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Physical Interaction with Non-Mahram Relations

Shaykh Jamir Meah is asked about a non-Mahram male relation who, it seems, is forcing himself on a female member of his family.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I have a question. If a lady is alone with a person of the opposite gender who is her family. He comes to interact with her physically. She finds it too difficult to maintain. She feels guilt and remorse about his character, repents a lot and she is not at all interested in him.

What is the Shari‘a of this? It may be helpful if someone would provide the answer, insha Allah. I will pray for you.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Thank you for writing in.

It is not entirely clear from your information what the exact situation is and whether the woman in the situation is being abused or is voluntarily having a physical relationship with the male family member, albeit not a happy one. Either way, the interaction is prohibited in Islam.

Relationships with male family members

It is prohibited to expose certain parts of the body to marriageable family members (or strangers), and if this is the case, then it goes without saying that touching, or more, is unlawful. Allah Most High says “Do not go near adultery. It is truly a shameful deed and an evil way.” (Sura al Isra 17:32)

Physical relationships are only permitted between a husband and wife. Any other sexual contact is strictly prohibited in Islam and is among the major sins.

Solution

If the male family member is forcing himself upon the woman without consent, then she must seek help either by confiding and seeking assistance from a trustworthy family member she can turn to, or a counselor, or some other support available. This is imperative if abuse is taking place.

If the interaction is consensual, then she should know that it is unlawful and must stop. It is not permitted that she is alone with him in any scenario, nor have a non-marital ‘relationship’ in general, as such all communication between the two must cease. If by stopping the interaction, the woman fears for her safety, then she should seek help as described above.

She should also sincerely repent for any part she has played in the relationship and resolve not to return to it.

Please also refer to the following posts:

How Should I Interact With Non-Mahram (Marriageable) Males?

Sexual Abuse Archives

Warmest salams,

Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Can I Divorce Someone Who Is Not Giving Me Intimacy? (Shafi’i)

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I have been married for several months now,my husband is caring and god fearing but we just live like friends. There is no intimacy whatsoever.

Do I have the right to seek divorce?

Answer: Wa alaykum al-Salam

May Allah bring ease to all your affairs.

One of the primary functions of the husband is to maintain the chastity of his wife. Since you do love and wish to be with your husband, I would suggest that you have a sitting with him, informing him that if the situation between you two does not change, you are considering separation. Also, inform him that you love him and are willing to assist him in anyway, for him to overcome this hurdle. It may be advisable for him or perhaps the both of you to meet a counselor or a psychologist.

Your concern is a real one and you have done well to reach out for assistance. May Allah allow both you and your husband to overcome this challenge. Another important practice is dua, pray to Allah as often as possible; break down before Him, for He loves the one that comes to Him broken hearted. May He accept your prayers and grant you what is best for you in this world and the next.

Wassalam
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

My Husband and I Barely Have Marital Intimacy. What Do I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

My husband and I have marital intimacy maybe once or twice a month, and sometimes even less. This is not enough for me. I want children, and I am getting older. I think I want a divorce, but my husband does not. What do I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Marriage

Dear sister, please know that you are not alone. Many couples struggle with mismatched libidos, and with support, they are able to overcome that and have fulfilling marriages.

Not Tonight, Dear: Mismatched Libidos

You sound understandably frustrated. I encourage you to exhaust all avenues before considering ending your marriage. Could you consider marriage counselling? Please speak to a psychologist alone, and as a couple, in order for you to explore this fully.

Husband

Does your husband have an underlying health issue that is contributing to his low libido? If so, has he seen a doctor for help?

Aside from your mismatched libidos, is there anything else in your marriage that you find challenging? Or is he a good man, who treats you well?

If you are unhappy with him and your marriage, then I do not advise bringing a child into the equation. You could find yourself trapped in an unhappy marriage, burdened with a child, and even more limited in your career and remarriage prospects.

Prayer

Before you make any final decisions, please perform The Prayer of Guidance up til 7 times. Please watch what Allah unfolds for you. For example, if your husband makes a serious effort to satisfy you, then that may be a sign for you to consider working on your marriage. However, if he does not want to change, then it may be a sign for you to leave.

It may be better for you to free yourself for another chance at love, marriage, and children.

Divorce

If your husband does not want to divorce you, then you can request a separation (khula’) by returning your mahr to him.

I pray that Allah grants you the clarity that you need, and guides you to what is best for your dunya and akhirah.

