The principles of conjugal love in Islam are few and uncomplicated.
1. Sexual relations are for the pleasure of both the husband and the wife and for the procreation of children. Sexual intercourse is not limited to vaginal penetration but includes other forms of sexual caressing, such as kissing and fondling of various kinds.
2. Nothing should be done that is offensive or harmful to either person. Each has a duty to be sexually available to the other, but neither has the right to disgust or injure the other.
3. With a few exceptions, the couple can engage in any activities that they like, in any manner and in any position. Allah rewards such activities as surely as he punishes sinful activities. The Qur’an says, “Women are your fields. Go then into your fields as you please.” (2:223)
4. It is forbidden to have vaginal intercourse while a woman is menstruating (Qur’an 2:222). According to the Sunnah of the Prophet (God’s grace and peace be upon him), a man and his menstruating wife can however give one another pleasure so long as the woman’s genitals are avoided.
5. There are ahadith that forbid anal intercourse and scholars generally agree that it is not permissible. However, in his tafsir (commentary) Tabaari (3d century A.H.) while forbidding sodomy, says that earlier authorities were divided on the question.
6. The Qur’an and the Sunnah are generally silent as to the various forms that sexual relations may take. Most authorities consider that it is up to the husband and wife in love and mutual respect to decide how to physically express their sexual desires.
7. What goes on in bedroom, is a private matter and should not be discussed or revealed to other persons unless there is some necessity, such as health or safety. Abu Hurairah narrates that the Prophet (pbuh) said this about people who reveal and discuss openly their sexual practices: “Do you know what those who do this are like? Those who do this are like a male and female devil who meet each other on the road and satisfy their desire while the people look on.”
Therefore, in Islam the husband and the wife choose their sexual activities according to the sure teaching of the Qur’an, in the light of the Sunnah as we are able to understand and appreciate it, in mutual respect for one another and knowing that the only witness to the expression of their desires will be Allah the Exalted, who will judge them according to their deeds and their heartfelt intentions.
The question of the lawfulness of oral-genital contact is difficult because there are many opinions. For some, it is forbidden. For others, tolerated. For some it is lawful. Some consider it to be lawful as long as the couple use such contacts as foreplay and conclude their love-making with vaginal intercourse.
I believe that this is a matter to be decided by the husband and wife together after seeking the guidance of Allah, who alone knows best.
Peace to all who seek God’s face.
Allah Ta’ala were revealed: Your wives are a tillage to you, so go in to your tillage as you will, and send (ahead something) for your souls; and fear Allah and know that you will (one day) meet Him, and give glad tidings to the Believers. (2:223)
It is not a function of religion to define the postures of sexual intercourse. However, a Muslim who fears Allah in his relationship with his wife and possesses the certainty that he will meet Him avoids the anus because the Prophet (peace be on him) said, “Do not approach women from the anus.”
Again, he referred to such an act as “minor sodomy.” (Reported by Ahmad and al-Nisai.) A woman of the Ansar asked him concerning vaginal intercourse from the back; he then recited to her, ‘Your wives are a filth to you, so go in to your tilth as you will,’ but with only one receptacle
‘Umar came to him one day saying, “O Messenger of Allah, I am ruined!” “What has ruined you?” asked the Prophet (peace be on him). He replied, “Last night I turned my wife over,” meaning that he had had vaginal intercourse with her from the back. The Prophet (peace be on him) did not say anything to him until the verse cited above was revealed. Then he told him, “From the front or the back, but avoid the anus and intercourse during menstruation.”
Guarding the Secrets Between the Husband and Wife
The Qur’an praises virtuous wives, …Who are obedient, guarding in secret what Allah has guarded….(4:34)
Among those secrets which must be guarded is the intimate relationship with the spouse which it would be wrong to discuss in a gathering or speak about to friends. The Prophet (peace be on him) said: Among those who will occupy the worst position in the sight of Allah on the Day of Resurrection is the man who has intercourse with his wife and she with him, and then he spreads her secret.
Abu Hurairah narrated, Allah’s Messenger (peace be on him) led us in prayer, and when he had finished he turned toward us and said, ‘Remain seated. Is there among you the man who comes to his wife, closes the door, and draws the curtain, and then goes out and speaks about it, saying, “I did this and I did that with my wife?” They remained silent. Then he turned toward the women and asked, ‘Is there among you one who tells about such things?’ A girl raised herself on her knees so that the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) could see her and listen to what she said. She said, ‘Yes, by Allah, the men talk about it and the women do, too.’ Then the Prophet (peace be on him) said, ‘Do you know what those who do this are like? The ones who do this are like a male and female devil who meet each other in the road and satisfy their desire while the people look on.
