.’

This commentary seems more agreeable.

The ‘exception’ may be unrelated; if so, the meaning is: ‘But those who turn back and reject Allah, He has authority over them, or He will punish them with a mighty punishment’.

‘Mighty punishment’ is the punishment IN THE HEREAFTER and is compared with the punishment in the present life as it is said in Surah Zumar, No. 39, verse 26:

“So GOD GAVE THEM A TASTE OF HUMILIATION in the present life, but greater is the punishment of the HEREAFTER.”
It is probable that the purpose of the ‘mighty punishment’ is a definite intensive PUNISHMENT IN HELL for some SINNERS IN THE HEREAFTER, because the punishment of all evildoers will not be the same in HELL.

At the end of the Surah, it says with a threatening tone that:

“Surely to Us will be their Return;”

“Then surely upon Us will be the taking of their account.”

This is, in fact, a kind of consoling for the Prophet (S) in order for him not to be upset about their obstinacy and to keep his responsibility in view. It is also a threat for all those who are obstinate in understanding who it is that will reckon with them.

Thus, Surah Ghashiyah which began by SPEAKING ABOUT THE HEREAFTER, ENDS BY SPEAKING ABOUT THE HEREAFTER also, but in between, ‘monotheism’ and ‘prophecy’, are discussed which is the basis of Resurrection.
Meanwhile, in the beginning verses, a portion of the severe punishments for the evildoers, and then a great part of the rewards of the good-doers are mentioned. By the way, PEOPLE ARE FREE EITHER TO BELIEVE AND FOLLOW THE WAY OR NOT, but they are warned that their return will certainly be to Allah and it is He Who will take care of their account.

Therefore, IT CLEARLY STATES THAT THE HOLY PROPHET (S) IS SENT TO TEACH AND DIRECT PEOPLE ON THE WAY AND HE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR PEOPLE’S REJECTIONS AND CORRUPTIONS. All prophets of Allah have been commissioned in like manner.” (An Enlightening Commentary into the Light of the Holy Quran [The Scientific and Religious Research Center Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali Public Library – Translator Sayyid Abbas Sadr-‘ameli], compiled by a group of Muslim scholars, under the direction of Allamah Al-Hajj Sayyid Kamal Faqih Imani, volume 19, page 301 – 303, online source http://islamicmobility.com/pdf/An_Enlightening_Com_intothe_Light_ofthe_Holy_Quran_vol19.pdf )

The Holy Quran – Commentary – Tafsir by Agha Mehdi Pooya states that there is no “compulsion in religion”. He comments further that the Prophet Muhammed is not a compeller and it is “Allah who will punish”:

“[Pooya/Ali Commentary 88:21-22]
The Prophet of Allah is sent to teach, preach and guide the people, but not to force people to adopt the right path. Musaytir has been used here in the sense of an enforced or compeller who forces or coerces in order to make any one carry out commands against one’s will under duress. As has been said in Baqarah: 256, there is NO COMPULSION IN RELIGION, so the Prophet of Allah is NOT A COMPELLER in this sense, otherwise as the vicegerent of Allah he has the authority to execute His divine legislative will. It is Allah who will punish the transgressors. …” The Holy Quran – Commentary – Tafsir by Ayatullah Agha Mehdi Pooya & S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali (Surah 71 to 114), page 81)

Scholar Yusuf Ali (1872 – 1952) states that the Prophet (p) was not sent to force people’s will and that “punishment belongs to Allah alone”:

“6107 The Prophet of Allah is sent to teach and direct people on the way. HE IS NOT SENT TO FORCE THEIR WILL, or to punish them, except insofar as he may receive authority to do so. Punishment belongs to Allah alone. And Punishment is certain in the Hereafter, when true values will be restored.” (The Meaning of The Noble Qur’an [Edition 2006] by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, page 449 http://www.ulc.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/English-Quran-With-Commentaries.pdf)

Fi Dhilal Al Qur’an – Qutb says that the job of the Prophet (p) was to remind people of the Message of Islam and no other role. And his task was not to convert people by force, as such is forbidden (Haram) in Islam:

“The Prophet’s Mission
Having dealt first with the hereafter, and pointed out some apparent aspects of the universe, the surah now addresses the Prophet, (peace be upon him), laying down the nature of his mission and limits of his role. It then concludes with a final reminder to mankind: “Therefore exhort them; your task is only to exhort. You are not their overseer. But he who turns his back and disbelieves, God shall inflict on him the greatest suffering. To Us they shall surely return, when We shall bring them to account.” (Verses 21-26)

Remind them, then, of the hereafter and the universe, and all there is in each of them. YOUR SPECIFIC TASK IS TO REMIND PEOPLE, AND YOU HAVE NO OTHER ROLE. This is indeed your mission for which you have been suitably equipped. “You are not their overseer.” (Verse 22) You have no control over their hearts and you cannot compel them to adopt the faith. Men’s hearts are in the hands of God, the Merciful. Jihad, which means striving for God’s cause and which was later made a duty of the Prophet and all Muslims, DID NOT AIM AT CONVERTING PEOPLE TO ISLAM BY FORCE. Its only aim was to remove all hindrances in the way of the Islamic message, so that it could be delivered freely, and people would not be prevented from listening to it or be persecuted for doing so. This is the role the Prophet can fulfil: to remove the obstacles which prevent him from delivering his message.

The notion that the Prophet’s mission is confined to reminding people and delivering God’s message is often repeated and stressed in the Qur’an. There are several reasons for this emphasis, the first of which is to relieve the Prophet of the heavy burden of directing the course of the Islamic message once he has conveyed it.
He must leave it to God to decide its course. The urgency of the human yearning to win victory for the truth and to get people to benefit from its absolute goodness is so keen that such repetition is required to make the advocates of this message distinguish their own desires and ambitions from their mission. When this distinction is clear, they proceed in fulfilment of their duty, regardless of the response and consequence. THUS ADVOCATES OF ISLAM DO NOT WORRY THEMSELVES OVER WHO HAS ACCEPTED THE FAITH AND WHO HAS NOT. They are not charged with this burden, which becomes particularly heavy at times of adversity, when a favourable response becomes a rarity and enemies abound. “But he who turns his back and disbelieves, God shall inflict on him the greatest suffering.” (Verses 23-24) They will no doubt return to God, and He will inevitably administer their retribution. Such is the final and decisive note on which the surah ends: “To Us they shall surely return, when We shall bring them to account.” (Verses 25-26)

The definition of the Prophet’s role and the role of every subsequent advocate of Islam is thus completed. They have only to remind and the reckoning will be made by God. It must be stressed, however, that the process of reminding includes the removal of hindrances so that people are free to listen to the divine message. This is the aim of jihad as it is understood from the Qur’an and the Prophet’s history. It is a process which neither admits negligence NOR PERMITS AGGRESSION. (In The Shade Of The Qur’an (“Fi Dhilal Al Qur’an”) by Sayyid Qutb Vol XVIII (vol. 18), page 143 – 144)

The Tafsir Anwarul Bayan by scholar Muhammad Aashiq Elahi Muhajir Madani (1924/1925 – 2001) writes that the responsibility of the Prophet Muhammed (p) was only to preach the Message and “not force people to believe (in Islam)”:

“…because of his overwhelming concern for his Ummah, the Holy Prophet used to become extremely grieved when people REFUSED TO ACCEPT ISLAM. Therefore, Allah said to him, ‘So give advice, for you are an advisor. You have not been appointed as a warder over them’ i.e., YOUR RESPONSIBILITY IS ONLY TO PREACH THE MESSAGE AND NOT FORCE PEOPLE TO BELIEVE. Whoever believed after the message reached him, shall be successful.“ (Illuminating Discourses On The Quran (“Tafsir Anwarul Bayan”) [Translation Edited by Mufti Afzal Hussain Elias. – Revised by Maulana Arshad Fakhri based on Ma’ariful Quran. – Darul Ishaat, Urdu Bazar, Karachi. First Edition, 2005] by Muhammad Aashiq Elahi Muhajir Madani, volume 5, page 390)

Maarif ul Quran – Mufti Mohammad Shafi (1897 – 1976) writes that it is God Almighty who guides the “unbelievers”, and Prophet Muhammed (p) is only a “preacher”:

“In conclusion of the Chapter, the Messenger of Allah is comforted thus:
… ‘You are not a taskmaster set up over them, … 88:22’
THE HOLY PROPHET IS TOLD THAT HE IS ONLY A PREACHER, and as such he must keep on preaching. He should not worry beyond that. IT IS FOR ALLAH TO CALL THE UNBELIEVERS TO HIM to render account of their deeds and actions…” (Maarif ul Quran: Quran Translation and Commentary [Translated by Maulana Ahmed Khalil Aziz. Revised by Justice Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani] by Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi, volume 8, page 777)

 

Asrar At-Tanzil – Scholar Amir Muhammad Akram A’wan:

“Propagator

A propagator must have these four qualities: (1) Must work tirelessly like… and be content with whatever food is available. (2) Posses lofty determination and courage like the sky (3) Be as firm as the mountains and finally (4) Should be as furnishing and humble as the earth, without a trace of arrogance. Each action must be aimed at benefitting mankind; by way of delivering the oppressed as well as checking the oppressor.

So O’ PROPHET YOU MAY SIMPLY ADVISE PEOPLE as advising them is your responsibility. YOU DO NOT FORCE THEM INTO BELIEVING. It is Allah’s domain to severely punish those who turn away from your advice and Din and opt for infidelity. Undoubtedly they have to return to Us one day and We will Personally take them to account.” (Holy Quran – Translation & Commentary – Asrar At-Tanzil [Idarah-e Naqshbandiah Owaisiah, Dar al-Irfan Munara, Distt, Chakwal. First edition, 2004] by Amir Muhammad Akram A’wan, volume 5, page 481)

The giant 14th Century Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (1292 – 1350 AD) in the book “Hidayatul Hayara Fi Ajwibatul Yahood wa al-Nasara” he writes on Surah al-Tawbah, specifically on the occasion of this Hadith report under discussion. He writes that the Prophet Muhammed (p) never forced anyone to accept Islam:

“When God sent His Apostle (p), most of the followers of these religions responded to him and to his successsors, voluntarily and willingly. NOBODY WAS COMPELLED TO DO SO. THE APOSTLE FOUGHT ONLY THOSE WHO FOUGHT AND WAGED WAR AGAINST HIM. He did not fight those who made peace with him, neither did he fight those who were under the pledge of truce. He was obeying the bidding of God Most Sublime were he said:

‘Let there be no compulsion in Religion: Truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects Evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks, and God heareth and knowth all things ‘ (al-Baqarah: 256).

THE APOSTLE DID NOT COMPEL ANYONE TO ADOPT ISLAM. The above quoted verse from the Qur’an negates compulsion in the sense of prohibition that is: do not compel a soul to embrace the Religion. The verse (Sura) was revealed to admonish some of the men among the companions whose children embraced Judaism and Christianity before the advent of Islam, and where with the advent of Islam, their fathers embraced the religion of Muhammad and attempted to compel their children to follow their lead. God Most Exalted prohibited the fathers from resorting to compulsion to inspire their children to embrace Islam out of their choice. … To him who ponders over the biography of the Prophet (p) it becomes clear that he did not compel anyone to embrace his religion, and that he only fought those who fought him. He did not fight those who made truce with him as long as they kept and honoured the truce. He never broke a promise, for God Most High bid him to fulfil his promises to them as long as they kept theirs. A propos, God Most Exalted said:

‘How can there be a league before God and His apostle, with the pagans, except thoe with whom ye made a treaty near the Sacred Mosque? As long as these stand true to you, stand ye true to them for God doth love the righteous’ (AL-TAWBAH: 7).

… Likewise, when the Prophet Muhammad made truce with (the tribe of) Quraysh holding for ten years, HE DID NOT START ANY FIGHT WITH THEM; BUT WHEN THEY VIOLATED THE MUTUAL AGREEMENT AND RAISED ARMS AGAINST HIM, HE FOUGHT BACK… he stopped the fight when they retreated and went off. The point is that he did not compel anyone at all to embrace his religion; but people embraced his RELIGION VOLUNTARILY and willingly. When most of the people earth realized the True Guidance, and that he is genuinely the Apostle of God, they embraced his call. (Guidance To The Uncertain In Reply To The Jews And The Nazarenes (‘Hidayatul Hayara Fi Ajwibatul Yahud wa al-Nasara’) – [Translated by Abdelhay El-Masry, Dar Al-Kotob Al-Ilmiyah] by Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziah, page 25 – 27)

Conclusion:

With the above evidence shown, we see that the Hadith that is used by proponents, claiming that report shows Muhammed ordered his followers to forcefully convert idolaters is not true. The very same report used by critics, the Prophet commands his followers not to force anyone to believe in Islam, he uses word for word Surah 88:21-22, which as we have seen all scholars agree that forced conversion is not allowed in Islam. The verse ordered Muslims not to convert anyone to Islam by force. As such act, forcing someone’s will is categorically forbidden (Haram) in Islam.

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Related articles:

(1) – “Early Expeditions And Battles Of Islam

(2) – “Muhammed A Mercy: Analysing Dogs Killed In Madinah

(3) – “What Happened To The Captive Women In Awtas Incident?

(4) – “Most Misinterpreted Verses Of The Quran?

(5) – “‘Those Who Wage War And Make Mischief’ – Quran 5:33

(6) – “Did Jews Get Expelled From Arabia?

(7) – “Does Biblical Law Force Rape Victim To Marry Rapist?

(8) – “2 Samuel 13:14 And Deuteronomy 21:14

(9) – “Social Conditions: Christians And Jews In Early Period Of Islam“

(10) – “The Truth About Jizyah

References:

[1] Shaykh Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi:
“Period of Revelation
The whole subject matter of the Surah indicates that this too is ONE OF THE EARLIEST SURAHS TO BE REVEALED; but this was the period when the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) had started preaching his message publicly, and the people of MAKKAH were hearing it and ignoring it carelessly and thoughtlessly.” (Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi – Tafhim al-Qur’an – The Meaning of the Qur’an – online source http://englishtafsir.com/Quran/88/index.html)
[2] Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi:
“Surat-ul-Ghashia
The Enveloping. LXXXVIII
(MAKKAN, 1 Section and 26 verses) (Tafsir-Ul-Qur’an – Translation and Commentary Of The Holy Qur’an [Published By Darul Ishaat Urdu Bazaar Karachi: Pakistan. First edition, 1991] by Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi, volume 4, page 495)
[3] Maulana Muhammad Ali:
“The Overwhelming Event, whose mention in the first verse supplies a name to this chapter, is the doom of the opponents in this life and their punishment in the Hereafter. The DATE OF REVELATION IS PLACED ABOUT THE FOURTH YEAR OF THE PROPHET’S CALL.” (The Holy Quran Arabic Text with English Translation, Commentary and comprehensive Introduction [Year 2002 Edition] by Maulana Muhammad Ali, page 1206)
[4] Ibn Kathir:
“The Tafsir Of Surat AL-GHASHIYAH
(Chapter – 88)
Which was REVEALED IN MAKKAH”. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) – (Surat At-Taghabun to the end of the Qur’an) [Abridged by A group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri., Darussalam., Second Edition, 2003], volume 10, page 455)
[5] The Holy Qur’an – Arabic Text With English Translation & Short Commentary:
“CHAPTER 88
Al-Ghashiyah
(Revealed BEFORE HIJRAH)
Dated of Revelation and Context
The Surah, like the preceding one, was revealed early at MECCA. Eminent early Muslims scholars such as Ibn Abbas and Ibn Zubair hold this view. The famous German orientalist Noldeke places it in the fourth year of the Call. …” (The Holy Qur’an – Arabic Text With English Translation & Short Commentary [Published by Islam International Publications Limited, Present edition (UK), 2002] by Malik Ghulam Farid, page 1257)
[6] Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi:
“Surah Al-Ghashiyah
(The Overwhelming Event)
THIS SURAH IS MAKKI, and it has 26 verses. (Maarif ul Quran: Quran Translation and Commentary [Translated by Maulana Ahmed Khalil Aziz. Revised by Justice Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani] by Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi, volume 8, page 772)
[7] The Qur’an With Annotated Interpretation in Modern English – Ali Unal:
“REVEALED IN MAKKAH, this surah of 26 verses derives its name from the word AL-GHASHIYAH (the overwhelming, meaning the Resurrection Day) in the first verse. It draws attention to the hardships and punishment the unbelievers will suffer in the Hereafter, and the bliss with which the believers will be favored. It also calls on us to reflect on some manifestations and evidence of God’s Power and Wisdom.” ((The Qur’an With Annotated Interpretation in Modern English by Ali Unal, page 1161)
[8] An Enlightening Commentary into the Light of the Holy Quran:
“Surah Ghashiyah, Chapter 88
(The Overwhelming Event) Number of Verses: 26
Contents of Surah Ghashiyah
This Surah is ONE OF THE MECCAN SURAHS which contains mainly the following three themes: The first subject is the ‘Resurrection’ and the contrast between the destinies of the Good and the Evil in the ‘Hereafter’. The second subject is ‘Monotheism’ with reference to the creation of the sky, the earth, and the mountains. Man should consider these wonderful matters as admonishments. The third subject is ‘Prophecy’ and some of the duties that the holy Prophet (S) was required to perform. On the whole, the Surah strengthens the idea for the basis of religion and faith, as well as all MECCAN SURAHS do.” (An Enlightening Commentary into the Light of the Holy Quran [The Scientific and Religious Research Center Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali Public Library – Translator Sayyid Abbas Sadr-‘ameli], compiled by a group of Muslim scholars, under the direction of Allamah Al-Hajj Sayyid Kamal Faqih Imani, volume 19, page 288 – 289, online source http://islamicmobility.com/pdf/An_Enlightening_Com_intothe_Light_ofthe_Holy_Quran_vol19.pdf )
[9] So Qur’an al-Karim:
“Al-Ghashiyah – 88 – 1037 – MAKKI” (So Qur’an al-Karim – Ago so Kiya pema ana iron ko basa a iranon sa pilimpinas – iniranon i: Sheik AbdulAziz Guroalim Saromantang [King Fahd Complex For The printing Of the Holy Qur’an, Madinah, K. S. A.], page 1067)
[10] Professor Shah Farid-ul-Haque:
“Surah Number 88: Al-Ghashiyah (The Overwhelming)
REVEALED AT: MAKKAH
Total verses: 26” (Al-Quran-ul-Kareem (English Translation) Kanz-ul-Eeman – An English Translation from ‘Kanz-Ul-Eeman’ – English Text Translation by Professor Shah Farid-ul-Haque, page 207, online source http://www.nooremadinah.net/Al-Quran/EnglishTranslation/Download/QuranEnglishTranslation.pdf )
[11] Scholar Abdullah Yusuf Ali:
“Introduction And Summary To Surrah 88 – Al-Ghashiyah
This is a late surah of the EARLY MAKKAN PERIOD, perhaps close in date to S. 53. Its subject matter is the contrast between the destinies of the Good and the Evil in the Hereafter – on the day when the true balance will be restored The signs of Allah even in this life should remind us of the day of account, for Allah is good, and his creation is for a just purpose. (The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an [Amana Publications, 2004] by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, page 1639)
[12] Asrar At-Tanzil – Shaykh Amir Muhammad Akram A’wan:
“Surah al Ghathiah
(The Enveloping)
REVEALED AT MAKKAH, it has twenty six Ayat and only one section.” (Holy Quran – Translation & Commentary – Asrar At-Tanzil [Idarah-e Naqshbandiah Owaisiah, Dar al-Irfan Munara, Distt, Chakwal. First edition, 2004] by Amir Muhammad Akram A’wan, volume 5, page 479)
[13] Dr. Muhammad Asad:
“REVEALED most probably about the MIDDLE OF THE MECCA PERIOD, this surah derives its title from the participial noun al-ghashiyah in the first verse.” (The Message of The Quran Translated and Explained by Dr. Muhammad Asad [Leopold Weiss], page 862, online source https://asadullahali.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/the-message-of-the-quran.pdf )
[14] Professor Asma Afsaruddin says that the companion Ibn Abass is not the author of this exegesis “Tanwir min Miqbas ibn Abbas”. The professor points out that the original author of this exegesis is Muhammad b. al-Sa’ib al-Kalbi (d.146/763):
“1 The work attributed to Ibn ‘Abbas is titled Tanwir al-miqbas min tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas; the EXTANT VERSION HAS BEEN ATTRIBUTED TO MUHAMMAD B. AL-SA’IB AL-KALBI (d.146/763). For a discussion of this work’s probable authorship, see Andrew Rippin 1994, 38–83 and more recently, Harald Motzki 2006, 147–63.” (The Hermeneutics Of Inter-Faith Relations: Retrieving Moderation And Pluraism As Universal Principles In Qur’anic Exegesis [Journal of Religious Ethics Inc., 2009] by Asma Afsaruddin, page 333 (footnote 1))

M

i-have-been-commanded-refutation

What Does The Arabic Word Fitnah Mean?

