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PROOF Of U.S. TROOPS Committing SUICIDE in Iraq was in U.S. Media but no One Saw It.

We owe it to an avid reader of New Trend for having discovered the news of suicide by U.S. troops HIDDEN WITHIN the U.S. media itself. It's in USA TODAY, of July 17, 2003 on page 10A. It's a story titled "U.S. Soldiers on alert for Baathist holiday." At the end of paragraph two in column 2, the wire report says:
"Of the 77 U.S. service members who have died in Iraq in accidents or other non-hostile circumstances, at least five committed suicide."

That's the kind of journalism for which a student would get an F.

Surely by any standards of genuine journalism, that report of AT LEAST FIVE SUICIDES should have been on the top of every news channel. Not only have the TV media ignored the report, even USA Today seems to have published it unknowingly. Perhaps the editor did not proofread the report and it got through
[Comment on our discussion of the Qur'an 4:34.] by Br. Shoaib, London, England

If the Quran was a book of law, it would be structured like a fiqh book; it isn't. In fact even a Christian historian of Islam, Marshall Hodgson, observed that the Quran does not follow the style of section on law in the old testament.

If we take it that the Quran is overwhelmingly for guidance, then we adopt a different style of reading:
i.e. trying to get the message out. A benefit of this is that we don't have to become so literalist, and obsessesd by every point of grammar and sequence of words. A case in point is 4-34. In your explanation you have captured the main contribution of this verse. But then you spoil it by implying some sort of abrogation. By doing that you are trying to take away the presumed action attached to this verse by another method, to the ahl quran people criticized. Also the legalists will get hung up on things like how hard do we hit, or (in your case) can we still hit, is there a sequence of chastisement or not?, how to apply the punishment etc. You mentioned the importance of hadith to understand context. One aspect of this should be to understand figure of speech in those days. (Something which we can never know perfectly - but we should acknowledge such a device is used in the Quran). Muhammad Asad frequently speaks of metonymical expression.

It could be that when a verse was first revealed as a response to a given situation, it could be understood by those people as a clear command. But later when it was interwoven into the final fabric of the Quran, being placed in the context of the other text of the Quran it acquired a more general purpose sort of meaning.

In this case, I see this verse (like you do) as setting the foundations for the institution of marriage and using a language to really hit the point home. I.e.
man's job: Fund and protect the family.
woman's job: to co-operate and not undermine this project.
To double emphasise the seriousness, i.e. that this is not a lip-service institution, the man is told, that he is the in-charge responsible authority. Again to emphasise this is not lip service, it is explained in terms of sanctions that can be made available if cooperation in the project is not forthcoming. Again to show that the sanctions are meant to be serious they are explained in plain terms. The net import of the verse is to set up a solid foundation for the conventional marriage relationship, with some clear norms. Man holds it together and the woman MUST cooperate in that. Such things are now taken for granted - but as you point out, when it was a new idea God had to make a way to emphasise this to the people.

To take it as a blanket permission to hit the wife is not tenable, because, if we do a comparison with legalistic terminology (such as old testament or a fiqh book) the required level of detail is not there. (i.e. I take that applying a punishment is not something to be taken lightly and requires "due process" to do it.) This is why there is quibling by literalists either over size of force, sequence etc, on the one hand and the ahl quran group who can find scope to use alternative meanings altogether. Again for those people who use hadith and support the idea of beating, what we need from them is evidence of the "due process" from hadith. If there is no crystal clear procedure that comes out, then I submit that all such statements can be construed using a metonymical approach. (I.e. you must use "all means necessary" to make the marriage institution to work. Just as you wouldn't say Malcolm X said you could attack people because he used the expression "all means necessary" )
Note by Kaukab Siddique:
Good points. In the FINAL ANALYSIS, however, Islam is the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh): his understanding of the Qur'an is final. He never raised his hand against a woman. Nothing else matters for a Muslim

2003-08-02 Sat 17:50ct