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Reforming Scripture and Culture

Few verses in the Koran are more controversial that those advising Muslims on how to treat women. Among the most hotly contested is 4:34, which suggests men should punish a disobedient woman first by admonishing her, then by isolating her in the bedroom. If neither of those work, the Koran advises him to beat her.

That verse can be a jarring discovery for first-time Koran readers. How do Middle Easterners who are seeking reform come to terms with "wife-beating" verse, as it¹s sometimes called? Is it just a case of sweeping it under the table, along with other ancient customs now deemed less than acceptable? Can there be a compromise for devout Muslims, who passionately believe in the Koran as the word of God?

Last year an Iranian-American scholar, Laleh Bakhtiar, confronted the "wife-beating" verse head-on with one of the first female transliterations of the Koran from Arabic to English. Bakhtiar, a 68-year-old former university lecturer, wanted to make the Koran more accessible to a Western audience, and made verse 4:34 the centerpiece of her transliteration. Instead of the customary transliteration of the Arabic word idrib as "beat," she chose a more obscure variant that means "to go away" (other possibilities include strike, scourge, make an example of, and spank.)

Bakhtiar suggests "Husbands at that point should submit to God, let God handle it -- go away from them and let God work His Will instead of a human being inflicting pain and suffering on another human being in the Name of God."

(The passage is generally translated: "And as for those women whose ill will you have reason to fear, admonish them; then leave them alone in bed; then beat them; and if thereupon they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them. Behold, God is indeed most high, great!")

The publication of Bakhtiar¹s transliteration met with muted controversy when it was published in the U.S. last year, with some Muslim academics asking whether Baktiar was merely making the Koran "more palatable" to Western sensibilities. Is this the first politically correct version of the Koran, some have asked dubiously.

But what has been its wider impact in the Middle East? I should add here that although violence against women in cities with substantial middle class populations is on a par with the number of attacks in the West, in rural areas violence is prevalent. In Afghanistan, UN figures suggest that 75% of women experience domestic violence, and few cases make it to court.

Jamila Afghanni, a women¹s rights activist in Afghanistan told me Bakhtiar¹s interpretation was not well known but it comes at a pivotal moment. "I am seeing a change among the women I speak to who have suffered from domestic violence," she said. "They are developing an emotional fortitude to stand up to abuse that wasn¹t there before. If we can develop an intellectual framework for them in the Koran as well, then we can make real in roads into changing the way society treats women."

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Comments (32)

Layth (e-mail: laytth@hotmail.com) :