Please see:

Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered
Du’a – Supplication for one whose affairs have become difficult

Wassalam,
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

I Value the Companionship of My Husband, but He Refuses Marital Intimacy With Me. What Should I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Since the conception of my child, my husband refrains from any intimacy with me. It has gotten to a point that we haven’t shared any marital relations for several years. It’s frustrating and depressing for me. He says that he doesn’t have have those feelings for me and can”t force himself. He is otherwise good to me. What do I do?

Answer:Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for having the courage to ask about such a sensitive topic.

Intimacy

Desiring marital relations is part of a healthy and successful Islamic marriage. I encourage you and your husband to speak to a culturally-sensitive counselor about your dilemma.

Even if your husband’s libido has taken a plunge since the conception of your child, he needs to understand that your needs are unmet. It’s not about him “forcing” himself, but it’s about him learning how to be of service to you, even if he doesn’t feel like it. Perhaps he is facing an embarrassing physical or psychological block, which manifests in his inability to satisfy you.

I encourage both of you to read this excellent book Islamic Guide To Sexual Relations by Mufti Ibn Adam Al-Kawthari.

Supplication

Please perform The Prayer of Need every day, in the last third of the night, and beseech Allah for His help.

Marriage

Having halal intimacy is one of the protections of marriage.

After exhausting all avenues, if your husband is unable to fulfill your needs, and if you fear falling into zina, then you are permitted to: 1) masturbate in order to avoid the greater sin of zina 2) ask for divorce 3) request khula’ (separation) – in this option, you must return your mahr.

Please consider ending your marriage only as a last resort. Before you even go down that path, please perform The Prayer of Guidance up til 7 times in relation to what to do about your marriage. Watch how events unfold. If Allah softens your husband’s heart and helps him take steps towards rectifying your marital relationship, then this is a sign to stay and work on your marriage. If your husband resists any attempts at counseling, and persists on ignoring your bedroom difficulties, then this is a sign to leave.

I pray that Allah grants you patience, heals your marriage, and grants you the relief which you seek.

Please see:
My Husband Does Not Want to Have Marital Relations With Me. What Do I Do?
My Husband Does Not Satisfy Me During Marital Relations. What Can I Do?
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah
Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long

Wassalam,
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi‘i fiqh, Arabic, Sirah, Aqidah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajwid. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.

What Advice Can You Give for a Woman Whose Husband Does Not Want to Be Intimate With Her

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: What advice do you have for a woman whose husband does not want to be intimate with her and has been like this for some months? What rights does the wife have?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

The wife has a right to intimacy just like the husband does. To state otherwise is not sound from a religious perspective and contrary to a healthy and strong marriage, which our religion places great emphasis on.

Textual Evidence

The right of the wife to intimacy is affirmed in the primary texts both directly and indirectly.

(a) The Quran states, “and they (i.e. women) possess rights similar to those due upon them.” (2:228) Just as the husband has a right to intimacy in marriage, so does the wife.

(b) The Quran states, “and live with them in kindness.” (4:19) The word for ‘kindness’ in this verse is al-ma`ruf, which carries the meaning of honor, good companionship, reciprocity, and what is generally deemed appropriate. To deprive one’s wife of physical intimacy is against the kindness that God commands.

(c) `Abd Allah ibn `Amr is reported to have said, “The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) said, ‘O `Abd Allah, I have been informed that you fast all day and pray all night?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Do not do this. Rather, fast and break your fast, rise in prayer and sleep, for your body has a right upon you, your eyes have a right upon you, and your wife has a right upon you.'” [Bukhari, al-Sahih]

(d) In another narration, the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) saw a female companion by the name of Khuwayla in a very untidy and shabby state. When he (blessings and peace be upon him) inquired about her, Aisha stated that, “she is a woman whose husband fasts all day and prays all night and so it is as if she has no husband at all.” The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) proceeded to counsel her husband, the prominent Companion, Usman ibn Maz`un, regarding such actions being contrary to the sunna and that his wife possessed rights over him. [Abu Dawud, al-Sunan; Ahmad, al-Musnad]

(e) The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) said, “The most perfect of believers are those most perfect in character, and the most perfect in character; and the best of you are those who are best to their spouses.” [Tirmidhi, al-Sunan]

These texts, among many others, demonstrate that neglecting the rights of one’s wife – whether physical or otherwise – is contrary to the teachings of Islam. Rather, a wife has rights that must be fulfilled on the basis of love, kindness, and respect, which include the right to physical intimacy.

The Legal Texts: Between Law & Ethics

It is also important to address the legal texts on the issue as they have the potential to be utilized in an erroneous manner in denying the established religious right of the wife to physical intimacy.

