MEMRI has quite a lot of interesting information:
Sheikh Yousef Qaradhawi, one of the most influential clerics in Sunni Islam and head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, has advocated non-painful wife-beating. In his 1984 book 'The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam,' he wrote: "If the husband senses that feelings of disobedience and rebelliousness are rising against him in his wife, he should try his best to rectify her attitude by kind words, gentle persuasion, and reasoning with her. If this is not helpful, he should sleep apart from her, trying to awaken her agreeable feminine nature so that serenity may be restored, and she may respond to him in a harmonious fashion. If this approach fails, it is permissible for him to beat her lightly with his hands, avoiding her face and other sensitive parts."
On the Al-Jazeera weekly program 'The Shar'ia and Life' of October 5, 1997, Al-Qaradhawi said: "Beating is permitted [to the man] in the most limited of cases, and only in a case when the wife rebels against her husband… The beating, of course, will not be with a whip, a stick, or a board. The beating will be according to what the Prophet said to a servant girl who annoyed him on a particular matter, 'If it were not for fear of punishment in the Hereafter, I would have beaten you with this miswak.'
According to the website of the embassy of Saudi Arabia's Islamic Affairs Department (IAD), wife-beating is permitted in accordance with Qur'anic verses and Hadiths used by the IAD to explain the rights a husband has over his wives: "The husband's rights on his wife are greater than hers over him." Another source states, "Men have a supervisory authority on account of the physical advantage they possess…" It is also stated, "When the husband calls his wife to his bed and she disobeys, and he spends the night in anger against her, the angels keep cursing her till the morning." In addition, "If a woman dies while her husband was pleased with her," it is explained that "she will enter into Paradise."
Answering the question: "Does Islam allow wife-beating?" Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) stated: "[I]n some cases a husband may use some light disciplinary action in order to correct the moral infraction of his wife, but this is only applicable in extreme cases and it should be resorted to if one is sure it would improve the situation. However, if there is a fear that it might worsen the relationship or may wreak havoc on him or the family, then he should avoid it completely."
The article even has excerpts from an episode of a show on Saudi Arabia's Iqraa TV hosted by Jasem Muhammad Al-Mutawah, an "expert" on family matters in Islam. In this episode, Al-Mutawa discusses wife-beating while holding a 10-foot pool cue which apparently some couples keep in the home. So, because men are bigger and stronger than women, they have authority over the entire family. Because they have authority, they have a right to "correct" and "discipline" their wives, even physically, if they think it is necessary on account of their wife's "rebellion." Women, however, are not allowed to do the same - after all, they aren't the ones with authority. If their husband is "rebellious," they have to seek assistance from relatives.
All of this, of course, is supposed to be evidence that as a religion Islam gives women lots of rights they don't have in the West and that, in Islam, the position of women is superior to that found elsewhere.