In regards to the ayah

Men are in charge 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 them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand. -- Quran 4:34

In the West, people sometimes quote this ayah to support their claim Islam promotes "wife beating". At the same time, parents in the West will strike their child for being disobedient, but they don't analogously to claim that Christianity promotes "child beating". It's even in the Bible:

Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. -- Proverbs 13:24

(along with stoning to death in Deuteronomy 21:18-21).

The conditions of what's appropriate and what's going too far in both striking one's rebellious wife and spanking one's disobedient child seem to overlap; basically, don't do it needlessly, nor cause injury (see: Does the Quran allow husbands punish their wives?).

Although it could be interpreted as condescending towards women, it seems like it would be useful point of comparison for Islamic speakers.

Question: Do Islamic speakers compare "strike them" in Qur'an 4:34 to spanking a disobedient child?

  • Proverbs 13:24 and its ilk are very much interpreted by Christians as promoting corporal punishment, to the extent that 40 Christian UK schools backed a lawsuit against corporal punishment being outlawed. In the US, many states do not outlaw corporal punishment even in schools, and the bible belt is the worst region in this regard,...
    – G. Bach
    Commented May 21, 2017 at 10:54
  • I don't see at all how it would be an useful point of comparison for islamic speakers. Could you elaborate ? Commented May 21, 2017 at 18:56
  • FWIW 1. The purpose is to admonish, not to punish. If you see no chance of enlightenment then just don't do it. 2. you can't just use this way of punishing as your first resort...it's your last resort. 3. It only means beating on the hand. If it becomes red then diyya must be paid for the child/wife 4. Specifically about women...it's to be used in a series of steps...first admonish your wife, then move away from her bed, then do this — so that you'd know if she still loves you or not...If after doing all of this she still doesn't like you then, well she's to be divorced. (1/2)
    – Thaqalain
    Commented May 22, 2017 at 19:03
  • Islam is swift in admonishing/making decisions. Islam isn't really fond of long 20 years imprisonment. It's fond of lashing and then letting the person go free. Or not a long long divorce process. If she doesn't care then she doesn't love you and let her go. let her find her a husband she loves. End of case. But again all those steps are to be taken/done correctly ie if your a very rude husband who expects your wife/lover to be as your maid and never speak to her properly, show her love, buy her gifts, etc then your problem is lying else and the Quranic steps are in incorrect approach. (2/2).
    – Thaqalain
    Commented May 22, 2017 at 19:05

1 Answer 1


As much as I researched, I didn’t find any direct comparison about that, but it might be inferred from the apparent of the verse that it should be passed its lighter steps at first, then such punishment can be the final step if the previous softer ways weren’t effective, although perhaps there is no relationship between 4:34 and punishment of children. And Allah knows best.

Meanwhile, in regards to punishment/beating the children based on Islam (in short):

The punishment only will be permissible according to Islam if it is deemed as the last step and actually if has positive effect in children training (not beating them as a kind of revenge), besides such punishment/hitting should be light, otherwise it will be haram (forbidden) and impermissible if it is hard or leads Diah.

On the other hand, in regards to 4:34, there are some noteworthy point(s), such as:

(Regarding the word Zarab, in 4:34), even if we consider that as “beating”, we should call it just a “light hitting’ that does not make her bleed, or any fracture/bruising. Meanwhile, hitting the face and major limbs (or organs) is forbidden.

Note: If the following steps were not effective, then ‘light hitting’ is permissible.

  • Advising and talking to her.

  • Trying to emotionally influence or discipline her.


AFAIK, there doesn't seem to be such comparison, since those seem to be 2 diverse issues, whereas if we want to compare (plus examining other Islamic orders/advises), it can be concluded that Islam doesn't allow/recommend us to beat children, but just a light-hitting by its conditions (as the last step, if the previous softer steps weren't effective).


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