Was the permission to beat women abolished by the hadiths of the Prophet?

The Details of the Question

- Some people say that the permission to beat women in verse 34 of the chapter of an-Nisa was abrogated by the Prophet’s hadiths such as “Do not beat women.” According to what those people say, this verse was gradually abrogated by the words of the Prophet.
- After this verse, the Prophet tried to prohibit men from doing it by uttering hadiths such as “do not beat your women like beating slaves” and “those who beat your women are bad people”; and then, he abrogated this verse by uttering hadiths such as “do not beat women”. Is it true?
- Was the permission to beat women in the verse gradually abolished by the hadiths of the Prophet?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

That the Prophet (pbuh) advised men to be more compassionate towards women and not to beat them in some hadiths is true. However, we could not find any information that such advice abrogated the permission to beat women given in verse 34 of the chapter of an-Nisa.

According to a narration, the Prophet (pbuh) said the following in a sermon he delivered in the valley of Arafat:

“Fear Allah about women! You have taken them as a trust from Allah and have made them halal for you to be with you by Allah’s word (judgment). It is their duty to you not to let people you dislike into your house. If they do such a thing, hit them in a way that will not wound them (darban ghayra mubarrihin). It is your duty to provide for their livelihood and clothing based on the custom.” (see al-Jassas, Ahkam al-Quran, the interpretation of the verse in question)

There is no doubt that this hadith was uttered after verse 34 of the chapter of an-Nisa was revealed. It is an indication that there is no abrogation regarding the issue.

It is a fact that the Prophet (pbuh) got angry with and did not talk to his wives for about a month but that he never hit them. It is understandable that he advised his ummah not to use a permission that he himself did not want to use but evidence is necessary to come to a conclusion that this advice abrogated the decree of the verse.

As far as we can see, there is no statement by scholars in the sources of tafsir and hadith showing that the verse of “hitting” was abrogated by hadiths.

We can discuss the issue only after those who claim it show a solid source.

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