The following article was retrieved from “discover-the-truth.com

Often times the Arabic word “fitna” (فِتْنَةٌ) in Surah 2:190-194 and Surah 8:39 gets associated by critics to mean “shirk” (disbelief). They claim when the Quran ordered early companions of Muhammed to fight against “fitna”, they assert here that they were ordered to fight non-Muslims merely because of them not believing in Islam. This claim has no foundation whatsoever when one looks at the earliest sources of Islam.

The following Hadith saying is from a Companion of prophet Muhammed (p) and he clarifies what is meant by “fitna” (فِتْنَةٌ):

“Narrated Sa`id bin Jubair:`Abdullah bin `Umar came to us and we hoped that he would narrate to us a good Hadith. But before we asked him, a man got up and said to him, “O Abu `Abdur-Rahman! Narrate to us about the battles during the time of the afflictions, as Allah says:– ‘And fight them until there is no more afflictions (i.e. no more worshipping of others besides Allah).’” (2.193) Ibn `Umar said (to the man), “Do you know what is meant by afflictions? Let your mother bereave you! Muhammad used to fight against the pagans, FOR A MUSLIM WAS PUT TO TRIAL IN HIS RELIGION (THE PAGANS WILL EITHER KILL HIM OR CHAIN HIM AS A CAPTIVE). His fighting was not like your fighting which is carried on for the sake of ruling.
Arabic:
حَدَّثَنَا إِسْحَاقُ الْوَاسِطِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا خَالِدٌ، عَنْ بَيَانٍ، عَنْ وَبَرَةَ بْنِ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ، عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ جُبَيْرٍ، قَالَ خَرَجَ عَلَيْنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عُمَرَ فَرَجَوْنَا أَنْ يُحَدِّثَنَا، حَدِيثًا حَسَنًا ـ قَالَ ـ فَبَادَرَنَا إِلَيْهِ رَجُلٌ فَقَالَ يَا أَبَا عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ حَدِّثْنَا عَنِ الْقِتَالِ فِي الْفِتْنَةِ وَاللَّهُ يَقُولُ ‏{‏وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ‏}‏ فَقَالَ هَلْ تَدْرِي مَا الْفِتْنَةُ ثَكِلَتْكَ أُمُّكَ، إِنَّمَا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ صلى الله عليه وسلم يُقَاتِلُ الْمُشْرِكِينَ، وَكَانَ الدُّخُولُ فِي دِينِهِمْ فِتْنَةً، وَلَيْسَ كَقِتَالِكُمْ عَلَى الْمُلْكِ‏.‏ “ (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 9, Book 88, Hadith 215 https://sunnah.com/bukhari/92/46)

That above hadith says fighting can’t be “for leadership”/supremacy. The fitna fighting was in relation to persecution and oppression. Here is a longer version:

“Narrated Nafi: During the affliction of Ibn Az-Zubair, two men came to Ibn `Umar and said, “The people are lost, and you are the son of `Umar, and the companion of the Prophet, so what forbids you from coming out?” He said, “What forbids me is that Allah has prohibited the shedding of my brother’s blood.” They both said, “Didn’t Allah say, ‘And fight then until there is no more affliction?” He said “We fought until there was no more affliction and the worship is for Allah (Alone while you want to fight until there is affliction and until the worship become for other than Allah.” … Won’t you listen to why Allah has mentioned in His Book: ‘If two groups of believers fight each other, then make peace between them, but if one of then transgresses beyond bounds against the other, then you all fight against the one that transgresses. (49.9) and:–“AND FIGHT THEM TILL THERE IS NO MORE AFFLICTION (FITNA فِتْنَةٌ).” Ibn `Umar said, “WE DID IT, DURING THE LIFETIME OF ALLAH’S MESSENGER WHEN ISLAM HAD ONLY A FEW FOLLOWERS. A MAN WOULD BE PUT TO TRIAL BECAUSE OF HIS RELIGION; HE WOULD EITHER BE KILLED OR TORTURED. BUT WHEN THE MUSLIMS INCREASED, THERE WAS NO MORE AFFLICTIONS OR OPPRESSIONS (FITNA). …
Arabic
حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ بَشَّارٍ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الْوَهَّابِ، حَدَّثَنَا عُبَيْدُ اللَّهِ، عَنْ نَافِعٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ أَتَاهُ رَجُلاَنِ فِي فِتْنَةِ ابْنِ الزُّبَيْرِ فَقَالاَ إِنَّ النَّاسَ قَدْ ضُيِّعُوا، وَأَنْتَ ابْنُ عُمَرَ وَصَاحِبُ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَمَا يَمْنَعُكَ أَنْ تَخْرُجَ فَقَالَ يَمْنَعُنِي أَنَّ اللَّهَ حَرَّمَ دَمَ أَخِي‏.‏ فَقَالاَ أَلَمْ يَقُلِ اللَّهُ ‏{‏وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ ‏}‏ فَقَالَ قَاتَلْنَا حَتَّى لَمْ تَكُنْ فِتْنَةٌ، وَكَانَ الدِّينُ لِلَّهِ، وَأَنْتُمْ تُرِيدُونَ أَنْ تُقَاتِلُوا حَتَّى تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ، وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ‏.‏ وَزَادَ عُثْمَانُ بْنُ صَالِحٍ عَنِ ابْنِ وَهْبٍ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنِي فُلاَنٌ، وَحَيْوَةُ بْنُ شُرَيْحٍ، عَنْ بَكْرِ بْنِ عَمْرٍو الْمَعَافِرِيِّ، أَنَّ بُكَيْرَ بْنَ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، حَدَّثَهُ عَنْ نَافِعٍ، أَنَّ رَجُلاً، أَتَى ابْنَ عُمَرَ فَقَالَ يَا أَبَا عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ مَا حَمَلَكَ عَلَى أَنْ تَحُجَّ عَامًا وَتَعْتَمِرَ عَامًا، وَتَتْرُكَ الْجِهَادَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ، وَقَدْ عَلِمْتَ مَا رَغَّبَ اللَّهُ فِيهِ قَالَ يَا ابْنَ أَخِي بُنِيَ الإِسْلاَمُ عَلَى خَمْسٍ إِيمَانٍ بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ، وَالصَّلاَةِ الْخَمْسِ، وَصِيَامِ رَمَضَانَ، وَأَدَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ، وَحَجِّ الْبَيْتِ‏.‏ قَالَ يَا أَبَا عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ، أَلاَ تَسْمَعُ مَا ذَكَرَ اللَّهُ فِي كِتَابِهِ ‏{‏وَإِنْ طَائِفَتَانِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اقْتَتَلُوا فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا‏}‏ ‏{‏إِلَى أَمْرِ اللَّهِ‏}‏ ‏{‏قَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ‏}‏ قَالَ فَعَلْنَا عَلَى عَهْدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَكَانَ الإِسْلاَمُ قَلِيلاً، فَكَانَ الرَّجُلُ يُفْتَنُ فِي دِينِهِ إِمَّا قَتَلُوهُ، وَإِمَّا يُعَذِّبُوهُ، حَتَّى كَثُرَ الإِسْلاَمُ فَلَمْ تَكُنْ فِتْنَةٌ‏.‏ قَالَ فَمَا قَوْلُكَ فِي عَلِيٍّ وَعُثْمَانَ قَالَ أَمَّا عُثْمَانُ فَكَأَنَّ اللَّهَ عَفَا عَنْهُ، وَأَمَّا أَنْتُمْ فَكَرِهْتُمْ أَنْ تَعْفُوا عَنْهُ، وَأَمَّا عَلِيٌّ فَابْنُ عَمِّ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَخَتَنُهُ‏.‏ وَأَشَارَ بِيَدِهِ فَقَالَ هَذَا بَيْتُهُ حَيْثُ تَرَوْنَ‏.‏
” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 6, Book 60, Hadith 40 https://sunnah.com/urn/41950)

And:

Narrated Ibn `Umar: … Ibn `Umar said, “O son of my brother! I would rather be blamed for not fighting because of this Verse than to be blamed because of another Verse where Allah says: ‘And whoever kills a believer intentionally…” (4.93) Then that man said, “Allah says:– ‘And fight them until there is no more afflictions (worshipping other besides Allah) and the religion (i.e. worship) will be all for Allah (Alone)” (8.39) Ibn `Umar said, “We did this during the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger when the number of Muslims was small, and A MAN WAS PUT TO TRIAL BECAUSE OF HIS RELIGION, THE PAGANS WOULD EITHER KILL OR CHAIN HIM; BUT WHEN THE MUSLIMS INCREASED (AND ISLAM SPREAD), THERE WAS NO PERSECUTION (FITNA).” When that man saw that Ibn `Umar did not agree to his proposal, he said, “What is your opinion regarding `Ali and `Uthman?” Ibn `Umar said, “What is my opinion regarding `Ali and `Uthman? As for `Uthman, Allah forgave him and you disliked to forgive him, and `Ali is the cousin and son-in-law of Allah’s Messenger.” Then he pointed out with his hand and said, “And that is his daughter’s (house) which you can see.” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 6, Book 60, Hadith 173 https://sunnah.com/urn/43280)

And this report from Fath al-Bari:

“’And fight them until there is no more FITNAH…’
Ibn Umar said, ‘We did that during the time of The Messenger of Allah when Islam was weak and the man would be tried in religion, EITHER TORMENTED TO DEATH OR BEING IMPRISONED. When Islam became stronger and widespread, there was no more Fitnah.’ …” (Fath al-Bari volume 8, page 160) (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) [Abridged by A Group of Scholars Under The Supervision Of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri. Maktaba Dar-us-Salam – Second Edition, 2003] volume 4 page 314)

Ibn Kathir explains that “fitnah” in Surah 8:39-41 is understood classically to mean that a Muslim is persecuted so much that he may abandon his religion. In his footnote he provides Ibn Abi Hatim (854 – 938 AD) who also has this opinion:

“’until there is no Fitnah’ the Fitnah mentioned here means, until no Muslims is PERSECUTED so that he abandons his religion.” (Ibn Abi Hatim volume 5, page 1701) (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) [Abridged by A Group of Scholars Under The Supervision Of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri. Maktaba Dar-us-Salam – Second Edition, 2003] volume 4 page 314)

When some commentaries or the above Hadith say fitna in connection with “no more worshipping of others besides Allah” in brackets, one should note here this is in reference to some Muslims who were forcefully converted to polytheism (Shirk) and thus they had to worship idols or gods of the persecutors. Thus no more shirk in the sense of them (persecutors) not being able to persecute an individual where they may fall back into polytheism due to the oppression.

Conclusion:

These Hadith reports shown proves unequivocally that fitnah requires physical persecution and oppression against Muslims before any fight can occur. It also proves that it is a fight by the weak against the oppressor and never a fight by the one in power to impose Islam on others. Therefore, “fitna” was understood by Prophet Muhammed’s companions as persecution and oppression.

Related articles:

(1) – “Most Misinterpreted Verses Of The Quran?

(2) – “Early Expeditions And Battles Of Islam

(3) – “Did Quraysh Persecute Muslims When They Fled To Madinah?

(4) – “Did Muhammad Order Or Support The Killing Of Innocents?

fitna-is-persecution

What Is The Explanation Of “I have Been Commanded To Fight The People Until They Testify…”?

Kaleef K. Karim

Content:

1. Introduction
2. Background
3. Quraysh Broke The Treaty And Waged War
4. Analysing The Hadith
5. The Hadith rejects Forced Conversion Claim
6. The Quran Rejects Forced Conversion Claim
7.  Various Commentaries On The Hadith
8. Conclusion

1. Introduction

The following Hadith quotation (below) has often been quoted by some critics claiming that Prophet Muhammed (p) sanctions and/or approves of Muslims to forcefully convert non-Muslims to Islam:

“I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establish the prayer and pay the Zakah.” (Fath al-Bari, volume 1, page 95) (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) [Abridged by A Group of Scholars Under The Supervision Of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri. Maktaba Dar-us-Salam – Second Edition, 2003] volume 4, page 377)”

When we get to read the Hadith and its historical context we find that this claim has no support from the Hadith nor was it interpreted in such a way. So what is the historical understanding of the Hadith report?

2. Background

Some of the earliest to contemporary scholars state that the Hadith report was said in connection to the pagan Arabs in Prophet Muhammed’s life time. Those words were uttered on the occasion of Surah al-Tawbah, specifically Surah 9:5, the “sword verse” as some would like to call it (Tafsir Ibn Kathir and Ibn Juzayy). [1] [2]

We wrote previously an article dedicated to Quran 9:5 – the verse was revealed as a result of the polytheists of Makkah breaking the treaty, attacking and killing Muhammed’s allies. As a result of their heinous and treacherous act, the Prophet (p) engaged the enemy.

Furthermore, it should be noted to our respected readers that in light of the Hadith report we are going to analyse, the Quraysh polytheists persecuted and murdered Muslims in Makkah for over ten years, and even when the Muslims fled to find safe sanctuary in Madinah they were persecuted once more: “Did Quraysh Persecute Muslims When They Fled To Madinah?

3. Quraysh Broke The Treaty And Waged War

Before we analyse the Hadith report, let’s briefly explain what happened on the occasion of Surah 9:5. In the sixth year of Hijri the Muslims and the polytheist Makkans made a treaty. Part of the treaty, the agreement was that neither parties would attack the other, nor would they attack any of their own allies. In this, all parties agreed and went their own ways. It didn’t take long when Banu Bakr tribe (who were an ally of Quraysh) attacked and murdered many of Banu Khuza’a’s tribe (they were the ally of the Muslims). The Quraysh being in the middle, the Muslims presumed that they would have tried to stop their ally (Banu Bakr) attacking and killing Banu Khuza’a. To the contrary, historical reports inform us that the polytheistic Quraysh supported Banu Bakr with weapons and their members also partook in killing Banu Khuza’a members. The Quraysh were the first to breach the terms of the treaty, attacking and murdering Prophet Muhammed’s ally. This is reported from many early sources.

Ibn Kathir (1301 – 1373 AD):

“‘then stand you true to them. Verily, Allah loves those who have Taqwa.’ The Messenger of Allah and the Muslims preserved the terms of the treaty with the people of Makkah from the month of Dhul-Qa`dah in the sixth year of Hijrah, until the QURAYSH BROKE IT AND HELPED THEIR ALLIES, BANU BAKR, AGAINST KHUZA`AH, the allies of Allah’s Messenger . AIDED BY THE QURAYSH, BANU BAKR KILLED SOME OF BANI KHUZA’AH in the Sacred Area! The Messenger of Allah led an invasion army in the month of Ramadan, of the eighth year, and Allah opened the Sacred Area for him to rule over them…It was also said that these Ayat refer to the idolators BREAKING THE PEACE AGREEMENT WITH MUSLIMS AND AIDING BANI BAKR, THEIR ALLIES, AGAINST KHUZA`AH, the ally of the Messenger of Allah. THIS IS WHY THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH MARCHED TO MAKKAH in the year of the victory, thus conquering it…” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) [Supervised by Abdul Malik Mujahid – First Edition, 2000] volume 4, page 377 – 378)

Tafsir Jalalayn:

“‘except for those you made a treaty with at the Masjid al-Haram’ Referring to the Treaty of Hudaybiyya. They are the Quraysh who were exempted before. ‘As long as they are straight with you, be straight with them’ i.e. as long as they carry out the treaty and do not break it, you should fulfill it. The ma is conditional and not adverbial. ‘Allah loves those who have taqwa’ The Prophet WAS STRAIGHT IN HIS TREATY WITH THEM UNTIL THEY BROKE IT BY HELPING THE BANU BAKR AGAINST KHUZA’A. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn on Surah 9:7 – Online source http://bewley.virtualave.net/tawba1.html)

Tafsir al-Jalalayn goes further:

“Will you not (a-la, ‘will not’ or ‘is not’, denotes incitement) fight a people who broke, violated, their oaths, their pacts, and intended to expel the Messenger, from Mecca — for they discussed this between them in their council assembly — initiating, combat, against you first?, when THEY FOUGHT ALONGSIDE BANU BAKR AGAINST KHUZA‘A, YOUR ALLIES? So what is stopping you from fighting them? Are you afraid of them? God is more worthy of your fear, when you fail to fight them, if you are believers.” (Tafsir al-Jalalayn on Surah 9:13, Online source http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=9&tAyahNo=13&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2)

As-Sawi:

“[ As-Sawi: This refers to the Treaty of al-Hudaybiyya which stipulated that there would be no war for twenty years. The Banu Bakr formed an alliance with Quraysh and the Khuza’a with the Prophet. BANU BAKR THEN ATTACKED KHUZA’A AND QURAYSH HELPED THEM WITH WEAPONS, THUS BREAKING THE TREATY. ‘Amr b. ‘Allam al-Khuza’i went and informed the Prophet what had happened. The Prophet said, “You will not be helped if I do not help you,” and made preparations and went to Makka and conquered it in 8 AH. …”(Tafsir as-Sawi on Surah 9:3 – Online source http://bewley.virtualave.net/tawba1.html)

Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas:

“(Will ye not fight a folk) why is it that you do not fight a people, i.e. the people of Mecca (who broke their solemn pledges) which are between them and you, (and purposed to drive out the messenger) and wanted to kill the Messenger when they entered Dar al-Nadwah (and did attack you first) by BREAKING THEIR PLEDGE WHEN THEY HELPED THE BANU BAKR, THEIR ALLIES, AGAINST THE BANU KHUZA’AH, THE ALLIES OF THE PROPHET? (What! Fear ye them?) O believers, do you fear fighting them? (Now Allah hath more right that you should fear Him) because of leaving His command, (if ye are believers).” (Tanwir al-Miqbâs min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas on Surah 9:13 – Online Source http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=73&tSoraNo=9&tAyahNo=13&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2)

Besides the above evidence, many earlier historical sources report similar accounts of this incident. That the Quraysh and Banu Bakr initiated warfare against Muhammed’s ally.