This emphatic way of expressing the matter should be sufficient to turn the Muslim away from such ill-considered and degraded behavior, which would make him or her resemble a devil!
The Right to Adequate Sexual Relations
Since the purpose of marriage is to be a mutual source of comfort, peace, and enjoyment for each other, like a garment that protects and covers, the sexual aspect of marriage is an extension of this. The husband is asked to be gentle, considerate and loving with his wife, and to try to satisfy her needs. The wife must reserve herself exclusively for her husband, and make efforts to be attractive, as well as making herself available to him whenever he is in need of her. This latter obligation also applies to the husband. In Islam, any sexual relations are reserved EXCLUSIVELY for the confines of marriage. Both husband and wife are also obligated to honor the privacy of the intimate relations between them, and should not speak of them to anyone.
The Prohibition of Sex When She is Menstruating
It is forbidden for a Muslim man to have sexual intercourse with his wife when she is menstruating. The Quran is clear on this subject:
“They ask you concerning menstruation. Say: that is an Adha (a harmful thing for a husband to have a sexual intercourse with his wife while she is having her menses), therefore keep away from women during menses and go not unto them till they have purified (from menses and have taken a bath). And when they have purified themselves, then go in unto them as Allah has ordained for you (go in unto them in
any manner as long as it is in their vagina)…” (Al-Baqarah 2:222)
Purification Between Two Acts of Sexual Intercourse
In Islam, when a husband has had sexual intercourse with his wife in the legal manner, and then wishes to return another time, it is preferable that he first performs another ablution (wudu). Meaning: it is better if he does not commence sexual intercourse in an unclean physical state. In the words of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW):
“This way is purer, cleaner and better.” (Reported by Abu Dawud)
Praise be to Allaah.
It is permissible for a woman to see all of her husband’s body and for a man to see all of his wife’s body, with no need to go into details, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And those who guard their chastity (i.e., private parts, from illegal sexual acts), except from their wives or (the captives and slaves) that their right hands possess, – for then, they are free from blame; but whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors.” [al-Mu’minoon 23:
Q 3. Can husband and wife or one of them expose themselves in front of each other? (H.Y., Los Angeles)
A 3. Yes, there is no ‘awrah (things to be hidden) between the husband and wife. Husband and wife can be naked in front of each other. However, Islam urges human beings to observe haya’ (modesty). The Prophet – peace be upon him- said, “The Haya’ is part of faith.” So one should not be nude unnecessarily. Husband and wife can take their clothes off in front of each other to enjoy their sexual relations at the time of sex, but after that they should cover themselves. It is not good to walk all around the house naked, even in one’s privacy what to say in front of others. It is absolutely haram to be nude in front of other people unless it be before the doctor for medical examination and treatment only.
Can husband and wife taking bath together?
A 4. Yes, husband and wife are allowed to take bath together.
There is nothing wrong in husband and wife taking bath together. This is a kind of enjoyment and type of fondling that depends on the consent of the spouses. It is not a function of religion to determine the way a couple should enjoy each other. The only restrictions in the domain of intimate relations are anal sex and sex during menstruation and post-natal bleeding. Apart from these forms, nothing is haram.
In his book Aadab Az-Zifaf Fi As-Sunnah Al-Mutahharah, the late Sheikh Muhammad Nasiruddin Al-Albani, states the following:
It is permissible for the husband and wife to take a bath together in the same place even though he sees her private parts, and she sees his. This is established by a number of authentic hadiths, among which are the following:
1. On the authority of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who said: “I used to bathe with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) from a single container of water which was placed between us such that our hands collided inside it. He used to race me such that I would say: `Leave some for me, leave some for me!’ She added: `We were in a state of janabah (i.e. post-sex state).” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.)
On the authority of Mu’awiyah Ibn Haida, who narrated: “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, which of our ‘awrah is allowed (to uncover), and which one must we beware of (uncovering it)?’ The Prophet answered, “Guard your `awrah except from your wife or those whom your right hand possesses.”
Thus, it is permissible for both spouses to look at and touch the body of his or her companion even the private parts. He said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, what about if the relatives live together with each other?’ The Prophet answered: “If you can make sure that no one ever sees your `awrah, then you can do so (uncover it).” He said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, what about when one is alone?’ The Prophet replied: “Allah is more deserving of your bashfulness than are the people”.”(Authentic Hadith reported by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and others.)
t is permissible for both the husband and wife to enjoy having sexual intercourse with the way they like as long as they avoid that which is unlawful.
