Surah An-Nisa >> Currently viewing Surah An-Nisa Ayat 34 (4:34)

Surah An-Nisa Ayat 34 in Arabic Text

ٱلرِّجَالُ قَوَّٰمُونَ عَلَى ٱلنِّسَآءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ ٱللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍۢ وَبِمَآ أَنفَقُوا۟ مِنْ أَمْوَٰلِهِمْ ۚ فَٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتُ قَـٰنِتَـٰتٌ حَـٰفِظَـٰتٌۭ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ ٱللَّهُ ۚ وَٱلَّـٰتِى تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَٱهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِى ٱلْمَضَاجِعِ وَٱضْرِبُوهُنَّ ۖ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلَا تَبْغُوا۟ عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيًّۭا كَبِيرًۭا
Arrijaalu qawwaamoona ‘alan nisaaa’i bimaa fad dalallaahu ba’dahum ‘alaa ba’dinw wa bimaaa anfaqoo min amwaalihim; fassaalihaatu qaanitaatun haafizaatul lil ghaibi bimaa hafizal laah; wallaatee takhaafoona nushoo zahunna fa ‘izoohunna wahjuroohunna fil madaaji’i wadriboohunna fa in ata’nakum falaa tabghoo ‘alaihinna sabeelaa; innallaaha kaana ‘Aliyyan Kabeeraa

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 34

Sahih International
And certainly were messengers denied before you, but they were patient over [the effects of] denial, and they were harmed until Our victory came to them. And none can alter the words of Allah. And there has certainly come to you some information about the [previous] messengers.

Yusuf Ali
Rejected were the messengers before thee: with patience and constancy they bore their rejection and their wrongs, until Our aid did reach them: there is none that can alter the words (and decrees) of Allah. Already hast thou received some account of those messengers.

Abul Ala Maududi
Messengers before you have been given the lie to, and they endured with patience their being given the lie to and being persecuted until the time when Our help reached them. None has the power to alter the words of Allah. Indeed some account of the Messengers has already reached you.

Muhsin Khan
Verily, (many) Messengers were denied before you (O Muhammad SAW), but with patience they bore the denial, and they were hurt, till Our Help reached them, and none can alter the Words (Decisions) of Allah. Surely there has reached you the information (news) about the Messengers (before you).

Pickthall
Messengers indeed have been denied before thee, and they were patient under the denial and the persecution till Our succour reached them. There is none to alter the decisions of Allah. Already there hath reached thee (somewhat) of the tidings of the messengers (We sent before).

Dr. Ghali
And Messengers even before you were indeed already cried lies to, (yet) they were patient against what they were cried lies to (i.e., patient with what they were accused of lying about) and were hurt, until Our victory came up to them. And none can exchange the Words of Allah, and indeed there has already come to you (some) tiding of the Emissaries.

Abdel Haleem
Other messengers were disbelieved before you, and they bore their rejection and persecution steadfastly until Our aid arrived- no one can alter God’s promises. You have already received accounts of these messengers.

Quran 4 Verse 34 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah An-Nisa ayat 34, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(4:34) Men are the protec-tors and maintainers of women[56] because Allah has made one of them excel over the other,[57] and because they spend out of their possessions (to support them). Thus righteous women are obedient and guard the rights of men in their absence under Allah’s protection.[58] As for women of whom you fear rebellion, admonish them, and remain apart from them in beds, and beat them.[59] Then if they obey you, do not seek ways to harm them. Allah is Exalted, Great.


56. A qawwam or qayyim is a person responsible for administering and supervising the affairs of either an individual or an organization, for protecting and safeguarding them and taking care of their needs.

57. The verb used here – a derivative of the root fdl – is not used to mean that some people have been invested with superior honour and dignity. Rather it means that God has endowed one of the sexes (i.e. the male sex) with certain qualities which He has not endowed the other sex with, at least not to an equal extent. Thus it is the male who is qualified to function as head of the family. The female has been so constituted that she should live under his care and protection.