One of the earliest sources is Kitab al-Maghazi by Ma’mar Ibn Rashid (714-770 AD). He states that the Quraysh along with Banu Bakr attacked the Banu Khuza’ah tribe which were an ally of the Muslims at the time:

“During the two-year period of the Messenger of God’s truce with the Quraysh at al-Hudaybiyah, it is said that there was a war between the Bakr clan, allied with the Quraysh, and the KHUZA’AH CLAN, ALLIED WITH GOD’S MESSENGER. Now, THE QURAYSH PROVIDED AID TO THEIR ALLIES AGAINST KHUZA’AH, and when word of this reached the Messenger of God, he said, ‘By Him in Whose hands my soul resides, I will surely deny them what I and my household have been denied!’ He then began making preparations for war against the Quraysh.” (The Expeditions (“Kitab al-Maghazi”)- An Early Biography Of Muhammad by Ma’mar Ibn Rashid – According to the recension of Abd al-Razzaq al-San’ani [Edited and translated by Sean W. Anthony – Foreword by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem., NEW YORK University Press., 2014], page 95)

Ta’rikh al-rusul wa’l-Muluk – Abu Ja’far Muhammad b Jarir al-Tabari:

THE NIGHT THAT THE BANU BAKR ATTACKED THE KHUZA’AH at al-Watir, they killed a man of Khuza’ah named Munabbih. Munabbih was a man with weak heart. He had gone out with a tribesman of his named Tamim b. Asad. Munabbih said to him: ‘Tamim save yourself! As for me, by God I am a dead man whether they kill me or spare me, for my heart has ceased beating.’ Tamim ran away and escaped, Munabbih they caught and killed. When the Khuza’ah entered Mecca, they took refuge in the house of Budayl b. Warqa al-Khuza’I and the house of one of their mawlas names Rafi. When THE QURAYSH LEAGUED TOGETHER [WITH THE BANU BAKR] AGAINST KHUZA’AH AND KILLED SOME OF THEIR MEN, BREAKING THE TREATY AND COVENANT THAT EXISTED BETWEEN THEM AND THE MESSENGER OF GOD BY VIOLATING THE KHUZA’AH, WHO HAD A PACT AND TREATY WITH HIM, Amr b. Salim al-Khuza’ah, one of the Banu Ka’b, went to the Messenger of God in Medina. This was one the things that prompted the conquest of Mecca. Amr stood before the Messenger of God while he was in the mosque sitting among the people…
AMONG THE TERM ON WHICH THE MESSENGER OF GOD AND QURAYSH HAD MADE PEACE WAS THAT THERE SHOULD BE NEITHER BETRAYAL NOR CLANDESTINE THEFT. QURAYSH AIDED THE BANU BAKR WITH WEAPONS… That is why the Messenger of God attacked the people of Mecca. …” (The History Of al-Tabari (“Ta’rikh al-rusul wa’l-Muluk”) – The Victory of Islam [Translated and annotated by Michael Fishbein, University of California, Los Angeles – Bibliotheca Persica, edited by Ehsan Yar-Shater – State University Of New York Press, Albany., 1997], by Abu Ja’far Muhammad b Jarir al-Tabari, volume VIII (8), page 162 – 175)

In Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya Ibn Kathir reports in greater detail on this incident:

“’It was stipulated in the truce of al-Hudaybiyya that whoever wished to enter into an alliance with Muhammad could do so, and that those wishing to ally with Quraysh could also do that. Thereafter Khuza’a stated that they wished to be allied with the Messenger of God (SAAS) while Banu Bakr joined with Quraysh. ‘The truce remained in effect for some 17 or 18 months. But THEN BANU BAKR ATTACKED KHUZA’A AT NIGHT at a well called al-Watir, close to Mecca. QURAYSH, THINKING THAT BECAUSE IT WAS NIGHT AND THAT THEY WOULD NOT BE OBSERVED, ASSISTED BANU BAKR BY PROVIDING HORSES AND WEAPONS, AND THEY FOUGHT ALONG WITH THEM in order to express their hatred for the Messenger of God (SAAS). … Then Budayl b. Warq went with a group of Khuza’a to the Messenger of God (SAAS) and told how they had BEEN ATTACKED AND HOW QURAYSH HAD JOINED WITH BANU BAKR AGAINST THEM.” (The Life of the Prophet Muhammed (‘Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya’) [Translated by Professor Trevor Le Gassick, Garnet Publishing – Copyright 2000, The Center for Muslim Contribution To civilization], by Ibn Kathir, volume 3, page 377 – 399)

It is clear from some of the earliest sources that Prophet Muhammed (p) nor his companions initiated war against the polytheist Quraysh. It was the Quraysh with Banu Bakr who provoked – led the Muslims to retaliate against them.

4. Analysing The Hadith

With above out of the way, we can now focus on the Hadith report:

“It was narrated from Anas bin Malik that: The Prophet said: “I have been commanded to fight the idolators until they bear witness to La ilaha illallah (there is none worthy of worship except Allah) and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. If they bear witness to La ilaha illallah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, and they pray as we pray and face our Qiblah, and eat our slaughtered animals, then their blood and wealth becomes forbidden to us except for a right that is due.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i volume 5, Book 37, Hadith 3971, (Sahih, Darussalam) http://sunnah.com/nasai/37/1 )

And:

“It was narrated from Anas bin Malik that: The Messenger of Allah said: “I have been commanded to fight the idolators until they bear witness to La ilaha illallah (there is none worthy of worship except Allah) and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. If they bear witness to La ilaha illallah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and they face our Qiblah, eat our slaughtered animals, and pray as we do, then their blood and wealth become forbidden except for a right that is due, and they will have the same rights and obligations as the Muslims.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i volume 5, Book 37, Hadith 3972, (Sahih, Darussalam) http://sunnah.com/nasai/37/2 )

The controversy among critics surrounds the following part of the Hadith:

“I have been commanded to fight the idolaters (or ‘people’) until they say La ilaha illallah (there is none worthy of worship except Allah) and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”

Some critics have deduced from this part of the report that Prophet Muhammed (p) and his companions roamed around Arabia forcefully converting people to Islam with the point of the sword. This fanciful tale has sadly been perpetuated by orientalists and other critics of Islam for a while.

The classical understanding of the Hadith: as a result of the polytheists breaking the treaty, murdering members of Muhammed’s ally and persecuting the Muslims over for many years, the Muslims had no choice but to deal with those who continued hostility and bloodshed with the point of the sword, 1300 years ago.

Since they murdered and persecuted people for so many years, the polytheist warmongers had no right over their land. Expulsion of the criminals was a must rule in this circumstance in order to save the community from further harm they would commit. If they did abide by the treaty and didn’t do the things they did, they would have still had full control over their territory, but since they persecuted and murdered, they longer had a right to this. Now, the only choice that would have been offered to the criminals was one of the following:

1. Stop their hostilities, put their weapons down and live under the Muslim rule (government).
2. Embrace Islam.
3. Or leave the Muslim lands.

Scholars in the past have interpreted the Hadith slightly different and sometimes offered different choices shown to the one presented. I would argue that this position is in line with what the Prophet (p) did on this incident as our earliest sources confirm this. The decision to add choice number one with the other two was because of the Biography of Prophet Muhammed’s life (Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah) and other sources.

For example, when the Prophet Muhammed (p) conquered Makkah, he commanded his companions only to fight those who fought them. He went further, anybody that goes inside Abu Sufyan’s house or lock their doors and don’t engage in any fighting, they were safe and protected. Furthermore, We understand from history that when the Muslims took over Makkah they gave the polytheists amnesty and forgave them for the wrong they had done. As such, conversion nor expulsion on this occasion was necessary as long as the polytheists laid down their weapons and repented from the wrong they had done.

Sirat Rasul Allah – Ibn Ishaq:

THE APOSTLE HAD INSTRUCTED HIS COMMANDERS WHEN THEY HAD ENTERED MECCA ONLY TO FIGHT THOSE WHO RESISTED THEM… When the apostle of halted in the upper part of Mecca two of my brothers-in-law from B. Makhzum fled to me. (She was the wife of Hubayra b. Abu Wahb al-Makhzumi). Ali came in swearing that he would kill them, so I bolted the door of my house on them and went to the Apostle… Then he came forward and welcomed me and asked why I had come. When I told him about the two men and Ali he said: ‘WE GIVE PROTECTION TO WHOMSOEVER YOU GIVE PROTECTION AND WE GIVE SAFETY TO THOSE YOU PROTECT. HE MUST NOT KILL THEM.’” (The Life Of Muhammad – A Translation Of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah [With Introduction And Notes by A. Guillaume – Oxford University Press, Seventeenth Impression, 2004], page 550 – 552)

Kitab al-Maghazi – Ma’mar Ibn Rashid (714 – 770 AD):

“‘O Messenger of God!’ al-Abbas interjected . ‘Indeed, Abu Sufyan is one of the notables of our tribe, one of its elders. It would please me if you were to grant him something in recognition of his status.’
The Prophet decreed, ‘WHOEVER ENTERS THE HOUSE OF ABU SUFYAN IS SAFE.’ Abu Sufyan replied, ‘My house? My house!’
‘Yes,’ answered the Prophet, ‘AND WHOEVER LAYS DOWN HIS WEAPONS IS SAFE; AND WHOEVER LOCKS THE DOOR TO HIS HOUSE IS SAFE.’
Abu Sufyan left with al-Abbas, and while they were going down the road, al-Abbas feared that Abu Sufyan might still commit some act of treachery, so he sat him down on a mound of earth until the armies passed. …” (The Expeditions (“Kitab al-Maghazi”) – An Early Biography Of Muhammad by Ma’mar Ibn Rashid – According to the recension of Abd al-Razzaq al-San’ani [Edited and translated by Sean W. Anthony – Foreword by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem., NEW YORK University Press., 2014], page 99)

Ta’rikh al-rusul wa’l-Muluk – Abu Ja’far Muhammad b Jarir al-Tabari (838 – 923 AD):

“So I said to him, ‘Messenger of God, Abu Sufyan is a man who loves glory. Grant him something that shall be [a cause for him] among his clansmen.’ He said, ‘YES, WHOEVER ENTERS THE HOUSE OF ABU SUFYAN SHALL BE SAFE; ANYONE WHO ENTERS THE SANCTUARY SHALL BE SAFE; AND ANYONE WHO LOCKS HIS DOOR BEHIND HIM SHALL BE SAFE.’
… Abu Sufyan departed in haste. When he reached Mecca, he shouted in the sanctuary, ‘People of Quraysh, behold Muhammad has come upon you with forces you cannot resist.’ ‘What then?’ They said, ‘Alas, what will your house avail us!’ He said, ‘ANYONE WHO ENTERS THE SANCTUARY WILL BE SAFE, AND ANYONE WHO LOCKS HIS DOOR BEHIND WILL BE SAFE.’ … When THE MESSENGER OF GOD ORDERED HIS COMMANDERS TO ENTER MECCA, HE CHARGED THEM TO KILL NO ONE except those who fought them…” (The History Of al-Tabari (“Ta’rikh al-rusul wa’l-Muluk”) – The Victory of Islam [Translated and annotated by Michael Fishbein, University of California, Los Angeles – Bibliotheca Persica, edited by Ehsan Yar-Shater – State University Of New York Press, Albany., 1997], by Abu Ja’far Muhammad b Jarir al-Tabari, volume VIII (8), page 173 – 178)

Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan – al-Imam Abu’l Abbas Ahmad Ibn Jabir Al Baladhuri (d. 892 AD):

“…Kuraish had gathered their mob and followers saying, ‘Let us send these ahead. If they win, we will join them; and if defeated, we shall give whatever is demanded.’ ‘Do ye see’ said the Prophet, ‘THE MOB OF KURAISH?’ ‘We do,’ answered the Ansar. He then made a sign with one hand over the other as if to say, ‘kill them.’ To this the Prophet added, ‘Meet me at ‘as-Safa’. Accordingly we set out, each man killing whomever he wanted to kill, until abu-Sufyan came to the Prophet saying, ‘O Prophet of Allah, the majority of Kuraish is annihilated. … THE PROPHET THEREUPON ANNOUNCED, ‘HE WHO ENTERS THE HOUSE OF ABU SUFYAN IS SAFE, HE WHO CLOSES HIS OWN DOOR IS SAFE, AND HE WHO LAYS DOWN HIS ARMS IS SAFE.’ On this the Ansar the Ansar remarked one to the other, ‘The man is moved by love to his relatives and compassion on his clan.’ …
THE PEOPLE THEN CROWDED TO THE HOUSE OF ABU SUFYAN AND CLOSED ITS DOORS LAYING DOWN THEIR ARMS. … On the occasion of the conquest of Makkah, the Prophet made the following statement, ‘Slay no wounded person, pursue no fugitive, execute no prisoner; and whoever closes his door is safe.’ … On the day of the conquest of Makkah the Prophet asked Kuraish, ‘What think ye?’ To which they replied, ‘What we think is good, and what say is good. A noble brother thou art, and the son of a noble brother. Thou hast succeeded.’ The Prophet then said, ‘My answer is that given by my brother Joseph, ‘NO BLAME BE ON YOU THIS DAY. ALLAH WILL FORGIVE YOU; FOR HE IS THE MOST MERCIFUL OF THE MERCIFUL. …” (The origins of the Islamic State, being a translation from the Arabic accompanied with annotations Geographic and historic notes of the Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan of al-Imam Abu’l Abbas Ahmad Ibn Jabir Al Baladhuri, [Translated by Phillip Khurti Hitti, PHD – NEW YORK: Columbia University, Longmans, Green & Co., Agents – London: P. S. King & Son. Ltd., 1916], volume 1, page 65 – 68)

Although the polytheists were given amnesty and forgiven as long as they laid their weapons down and sought peace, there was an exception to few people. The Prophet (p) ordered his companions to kill certain specific individuals even if they were caught holding on the curtains of the Kab’ah. The names are, Abdullah Ibn Sa’d Ibn Abi Sarh, Abdullah Ibn Khattal, Miqyas b. Subahah, Al-Huwayrith b. Nuqaydh b. Wahb b. Abd. B. Qusayy, Ikrima b. Abi Jahl and Hind b. Utbah and few other names. These individuals persecuted, murdered people cold bloodily, and in some cases committed treachery against the State. As such, the Prophet (p) ordered that they should be dealt with wherever they may be.

It would be similar to a criminal making a run for a serious crime he or she may have committed in America today. If the authorities apprehend him or her they could get the death penalty in the court of law. The seriousness of the crime would not absolve the perpetrator from being tried. This is similar to this incident, 1300 years ago.

Since Prophet Muhammed (p) was the head of State, judge, jury and had the authority from God to execute those who committed heinous crimes, at the same time it was also in his hand to forgive. But in the case of these individuals, the only thing that could save their lives is if they went on the run (left Muslim lands) or embraced Islam, and repented from past crimes they had done. Some ran away, others came to the Prophet (p) asking for forgiveness and were granted. And some were executed for the past crimes.

It should be noted, those who insisted on hostility and warfare against the Muslims, they would have been dealt with the point of the sword or exiled (leave the lands where the Muslims resided), 1300 years ago. They would have no right to stay on the same land with the Muslims or other peaceful tribes who were non-Muslim. These rules were intended to make sure the community as a whole (Muslim and non-Muslim) were safe and were free to live without being persecuted against.

Indeed Prophet Muhammed’s (p) role in the community as a whole was to defend the rights of the marginalised and protect those who were victims of injustice. As such, if the polytheists at the time wanted protection and laid down their weapons, the Prophet (p) protected them as the evidence has shown.

This evidence here shows that the Prophet (p) nor his companions fought as a result of their beliefs. Rather it was due to them breaking the treaty and shedding blood which subsequently led to the Muslims conquering Makkah.

5. The Hadith rejects Forced Conversion Claim

The forced conversions claim, it is not permissible to force anyone to enter Islam. It is haram (forbidden).

In the book “Hidayatul Hayara Fi Ajwibatul Yahud wa al-Nasara” the scholar Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (1292 – 1350 AD) comments on Surah al-Tawbah. He writes that the Prophet (p) never forced anyone to accept Islam:

“When God sent His Apostle (p), most of the followers of these religions responded to him and to his successsors, voluntarily and willingly. NOBODY WAS COMPELLED TO DO SO. THE APOSTLE FOUGHT ONLY THOSE WHO FOUGHT AND WAGED WAR AGAINST HIM. He did not fight those who made peace with him, neither did he fight those who were under the pledge of truce. He was obeying the bidding of God Most Sublime were he said:

‘Let there be no compulsion in Religion: Truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects Evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks, and God heareth and knowth all things ‘ (al-Baqarah: 256).

THE APOSTLE DID NOT COMPEL ANYONE TO ADOPT ISLAM. The above quoted verse from the Qur’an negates compulsion in the sense of prohibition that is: do not compel a soul to embrace the Religion. The verse (Sura) was revealed to admonish some of the men among the companions whose children embraced Judaism and Christianity before the advent of Islam, and where with the advent of Islam, their fathers embraced the religion of Muhammad and attempted to compel their children to follow their lead. God Most Exalted prohibited the fathers from resorting to compulsion to inspire their children to embrace Islam out of their choice. … To him who ponders over the biography of the Prophet (p) it becomes clear that he did not compel anyone to embrace his religion, and that he only fought those who fought him. He did not fight those who made truce with him as long as they kept and honoured the truce. He never broke a promise, for God Most High bid him to fulfil his promises to them as long as they kept theirs. A propos, God Most Exalted said:

‘How can there be a league before God and His apostle, with the pagans, except thoe with whom ye made a treaty near the Sacred Mosque? As long as these stand true to you, stand ye true to them for God doth love the righteous’ (AL-TAWBAH: 7).

… Likewise, when the Prophet Muhammad made truce with (the tribe of) Quraysh holding for ten years, HE DID NOT START ANY FIGHT WITH THEM; BUT WHEN THEY VIOLATED THE MUTUAL AGREEMENT AND RAISED ARMS AGAINST HIM, HE FOUGHT BACK… he stopped the fight when they retreated and went off. The point is that he did not compel anyone at all to embrace his religion; but people embraced his RELIGION VOLUNTARILY and willingly. When most of the people earth realized the True Guidance, and that he is genuinely the Apostle of God, they embraced his call. (Guidance To The Uncertain In Reply To The Jews And The Nazarenes (‘Hidayatul Hayara Fi Ajwibatul Yahud wa al-Nasara’) – [Translated by Abdelhay El-Masry, Dar Al-Kotob Al-Ilmiyah] by Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziah, page 25 – 27)

In fact, the very report that is used by proponents tells us that forced conversion is forbidden (haram):

“Jabir narrated that: the Messenger of Allah said: “I have been ordered to fight the people until they say: ‘La ilaha illallah’. So when they say that, their blood and their wealth are safe from me, except for a right, and their reckoning is for Allah.” Then he recited: So remind them – ‘YOU ARE ONLY ONE WHO REMINDS. YOU ARE NOT A DICTATOR OVER THEM’ (Quran 88:22). (Jami at-Tirmidhi volume 5, Book 44, Hadith 3341 (Sahih, Darussalam))

This Hadith is also reported in Sahih Muslim:

“It is narrated on the authority of Jabir that the Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded that I should fight against people till they declare that there is no god but Allah, and when they profess it that there is no god but Allah, their blood and riches are guaranteed protection on my behalf except where it is justified by law, and their affairs rest with Allah, and then he (the Holy Prophet) recited (this verse of the Holy Qur’an):” THOU ART NOT OVER THEM A WARDEN(lxxxviii (88), 22).” (Sahih Muslim Book 1, Hadith 32 http://sunnah.com/muslim/1/35 )

Notice the words:

“You’re only one who reminds. You are NOT a dictator over them”.

Ibn Kathir commenting on Surah 88:22 states that one cannot force someone to “faith” i.e., force someone to believe in Islam:

“‘You are not a Musaytir over them.’ Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and others said, “You are not a dictator over them.” This means that you CANNOT create faith in their hearts. Ibn Zayd said, “You are NOT the one who can force them to have faith.’” (Tafsir Ibn Kathird (Abridged) – (Surat At-Taghabun to the end of the Qur’an) [Abridged by A group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri., Darussalam., Second Edition, 2003], volume 10, page 464 )

Similarly, this is also said by Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas:

“‘Thou art not’ O Muhammad ‘at all a warder over them’ you are NOT imposed on them such that you force them to accept faith.” (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas on Surah 88:22 online source, http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=73&tSoraNo=88&tAyahNo=22&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2 )

Tafsir Anwarul Bayan – Muhammad Aashiq Elahi Muhajir Madani states that the responsibility of the Prophet (p) was only to preach the Message and “not force people to believe (in Islam)”:

“…because of his overwhelming concern for his Ummah, the Holy Prophet used to become extremely grieved when people REFUSED TO ACCEPT ISLAM. Therefore, Allah said to him, ‘So give advice, for you are an advisor. You have not been appointed as a warder over them’ i.e., YOUR RESPONSIBILITY IS ONLY TO PREACH THE MESSAGE AND NOT FORCE PEOPLE TO BELIEVE. Whoever believed after the message reached him, shall be successful.“ (Illuminating Discourses On The Quran (“Tafsir Anwarul Bayan”) [Translation Edited by Mufti Afzal Hussain Elias. – Revised by Maulana Arshad Fakhri based on Ma’ariful Quran. – Darul Ishaat, Urdu Bazar, Karachi. First Edition, 2005] by Muhammad Aashiq Elahi Muhajir Madani, volume 5, page 390)

Maarif ul Quran – Mufti Mohammad Shafi says that it is God who guides the “unbelievers”, and Muhammed (p) is only a “preacher”:

“In conclusion of the Chapter, the Messenger of Allah is comforted thus:
… ‘You are not a taskmaster set up over them, … 88:22’
THE HOLY PROPHET IS TOLD THAT HE IS ONLY A PREACHER, and as such he must keep on preaching. He should not worry beyond that. IT IS FOR ALLAH TO CALL THE UNBELIEVERS TO HIM to render account of their deeds and actions…” (Maarif ul Quran: Quran Translation and Commentary [Translated by Maulana Ahmed Khalil Aziz. Revised by Justice Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani] by Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi, volume 8, page 777)

Tafsir-Ul-Qur’an – Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi:

“325. (with either power or authority to force their will).” (Tafsir-Ul-Qur’an – Translation and Commentary Of The Holy Qur’an [Published By Darul Ishaat Urdu Bazaar Karachi: Pakistan. First edition, 1991] by Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi, volume 4, page 498)

The above evidence refutes the “sanctioning compulsion in religion” claim. We see that after declaring the command to fight the polytheistic Quraysh, the Prophet Muhammed recited verses affirming that his and the companions duty is only to deliver the message of Islam, which clearly shows that he was not forcing anyone to Islam.

