Can a Wife Refuse Intercourse if She Is Emotionally Being Hurt?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel


My husband uses insults whenever he gets mad. He constantly criticizes me, gets angry at the smallest unpredictable things, and then insults me. I have spoken to him many times about it and given him many chances, but he keeps doing it. Today, he also insulted me badly in public for something so small, and this time I felt hurt because it kept happening.

He asked for intercourse the same night, and I refused (because I thought I was allowed to do so if he kept insulting me and neglecting my right to kind treatment). I usually never refuse it otherwise. Is a wife entitled to refuse intercourse if her husband keeps verbally abusing her and she is highly hurt emotionally? I don’t want to be sinful; I don’t know what to do.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

I pray you are in good faith and health. It is quite disheartening to hear of your husband’s ill-treatment of you in this way. It must be very hurtful having to face this continuously.

In general, a wife must obey her husband in his request for intimacy unless she has a valid reason, like she is sick, emotionally tired, or abused, like in your case. He should show consideration for abusing her during the day and asking her for intimacy during the night!

If a wife refuses intimacy with her husband due to being genuinely abused, then if it is done with the intention to change his ways and make him realize what he is doing, she may do so temporarily to change his conduct.

This can be understood from the story of K’ab Ibn Malik (Allah be pleased with him), who did not attend the Tabuk expedition, which resulted in the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and the companions boycotting him for fifty days and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) telling his wife to serve him but not to be intimate with him. [Nuzhat al-Muttaqin, Sharh Riyadh al-Salihin]

Remind your husband with wisdom that just like he has a right to intimacy, you have a right to ask for respect and fair treatment. It works both ways. Good conduct and regard for each other are important for both husband and wife.

The Best of You Are Kind to Their Women

Allah Most High said, Treat them (women) fairly. [Quran, 4:19]

Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) reported the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The most complete of believers in faith are those with the best character, and the best of you are the best in behavior to their women.” [Tirmidhi]

And our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) beautifully explained the rights of women in his final address:

“O People, it is true that you have certain rights about your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under the trust from Allah and with His permission. If they abide by your right, then the right to be fed and clothed in kindness belongs to them. Treat your women well and be kind to them because they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with anyone you disapprove of, as well as never to be unchaste.”

Resolve With Love and Mutual Compromise

Finally, these matters should be resolved with mutual understanding, giving regard to one another, mutual love, gentleness, and putting one’s spouse before one’s self, especially the husband; he has to take the lead by being a lead example of upright character, fair treatment and empathy with his wife.

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I pray this helps with your question.

[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani        

Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey.

He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled into an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and Alimiyyah sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan.

He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for a number of years. He has taught hifz of the Qur’an, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to both children and adults onsite and online extensively in UK and Ireland. He was teaching at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences.

He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His personal interest is the love of books and gardening.