The Word "Daraba" in the Qur'an

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(Pictured above) Qur'an verse 4:34 in Arabic script.
According to the majority of Qur'anic translators and the Arabic lexicon[1], the Arabic phrase Idri-boo-hunna which appears in Qur'an 4:34 (highlighted in blue) means "beat them".

The Qur'an (surah 4:34) clearly says:

ٱلرِّجَالُ قَوَّٰمُونَ عَلَى ٱلنِّسَآءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ ٱللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَبِمَآ أَنفَقُوا۟ مِنْ أَمْوَٰلِهِمْ ۚ فَٱلصَّٰلِحَٰتُ قَٰنِتَٰتٌ حَٰفِظَٰتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ ٱللَّهُ ۚ وَٱلَّٰتِى تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَٱهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِى ٱلْمَضَاجِعِ وَٱضْرِبُوهُنَّ ۖ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلَا تَبْغُوا۟ عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيًّا كَبِيرًا


"Men are overseers over women, by reason of that wherewith Allah hath made one of them excel over another, and by reason of that which they expend of their substance. Wherefore righteous women are obedient, and are watchers in husbands absence by the aid and protection of Allah. And those wives whose refractoriness ye fear, exhort them, and avoid them in beds, and beat them; but if they obey you, seek not a way against them; verily Allah is ever Lofty, Grand."

The word "wadribuuhunna" means "beat them (i.e. the wives of men)," yet some modern Islamic du'aah, embarrassed about this obvious command for men to beat their wives in the Qur'an, have claimed rather that this verb means to "separate from them" or to "strike them out (sic)." All the verses that contain daraba against a human are understood to mean "beat" or "strike" that human, by their context, and this is agreed upon by these obscure "modern" translations. The only reason to translate the verb "daraba" to mean "separate from them" is to obfuscate the meaning of the verse for modern readers who view the injunction for men to beat their wives as barbaric, inhumane, incompatible with modern human rights. The attempts to translate this word in this way is novel, done only for audiences in majority non-Muslim countries, and flies in the face of over a thousand years of Islamic commentary and exegesis.

Modern Claims

An argument has been presented on some ( exclusively western) Islamic websites and by some Muslims and apologists which claim to have "modern" translations of the Qur'an[2], which claims that the Arabic verb "ضرب" "daraba" means something other than to "strike" "beat" or "hit." Alternatives offered include "separate from them" or somewhat nonsensically for a native English speaker "strike them out." The people making these claims are generally seeking to "reform" Islam, but this translation flies in the face of over a thousand years of understanding of the Arabic language, by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. These apologetic arguments are clearly directed people of a westernized/liberal background with little to no knowledge of Arabic, as any Muslim who has an adequate command of the Arabic language or any non-Muslim Arab, or any non-Arabic speaking Muslim familiar with the hadith and tafsir text related to this issue, will find the claim being presented to be ridiculous and prima facia untenable. Despite this, the obviously incorrect translation of this verb can be found in prominent cases such as that of Laleh Bakhtiar, an American Muslim apologist. She went so far as to incorporate this incorrect translation into her translation of the Qur'an, a translation which the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) refused to sell in their bookstore for its inaccuracy.

Agreed-Upon Translations

Almost all Qur'anic professional translators in English have translated the term as "beat them".

Yusuf Ali:

"....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 (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all)." [3]

Pickthal:

"...As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great." [3]

Shakir:

"...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." [3]

Al-Hilali & Mohsin Khan:

"....As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful), but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great." [3]

Dr. T.B. Irving:

"...Admonish those women whose surliness you fear, and leave them alone in their beds, and [even] beat them [if necessary]. If they obey you, do not seek any way [to proceed] against them. God is Sublime, Great." [4]

Muhammad Sarwar:

"...Admonish women who disobey (God's laws), do not sleep with them and beat them. If they obey (the laws of God), do not try to find fault in them. God is High and Supreme." [3]

Rashad Khalifa:

"....If you experience rebellion from the women, you shall first talk to them, then (you may use negative incentives like) deserting them in bed, then you may (as a last alternative) beat them. If they obey you, you are not permitted to transgress against them. GOD is Most High, Supreme." [5]

Abdul-Majid Daryabadi:

"...And those wives whose refractoriness ye fear, exhort them, and avoid them in beds, and beat them; but if they obey you, seek not a way against them; verily Allah is ever Lofty, Grand." [6]

E.H. Palmer:

"...But those whose perverseness ye fear, admonish them and remove them into bedchambers and beat them; but if they submit to you, then do not seek a way against them; verily, God is high and great." [7]

Muhammad Ayub Khan:

"...And those whose rebellion you fear, admonish them and leave them alone in the beds, and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; God is surely High, Great."

Ahmed Raza Khan:

"...the women from whom you fear disobedience, (at first) advise them and (then) do not cohabit with them, and (lastly) beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek to do injustice to them; indeed Allah is Supreme, Great." [8]

Hassan Qaribullah & Ahmad Darwish:

"...Those from whom you fear rebelliousness, admonish them and desert them in the bed and smack them (without harshness). Then, if they obey you, do not look for any way against them. Allah is High, Great." [3]

Mahmud Y. Zayid:

"...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." [9]

Muhammad Asad:

"...And as for those woolen whose ill-will" you have reason to fear, admonish them [first]; then leave them alone in bed; then beat them and if thereupon..." [3]

Qur'anic Meanings

The partisans of this argument attempt to back up their claim that daraba does not mean "to beat them" (i.e. their wives) in verse 4:34 by providing several other verses in the Qur'an which contain the word daraba, being used to describe an action other than "to beat" or "to strike":

  1. To travel, to get out: See Quran 3:156; Quran 4:101; Quran 38:44; Quran 73:20; Quran 2:273
  2. To set up: Quran 43:58; See Quran 57:113
  3. To give examples: See Quran 14:24, Quran 14:45; Quran 16:75, Quran 16:76, Quran 16:112; Quran 18:32, Quran 18:45; Quran 24:35; Quran 30:28, Quran 30:58; Quran 36:78; Quran 39:27, Quran 39:29; Quran 43:17; Quran 59:21; Quran 66:10, Quran 66:11
  4. To take away, to ignore: See Quran 43:5
  5. To condemn: See Quran 2:61
  6. To seal, to draw over: See Quran 18:11
  7. To cover: See Quran 24:31
  8. To explain: See Quran 13:17

Evidently, they have searched through the Qur'an for any verses which contain a derivative of the verb daraba and then have compared their meanings, concluding that there are ten different meanings for the verb daraba and something other than "to beat" can be applied to verse 4:34. Each of these differing usages of the verb daraba are thoroughly analyzed below along with the verses in which they appear.