6. The Quran Rejects Forced Conversion Claim

Furthermore, the Quran also affirms that forced conversion did not take place. It was not obligatory on this occasion for the polytheists to accept Islam in order to make peace with the Muslims. If they stopped their hostilities against the Muslims and sought refuge, then the Muslims were commanded to grant them protection and safe passage even if they did not accept Islam, as the following verse (Quran 9:6) testifies:

“And if anyone of the IDOLATERS SEEKETH THY PROTECTION (O Muhammad), THEN PROTECT HIM so that he may hear the Word of Allah, and AFTERWARD CONVEY HIM TO HIS PLACE OF SAFETY. That is because they are a folk who know not.” – Quran 9:6 (Pickthall Translation)

Some of the earliest exegesis have said that if the polytheists wanted to hear the message of Islam, the Muslims were obligated to convey the message to them. Even if they rejected Islam, they were allowed and should be send back to the area where they felt safe (Mujahid Ibn Jabr (645 – 722 AD) [3], Hud b. Muhakkam (9th Century) [4], Al-Tabari (838 – 923 AD) [5], Al-Wahidi (d. 1075 AD) [6], Al-Zamakhshari (1070 – 1143 AD) [7], Al-Razi (1149 – 1209 AD) [8], Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas (d. 1414 AD) [9], and Tafsir al-Jalalayn (15/16th Century) [10]). The Muslims were commanded by God to take them to a place of safety  where they felt safe. They were not harmed even when they rejected Islam. This verse (Q. 9:6) shows, the Muslims then were only fighting specific individuals from Quraysh as a result of the aggression and hostilities, not because of their beliefs.

7. Various Commentaries On The Hadith

The 13th-century scholar Taqi ad-Din Ahmed Ibn Taymiyyah (1263 – 1328 AD) comments on this Hadith report and says it speaks about those who wage war against the Muslims:

“It refers to FIGHTING THOSE WHO ARE WAGING WAR, whom Allah has permitted us to fight. It does not refer to those who have a covenant with us with whom Allah commands us to fulfill our covenant.” (Majmu al-Fatawa by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, volume 19, page 20)

Shaykh Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo presents Wamaidh al-Umari’s view and he states the fighting that is mentioned in the Hadith is in reference to some “form of wrong or evil” the other side have done:

“According to al-Umari, the goal of the fighting mentioned in this Hadith is not to bring about death to the other party as a type of punishment, as in the Hadith of ibn Masood which is Hadith #14 in this collection. Instead, IT IS FIGHTING FOR THE PURPOSE OF BRINGING TO END SOME FORM OF WRONG OR EVIL. KILLING IN THIS CASE IS AN INCIDENTAL OR UNAVOIDABLE POSSIBLE RESULT OF THE FIGHTING AND NOT A GOAL IN ITSELF. It is similar to the type of fighting that is mentioned in the verse,
‘If two parties of believers fight, make reconciliation between them. If one of them rebels against the other, then fight you [all] against the one who rebels until it complies with the command of Allah (al-Hujuraat 9). When one fights the rebel forces, one is not trying to kill the individual Muslims but to defeat them and make them surrender to what is right. Therefore, this Hadith cannot be used as evidence that the one who does not pray is to be killed as a form of punishment because it is concerned with a completely different topic.” (Fiqh al-Imaan ala Minhaj al-Salaf al-Saalih [Jordan Daar al-Nafaais, 1998], Al-Umari, Wamaidh, page 324) (Commentary On The Forty Hadith Of al-Nawawi [Introduction by Prof. Jaafar Sheikh Idris T., Al-Basheer Company for Publications & Translations., 1999] by Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo volume 1, page 424 – 425)

The late respected scholar Amin Ahsan Islahi (1904 – 1997) writes:

“Some tradition contain following words of the Prophet (sws):
I have been commanded to fight the people until they profess there is no God but Allah. (Bukhari, No: 385)
Apparent and literal meaning of the narrative, disregarding its true context, validates the Orientalists’ view that Islam was spread by the sword. It also entails that the war against unbelief that the Prophet (sws) started has to go on till the whole mankind embraces Islam and declares Allah to be the only deity. THIS IS PLAINLY WRONG. HISTORY FALSIFIES THIS INTERPRETATION. We know that the Prophet (sws) accepted Jizyah from the People of the Book as well as the Magians (al-majus). HE DID NOT FORCE THEM TO SAY THAT THERE IS NO GOD BUT ALLAH. Similarly all such people who contracted treaties with Muslims, before their subjugation (mu‘ahid/ahl al-ṣulḥ), WERE ALLOWED TO FOLLOW THEIR RELIGION. THEY TOO WERE NOT FORCED TO CONVERT.” (Fundamentals of Ḥadith Interpretation An English Translation of Mabadi Tadabbur-e Ḥadith [Translated by Tariq Mahmood Hashmi – AL-MAWRID 51-K Model Town, Lahore – First Edition] by Amin Ahsan Islahi page 42 – 43)

Shaykh Muhammad al-Ghazali (1917 – 1996):

“… Throughout its suras we find fervent appeals to man to take heed, return to right guidance and to return to right guidance and turn to his Lord. The policy of the big stick only began after the STICKS OF THE ENEMIES HAD INFLICTED PAIN ON THE BACKS OF THE BELIEVERS AND BROKEN THEIR BONES. Allah Almighty revealed,

‘Permission to fight is given to those who are fought against because they have been wronged – truly Allah has the power to come to their support.’ (22:39)

The fact is that fighting was a policy of last resort when all other means had failed. The important thing is that those who are known for their relationship with Allah first of all call people to Allah in an excellent manner and offer opportunities for peace and truces, taking account of the errors to which human nature is prone, Then when they resort to fighting after that, they behave as men and they act in the most noble way. This is what Muhammad, peace be upon him, did, and what is shown clearly in his conduct. But when the first thing a short-sighted Muslim mentions about dealing with the enemies of Islam is the famous Hadith:

‘I was commanded to fight people until they say, There is no god but Allah,’

Then the man is one of those who move words from their proper place and treat the legacy of the Prophet with great stupidity. We explained in another book that this Hadith came at the time when Surat at-Tawba was revealed, about a year before the death of the Messenger, and after a fearsome STRUGGLE WITH THE PAGANS WHOM ISLAM GAVE THE RIGHT TO LIVE WHILE THEY OFFERED ONLY DEATH. He lived with them for a time on a basis of,

‘To you your deen and to me my deen,’

BUT ALL HE EXPERIENCED FROM THEM WAS DECEIT AND ASSASSINATION. …
The beginning of SURAT AT-TAWBA GIVES COMPLETE PICTURE OF THAT INSOLENT TREACHEROUS PAGANISM, AND IT WAS IN THIS ATMOSPHERE THAT THIS HADITH WAS UTTERED: ‘I have been commanded to fight people until they say, ‘There is no god but Allah,’ It is not permitted for an ignorant person to take it out of context.” (The Sunna Of The Prophet – The People of Fiqh Versus the People of Hadith [Translation by Aisha Bewley, Editor Abdalhaq Bewley. – Sixth Edition – Dar Al Taqwa Ltd., 2009] by Muhammad al-Ghazali, page 104 – 105)

Professor Jonathan A.C. Brown, says that the Hadith was understood to mean that the conquered polytheists will agree to submit to the Muslim rule:

“Jihad was understood as the unceasing quest to ‘make God’s word supreme,’ as Hadiths described, through the ongoing expansion of the rule of God’s law on earth. THIS WAS NOT ENVISIONED IN ANY WAY AS A QUEST FOR FORCED CONVERSION, which never featured in the Islamic conquests. The Qur’anic edict of ‘no compulsion in religion’ governed the interpretation of Hadiths like the authenticitated report of the Prophet declaring, ‘I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God, establish prayer and pay the charity tithe.’ Read in light of the Qur’anic prohibition on coerced belief, this mission to extract confessions of belief WAS NOT INTERPRETED LITERALLY. Rather, it was understood as referring either only to Arabia’s pagans (not followers of monotheistic religions) or as a metaphor for the conquered non-Muslims agreeing to submit to Muslim rule.” (Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices Of Interpreting The Prophet’s Legacy [Oneworld Publications, 2014], by Jonathan A. C. Brown, page 102)

Abdul Hamid Siddiqi’s commentary on the Hadith report:

“This hadith has been made the target of criticism by the hostile critics of Islam. They wrongly assert that it is by sheer force that people are converted to Islam. But THERE IS NOT AN IOTA OF TRUTH IN IT. They do not look into the words used by the Holy Prophet. Here the verb قات is highly meaningful. A person who is conversant even with the rudiments of Arabic grammar knows fully well that it is from the bab مفا علم which implies that it is not a one-sided action but a participation of both sides. Thus according to the bab of the verb used, IT BECOMES CLEAR THAT THE HOLY PROPHET EXHORTED TO FIGHT AGAINST THOSE WHO HAD RAISED ARMS AGAINST THE MUSLIMS. THIS COMMAND IS NOT DIRECTED AGAINST EVERY NON-MUSLIM.” (Commentary Of: Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 30 – Abdul Hamid Siddiqi’s Commentary – [Dar Al Arabia, Chapter IX] – volume1, page 16-17 (footnote 54))

Professor Asma Afsaruddin provides Dr. Buti’s assessment in regards to this report, and he says that the Hadith speaks about someone who “opposes you” or “fight someone who attacks you”:

“The seemingly problematic Hadith related by Ibn Umar, ‘I have been commanded to fight people until they bear witness that there is no god but God…’ has led to grave misunderstanding of its meaning because most people do not take note of the fundamental distinction between the two verbs uqatil and aqtul and tend to confuse and/or conflate the two, continuous al-Buti. The first would mean ‘[that] I fight’ and the second would mean [that] I kill.’ If the second verb had occurred in the Hadith, then that would indeed have been contrary to the texts of numerous Qur’anic verses and hadiths that prohibit coercion in matters of religion. The actual verb uqatil as it occurs in the Hadith is not contrary to these texts because it broadly means, according to the third verbal form, ‘TO FIGHT SOMEONE WHO OPPOSES YOU,’ AND MORE NARROWLY MEANS ‘TO FIGHT SOMEONE WHO ATTACKS YOU FIRST WITH INTENT TO KILL.’ For it is the aggressor (al-badi) who is called qatil, and ‘the one who resists the aggressor’ is called muqatil.’ On the basis of the linguistic analysis, it is compellingly established that THE PURPOSE OF FIGHTING IN THIS HADITH IS DEFENDING ONESELF IN RESPONSE TO A PRIOR ACT OF AGGRESSION. The proper meaning of Hadith may then be rendered as follows:
I have been commanded to prevent any act of aggression [directed] at my summoning of the people to faith in the oneness of God, even if this prevention of aggression against this summoning is accomplished through fighting the aggressors, for that is a duty I have been commanded to [undertake] by God, and which must be carried out. …” (Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought by Asma Afsaruddin, page 250)

Shaykh Sami al-Majid, professor at al-Imam Islamic University, Riyadh, writes:

“… This is further emphasized a few verses later where Allah says: “Will you not fight people who broke their covenants and plotted to expel the Messenger and attacked you first?” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 13]
Ibn al-`Arabi, in his commentary on the Qur’ân, writes: “It is clear from this that the meaning of this verse is to kill the pagans who are WAGING WAR AGAINST YOU.” [Ahkam al-Qur’an: (2/456)]
Allah also say right after the verse under discussion: “How can there be a covenant before Allah and His Messenger with the pagans except those with whom you have made a treaty near the Sacred Mosque? As long as they stand true to you, stand true to them, for Allah does love the righteous.” [Surah al-Tawbah: 7]
Another misunderstood text is the hadith where the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “I have been commanded to fight the people until they bear witness that there is no God but Allah and that I am Allah’s Messenger. If they do so, then there blood and their wealth are inviolable except in the dispensation of justice, and their affair is with Allah.” [Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]
There can be no qualms about this hadith’s authenticity, since it is recorded in both Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. However, THIS HADITH IS ALSO NOT TO BE TAKEN GENERALLY, out of context, and in complete disregard to all the other textual evidence.
The term “people” here is not referring to all humanity. Ibn Taymiyah says: “It refers to fighting THOSE WHO ARE WAGING WAR, whom Allah has permitted us to fight. It does not refer to those who have a covenant with us with whom Allah commands us to fulfill our covenant.” [Majmu` al-Fatawa (19/20)]
ISLAM COMMANDS THE MUSLIMS TO BE JUST WITH PEOPLE OF OTHER FAITHS, WHETHER THEY BE JEWS, CHRISTIANS, OR PAGANS. ISLAM CALLS US TO TREAT THEM KINDLY and try to win their hearts as long as they do not take up arms against us. Allah says: “Allah forbids you not with regard to those who neither fight against you for your faith nor drive you out of your homes from dealing kindly and justly with them, for Allah loves those who are just.” [Surah al-Mumtahanah: 9-10]
ALLAH COMMANDS MUSLIMS TO RESPECT THEIR NON-MUSLIM PARENTS AND TO ACCOMPANY THEM IN THIS WORLD IN A GOOD MANNER.
The Qur’an commands us to argue with them in the best manner. Allah says: “Argue with the People of the Scripture in the best manner except those among them who act oppressively. Say: We believe in the revelation that has come down to us and in that which came down to you. Our God and your God is one, and it is to Him we submit ourselves as Muslims.” [Sûrah al-`Ankabût: 46]
We are ordered to uphold our covenants with the non-Muslims and not betray them or transgress against them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) gave a stern warning to us against killing a non-Muslim with whom we are at peace. He said: “WHOEVER KILLS ONE WITH WHOM WE HAVE A COVENANT WILL NOT SMELL THE SCENT OF PARADISE.” [Sahîh Muslim]
The faith of a Muslim is not acceptable unless he believes in all of the Prophets who were sent before (peace be upon them all). Allah says: “O you who believe! Believe in Allah, His Messenger, the scripture that He revealed to His messenger and the scripture that he revealed before. Whoever disbelieves in Allah, His angels, His books, His Messengers, and the Last Day has gone far astray.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 136]” (“Let there be no compulsion in religion” by Sheikh Sami al-Majid, professor at al-Imam Islamic University, Riyadh, online source, last accessed 22st December 2016, http://en.islamtoday.net/artshow-262-3441.htm )

Dr. Jamal Badawi:

“There is no single verse in the Qur’an properly interpreted in its context and historical circumstances that ever allowed the Muslim to fight non-Muslims simply because they are non-Muslims. The opposite is true; in Chapter 60, verse 8 and 9 in the Qur’an, it clearly says that non-Muslims who are not fighting against Muslims or oppressing them are ENTITLED TO KIND AND JUST TREATMENT. Also, in the Qur’an, Chapter 2, verse 256, it says: let there be no compulsion in religion.” It is in the light of these two verses and many others in the Qur’an that the Hadith referred to should be understood.
The word “people” in this hadith and in the Qur’an may mean a subset of people but not all of them. There are a lot of evidences of variant usage in the Qur’an and also in this hadith. This hadith in all likelihood REFERS TO THE PAGAN ARABS WHO PERSECUTED MUSLIMS, MURDERED THEM, AND BROKE THEIR TREATIES WITH THEM. As such, they deserved capital punishment, yet they are given the opportunity to repent in which case they are to be forgiven, and their property will be protected. This shows, like other instances in the Qur’an and in hadith, that the purpose of Islam is punitive, but rehabilitative. To interpret this hadith in a generalized way is to violate the text of the Qur’an and basic rules of interpretation.” (Towards a Better Muslim/Non-Muslim Relation: Does Islam Teach Violence? By Jamal Badawi – online source http://web.archive.org/web/20110401225017/http://livedialogue.islamonline.net/livedialogue/english/Browse.asp?hGuestID=GRdp6I )

Shaykh Muhammad Hashim Kabbani:

“The Imams argued from this that as long as the unbelievers are willing to live peacefully among the believers our divine obligation is to treat them peacefully, despite their denial of Islam. The succeeding verse affirms this: So long as they are true to you, stand you true to them. Verily! God loves those who fear God. (Qur’an 9:7) This verse instructs the Muslims to observe treaty obligations with meticulous care, and not to break them unless the other side breaks them first. On the basis of the clear arguments of the scholars of Qur’an and Hadith, the majority concluded that physical fighting is not a permanent condition against unbelievers, but is resorted to only when treaties are broken or aggression has been made against Muslim territory (dar al-Islam) by unbelievers. On the other hand, educating non-Muslims about Islam is a continuous Jihad, per the agreed-upon, multiply transmitted hadith: The Messenger of God said, ‘‘I have been ordered to fight the people until they declare that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is His Messenger, establish prayers, and pay Zakat….’’39 In his book al-Jihad fil-Islam, Dr. Sa‘id Ramadan al-Buti explains this hadith in detail based on the understanding of the majority of jurists, showing that linguistically the word ‘‘fight’’ here and in many other places does not refer to combat, rather to struggle, including in its scope da‘wa, preaching, exhortation, and establishment of the state apparatus whereby Islamic preaching is protected. IT DOES NOT MEAN FORCING ANYONE TO BECOME MUSLIM at the point of a sword, and numerous examples can be cited from the life history of the Prophet showing that he never forced conversion, nor did his successors.
Dr. Buti explains that the linguistic scholars of Hadith showed that the word uqatil used by the Prophet in fact means ‘‘fight’’ and not aqtul, ‘‘kill.’’ In Arabic, THIS WORD IS USED IN TERMS OF DEFENDING AGAINST AN ATTACKER OR AN OPPRESSOR; IT IS NOT USED TO MEAN ATTACK OR ASSAIL.
In light of this, Dr. Buti shows that this hadith connotes: I have been ordered by God to fulfill the task of calling people [peacefully] to believe that God is One and to defend any aggression against this divine task, even though this defense requires fighting aggressors or enemies.40
Dr. Buti explains that this hadith is reminiscent of a saying by the Prophet on the occasion of the Treaty of Hudaybiyya: where he told his mediator, Badil ibn Waraqa, ‘‘But if they do not accept this truce, by God in whose Hands my life is, I will fight with them, defending my Cause till I get killed.’’41
By these words, Badil ibn Waraqa was tasked with inviting the Quraysh to peace, and simultaneously, warning of the ongoing war which had already exhausted them. Dr. Buti remarks: The Prophet’s words ‘‘I will fight with them defending my Cause,’’ in this context certainly means that he, while inclining to peace with the enemy, would react to their combative aggression in the same way, if they had insisted on their aggression.42 Jihad in Islam 233 Note also that in the years after the Treaty was signed, it was the Quraysh who violated the treaty. Near the end of the seventh year after the migration to Medina, the Quraysh along with the allied Banu Bakr tribe attacked the Banu Khuza’a tribe, who were allies of the Muslims. The Banu Khuza’a appealed to the Prophet for help and protection. The Banu Khuza’a sent a delegation to the Prophet requesting his support. Despite the Meccan provocation and clear violation of the treaty, the Prophet avoided acting in haste to renew hostilities. Instead he sent a letter to the Quraysh demanding payment of blood money for those killed and the disbanding of their alliance with the Banu Bakr. Otherwise, the Prophet said, the treaty would be declared null and void. Quraysh then sent an envoy to Medina to announce that they considered the Treaty of Hudaybiyya null and void. However, they immediately regretted this step—and therefore, the leader of Quraysh Abu Sufyan himself traveled to Medina to renew the contract. Despite having been the greatest enemy of the Muslims, and despite the Quraysh already being in violation of the pact they had solemnly entered into, no hand was laid on this Qurayshi chief—someone who is infamous for his persecution and harm to Muslims in Mecca. He was even permitted to enter the Prophet’s mosque and announce his desire to reinstate the treaty. From this, one can argue that if a state of unbelief were sufficient pretext for war, then the Prophet would have been warranted in seizing Abu Sufyan and initiating hostilities against the Quraysh then and there. However, on the contrary, Abu Sufyan came and went from Medina freely and only after some time were the hostilities renewed based on the Meccans’ aggressive violation of the pact. (Voices of Islam – Voices Of The Spirit, by Shaykh Muhammad Hashim Kabbani, volume 2, page 232 – 234)