In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
“It is absolutely permissible for a husband and wife to be fully naked in each other’s presence and to cohabit without wearing any clothes whatsoever. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Guard your private parts except from your spouse!”
Moreover, spouses can freely express their sexuality as long as they do not go beyond the limits set by Allah. Among such taboos are anal intercourse, intercourse while menstruating, etc. As long as one guards against such taboos, they are free to express their sexuality consensually with full freedom and vigor; to do so is not only permitted but is also recommended. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Your intimate sexual union with your spouse is considered an act of charity!” Allah Almighty says, “Your wives are tilth for you; so go into them from whichever direction you choose
The preservation of the human species is unquestionably the primary objective of marriage, and such preservation of the species requires continued reproduction. Accordingly, Islam encourages having many children and has blessed both male and female progeny. However, it allows the Muslim to plan his family due to valid reasons and recognized necessities.
The common method of contraception at the time of the Prophet (peace be on him) was coitus interruptus, or withdrawal of the penis from the vagina just before ejaculation, thus preventing the entrance of semen. The Companions of the Prophet (peace be on him) engaged in this practice during the period the Qur’an was being revealed to him. Narrated Jabir, We practiced coitus interruptus during the time of the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) while the Qur’an was being revealed. (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim )
In a version transmitted by Muslim, he said, We practiced coitus interruptus during the time of the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him). He came to know about it, but he did not prohibit it.
A man came to the Prophet (peace be on him), saying, “I have a slave girl. I desire what men desire, but I do not want her to become pregnant, so I practice coitus interruptus with her. The Jews say that this is a minor form of burying your children alive”. The Prophet (peace be on him) said, “The Jews are wrong. If Allah wishes to create a child, you cannot prevent it,” (Reported by Abu Daoud, Ibn Majah; al-Nisai, and al-Tirmidhi.) meaning that despite the employment of coitus interruptus, a drop of semen might have been deposited in the vagina without his awareness, resulting in conception.
Valid Reasons for Contraception
The first valid reason for employing contraception is the fear that the pregnancy or delivery might endanger the life or health of the mother; past experience or the opinion of a reliable physician are the guides in determining this possibility. Allah Ta’ala says: …And do not be cast into ruin by your own hands….(2:195) …And do not kill yourselves; indeed, Allah is ever merciful to you. (4:29)
Another reason is the fear that the burden of children may straiten the family’s circumstances so much that one might accept or do something haram to satisfy their needs. Allah says: …Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire hardship for you….(2:185) …It is not Allah’s desire to place a burden upon you….(5:7 (6))
Again, fear that the children’s health or upbringing may suffer may be a valid reason. On the authority of Usama ibn Zayd, Muslim in his Sahih reported that a man came to the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him), saying, “I practice coitus interruptus with my wife.” “Why do you do that?” asked the Prophet (peace be on him). He said, “I fear for her child,” or he may have said, “for her children.” The Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) then said, “If it (the pregnancy of a nursing mother) were harmful, it would have harmed the Persians and the Greeks.”
Another valid reason is the fear that the new pregnancy or a new baby might harm a previous suckling child. The Prophet (peace be on him) termed intercourse with a nursing mother, or rather the intercourse which results in pregnancy while the mother is still nursing a baby, “gheelah,” thinking that pregnancy would ruin the milk and weaken the suckling infant. Since he was greatly concerned with the welfare of his ummah, he dissuaded them from what was harmful. Among his personal opinions (The Prophet sometimes expressed his personal opinions in worldly matters, which he distinguished from his binding judgments in matters of religion. (Trans.)) was the saying, “Do not kill your children secretly, for gheelah overtakes the rider and throws him from the horse.” (Reported by Abu Daoud. It is said that the child who nurses from a pregnant mother will suffer from it in later life like a horseman who is thrown from his horse. (Trans ))
The Prophet (peace be on him) did not, however, go so far as to prohibit intercourse with a nursing mother, as he noted that the Persians and Greeks, the two most powerful nations of his time, practiced it without any resulting injury to their children. Moreover, he feared that it would be a great hardship for husbands to abstain from their wives during the period of suckling, which may last up to two years. He said, I intended to prohibit gheelah, but I considered the Persians and the Greeks and saw that they suckled their children during pregnancy without any injury being caused to their children as a result. (Reported by Muslim.)