In some parts of the Middle East and other areas of the Muslim world, a woman may be beaten severely by her husband or male relatives for something as ridiculous as not having dinner prepared on time. It is a common theme amongst some male Muslims to beat their women whenever they think it is deserved and they can rest assured that the entire Islamic Scholars will be right behind them for support.
Although this may sound bizarre, the Muslim Scholars have told people that God has ordained in His holy book that women may be beaten if their male counter-part is not pleased with them. The verse that Muslims claim gives a green light to commit violence against their women-folk is the following:
[Yusufali Translation]: Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear "Nushooz" disloyalty and ill-conduct , admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) "Idribuhun" beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all)." (4:34)
If indeed God had commanded men to beat their `disloyal` women, then we have no course of action but to `hear & obey`...However, there is more than meets the eye in accepting the common interpretation of verse 4:34 which is the subject of this article.
The Quran is best studied by placing all similar subject words/verses together (this approach is called `Tarteel` and has been advised by the Almighty in 73:4).
There are two key words that are central to deriving the correct meaning for this topic:
1. Nushuz (translated above `disloyalty & ill-conduct)
2. Idribuhun (translated above as `beat them`).
The first word `Nushooz` will give us an understanding of what the subject is all about...Is this about a woman who is disloyal and in ill-conduct (an adulteress or temptress perhaps?) Or, has this word been mistranslated based on a backdrop of social ignorance and male domination?
Nushooz means: `to rise / go above`.
This can be seen clearly in 58:11 where people are told to `Nushooz` from the place of gathering/sitting.
[Yusufali Translation]: O ye who believe! When ye are told to make room in the assemblies, (spread out and) make room: (ample) room will Allah provide for you. And when ye are told "Inshuzoo" *to rise up, rise up Allah will rise up, to (suitable) ranks (and degrees), those of you who believe and who have been granted (mystic) Knowledge. And Allah is well-acquainted with all ye do." (58:11)
* Notice how our translator [Yusufali] has given the correct translation in the verse, whereas in 4:34 it was all about `disloyalty & ill-conduct`.
Therefore, the issue we are dealing with here is not adultery or some other act of immorality, but rather it is the subject of a woman `rebelling / going against` her husband (going above them, not acknowledging the other, not listening, deserting them, etc.).
Let us read what the Quran tells us to do when it is the man that is doing the `Nushooz` and not the woman:
[Yusufali Translation]: If a wife fears cruelty or "Nushooz" **desertion on her husband's part, there is no blame on them if they arrange an amicable settlement between themselves; and such settlement is best; even though men's souls are swayed by greed. But if ye do good and practise self-restraint, Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do." (4:128)
** Again, we see our translator [yusufali] magically giving the correct meaning by translating `Nushooz` as `desertion` when it just happened that the male was the subject matter!
The Quran tells us that if the man is the one who is doing the `Nushooz` then the couple need to reconcile or part since he obviously has rebelled against his wife (can't stand to be with her, finds himself wanting to leave from her presence, etc..)...The verse does not say that the woman should `beat` the man into submission or bring her men-folk to do so in order to knock some sense into him...It says they should talk, and reconcile, since obviously this is an issue which needs people to come-back into respecting and loving one another, or part ways.
Now to move back to the verse where the woman is the one doing the `Nushooz` using the correct translation:
"The men are to support the women by what God has gifted them over one another and for what they spend of their money. The upright women who are attentive, and keep private the personal matters for what God keeps watch over. As for those women from whom you fear a "Nushooz" desertion, then you shall advise them, and abandon them in the bedchamber, and "Idribuhun" Beat them?; if they obey you, then do not seek a way over them; God is High, Great.` (4:34)
If we look at the subject matter, it is of a woman who cannot stand her man and therefore has rebelled from him...As with the example of the man being the one rebelling, there are steps to `calm things down` and to bring harmony into the marriage...Beating a woman if she can't stand her man and has rebelled against him will only make her hate him more (not exactly a logical or practical solution to the problem).
Obviously now that the subject has been better understood, it is the second word "Idribuhun" which needs examination in light of the Quran.
"Have you not seen how God puts forth (Daraba) the example of a good word is like a good tree, whose root is firm and its branches in the sky." (The Message 14:24)
"For the poor who face hardship in the cause of God, they cannot go forth (Darban) in the land; the ignorant ones think they are rich from their modesty; you know them by their features, they do not ask the people repeatedly. And what you spend out of goodness, God is fully aware of it." (2:273)
Daraba (in its natural state) means: `to put forth`
The only reason this word can sometimes mean hit/strike is because a person is `putting forth` his hand when striking someone (see 8:12, 8:50, 47:27).
"And if you could only see as the Angels take those who have rejected, they "Yadriboon" strike their faces and their backs: `Taste the punishment of the blazing Fire!`" (8:50)
Looking back at 4:34, we see that the context of the verse (solving the wife's rejection of her husband) leads us to choose the natural meaning of "Darab" which is: `to put forth` and not the alternative meaning of `strike`.
"The men are to support the women by what God has gifted them over one another and for what they spend of their money. The upright women who are attentive, and keep private the personal matters for what God keeps watch over. As for those women from whom you fear a desertion, then you shall 1) advise them, and 2) abandon them in the bedchamber, and 3) "Idribuhun" let them go forth; if they obey you, then do not seek a way over them; God is High, Great." (4:34)
The approach of choosing the `best` understanding and/or meaning is both logical and, more importantly, in-line with the guidance for study we are given by God:
"The ones who listen to what is being said, and then follow the BEST of it. These are the ones whom God has guided, and these are the ones who possess intelligence." (39:18)
What we have now is a comprehensive list of steps in order for a man to deal with his wife who wants to desert her husband and can no longer stand to be with him...
1. Talk about it. This is obviously the simplest and healthiest method since it opens the communication channel between both parties.
2. Abstain from sharing the same bed. This is the 2nd approach the man is advised to use if they are unable to reconcile their problem as the lack of sexual contact may lead to the wife to cool down as intimate contact may simply inflame the situation if she is unable to stand her husband.
3. Separate from each other. The 3rd and final line of advice is designed as a 'cooling-off' period and is mainly designed to help the wife re-think and examine the situation closely without the physical presence of her husband.
The logic and clarity of the above steps are a far cry from the wife beating and bashing claims which this article started off examining....
As for those who have been promoting the evil inherited from their forefathers while claiming falsely it was from God...
"And if they commit evil acts, they Say: `We found our fathers doing such, and God ordered us to it.` Say: `God does not order evil! Do you say about God what you do not know?` Say: `My Lord orders justice, and that you be devoted at every temple, and that you call on Him, while being faithful to Him in the system; as He initiated you, so you will return.` A group He has guided and a group have deserved misguidance; that is because they have taken the devils as allies besides God; and they think they are guided!" (7:28-30)
________________________________________
Questions / Issues
Below are some arguments/questions which have been presented in support of the understanding to `beat women` as claimed is the true meaning in 4:34.
• In Arabic, the word for `separate from them` is `IdribuANhun` and not `Idribuhun` as used in 4:34. Therefore `beat` is the correct meaning.
The people who raise such linguistic obstacles fail to notice that God uses the very same word `Darab` such as in 14:24 without any prefix.
"Have you not seen how God puts forth (Daraba) the example of a good word is like a good tree, whose root is firm and its branches in the sky." (The Message 14:24)
Would they claim by the very same linguistic argument that God is `beating` an example? Or, will they accept that without any prefix the word can mean to `put forth`?
• The word `Idrib` means `beat` if applied to a living object/thing and can mean otherwise if applied to a non-living object/thing.
This is mainly an argument put forth by groups who have preconceived notions and wish to keep believing that Islam is a mindless and barbaric system. The argument holds no merit based on linguistics or Arabic grammar. In-fact, the usage of the word `Idrib` as applied in verse 24:31 puts an end to this argument as the women are obviously not being commanded to `beat` their bosoms with their shawls, but rather they are commanded to `put-forth` their shawls:
"And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and keep covered their private parts, and that they should not reveal their beauty except what is apparent, and let them put-forth (YaDribna) their shawls over their cleavage..." (24:31)

