While the Quran is the scriptural foundation of Islam, criticism of the Quran has frequently occurred. Critics have made allegations of scientific, theological, and historical errors, claims of contradictions in the Quran and criticisms of the Quran's moral values.
- 1 Historical authenticity
- 2 Claim of divine origin
- 3 Morality
- 4 Christians and Jews in the Quran
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Most Muslims believe that the Quran is the literal word of Allah as recited to the Islamic prophet Muhammad through the angel Gabriel. Muhammad, according to tradition, recited perfectly what the angel Gabriel revealed to him for his companions to write down and memorize. Muslims hold that the wording of the Quranic text available today corresponds exactly to that revealed to Muhammad in the years 610–632. Maurice Bucaille states in The Bible, The Qur'an and Science that "The Quranic Revelation has a history which is fundamentally different from the other two. It spanned a period of some twenty years and, as soon as it was transmitted to Muhammad by Archangel Gabriel, Believers learned it by heart. It was also written down during Muhammad's life. The last recensions of the Quran were effected under Caliph Uthman starting some twelve years after the Prophet's death and finishing twenty-four years after it. They had the advantage of being checked by people who already knew the text by heart, for they had learned it at the time of the Revelation itself and had subsequently recited it constantly. Since then, we know that the text has been scrupulously preserved. It does not give rise to any problems of authenticity."
In their book Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World, Patricia Crone and Michael Cook challenge the traditional account of how the Quran was compiled, writing that "there is no hard evidence for the existence of the Koran in any form before the last decade of the seventh century." Crone, Wansbrough, and Nevo argue that all the primary sources which exist are from 150–300 years after the events which they describe, and thus are chronologically far removed from those events
It is generally acknowledged that the work of Crone and Cook was a fresh approach in its reconstruction of early Islamic history, but the theory has been almost universally rejected. Van Ess has dismissed it stating that "a refutation is perhaps unnecessary since the authors make no effort to prove it in detail ... Where they are only giving a new interpretation of well-known facts, this is not decisive. But where the accepted facts are consciously put upside down, their approach is disastrous." R. B. Serjeant states that "[Crone and Cook's thesis]… is not only bitterly anti-Islamic in tone, but anti-Arabian. Its superficial fancies are so ridiculous that at first one wonders if it is just a 'leg pull', pure 'spoof'." Francis Edwards Peters states that "Few have failed to be convinced that what is in our copy of the Quran is, in fact, what Muhammad taught, and is expressed in his own words".
In 2006, legal scholar Liaquat Ali Khan claimed that Crone and Cook later explicitly disavowed their earlier book. Patricia Crone in an article published in 2006 provided an update on the evolution of her conceptions since the printing of the thesis in 1976. In the article she acknowledges that Muhammad existed as a historical figure and that the Quran represents "utterances" of his that he believed to be revelations. However she states that the Quran may not be the complete record of the revelations. She also accepts that oral histories and Muslim historical accounts cannot be totally discounted, but remains skeptical about the traditional account of the Hijrah and the standard view that Muhammad and his tribe were based in Mecca. She describes the difficulty in the handling of the hadith because of their "amorphous nature" and purpose as documentary evidence for deriving religious law rather than as historical narratives.
The author of the Apology of al-Kindy Abd al-Masih ibn Ishaq al-Kindi (not the famed philosopher al-Kindi) claimed that the narratives in the Quran were "all jumbled together and intermingled" and that this was "an evidence that many different hands have been at work therein, and caused discrepancies, adding or cutting out whatever they liked or disliked". Bell and Watt suggested that the variation in writing style throughout the Quran, which sometimes involves the use of rhyming, may have indicated revisions to the text during its compilation. They claimed that there were "abrupt changes in the length of verses; sudden changes of the dramatic situation, with changes of pronoun from singular to plural, from second to third person, and so on". At the same time, however, they noted that "[i]f any great changes by way of addition, suppression or alteration had been made, controversy would almost certainly have arisen; but of that there is little trace." They also note that "Modern study of the Quran has not in fact raised any serious question of its authenticity. The style varies, but is almost unmistakable."