58. It is reported in a tradition from the Prophet (peace be on him) that he said: ‘The best wife is she who, if you look at her, will please you; who, if you bid her to do something, will obey; and who will safeguard herself and your property in your absence.’ (Cited by Ibn Kathir, and reported by Tabari and Ibn Abi Hatim. See Mukhtasar Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 3 vols., ed. Muhammad ‘All al-Sabuni, 7th edition, Beirut, 1402 A.H./1981 C.E.; vol. 1, p. 385 and n. 1 – Ed.) This tradition contains the best explanation of the above verse. It should be borne in mind, however, that obedience to God has priority over a woman’s duty to obey her husband. If a woman’s husband either asks her to disobey God or prevents her from performing a duty imposed upon her by God, she should refuse to carry out his command. Obedience to her husband in this case would be a sin. However, were the husband to prevent is wife from performing either supererogatory Prayer or Fasting – as distinct from the obligatory ones – she should obey him, for such acts would not be accepted by God if performed by a woman in defiance of her husband’s wish. (See Abu Da’ud, ‘Sawm’, 73; Ibn Majah, ‘Siyam’, 53 – Ed.)

59. This does not mean that a man should resort to these three measures all at once, but that they may be employed if a wife adopts an attitude of obstinate defiance. So far as the actual application of these measures is concerned, there should, naturally, be some correspondence between the fault and the punishment that is administered. Moreover, it is obvious that wherever a light touch can prove effective.one should not resort to sterner measures. 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. (See Ibn Majah, ‘Nikah’, 3 – Ed.)

Ibn-Kathir

34. Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are Qanitat, and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard. As to those women on whose part you see ill conduct, admonish them, and abandon them in their beds, and beat them, but if they return to obedience, do not seek a means against them. Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great.) Allah said,


﴿الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَآءِ﴾

(Men are the protectors and maintainers of women,) meaning, the man is responsible for the woman, and he is her maintainer, caretaker and leader who disciplines her if she deviates.

﴿بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ﴾

(because Allah has made one of them to excel the other,) meaning, because men excel over women and are better than them for certain tasks. This is why prophethood was exclusive of men, as well as other important positions of leadership. The Prophet said,

«لَنْ يُفْلِحَ قَوْمٌ وَلَّوْا أَمْرَهُمُ امْرَأَة»

(People who appoint a woman to be their leader, will never achieve success.) Al-Bukhari recorded this Hadith. Such is the case with appointing women as judges or on other positions of leadership.

﴿وَبِمَآ أَنفَقُواْ مِنْ أَمْوَلِهِمْ﴾

(and because they spend from their means.) meaning the dowry, expenditures and various expenses that Allah ordained in His Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger for men to spend on women. For these reasons it is suitable that he is appointed her maintainer, just as Allah said,

﴿وَلِلرِّجَالِ عَلَيْهِنَّ دَرَجَةٌ﴾

(But men have a degree (of responsibility) over them).

Qualities of the Righteous Wife

Allah said,

﴿فَالصَّـلِحَـتُ﴾

(Therefore, the righteous) women,

﴿قَـنِتَـتٍ﴾

(are Qanitat), obedient to their husbands, as Ibn `Abbas and others stated.

﴿حَـفِظَـتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ﴾

(and guard in the husband’s absence) As-Suddi and others said that it means she protects her honor and her husband’s property when he is absent, and Allah’s statement,

﴿بِمَا حَفِظَ اللَّهُ﴾

(what Allah orders them to guard.) means, the protected ﴿husband﴾ is the one whom Allah protects. Ibn Jarir recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«خَيْرُ النِّسَاءِ امْرَأَةٌ إِذَا نَظَرْتَ إِلَيْهَا سَرَّتْكَ، وَإِذَا أَمَرْتَهَا أَطَاعَتْكَ، وَإِذَا غِبْتَ عَنْهَا حَفِظَتْكَ فِي نَفْسِهَا وَمَالِك»

(The best women is she who when you look at her, she pleases you, when you command her she obeys you, and when you are absent, she protects her honor and your property.) Then, the Messenger of Allah recited the Ayah,

﴿الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَآءِ﴾

(Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, ) until its end. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Awf said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«إِذَا صَلَّتِ الْمَرْأَةُ خَمْسَهَا، وَصَامَتْ شَهْرَهَا، وَحَفِظَتْ فَرْجَهَا، وَأَطَاعَتْ زَوْجَهَا، قِيلَ لَهَا: ادْخُلِي الْجَنَّةَ مِنْ أَيِّ الْأَبْوَابِ شِئْت»

(If the woman prayed her five daily prayers, fasted her month, protected her chastity and obeyed her husband, she will be told, ‘Enter Paradise from any of its doors you wish.’)

