The Qur'an is very clear on this issue. Almighty Allah says:
"Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more strength than the other, and because they support them from their means.
Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient and guard in the husband's absence what Allah would have them to guard. As to those women on whose part you fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance); for Allah is most High and Great (above you all).
If you fear a breach between them twain, appoint (two) arbiters, one from his family and the other from hers. If they wish for peace, Allah will cause their reconciliation; for Allah has full knowledge and is acquainted with all things." (An-Nisa': 34-35)"
It is important to read the section fully. One should not take part of the verse and use it to justify one's own misconduct. This verse neither permits violence nor condones it but guides us to ways to handle delicate family situation with care and wisdom.
The word "beating" is used in the verse, but it does not mean "physical abuse". The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) explained it "dharban ghayra mubarrih " which means "a light tap that leaves no mark". He further said that face must be avoided. Some other scholars are of the view that it is no more than a light touch by siwak , or toothbrush.
Generally, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to discourage his followers from taking even this measure. He never hit any female, and he used to say that the best of men are those who do not hit their wives.
In one hadith he expressed his extreme repulsion from this behavior and said, "How does anyone of you beat his wife as he beats the stallion camel and then embrace (sleep with) her?” (Al-Bukhari, English Translation, vol. 8, Hadith 68, pp. 42-43)
It is also important to note that even this "light strike" mentioned in the verse is not to be used to correct some minor problem, but it is permissible to resort to only in a situation of some serious moral misconduct when admonishing the wife fails, and avoiding from sleeping with her would not help. If this disciplinary action can correct a situation and save the marriage, then one should use it."
Dr. Jamal Badawi , professor at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and a cross-appointed faculty member in the Departments of Religious Studies and Management, adds:
"If the problem relates to the wife's behavior, the husband may exhort her and appeal for reason. In most cases, this measure is likely to be sufficient.
In cases where the problem persists, the husband may express his displeasure in another peaceful manner, by sleeping in a separate bed from hers.
There are cases, however, in which a wife persists in bad habits and showing contempt of her husband and disregard for her marital obligations.
Instead of divorce, the husband may resort to another measure that may save the marriage, at least in some cases. Such a measure is more accurately described as a gentle tap on the body, but never on the face, making it more of a symbolic measure than a punitive one.
To be continued in last part by Allah will........