The late Egyptian Sunni scholar and Islamic theologian Mahmoud Muhammad Shaltut (1893 – 1963) writes:

“Some people who were bent on disparaging Islam did not go beyond the ostensible interpretation of “…fight the unbelievers that are near to you…’ and pretended that the Islamic religion ordered to fight the unbelievers in general, regardless of whether they had committed aggression or not, until they had been converted to Islam. They said that this rule was founded on this verse. However, the meaning of the word “unbelievers” in this and similar verse is: “THOSE HOSTILE POLYTHEISTS WHO FIGHT THE MOSLEMS, COMMIT AGGRESSION AGAINST THEM, EXPEL THEM FROM THEIR HOMES AND THEIR PROPERTY AND PRACTISE PERSECUTION FOR THE SAKE OF RELIGION”. The morals of those polytheists have been discussed in the opening verses of Surat al-Tawbah. The word “people” in the tradition: “I have been ordered to fight the people” should be understood in the same manner. For according to the Consensus [ijma], fighting must only cease at what is mentioned in this tradition…” (The Quran And Combat [MBDA – English Monograph Series — Book No. 18], Imam Mahmoud Muhammad Shaltut, page 87)

Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi:

“The main goal of fighting people, then, is not to make them testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah. If the People of the Book are excluded from the above mentioned hadith, then does the hadith deal with all polytheists and idolaters? The answer is definitely “no”! In another authentic hadith, the Magians are included with the People of the Book, as the hadith states, “Treat them as you treat the People of the Book” (reported by Malik, Al-Bayhaqi, and others. It was deemed weak by Sheikh Al-Albani). Hence, the fact is that this hadith is pertinent to the Arab polytheists who were reluctant to respect Islam and its followers, SEEKING TO DESTROY THEM COMPLETELY, AND WHO ALSO FAILED TO RESPECT ANY CONCLUDED TREATY or given covenant. Those people were granted four months to reconsider their situation and rectify their stance. If they insisted upon obliterating Islam, then it would be necessary to fight them. …
Ibn Taymiyah dealt with this hadith in his thesis entitled, A Rule in Fighting Against the Disbelievers. He adopted another approach in his understanding and explanation of this hadith, which is entirely different from what is said by the majority of Muslim scholars. Hence, we have to state this view on account of its depth, clarity and significance. Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy upon him) said, “The meaning of the Prophet’s saying “I have been ordered to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah, and I am the Messenger of Allah. If they did so, then they would save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws, and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah” is just a mention of the objective during which fighting against them will be permissible. Hence, if those people carried out what the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asked them for, then fighting against them would be prohibited … Thus, this hadith does not mean that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was commanded to fight against all people only for this objective, as this meaning contradicts the religious texts and the consensus of Muslim scholars. Yet, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) never committed such an act; rather, he (peace and blessings be upon him) USED TO MAKE PEACE WITH THOSE WHO WANTED TO MAKE PEACE WITH HIM. (Fiqh of Jihad (“Fiqh al-Jihad”), [Online pdf] volume 1, page 327-337)

Scholar Zaid Shakir:

“First of all, many of the classical exegetes explain that these verses do not apply to Jews and Christians. Their discussion of the verses in question center on relations with the polytheists, to the exclusion of the “People of the Book.” For example, Imam al-Qurtubi (d. 671AH [22]/ 1272 CE), renowned for his exposition on the legal implications of the Qur’anic text, states, concerning the verse in question, “… it is permissible to [understand] that the expression ‘polytheists’ does not deal with Jews and Christians (Ahl al-Kitab).” [23] This opinion is reinforced by the interpretation of a related prophetic tradition, “I’ve been ordered to fight the people until they testify that there is no deity but God. …” [24] Imam Nawawi mentions in his commentary on this tradition, “Al-Khattabi says, ‘It is well-known that what is intended here are the people of idolatry, not the people of the Book (Jews and Christians).’” [25] Among contemporary exegetes, Dr. Mustafa al-Bugha says, commenting on the term for people (nas), which occurs in this tradition, “They are the worshipers of idols and the polytheists.” [26] Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Ahmad, and most contemporary scholars are of the opinion that the polytheists who are to be indiscriminately fought were those living in the Arabian Peninsula. [27] As that area has been free from polytheism since the earliest days of Islam, according to their opinion, the order is now a dead letter.
Just as we can argue that the people who are to be fought against are not an unrestricted class, based on a classical understanding of the “Verse of the Sword,” there are also considerations governing when the restricted classes can be fought. In the verse preceding the “Verse of the Sword,” we read, … except those you have convened a treaty with from the polytheists; when they have not breeched any of its conditions, nor supported anyone in aggression against you, complete the terms of the treaty. [9:4]
Imam al-Qurtubi says concerning this verse, “Even if the terms of the covenant are for more than four months.”[28] This condition and others mentioned in the verses following the “Verse of the Sword,” lead Abu Bakr b. al-‘Arabi (d. 543AH/ 1148 CE), the great Maliki exegete and jurist, to conclude, “It is clear that the intended meaning of the verse is to kill those polytheists WHO ARE WAGING WAR AGAINST YOU.” [29] IN OTHER WORDS, FIGHTING THEM IS CONDITIONAL ON THEIR AGGRESSION AGAINST THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY. THIS POSITION, THE PERMISSIBILITY TO FIGHT IN ORDER TO REPULSE AGGRESSION, IS THE VIEW OF THE MAJORITY OF THE SUNNI MUSLIM LEGAL SCHOOLS as has been explained in great detail by Dr. Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al-Buti in his valuable discussion of the rationale for Jihad. [30] ” (Jihad is Not Perpetual Warfare, Imam Zaid Shakir, online source, last accessed 21st December 2016, http://www.newislamicdirections.com/nid/notes/jihad_is_not_perpetual_warfare#sthash.SkfRDRLn.dpuf )

With the above in perspective, the command of the Hadith was specific to one group only, those who caused bloodshed and showed open aggression against the Muslims and their non-Muslim allies, 1300 years ago.

Furthermore, it should be noted while this issue with the polytheist Quraysh was taking place, Quran 9:4 tells us that the Prophet (p) had treaties with other polytheists in Arabia who were faithful and did not engage in any hostility against the Muslims nor their allies. Here the Muslims are ordered to abide by this treaty:

Excepting those of the idolaters with whom ye (Muslims) have a treaty, and who have since abated nothing of your right nor have supported anyone against you. (As for these), fulfil their treaty to them till their term. Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty (unto Him).” – Quran 9:4 (Pickthall Translation)

Quran 9:7 also repeats this treaty. Here, the Muslims are commanded to abide by the treaty so long as they are true to the Muslims:

“How can there be an agreement for the idolaters with Allah and with His Messenger; except those with whom you made an agreement at the Sacred Mosque? SO AS LONG AS THEY ARE TRUE TO YOU, BE TRUE TO THEM; SURELY ALLAH LOVES THOSE WHO ARE CAREFUL (OF THEIR DUTY).” – Quran 9:7

We see here the Prophet and his companions did abide by the treaty with other polytheists like the Banu Kinanah, Banu Damra, Banu Mudlaj and other tribes who were peaceful (Surah 9:4, 7) and weren’t touched as classical and contemporary exegesis have reported to us. This clearly shows that the Prophet (p) did not fight the Quraysh polytheists because of their beliefs. [11] [12] [13] [14] [15]

8. Conclusion

We see the historical context in which those words were uttered – the Muslims made a treaty with the Quraysh and the agreement was that no party would break the treaty, nor attack them or any of their own allies. Everyone agreed to the treaty’s order at the time. It didn’t take long before the Quraysh with Banu Bakr attacked, and murdered Muhammed’s non-Muslim ally at night. Soon after this, the Prophet and his companions led to conquering Makkah. The uttering of the statement was in the context of the Quraysh criminals who broke the treaty and murdered members of Muhammed’s ally and were given a choice of the following to choose:

1. Stop their hostilities, put their weapons down and live under the Muslim rule (government).
2. Embrace Islam.
3. Or Leave the land.

Final words, as we have seen, this hadith refers to some polytheistic Arabs who persecuted, murdered Muslims and their allies, and broke their treaties with them. As such, some deserved capital punishment, yet they are given the opportunity to repent in which case they are to be forgiven, and their property will be protected. This shows, the command of the Hadith was specific to one group only, those who caused bloodshed and showed open aggression against the Muslims and their non-Muslim allies, 1300 years ago. And history is a witness that no one was forced to accept Islam, since the very report and other early historical sources refute this claim. [16]

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Related articles:

(1) – “Early Expeditions And Battles Of Islam

(2) – “Muhammed A Mercy: Analysing Dogs Killed In Madinah

(3) – “What Happened To The Captive Women In Awtas Incident?

(4) – “Most Misinterpreted Verses Of The Quran?

(5) – “‘Those Who Wage War And Make Mischief’ – Quran 5:33

(6) – “Did Jews Get Expelled From Arabia?

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References:

[1]  Kathir mentions the exact battle this Hadith was uttered – Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) [Supervised by Abdul Malik Mujahid – First Edition, 2000], volume 4, page 377
[2] Ibn Juzayy mentions that the Hadith was first said in relation to Surah 9:5, which was revealed in connection with the conquest of Makkah. Tafsir Ibn Juzayy, last accesed 22st December 2006 http://bewley.virtualave.net/tawba1.html
[3] Mujahid Ibn Jabr (645 – 722 AD) on Surah 9:6:
“…this verse guarantees the safety of people in general (insan) who came to listen to the Prophet recite from the Qur’an until they had RETURNED TO THE PLACE OF REFUGE WHENCE THEY CAME.” (Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought [Oxford University Press; 1st Edition., 2013] by Asma Afsaruddin, page 88)
[4] The 9th Century scholar Hud b. Muhakkam on Surah 9:6:
“…the polytheists who requests safe conduct from Muslims in order to listen to the word of God is to be so granted and returned unharmed to his place of origin, whether he embraces Islam or not. This was the view of Mujahid, for example. Al-Kalbi is quoted as saying that the verse referred instead to a group of polytheists who wished to renew their pact with Muhammad asked them to profess Islam, offer prayers, and pay the zakat, they refused, and the Prophet LET THEM RETURN SAFELY TO THEIR HOMES. Ibn Muhakkam further notes that al-Hasan al-Basri had remarked thus on the status of this verse: ‘It is valid and unabrogated (muhkama) until the Day of Judgement.’” (Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought [Oxford University Press; 1st Edition., 2013] by Asma Afsaruddin, page 88)
[5] Al-Tabari (838 – 923 AD):
“…in this verse God counsels Muhammad, ‘If someone from among the polytheists (al-Mushrikun) – those whom I have commanded that you fight and slay after the passage of the sacred months – were to ask you, O Muhammad, for safe conduct in order to listen to the word of God, then grant this protection to him so that he may hear the word of God and you may recite it to him.’ Such an individual, according to the verse, is to be subsequently ESCORTED BACK TO HIS PLACE OF SAFETY EVEN IF HE REJECTS ISLAM AND FAILS TO BELIEVE AFTER THE PROPHET’S RECITATION OF THE QUR’AN BEFORE HIM. SCHOLARS IN THE PAST WHO HAVE AGREED WITH THIS GENERAL INTERPRETATION INCLUDE IBN ISHAQ, AL-SUDDI, AND MUJAHID…” (Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought [Oxford University Press; 1st Edition., 2013] By Asma Afsaruddin, page 89)
[6] Al-Wahidi (d. 1075 AD):
“…should someone from among the same group of polytheists request safe conduct and refuge among Muslims so that he may listen to the word of God and learn of its positive commandments and interdictions, he is to be so granted and ESCORTED BACK TO A PLACE OF SAFETY. This is so because they are an ignorant people, and SO SHOULD BE GIVEN PROTECTION and the opportunity to acquire knowledge and perhaps submit to Islam.” (Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought [Oxford University Press; 1st Edition., 2013] by Asma Afsaruddin, page 89)
[7] Al-Zamakhshari (1070 – 1143 AD):
“…if one of the polytheists, with whom no pact (mithaq) exists, were to request safe conduct from the Muslims in order to listen to the Qur’an, then he should be granted it so that he may reflect God’s words. AFTERWARD, HE IS TO BE ESCORTED BACK TO HIS HOME WHERE HE FEELS SAFE. This, al-Zamakhshari says, is established practice for all time. Al-hasan al-Basri had similarly maintained that this verse is ‘valid till the day of resurrection.’ …” (Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought [Oxford University Press; 1st Edition., 2013] by Asma Afsaruddin, page 89)
[8] Al-Razi (1149 – 1209 AD):
“on the authority of Ibn Abbas, who relates that a polytheist man asked Ali b. Abi talib, ‘if we wished to approach the Messenger after the end of this period (the four sacred months) in order to listen to the word of God or for some other reason, will we be killed?’ Ali replied in the negative and recited this verse, affirming the granting of safe conduct to him so that he may listen to the Qur’an. … al-Razi further comments that this verse indicates that imitation of precedent (al-taqlid) is not sufficient in religion, and that critical inquiry (al-nazar) and the seeking of proofs (al-istidlal) are indispensable requirements within religion.
If emulation of precedent were enough, he argues, then this verse would not have granted a respite to this unbeliever, and would have been merely given a choice between professing his belief [In Islam] or death. As this did not occur, IT CONFIRMS THAT MUSLIMS ARE REQUIRED TO OFFER SAFE CONDUCT TO SUCH PERSON and thereby assuage his fears and allow him the opportunity to deliberate upon the proofs of religion. How long such a respite should last is not known; perhaps it should be determined according to the prevalent custom (bi-l-urg), he says.” (Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought [Oxford University Press; 1st Edition., 2013] By Asma Afsaruddin, page 89 – 90)
[9] Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas (d. 1414 AD) states that Prophet Muhammed granted safe passage to any of the idolaters who asked for it. So that they may hear the Quran. If he does not believe (i.e., embrace Islam), then he is to be left alone and granted safe passage back to the land he come from:
(And if anyone of the idolaters seeketh thy protection (O Muhammad), then protect him so that he may hear the word of Allah) so that he may hear your recitation of the words of Allah; (and AFTERWARD CONVEY HIM TO HIS PLACE OF SAFETY) TO THE PLACE HE IS GOING, IF HE REMAINS AN UNBELIEVER. (That) which I have mentioned (is because they are a folk who know not) Allah’s command and His divine Oneness. (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas on Surah 9:6 online source http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=9&tAyahNo=6&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2 )
[10] Tafsir al-Jalalayn also emphasizes that they were left alone if they didn’t believe in Islam, and were taken to their place of safety:
“And if any one of the idolaters (ahadun, ‘one’, is in the nominative because of the [following] verb [istajāraka, ‘seeks your protection’] that validates it) seeks your protection, requests security from you against being killed, then grant him protection, provide security for him, SO THAT HE MIGHT HEAR THE WORDS OF GOD — THE QUR’AN — AND AFTERWARD CONVEY HIM TO HIS PLACE OF SECURITY, THAT IS, THE DWELLING-PLACES OF HIS FOLK, IF HE DOES NOT BELIEVE, SO THAT HE MIGHT REFLECT UPON HIS SITUATION — that, which is mentioned, is because they are a people who do not know, the religion of God, and so they must [be made to] hear the Qur’ān in order to [come to] know [religion]. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn on Surah 9:6 – online source http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=9&tAyahNo=6&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2 )
[11] Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas on Surah 9:4,
“(Excepting those of the idolaters with whom ye (Muslims) have a treaty) i.e. the Banu Kinanah after the year of al-Hudaybiyyah, (and who have since abated nothing of your right) who they did not break their treaties, i.e. those who had a nine month treaty (nor have supported anyone) of your enemies (against you. (As for these), fulfil their treaty to them till their term) i.e. nine months. (Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty (unto Him)) by not breaking their treaties.” (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas on Surah 9:4, online source http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=73&tSoraNo=9&tAyahNo=4&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2 )
[12] As-Sawi on 9:4,
:“[As-Sawi notes that the exception is made to the absolute statement in the first ayat. This is the Banu
“[As-Sawi notes that the exception is made to the absolute statement in the first ayat. This is the Banu Damra who still had nine months of their treaty remaining.]” (As-Sawi on Surah 9:4 – online source http://bewley.virtualave.net/tawba1.html )
[13] Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi:
“…commanded in the fourth verse of Surah Al-Taubah where Muslims were required to fulfil their treaty obligations to the tribes of Banu Damurah and Banu Mudlaj for the remaining nine months.” (Maarif ul Quran: Quran Translation and Commentary [Translation by Prof. Muhammad Hasan Askari & Prof. Muhammad Shamim Revised by Justice Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani] by Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi, volume 4, page 311)
[14] Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi’s commentary on 9:7,
“2 This declaration of the abrogation of the treaties with the mushriks was made in accordance with the law enjoined in VIII: 58 regarding the treacherous people, for it is treachery from the Islamic point of view to wage war against any people with whom a treaty of peace had been made, without openly declaring that the treaty had been terminated. That is why a proclamation of the abrogation of the treaties was necessitated against those clans who were always hatching plots against Islam in spice of the treaties of peace they had made. They would break the treaties and turn hostile on the first opportunity for treachery, and the same was true of all the mushrik clans WITH THE EXCEPTION OF BANI KANANAH, BANI DAMRAH AND ONE OR TWO OTHER CLANS. …
9 That is: Bani Kinanah and Bani Khuza`ah and Bani Damrah.” (Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi – Tafhim al-Qur’an – The Meaning of the Qur’an, on Surah 9, online source http://englishtafsir.com/Quran/9/index.html)
[15] Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi also mentions Kinana tribe and others who were true to the treaty:
“201. The reference is to Banu Dhamra and Banu Mudlaj, two classes of Kinana tribe, who, it was expected, would keep the pledge.” (Tafsir-Ul-Qur’an – Translation and Commentary Of The Holy Qur’an [Academy of Islamic Research And Publications, Nadwatul Ulama, Lucknow – 226 007, (Indian)] by Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi volume 2, page 217)
[16] According to al-Shanqeeti the action is performed by bother sides. From the scholar’s writing he suggests to us that there was a war:
“However, as Ibn Daqeeq al-Eid pointed out, it seems very clear that this particular Hadith cannot be used as evidence that a person who intentionally does not pray is to be put to death. There is a difference between ‘fighting’, which implies opposing struggle between two parties, and ‘killing’ someone. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used the faa’il form of the word. THIS IMPLIES THAT THE ACTION BEING PERFORMED BY BOTH PARTIES INVOLVED. (Kauthar al-Maani al-Daraari fi Kashf Khabaaya Saheeh al-Bukhaari [Beirut: Muassasat al-Risaalah., 1995], by Al-Shanqeeti, Muhammad al-Khidr, volume 2, page 55)

 

refutation

The Quran And Jesus’ Crucifixion In Light Of Science

Kaleef K. Karim

Professor Thomas H.Huxley makes an interesting argument in relation to the New Testament’s portrayal of the crucifixion. He strongly argues that Jesus Christ may very well have survived the crucifixion, for him being removed while still living in the tomb, taken out either on the Friday or Saturday night by Joseph of Arimathea, and later recovered from his injuries and came back to Galilee. He argues further that the crucifixion itself could not have killed Jesus because he was only on the cross less than 7 hours. For a person to be crucified it takes up to two days or even longer for them to finally die. This is impossible in this case. The professor asks towards the end:

“On what grounds can a reasonable man be asked to be believe any more?”

The way Jesus’s Crucifixion is portrayed in the Gospel(s) led him to believe that Jesus did not die on the Cross. Professor Thomas Huxley has a point here: in the Philippines or other Asian countries, for example, devout Christians gather every year and volunteer to crucify themselves. The people try to imitate the suffering of Jesus, have real nails hammered into their palms and feet, as CNN reports. Others devotees also whip their backs bloody. Although the people who volunteer and sustain injuries, but at the end, all go home alive.

