In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Do Not Beat Your Wife*
[4:34] The men are made responsible for the women,** and GOD has endowed them with certain qualities, and made them the bread earners. The righteous women will cheerfully accept this arrangement, since it is GOD's commandment, and honor their husbands during their absence. If you experience rebellion from the women, you shall first talk to them, then (you may use negative incentives like) deserting them in bed, then you may (as a last alternative) beat them. If they obey you, you are not permitted to transgress against them. GOD is Most High, Supreme.
*4:34 God prohibits wife-beating by using the best psychological approach. For example, if I don't want you to shop at Market X, I will ask you to shop at Market Y, then at Market Z, then, as a last resort, at Market X. This will effectively stop you from shopping at Market X, without insulting you. Similarly, God provides alternatives to wife-beating; reasoning with her first, then employing certain negative incentives. Remember that the theme of this sura is defending the women's rights and countering the prevalent oppression of women. Any interpretation of the verses of this sura must be in favor of the women. This sura's theme is ``protection of women.''
**4:34 This expression simply means that God is appointing the husband as ``captain of the ship.'' Marriage is like a ship, and the captain runs it after due consultation with his officers. A believing wife readily accepts God's appointment, without mutiny. (from the authorized english Translation
of Rashad Khalifa, the messenger of the covenant)