Careful study of all the above verses reveals that they do not affect the interpretation of verse 4:34 whatsoever, and that the verb daraba was indeed correctly understood and translated as "beat".

In fact, all the other verses presented which contain daraba are actually using the term figuratively. For example, "hit the sky" is a figurative expression; nothing can literally "hit" or "crash" with the sky, it is meant to be understood as "fly high through" the sky. These partisan translators and apologists proposing this bad translation will claim that this is a "different meaning" for the word "hit", when in fact it is simply a analogical extension of the main meaning of the verb. In effect this would mean when someone says in Arabic "I'll hit you," in actuality they meant "I'll fly high through you"; the argument is absurd to anyone with even a basic command of Arabic, but is advanced by Muslim apologists for a non-Arabic speaking audience to allay their embarrassment over this verse.

Comparison with English Usages

A comparison with English is useful: The meaning of many verbs differ according to the objects they are applied to and the prepositions with which they are used. Using the word "hit" in English as an example, which also means daraba, a number of derivitive and metaphorical meanings of "hit" may be arrived at, similar to daraba.

Ten Meanings for "Hit"

Ten of these metaphorical/derived meanings are as follows (note that the nouns in the brackets are the objects to be hit):

  1. Go through (Road)
  2. Click (Mouse)
  3. Drink (Bottle)
  4. Land (Target)
  5. Reach (Market)
  6. Press (Brakes)
  7. Go (Beach)
  8. Fulfill (Spot)
  9. Demonstrate (Streets)
  10. Win (Jackpot)

Examples:

  1. When an English speaker "hits the road," as in this famous song, it means he "departed" or "set out." It surely doesn't mean he got a hammer and hit the road. The base meaning of "hit" remains untouched when not used with "the road."
  2. When an English speaker says they will "hit the Mouse," they mean to say they will "click on the mouse." The base meaning of "hit" remains untouched when not used with "the mouse."
  3. When an English speaker says they'll "hit the bottle," what they really mean is, they'll "drink the bottle" or "drink alcohol heavily." The base meaning of "hit" remains untouched when not used with "the bottle."
  4. When a darts player "hits the target" in English, he didn't get the dart board and break it, he simply shot the dart and it "landed on the target." The base meaning of "hit" remains untouched when not used with "the target."
  5. When an author's book "hits the market" in English, it means the book "reaches the market." The base meaning of "hit" remains untouched when not used with "the market."
  6. When an English speaker says they'll "hit the brakes," it doesn't mean they'll break the braking pedal, but rather it mean they'll "press on the brakes" to stop the car. The base meaning of "hit" remains untouched when not used with "the the brakes."
  7. When a an English speaker "hits the beach," they didn't fall from the 11th floor and "crash" into the beach, but they "went to the beach." The base meaning of "hit" remains untouched when not used with "the beach."
  8. When an English speaker says its fine but it didn't "hit the spot," they mean to say its fine but didn't fulfill their needs. The base meaning of "hit" remains untouched when not used with "the spot."
  9. When an English speaker says the activists "hit the streets," it means the activists "demonstrated in the streets." The base meaning of "hit" remains untouched when not used with "the streets."
  10. When an English speaker says they "hit the jackpot" it actually means they "won the jackpot." The base meaning of "hit" remains untouched when not used with "the jackpot."


As can clearly be seen, each of those sentences involves a different meaning of the word "hit", which is applied accordingly to the object used in combination with it. Yet even with all of these "different meanings" of the word "hit" in mind, the sentence "I will hit my woman" remains clear: the meaning is "I shall strike my woman", or in Arabic "سوف أضرب إمرأتي" There is no possible alternative meaning to "I will beat my woman."' The difference between, for example, "hit the road" and "hit the woman", is the object to be hit, and not the meaning of "hit" itself; the meanings of the two sentences are different but clear.

Commentary

Most of the verses containing the eight different meanings which have been given by the apologists are using the verb daraba (hit) not against human beings, but rather "hitting the land," "hitting an example," "hitting the truth"... etc., clearly figurative uses which are derivative of the main meaning "to hit." In the verses in the Qur'an where daraba is used against a human being without a modifiying preposition, it clearly means to "beat" or "strike," which confirms our understanding of the use of daraba in verse 4:34.

What follows now is a discussion of daraba in the contexts where it is found in the Qur'an with a meaning other than "to hit" or "to strike." The original verse in Arabic will be presented, along with word-by-word literal translation of the statement in Bold in each verse, which is the place where daraba (hit) and its object (i.e. Land) are used; and above each verse will be found the name of the object being hit. For example, in the example of the phrase "strikean example," its will literally translation will be presented as is, not as "give an example" like the standard Qur'anic translations. Although this translation may sound strange, it will make the object to be hit, easily identifiable for the non-Arabic speakers.

This literal translation of all the verses for will show that each time "daraba" is used and has a different meaning than to "beat," it is not against a human being, but against other material and non-material objects. And each and every time it is used against a human without a modifying preposition, it has no other meaning than to "beat".

Meaning 1: To travel, to get out

Verse: 3.156 Object: Land

O ye who believe! Be not like the Unbelievers, who say of their brethren, when they are traveling through the Earth or engaged in fighting: "If they had stayed with us, they would not have died, or been slain." This that Allah may make it a cause of sighs and regrets in their hearts. It is Allah that gives Life and Death, and Allah sees well all that ye do.


يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ لَا تَكُونُوا۟ كَٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ وَقَالُوا۟ لِإِخْوَٰنِهِمْ إِذَا ضَرَبُوا۟ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ أَوْ كَانُوا۟ غُزًّى لَّوْ كَانُوا۟ عِندَنَا مَا مَاتُوا۟ وَمَا قُتِلُوا۟ لِيَجْعَلَ ٱللَّهُ ذَٰلِكَ حَسْرَةً فِى قُلُوبِهِمْ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ يُحْىِۦ وَيُمِيتُ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ


daraboo ضَرَبُوا۟ is derived from daraba ضرب, meaning "hit" 'beat" or "strike." Fee في literally means "in". Al-Ardi ٱلْأَرْضِ means "the land" or "the earth." Thus, the whole statement daraboo fee al-ardi ضَرَبُوا۟ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ translates literally as "hit in the land", with a meaning of something like "hit the road" that is "to travel", a clearly figurative extension of the main meaning of the verb, "hit."

"Hit" here gives this meaning only when it is against "land"; it is a well-known expression in Arabic.


Verse: 4.101 Object: Land

When ye travel through the earth, there is no blame on you if ye shorten your prayers, for fear the Unbelievers May attack you: For the Unbelievers are unto you open enemies.


وَإِذَا ضَرَبْتُمْ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ فَلَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَقْصُرُوا۟ مِنَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ إِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَن يَفْتِنَكُمُ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓا۟ ۚ إِنَّ ٱلْكَٰفِرِينَ كَانُوا۟ لَكُمْ عَدُوًّا مُّبِينًا


darabtum fee al-ardi ضَرَبْتُمْ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ literally meaning "you (plural) hit in the land" again meaning here "to travel" or to move across the land.


Verse: 73.20 Object: Land

Thy Lord doth know that thou standest forth (to prayer) nigh two-thirds of the night, or half the night, or a third of the night, and so doth a party of those with thee. But Allah doth appoint night and day in due measure He knoweth that ye are unable to keep count thereof. So He hath turned to you (in mercy): read ye, therefore, of the Qur'an as much as may be easy for you. He knoweth that there may be (some) among you in ill-health; others traveling through the land, seeking of Allah's bounty; yet others fighting in Allah's Cause, read ye, therefore, as much of the Qur'an as may be easy (for you); and establish regular Prayer and give regular Charity; and loan to Allah a Beautiful Loan. And whatever good ye send forth for your souls ye shall find it in Allah's Presence,- yea, better and greater, in Reward and seek ye the Grace of Allah: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.


إِنَّ رَبَّكَ يَعْلَمُ أَنَّكَ تَقُومُ أَدْنَىٰ مِن ثُلُثَىِ ٱلَّيْلِ وَنِصْفَهُۥ وَثُلُثَهُۥ وَطَآئِفَةٌ مِّنَ ٱلَّذِينَ مَعَكَ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ يُقَدِّرُ ٱلَّيْلَ وَٱلنَّهَارَ ۚ عَلِمَ أَن لَّن تُحْصُوهُ فَتَابَ عَلَيْكُمْ ۖ فَٱقْرَءُوا۟ مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنَ ٱلْقُرْءَانِ ۚ عَلِمَ أَن سَيَكُونُ مِنكُم مَّرْضَىٰ ۙ وَءَاخَرُونَ يَضْرِبُونَ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ يَبْتَغُونَ مِن فَضْلِ ٱللَّهِ ۙ وَءَاخَرُونَ يُقَٰتِلُونَ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ ۖ فَٱقْرَءُوا۟ مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنْهُ ۚ وَأَقِيمُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتُوا۟ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَأَقْرِضُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا ۚ وَمَا تُقَدِّمُوا۟ لِأَنفُسِكُم مِّنْ خَيْرٍ تَجِدُوهُ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ هُوَ خَيْرًا وَأَعْظَمَ أَجْرًا ۚ وَٱسْتَغْفِرُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ ۖ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌۢ


yadriboona fee al-ardi يَضْرِبُونَ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ literally meaning "they hit in the land" again meaning here "to travel" or to move across the land.


Verse: 2.273 Object: Land

(Charity is) for those in need, who, in Allah's cause are restricted (from travel), and cannot move about in the land, seeking (For trade or work): the ignorant man thinks, because of their modesty, that they are free from want. Thou shalt know them by their (Unfailing) mark: They beg not importunately from all the sundry. And whatever of good ye give, be assured Allah knoweth it well.


لِلْفُقَرَآءِ ٱلَّذِينَ أُحْصِرُوا۟ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ لَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ ضَرْبًا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ يَحْسَبُهُمُ ٱلْجَاهِلُ أَغْنِيَآءَ مِنَ ٱلتَّعَفُّفِ تَعْرِفُهُم بِسِيمَٰهُمْ لَا يَسْـَٔلُونَ ٱلنَّاسَ إِلْحَافًا ۗ وَمَا تُنفِقُوا۟ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِهِۦ عَلِيمٌ


darban fee al-ardi ضَرْبًا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ literally "a hit in the land" again meaning "moving about in the land."

Meaning number 2: To set up or place

Verse: 57.13 Object: Wall

One Day will the Hypocrites- men and women - say to the Believers: "Wait for us! Let us borrow (a Light) from your Light!" It will be said: "Turn ye back to your rear! then seek a Light (where ye can)! So a wall will be put up betwixt them, with a gate therein. Within it will be Mercy throughout, and without it, all alongside, will be (Wrath and) Punishment!


يَوْمَ يَقُولُ ٱلْمُنَٰفِقُونَ وَٱلْمُنَٰفِقَٰتُ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ ٱنظُرُونَا نَقْتَبِسْ مِن نُّورِكُمْ قِيلَ ٱرْجِعُوا۟ وَرَآءَكُمْ فَٱلْتَمِسُوا۟ نُورًا فَضُرِبَ بَيْنَهُم بِسُورٍ لَّهُۥ بَابٌۢ بَاطِنُهُۥ فِيهِ ٱلرَّحْمَةُ وَظَٰهِرُهُۥ مِن قِبَلِهِ ٱلْعَذَابُ


faduriba baynahum bisoorin فَضُرِبَ بَيْنَهُم بِسُورٍ literally "a wall was struck between them" which is understood as "a wall was placed between them."

Meaning number 3: To give examples

Verse: 14.24 Object: Example

Seest thou not how Allah sets forth a parable? - A goodly word like a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches (reach) to the heavens,- of its Lord. So Allah sets forth parables for men, in order that they may receive admonition.


أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ ضَرَبَ ٱللَّهُ مَثَلًا كَلِمَةً طَيِّبَةً كَشَجَرَةٍ طَيِّبَةٍ أَصْلُهَا ثَابِتٌ وَفَرْعُهَا فِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ


daraba Allahu mathalan ضَرَبَ ٱللَّهُ مَثَلًا literally "Allah struck an example", meaning "he gave an example."


Verse: 14.45 Object: Example

"And ye dwelt in the dwellings of men who wronged their own souls; ye were clearly shown how We dealt with them; and We put forth (many) parables in your behoof!"


وَسَكَنتُمْ فِى مَسَٰكِنِ ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوٓا۟ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمْ كَيْفَ فَعَلْنَا بِهِمْ وَضَرَبْنَا لَكُمُ ٱلْأَمْثَالَ


wadarabna lakumu al-amthala ضَرَبْنَا لَكُمُ ٱلْأَمْثَالَ literally "we strike for you the example" meaning "we give an example for you."


Verse: 16.75 Object: Example

Allah sets forth the Parable (of two men: one) a slave under the dominion of another; He has no power of any sort; and (the other) a man on whom We have bestowed goodly favours from Ourselves, and he spends thereof (freely), privately and publicly: are the two equal? (By no means;) praise be to Allah. But most of them understand not.


ضَرَبَ ٱللَّهُ مَثَلًا عَبْدًا مَّمْلُوكًا لَّا يَقْدِرُ عَلَىٰ شَىْءٍ وَمَن رَّزَقْنَٰهُ مِنَّا رِزْقًا حَسَنًا فَهُوَ يُنفِقُ مِنْهُ سِرًّا وَجَهْرًا ۖ هَلْ يَسْتَوُۥنَ ۚ ٱلْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ ۚ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ


Daraba Allahu mathalan ضَرَبَ ٱللَّهُ مَثَلًا literally "Allah has struck an example" meaning "Allah has given an example."


Verse: 16.76 Object: Example

Allah sets forth (another) Parable of two men: one of them dumb, with no power of any sort; a wearisome burden is he to his master; whichever way be directs him, he brings no good: is such a man equal with one who commands Justice, and is on a Straight Way?


وَضَرَبَ ٱللَّهُ مَثَلًا رَّجُلَيْنِ أَحَدُهُمَآ أَبْكَمُ لَا يَقْدِرُ عَلَىٰ شَىْءٍ وَهُوَ كَلٌّ عَلَىٰ مَوْلَىٰهُ أَيْنَمَا يُوَجِّههُّ لَا يَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ ۖ هَلْ يَسْتَوِى هُوَ وَمَن يَأْمُرُ بِٱلْعَدْلِ ۙ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ صِرَٰطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ


Wadaraba Allahu mathalan وَضَرَبَ ٱللَّهُ مَثَلًا literally "And Allah has struck an example" meaning "Allah has given an example."


Verse: 16.112 Object: Example

Allah sets forth a Parable: a city enjoying security and quiet, abundantly supplied with sustenance from every place: Yet was it ungrateful for the favours of Allah: so Allah made it taste of hunger and terror (in extremes) (closing in on it) like a garment (from every side), because of the (evil) which (its people) wrought.


وَضَرَبَ ٱللَّهُ مَثَلًا قَرْيَةً كَانَتْ ءَامِنَةً مُّطْمَئِنَّةً يَأْتِيهَا رِزْقُهَا رَغَدًا مِّن كُلِّ مَكَانٍ فَكَفَرَتْ بِأَنْعُمِ ٱللَّهِ فَأَذَٰقَهَا ٱللَّهُ لِبَاسَ ٱلْجُوعِ وَٱلْخَوْفِ بِمَا كَانُوا۟ يَصْنَعُونَ


Wadaraba Allahu mathalan وَضَرَبَ ٱللَّهُ مَثَلًا literally "And Allah has struck an example" meaning "And Allah has given an example."


Verse: 18.32 Object: Example

Set forth to them the parable of two men: for one of them We provided two gardens of grape-vines and surrounded them with date palms; in between the two We placed corn-fields.


وَٱضْرِبْ لَهُم مَّثَلًا رَّجُلَيْنِ جَعَلْنَا لِأَحَدِهِمَا جَنَّتَيْنِ مِنْ أَعْنَٰبٍ وَحَفَفْنَٰهُمَا بِنَخْلٍ وَجَعَلْنَا بَيْنَهُمَا زَرْعًا


Waidrib lahum mathalan وَٱضْرِبْ لَهُم مَّثَلًا literally "and you, struck for them an example" meaning "and give for them an example."


Verse: 18.45 Object: Example

Set forth to them the similitude of the life of this world: It is like the rain which we send down from the skies: the earth's vegetation absorbs it, but soon it becomes dry stubble, which the winds do scatter: it is (only) Allah who prevails over all things.


وَٱضْرِبْ لَهُم مَّثَلَ ٱلْحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنْيَا كَمَآءٍ أَنزَلْنَٰهُ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ فَٱخْتَلَطَ بِهِۦ نَبَاتُ ٱلْأَرْضِ فَأَصْبَحَ هَشِيمًا تَذْرُوهُ ٱلرِّيَٰحُ ۗ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىْءٍ مُّقْتَدِرًا


Waidrib lahum mathala وَٱضْرِبْ لَهُم مَّثَلَ literally "and struck for them an example" meaning "and he gave an example."


Verse: 24.35 Object: Example

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The Parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche and within it a Lamp: the Lamp enclosed in Glass: the glass as it were a brilliant star: Lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! Allah doth guide whom He will to His Light: Allah doth set forth Parables for men: and Allah doth know all things.