Ibrahim Mahfouz:

Re: Islamic Scriptures

"As to those women
On whose part ye fear
Disloyalty and ill conduct,
Admonish them (first)
(Next) refuse to share their beds,
(And) last beat them
But if they return to obedience,
Seek not against them
Means (of annoyance):"

The above is part of Quran 4:34. Which part of it is not clear?

Anonymous:

ATT: B R A N D O N L E E:

Wow! beautiful mind indeed!

Muslim girl:

Thank you Feras and Laleh for your educated perspectives and the work you are doing. I enjoyed reading your comments.

muscat friend:

The debate over this one verse is interesting, but irrelevant.

What fuels the oppression of women in Muslim societies goes far beyond the misinterpretation of one verse. It is the misinterpretation of the entire Qu'ran, often by mullahs who are semi-illiterate anyway, and who mix tribal traditions with self interest to use Islam to oppress women.

Professional, educated Muslim women, of whom there are legions, must stand up for themselves and start using the Quran to defend themselves. After all, Prophet mohammed wrote many ayas in the Qu'ran to defend them. So c'mon ladies! Stop worrying about America "attacking Islam" and start worrying about the fundamentalists in your midst. They are doing the real damage to Islam.

Good for this female scholar for her work. This is the kind of thing that can really make a difference for Muslim women long term.

DB:

SMG,

You're right as far the violence is concerned. If they were democractic, someone would analyse their scripture and that would be it.

You are so wrong in saying that they would burry the modern world. The modern world with all her faults has something they don't have, the truth.

It is metaphysically impossible to burry the truth.

smg45acp:

In Christianity debates are usually won by the most logical and persuasive arguments.
Islamic debates are solved by killing the people that disagree with you.

So this whole argument is pointless.
The Islamic world will be lead by whoever has the most guns and bombs.
That is how they started their religion and that is how they spread it.
Why should they change a formula that is working just great.
They are not going to adapt to the modern world.
They will bury the modern world.