 


 

Professor Thomas H. Huxley

“What do we find the accounts of the events in question, contained in the three Synoptic gospels, are compared together? In the oldest, there is simple, straightforward statement which, for anything that I have to urge to the contrary, may be exactly true. In the other two, there is, round this possible and probably nucleus, a mass of accretions of the most questionable character.

The cruelty of death by crucifixion depended very much upon its lingering character. If there were a support for the weight of the body, as not unfrequently was the practice, the pain during the first hours of the infliction was not, necessarily, extreme; nor need any serious physical symptoms, at once, arise from the wounds made by the nails in the hands and feet, supposing they were nailed, which was not invariably the case.

When exhaustion set in, and hunger, thirst, and nervous irritation had done their work, the agony of the sufferer must have been terrible; and the more terrible that, in the absence of any effectual disturbance of the machinery of physical life, it might be prolonged for many hours, or even days. Temperate, strong men, such as were the ordinary Galilean peasants, might live for several days on the cross. It is necessary to bear these facts in mind when we read the account contained in the fifteenth chapter of the second gospel.

Jesus was crucified at the third hour (xv. 25), and the narrative seems to imply that he died immediately after the ninth hour (v. 34). In this case, he would have been crucified only six hours; and the time spent on the cross cannot have been much longer, because Joseph of Arimathaea must have gone to Pilate, made his preparations, and deposited the body in the rock-cut tomb before sunset, which, at that time of the year, was about the twelfth hour. That any one should die after only six hours’ crucifixion could not have been at all in accordance with Pilate’s large experience of the effects of that method of punishment.

It, therefore, quite agrees with what might be expected, that Pilate,

“marvelled if he were already dead”

And required to be satisfied on this point by the testimony of the Roman officer who was in command of the execution party. Those who have paid attention to the extraordinarily difficult question, What are the indisputable signs of death? – will be able to estimate the value of the opinion of a rough soldier on such a subject; even if his report to the Procurator were in no wise affected by the fact that the friend of Jesus, who anxiously awaited his answer, was a man of influence and of wealth.

The inanimate body, wrapped in linen, was deposited in a spacious, [1] cool rock chamber, the entrance of which was closed, not by a well-fitting door, but by a stone rolled against the opening, which would of course allow free passage of air.

A little more than thirty-six hours afterwards (Friday 6 P. M., to Sunday 6 A. M., or a little after) three women visit the tomb and find it empty. And they are told by a young man “arrayed in a white robe” that Jesus is gone to his native country of Galilee, and that the disciples and Peter will find him there.

Thus it stands, plainly recorded, in the oldest tradition that, for any evidence to the contrary, the sepulchre may have been emptied at any time during the Friday or Saturday nights. If it is said that no Jew would have violated the Sabbath by taking the former course, it is to be recollected that Joseph of Arimathea might well be familiar with that wise and liberal interpretation of the fourth commandment, which permitted works of mercy to me – nay, even the drawing of an ox or an ass out of a pit – on the Sabbath. At any rate, the Saturday night was free to the most scrupulous of observers of the Law.

These are the facts of the case as stated by the oldest extant narrative of them. I do not see why any one should have a word to say against the inherent probability of that narrative; and, for my part, I am quite ready to accept it as an historical fact, that so much and no more is positively is known of the end of Jesus of Nazareth.

On what grounds can a reasonable man be asked to believe any more? So far as the narrative in the first gospel, on the one hand, and those in the third gospel and the Acts, on the other, go beyond what is stated in the second gospel, they are hopelessly discrepant with one another. And this is the more significant because the pregnant phrase “some doubted,” in the first gospel, is ignored in the third.

But it is said that we have the witness Paul speaking to us directly in the Epistles. There is little doubt that we have, and a very singular witness he is. According to his showing, Paul, in the vigour of his manhood, with every means of becoming acquainted, at first hand, with the evidence of eye-witnesses, not merely refused to credit them, but

“persecuted the church of God and made havoc of it.”

The reasoning of Stephen feel dead upon the acute intellect of this zealot for the traditions of his fathers: his eyes were blind to the ecstatic illumination of the martyr’s countenance “as it had been the face of an angel;” and when, at the words,

“Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God,”

the murderous mob rushed upon and stoned the rapt disciple of Jesus, Paul ostentatiously made himself their official accomplice.

Yet this strange man, because he has a vision one day, at once, and with equally headlong zeal, flies to the opposite pole of opinion. And he is most careful to tell us that he abstained from any re-examination of the facts.

“Immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood; neither went I up to Jerusalem to them were Apostles before me; but I went away into Arabia.” (Galatians i. 16, 17.)

I do not presume to quarrel with Paul’s procedure. If it satisfied him, that was his affair; and, if it satisfies anyone else, I am not called upon to dispute the right of that person to be satisfied. But I certainly have the right to say that it would not satisfy me, in like case; that I should be very much ashamed to pretend that it could, or ought to satisfy me; and that I can entertain but a very low estimate of the value of the evidence of people who are to be satisfied in this fashion, when questions of objective fact, in which their faith is interested, are concerned.

So that when I am called upon to believe a great deal more than the oldest gospel tells me about the final events of the history of Jesus on the authority of Paul (1 Corinthians xv. 5-8) I must pause.

Did he think it, at any subsequent time, worth whole “to confer with flesh and blood,” or, in modern phrase, to re-examine the facts for himself? Or was he ready to accept anything that fitted in with his preconceived ideas? Does he mean, when he speaks of all the appearances of Jesus after the crucifixion as if they were of the same kind, that they were all visions, like the manifestation to himself?

And finally, how is this account to be reconciled with those in the first and third gospels – which, as we have seen, disagree with one another?

Until these questions are satisfactorily answered, I am afraid that, so far as I am concerned, Paul’s testimony cannot be seriously regarded, except as it may afford evidence of the state of traditional opinion at the time at which he wrote, say between 55 and 60 A.D.; that is, more than twenty years after the event; a period much more than sufficient for the development of any amount of mythology about matters of which nothing was really known.

A few years later, among the contemporaries and neighbours of the Jews, and, if the most probably interpretation of the Apocalypse can be trusted, among the followers of Jesus also, it was fully believed, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, that the Emperor Nero was not really dead, but that he was hidden away somewhere in the East, and would speedily come again at the head of a great army, to be revenged upon his enemies. [2]”

Notes:

[1] Spacious because a young man could sit in it “on the right side” (xv. 5), and therefore with plenty of room to spare.
[2] King Herod had not the least difficulty in supposing the resurrection of John the Baptist – “John, Whom I beheaded, he is risen” (Mark vi. 16).

This excerpt on the crucifixion by Professor Thomas H. Huxley was taken from the following Book:

“Science And Christian Tradition – Essays [New York: D. Appleton And Company., 1896] by Thomas H. Huxley, page 279 – 284”


The view held by Professor Thomas H. Huxley has also been proposed by other scholars but slightly different. They believe also that the crucifixion did not kill Jesus, rather it was made to appear to his enemies:

“Death and Resurrection
For those gnostics who did not take the docetic view, the problems connected with the death and resurrection of Jesus were: Did Jesus die on the cross? Or was a drug administered perhaps by the skilled Essenes, that would only give the semblance of death (Schonfield, 1981, p.110). The German scholar Karl Friedrich Bahrdt (d. 1792) suggested that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, who may have been members of the Essene brotherhood, prepared Jesus to face the ordeal of an apparent death. After removing his comatose body from the cross Joseph of ArimatheaG used secret remedies to revive him (Stewart, 1981, p. 155).

Again was his resurrection a normal return to consciousness after a sudden collapse into a coma that was mistaken for death? If so the disciples may have bribed the Roman guards to let him go. It has further been suggested that Jesus went to the Essene community at Qumran, became an Essene monk…” (Gnosticism – Its History and Influence: A Concise Survey Of Gnostic Thought From Its Pre-Christian Origins To Its Modern Manifestations [Printed in Great Britain by Mackays of Chatham, Kent., 1989] by Benjamin Walker (George Benjamin Walker), page 78)

 

Related articles:

(1) – “Crucifixion or Crucifiction: What Did 1st Century Christians Believe?

(2) – “Examining Pagan Sources On Jesus Crucifixion, Genuine or Hearsay?

(3) – “Examining Jewish Sources On Jesus Crucifixion, Genuine Or Forgery?

(4) – “Examining the Engineering behind Jesus’ (p) title as ‘Lamb of God’

(5) – “Did earliest Christians believe (alleged) crucifixion to be indispensable?

(6) – “Was Jesus Hanged or Crucified?

 

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jesus-cross

Did 1st Century Christians Reject The Crucifixion?

Kaleef K. Karim

It has puzzled scholars for many years why the Quran in very strong words says that Jesus (p) was not crucified:

“And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger – they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain.
But Allah took him up unto Himself. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise.” – Quran 157-158 (Pickthall Translation)

Most Christians have regarded this verse to be contrary and in conflict with what their version of the New Testament states. Their belief in the crucifixion is the cornerstone of their faith. No crucifixion, there is no Christianity. Many Christian debaters, missionaries, and their scholars have challenged the Quran’s version of history.

Some Muslims have attempted to show that there were Christians who believed that Jesus was not crucified by showing some groups in early Christianity. Christians have responded by saying that their beliefs are contrary to Islamic belief. They say that some of these group(s) believed that Jesus’s body was not real when on earth, it was only an illusion, as it is claimed. Some of these groups are known as Docetists. Docetism is defined by Norbert Brox as:

“the doctrine according to which the phenomenon of Christ, his historical and bodily existence, and thus above all the human form of Jesus, was altogether mere semblance without any true reality. …” (New Testament Apocrypha (Gospels And Related Writings) [James Clarke & Co, Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville – London, 2003], volume 1, page 220)

Although such beliefs have been attached to some early groups, readers should be aware that sometimes the latter Church fathers whom we have the only written records about these groups, used to exaggerate and make up things in their writings against groups and opponents whom they had massive disagreements with.

Another way for some in the past to reconcile the verse of the Quran is the belief that another person was substituted in the place of Jesus, and that person was Judas. Some early writings do mention this.

The Modern attempt to reconcile with the New Testament has been the swoon theory, where the belief that Jesus was on the cross, crucified, but the crucifixion itself did not kill him, rather God Almighty raised him up and made to appear to the people that he had died as a result of him being crucified, but in reality he was raised up before his enemies killed him.

The crucifixion has intrigued me over the years to do more research on this matter. Are there any early Christian writings that mention any group(s) who believed Jesus was not crucified? For the past year or so I have been reading the letters of Ignatius of Antioch. The vast of majority of scholars have agreed that Ignatius’s letters are genuine.

Ignatius (35 – 107) was the bishop of Antioch. In the year 107 (or 108) he was arrested by the Romans and subsequently taken away to Rome. In between his incarceration and his death in around 107 (or 108), Ignatius wrote a series of letters in which he attacked other Christian groups as a result of them holding on to beliefs which were contrary to his own. In Ignatius’s letters, there is often verbal battles against other Judaic-Christian and Christian groups which held contrary beliefs to his own, as mentioned. One letter which caught my eye was the following:

“7 Some there may be who wanted in a human way to mislead me, but the Spirit is not misled, seeing it comes from God. For “it knows whence it comes and whither it goes,”250 110 and exposes what is secret.251 When I was with you I cried out, raising my voice—it was God’s voice252—”pay heed to the Bishop, the Presbytery, and the deacons.” 2 Some, it is true, suspected that I spoke thus because I had been told in advance that some of you were schismatics. But I swear by Him for whose cause I am a prisoner, that from no human channels did I learn this. It was the Spirit that kept on preaching in these words: “Do nothing apart from the bishop; keep your bodies as if they were God’s temple; value unity; flee schism; imitate Jesus Christ as he imitated his Father.”
8 I, then, was doing all I could, as a man utterly devoted to unity. Where there is schism and bad feeling, God has no place. The Lord forgives all who repent—if, that is, their repentance brings them into God’s unity and to the bishop’s council. I put my confidence in the grace of Jesus Christ. He will release you from all your chains.253
2I urge you, do not do things in cliques, but act as Christ’s disciples. When I heard some people saying, “IF I DON’T FIND IT IN THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS, I DON’T BELIEVE IT IN THE GOSPEL,” I answered them, “But it is written there.” They retorted, “That’s just the question.”254 To my mind it is Jesus Christ who is the original documents. The inviolable archives are his CROSS AND DEATH AND HIS RESURRECTION AND THE FAITH THAT CAME BY HIM. It is by these things and through your prayers that I want to be justified. (Early Christian Fathers [Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library] by Richardson, Cyril C. (1909-1976), page 96)

This group is arguing that if what Ignatius believes in is not found in the “original documents”, they will not believe the gospel which Ignatius basis his faith on. Ignatius responds by saying that it is there in the document(s), and they respond by stating that,

“it is not written there”.

So what exactly was this group in disagreement with in this instance? Few lines down Ignatius tells us the reason and this is Jesus’s,

“Cross and death, and his resurrection…”

This was the debate. The point of contention here is the reality of Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection not being mentioned in their original, and authentic document(s). Here the text suggests to us that what Ignatius had in his possession or believed in was the corrupted gospel, whereas what they had were the originals. The above discussion reveals that this group and Ignatius stood right at the opposite of the Christian theological spectrum. The group Ignatius is countering in this instance are of Judaic-Christian or fully Christian. The language used by Ignatius against this group suggests very likely that they were Christian, but they only rejected the crucifixion as a result of it not being in their own present manuscript (“documents”). The sayings,

“pay heed to the Bishop, the Presbytery, and the Deacons”,

And:

“Do nothing apart from the bishop; keep your bodies as if they were God’s temple; value unity; flee schism; imitate Jesus Christ as he imitated his Father”

And:

“act as Christ’s disciples”

These are not words used for heretics or fully Judaic group(s). This is a language employed only to his own Christian brothers, a group who were Christian but disagreed with him massively on the evidence of Jesus’s crucifixion.

We can hold two opinions in regards to this group, they were either fully Judaic-Christian who also held on to the Old Testament laws, which means that the Crucifixion and resurrection had to be in accord with what the Old Testament said i.e. if there are any prophecies foretold. Or they were a fully Christian group who upheld the teachings from the original Gospel which was in their possession. The latter has more weight in regards to the text when everything is read in context. There is no doubt here the group which he is battling with are Christians and not docetists as some have claimed. [1] [2]

Scholars over the years have continued to debate if Ignatius used the gospel of Matthew in his extant writings. Most seem to believe that he did, perhaps not exactly the same textual version as the current one today. Some have argued that this was about the oral proclamation. I would say, as have many others, that it’s referring to a written document because of “it is written”. There must have been a written document in the possession of this group and Ignatius, whatever that document was, we cannot determine with certainty.

A dozen or more translations have been made in regards to the statement, “if I don’t find it in the archives (original documents, records) I will not believe in the gospel”. [3] A number of arguments have been proposed by scholars for the past few hundred years in regards to what is meant here. Did this group believe that Ignatius’s gospel was corrupted? This seems so with the words used. Here are some of the translations:

Kleist (1946), Eng. Tran. “Unless I find it in the official records – in the Gospel I do not believe. (The Epistles Of St. Clement of Rome and St. Ignatius of Antioch [Westminster, Newman, 1948] James Aloysius Kleist)

Goodspeed (1950), Eng. Tran. “What I cannot find in the records, I will not believe in the gospel.” (The Apostolic Fathers. An American Translation, [New York, Harper, 1950] by Edgar Johnson Goodspeed)

Holmes (2006) Eng. Tran. “If I do not find it in the archives, I do not believe it in the gospel.” (The Apostolic Fathers [Published by Baker Academic, 2006] Michael W. Holmes)

Weinfurter (1930), Eng Tran.
“If I do not find it written in the originals documents, I will not believe that it is written in the gospel.”(Karel Weinfurter. Bible Ve Svetle Mystiky. Apokryfy XI. [Praha: Zmatlik a Palicka, 1930])

Novak (1985), CZ. Eng. Tran. “If I do not find it in the old documents, that is, in the gospel, I will not believe.” (Spisy Apostolskych Octu. Praha: [Ceska Katolicka Charita., 1985], by Josef J. Novak)

What it is meant here in regards to “I will not believe in the gospel” refers to the documents Ignatius believes in, rather than the original gospel. Some scholars have claimed that “old documents”, “original documents” or “Archives” here, it is in reference to the Old Testament. They say that this group wanted evidence from the Old Testament to substantiate Ignatius’s beliefs in regards to the crucifixion and resurrection. However, this assertion is not in accord with what the text says. I will elaborate further on this point later.

The reading from the text suggests that the copies Ignatius relied on for the death of Jesus were corrupted, whereas what this Christian group had in their possession were the originals and it did not have Jesus as being crucified. Jesus’s crucifixion was the central issue at hand, as many scholars have stated.

Professor J. B. Lightfoot:

“What the points at issue were, the following words … will suggest. The old question … (Acts xxvi. 23; comp. Justin. Dial. 36, 76, pp. 254, 302) had still to be discussed. The CROSS was still a stumbling-block to these Docetic Judaizers, as it had been in the Apostolic age to the Jews, though from a different point of view. They denied the reality of Christ’s birth and death and resurrection…”  (The Apostolic Fathers – S. Ignatius. S. Polycarp., Revised Texts With Introductions, Notes, Dissertations, And Translations [London: Macmillan And Co., 1885], by J. B. Lightfoot, D.D., D.C.L., LL.D., (Bishop of Durham) volume 2 (Sect. 1.), page 272)

Rev. J. H. Strawley:

“1. Ignatius claims that the points in question are found in the Old Testament. The allusion is doubtless to the CROSS, DEATH, and RESURRECTION of JESUS CHRIST, which were a stumbling-block alike to Judaizers and to those who held Docetic views. A similar appeal to the Old Testament had been made in the first age of the Church. Cf. Luke xxiv. 26, 46, Acts xvii. 3.” (The Epistle of St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch [Second edition, Revised. Society For Promoting Christian Knowledge, Northumberland Avenue, Charing Cross, W. C., 1910] by the Rev. J. H. Strawley, D. D., (Teacher and Theological Lecturer At Selwyn college) volume 2, page 28)

Reverend H. S. Holland also agrees that the contention here is the crucifixion:

“To the Philadelphians he has one most striking passage on his old subject, Church unity. ‘Study to use one Eucharist; for one is the flesh of Jesus Christ our Lord, and one is the cup for the unity of His blood, one is the altar and one the bishop, with his presbytery and his diaconate.’ He claims that his own part has been to emphasize and enforce this unity as the key to the holiness of Christian living. He refers in his letter to difficulties with some Judaizers, who seem to have tested the New Gospel by its agreement with the Old Testament; he answers that Christ is higher and older than the old writings, that He therefore and HIS CROSS are the standard and rule by which they must be tried; He is the High Priest greater than the old priests, He is the door through which alone entered Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the Prophets. Here we may notice how the metaphor in St. John is used to enforce the cardinal arguments of St. Paul.” (The Fathers, For English Readers [The Apostolic Fathers] |Published Under The Directions Of The Tract Committee| [London: Society For Promoting Christian Knowledge, Northumberland Avenue, Charing Cross … New York: E & J. B. Young & Co.] by Rev. H. S. Holland, M.A., (Student Of Christ Church, Oxford), page 172 – 173)

Professor Jan A. Dus:

“The part of the opening quotation that we have printed in italics puzzles the editors and translators. What is at stake between Ignatius and his opponents? The context indicates that the basis of the dispute was Ignatius’ ARGUMENT ABOUT THE REALITY OF CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST, since these convictions are characteristic of Ignatius thinking.” (The Process of Authority: The Dynamics in Transmission and Reception of Canonical Texts [Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston, 2016], by Jan A. Dus, page 155)

And:

“ 1. i.e., the system of Christian doctrine.” (Ante-Nicene Christian Library – Translations Of The Writings Of The Fathers Down To A.D. 325. – The Apostolic Fathers [Edinburgh: T. And T. Clark, 38, George Street. [MDCCCLXVII.] Edited by The Rev. Alexander Roberts, D. D., And James Donaldson, LL.D., volume 1, page 235 (footnote 1))

Although the above scholars all agree that the argument with this group and Ignatius’s was centered around the cross i.e., crucifixion and resurrection, [4] the claim made by some that this group were “docetic” has no support from the text anywhere.

