Does Islam allow beating wife and children?
Islam made the basis of marital relationship upon love and mercy, God says:
30:21. “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts)”
The basis of marital relationship is love, cordiality and mercy, and the basis of bringing up children is passion, tenderness, kindness and benefaction. As for organizing the matters of the family, as Islam is the religion of general arrangement in all fields of life, it makes a leader for every house to take decisions after consulting the members, so the leadership is up to the man and he is also the breadwinner.
We know that to be successful, the leader should be resolute sometimes as it was said: (He got strict so that they fear him, and whoever steady should sometimes be strict with whom he is merciful).
Islam gives man limited authority sometimes when there is disobedience, dispute or rebellion, God says:
4:34. “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),”.
The verse is clear, an obedient woman who agrees with her husband and lives with him properly, he has no way to use any harshness with her. But a woman who is ill by the illness of disobedience and dispute, God set him a plan to treat her starting by preaching and advising her in a lenient way. If this means is not successful then he abandon her in bed, they sleep in the same room but he never does sex with her. He shouldn’t sleep in another room and leave her lest the dispute gets bigger. If this means is not successful then he pretends that he is going to beat her, beating here is as Imam Abu-Haneefa said: (He knots a handkerchief made of cloth and hit her by it.)
As the handkerchief doesn’t hurt or leave any effect, so it was clear that the aim is just to threaten and prevent her, it is not real beat. The prophet (Blessings and peace of God be upon him) made it more clear and forbade beating on the face or to leave any sign on the body.
We see that beating is with that who is ill by the illness of recalcitrance. The same thing should be done with children, it is just threatening by the punishment, and using it properly as mentioned in Qur'an and Sunna when necessary to straighten the crooked and reforming the bad, but no such thing is allowed with a good woman and good children.