In the Book We have left out Nothing: The Ethical Problem of the Existence of Verse 4:34 in the Qur’an
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AbstractKecia Ali writes in her book Sexual Ethics and Islam that studies on the history and forms of gender injustice in Islam have yet to adequately address concomitant theological challenges concerning the nature of the divine justice and will. In response to this need, I would like to explore the problem posed by the mere existence of verse 4:34, otherwise known as “the beating verse,” in the Qur’an. This article is intended to be a primary theological and ethical response to the problem, rather than a secular academic analysis of historical approaches to the verse. My approach is grounded in the thought of Ibn al-`Arabi (d. 1240), arguably the most influential, systematically comprehensive, and prolific mystic and thinker of medieval Islam. Ibn al-`Arabi’s ontology, ethics, and hermeneutics of the Qur’an provide a useful frame and a possible resolution to the problem.