A number of scholars have said that Ignatius relied on corrupted documents for his beliefs, whereas this Christian group had the originals, and it did not have the things which Ignatius solely based his beliefs on. Below are some of the translations produced for Philadelphians 8:1-2.

Rev. J. H. Strawley Translation:

“VIII. I therefore have done my own part as a man perfectly established in union. But where there is division and wrath, God dwells not. Therefore the Lord forgives all that repent, if on their repentance they turn to the unity of God and the council of the bishop. I believe in the grace of Jesus Christ, Who shall loose from off you every bond. Moreover I entreat you, act not in any matter in the spirit of faction but as Disciples of Christ. For I have heard some saying, ‘EXCEPT I FIND IT IN THE ARCHIVES I BELIEVE IT NOT IN THE GOSPEL.’ And when I said to them, ‘IT IS WRITTEN, they answered me, ‘That is the question in dispute.’ But my archives are Jesus Christ; the inviolable ARCHIVES ARE HIS CROSS AND DEATH and Resurrection, and the faith which is through him. In these I desire to be justified through prayer.” (The Epistle of St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch [Second edition, Revised. Society For Promoting Christian Knowledge, Northumberland Avenue, Charing Cross, W. C., 1910] by the Rev. J. H. Strawley, D. D., (Teacher and Theological Lecturer At Selwyn college) volume 2, page 27 – 29)

New Testament scholar, Kirsopp Lake Translation:

“1. I then did my best as a man who was set on unity. But where there is division and anger God does not dwell. The Lord then forgives all who repent, if their repentance lead to the unity of God and the council of the bishop. I have faith in the grace of Jesus Christ, and he shall loose every bond from you.
2. But I beseech you to do nothing in factiousness, but after the teaching of Christ. For I heard some men saying, ‘IF I FIND IT NOT IN THE CHARTERS IN THE GOSPEL I DO NOT BELIEVE,’ and when I said to them that IT IS IN THE SCRIPTURE, they answered me, ‘that is exactly the question.’ But to me the charters are Jesus Christ, the inviolable CHARTER IS HIS CROSS, AND DEATH, and resurrection, and the faith which is through him; in these I desire to be justified by your prayers.” (The Apostolic Fathers, With An English Translation (I Clement II Clement Ignatius, Polycarp, Didache, Barnabas) [London: William Heinemann, New York: G. P. Putman’s Sons, MCMXIX] by Kirsopp Lake, volume 1, page 247)

William Whiston Translation:

“VIII. I therefore did what properly belonged to me, as a Man compos’d to Unity. Adding this also, That where there is diversity of Opinion and Wrath, and Hatred, there God does not dwell. God therefore forgives those that repent, if they, with one consent, return to the Unity of Christ, and the Council of the Bishop. I believe in the Grace of Jesus Christ that he will loose you from the bond of wickedness. I therefore exhort you that you do nothing out of Strife, but according to the Doctrine of Christ. For I have heard some say, UNLESS I CAN FIND THE SAME THINGS, IN THE ARCHIVES, I WILL NOT BELIEVE THE GOSPEL.
To such as these I say, my Archives are Jesus Christ; whom not to hearken to is manifest Destruction. My untouch’d ARCHIVES ARE HIS CROSS, AND DEATH, and his Resurrection, and the Faith concerning these Things; wherein I desire to be justified by your Prayers. He that disbelieves the Gospel disbelieves all at once. The Archives of the Spirit are not exposed to all. Tis hard to kick against the Pricks: Tis hard to disbelieve Christ: Tis hard to reject the Preaching of the Apostles.” (Primitive Christianity Reviv’d – Epistles of Ignatius, Both Larger and Smaller, in Greek and English [London and Westminster, 1711], by William Whiston M. A., volume 1, page 291 – 293)

William Benjamin Smith Translation:

“But I entreat you do naught in factiousness but in love of Christ. For I heard some saying, that ‘unless in the archives I find [it] in the Gospel I do not believe [it], and when I said to them that it is written, they answered me, That is the question [prokeitai, it lies before, it is open to discussion]. But for me archives are Jesus Christ, the untouched archives his cross and his death and his resurrection and the faith that is though him, in which I wish through your prayers to be justified.” (St. Ignatius vs. the Historicists (1913) by William Benjamin Smith, page 356 – 367)

Michael W. Holmes Translation:

“8 I was doing my part, therefore, as a man set on unity. But God does not dwell where there is division and anger. The Lord, however, forgives all who repent, if in repenting they return to the unity of God and the council of the bishop. I believe in the grace of Jesus Christ, who will free you from every restraint.
Moreover, I urge you to do nothing in a spirit of contentiousness, but in accordance with the teaching of Christ. For I heard some say, ‘If I do not find it in the archives, I do not believe it in the gospel.’ And when I said to them, ‘It is written,’ they answered me, ‘That is precisely the question.’ But for me, the ‘archives’ are Jesus Christ, the unalterable archives are his cross and death and his resurrection and the faith that comes through him; by these things I want, through your prayers, to be justified.” (The Apostolic Fathers in English [Published by Baker Academic, 2006] by Michael W. Holmes, page 119)

Although some scholars have proposed that the “original documents” here refers to Old Testament, this assertion cannot be backed up from the text as we mentioned earlier. Further down from this point, this Christian group are accusing Ignatius’s document(s) of being a forgery. Instead of refuting their claims, he is silent and unable to defeat the fluent Christian group. The reason why this view is more correct is because this Christian group would not accuse their own scripture of being tampered with if it referred to the OT (or their own gospel or document), as some have claimed. The only alternative here is, as other scholars have agreed on is that this group is accusing Ignatius of having a corrupted gospel, whereas what they have in their possession are the originals. For this, Ignatius, as the text shows he could not rebut.

Instead of Ignatius pointing to clear cut verses, he swivels out of the conversation to say that Jesus is the archives. In a way, he avoided to go head on with this group. For Ignatius not to deal with this group head on and present verses to show that the conversation they had did not centre around the Old Testament versus the Gospel, shows rather the group wanted genuine evidence from the original gospel document(s), not the corrupted text he believed in. For this, Ignatius failed in his task to convince this learned group. As far as we are aware and know, the conversation came to an end.

Some academics have argued that Ignatius backed off as a result of him not being fluent nor skilled in Hebrew as they were. When Ignatius could not win the argument against his opponents, he changes the rules by saying, that Jesus is the “archives” (or original documents).

Ignatius’s gospel in which he believed in was a forgery. Ignatius’s belief that Jesus was crucified did not go in accord with the original document(s) this group had in their possession. A number of scholars have said that the group believed that Ignatius’s documents (gospel(s)) were corrupted and tampered with.

Reverend William Osburn says that the gospel was called into question by this group:

“86 De Pares. Haer., cc. 32-38. The corruption of the Scriptures by heretics was attempted even in the time of Ignatius. ‘I hear some say, unless I find it to be in the originals, (…) I will not believe it to be in the gospel; and when I answer, it is written there, they deny it.’ Ad. Phil., c. 8. The originals of Ignatius, are evidently the same as the authenticate litterae of Tertullian, in the passage referred to in the text. U. s., c. 36. (…) The fact that the fidelity of transcripts of the canonical books was called in question as so early a period, while the church was still in possession of that most unanswerable of all means of authentication, the autograph copies of them, is a most important one.” (Doctrinal Errors Of The Apostolical And Early Fathers [London: Hamilton, Adams, And Co., Hatchard and Son, And Seeley And Son; And J. Y. Knight, Leeds., 1835], by William Osburn, Jun., page 199 (footnote 86))

 

Reverend George Peck, D. D., states the contention here was in regards to the “authentic copies” of the gospel(s):

“From this it appears that the written Gospels were the ultimate in which all professing Christians agreed, and the only question raised by heretics was, as to which were the authentic copies. Neither the orthodox nor heterodox make as yet any claim to oral traditions as authoritative expositions of the written record.” (Appeal From Tradition To Scripture And Common Sense; Or an Answer To The Question, What Constitutes The Divine Rule Of Faith And Practice [New – York: published by G. Lane & P. P. Sandford, For The Methodist Episcopal Church, At The Conference Office, 200 Mulberry-Street – J. Collord, Printer., 1844]., by George Peck, D. D., page 327)

Rev. J. H. Strawley, D. D., says that some scholars in the past have come to the view that this group accused Ignatius’s gospel been tampered with:

“5. The Greek text and the Latin version read in place of ‘archives’ a word which may be translated either ‘ancient writings’ or ‘ancient writers.’ But as the word ‘archives’ occurs twice below it should probably be read in this place also. The word originally means ‘a place where records are kept,’ and then came to be used of the documents themselves. The reference here is to a collection of ancient authoritative records, i.e., the Old Testament, which these writers set up as an authority against the Gospel, and with which they required the Gospel to agree. OTHERS, however, UNDERSTAND ‘ARCHIVES’ TO MEAN THE ORIGINAL COPIES OF THE GOSPEL, with which is contrasted the traditional Gospel as preached and taught. THESE TEACHERS WOULD THEN BE REPRESENTED AS CLAIMING THAT THE GOSPEL HAD BEEN FALSIFIED, and we should translate, ‘Except I find it in the archives, that is, in (written) Gospel, I do not believe it.’ …” (The Epistle of St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch [Second edition, Revised. Society For Promoting Christian Knowledge, Northumberland Avenue, Charing Cross, W. C., 1910] by the Rev. J. H. Strawley, D. D., (Teacher and Theological Lecturer At Selwyn college) volume 2, page 27 – 28 (footnote 5))

J. B. Lightfoot gives some of the names of these scholars who came to conclude that the gospel at the time of Ignatius had been tampered with:

“… A wholly different interpretation however has not uncommonly been given to the passage, e.g. by Voss (apparently), Smith, and several later writers; … being explained as referring to the ORIGINAL AUTOGRAPHS OR AUTHENTIC MSS OF THE EVANGELICAL WRITINGS, with which is contrasted …, the Gospel as written and preached in Ignatius’ time. In other words his antagonists are represented as complaining that the GOSPELS HAD BEEN TAMPERED WITH; comp. Polyc. Phil. 7 … (quoted by Zahn I. v. A. p. 379), …
Zahn takes the view that these objectors appeal to the original documents of the New Testament, as evidence for the true Gospel.” (The Apostolic Fathers – S. Ignatius. S. Polycarp., Revised Texts With Introductions, Notes, Dissertations, And Translations [London: Macmillan And Co., 1885], by J. B. Lightfoot, D.D., D.C.L., LL.D., (Bishop of Durham) volume 2 (Sect. 1.), page 270 – 271)

J. H. Strawley and J. B. Lightfoot disagree with scholars like Zahn, Smith and others that the gospel Ignatius had in his possession and relied on were tampered with. It is quite understandable why Strawley and Lightfoot took such position to reject other giant scholars like Zahn, Smith and others. For devout Christians like Lightfoot and Strawley to admit that some of their scripture(s) had been corrupted and falsified would put a big dent in their faith. [5] But here we should understand that other scholars have adopted the view that this Christian group believed that Ignatius’s document(s) (Gospel) were corrupted. This view is supported by the text of Philadelphians 8:2 and some giant scholars of the past who adopted this position.

One of the most accurate translations for Philadelphians 8:2 clearly tells us that this group’s contention was centred around Ignatius documents being corrupted and rejection of the crucifixion narrative peddled by Ignatius since it went against their own original document(s) they had in their possession [6] [7]:

“18 For I Trust in the grace of Jesus Christ that he will free you from every bond.
19 Nevertheless I exhort you that you do nothing out of strife, but according to the instruction of Christ.
20 BECAUSE I HAVE HEARD OF SOME WHO SAY, UNLESS I FIND IT WRITTEN IN THE ORIGINALS, I WILL NOT BELIEVE IT TO BE WRITTEN IN THE GOSPEL. And when I said, It is written, they answered what lay before them in their CORRUPTED COPIES.
21 But TO ME JESUS CHRIST is instead of all the uncorrupted monuments in the world; together with those undefiled monuments, HIS CROSS, AND DEATH, and resurrection, and the faith which is by him, by which I desire, through your prayers, to be justified.” (The genuine epistles of the Apostolic fathers, St. Clement, St. Polycarp, St. Ignatius, St. Barnabas; the Shepherd of Hermas, and the Martyrdoms of St. Ignatius And St Polycarp, [Hartdford: Published by Parsons And Hills, 1834] Translated by William Wake, Lord Archbishop Of Canterbury. page 149)

Few facts in regards to the information presented:

1. Ignatius here is arguing against some of his own Christian brothers.
2. This Christian group accuses Ignatius of believing and following a corrupted text to base his beliefs on.
3. Ignatius unable to refute or show evidence that his gospel is the authentic version, he swivels away and states that Jesus is the “original documents”.
4. This group was arguing that Jesus’s crucifixion is not mentioned in their original document(s) which they had in their possession.
5. As shown the scholars like Zahn, Smith and others in agreement that the group accused Ignatius of following and believing in a tampered, and falsified gospel.

Now some may ask, what happened to this group? If this is true, that there were early Christian group(s) which believed that Jesus was not crucified, what happened to them? The simple answer to this is, most probably as it usually occurred, they were killed off. Any group which went against the dominant group were put away. When a certain group went against another which attacked their beliefs, they were killed off in ancient times. This happened a lot in the early history of Christianity.

Conclusion

With the above considered, we must recall that Ignatius, as the evidence shows he was attacking his Christian brothers [8], not non-Christians. The particular Christian group attacked shared a specific belief at complete odds with that of Ignatius. This group wanted evidence based on the authentic gospel(s) that was in their possession. They held the view that Ignatius’s belief on the crucifixion and resurrection was based on a corrupted text. Furthermore, the claim proposed by some that Ignatius did indeed have the Old Testament in mind on proving that Jesus Christ had to be crucified, he could have easily quoted one verse from the Old Testament to substantiate his claims, if that was the case as some have asserted. But given the fact that Ignatius does not bring any verse up shows that the conversation here was centered around some Gospel document(s).

As we showed at the start of this article, the Qur’an states in very clear words that Jesus Christ was not crucified. This early testimony from Ignatius testifies that there was an early Christian group(s) that held the belief that Jesus was not crucified. They based their evidence on the scriptural document(s) they had in their possession. Thus, one of the earliest Christian sources from the 1st century of Christianity agrees with what the Quran says. [9]

Related articles:

(1) – “Examining Pagan Sources On Jesus Crucifixion, Genuine or Hearsay?

(2) – “Examining Jewish Sources On Jesus Crucifixion, Genuine Or Forgery?

(3) – “Examining the Engineering behind Jesus’ (p) title as ‘Lamb of God’

(4) – “Did earliest Christians believe (alleged) crucifixion to be indispensable?

(5) – “Was Jesus Hanged or Crucified?

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References:

[1] Professor J. H. Strawley states that this group were Judaistic. This group did not have traces of docetism:
“The heresy which he attacks is plainly Judaistic (cc. 5, 8,, 9,), of a strongly developed character. The false teachers had organized themselves apparently into schism (cc. 4, 7). … They are NOT SUFFICIENT TO JUSTIFY THE VIEW THAT THE HERESY WAS CURRENT AT PHILADELPHIA (See Add. Note I, vol. ii.). Nor is it necessary with Harnack (Expositor, March 1886, and Chronologie, pp. 389 n., 393 n.) to see in cc. 8, 9 traces of a third tendency. The passages most NATURALLY REFER TO THE JUDAISTIC TEACHERS. …” (The Epistle of St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch [Second edition, Revised. Society For Promoting Christian Knowledge, Northumberland Avenue, Charing Cross, W. C., 1910] by the Rev. J. H. Strawley, D. D., (Teacher and Theological Lecturer At Selwyn college) volume 2, page 19 – 20)
[2] Reverend H. S. Holland also states that this group were clearly Judaistic:
“To the Philadelphians he has one most striking passage on his old subject, Church unity. ‘Study to use one Eucharist; for one is the flesh of Jesus Christ our Lord, and one is the cup for the unity of His blood, one is the altar and one the bishop, with his presbytery and his diaconate.’ He claims that his own part has been to emphasize and enforce this unity as the key to the holiness of Christian living. He refers in his letter to difficulties with some Judaizers, who seem to have tested the New Gospel by its agreement with the Old Testament; he answers that Christ is higher and older than the old writings, that He therefore and his Cross are the standard and rule by which they must be tried; He is the High Priest greater than the old priests, He is the door through which alone entered Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the Prophets. Here we may notice how the metaphor in St. John is used to enforce the cardinal arguments of St. Paul.” (The Fathers, For English Readers [The Apostolic Fathers] |Published Under The Directions Of The Tract Committee| [London: Society For Promoting Christian Knowledge, Northumberland Avenue, Charing Cross … New York: E & J. B. Young & Co.] by Rev. H. S. Holland, M.A., (Student Of Christ Church, Oxford), page 172 – 173)
[3] Cyril C. Richardson states that the arguments between Ignatius and this group centered around whether what he believed in was in agreement with the Old Testament:
“254 The point of the argument is that the Old Testament is the final court of appeal. It constitutes the “original documents” which validate the gospel. The New Testament, as a book of canonical authority, is still in process of formation. The Bible of the primitive Church is the Septuagint. Hence a point of doctrine turns on the interpretation of Old Testament texts which are viewed as prophetically pointing to Christianity (cf: ch. 5:2). When, however, an impasse is reached in the argument, Ignatius makes the tradition of the gospel the final authority. He thus opens himself to the criticism of disparaging the Old Testament (cf. ch. 5.2). Early Christian Fathers [Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library] by Cyril C. Richardson (1909-1976), page 96
[4] Contention was the cross:
“It is here that he brings in the real case of Jewish believers who support the right brand of Christianity. If Jewish believers agreed with Ignatius in confessing the reality of Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection, and agreed with him in finding this to be the only hermeneutical key to a right reading of the Scriptures, then these Jewish believers would be “men having circumcision, but proclaiming Christianity.” (The Early Centuries – Jewish Believers In Jesus [Editors, Oskar Skarsaune and Reider Hvalvik, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 2007], by Oskar Skarsaune, page 508)
[5] Reverend Temple says that the reference here made is in connection with the authentic gospels:
“Lardner, Credibility, Part II. C. 17, p. 323, agrees with Le Clerc (or Clere), in supposing that a reference is here made to those who appealed, on all controverted points, to original autographs of the Gospels. …” (A Translation Of The Epistles Of Clement Of Rome, Polycarp, And Ignatius; And Of The Apologies Of Justin Martyr And Tertullian: With An Introduction And Brief Notes, Illustrative Of The Ecclesiastical History of the First Two Centuries, [Cambridge: Printed by John Smith, For J. & J. J. Deighton. Trinity Street; M. DCCC.XXXIII] by the Rev. Temple Chevallier, B. D., page 116 – 117)
[6] William J. Smith:
“The accepted text archeiois (archives) is rendered ‘charters’ by Kirsopp Lake as well as by Lightfoot, but ta archeia means properly the public records, and hence more generally originals documents. UNDERSTOOD IN THE STRICT SENSE IT WOULD REFER, AS REINACH SHOWS, TO THE OFFICIAL PAPERS AT CAESAREA, though others think it means the Old Testament Scriptures.” St. Ignatius vs. the Historicists (1913) by William Benjamin Smith, page 356 – 367)
[7] A similar and exact translation is offered in the Book, “The Lost Books Of The Bible” for Philadelphians 8:
“7 But if either the one, or other, do not speak concerning Christ Jesus, they seem to me to be but as monuments and sepulchres of the dead, upon which are written only the names of men.
8 Flee therefore the wicked arts and snares of the prince of this world; lest at any time being oppressed by his cunning ye grow 1 cold in your charity. But come all together into the same place with an undivided heart.
9 And I bless my God that I have a good conscience towards you, and that no one among you has whereof to boast either openly or privately, that I have been burthensome to him in much or little.
10 And I wish to all among whom I have conversed, that it may not turn to a witness against them.
11 For although some would have deceived me according to the flesh, yet the spirit, being from God, is not deceived; for it knows both whence it comes and whither it goes, and reproves the secrets of the heart.
12 I cried whilst I was among you; I spake with a loud voice: attend to the bishop, and to the presbytery, and to the deacons.
13 Now some supposed that I spake this as foreseeing the division that should come among you.
14 But he is my witness for whose sake I am in bonds that I knew nothing from any man. But the spirit spake, saying on this wise: Do nothing without the bishop:
15 Keep your 3 bodies as the temples of God: Love unity; Flee divisions; Be the followers of Christ, as he was of his Father.
16 I therefore did as became me, as a man composed to unity. For where there is division, and wrath, God dwelleth not.
17 But the Lord forgives all that repent, if they return to the unity of God, and to the council of the bishop.
18 For I trust in the grace of Jesus Christ that he will free you from every bond.
19 Nevertheless I exhort you that you do nothing out of strife, but according to the instruction of Christ.
20 Because I have heard of some who say; unless I find it written in the originals, I will not believe it to be written in the Gospel. And when I said, It is written; they answered what lay before them in their corrupted copies.
21 But to me Jesus Christ is instead of all the uncorrupted monuments in the world; together with those undefiled monuments, his cross, and death, and resurrection, and the faith which is by him; by which I desire, through your prayers, to be justified. (The Lost Books Of The Bible, Being All The Gospels, Epistles, And Other pieces Now Extant Attributed In The First Four Centuries To Jesus Christ, His Apostles And Their Companions Not Included, By Its Compilers, In The Authorized New Testament; And The Recently Discovered Syriac MSS. Of Pilate’s Letters To Tiberius, etc. Translated from The Original Tongues Illustrated From Ancient Paintings And Missals [New York: Alpha House, edited by Rutherford H. Platt, Jr., 1926], page 184)
[8] German theologian Walter Bauer says that this group were Christian:
“Already in the second century we hear of direct discussions between the representatives of ecclesiastical Christianity and their opponents, and can easily find the bridge to an even earlier period. 2 The letter of Ignatius to the PHILADELPHIANS (CHAPTERS 5-8) allows us to take a look at the CLASH OF OPINIONS WITHIN THE COMPANY OF CHRISTIANS at the beginning of the second century, when there is no clearly defined community boundary between opposing circles, but when all the baptized still remain, at least externally, bound together as a unity. There is debate pro and con over the right and wrong of this opinion and that. The opponents of Ignatius are preaching “Judaism,” with reference to their use of scripture (6.1). Ignatius, who sees in this an apostasy from the gospel, even if his opponents wish to REMAIN IN THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY (7), declares to be impossible every understanding of scripture that finds in the “charters” [[132]] something other than that which, according to his view, stands in the “gospel” (8.2) — a teaching that rests on such a basis is a delusion. Apparently, NO AGREEMENT WAS REACHED ON THIS ISSUE; EACH PARTY RETAINED ITS OWN POINT OF VIEW.” (Orthodoxy And Heresy In Earliest Christianity by Walter Bauer [Translated and supplemented under the direction of Robert A. Kraft and Gerhard Kroedel (Philadelphia: Fortress 1971) from the 2nd German edition edited and supplemented by Georg Strecker (Tübingen: J.C.B.Mohr 1964,original ed 1934]; electronic edition periodically updated by Robert A. Kraft (since 1993), Chapter Seven, Online source: http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/rak//publics/new/BAUER07.htm )
[9] Cyril C. Richardson on the divisions in the Church:
“After leaving Smyrna, Ignatius and his guard pressed on to Troas, where they made a halt before crossing by sea to Neapolis. It was from Troas that Ignatius wrote his last three letters. While their themes are the familiar ones of Church unity and heresy, their SPECIAL IMPORTANCE LIES IN THE FACT THAT THEY ARE DIRECTED TO CHURCHES THAT IGNATIUS HAD ACTUALLY VISITED.(Philadelphia lay on the route he took from Laodicea to Smyrna.) They, therefore, reflect the issues of false teaching in more detail. The letter to the Philadelphians indicates the nature of the Judaistic errors which had been touched upon in the letter to the Magnesians; while that to the Smyrnaeans enlarges on Docetism. Two friends of Ignatius, the deacons Philo and Rheus Agathopus, seem to have joined him in Troas after a stay in Philadelphia. THEY BROUGHT NEWS OF THE CHURCH THERE AND OF THE FACT THAT THE DISSIDENT ELEMENT HAD SLIGHTED THEM and also attacked the martyr (chs. 6:3; 11). To answer these charges and to unmask the errors of his opponents, Ignatius wrote his letter. An interesting feature of it is his account of an actual debate he had with the Judaizers (ch. 8:2).” (Early Christian Fathers [Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library] by Cyril C. Richardson (1909-1976), page 94)

