Jonathan Brown – Quran And Domestic Violence

“Husbands should take good care of their wives, with (a) [the bounties] God has given to some more than others and with what they spend out of their own money. Righteous wives are devout and guard what God would have them guard in their husbands’ absence. If you fear high-handedness (b) from your wives, remind them [of the teachings of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them. (c) If they obey you, you have no right to act against them: God is most high and great. If you [believers] fear that a couple may break up, appoint one arbiter from his family and one from hers. Then, if the couple want to put things right, God will bring about a reconciliation between them: He is all knowing, all aware.” (Surat An-Nisa’ (The Women) V34-35 – Muhammad Abdel-Haleem)

“If a wife fears high-handedness or alienation from her husband, neither of them will be blamed if they come to a peaceful settlement, for peace is best. Although human souls are prone to selfishness, if you do good and are mindful of God, He is well aware of all that you do.” (Surat An-Nisa’ (The Women) V128 – Muhammad Abdel-Haleem)

(a) Bi is interpreted as instrumental rather than causal.

(b) The verb nashaza from which nushuz is derived means ‘to become high’, ‘to rise’. See also verse 128, where the same word is applied to husbands. It applies to a situation where one partner assumes superiority to the other and behaves accordingly.

(c) This signifies a single blow, as is clear from the circumstances of the revelation of this verse. See also Abdel Haleem, Understanding the Quran, 46–54