Guest Author - Linda Heywood
‘The men are made responsible for the women, and God has endowed them with certain qualities, and made them the bread earners. The righteous women will cheerfully accept this arrangement, since it is God's commandment, and honour their husbands during their absence. If you experience rebellion from the women, you shall first talk to them, then (you may use negative incentives like) deserting them in bed, then you may (as a last alternative) beat them. If they obey you, you are not permitted to transgress against them. God is Most High, Supreme.’ (Chapter 4, verse 34)
I have chosen to use this translation of the above verse because it is in favour of women were as the other translations seem to be against women, which is not the attitude towards women that God is asking men to take in this chapter. Chapter four is for the protection of women and not for the abuse of women. You can go to the link which has four translations of the Quran and compare the translations of this verse and the Arabic transliteration for yourself.
Women are totally equal to men and as God says in the above verse He has endowed men with certain qualities. God does not say men are better than, above, more intelligent, more capable, and stronger than women just that they have certain qualities, that they are the bread winners but most importantly they are responsible for the women.
‘Responsible for the women’ means to look after their wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, nieces, grand-daughters and women in general. They do not have the rights to kidnap, to beat, to rape or to murder women. The do not have the rights to sell us, to prostitute us, to marry us to unwanted men or to murder our children. God does not give them these rights along with responsibility. They should protect us from harm, keep our environment safe and encourage us as wives and workers in this world. They should not be creating wars, polluting the environment or playing power games at the expense of women and children and other men. They should just be as God instructs them to be, responsible! The first commandment in the Quran is ‘kill your ego’. They should not try to play at being Gods.
All human beings are on the same level, not one human being is above another human being. I am equal to anyone on this planet and that goes for us all (3:195). Only fear, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, lack of knowledge, ego or pride makes someone feel they are worse or better than someone else. I am not talking about sin I am talking about human equality, as a person who lives with everyone else on this planet. We are all equal.
The verse above is taken from the chapter in the Quran called Women (Al-Nesa). It has been put there to protect women. Every interpretation of this chapter should be in support of women. The verse shows women can be reasoned with. Men do not have to use their fist first. God is providing men with an alternative, two alternatives to deal with a rebellious wife before losing their temper and using violence.
Maybe by asking why there is rebellion and listening to the reply that is given marital problems can be solved without violence. God tells us often in the Quran that forgiveness is best in any situation.