Asim MA, San Antonio:

HAir splitting debate about 4:34,but what about half a million Muslim Irqai women murderd because of the civilized west? what about over a hundred thousand Bosnian Muslim women and girls raped and murderd by the Serb barbarians in the heart of the civilized Europe? What about untold number of PAlestinian women and children murderd by the west-supported racist jewish entity in Palestine?? What about the over four million American women who are abused every yera in the US? I just want to show the hypocricy of the question which was raised before a "Muslim"woman Asra Nomani on the pages of WP a while back.

The Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad whose examplary behaviour was a direct interpretation in his real life:the Prophet's treatemnt of women was truely examplary in evry way:as a wife,sister,daughter,mother etc...HE never struck a women in his life. 4:34 was not meant to beat a woman-it was meant to show displeasure and as last resort;it is reported that if the Prophet wanted to express displeasure with a wife which was a rarity he would use his Sewak-the equivalent of a tooth brush now days and gently strike with it ONLY to show displeasure.

Would our time be used much more constructively if we could discuss means and ways to help two million IRaqi women refugees? and much biggre number of Palestinian women rotting in refugee caamps for the last sixty years who were ethnically cleanesd by jewish terrorist gangs such as Palmac,Hganah,Stern and Irgun-while israel is getting ready to celebrate its 60th birthday while Palestinians clebrate their plight and tragedy under a brutal israeli military apertheid occupation???

annonymous:

Why is this verse controversial and not others?
Like the one about how to attack a caravan... after getting rid of their men folk...and how to then attack the women and the goods.... and how to then divide the loot...and leave 20% for the prophet?

center:


The title of the article almost says it all :Reforming Scripture and Culture. Scripture is there to reform culture. Culture has proven to be closer to people than scripture. Irrespective of the different meanings given to 'idhribu', the meaning that is accepted by the culture of the nomads is to 'beat' not the meaning associated with strike as in the case of labor union striking. Though strike, as in labor stoppage, is more appealing, the readers of the quran go to that which they practice.

DAN78:

The main problem is trying to impose the morality of a patriarchal, superstitious, largely illiterate tribe of nomads as it stood 14 centuries ago on the modern world. You can make the same point for "Biblical" morality.

Feras M. Hantash:

Jack,

There are numerous examples in the Quran that contardicts the male-dominated interpretation of the word "Daraba" which they take to mean "to beat". Example 1: Verse 4:101: (etha "darabtom" fi al ardd...), the verse deals with people travelling, and it allows them to shorten their prayer, and darabtom here means "if you traveled throughout the lands". Example 2 of "darabtom/traveled" is in verse 4:94. A slightly different meaning is present in verse 20:77 when Allah speaks to Moses and tells him (And we revealed to Moses to take my servants and to "wa Idrib/take a road" for them through the sea..), again relating to travel/take the road. Lastly, in the story the prophet Ayyoub in Verse 38:44, Ayyoub vows to punish his wife for disobedience, Allah gives him a way out of his vow;(..take in your hand a twig and "wa idrib bihi/travel with it"). If Allah allowed Ayyoub to punish his wife, he would have said: "wa Idribha/beat her", The grammer is important to understand the meaning of the verse. A different meaning is in Verse 2:26, where Allah says (Allah does not shy from "yadreba/showing an example/" of a mosquito..). As others have pointed out, several interpretors and scholars of the Quran take the word at face value in modern Arabic. Add to that the male-dominated society of 1400 years ago, and the misinterpretation and misuse of the verse 4:34 is abvious. In no place does the Quran allow for wife beating. The prophet Mohammed, pbuh, never, ever hit any of his wives, and in his teachings and actions is the best example. This verse is one of the most misinterpreted and misused verses by the male dominated society. There is no problem in the Quran. Its the misguided interpretation of it.

Sarah's Mom:

I am also perplexed as to how the editors of Mr. Fairweather didn't catch the difference between "translation" and "transliteration".
It's ironic that such a linguistic mistake should occur in a piece about language and words!
tsk tsk, Newsweek...

magpie:

To the Author:

I don't understand why you repeatedly use the word "transliteration" when you must mean "translation."

A "transliteration" would be a rendering of the verses in English phonetics to allow non-Arabic speakers to simply say the words.

"A translation" is what Bakhtiar apparently produced -- that is, a replacing of the Arabic words with English words to as clearly as possible reflect the meanings of the Arabic words.