ignatius-cross

Tawhid (Tawheed) Is Clearly Mentioned In Hadeeth

Kaleef K. Karim

It is often said by Muslims and non-Muslims that the doctrine of Trinity is nowhere to be found in the Bible. This fact is further supported also by some well respected Christian and non-Christian academics, that the word trinity nor the trinity formula (doctrine) is anywhere explicitly mentioned in the Bible. We have written some articles on this matter before, please click on the following pieces:

(1) – “Trinity: The Truth About Matthew 28:19 & 1 John 5:7

(2) – “Trinity: Examining Authenticity Of Matthew 28:19

(3) – “Dismantling The Trinitarian Perception Of John 1:1

(4) – “Jesus (pbuh): Nothing Divine about Him

(5) – “1 Timothy 3:16 Did God become manifest in flesh?

(6) – “Isaiah 9:6 Messiah God?

Christian trinitarians have for a long time been unable to explain consistently what the trinity is. If you were to bring three Christian trinitarians, each asked separately to explain what the trinity doctrine is, they would give contradictory and heretical positions on their triune-god belief. When some trinitarians are unable to explain the triune-god formula, they say, “it is a mystery, you don’t understand God.”

Another hard task for them is to find explicit passage(s) in the Bible where this trinity is mentioned. Unable to answer this, trinitarians have resorted to fallacy. Some have thrown a question back at lay Muslims who don’t know much about Islam. They say, well the word “Tawheed” (Tawhid) is nowhere in the Quran or Hadith. They claim, that Tawhid or the concept of Tawhid was continuing to develop hundreds of years after Prophet Muhammed’s demise.

The comparable cases brought forward by trinitarian missionaries are not the same. When Muslims speak about Tawhid, we are saying that God is One. God being One is littered throughout the Quran and Hadith. However, the trinity, or God of the Bible being described as three in one is nowhere to be seen. Shaykh Dr. Shabir Ally noted beautifully, even if we don’t use the word Tawheed, Muslims can repeat what the Quran and Hadith corpus say, “God is One” or “There is no god but Allah” (La ilaha illallah: Q. 47:19, 37:35-36) and:

“Allah! La ilaha illa HUWA (none has the right to be worshipped but HE), the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists.” – Quran 3:2 (Mushin Khan Translation)

And:

Allah, there is no god except HE, The Ever-Living, The Superb Upright Sustainer.” – Quran 3:2 (Dr. Ghali Translation)

We have no issue if one does not use the word Tawhid. On the other side though, trinitarians have a major problem on their hand, the concept nor is the word trinity anywhere to be found in the New Testament.

Given that the claim was made that Tawhid is not found in our scriptures (Quran And Hadith), we will present authentic Hadith where the word Tawheed is clearly mentioned.

In the following Hadith the word Tawheed is mentioned by Prophet Muhammed (p) in  reference to some Muslims who would be thrown in the hell-fire for their major sins they had committed, and later put in paradise:

“2597. Jabir narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: ‘Some of the people of TAWHID will be punished in the Fire until they are coals. Then the Mercy (of Allah) will reach them, they will be taken out and tossed at the doors of Paradise will pour water over them, and they will sprout as the debris carried by the flood sprouts, then they will enter Paradise.’” (Sahih) (English Translation of Jami At-Tirmidhi, compiled by: Imam Hafiz Abu Eisa Mohammad Ibn Eisa At-Tirmidhi [Translated by: Abu Khaliyl (USA), Ahadith edited and referenced by: Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair Ali Za’I, Final review by: Islamic Research Section Darussalam, Maktaba Dar-us-salam, 2007], volume 4, page 574 (Book 37. Chapters On The Description Of Hell From The Messenger Of Allah. Chapter 10. Something Else Regarding The Story Of The Last Of The People Of The Fire To Leave It. The Description Of Hell. Hadith No. 2597))

Here is a screenshot for the above quote [1]:

tawhid1

Br. Bassam Zawadi provided plenty of other Hadith reports where the word Tawheed is mentioned. Here are two of them:

“The Messenger of Allah came with two sheep both with big horns, then he reclined to one side and said: Bismillah wa Allahu Akbar, O Allah! Be with Muhammad and his family, then reclined to the other and said: Bismillah wa Allahu Akbar, O Allah! Be with Muhammad and his Ummah who testify/bear witness to you of/with TAWHEED and testify/bear witness to this statement/declaration. (Narrated by Jabir ibn Abdullah, collected by Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani, Matalib al-Aliya volume 3, page 32 (Hassan))
إن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أتي بكبشين أملحين أقرنين عظيمين موجوأين ، فأضجع أحدهما وقال : بسم الله والله أكبر ، اللهم عن محمد وآل محمد ، ثم أضجع الآخر وقال : بسم الله والله أكبر ، اللهم عن محمد وأمته من شهد لك بالتوحيد ، وشهد لي بالبلاغ
الراوي: جابر بن عبدالله المحدث:ابن حجر العسقلاني – المصدر: المطالب العالية – الصفحة أو الرقم: 3/32
خلاصة حكم المحدث: إسناده حسن”

And:

“Aas ibn Wael made a vow in pre-Islamic era of ignorance to sacrifice 100 camels and Hisham ibn al-Aas to sacrifice 50 camels; Umar asked the Prophet about it and he said: But if your father had affirmed TAWHEED, then fasted and admitted it, that would have been of benefit to him. (Narrated by Jad Amro ibn Shu’aib Musnad al-Ahmad volume 10, page 176 (Saheeh))
أنَّ العاصَ بنَ وائِلٍ نذَر في الجاهِلِيَّةِ أنْ يَنحَرَ مِائَةَ بَدَنَةٍ وأنَّ هِشامَ بنَ العاصِ نحَر حِصَّتَه خمسينَ بَدَنَةً وأنَّ عُمَرَ سأَل النبيَّ صلَّى اللهُ عليه وسلَّم عن ذلك فقال: أمَّا أبوكَ فلو كان أقرَّ بالتوحيدِ فصُمتَ وتصَدَّقتَ عنه نفَعَه ذلك
الراوي: جد عمرو بن شعيب المحدث:أحمد شاكر – المصدر: مسند أحمد – الصفحة أو الرقم: 10/176
خلاصة حكم المحدث: إسناده صحيح”

Thanks to brother Adeel, from Qurananswers.me site, he took his time out to translate the above Hadith reports, Jazak’Allahu khayran.

In conclusion, in this brief article we showed clear evidence from our scriptures that the word Tawhid is mentioned by Prophet Muhammed (p). So the claim being made by missionaries that Tawheed is not mentioned in our Islamic scriptures is untrue. As shown, Tawheed is clearly present in our sources.

Addendum:

A new piece of information I received from a dear brother:

When the Prophet sent Mu’adh to Yemen, he said to him, “You are going to a nation from the people of the Scripture, so let the first thing to which you will invite them, be the Tauhid of Allah. If they learn that, tell them that Allah has enjoined on them, five prayers to be offered in one day and one night. And if they pray, tell them that Allah has enjoined on them Zakat of their properties and it is to be taken from the rich among them and given to the poor. And if they agree to that, then take from them Zakat but avoid the best property of the people.”
Arabic:
وَحَدَّثَنِي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ أَبِي الأَسْوَدِ، حَدَّثَنَا الْفَضْلُ بْنُ الْعَلاَءِ، حَدَّثَنَا إِسْمَاعِيلُ بْنُ أُمَيَّةَ، عَنْ يَحْيَى بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ صَيْفِيٍّ، أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ أَبَا مَعْبَدٍ، مَوْلَى ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ يَقُولُ سَمِعْتُ ابْنَ عَبَّاسٍ، يَقُولُ لَمَّا بَعَثَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم مُعَاذًا نَحْوَ الْيَمَنِ قَالَ لَهُ ‏ “‏ إِنَّكَ تَقْدَمُ عَلَى قَوْمٍ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ فَلْيَكُنْ أَوَّلَ مَا تَدْعُوهُمْ إِلَى أَنْ يُوَحِّدُوا اللَّهَ تَعَالَى فَإِذَا عَرَفُوا ذَلِكَ فَأَخْبِرْهُمْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ فَرَضَ عَلَيْهِمْ خَمْسَ صَلَوَاتٍ فِي يَوْمِهِمْ وَلَيْلَتِهِمْ، فَإِذَا صَلُّوا فَأَخْبِرْهُمْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ افْتَرَضَ عَلَيْهِمْ زَكَاةً فِي أَمْوَالِهِمْ تُؤْخَذُ مِنْ غَنِيِّهِمْ فَتُرَدُّ عَلَى فَقِيرِهِمْ، فَإِذَا أَقَرُّوا بِذَلِكَ فَخُذْ مِنْهُمْ وَتَوَقَّ كَرَائِمَ أَمْوَالِ النَّاسِ ‏”‏‏.‏” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 9, Book 93, Hadith 469 (Eng. Tran.))

In another version on this very same incident reported by Darqutni it is said:

“…so let your first thing that you call them to is the Monotheism of Allah (Tauheed-ullah).”
Arabic:
فَلْيَكُنْ أَوَّلَ مَا تَدْعُوهُمْ إِلَيْهِ تَوْحِيدُ اللَّهِ” (Sunan al–Darqutni in his Sunan 5/316)

So in Arabic the action of making the thing One (Waahid) is affirming Tawheed. This is a common characteristic when referring to the action in a nounal form where it transforms from Waahid to Tawheed. Therefore whenever Allah is affirmed of being One with the Arabic term Waahid this is the affirmation of Tawheed.

Here is one more report where the word Tawhid (Tauheed) is mentioned. A narration reported by at-Tabarani, Ibn Abi Asim, and Abu Nuaim al-Asfahani, on al-Harith ibn al-Harith al-Ghamadi:

“I said to my father, who are these people? He said, they are gathered against a Saba’i (one who has left the religion of his fathers) from among them. Then we looked and verily it was the MESSENGER OF ALLAH CALLING PEOPLE TO THE MONOTHEISM of Allah the Almighty and Majestic (Tauheed Allah Azz wa Jall), and to faith, until the noontime of the day came, and then the people left him, and a women came crying with her neck open carrying a cup and a cloth, and she gave him it and he drank and performed ablution and raised his head and he said to her, O my daughter cover your neck and do not worry about your father…”
Arabic:
الحارث بن الحارث الغامدي ، قال : قلت لأبي : ما هذه الجماعة ؟ قال : هؤلاء قوم اجتمعوا على صابئ لهم قال : فتشرفنا فإذا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يدعو الناس إلى توحيد الله عز وجل والإيمان به حتى ارتفع النهار فتصدع عنه الناس ، وأقبلت امرأة قد بدا نحرها تبكي تحمل قدحا ومنديلا فناولته منها فشرب وتوضأ ثم رفع رأسه إليها فقال : « يا بنية خمري عليك نحرك ولا تخافي على أبيك غلبة ولا ذلا » فقلت : من هذه ؟ قالوا : هذه زينب ابنت (at-Tabarani in, Al-Kabir, 3373, Ibn Abi Asim in, al-Ahadeeth wa al-Mathani, 2403, and refer to, Jilbab al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah, page 79. Imam al-Haythami mentioned in Majma az-zawaid and classed the narrators to be trustworthy)

And:

“Amr bin Shu`aib narrated from his father, who narrated from his grandfather that al-Aas bin Wa’il took an oath during the pre-Islamic times (Jahiliyyah) that he would slaughter one hundred goats and that Hisham bin al-`Aas slaughtered his share of 50 goats. Then `Amr bin al-`Aas asked the Prophet (P) about that, and he said, “As for your father, if he affirmed TAWHID and you fast and give charity on his behalf, it would benefit him.”
Arabic:
أما أبوك فلو كان أقر بالتوحيد، فصمت وتصدقت عنه نفعه ذلك “. (Imam Ahmad narrated this, See silsilah saheeha (484))

And:

“The Prophet (p) said, “There was a man who came before you who did no good whatsoever, except TAWHID. When his time to die came, he said to his family, ‘Look, if I die have my body burnt to coal, then make them into ashes and wait for a windy day and throw half of the ashes in the desert, and half in the ocean. By Allah, if Allah decides to punish my body, He will punish it like none other in the universe.’ When he died they did as he requested to his body, and Allah ordered the desert to gather whatever it had of him in it and the ocean likewise, until he stood in Allah’s Grasp. Allah U said, ‘O son of Adam, what caused you to do what you did?’ He said, ‘O Lord, I did so out of fear of you’ – and in another narration, ‘out of awe in you, and you know best–.’ The Prophet said, ‘Allah forgave him because of it, and he did no good actions, besides TAWHID.’”
Arabic:
كانَ رجلٌ ممَّن كان قبلكم لم يعمل خيراً قطُّ؛ إلا التوحيد، فلما احتُضر قال لأهله: انظروا: إذا أنا متُّ أن يحرِّقوه حتى يدعوه حمماً، ثم اطحنوه، ثم اذروه في يوم ريح، [ثم اذروا نصفه في البر، ونصفه في البحر، فوالله؛ لئن قدر الله عليه ليعذبنه عذاباً لا يعذبه أحداً من العالمين] ، فلما مات فعلوا ذلك به، [فأمر الله البر فجمع ما فيه، وأمر البحر فجمع ما فيه] ، فإذا هو [قائم] في قبضة الله، (Collected in, As-Sahihah, 3048)

The last two Hadith reports was taken from the following site.

It is absolutely clear here that the word Tawhid (Tauheed) is mentioned in our Islamic sources.

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References:

[1] “COMMENTS:
Those from among the BELIEVERS IN ISLAMIC MONOTHEISM that will be thrown into Hell shall be punished in the Fire until they turn into coals. Eventually, through Allah’s mercy, they shall be tossed on to the doors of Paradise so that the people of Paradise sprinkle water over them and they sprout speedily and enter their coveted place, Paradise.” ((English Translation of Jami At-Tirmidhi, compiled by: Imam Hafiz Abu Eisa Mohammad Ibn Eisa At-Tirmidhi [Translated by: Abu Khaliyl (USA), Ahadith edited and referenced by: Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair Ali Za’I, Final review by: Islamic Research Section Darussalam, Maktaba Dar-us-salam, 2007], volume 4, page 574)
[2] The following Hadith is not direct word for word from Prophet Muhammed, but later narrators who said it:

“3122. It was narrated from Aishah and Abu Hurairah that when the Messenger of Allah wanted to offer a sacrifice, he bought two large, fat, horned, black-and-white, castrated rams. He slaughtered one on behalf of his nation, for whoever testified to Allah with MONOTHEISM and that he had conveyed (the Message), and he slaughtered the other on behalf of Muhammad and the family of Muhammad.” (Hasan) (English Translation of Sunan Ibn Majah, compiled by Imam Muhammad Bin Yazeed Ibn Majah Al-Qazwini [Ahadith edited, researched and referenced by Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair Ali Za’I, Translated by Nasiruddin al-Khattab (Canada), Edited by Huda Khattab (Canada), Final review by Abu Khaliyl (USA), Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, 2007], volume 4, page 255 (Book 26. Chapters On Sacrifices. Chapter 1. The Sacrifices Of The Messenger of Allah. Hadith No. 3122))

Screenshot for the above quote:
tawhid2
“COMMENTS:
a. Sacrificing a castrated animal is allowed; it is not considered a defect.
b. Sacrificing one animal for an entire family is allowed.
c. Offering a sacrifice on behalf of others is allowed.” (English Translation of Sunan Ibn Majah, compiled by Imam Muhammad Bin Yazeed Ibn Majah Al-Qazwini [Ahadith edited, researched and referenced by Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair Ali Za’I, Translated by Nasiruddin al-Khattab (Canada), Edited by Huda Khattab (Canada), Final review by Abu Khaliyl (USA), Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, 2007], volume 4, page 256)
[3] A Tabi’i, a person who met the Prophet’s companions mentioned the word Tawhid (بِالتَّوْحِيدِ). It is a very long report, so I will leave readers with a link where you can see the full report here, and here.