Marital Relations: The Legal Status of Oral and Other Forms of Sexual Gratification

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam

Question: I would like to ask a question which people have either shied away or have been afraid to discuss. I tried to look in some Islamic books but there is no clear guidance that I could find.

There are many married couples who are not sure about this but have not had the courage to ask including myself up until now. I would like to know what the Islamic shariah ruling is on the subject of sex between husband and wife. Is it permissible for the husband and wife to take or touch each others private parts in each others mouth?

I do hope that you will help with this.

Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

Firstly, it should be understood that Islam is a religion of modesty and shame. It encourages its followers to be modest and not have the instincts of animals. Modesty is one of the things which distinguish a human being from an animal.

However, this should not prevent one from learning about matters relating to sexual behaviour. Then Sahaba (Allah be pleased with them) were never shy and ashamed in learning the truth. There are many incidents where the companions came to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and inquired about matters relating to sex. Even the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace), despite being very modest and bashful by nature, did not feel ashamed to discuss matters regarding the do’s and don’ts of sexual relations.

To proceed with the answer to your question:

The issue of oral sex is frequently asked. Many people shy away from it, whilst others regard discussing it offensive. However, those people who live in the “real” world will know the importance of mentioning this topic. Therefore, it is important to mention the Islamic perspective on oral sex in detail.

There are certain acts which have been clearly prohibited in Shariah, that are:

1) Anal sex

Anal sex is strictly prohibited in Islam. There are many narrations of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) which emphasize this.

In a Hadith recorded by Imam an-Nasa’i and others, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said:

“Allah will not look (with mercy) at the one that has anal sex with his wife” (meaning on the day of Qiyamah). (Sunan Nasa’i)

2) Sex during menstruation (Haidh)

The Qur’an has clearly and explicitly prohibited sexual intercourse during menstruation. Allah Most High says:

“They ask you (O Prophet) regarding menstruation. Say: It his hurtful and impure. So abstain from women (sexually) in menstruation.” (Sura al-Baqarah, V.222)

The above two things are clearly prohibited by the Qur’an and Sunnah. When books of Fiqh talk about what is lawful and what is not, they typically mention that a husband and wife may give pleasure to one another in any way they wish other than the above mentioned things.

Although not specific to sex, we can add the following:

1) Swallowing filth (sexual fluids of the wife or husband)

2) Needlessly getting filthy

These things are obvious as sexual fluids and filth is impure.

There are also certain acts which are disliked, but permissible, for example: Total nudity, excessive sexual intercourse, etc…

Oral sex

As far as oral sex is concerned, there are two aspects to the issue. One being the moral aspect and the other the actual ruling regarding it in Islamic Law (meaning, to state whether it is Haram, Makruh or permissible).

With regards to the first aspect, there is no doubt that the act of oral sex (in its full meaning) is a totally shameful act. The mouth which is used to recite the Dhikr of Allah, send Salutations on the blessed Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), recite the holy Qur’an and other things, can not be used for filthy and dirty things such as oral sex, especially if it includes the filth entering the mouth.

This is more or less what the scholars of the Indo/Pak mention in there Fatawa books and (according to this humble servant), this is the aspect (moral) they are referring to.

As far as the second aspect is concerned, which is the Shariah ruling on oral sex; this actually depends on what you really mean by oral sex. The term “oral sex” covers a wide range of activities, from just kissing the private parts to the actual swallowing of filth.

If “oral sex” means to insert the penis in the wife’s mouth to the extent that she takes in the filth, whether this filth is semen (Mani) or pre-ejaculatory fluid (Madhi), or the man takes the filth of the woman in his mouth, then this is not permissible. Taking the filth with all its forms in the mouth is unlawful. The fluids which come out are impure, thus make it impermissible to take it orally.

However, if the same act is practiced by using a condom (to prevent the sexual fluids entering the mouth) or the wife merely kisses her husband’s penis and the husband kisses her genitals and they avoid any areas where there is pre-ejaculatory fluid, then this should be (according to this humble servant and Allah knows best) permissible, although disliked.

It is mentioned in the famous Hanafi Fiqh reference book, and one regarded as a fundamental source in the school, al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya:

“If a man inserts his penis in his wife’s mouth, it is said that it is disliked (makruh), and others said that it is not disliked.” (al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5/372)

This clear text from one of the major Hanafi books indicates that the scholars differed on the issue of inserting the penis into the wife’s mouth. According to some it was disliked whilst others totally permitted it. But it should be remembered that this is in the case when no sexual fluids enter the spouse’s mouth as mentioned in detail earlier. Due to the act being considered against the proper conduct of a Muslim, most scholars have held this practice to be disliked (even in the situation where one does not orally take the filth).

This is what I have on this particular subject. I thought that there was a genuine need to shed some light on it from an Islamic perspective. I hope I have been able to clear the queries people have had on this topic.

And Allah Knows Best

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK