The Koran says about wife beating in verse 4:34 (Pickhtall translation):
Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great.
And translated by Arberry:
Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that God has preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for God's guarding. And those you fear may be rebellious admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them. If they then obey you, look not for any way against them; God is All-high, All-great.
So, from this verse, we learn a few things.
1) Men are in charge of women.
2) Good women are obedient to their husbands.
3) If husbands *fear* or *suspect* 'rebellion', then men are to a) inform his wife that she is rebelling, b) send her to her room, c) and beat her.
4) Lastly, the verse says that if a wife obeys her husband again, the husband should no longer beat his wife (until she disobeys again).
A few things to point out.
The Koran never says that a husband must first tell his wife that she is disobedient then wait for her to slip up again before he can ground her and then beat her. The Koran simply says what husbands should do to a wife if she disobeys. But I cannot see any indication that a wife must rebel two more times before she is beaten.
To me, a literal and straight forward reading from both translations says that husbands may simply yell at their wives, then send them to their rooms and beat them there.
Regardless as to how the actual punishment is to be dispensed, the passage also leaves a lot of room for what a husband may beat his wife for.
The passage simply says that men may beat their wives if they *suspect* rebellion - whatever that means.
Therefore, not only may a husband beat his wife for not obeying him, but the husband need only suspect that she is disobeying him.
Now, I'm a bit old fashioned, but this passage, no matter how loftily it is interpreted (or its contents ignored), is horribly backwards and misogynist.
Only those living in the seventh century could justify a straightforward interpretation of this passage - and, as we have seen from this thread on 'wife beating - the muslim perspective' dubai-politics-talk/wife-beating-the-muslim-perspective-t39819.html , the clerics and scholars explaining how wife beating should be carried out, go to great pains to point out that towards wife beating is a Western import - the clerics in the videos will often say that Muslims only question the verses of the Koran after Westerners criticize wife beating, statutory rape or jihad.
So, it looks like modern ethics and morality in the Muslim world, as backwards as it is, is a gift from the West.