Responding to a video called “Hitting Women – That’s Messed Up by Nouman Ali Khan”
Why did he make such a video – Because the Quran mentions hitting women and it’s actually embarrassing for Muslims now. Especially with the narrative that Islam brought women more rights. As well, it’s a real issue among Muslims that the Quran is used as a justification for hitting women.
Original Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1azySjz4edk
Video Notes with additions:
The bold text is Noman Ali Khan’s note, and the text below is my response.
The Muslim community has this problem. While this problem does seem to be in all communities, the Quran is not helping here. It’s almost like it made the problem worse.
- Every single ayah is perfect, Can’t question Allah’s verses. I have to protect its sanctity. It’s a perfect ayah
Let’s look at the perfect ayah – show image of 4:34
Could this be improved? Sure it can. Why give so much power to men over women? Couldn’t Allah have stopped at “forsake them in bed” rather than hitting them. Couldn’t he have address both the wife and husband instead of just the man?
- Muslim women have a problem with this ayah and their concern is legit but questioning is a crime
They have a problem with it because its saying that men can hit them. The ones that are truly submitting to God, they will accept that men can hit them because they think that’s what God allowed.
Apologists will say Muhammad never hit his wives and we should emulate him. So why did Allah decide in his final revelation to allow men to hit their wives under certain conditions?
- Allah talks about unusual cases – raising 4 girls as orphans and you can marry them.
Polygamy, inheritance law, adultery punishment, exceptional cases, haram for marriage
The polygamy example re: raising 4 orphan girls does sound pretty rare. Yet, what do we find in practice? Polygamy across the Muslim world (space and time) has rarely been about orphans. It’s more likely to be about men who have the means, indulging themselves.Therefore, covering items at the ‘periphery’ do have consequences because they often do manifest in the mainstream. Wouldn’t it have been more responsible of Allah to call out 4:34 being a pathological outlier? Wouldn’t it have been better for Allah, instead of hadith, to tell us to not touch the face, to be very light; instead of having Qur’anic translators having to stick it in there? It seems like a very dangerous statement to put in the Quran.
- The same word caretaker that is Allah’s name. Can Allah hit? strike? Part of his care? Its already being negated as the ayah begins.
SAY WHAT?Okay so God threatens to do a lot more than just hit. He threatens to burn people in hell, to torture them with burning oil and food that poisons and clothes of fire and skin that will repeatedly be roasted.
Also, why would Allah contradict himself in the same ayah? Is Noman Ali Khan grasping for straws here
- From those you fear their uprising..
Why are women being treated like cattle here? Why do men get authority to do such things to women? Women don’t get the same right do they? Doesn’t it seem that the Quran was written by a man for men? Doesn’t it seem that she gets the short end of the stick, having to go to the judge and ask for her rights whereas a man is granted his rights straight up in the Quran and can serve out punishments?
- What uprising is, ie doing bad stuff..
Okay so these are the reasons scholars say are valid for men to beat women?
The thing thats crazy, you just have to be afraid of her doing nushooz, not that she’s actually even doing it. Notice it’s all about women being bad? Men are off the hook.
- Give them advice, leave the beds, caught? and hits her..I’m giving you license in that crazy case to get away with it
Allah is giving license to them in this crazy case? Does that sound safe? Would you allow someone who is disgusted and angry to use physical force against women?
Lots of insecure men beat their partners because they fear they are being (or will be) unfaithful. Why is Nouman condoning partner abuse based on insecure men’s paranoia? This is the worst kind of blaming-the-victim, it’s awful, he should be ashamed of himself!
- Why dont you just leave her if shes cheating on her. Do you want Allah’s curse to be on her forever or be killed?
Noman Ali Khan continues to say this is about a spouse cheating, but isnt a spouse cheating already dealt with in the Quran? Isnt the punishment for adultery in Islam stoning according to sunni methodology? Why would this verse be discussing cheating? Rather it seems more obviously to be discussing a wife disobeying a husband.
- This ayah is not about hitting women at all
Rather it’s about a man’s dominance and his rights and his power over women right
- Can you imagine how much abuse of allahs words in his name?
Yes I can. Yes I can Sheikh Noman.
- If you hit women you are messed up
Okay so if you implement this ayah, you are messed up? Are you saying anyone that implements this is messed up? So why did Allah allow it? This is a perfect example of morality exceeding scripture. We know it’s wrong so we don’t do it, even if scripture allows it.
- Noman: I’m not convinced this means hitting not literally
Side note, this does seem to be discussing literally hitting.
Additional point to hit: near the end of the video, NAK talks about how he first heard some of these novel explanations from a particular sheikh and asked why he hadn’t heard of them before, etc.Imagine how the everyday man reading the Qur’an without a tafsir from the modern era looks at the book and this verse, and what its practical implications are; a license that it’s okay to beat your wife. Certainly men are probably already doing this. But when you have divine sanction, you needn’t feel as much guilt later (which might cause you to stop). The wife herself may not get help thinking, “this is the way God intended. I must be in the wrong”. It’s not a recipe for healthy families.
The Quran was borne in a time and place where women had to submit to their husbands and that disobedience was punished with physical punishment. I discussed in my other video on “Punishment for Adultery” why this is based on a very immature understanding of human psychology and how ineffective it is.
Why does the Quran put all the blame or burden on the woman and give all the power to the man? Is Noman Ali Khan right to say this is all about cheating?
If it’s about cheating, what recourse does she have if the husband cheats? Does it seem to you that this is a desperate measure to “protect the integrity of the ayah” as NAK said? The Quran allow corporal punishment – That’s what it seems like to me.