Ibn al-Qayyim, in discussing the relationship of this hadith to the one quoted just before it, “Do not kill your children secretly…” says, The Prophet (peace be on him) saw that pregnancy harms the suckling infant in the same way as being thrown off a horse harms a rider: it is injurious, but not to the extent of killing the baby. He advised them to avoid intercourse leading to pregnancy while the woman is nursing an infant but did not prohibit it. He then intended to prohibit it in order to save the health of the suckling child but realized that the resulting hardship to the husband, especially for young ones, would be much more injurious to the society. On balancing these matters, therefore, he preferred not to prohibit it. Moreover, he saw that (in) the two most powerful and populous nations of his time, (women) suckled their children during pregnancy without its affecting their strength or numbers, and accordingly he refrained from prohibiting it. (Miftah Dar al-Sa’adah by Ibn al-Qayyim, p. 620; also see Zad al-Mi’ad, vol. 4 p. 26)
In our time new methods of contraception are available which realize the objective intended by the Prophet (peace be on him), that of protecting the suckling infant from any possible harm which may Occur due to the pregnancy of its mother, (Although the primary issue discussed here is the welfare of the child, the mother’s health and well-being is also an object of concern here as well. (Trans.)) while at the same time avoiding the hardship to the husband in abstaining from sexual relations with his nursing wife. From this we may conclude that from the Islamic point of view the ideal spacing between two children is thirty months, or, if one wants to nurse the baby for two full years, (Two full years is the maximum period for the suckling of an infant in Islam. (Trans.)) thirty-three months.
Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal is of the opinion that contraception requires the consent of the wife, because she has a right both to sexual enjoyment and to decide whether or not she wants a child. It is reported that ‘Umar forbade the practice of coitus interruptus without the consent of the wife. This was, on the part of Islam, a noteworthy step toward establishing the rights of women in an age in which they had no rights.
While Islam permits preventing pregnancy for valid reasons, it does not allow doing violence to the pregnancy once it occurs.
Muslim jurists agree unanimously that after the foetus is completely formed and has been given a soul, aborting it is haram. It is also a crime, the commission of which is prohibited to the Muslim because it constitutes an offense against a complete, live human being. Jurists insist that the payment of blood money (diya) becomes incumbent if the baby was aborted alive and then died, while a fine of lesser amount is to be paid if it was aborted dead.
However, there is one exceptional situation. If, say the jurists, after the baby is completely formed, it is reliably esthat the continuation of the pregnancy would necessarily result in the death of the mother, then, in accordance with the general principle of the Shari’ah, that of choosing the lesser of two evils, abortion must be performed.
For the mother is the origin of the foetus; moreover, she is established in life, with duties and responsibilities, and she is also a pillar of the family. It would not be possible to sacrifice her life for the life of a feotus which has not yet acquired a personality and which has no responsibilities or obligations to fulfill. (Al-Fatawa by Shaikh Shaltut p. 164.)
Imam al-Ghazzali makes a clear distinction between contraception and abortion, saying, Contraception is not like abortion. Abortion is a crime against an existing being. Now, existence has stages. The first stages of existence are the settling of the semen in the womb and its mixing with the secretions of the woman. (It was then believed that the mingling of the semen with the secretions of the woman in the uterus caused pregnancy. (Trans.)) It is then ready to receive life. Disturbing it is a crime. When it develops further and becomes a lump, aborting it is a greater crime. When it acquires a soul and its creation is completed, the crime becomes more grievous. The crime reaches a maximum seriousness when it is committed after it (the foetus) is separated (from the mother) alive. (AI-Ihya, book of “Al-Nikah” (Marriage), p. 74.)
Marriage, as stated previously, is a strong bond by means of which Allah joins a man and a woman. While they are “single” as individual human beings, after marriage they are termed a “couple.” Marriage makes of them a pair, and thus the sorrow and joy of the one are equally the sorrow and joy of the other. The Qur’an describes this bond in beautiful and vivid language: …They (wives) are your garments and you are their garments…. (2:187) meaning that each is the protection, the covering, the support, and the adornment of the other. (AI-Tirmidhi transmitted that Abu Hurairah reported Allah’s Messenger (peace be on him) as saying, “The Believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best disposition, and the best of you are those who are best to their wives.” In a hadith narrated by ‘Aishah, the last words are “and are kindest to their families,” as transmitted by al-Tirmidhi. (Trans.))
Each of the two spouses has rights in regard to the other which must be recognized and which are not to be diminished. These mutual rights are equivalent except in relation to what is particular to men by virtue of their natural position, as Allah says: …And they (women) have (rights) similar to those (of men) over them in an honorable fashion, but men have a degree over them. (2:228)
This “degree” (darajah) is related to men’s role as the maintainers and leaders of the family.