A majority of jurists clearly affirm that it is obligatory for a husband to have sex with his wife. However, in discussing the specifics of this obligation, classical jurists disagreed among themselves with some saying that a husband is obliged to have sex with his wife:

(a) every so often,
(b) once every four nights,
(c) once every month,
(d) once every four months,
(e) once in a lifetime,
(f) in accordance with what is deemed al-ma`ruf.

[al-Shirbini, al-Mughni al-Muhtaj (3:332); Ibn Qudama, al-Mughni (8:551); Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar (3:202-203); Ibn Taymiya, al-Fatawa al-Kubra (1:294)]

Of these opinions, (a) and (f) are in my view the soundest and most in accord with the primary texts.

As for the remaining opinions, some of them are based on weak legal reasoning, while others do not reflect the manner in which the religion envisions what a marriage should look like. This is particularly the case with opinions (d) and (e). To rely on these opinions when advising a potential couple is not only problematic but also demonstrates an individual’s conflating the purely legal with the ethical demands of the religion.

This point becomes clearer when understanding what many legal manuals were attempting to do:

(i) legal manuals often sought to define the minimum rights that someone was owed,

(ii) legal manuals often articulated these rights with a view towards what a court could implement,

(iii) legal manuals sometimes reflected what was customarily considered appropriate and acceptable in their own time and context, which may not necessarily apply today, and

(iv) legal manuals were not necessarily laying out rules with a view towards the broader considerations of what a healthy marriage and family life should incorporate.

Not recognizing the function of legal manuals often leads to conflating many of the rules that are found in them with what an optimal marriage should look like, which is both incorrect and harmful.

While a number of rules within classical legal manuals are essential to take into account, the guidelines that govern a healthy and strong marriage extend well beyond mere legal rules. It is in this context that a higher and more holistic conception of marriage must come into play, an ethics of marriage grounded in the sunna.

Advice & Conclusion

In conclusion, it can be said that from the view point of a healthy marriage based on respect, love, and care, the religious and ethical obligation upon the husband is to fulfill the physical needs of his wife every so often in accordance with what is deemed to be appropriate for her needs, his ability, and other related considerations.

Regarding dealing with a husband who is not engaging in physical intimacy, I would advise the following:

(a) Supplicate to God and ask Him to create love and harmony in your marriage. Do not underestimate the power of sincere supplication.

(b) Continue playing your part in trying to improve your sex life by, for example, dressing up for your husband, attempting to initiate sex, being playful, and so forth.

(c) Try your best to make other aspects of the marriage enjoyable and fun, such as going out, talking, having dinner together etc. While this may not be easy to do given what has been described, positivity outside the bedroom may stimulate positivity in the bedroom.

(d) Have an open and serious conversation with your husband. Communication is important and it is essential that your husband understands how this is making you feel. Try to ensure the conversation is positive, not aggressive or negative.

(e) Seek professional counseling if you need to.

(f) If nothing at all seems to work, you will need to think about whether the marriage is worth continuing. This will obviously be a decision that should be not taken lightly and requires a lot of thought and consultation. It should only be a last resort if you feel that you are unable to continue in the situation that you are in despite your best efforts.

I hope this was of some benefit. May God bless you in your marriage.

Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Azlan DuPree

Ten Qualities of Those Seeking Closeness to Allah

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explains the ten qualities or stations of those seeking closeness to Allah. Using the classical work Manazil al-Sa’ireen by Khawaja Abdullah al Ansari of Herat, Shaykh Faraz gives a description of each quality, its basis in the Holy Qur’an and a brief commentary.

The ten qualities are:

1. Resolve (القصد)
2. Determination (العزم)
3. Seeking (الارادة)
4. Proper manners (أدب)
5. Certitude (يقين)
6. Intimacy (أنس)
7. Remembrance (ذكر)
8. Neediness (فقر)
9. Freedom of need (غنى)
10. Station of being sought (مقام المراد)

Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered

A comprehensive collection of resources that offer clear and practical guidance on successful marriages. Based on the Qur’an, Prophetic teachings and scholarly wisdom, find out how we can all have marriages that fulfill the worldly and spiritual potential of what the Prophet ﷺ referred to as “half the religion.”

And it is among His signs that He has created for you wives from among yourselves, so that you may find tranquility in them, and He has created love and kindness between you. Surely in this there are signs for a people who reflect. Qur’an [30:21]

Intention, Priority and Purpose

Overcoming Difficulties Before Marriage

Parents and Guardians

Overcoming Differences And A Troubled Past

Converts

Keeping it in the Family

Getting Married The Right Way

Staying Married

Related courses

Marriage in Islam video playlist, with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Habib Hussein as-Saqqaf, Ustadha Shireen Ahmed, Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes, Habib Umar bin Hafidh and many others.