Husbands have authority over women or not is the basic question every couple especially women have in their minds. Though it is a very common concept in Muslim community that man is the authority over the woman but this concept is not right. The verse 34 of Surah Nissa is misunderstood by most people and they spread this misconception amongst the other Muslims. This post only aims to clarify the misinterpretation of this verse.
Surah Al Nissa verse 34
اَلرِّجَالُ قَوّٰمُوۡنَ عَلَی النِّسَآءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللّٰہُ بَعۡضَہُمۡ عَلٰی بَعۡضٍ وَّ بِمَاۤ اَنۡفَقُوۡا مِنۡ اَمۡوَالِہِمۡ ؕ فَالصّٰلِحٰتُ قٰنِتٰتٌ حٰفِظٰتٌ لِّلۡغَیۡبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللّٰہُ ؕ وَ الّٰتِیۡ تَخَافُوۡنَ نُشُوۡزَہُنَّ فَعِظُوۡہُنَّ وَ اہۡجُرُوۡہُنَّ فِی الۡمَضَاجِعِ وَ اضۡرِبُوۡہُنَّ ۚ فَاِنۡ اَطَعۡنَکُمۡ فَلَا تَبۡغُوۡا عَلَیۡہِنَّ سَبِیۡلًا ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ کَانَ عَلِیًّا کَبِیۡرًا.
Translation of Verse 34
Men are maintainer of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike away from them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.
Explanation of Verse 34 Surah al Nissa
Here the word قومون is the word which is misunderstood and wrongly interpreted by the translators. It is necessary to understand the meaning of qawwam to clear all misunderstandings.
Meaning of Qawam
• The word qawan is derived from the word qama which means to stand. So it means the one who stands actively and be vigilant.
• The word qawam means the one who maintains. The attribute of Allah, Al Qayyum is derived from the same origin and meaning of Qayyum is the one who maintains.
• Another meaning of qama is qaimah which means ever lasting. So it means Allah as Al Qayyum is everlasting as well.
• Qawam also means the one who is justified in his acts.
• Qawam also protrude the meanings of Arabic word Tabat which shows that one is calm and reliable.
• Qawam means one who is mature and shows wisdom in the matters of his life.
Explanation of Qawam
According to the scholars, the word qawan when used for a man shows his continuous interest, commitment, protectiveness, cooperation, dedication. This means that the man is the provider, not the master of the family. We all are slaves to Allah and no one is made a slave of another human being. He is justified and his commitment towards the whole family is never ending.
A qawam is a person who is wise and mature enough to handle the matters of his daily routine. Last but not the least a man who always remains calm and faithful to the females.
Qawam only Husband or Any Mehram
In this verse the word qawam is used for man not a husband. This means that man who is mehram for a woman is qawam for her. A father, brother, husband or a son continuously protects, supports the daughter, sisters, wives and mothers respectively. They are always committed towards the female member of their families. They always think about the well being and welfare of the females.
Qawam Only for Woman or the Whole Family.
A man is qawam for the whole family which includes the parents, wife and children of the man.
Verse 34 part 2
Allah Has Given One Over the Two
This part of the verse is misunderstood also. If one deeply analyze the meaning of the verse., he comes to know that here the benefit or advantage is given to the woman by Allah. Woman is guarded, protected, maintained, loved, by the man. Woman is calmly handled by the man and it is the advantage for the woman not the man. So it is wrong to interpret this part to show the superiority of man over woman.
Verse 34 part 3 (and what they spend from their wealth)
This piece of the verse explains that man is qawam as he is financially responsible to maintain the family. This the is utmost duty of the male family members to support and provide the family.
Right of divorce for woman
The husband who is called qawam if does not maintains his wife then wife have a legal and Islamic right of demanding a divorce from him.
Misuse of this verse
The persons who interpret this verse by the meaning of in charge(qawam) misuses it against the woman. The putative Ulama of Islam who have very less knowledge of Quran, Hadees and Arabic language spread this type of false information amongst the common Muslims who take the words of these so called Ulama very seriously and believe them but infact these Ulamas are the root cause of domestic abuse in household.
Word qawam put some duties on the man
The word qawam does not only make a man maintainer but it also puts some burdens on the shoulders of the man.
• A man who fails to maintain his family holds liable for not fulfilling his duties.
• One who is oppressing his family will be punishable on the day of judgement.
• The one who does injustice to his family will be questioned on the day of judgment.
Beating or oppressing a woman.
In the next part of this verse the qualities of a good wife are told and then Allah grants a man permission to stay away from a disobedient wife. The word اضربوہن means to stay away from them. This word is derived from word (zarab) which have different meaning. Some ulamas take it in the context of beating but this is not the real interpretation. The word here is used in the context of striking away from them for sometime or if they do not listen then to divorce them.
(If you find any mistake in this article please feel free to contact us and point it out. We will try to correct it in the light of Quran and Sunnah. May Allah bless us all with the authentic knowledge of Islam. May this effort of ours ease the way of jannah for our family).