I'm perplexed by your misuse of "transliteration." Can you explain?

Hakim Rushdan:

When the ignorant attempt to inform the ignorant the result is not education nor enlightenment but more ignorance. I've learned long ago that if you must debunk what some consider to be the truth with degradation and disrespect, that the weakness lies in what the ignorant informer believes or the faith that he has in what he says he believes. A person who is not of Faith will never understand miracles, and the Muslims site the Holy Qur'an as the miracle they believe in most. To be sure there are miracles sited in the Bible and there are Angels, and ones lack of knowledge or understanding of the subject does not negate it. To paraphrase King Solomon "get knowledge, get wisdom, but above all get an understanding".

Mofi alKamudi:

hi all ... greetings!
i enjoy reading the comments posted herein: from the good, the bad and the ugly!
first and foremost, before we delve into the interpretation of the "so-called verse of beating" (Qur'an 4:34), let's step back into history! let's say a 1,000 years before the advent of the Qur'an (and islam) and examine male-female relations.

any objective reader will find that it was a male-dominated world (then as now), where woman's rights did not exist in most past cultures and tradition; and today, that is still the case in many cultures and nations. so, let's put this thing into its proper perspective!

now when we examine books on scripture of all peoples, from the Hindu Ramayana, Vedas, Mahabarata, etc., to the Old Testament, the Synoptic Gospels, to the Qur'an,... one will find many troubling and contradictory passages that are not in consonance with civil and humane gender relations. but that is the way scriptures have been written and that is what mankind of all races and nations have been following!

however, the true objective in reading scripture is not to focus on the polemics of "single words" or "isolated verses;" but to focus on themes and the essence of the Text, taken as a whole.
now back to the Qur'an: it may be that the early "male translators" of the Qur'an employed the term "beat" relative to 4:34. at the same Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar may be correct in her "retranslation of this term (idrib) in 4:34; but some have claimed that her new exegesis on this issue has been presented in such a way as to be more socially palatable for today's atmosphere and social relations.

the bottom is this: men should not beat women under any circumstances, irrespective of what scripture says...!

so let it be written,
so let it be done!
sincerely
Mofi alKamudi

Fatima:

In the Islamic Seminaries of Iran, there is always quite a bit of debate on interpretations - hence the many Marja Taqlid one can refer to for jurisprudence and interpretations - this is of course contrary to popular western belief, and is also a bit more specific to the Shi'a school of thought.

The interpretation from the Shi'a school of thought is that when looking at the verses you must also take into consideration the entire scope of the Qur'an, along with the traditions of the Holy Prophet and the Holy Imams (peace be upon them).

When one does so with this particular verse in mind, we find that if a man does beat his wife then he owes her blood money - another words, it's wrong to beat your wife such that it leaves ANY red or black mark.

Now go ahead and try that on yourself and see how hard you could possible hit yourself with out causing your skin any red mark. You will find that you can barely hit yourself at all. And so it's as if actually you are caressing your wife! - that is mostly what is preached in the Mosques.

Another words, no, in deed you are not permitted to beat your wife such that it would cause her any hurt or harm.

Mrs. Bakhtiar's interpretation is another approach which results in the same conclusion essentially.

The bottom line is that the Prophet (pbuh) never did it, and neither should we.

misogynist:

To believe that something is God's own word and try to follow it literally is nothing but utter foolishness. It must have come to the present generatin by word of mouth till somewhere in the course somebody started to write it down. When something is passed on by words of mouth so many alterations could have happened. It may not have any semblence to the original even. Then to argue about it and try to invent new meaning is really not worth the trouble.

Nan:


Bakhtiar is hardly the first to come up with this interpretation of Q 4:34. Ahmad Ali's Al-Qur'an: a Contemporary Translation did the same thing in 1984. A revised edition was produced by Princeton Univ Press in 2001.

See Skreslet, The Literature of Islam (Scarecrow / Rowman & Littlefield, 2006).

mani subramanian:

The translation of bakhtiar seems correct, since Mohamed the prophet actually ran away to medina because his wife threatenec to beat him.
It is time that muslims did an honest reappraisal of quran ,and the christians and jews , a similar one for their holy books.
Fundamentalists are in ll religions , butmuslims unfortunately are not learning. The best chance was for Pakistani muslims but the y made a mess and betrayed the founder Jinnah and made it a muslim state , thus damning the entire islamic world into infamy. pakistan can still be the country to bring some sense back by following Jinnah,s concept of swecularism. India has followed and is benefiting.


