Chapter One: Interpret the Verse by the Verse
Chapter Two: Interpret the Verse in Light of Directly Related Verses
Chapter Three: Interpret the Verse in Light of the Qur’ān as a Whole
Chapter Four: Interpret the Verse in Light of Prophetic Traditions that Prohibit Disciplinary Domestic Violence
Chapter Five: Interpret the Verse in Light of Prophetic Traditions Permitting Disciplinary Domestic Violence
Chapter Six: Interpret the Verse in its Historical Context
Chapter Seven: The Reformist Reinterpretation
Chapter Eight: Interpret the Verse in the Spirit of Islām as a Whole
Chapter Nine: Interpret the Verse Allegorically
Chapter Ten: Vocalization and Variants
Appendix 1: Predictors of Domestic Violence: Community and Societal Factors
Appendix 2: Predictors of Domestic Violence: Individual Factors
Appendix 3: Predictors of Domestic Violence: Relationship Factors
Appendix 4: Norms and Beliefs that Support Violence Against Women
Appendix 5: Assessing Risk in Domestic Violence Cases
Appendix 6: The Cycle of Violence
Appendix 7: Forms of Intimate Partner Violence
Appendix 8: When to Suspect Spousal Abuse
Appendix 9: Guiding Principles of Care for Healthcare Providers
Appendix 10: Why Women Stay with their Abusers
Appendix 11: When Women Leave
Appendix 12: Preventing Domestic Violence
Appendix 13: How to Help
Appendix 14: Combating Domestic Violence
Appendix 15: Is Islām Inherently Misogynistic?
Appendix 16: The Ṣūfī Prescription for Overcoming Domestic Violence
About the Author
This study can be praised for two points. It’s uniquely courageous for implementing a holistic and multidisciplinary approach within Islamic studies— which is still rare—and for the amount and wide range of source texts Morrow was able to study and include in the research. This gives the reader a detailed insight in the classic and contemporary diverse options Islam offers, yet convincingly argues to interpret ḍaraba in a nonviolent way.
Reading this religio-archeological debate is analogous to viewing a championship Wimbledon match with ideas bouncing from one side of the argument to the other as each player applies skill, study, and passion to the effort. The difference is that the winner of a tennis match will not change the course of life for billions of humans. "While I disagree with discarding Islamic Tradition and traditional scholars, as this amounts to tossing out the baby with the bathwater, I am equally convinced that fossilized religions have no future. They degrade, disintegrate, and return to dust. For religions to survive, they must be living organisms. They are like gardens that require care, cultivation, and pruning" (p. 189). If Dr. John Andrew Morrow can make even a dent in a 1400-year-old pattern of abuse, hundreds of millions of women will benefit and, he predicts, Islam itself will rise heavenward in the estimation of believers and unbelievers alike.
The Most Controversial Quranic Verse is by far the most comprehensive book I have found on domestic violence from an Islamic perspective. This 333-page book completely destroys any notion that Islam condones violence against women and provides practical solutions for prevention within the Muslim community. This is a must-read for anyone in a family system.
About the Author