Claim of divine origin
Critics reject the idea that the Quran is miraculously perfect and impossible to imitate (2:2, 17:88-89, 29:47, 28:49). The Jewish Encyclopedia, for example, writes: "The language of the Koran is held by the Mohammedans to be a peerless model of perfection. Critics, however, argue that peculiarities can be found in the text. For example, critics note that a sentence in which something is said concerning Allah is sometimes followed immediately by another in which Allah is the speaker (examples of this are suras xvi. 81, xxvii. 61, xxxi. 9, and xliii. 10.) Many peculiarities in the positions of words are due to the necessities of rhyme (lxix. 31, lxxiv. 3), while the use of many rare words and new forms may be traced to the same cause (comp. especially xix. 8, 9, 11, 16)." According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, "The dependence of Mohammed upon his Jewish teachers or upon what he heard of the Jewish Haggadah and Jewish practices is now generally conceded." Early jurists and theologians of Islam mentioned some Jewish influence but they also say where it is seen and recognized as such, it is perceived as a debasement or a dilution of the authentic message. Bernard Lewis describes this as "something like what in Christian history was called a Judaizing heresy." According to Moshe Sharon, the story of Muhammad having Jewish teachers is a legend developed in the 10th century A.D. Philip Schaff described the Quran as having "many passages of poetic beauty, religious fervor, and wise counsel, but mixed with absurdities, bombast, unmeaning images, low sensuality."
Possible preexisting sources
John Wansbrough believes that the Quran is a redaction in part of other sacred scriptures, in particular the Judaeo-Christian scriptures. Herbert Berg writes that "Despite John Wansbrough's very cautious and careful inclusion of qualifications such as 'conjectural,' and 'tentative and emphatically provisional', his work is condemned by some. Some of the negative reaction is undoubtedly due to its radicalness... Wansbrough's work has been embraced wholeheartedly by few and has been employed in a piecemeal fashion by many. Many praise his insights and methods, if not all of his conclusions." Gerd R. Puin's study of ancient Quran manuscripts led him to conclude that the Quran is a "cocktail of texts", some of which may have been present a hundred years before Muhammad.
Confusion over speaker of certain verses
Bell and Watt thought that cases where the speaker is swearing an oath by God, such as surahs 75:1-2 and 90:1, seem unlikely to be coming from God. They also thought that Surahs 19:64 and 37:161-166 were spoken by angels, describing their being sent by God down to Earth.
Science in the Quran
Quranic verses 3:59, 35:11, 96:2, 20:55, 6:1, 24:45, 15:26, 7:11, and 19:67 are all related to the origin of mankind. Some critics of Islam and many Muslims state that the Quran and modern evolutionary theory are not compatible. This has led to a contribution by Muslims to the creation vs. evolution debate. Some Muslims have pointed to certain Quranic verses (such as 21:30, 71:13–14, 29:19–20, 6:133–135, 10:4) that they think are in fact compatible with evolutionary science, but others think that only creationism is supported by the Quran and the hadith.
Ahmad Dallal, Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, writes that many modern Muslims believe that the Quran does make scientific statements, however many classical Muslim commentators and scientists, notably al-Biruni, assigned to the Quran a separate and autonomous realm of its own and held that the Quran "does not interfere in the business of science nor does it infringe on the realm of science." These medieval scholars argued for the possibility of multiple scientific explanations of the natural phenomena, and refused to subordinate the Quran to an ever-changing science.
Naskh (نسخ) is an Arabic language word usually translated as "abrogation"; it shares the same root as the words appearing in the phrase al-nāsikh wal-mansūkh (الناسخ والمنسوخ, "the abrogater and the abrogated [verses]"). The concept of "abrogation" in the Quran is that God chose to reveal ayat (singular ayah; means a sign or miracle, commonly a verse in the Quran) that supersede earlier ayat in the same Quran. The central ayah that deals with abrogation is Surah 2:106:
- "We do not abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth [one] better than it or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is over all things competent?"
Philip Schaff argues that the concept of abrogation was developed to "remove" contradictions found in the Quran:
- "It abounds in repetitions and contradictions, which are not removed by the convenient theory of abrogation."