ٱللَّهُ نُورُ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ۚ مَثَلُ نُورِهِۦ كَمِشْكَوٰةٍ فِيهَا مِصْبَاحٌ ۖ ٱلْمِصْبَاحُ فِى زُجَاجَةٍ ۖ ٱلزُّجَاجَةُ كَأَنَّهَا كَوْكَبٌ دُرِّىٌّ يُوقَدُ مِن شَجَرَةٍ مُّبَٰرَكَةٍ زَيْتُونَةٍ لَّا شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلَا غَرْبِيَّةٍ يَكَادُ زَيْتُهَا يُضِىٓءُ وَلَوْ لَمْ تَمْسَسْهُ نَارٌ ۚ نُّورٌ عَلَىٰ نُورٍ ۗ يَهْدِى ٱللَّهُ لِنُورِهِۦ مَن يَشَآءُ ۚ وَيَضْرِبُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلْأَمْثَٰلَ لِلنَّاسِ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمٌ


wayadribu Allahu al-amthala وَيَضْرِبُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلْأَمْثَٰلَ literally meaning "And Allah hits the examples" with the meaning that "he Allah provides the examples."


Verse: 30.28 Object: Example

He does propound to you a similitude from your own (experience): do ye have partners among those whom your right hands possess, to share as equals in the wealth We have bestowed on you? O ye fear them as ye fear each other? Thus do we explain the Signs in detail to a people that understand.


ضَرَبَ لَكُم مَّثَلًا مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ ۖ هَل لَّكُم مِّن مَّا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَٰنُكُم مِّن شُرَكَآءَ فِى مَا رَزَقْنَٰكُمْ فَأَنتُمْ فِيهِ سَوَآءٌ تَخَافُونَهُمْ كَخِيفَتِكُمْ أَنفُسَكُمْ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ ٱلْءَايَٰتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ


Daraba lakum mathalan ضَرَبَ لَكُم مَّثَلًا literally meaning "struck an example for you" meaning and "and he set forth for you all an example."


Verse: 30.58 Object: Example

verily We have propounded for men, in this Qur'an every kind of Parable: But if thou bring to them any Sign, the Unbelievers are sure to say, "Ye do nothing but talk vanities."


وَلَقَدْ ضَرَبْنَا لِلنَّاسِ فِى هَٰذَا ٱلْقُرْءَانِ مِن كُلِّ مَثَلٍ ۚ وَلَئِن جِئْتَهُم بِـَٔايَةٍ لَّيَقُولَنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓا۟ إِنْ أَنتُمْ إِلَّا مُبْطِلُونَ


darabna liInnasi fee hatha alqur-ani min kulli mathalin وَلَقَدْ ضَرَبْنَا لِلنَّاسِ فِى هَٰذَا ٱلْقُرْءَانِ مِن كُلِّ مَثَلٍ literally meaning "We have struck in this Quran for every example for the people" meaning "we have given an example for the people in this Qur'an."


Verse: 39.27 Object: Example

We have put forth for men, in this Qur'an every kind of Parable, in order that they may receive admonition.


وَلَقَدْ ضَرَبْنَا لِلنَّاسِ فِى هَٰذَا ٱلْقُرْءَانِ مِن كُلِّ مَثَلٍ لَّعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ


Walaqad darabna liInnasi fee hatha alqur-ani min kulli mathalin وَلَقَدْ ضَرَبْنَا لِلنَّاسِ فِى هَٰذَا ٱلْقُرْءَانِ مِن كُلِّ مَثَلٍ literally meaning "And we have struck in this Quran from every example for the people"


Verse: 39.29 Object: Example

Allah puts forth a Parable a man belonging to many partners at variance with each other, and a man belonging entirely to one master: are those two equal in comparison? Praise be to Allah! but most of them have no knowledge.


ضَرَبَ ٱللَّهُ مَثَلًا رَّجُلًا فِيهِ شُرَكَآءُ مُتَشَٰكِسُونَ وَرَجُلًا سَلَمًا لِّرَجُلٍ هَلْ يَسْتَوِيَانِ مَثَلًا ۚ ٱلْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ ۚ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ


Daraba Allahu mathalan ضَرَبَ ٱللَّهُ مَثَلًا literally meaning "Allah stuck an example"


Verse: 43.17 Object: Example

When news is brought to one of them of (the birth of) what he sets up as a likeness to (Allah) Most Gracious, his face darkens, and he is filled with inward grief!


وَإِذَا بُشِّرَ أَحَدُهُم بِمَا ضَرَبَ لِلرَّحْمَٰنِ مَثَلًا ظَلَّ وَجْهُهُۥ مُسْوَدًّا وَهُوَ كَظِيمٌ


bima daraba liIrrahmani mathalan بِمَا ضَرَبَ لِلرَّحْمَٰنِ مَثَلًا literally meaning "in the examples struck by the Merciful" with a meaning of "in the examples given by the merciful."

Verse: 43.58 Object: Example

And they say: are our gods better, or is he? They mention him not to thee save for disputation. Aye! they are a people contentious..


وَقَالُوٓا۟ ءَأَٰلِهَتُنَا خَيْرٌ أَمْ هُوَ ۚ مَا ضَرَبُوهُ لَكَ إِلَّا جَدَلًۢا ۚ بَلْ هُمْ قَوْمٌ خَصِمُونَ


ma daraboohu laka ۚ مَا ضَرَبُوهُ لَكَ literally "what they have struck it for you" The thing that is struck here is, from its previous verse Quran 43:57, is an example; the meaning is thus "

Verse: 59.21 Object: Example

Had We sent down this Qur'an on a mountain, verily, thou wouldst have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear of Allah. Such are the similitudes which We propound to men, that they may reflect.


لَوْ أَنزَلْنَا هَٰذَا ٱلْقُرْءَانَ عَلَىٰ جَبَلٍ لَّرَأَيْتَهُۥ خَٰشِعًا مُّتَصَدِّعًا مِّنْ خَشْيَةِ ٱللَّهِ ۚ وَتِلْكَ ٱلْأَمْثَٰلُ نَضْرِبُهَا لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ


watilka al-amthalu nadribuha liInnasi وَتِلْكَ ٱلْأَمْثَٰلُ نَضْرِبُهَا لِلنَّاسِ literally meaning "and these are the examples that we struck for the people"


Verse: 66.10 Object: Example

Allah sets forth, for an example to the Unbelievers, the wife of Noah and the wife of Lut: they were (respectively) under two of our righteous servants, but they were false to their (husbands), and they profited nothing before Allah on their account, but were told: "Enter ye the Fire along with (others) that enter!"


