Today's Reminder

September 20, 2023 | Rabiʻ I 5, 1445

Living The Quran

Matrimonial Relations
Al Nisa (The Women) - Chapter 4: Verse 34

"Men are supporters of wives because God has given some of them an advantage over others and because they spend of their wealth. So the ones who are in accord with morality are the ones who are morally obligated, the ones who guard the unseen of what God has kept safe. But those whose resistance you fear, then admonish them and abandon them in their sleeping place, then go away from them; and if they obey you, surely look not for any way against them; truly God is Lofty, Great."

In the light of other verses of the Quran, the collective injunctions of Shariah and the overall Prophetic ideals and traditions, Sunnah, we find that the real spirit of the matrimonial relations is shaped by the sentiments of “affection” and “compassion” and the obligations of “patronage”, so that the governing factors in such relations are “affection, compassion and benevolence.”


The Arabic word "qawwamun", with its preposition "'ala" which describes the relation of men to women in the above verse, does not imply any superiority, but simply means "taking full care of". The distinctiveness between men and women is related to the woman's pregnancy, delivery, and nursing, which make it necessary that the man should have the responsibility to provide for her needs and the needs of the children, at least when she is hindered with such a distinctive natural function of reproduction. This hindrance is not permanent, and it cannot be a reason to keep the women at home all her life, and neither does it hinder her intellectual and psychological merits. She is not supposed to bear children or raise them all her life, and at a certain age children have to go to school.


The issue of “chastisement” strongly arises a problem to the structures of the family and human relations and receives exceptional interests because it is referred to in this Quranic text (by almost all translators) and because its historical and traditional interpretations were purported by most people to denote slap, flap, flog, beat, strike, punch, etc.

This would definitely involve a strong sense of pain and humiliation regardless of the extent of the physical suffering itself which may vary, according to some fatawa, around few strokes with a siwak (tooth cleansing) stick or the like, as rendered by Abdullah b. Abbas in responding to an inquiry regarding the construal of the “mild chastisement.”  On the other hand, we find some fatawa regulate “chastisement” so that it must not exceed forty strokes, and “no retribution between man and his wife (in regard to chastisement) except for wounds and murder.”

Considering the context and situation, the purpose of reconciliation, the Islamic doctrine of human sanctity and dignity, the right of self-determination in Islam, the consensual nature of the nuptial association, and the ability of nuptial partners to gracefully dissolve such association without coercion or intimidation, the denotation of daraba in this citation cannot imply the infliction of injury, pain or disgrace. The most candid construal is to imply separation, departure, partition or seclusion.

This type of arrangement, where the spouses leave each other for some time, would help to streamline the bitter relationship because it is a step that goes farther than admonishing and refusing to share bed. Now, the spouses will have ample opportunity to rethink the whole situation, to ponder the eventual consequences, and to realize the inevitable conclusion of rejection, namely, divorce.  At this point, they will have a full chance to re-examine their intent and conduct and to decide whether they want this threshold of separation to be a lasting state!

Compiled From:
"Chastising Women: A Means to Resolve Marital Problems?" - AbdulHamid A. Abu Sulayman 
"The Subime Quran" - Laleh Bakhtiar
"Are women created only for family life?" - Fathi Osman

From Issue: 666 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life


We have heard many times a person bemoan, "I do not deserve this!" or "Why me?" or similar declarations. Many people live with the rancour in their hearts because of what they have been dealt with in life. This attitude toward trials stems from a denial of God's omnipotence and that God alone decrees all things. We cannot choose what befalls us, but we can choose our responses to the trials of life, which are inevitable.

It is important to look at the life of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and know that no one faced greater tribulation. The Prophet lived to see all of his children buried, except for Fatima. How many people experience that in their lifetime? His father died before his birth. His mother died when he was just a boy. His guardian grandfather then died. When he received his calling, he saw his people turn against him with vehemence and brutality. People who had once honoured him no slandered him, calling him a madman, liar, and sorcerer. They stalked him and threw stones at him until he bled. They boycotted him and composed stinging invectives against him. He lost his closest friends and relatives, like Hamza, who was killed on the battlefield. His beloved wife Khadija after 25 years of blissful marriage died during the Prophet's most difficult moment. Abu Talib, his protecting uncle, also died. The Prophet was the target of 13 assassination attempts. How many people have face all of that? Not once in a single hadith is there a complaint from him - except when beseeching his Lord.

Compiled From:
"Purification of The Heart" - Hamza Yusuf, pp. 69- 72

From Issue: 604 [Read original issue]


Giving and Depriving

Whatever you are given is from God's bounties and He is protecting you, even from yourself. So, do not look only at what you are deprived of and wish to get something that might cause you to do wrong.

Feeling joyful is not denounced in Islam. A believer feels happy for the bounties that God bestows on him. However, feeling miserable for what is missed is not the right response. If you feel happy for worldly gains, know that this life will come to an end. There is an Arabic statement: If what you have had lasted with the person before you, it would not have reached you!

Thus, if you have less to be happy with, then there will be less to be sad about. It is out of God's bounty that He gives you just enough so that you will not be sad for missing things you do not need. If you have enough food, drink, and providence, this is a perfect blessing from God and you should thank God for that. God has a perfect wisdom in giving and depriving; He wants the best for you, be satisfied with that.

Compiled From:
"A Journey to God: Reflections on the Hikam of Ibn Ataillah" - Jasser Auda

From Issue: 1003 [Read original issue]