Muhammad Husayn Tabatabaei believes abrogation in Quranic verses is not an indication of contradiction but an indication of addition and supplementation. As an example he mentions 2:109 where -according to him- it clearly states the forgiveness is not permanent and soon there will be another command (through another verse) on this subject that completes the matter. He also mentions 4:15 where the abrogated verse indicates its temporariness.
Some criticism of the Quran has revolved around what are known as the "Satanic Verses". Some early Islamic histories recount that as Muhammad was reciting Sūra Al-Najm (Q.53), as revealed to him by the angel Gabriel, Satan tempted him to utter the following lines after verses 19 and 20: "Have you thought of Al-lāt and al-'Uzzā and Manāt the third, the other; These are the exalted Gharaniq, whose intercession is hoped for." The Allāt, al-'Uzzā and Manāt were three goddesses worshiped by the Meccans. These histories then say that these 'Satanic Verses' were repudiated shortly afterward by Muhammad at the behest of Gabriel. Academic scholars such as William Montgomery Watt and Alfred Guillaume argued for its authenticity based upon the implausibility of Muslims fabricating a story so unflattering to their prophet. Watt says that "the story is so strange that it must be true in essentials." On the other hand, John Burton rejected the tradition. In an inverted culmination of Watt's approach, Burton argued for its fictitiousness based upon a demonstration of its actual utility to certain elements of the Muslim community – namely, those legal exegetes seeking an "occasion of revelation" for eradicatory modes of abrogation.
The incident of the Satanic Verses is put forward by some critics as evidence of the Quran's origins as a human work of Muhammad. Maxime Rodinson describes this as a conscious attempt to achieve a consensus with pagan Arabs, which was then consciously rejected as incompatible with Muhammad's attempts to answer the criticism of contemporary Arab Jews and Christians, linking it with the moment at which Muhammad felt able to adopt a "hostile attitude" towards the pagan Arabs. Rodinson writes that the story of the Satanic Verses is unlikely to be false because it was "one incident, in fact, which may be reasonably accepted as true because the makers of Muslim tradition would not have invented a story with such damaging implications for the revelation as a whole". In a caveat to his acceptance of the incident, William Montgomery Watt, states: "Thus it was not for any worldly motive that Muhammad eventually turned down the offer of the Meccans, but for a genuinely religious reason; not for example, because he could not trust these men nor because any personal ambition would remain unsatisfied, but because acknowledgment of the goddesses would lead to the failure of the cause, of the mission he had been given by God."
"If it [i.e. the Quran] had been from someone other than God, they would have found much contradiction in it." This encouragement of Muhammad's enemies to claim inconsistency and contradiction, is argued, was pronounced in a hostile environment during the Quran's revelation.
Some verses of the Quran are assumed to be directed towards all of Muhammad's followers while other verses are directed more specifically towards Muhammad and his wives, yet others are directed towards the whole of humanity. (33:28, 33:50, 49:2, 58:1, 58:9 66:3).
Other scholars argue that variances in the Quran's explicit intended audiences are irrelevant to claims of divine origin - and for example that Muhummad's wives "specific divine guidance, occasioned by their proximity to the Prophet (Muhammad)" where "Numerous divine reprimands addressed to Muhammad's wives in the Quran establish their special responsibility to overcome their human frailties and ensure their individual worthiness", or argue that the Quran must be interpreted on more than one level. (See:).
According to some critics, the morality of the Quran, like the life story of Muhammad, appears to be a moral regression, by the standards of the moral traditions of Judaism and Christianity it says that it builds upon. The Catholic Encyclopedia, for example, states that "the ethics of Islam are far inferior to those of Judaism and even more inferior to those of the New Testament" and "that in the ethics of Islam there is a great deal to admire and to approve, is beyond dispute; but of originality or superiority, there is none." William Montgomery Watt however finds Muhammad's changes an improvement for his time and place: "In his day and generation Muhammad was a social reformer, indeed a reformer even in the sphere of morals. He created a new system of social security and a new family structure, both of which were a vast improvement on what went before. By taking what was best in the morality of the nomad and adapting it for settled communities, he established a religious and social framework for the life of many races of men."
