Qur'an 4:34 (other translations at Islam Awakened) says:

... But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. ...

... وَاللَّاتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلَا تَبْغُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا ...

However, regarding this verse TheQuranDilemma.com claims:

While the word hajr is interpreted to mean “to refuse to share their beds,” the word hajr has several meanings. One of these meanings indicates the hajr of the camel when the owner binds the animal with a hijar, or rope. This disturbing interpretation means that the term used in Q 4.34 (“refuse to share their beds”) can actually mean to bind the wife and force her to have sexual intercourse.

This meaning is the adopted view of al-Tabari, a renowned classical Islamic commentator. Other scholars, who also support this interpretation, state “it means to tie them up and force them to have [sexual] intercourse.”

I want to fact-check this claim.

Question: Does the word "hajr" also mean "to bind", and thus Qur'an 4:34 can also be interpreted to imply "tie up your wife and force her to have sex"?

The purportedly problematic word seems to be هْجُرُ (abandon), although I'm not 100% sure about this. It doesn't seem to have the meaning ascribed to it by TheQuranDilemma.com.

2 Answers 2


Yes, the word hajr can also mean to bind, but it has nothing to do with forced sexual relationship, neither was this the view adopted by al-Tabari (in terms of forced sexual relationship).

All the major commonly-accepted tafsirs described hajr as abandon. The methodology of abandonment differed (abandon physical relationship, social relationship, or both), but no major tafsīr that I have come across endorsed the meaning of hajr as to bind, except for al-Tabari in Jami' al-Bayan, his tafsīr. This was mentioned in Jami' al-Bayan, Vol. 8, pp. 307.

Abu Bakr ibn al-Arabi in his tafsīr (Ahkām al-Qur'an) commented on this view, as did al-Qurtubi and others. The conclusion is that Al-Tabari relied in this interpretation on an unauthentic hadith narrated by Ibn Wahb through his teacher, Malik ibn Anas about a story that Asmā', the daughter of Abu Bakr, with her husband, al-Zubayr ibn al-'Awwām. The story goes that Asmā' left the house without her husband's permission, that he advised her, warned her, then he "knotted hairs and beat her". The assumption made by al-Tabari — with which most scholars disagreed — that she was tied up. This was considered a mistake on al-Tabari's part.

In Arabic, you can refer to al-Jami' li Ahkām al-Qur'an, Vol. 5, pp. 172-173 (2nd Ed. Cairo: 1964) for more information.


Of course not. That is rape and oppression. Oppression is NOT allowed. It means to stop sleeping with them sleep seperately to show you are hurt by her actions.

It wouldnt make sense to use that interpretation and also a woman is different to a camel obviously. As the verse is talking about if you have good ground to suspect that the woman is cheating on you. Thus you would advise her then stop sleeping in the same bed and then seperate from her(divorce) if she doesnt mend her ways. Also tieing her up or abusing her would not be fitting as abuse is against islam and a little before this part of the verse it says men are protectors of women. So it wouldnt make sense to abuse them when allah has given men the order to protect the wife.


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