Yes there is….The Quran is the Holy Book of Islam. This is the word of Allah. The FINAL WORD. Where Muslims are to respect the “children of the book” (Christians and Jews), and respect their books, when there is conflict…the Quran is the final word.
Sharia is not practiced everywhere….mostly Middle East. It is part Quran, part Sunnah and part interpretation by clerics/judges. So in a way it can be subjective—-this is where fiqh comes in…it is the understanding of what is meant.
No, no holy book that I know of says it is ok to “beat” a woman. Men who do this are just assholes, regardless of color, religion, or culture.
Yes, it is choice (depending on where you are) to cover or not. Saudi Arabia….you cover (unless you are Princess Ameera). Even in the UAE is varies. Dubai is probably the most western of the Emirates…look at Sheikh Mohammed;s daughters. The only ones who cover are Sheikh Maitha (abaya and hijab), Sheikha Latifa (abaya and hijab) and Sheikha Maryam (hijab, well, she actually wears a sheyla) (Majid’s sisters). None of Shiekha Hind’s daughters cover—whether it be with a hijab or abaya.
Another example….the girls on the ASAAR LAdies skydive team…they cover with long sleeves and pants…but they don’t wear abayas. And they do wear hijab….and they wear a head cover when they are skydiving… Two are from Egypt and one is Emirati.
OH and I should clarify one this….the “disobedient” wife thing. This does NOT mean that the man can order around his wife. It is not a case of he tells her to do it; she does it. She is not a dog. You have this even in conservative Christian households….it’s more the man has the final say if it comes to that. And again, this varies on strictness depending on where you are. And this is not exclusive to Islam.
Basically, if this helps….you have to completely separate the Middle East from the rest of the Muslim World (with some exceptions). Geography is KEY.
Have a great night.