War and peace
The Quran's teachings on matters of war and peace have become topics of heated discussion in recent years. On the one hand, some critics, such as Sam Harris, interpret that certain verses of the Quran sanction military action against unbelievers as a whole both during the lifetime of Muhammad and after. Harris argues that Muslim extremism is simply a consequence of taking the Qur'an literally, and is skeptical that moderate Islam is possible. On the other hand, other scholars argue that such verses of the Quran are interpreted out of context, and Muslims of the Ahmadiyya movement argue that when the verses are read in context it clearly appears that the Quran prohibits aggression, and allows fighting only in self-defense.
Kim Ezra Shienbaum and Jamal Hasan have claimed that a concept of 'Jihad', defined as 'struggle', has been introduced by the Quran. They claim that while Muhummad was in Mecca, he "did not have many supporters and was very weak compared to the Pagans", and "it was at this time he added some 'soft', peaceful verses", whereas "almost all the hateful, coercive and intimidating verses later in the Quran were made with respect to Jihad" when Muhammad was in Medina (8:38-39, 8:65, 9:29-30, 48:16-22, 4:95, 9:111, 2:216-218, 8:15-17, 9:123, 8:12, 9:5, 2:190-194, 9:73).
Micheline R. Ishay has argued that "the Quran justifies wars for self-defense to protect Islamic communities against internal or external aggression by non-Islamic populations, and wars waged against those who 'violate their oaths' by breaking a treaty" (9:12-15, 42:39). Mufti M. Mukarram Ahmed has also argued that the Quran encourages people to fight in self-defense (9:38-41, 9:36-37, 4:74). He has also argued that the Quran has been used to direct Muslims to make all possible preparations to defend themselves against enemies (8:60).
Shin Chiba and Thomas J. Schoenbaum argue that Islam "does not allow Muslims to fight against those who disagree with them regardless of belief system", but instead "urges its followers to treat such people kindly" (4:90, 8:61, 60:8). Yohanan Friedmann has argued that the Quran does not promote fighting for the purposes of religious coercion, although the war as described is "religious" in the sense that the enemies of the Muslims are described as "enemies of God" (8:57-62).
Rodrigue Tremblay has argued that the Quran commands that non-Muslims under a Muslim regime, should "feel themselves subdued" in "a political state of subservience" (4:89). He also argues that the Quran may assert freedom within religion (2:256). Nisrine Abiad has argued that the Quran incorporates the offence (and due punishment) of "rebellion" into the offence of "highway or armed robbery" (5:33).
Michael David Bonner has argued that the "deal between God and those who fight is portrayed as a commercial transaction, either as a loan with interest, or else as a profitable sale of the life of this world in return for the life of the next", where "how much one gains depends on what happens during the transaction", either "paradise if slain in battle, or victory if one survives" (9:52). Critics have argued that the Quran "glorified Jihad in many of the Medinese suras" and "criticized those who fail(ed) to participate in it" (47:20-21).
Ali Ünal has claimed that the Quran praises the companions of Muhammad, for being stern and implacable against the said unbelievers, where in that "period of ignorance and savagery, triumphing over these people was possible by being strong and unyielding."
Solomon Nigosian concludes that the "Quranic statement is clear" on the issue of fighting in defense of Islam as "a duty that is to be carried out at all costs", where "God grants security to those Muslims who fight in order to halt or repel aggression".
Shaikh M. Ghazanfar argues that the Quran has been used to teach its followers that "the path to human salvation does not require withdrawal from the world but rather encourages moderation in worldly affairs" (fighting inclusive) (73:20). Shabbir Akhtar has argued that the Quran asserts that if a people "fear Muhammad more than they fear God, 'they are a people lacking in sense'" rather than a fear being imposed upon them by God directly (59:13).
Various calls to arms were identified in the Quran by US citizen Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, all of which were cited as "most relevant to my actions on March 3, 2006" (9:44, 9:19, 57:10-11, 8:72-73, 9:120, 3:167-175, 4:66, 4:104, 9:81, 9:93-94, 9:100, 16:110, 61:11-12, 47:35).
Violence against women
Verse 4:34 of the Quran as translated by Ali Quli Qara'i reads:
- 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.
Many translations do not necessarily imply a chronological sequence, for example, Marmaduke Pickthall's, Muhammad Muhsin Khan's, or Arthur John Arberry's. Arberry's translation reads "admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them."
