“I decided it either has to have a different meaning, or I can’t keep translating…I couldn’t believe that God would sanction harming another human being except in war.”
— Laleh Bakhtiar, speaking about Chapter 4, Verse 34 of the Muslim holy text the Qur’an, which concerns the appropriate treatment for a rebellious woman. The appropriate meaning and translation of the verse has been debated, and Laleh Bakhtiar plans next month to add her new translation to the 20-odd extant translations of the Qur’an. Among the interpretations of the verse is the understanding that it advocates a three-fold measure in which the woman is first reprimanded, then abandoned in bed, and then beaten, which is one meaning of the verb “daraba.” Laleh Bakhtiar has, to significant controversy, translated the instruction as “go away from them.”

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