Roy:

Apparently Muslims, like neochristians, prefer to cherry-pick their scriptures for their own social and propaganda agendas. The fundamentalists of both these religions are a danger to peace and a boil on everything that pretends to be good and just.

Jati Hoon:

God of Koran spoke in Arabic, to Mohammed who was an illiterate warroir and trader, it is quite possible he misunderstod the word of God. Koran was spoken by god not written, hence it is possible when committed to book form, in Arabic only, the writer made a mistake.After all an error is to human, and it is to Allah to forgive the writer of his will. { The days Lawyers were ordained by the "WILL OF GOD".

As all U.F.O sighting and meeting with its occupants are conducted only in English, hence anything thing is possible.

Oh these Mullahs! leave the non-belivers alone, they will go to there temple and you go to your own.

Laleh Bakhtiar, Ph.D.:

Thank you so much Mr. Jack Fairweather for this blog. The interpretation of the verse 4:34 that you mentioned must revert to the way the Prophet understood it. The Quran was revealed to him and not to later jurists. The Prophet showed by his behavior that the word idribu means ”go away from them (f)’. This is what he did when there was domestic unrest between he and his wife. That is, ”when husbands fear resistance on the part of their wives, first admonish them, then abandon their sleeping places then go away from them (f).” In the introduction to the translation of the Sublime Quran I give many more reasons why the interpretation of this verse has been wrong. The arguments are too long to state here but no jurist or scholar has been able to counter the arguments I give. Misinterpreting the word to mean ”beat them (f)” has denied women other rights that the Quran gives them. Jamila Afghaani is correct. Not many in the Islamic world know how this verse has been misinterpreted because they do not speak English. In addition Muslim women in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as in the Arab world have been brainwashed to think that they should be beaten! I am trying to get a grant to have translations made of the Quran into Dari and Urdu, a translation that uses the criteria I developed in translating the Sublime Quran. I would appreciate any help anyone may have as to where to apply for a grant. We moderate Muslims must wrest our faith away from extremists one verse at a time.

Ibrahim Mahfouz:

I remember the time when the Quran was not allowed to be translated. The Arabs took a special pride in the “fact” that Allah spoke in Hejaz Arabic dialect. Many non Arab Muslims recite the verses of the Quran without understanding their meaning. The Arab themselves find it hard to understand the language of the Quran. Muslims, both Arabs and non Arabs, believe that the act itself grants them a certain blessing as well as replenish their supply good deeds to counter their bad ones; very much like all their many other worship rituals. Arabs are not all Muslims and the Muslims amongst them are a small subset of the World’s Muslim population.
The irony of this wife beating custom is that it is transmitted mainly by the matriarchs to their daughters and granddaughters. Women brainwashing women to accept this subservient role without any reservation or complaint and justifying it as Allah‘s will

val:

Mr. Fairweather, the word 'transliterate' does not mean what you seem to think it means. To transliterate is to write the sounds of a foreign language in the script of one's native language -- as you did by writing 'idrib' using English characters instead of the Arab characters its native speakers use.

The key here is 'lit', as in 'literal' -- we're simply substituting sounds in one alphabet with the letters that correspond to those sounds in another alphabet, a literal transcribing.

What you describe is 'translation', wherein the words in one language are substituted with words of similar meaning in another language.

Word Choice:

Umm..."transliteration" is the practice of writing the words of one language in another language that the reader can read, ie. writing the sounds of the Koran in Roman letters so that someone who reads English can make out the sounds and thus READ the Arabic words (albeit most likely not understanding them). "Translation," on the other hand, is defining the words of one language into another language so someone can UNDERSTAND the words of the foreign language.
I assume you meant translation, not transliteration, since you cannot make something more palatable by transliterating it.

really now:

It's unfortunate that we voluntarily hinder any type of honest discussions in these forums. It's as if it's the so-called "intellectuals" Falluga. Their contribution to the so called war on terror(Islam).The "experts" are are simply tools, one and another with the only mission to smear the faith of a large portion of humanity.
Humanity, what a concept, in all out it's hue's should now be distorted for the benefit of one segment.Really now...you site Afganistan, a country that has been torn apart by invaders for decades,as proof of the beating of women--under the circumstances it what be a surprise if any segment of their population is NOT beaten at some point in their lives...really now.
As an adherent of Islam my faith is not shaken as your mission seeks, rather it is made stronger because if you are a true student of the Quran you will find where The Almighty tells us of those that will go to any length to malign our beliefs, always have and always will. We are instructed to share that it's all good, we have no desire to follow you and you have none to follow us--to you be your way and to us ours. The time will pass when we all will know the truth, lets wait togeather and see how it goes.