The Dutch film Submission, which rose to fame outside the Netherlands after the murder of its director Theo van Gogh by Muslim extremist Mohammed Bouyeri, critiqued this and similar verses of the Quran by displaying them painted on the bodies of abused Muslim women. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the film's writer, said "it is written in the Koran a woman may be slapped if she is disobedient. This is one of the evils I wish to point out in the film".
Scholars of Islam have a variety of responses to these criticisms. (See An-Nisa, 34 for a fuller exegesis on the meaning of the text.) Some Muslim scholars say that the "beating" allowed is limited to no more than a light touch by siwak, or toothbrush. Some Muslims argue that beating is only appropriate if a woman has done "an unrighteous, wicked and rebellious act" beyond mere disobedience. In many modern interpretations of the Quran, the actions prescribed in 4:34 are to be taken in sequence, and beating is only to be used as a last resort.
Many Islamic scholars and commentators have emphasized that beatings, where permitted, are not to be harsh or even that they should be "more or less symbolic." According to Abdullah Yusuf Ali and Ibn Kathir, the consensus of Islamic scholars is that the above verse describes a light beating.
Max I. Dimont interprets that the Houris described in the Quran are specifically dedicated to "male pleasure". Henry Martyn claims that the concept of the Houris was chosen to satisfy Mohammed's followers.
Alternatively, Annemarie Schimmel says that the Quranic description of the Houris should be viewed in a context of love; "every pious man who lives according to God's order will enter Paradise where rivers of milk and honey flow in cool, fragrant gardens and virgin beloveds await home..."
Under the Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Quran by Christoph Luxenberg, the words translating to "Houris" or "Virgins of Paradise" are instead interpreted as "Fruits (grapes)" and "high climbing (wine) bowers... made into first fruits". Alternate interpretations of these Quranic verses are offered, including the idea that the Houris should be seen as having a specifically spiritual nature rather than a human nature; "these are all very sensual ideas; but there are also others of a different kind... what can be the object of cohabitation in Paradise as there can be no question of its purpose in the world, the preservation of the race. The solution of this difficulty is found by saying that, although heavenly food, women etc.., have the name in common with their earthly equivalents, it is only by way of metaphorical indication and comparison without actual identity... authors have spiritualized the Houris" and "later literature is able to give many more details of their physical beauty... they are so transparent that the marrow of their bones is visible through seventy silken garments. If they expectorate into the world, their spittle becomes musk...".
Christians and Jews in the Quran
Jane Gerber claims that the Qur'an ascribes negative traits to Jews, such as cowardice, greed, and chicanery. She also alleges that the Qur'an associates Jews with interconfessional strife and rivalry (Quran 2:113), the Jewish belief that they alone are beloved of God (Quran 5:18), and that only they will achieve salvation (Quran 2:111). According to the Encyclopedia Judaica, the Qur'an contains many attacks on Jews and Christians for their refusal to recognize Muhammad as a prophet. In the Muslim view, the crucifixion of Jesus was an illusion, and thus the Jewish plots against him ended in failure. In numerous verses the Qur'an accuses Jews of altering the Scripture. Karen Armstrong claims that there are "far more numerous passages in the Qur'an" which speak positively of the Jews and their great prophets, than those which were against the "rebellious Jewish tribes of Medina" (during Muhammad's time). Sayyid Abul Ala believes the punishments were not meant for all Jews, and that they were only meant for the Jewish inhabitants that were sinning at the time.