ضَرَبَ ٱللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ ٱمْرَأَتَ نُوحٍ وَٱمْرَأَتَ لُوطٍ ۖ كَانَتَا تَحْتَ عَبْدَيْنِ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا صَٰلِحَيْنِ فَخَانَتَاهُمَا فَلَمْ يُغْنِيَا عَنْهُمَا مِنَ ٱللَّهِ شَيْـًٔا وَقِيلَ ٱدْخُلَا ٱلنَّارَ مَعَ ٱلدَّٰخِلِينَ


Daraba Allahu mathalan ضَرَبَ ٱللَّهُ مَثَلًا literally meaning "Allah has strikes an example" and with a meaning


Verse: 66.11 Object: Example

And Allah sets forth, as an example to those who believe the wife of Pharaoh: Behold she said: "O my Lord! Build for me, in nearness to Thee, a mansion in the Garden, and save me from Pharaoh and his doings, and save me from those that do wrong"


وَضَرَبَ ٱللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِّلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ ٱمْرَأَتَ فِرْعَوْنَ إِذْ قَالَتْ رَبِّ ٱبْنِ لِى عِندَكَ بَيْتًا فِى ٱلْجَنَّةِ وَنَجِّنِى مِن فِرْعَوْنَ وَعَمَلِهِۦ وَنَجِّنِى مِنَ ٱلْقَوْمِ ٱلظَّٰلِمِينَ


Wadaraba Allahu mathalan وَضَرَبَ ٱللَّهُ مَثَلًا literally meaning "And Allah has strikes an example" meaning "and Allah has given an example."

Meaning number 4: To take away, to ignore

Verse: 43.5 Object: Admonition

Shall We then take away from you the Admonition because ye are a people extravagant?


أَفَنَضْرِبُ عَنكُمُ ٱلذِّكْرَ صَفْحًا أَن كُنتُمْ قَوْمًا مُّسْرِفِينَ


Afanadribu 'ankumu aIththikra أَفَنَضْرِبُ عَنكُمُ ٱلذِّكْرَ literally meaning "shall we strike the remembrance from you" meaning "shall we forget to remind you." Again, this is a known expression.

Meaning number 5: To condemn

Verse: 26.1 Object: Humiliation

And remember ye said: "O Moses! we cannot endure one kind of food (always); so beseech thy Lord for us to produce for us of what the earth groweth, -its pot-herbs, and cucumbers, Its garlic, lentils, and onions." He said: "Will ye exchange the better for the worse? Go ye down to any town, and ye shall find what ye want!" They were covered with humiliation and misery; they drew on themselves the wrath of Allah. This because they went on rejecting the Signs of Allah and slaying His Messengers without just cause. This because they rebelled and went on transgressing.


وَإِذْ قُلْتُمْ يَٰمُوسَىٰ لَن نَّصْبِرَ عَلَىٰ طَعَامٍ وَٰحِدٍ فَٱدْعُ لَنَا رَبَّكَ يُخْرِجْ لَنَا مِمَّا تُنۢبِتُ ٱلْأَرْضُ مِنۢ بَقْلِهَا وَقِثَّآئِهَا وَفُومِهَا وَعَدَسِهَا وَبَصَلِهَا ۖ قَالَ أَتَسْتَبْدِلُونَ ٱلَّذِى هُوَ أَدْنَىٰ بِٱلَّذِى هُوَ خَيْرٌ ۚ ٱهْبِطُوا۟ مِصْرًا فَإِنَّ لَكُم مَّا سَأَلْتُمْ ۗ وَضُرِبَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلذِّلَّةُ وَٱلْمَسْكَنَةُ وَبَآءُو بِغَضَبٍ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَانُوا۟ يَكْفُرُونَ بِـَٔايَٰتِ ٱللَّهِ وَيَقْتُلُونَ ٱلنَّبِيِّۦنَ بِغَيْرِ ٱلْحَقِّ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ بِمَا عَصَوا۟ وَّكَانُوا۟ يَعْتَدُونَ


waduribat 'alayhimu aIdhdhillatu wulmaskanatu وَضُرِبَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلذِّلَّةُ وَٱلْمَسْكَنَةُ literally meaning "and the humiliation and poverty was struck open him" id est "he was struck down/laid low with humiliation and poverty." The humiliation and poverty are the subjects of the passive verb here, will Moses and his people are the objects of the preposition "'ala" على meaning "upon."

Meaning number 6: To seal, to draw over

Verse: 18.11 :Over the ears

Then We draw (a veil) over their ears, for a number of years, in the Cave, (so that they heard not):


فَضَرَبْنَا عَلَىٰٓ ءَاذَانِهِمْ فِى ٱلْكَهْفِ سِنِينَ عَدَدًا


Fadarabna AAala adhanihim فَضَرَبْنَا عَلَىٰٓ ءَاذَانِهِمْ literally meaning "we have hit upon their ears," which is a common expression in Arabic that means "we will make your ears hear nothing." Just like "beat your feet" can mean "start walking." What was hit here was the ears, not the people themselves.

Meaning number 7: To cover

Verse: 24.31 Object: Veils and Feet

And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss.


وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَٰتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَٰرِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا ۖ وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ ۖ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ ءَابَآئِهِنَّ أَوْ ءَابَآءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَآئِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَآءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَٰنِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِىٓ إِخْوَٰنِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِىٓ أَخَوَٰتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَآئِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَٰنُهُنَّ أَوِ ٱلتَّٰبِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُو۟لِى ٱلْإِرْبَةِ مِنَ ٱلرِّجَالِ أَوِ ٱلطِّفْلِ ٱلَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا۟ عَلَىٰ عَوْرَٰتِ ٱلنِّسَآءِ ۖ وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ ۚ وَتُوبُوٓا۟ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ


This verse mentions the verb daraba ضرب twice. In the first occurrence, it says walyadribna bikhumurihinna AAala juyoobihinna وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ ۖ literally meaning "and they should strike their veils over their bosoms," meaning they should place their veils over their bosoms or cover their bosoms.

In the second occurrence, wala yadribna bi-arjulihinna وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ literally means "they should not hit their feet;" and here "hit" is meant literally as "hit" or "strike."

