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What is Nushuz and What are its Consequences?
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The root of the word nushuz (n-sh-z) refers to something that rises. Traditional Qur'an commentators generally understand women's nushuz as disobedience or rebelliousness (isyan) toward their husbands. Two behaviors repeatedly mentioned as forms of nushuz are leaving the marital home without permission and refusing the husband's sexual overtures. More rarely, disrespectfulness, lewdness, or failure to perform religious obligations are mentioned as forms of female nushuz. A woman who commits nushuz is referred to as nashiz or nashiza. Men can also commit nushuz, but the term is understood differently in that case. (Read more about Men's nushuz)

Contemporary interpreters differ somewhat in their interpretation of nushuz, whether on the wife's part or the husband's. Generally, they view nushuz as a type of marital disharmony, arising on the part of either husband or wife, or lewd conduct, falling short of adultery, on the part of either spouse.

When a woman commits nushuz, traditional authorities agree on several measures that the husband may use. In addition to those sanctioned by the Qur'an, discussed below, jurists generally agree that a man may suspend his wife's support (nafaqa) if she refuses him and/or leaves home, since she has made herself unavailable to him.

Return to Understanding a Difficult Verse, Qur'an 4:34

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