- Islam: What the West Needs to Know
- Islam and science
- Creation–evolution controversy
- Criticism of the Bible
- The Syro-Aramaic Reading Of The Koran
- War against Islam
- Apostasy in Islam
- Censorship by religion
- Criticism of Muhammad
- Criticism of Islam
- Homosexuality and Islam
- Islam and antisemitism
- Islam and domestic violence
- Islamic views on slavery
- Islamic terrorism
- Women in Islam
- Islamic view of Ezra, concerns the claim in surah 9:30 of the Quran that the Jews believe Ezra (Uzair) is the son of God
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- Bell's introduction to the Qurʼān By Richard Bell, William Montgomery Watt, p. 51: Google preview
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- Harris makes a similar argument about hadith, saying "[a]ccording to a literalist reading of the hadith (the literature that recounts the sayings and the actions of the Prophet) if a Muslim decides that he no longer wants to be a Muslim, he should be put to death. If anyone ventures the opinion that the Koran is a mediocre book of religious fiction or that Muhammad was a schizophrenic, he should also be killed. It should go without saying that a desire to kill people for imaginary crimes like apostasy and blasphemy is not an expression of religious moderation." "Who Are the Moderate Muslims?," The Huffington Post, February 16, 2006 (accessed 11/16/2013)
- Sohail H. Hashmi, David Miller, Boundaries and Justice: diverse ethical perspectives, Princeton University Press, p.197
- Khaleel Muhammad, professor of religious studies at San Diego State University, states, regarding his discussion with the critic Robert Spencer, that "when I am told ... that Jihad only means war, or that I have to accept interpretations of the Quran that non-Muslims (with no good intentions or knowledge of Islam) seek to force upon me, I see a certain agendum developing: one that is based on hate, and I refuse to be part of such an intellectual crime." 
- Ali, Maulana Muhammad; The Religion of Islam (6th Edition), Ch V "Jihad" Page 414 "When shall war cease". Published by The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement 
- Sadr-u-Din, Maulvi. "Quran and War", page 8. Published by The Muslim Book Society, Lahore, Pakistan. 
- Article on Jihad by Dr. G. W. Leitner (founder of The Oriental Institute, UK) published in Asiatic Quarterly Review, 1886. ("jihad, even when explained as a righteous effort of waging war in self defense against the grossest outrage on one's religion, is strictly limited..")
- The Quranic Commandments Regarding War/Jihad An English rendering of an Urdu article appearing in Basharat-e-Ahmadiyya Vol. I, p. 228-232, by Dr. Basharat Ahmad; published by the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam
- Ali, Maulana Muhammad; The Religion of Islam (6th Edition), Ch V "Jihad" Pages 411-413. Published by The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement 
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- Bonner, Michael David (2006). Jihad in Islamic history: doctrines and practice. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press. p. 32. ISBN 0-691-12574-0.
- Peters, Rudolph Albert (2008). Jihad in classical and modern Islam: a reader. Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers. p. 46. ISBN 1-55876-359-7.
- Ali Unal (2008). The Quran with Annotated Interpretation in Modern English. Rutherford, N.J: The Light, Inc. p. 249. ISBN 1-59784-144-7.
- Nigosian, S. A. (2004). Islam: its history, teaching, and practices. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-21627-3.
- Ghazanfar, Shaikh M. (2003). Medieval Islamic economic thought: filling the "great gap" in European economics. London: RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN 0-415-29778-8.
- Akhtar, Shabbir (2008). The Quran and the secular mind: a philosophy of Islam. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-43783-0.
- Taheri-azar, Mohammed Reza (2006). Letter to The daily Tar Heel. Wikisource.
- "Surat An-Nisa' [4:34] - The Noble Qur'an - القرآن الكريم". Quran.com. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- Bernard Lewis A Middle East Mosaic: Fragments of Life, Letters and History (Modern Library, 2001) p.184 ISBN 0375758372
- Script for the movie, Submission
- Hirsi Ali on Film over Position of Women in Koran
- "Wife Beating in Islamic Perspective - Marital relationships - counsels". OnIslam.net. 2013-03-14. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
- "Articles and FAQs about Islam, Muslims, Allah, Muhammad, Quran, Hadith, Woman, Fiqh and Fatwa". Islamicfinder.org. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
- Quranic Perspective on Wife beating and Abuse, by Fatimah Khaldoon, Submission, 2003. Retrieved April 16, 2006.
- Abdullah Yusuf Ali in his Quranic commentary states that: "In case of family jars four steps are mentioned, to be taken in that order. (1) Perhaps verbal advice or admonition may be sufficient; (2) if not, sex relations may be suspended; (3) if this is not sufficient, some slight physical correction may be administered; but Imam Shafi'i considers this inadvisable, though permissible, and all authorities are unanimous in deprecating any sort of cruelty, even of the nagging kind, as mentioned in the next clause; (4) if all this fails, a family council is recommended in 4:35 below." Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Holy Quran: Text, Translation and Commentary (commentary on 4:34), Amana Corporation, Brentwood, MD, 1989. ISBN 0-915957-03-5.