Meaning number 8: To explain

Verse: 13.17 Object: Truth and Vanity

He sends down water from the skies, and the channels flow, each according to its measure: But the torrent bears away to foam that mounts up to the surface. Even so, from that (ore) which they heat in the fire, to make ornaments or utensils therewith, there is a scum likewise. Thus doth Allah (by parables) show forth Truth and Vanity. For the scum disappears like forth cast out; while that which is for the good of mankind remains on the earth. Thus doth Allah set forth parables.


أَنزَلَ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مَآءً فَسَالَتْ أَوْدِيَةٌۢ بِقَدَرِهَا فَٱحْتَمَلَ ٱلسَّيْلُ زَبَدًا رَّابِيًا ۚ وَمِمَّا يُوقِدُونَ عَلَيْهِ فِى ٱلنَّارِ ٱبْتِغَآءَ حِلْيَةٍ أَوْ مَتَٰعٍ زَبَدٌ مِّثْلُهُۥ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يَضْرِبُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلْحَقَّ وَٱلْبَٰطِلَ ۚ فَأَمَّا ٱلزَّبَدُ فَيَذْهَبُ جُفَآءً ۖ وَأَمَّا مَا يَنفَعُ ٱلنَّاسَ فَيَمْكُثُ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يَضْرِبُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلْأَمْثَالَ


Another two instances of "daraba" here: yadribu Allahu alhaqqa waalbatila يَضْرِبُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلْحَقَّ وَٱلْبَٰطِلَ ۚ literally meaning "Allah hits the truth and the vanity," as in "Allahs explains the truth and the vanity."


The Main Meaning: To Strike or Beat

The main meaing of "daraba" is to hit or strike, including with a sword where the meaning should be rendered in English as "cut", "chop", or "chop off."


Verse: 2.60 Object: Rock

And remember Moses prayed for water for his people; We said: "Strike the rock with thy staff." Then gushed forth therefrom twelve springs. Each group knew its own place for water. So eat and drink of the sustenance provided by Allah, and do no evil nor mischief on the (face of the) earth.


وَإِذِ ٱسْتَسْقَىٰ مُوسَىٰ لِقَوْمِهِۦ فَقُلْنَا ٱضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ ٱلْحَجَرَ ۖ فَٱنفَجَرَتْ مِنْهُ ٱثْنَتَا عَشْرَةَ عَيْنًا ۖ قَدْ عَلِمَ كُلُّ أُنَاسٍ مَّشْرَبَهُمْ ۖ كُلُوا۟ وَٱشْرَبُوا۟ مِن رِّزْقِ ٱللَّهِ وَلَا تَعْثَوْا۟ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ مُفْسِدِينَ


idrib bi'asaka alhajara ٱضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ ٱلْحَجَرَ literally meaning "hit the rock."


Verse: 2.73 Object: Human

So We said: "Strike him (the dead man) with a piece of it (the cow)." Thus Allah brings the dead to life and shows you His Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) so that you may understand.


فَقُلْنَا ٱضْرِبُوهُ بِبَعْضِهَا ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يُحْىِ ٱللَّهُ ٱلْمَوْتَىٰ وَيُرِيكُمْ ءَايَٰتِهِۦ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ


idriboohu bibaAAdiha ٱضْرِبُوهُ بِبَعْضِهَا literally means "beat him with part of her." The one to be beaten is the dead man [a whole human], which is the equivalent of the wife [a whole human] who is to be beaten as instructed in verse 4:34. The only possible meaning here for daraba is "strike" or "beat." The mysterious translation of "separate from them" that was used instead of "beat" in 4:34 cannot be applied here, as the cow and the man were definitely not connected in any way to be "separated." This verse confirms for us, that when you are told to "daraba" a man, it means to strike or beat them. Thus, it is logical to conclude that daraba against a woman will also mean to "strike" or "beat" them, not "separate".


Verse: 7.160 Object: Rock

We divided them into twelve tribes or nations. We directed Moses by inspiration, when his (thirsty) people asked him for water: "Strike the rock with thy staff": out of it there gushed forth twelve springs: Each group knew its own place for water. We gave them the shade of clouds, and sent down to them manna and quails, (saying): "Eat of the good things We have provided for you": (but they rebelled); to Us they did no harm, but they harmed their own souls.


وَقَطَّعْنَٰهُمُ ٱثْنَتَىْ عَشْرَةَ أَسْبَاطًا أُمَمًا ۚ وَأَوْحَيْنَآ إِلَىٰ مُوسَىٰٓ إِذِ ٱسْتَسْقَىٰهُ قَوْمُهُۥٓ أَنِ ٱضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ ٱلْحَجَرَ ۖ فَٱنۢبَجَسَتْ مِنْهُ ٱثْنَتَا عَشْرَةَ عَيْنًا ۖ قَدْ عَلِمَ كُلُّ أُنَاسٍ مَّشْرَبَهُمْ ۚ وَظَلَّلْنَا عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلْغَمَٰمَ وَأَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلْمَنَّ وَٱلسَّلْوَىٰ ۖ كُلُوا۟ مِن طَيِّبَٰتِ مَا رَزَقْنَٰكُمْ ۚ وَمَا ظَلَمُونَا وَلَٰكِن كَانُوٓا۟ أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ


idrib bi'asaka alhajara ٱضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ ٱلْحَجَرَ literally meaning "hit the rock."


Verse: 8.12 Object: Human Necks

Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): "I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them."


إِذْ يُوحِى رَبُّكَ إِلَى ٱلْمَلَٰٓئِكَةِ أَنِّى مَعَكُمْ فَثَبِّتُوا۟ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ ۚ سَأُلْقِى فِى قُلُوبِ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ ٱلرُّعْبَ فَٱضْرِبُوا۟ فَوْقَ ٱلْأَعْنَاقِ وَٱضْرِبُوا۟ مِنْهُمْ كُلَّ بَنَانٍ


faidriboo fawqa al-a'naqi waidriboo minhum kulla bananin فَٱضْرِبُوا۟ فَوْقَ ٱلْأَعْنَاقِ وَٱضْرِبُوا۟ مِنْهُمْ كُلَّ بَنَانٍ literally meaning "hit over the necks and hit from them all their fingers." The first "hit" means "beat" and the second means "cut-off." Both objects here are not whole bodies, but only parts (necks and fingers).