Dealing with the Wife’s Ill-Conduct

Allah said,

﴿وَاللَّـتِى تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ﴾

(As to those women on whose part you see ill conduct,) meaning, the woman from whom you see ill conduct with her husband, such as when she acts as if she is above her husband, disobeys him, ignores him, dislikes him, and so forth. When these signs appear in a woman, her husband should advise her and remind her of Allah’s torment if she disobeys him. Indeed, Allah ordered the wife to obey her husband and prohibited her from disobeying him, because of the enormity of his rights and all that he does for her. The Messenger of Allah said,

«لَوْ كُنْتُ آمِرًا أَحَدًا أَنْ يَسْجُدَ لِأَحَدٍ، لَأَمَرْتُ الْمَرْأَةَ أَنْ تَسْجُدَ لِزَوْجِهَا، مِنْ عِظَمِ حَقِّهِ عَلَيْهَا»

(If I were to command anyone to prostrate before anyone, I would have commanded the wife to prostrate before her husband, because of the enormity of his right upon her.) Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«إِذَا دَعَا الرَّجُلُ امْرَأَتَهُ إِلى فِرَاشِهِ فَأَبَتْ عَلَيْهِ، لَعَنَتْهَا الْمَلَائِكَةُ حَتَّى تُصْبِح»

(If the man asks his wife to come to his bed and she declines, the angels will keep cursing her until the morning.) Muslim recorded it with the wording,

«إِذَا بَاتَتِ الْمَرْأَةُ هَاجِرَةً فِرَاشَ زَوْجِهَا، لَعَنَتْهَا الْمَلَائِكَةُ حَتَّى تُصْبِح»

(If the wife goes to sleep while ignoring her husband’s bed, the angels will keep cursing her until the morning.) This is why Allah said,

﴿وَاللَّـتِى تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ﴾

(As to those women on whose part you see ill conduct, admonish them (first)). Allah’s statement,

﴿وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِى الْمَضَاجِعِ﴾

(abandon them in their beds,) `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said “The abandonment refers to not having intercourse with her, to lie on her bed with his back to her.” Several others said similarly. As-Suddi, Ad-Dahhak, `Ikrimah, and Ibn `Abbas, in another narration, added, “Not to speak with her or talk to her.” The Sunan and Musnad compilers recorded that Mu`awiyah bin Haydah Al-Qushayri said, “O Allah’s Messenger! What is the right that the wife of one of us has on him” The Prophet said,

«أَنْ تُطْعِمَهَا إِذَا طَعِمْتَ، وَتَكْسُوَهَا إِذَا اكْتَسَيْتَ، وَلَا تَضْرِبِ الْوَجْهَ، وَلَا تُقَبِّحْ، وَلَا تَهْجُرْ إِلَّا فِي الْبَيْت»

(To feed her when you eat, cloth her when you buy clothes for yourself, refrain from striking her face or cursing her, and to not abandon her, except in the house.) Allah’s statement,

﴿وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ﴾

(beat them) means, if advice and ignoring her in the bed do not produce the desired results, you are allowed to discipline the wife, without severe beating. Muslim recorded that Jabir said that during the Farewell Hajj, the Prophet said;

«وَاتَّقُوا اللهَ فِي النِّسَاءِ، فَإِنَّهُنَّ عِنْدَكُمْ عَوَانٍ، وَلَكُمْ عَلَيْهِنَّ أَنْ لَا يُوطِئْنَ فُرُشَكُمْ أَحَدًا تَكْرَهُونَهُ،فَإِنْ فَعَلْنَ ذَلِكَ فَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ ضَرْبًا غَيْرَ مُبَرِحٍ، وَلَهُنَّ عَلَيْكُمْ رِزْقُهُنَّ وَكِسْوَتُهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوف»

(Fear Allah regarding women, for they are your assistants. You have the right on them that they do not allow any person whom you dislike to step on your mat. However, if they do that, you are allowed to discipline them lightly. They have a right on you that you provide them with their provision and clothes, in a reasonable manner.) 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.

When the Wife Obeys Her Husband, Means of Annoyance Against Her are Prohibited

Allah said,

﴿فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلاَ تَبْغُواْ عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلاً﴾

(but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance),) meaning, when the wife obeys her husband in all that Allah has allowed, then no means of annoyance from the husband are allowed against his wife. Therefore, in this case, the husband does not have the right to beat her or shun her bed. Allah’s statement,

﴿إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيّاً كَبِيراً﴾

(Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great.) reminds men that if they transgress against their wives without justification, then Allah, the Ever Most High, Most Great, is their Protector, and He will exert revenge on those who transgress against their wives and deal with them unjustly.

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