Probably the most controversial term from Q 4:34 is the term daraba - which Haleem translated as 'hit'. Others have given a different translation to daraba; for instance, Pickthal uses the word 'scourge' and Yusuf Ali translates it as 'beat'. Regardless of the English word given to this term, Lisan al-‘Arab and Lanes's Lexicon states that "daraba does not necessarily indicate force or violence."
Because of its different meanings, daraba is a complex word to translate. Some of its meanings are: to travel, to get out, to strike, to beat, to set up, to give examples, to take away/ignore, to condemn, to seal, to cover, to explain, to turn away (from), etc. (Crescent Life).
In the Qur'an, it as a different meaning depending on the context. For example, in Q4:101 it means to ‘strike out’ on a journey, and in the phrase ‘daraba Allah mathalan, it means ‘Allah gives or sets as an example . . .’
I believe the translation "set an example" could definitely apply to this verse. Since the husband is the head of the mariage, it is up to him to teach and set the examples to his wife on how she should behave. Moreover, I don't think the right translation for daraba is 'hit', since the Qur'an does not encourage domestic violence. On the contrary, there are several verses that command a respectful and kind treatment towards women. Among those verses are 2:229-237, 4:25 9:71 and 4:19.
One can also notice that the verse also says that " if they obey you, you have no right to act against them", so men do not have any command of any sort to engage in violence towards their wives. As Amina Wadud stated, "A few men strike their wives after completely following the Qur'anic suggestions for regaining marital harmony. The goal of such men is harm, not harmony." (Rights and Roles of Women).
Q4:34 has the order to 'daraba' as the last resort, and marriages can easily reconcile without the use of violence.
Women in the Qur'an >