Verse: 20.77 Object: Road

We sent an inspiration to Moses: "Travel by night with My servants, and strike a dry path for them through the sea, without fear of being overtaken (by Pharaoh) and without (any other) fear."


وَلَقَدْ أَوْحَيْنَآ إِلَىٰ مُوسَىٰٓ أَنْ أَسْرِ بِعِبَادِى فَٱضْرِبْ لَهُمْ طَرِيقًا فِى ٱلْبَحْرِ يَبَسًا لَّا تَخَٰفُ دَرَكًا وَلَا تَخْشَىٰ


faid'rib lahum -tareeqan فَٱضْرِبْ لَهُمْ طَرِيقًا literally meaning "so strike a road for them." The usage is somewhat eccentric here for an English speaker, but the idea is that a strike or hit will carve out a path for Moses through the sea.


Verse: 24.31 Object: Feet and Veil This verse is a repeat and has already been discussed under the section below - To cover.


Verse: 26:63 Object: Sea

Then We told Moses by inspiration: "Strike the sea with thy rod." So it divided, and each separate part became like the huge, firm mass of a mountain.


فَأَوْحَيْنَآ إِلَىٰ مُوسَىٰٓ أَنِ ٱضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ ٱلْبَحْرَ ۖ فَٱنفَلَقَ فَكَانَ كُلُّ فِرْقٍ كَٱلطَّوْدِ ٱلْعَظِيمِ


an udrib bi'asaka albahra أَنِ ٱضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ ٱلْبَحْرَ literally meaning "to hit with your stick the sea."


Verse: 37.93 Object: Human

Then did he turn upon them, striking (them) with the right hand.


فَرَاغَ عَلَيْهِمْ ضَرْبًۢا بِٱلْيَمِينِ


This is a great example. Here, darban bialyameeni ضَرْبًۢا بِٱلْيَمِينِ literally means "hit them [people] with the right [hand]." According to this verse, when verb daraban ضَرْبًۢا is applied to humans, it means "beat" or "strike." It cannot be translated as "separate them from your right hand," as that is utterly ridiculous. The Islamic site in question, also agrees that daraban here means "strike."


Verse: 47.4 Object: Human Necks

Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been Allah's Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the Way of Allah,- He will never let their deeds be lost.


فَإِذَا لَقِيتُمُ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ فَضَرْبَ ٱلرِّقَابِ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَآ أَثْخَنتُمُوهُمْ فَشُدُّوا۟ ٱلْوَثَاقَ فَإِمَّا مَنًّۢا بَعْدُ وَإِمَّا فِدَآءً حَتَّىٰ تَضَعَ ٱلْحَرْبُ أَوْزَارَهَا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ وَلَوْ يَشَآءُ ٱللَّهُ لَٱنتَصَرَ مِنْهُمْ وَلَٰكِن لِّيَبْلُوَا۟ بَعْضَكُم بِبَعْضٍ ۗ وَٱلَّذِينَ قُتِلُوا۟ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ فَلَن يُضِلَّ أَعْمَٰلَهُمْ


fadarba aIrriqabi فَضَرْبَ ٱلرِّقَابِ literally meaning "the hit of the necks." as in "beaten on their necks."


Verse: 8.50 Object: Human Faces

If thou couldst see, when the angels take the souls of the Unbelievers (at death), (How) they smite their faces and their backs, (saying): "Taste the penalty of the blazing Fire-


وَلَوْ تَرَىٰٓ إِذْ يَتَوَفَّى ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ ۙ ٱلْمَلَٰٓئِكَةُ يَضْرِبُونَ وُجُوهَهُمْ وَأَدْبَٰرَهُمْ وَذُوقُوا۟ عَذَابَ ٱلْحَرِيقِ


yadriboona wujoohahum يَضْرِبُونَ وُجُوهَهُمْ literally meaning "hit their faces," or "beat their faces."


Verse: 47.27 Object: Human Faces

But how (will it be) when the angels take their souls at death, and smite their faces and their backs?


فَكَيْفَ إِذَا تَوَفَّتْهُمُ ٱلْمَلَٰٓئِكَةُ يَضْرِبُونَ وُجُوهَهُمْ وَأَدْبَٰرَهُمْ


yadriboona wujoohahum ضْرِبُونَ وُجُوهَهُمْ literally meaning "hit their faces."

Comparing the Two Terms

Beat them and leave them are different phrases in Arabic, utilizing the same verb, but here differentiated by the preposition used. The Arabic word idribohunna is the command form of the Arabic verv Daraba does not have any other meaning than Beat when it comes to the sentence "Yadribu Ahadan" يضرب أحدا= he hits someone. Idriboohunna (أضربوهن) means beat them (for female plural). Idriboo 'anhunna (اضربوا عنهن) with the preposition 'an عن would mean "leave" or "abandon" them. According to Lane's Arabic lexicon.[10]

Arabic Transliteration Meaning
ضرب Daraba Beat
أضربوهن (used in 4:34) Idriboohunna Beat them
اضربوا عنهن Adriboo Anhunna abandon them, leave them

Qur'an 4:34 says Idriboohunna[11] أضربوهن not Adribu 'Anhunna اضربوا عنهن. There is no way to confuse one for the other.

References

  1. Arabic Lexicon (page in Arabic language)
  2. Such as Free-Minds.org and Progressive-Muslims.org
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Islam Awakened - Qur'an 4:34
  4. The Koran - English Translation by T.B Irving
  5. Submission.org - Quran 4:34 (Khalifa)
  6. http://al-quran.info/default.aspx#4
  7. Quran Browser - Quran 4:34
  8. Multimedia Quran - Quran 4:34 (Raza Khan)
  9. Quran 4:34 - Zayid
  10. [1]
  11. The use of "Idriboohunna" in verse 4:34 has been confirmed by Errors in English Translations of the Quran (From the Introduction of Quran: a Reformist Translation, Brainbow Press) which itself is attempting to use the "leave them" apologetic that is refuted on this page.