A fourteen centuries old consensus by Islamic religious authorities has upheld the belief that God has granted husbands the right to beat their wives. Previously, the only element up for debate was the degree of severity, the instrument of the beating, and the limit to the damage allowed. This startling assertion, which shocks human sensibilities, is confirmed by hundreds of Qur'anic commentaries and works of Islamic jurisprudence authored over the course of the past millennia and a half.
Despite the lies of propagandists and the ignorance of apologists, who claim that "Islam prohibits domestic violence," the fact of the matter is that the Islamic Tradition and Law allow husbands to inflict corporal punishment on their wives. In fact, it was only in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries that a small number of translators and scholars started to insist upon alternate interpretations.
In this pivotal, courageous, and timely analysis, which works diligently and minutely to separate truth from falsehood, right from wrong, the moral from the immoral, and the ethical from the unethical, Dr. John Andrew Morrow provides an exhaustive study of the second part of the Quranic text, 4:34, the Wife Beating Verse.
Like Titan, who bears the weight of the heavens upon his shoulders, Morrow takes on the entire corpora of Islamic Tradition. With scientific precision, he interprets the verse by the verse, itself, the verse by related verses, the verse in the light of the Qur'an, the verse in light of prophetic traditions that permit domestic violence, the verse in light of other traditions that expressly prohibit violence against women, the verse in its historical context, the verse in light of reformist reinterpretations, the verse in light of the spirit of Islam, the verse from a Sufi perspective, and the verse in light of Qur'anic variants. Along the way, the author delicately and defiantly dispels misogynistic misinterpretations of the Word of God while slashing and burning the sexist sayings that were attributed to the Prophet Muhammad. In so doing, he may well save Islam from those traditionalists and misogynists who claim to speak in God's name.
Publisher: University Press of America
Number of pages: 340
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
What John Andrew Morrow has done is important and, in my view, it is so far the most comprehensive discussion/expose of different possible readings of the second part of 4:34. -- Ziba Mir-Hosseini, Professorial Research Associate, Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Law, SOAS, University of London
John Andrew Morrow, in this valuable work, discusses the perception management played on Qur'anic verses and Islamic sources regarding violence against women, and he reveals the truth. -- Abdulaziz Bayindir, Founder of the Suleymaniye Foundation and Professor of Islamic Law at the University of Istanbul
Any Muslim who sees Muhammad as an exemplar of mercy and justice is routinely charged by Islamophobes with engaging in "whitewash." There's no way, however, that Dr. John Andrew Morrow can be accused of this offense, seeing that the darker aspects of Muslim history and jurisprudence have never been more starkly contrasted with the true sunnah of the Prophet than in the present book. Though Muhammad is known never to have beaten his wives, traditional fiqh (jurisprudence) and tafsir (Qur'anic commentary) have for the most part conveniently ignored his example, routinely taking the Arabic verb daraba in Q. 4:34 as literally meaning "to beat," even though it is used 58 times in the Qur'an to denote many other things, and "to beat" is not even its most common meaning. Unfortunately, it is the rare Muslim "feminist" who will question this interpretation -- but if Muslim women are so attached to male authority, maybe Dr. Morrow can teach them the real meaning of feminism, and Muslim men the real meaning of chivalry. Once again the author incisively demonstrates that the supremely human example of the Prophet Muhammad is the one truly Islamic pathway to a just and equitable Islam. -- Charles Upton, Author of The Virtues of the Prophet, Day and Night on the Sufi Path, The System of Antichrist, and Dugin against Dugin
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