Sally:

"BrandonLee:
Everybody should break free from the delusion and realize that the Koran is not the word of God and they should realize that the ethical laws given therein are completely obsolete and cannot be translated into the current time in which we live."

And the Bible is the word of God, is not obsolete and can be translated into the current time in which we live? I think not.

JBE:

Educated muslims need to throw the radical, uneducated Imams out of the Mosque and change the social dialogue.

Educated christians need to throw the un-accredited, hypocritical, so-called pastors and ministers out of the church and change the social dialouge (that's nearly all of them - they don't usually go to an accredited university).

Neither action is going to happen.

Hate and intolerance is evil, and sinful, regardless of your religion. Those who preach it are going to hell. But those preachers have lots of blind followers.

The evangelical christian bible has all sorts of rediculous notions that Constantine left in while he threw out so many positive aspects of Jesus' teachings. He left in some doozies - like killing your children if they talk back... Eye for an eye... Slavery... Etc...

Why, even Pat Robertson says he'd like it if someone set off a dirty bomb in DC. Jerry Falwell said we deserved 9/11 for our SINS - and AIDS, too.

Just because someone claims to be holy isn't a good reson to listen to them. This is the BIG problem with Wahabbism, evangelical christianity, Hassidic Judaism, and other fundamentalist religions.

In fact, the moment someone claims to be holy - or challenges your religious beliefs and practices, is the moment in which THEY should be challenged.

Just because killing your children if they talk back is in the bible doesn't mean we NEED to do those things anymore. Personally I'm not down to gouge anyone's eye out over a slight done to me. I'd rather turn the other cheek and get back to work. Revenge isn't profitable, or beneficial. It IS egotistical, and the mark of a weak mind. Killing your kids is outright murder. Duh.


But like radical evangelicals, radical imams have over the last 30 years served up a religious beauty contest over whom is more fundamentalist. Who is more hard line. As if a race to the bottom of education and enlightenment makes one holy. Yes, I said BOTTOM -The Taliban doesn't read, generally. They are illiterate and believe WHATEVER they are told. Most christians DON'T read the bible, either. They PARRROT what the pastor says.

THE FUNDAMENTALIST LEADERS OF EVERY RELIGION ARE THE PROBLEM!

Re-interpereting a text to the furthes stretch of language to make it palatable isn't going tohelp in the least. These type of actions only embolden the fundamentalist preacher, imam, rabbi, etc., because the only thing they recognize is "might makes right" which totally violates the intent of our maker. They do this, you know, like any other uneducated, backward, blinded person.

ALL EXTREMES ARE EVIL SINS!

Garak:

A related question: If the Koran is indeed the work of god, then why would god speak only in Arabic? If Islam is universal, it seems to me the Koran must be susceptible to translation. The word of god must transcend human language and be truly universal, or it is not the word of god.

In other words, if the Koran is the word of god, it must be capable of being faithfully and accurately translated. If not, it means god either meant the Koran only for Arabs, or failed to speak to all mankind.

Read with some balls!:

There should be extensive footnotes like there are for most versions of the Bible. Many questions about verses there are solved with facts on the historical context, etymology, etc.

Unfortunately, though, most Muslims believe that the Qur'aan cannot be read in a historical or any other critical context, as it is a holy book and God has no context. Good luck getting more than a few brave souls to read the Qur'aan critically.

I have to say, though, that many countries are in need of help against domestic violence. It is equal opportunity; people of all faiths practice it. I think the intellectual framework everywhere needs to be changed...

BrandonLee:

Everybody should break free from the delusion and realize that the Koran is not the word of God and they should realize that the ethical laws given therein are completely obsolete and cannot be translated into the current time in which we live.

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.