A man asked the Prophet (peace be on him), “O Messenger of Allah, what rights may a wife demand of her husband?” He replied, That you should feed her (with the same standard) as you feed yourself, clothe her as you clothe yourself, that you should never hit her face or put her down, or cut yourself off from her unless it occurs in the house. (Reported by Abu Daoud and by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih.)
Accordingly, it is not permissible for the Muslim husband to neglect to provide his wife with food and clothing. A hadith states, “Wasting the sustenance of his dependents is sufficient sin for a man.” (Reported by Abu Daoud, al-Nisai, and al-Hakim.)
Striking her on the face is also prohibited, since it is an insult to her human dignity as well as being a danger to the most beautiful part of her body. And if the Muslim is pushed to discipline his wife in the event of open rebellion, when all other methods have failed, he is not allowed to beat her in a manner which causes pain or injury, and he
is most certainly not permitted to touch her face or other easily injured parts of her body. Similarly, the Muslim is not permitted to revile, curse, or say insulting words to his wife.
Concerning the rights of the husband, the Prophet (peace be on him) said, It is not lawful for a woman who believes in Allah to allow anyone in her husband’s house while he dislikes it. She should not go out of the house if he dislikes it and should not obey anyone who contradicts his orders. She should not refuse to share his bed. (Meaning that she should not deny him sexual access when he desires it. (Trans )) She should not beat him (in case she is stronger than he). If he is more in the wrong than she, she should plead with him until he is reconciled. If he accepts her pleading, well and good, and her plea will be accepted by Allah; while if he is not reconciled with her, her plea will have reached Allah in any case. (Reported by al-Hakim.)
The Prohibition of Divorcing During Menstruation
When divorce becomes necessary, it is not permissible for the Muslim to implement it any time he pleases; he must wait for a suitable time. According to the Shari’ah, this suitable time is when the woman is clean following her menstrual period or the period of puerperal discharge following childbirth and before her husband has resumed sexual relations with her, or when she is pregnant and her husband is aware of her pregnancy.
The reason for prohibiting divorce during menstruation or the period of puerperal discharge is that, since during such periods sexual intercourse is haram, the idea of divorce may come to a man’s mind because of sexual frustration and nervous tension. He is therefore advised to wait until his wife is clean and to divorce her then, if he is intent on divorce, before the resumption of marital relations.
Just as divorce during menstruation is haram, it is likewise haram between menstruation periods (i.e., “the period of purity”) if the husband has had intercourse with his wife following the termination of her previous period. Because it is possible that she may have become pregnant from this union, the husband may change his mind concerning divorce when he knows that his wife is carrying a child, desiring to stay married to her for the sake of the embryo in her womb. However, when the wife is in the period of purity but he has not had intercourse with her following the termination of her menses, or when she is pregnant and he is aware of it, he will be able to ascertain that his intention to divorce her is the result of deep-seated antipathy, and accordingly is permitted to carry through with the divorce. In the Sahih of al-Bukhari, it is transmitted that ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar divorced his wife during her menstrual period. When ‘Umar mentioned the matter to the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) he became angry, saying, He must take her back. If he still wishes to divorce her he may do so when she is clean of the menstrual discharge before having intercourse with her, for that is the period of waiting which Allah has prescribed for divorce, referring to the ayah, ‘O Prophet, when you (men) divorce women, divorce them during the prescribed periods.’ (65:1)
Another version of this hadith reads, Command him to take her back and then divorce her when she is clean from the menstrual discharge or (otherwise) is pregnant.
A question now remains: If a person does divorce his wife during these prohibited periods, does the divorce become effective or not? The prevailing opinion is that it does become effective, although the husband will be considered sinful. However, some jurists hold that, as Allah did not legislate it, it does not become effective, and whatever is not legal cannot be correct nor enforced. Abu Daoud, on sound authority, has transmitted that when ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar was asked, “What would you say if a man were to divorce his wife during menstruation?” he related his own story of divorcing his wife during her period and the Prophet’s commanding him to take her back, disregarding his pronouncement of divorce.
In a gathering at which ‘Umar was present, someone remarked, “Some say that coitus interruptus is a minor form of burying a child alive.” ‘All then said, “This is not so before the completion of seven stages: being a product of the earth, then a drop of semen, then a clot, then a little lump of tissue, then bones, then bones clothed with flesh, which then become like another creation.” (Ali was paraphrasing the Qur’an 23:12-14, considering the creation of Adam from wet earth as the first stage of development of every human foetus. (Trans.)) “You are right,” said ‘Umar. “May Allah prolong your life.”