Islam, Zafar and the 4:34 Dance

After appearing on The O'Reilly Factor last week to defend Islam's treatment of women, Mr. Harris Zafar has decided to further elucidate his position in an article in which he maintains that the Koran requires us (sic) to honor rather than abuse women. The key passage, according to Zafar is "chapter 4 verse 35" of the Koran, and whether said passage sanctions or promotes the "ill-treatment" of women. Since 4:35 is a rather innocuous verse dealing rather perfunctorily with divorce, I will presume that Mr. Zafar is referring to the notorious 4:34:

Qur'an (4:34) - "Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great."

Now begins Mr. Zafar's 4:34 dance, as it is so aptly put by Muslim feminist writer Asra Q. Nomani. Mr. Zafar maintains that the verse is really about anger management:

As a happily married man, this verse is important to me - and my wife. The verse restricts, rather than sanctions, such behavior. It describes a process of curbing the urge to use physical force in the rare event of gross disobedience or rebellion - a vicious behavior such as adultery or stealing, not a simple disagreement. This verse presents a process of anger management, reformation and reconciliation, with the intention to heal the relationship at every step. Additionally, the Prophet Muhammad commanded not to do anything that would ever harm or leave a mark on a woman. This verse cannot be understood to justify beating, rape or any ill-treatment of women.

What is hilarious about this is that Mr. Zafar is so thoroughly indoctrinated into the Islamic principle that women are to be cared for by their masters that he cannot see the condescension of his remarks. His argument could be a passage out of an SPCA manual for the treatment of dogs. Nor does it "strike" Mr. Zafar that beating one's wife in the event of adultery or stealing might seem inappropriate. Women are to be treated like beloved camels (I would say dogs, but dogs are an anathema to Muslims) and lacking the capability to reason must be beaten when they misbehave,

I close with a few more dances that Mr. Zafar needs to incorporate into his routine:

Qur'an (4:11) - (Inheritance) "The male shall have the equal of the portion of two females" (see also verse 4:176).

Qur'an (2:228) - "and the men are a degree above them [women]"

Qur'an (2:223) - "Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will..."

If you experience technical problems, please write to