Why Are Sexual Relations Prohibited Before Marriage?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah


Doesn’t the following reasons make sense for two people to live together and even have sexual intercourse before getting married?

1-In order to see each other in the different circumstances of life, especially the worst states and bad times.

2-To make sure they are sexually compatible before getting married and finding out otherwise.


Thank you for your question.

As we all know, Islam means submission. Submission is to leave aside one’s own preferences and opinions and to follow what God has revealed, in law and spirit. It is only through God’s revelation that humans know what is deemed as good or evil.

Relationships Before Marriage

Allah Most High says in the Quran, “Do not even go close to fornication. It is indeed a shameful act, and an evil way to follow.” [Quran, 17:32]

To go close to fornification means anything that can lead to it, such as inappropriate relationships between the genders, whether in a long term relationship or short term.

Such relationships are irresponsible. They involve no responsibility, and in most societies, the most vulnerable person in such relationships are usually the women. Marriage, and the prohibition of sexual relations before marriage, prevents this.

Allah Most High also says, “The believers are… those who protect their sexual organs except from their spouses… Therefore, whosoever seeks more beyond that [in sexual gratification], then they are the transgressors.” [Quran, 23:5-6]


Other than the explicit prohibition from God, there are obvious wisdoms to pre-marital relations being unlawful. The considerations put forth in the question open the doors to many grave concerns that affect individuals and society. Among these are:

1. The unambiguity of paternity if the woman becomes pregnant. Despite even long term relationships, who is to say that the woman is not sleeping with other men in order to establish compatibility of a future spouse?

2. A child born out of wedlock is not attributed to the father. The preservation of lineage is one of the main objectives of the Shariah.

3. Such relationships give men the advantage to ‘do as they please’ with women, and are free from any emotional and financial responsibility towards the woman and any children born from the relationship.

4. There is an innate virtue in preserving one’s chastity before marriage that has been recognised since time memorial and established by every religion.

5. While we may not observe any outward difference in our worldly affairs, improper practices have an effect on the soul that we cannot perceive. This is something that has been lost in modern culture. It is not something that is peculiar to Islam, but rather to all religions, and can be found even in classic literature. One only needs to read Oscar Wilde’s, ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ to appreciate what the effects of lost virtue has on the human soul when it turns away from God’s injunctions.

6. Having multiple partners increases the risk of contracting sexual transmitted diseases and infecting others.

7. There is no guarantee that living together before marriage is a sure indication of the relationship after marriage. Many non-Muslim couples live together for years, only to break up after they marry.

8. One must also ask themselves whether they would like their own sons and daughters doing the same thing before marriage?

In conclusion, it doesn’t make any sense that long term relationships and sex before marriage is permitted. The individual considerations are insignificant compared to the host of serious issues that would affect individuals, mainly women, and is a sure way to lead to the decadence of society and one’s own soul.

I would highly recommend you take SeekersGuidance’s Marriage in Islam course.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.