- Yusuf al-Qaradawi, head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, says that "If the husband senses that feelings of disobedience and rebelliousness are rising against him in his wife, he should try his best to rectify her attitude by kind words, gentle persuasion, and reasoning with her. If this is not helpful, he should sleep apart from her, trying to awaken her agreeable feminine nature so that serenity may be restored, and she may respond to him in a harmonious fashion. If this approach fails, it is permissible for him to beat her lightly with his hands, avoiding her face and other sensitive parts.[dead link].[dead link]
- Ibn Kathir writes that in case of rebellious behavior, the husband is asked to urge his wife to mend her ways, then to refuse to share their beds, and as the last resort, husbands are allowed to admonish their wives by beating. Ibn Kathir, “Tafsir of Ibn Kathir”, Al-Firdous Ltd., London, 2000, 50-53
- Yusuf al-Qaradawi, head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, says that "It is permissible for him to beat her lightly with his hands, avoiding her face and other sensitive parts. In no case should he resort to using a stick or any other instrument that might cause pain and injury."[dead link][dead link]
- Ibn Kathir Ad-Damishqee records in his Tafsir Al-Quran Al-Azim that "Ibn `Abbas and several others said that the Ayah refers to a beating that is not violent. Al-Hasan Al-Basri said that it means, a beating that is not severe."
- Ahmad Shafaat, Tafseer of Surah an-Nisa, Ayah 34, Islamic Perspectives. August 10, 2005
- One such authority is the earliest hafiz, Ibn Abbas.
- "The Holy Quran: Text, Translation and Commentary", Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Amana Corporation, Brentwood, MD, 1989. ISBN 0-915957-03-5, passage was quoted from commentary on 4:34
- Kathir, Ibn, “Tafsir of Ibn Kathir”, Al-Firdous Ltd., London, 2000, 50-53
- Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi comments that "Whenever the Prophet (peace be on him) permitted a man to administer corporal punishment to his wife, he did so with reluctance, and continued to express his distaste for it. And even in cases where it is necessary, the Prophet (peace be on him) directed men not to hit across the face, nor to beat severely nor to use anything that might leave marks on the body." "Towards Understanding the Quran" Translation by Zafar I. Ansari from "Tafheem Al-Quran" (specifically, commentary on 4:34) by Syed Abul-A'ala Mawdudi, Islamic Foundation, Leicester, England.
- The medieval jurist ash-Shafi'i, founder of one of the main schools of fiqh, commented on this verse that "hitting is permitted, but not hitting is preferable."
- "[S]ome of the greatest Muslim scholars (e.g., Ash-Shafi'i) are of the opinion that it is just barely permissible, and should preferably be avoided: and they justify this opinion by the Prophet's personal feelings with regard to this problem." Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Quran (his translation of the Quran).
- Akhtar, Shabbir (2008). The Quran and the secular mind: a philosophy of Islam. New York: Routledge. p. 351. ISBN 0-415-43782-2.
- The Indestructible Jews, by Max I. Dimont, page 134
- Controversial Tracts on Christianity and Mohammedanism, by Henry Martyn, page 131
- Islam: An Introduction, by Annemarie Schimmel, Page 13, "Muhammad"
- The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Quran, by Christoph Luxenberg, pages 247-282 - The Huris or Virgins of Paradise
- Gerber (1986), pp. 78–79 "Anti-Semitism and the Muslim World". In History and Hate: The Dimensions of Anti-Semitism, ed. David Berger. Jewish Publications Society. ISBN 0-8276-0267-7
- Poliakov, Leon (1997). "Anti-Semitism". Encyclopedia Judaica (CD-ROM Edition Version 1.0). Ed. Cecil Roth. Keter Publishing House. ISBN 965-07-0665-8
- Lewis (1999), p. 120
- See, for example from Gerber 91, 3:63; 3:71; 4:46; 4:160–161; 5:41–44, 5:63–64, 5:82; 6:92
- Gerber 78
- Maududi, Sayyid Abul Ala (1967). The Meaning of the Quran.
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Muslim responses to criticism
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