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Masturbating With One’s Spouse

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Is masturbating during sex with husband permissible? What are the different schools of thought on this?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

Masturbating oneself even whilst in the presence of one’s spouse and whilst engaged in sexual intimacy would be impermissible. But it is certainly permissible for each spouse to mutually satisfy the other’s desire in such a manner with a limb or otherwise.

Allah Most High says, “Those who guard their chastity except with their spouses or their slaves––with these they are not to blame, but whoever seeks beyond that are the transgressors.” (Sura al-Mu’minun 23:5-7) The attainment of sexual pleasure requires the presence and contact of a lawful partner because intimacy regularly directed in such a way inevitably preserves honor and lineage, two of the aims of the Sacred Law (shari‘a).

Unfortunately, sexual dissatisfaction is a cause of many problems in marriages. Accordingly, I would highly encourage talking to your spouse to inform him of the difficulty you are facing, and subsequently see how you can reasonably resolve the issue in an amicable manner. Your sexual needs are just as important as his and he needs to work harder to ensure that they are being met.

I would also recommend benefitting from Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam’s beneficial work: Islamic Guide to Sexual Relations. Pray the Prayer of Need (salat al-hajah) regularly, and continue to ask Allah to make you both stronger and more concerned for each other’s well-being. (see: https://www.seekersguidance.org/answers/hanafi-fiqh/how-does-one-perform-the-prayer-of-need-salat-al-haja/)

(Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar)

Please also see: Mutual Masturbation Between Spouses and: What Is the Legal Definition of Masturbation According to the Hanafi School? and: My Husband Does Not Satisfy Me During Marital Relations. What Can I Do?

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan, and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based on his family.

Important Traits to Look for in a Prospective Spouse

Answered by Ustadh Farid Dingle

Question: Given that religious practice is the most important trait to look for in a prospective spouse, how relevant (or irrelevant) are looks?

Answer: Although the religious practice is indeed the most important trait to look for in a prospective spouse, one should not completely ignore looks. It is also recommended to marry someone that is good looking. However, one should not give it so much importance that one accepts marrying someone who is not religious.

The key is to have a pure intention, and strike an intelligent and godly balance.

Religiousness as a Priority

The Messenger of Allah to me and you, and to all those who wish to get married, told us, ‘Women are married for four reasons: for their wealth, their status [lineage], their beauty, and for their religiousness. Make sure you get a really religious woman. Otherwise, may you come to misfortune!’ (Bukhari and Muslim)

This hadith clearly tells us that marrying a woman who is a practicing Muslim is more important than marrying a woman who is not “really religious” for any other reason.

Allah Most High also tells us in the Quran not to prioritize looks, status and wealth, and look rather to the religiousness of our prospective spouses:

‘And a bondswoman [a slave] who believes is better than a [free] pagan woman, even if you really like her looks … And a bondsman who believes is better than a [free] pagan man, even if you really like him. Those invite to the Hell-Fire, while Allah invites to Paradise and forgiveness with His permission.’ (Qur’an, 2: 221)

This the end of this verse is very, very powerful. Notice how Allah mentions that the pagan spouse calls us to the Hell-Fire, while He does not mention that the believing spouse calls to Paradise; rather, He puts His name [Allah] in place of the believing spouse. This is as if to say that the righteous believing spouse is almost Allah’s agent and spokesman, calling those He permits to Paradise on His behalf. This is a very important point indeed.

So it is clear from the hadith and Qur’anic verse above that marrying someone (the bride or the groom) who is Muslim and religious is a priority.

Autumn Leaves

Because the believer lives for the Next Life, he is always forward-thinking. While he invests his actions at the moment, he is not blind to the long-term.

Marriage is a long-term plan: it is not a just halal fling. Someone who looks at marriage thus will naturally think about how their prospective spouse will be in ten, twenty, fifty years and beyond.

In this light, marrying someone who is religious and actively working to become more so, is quite likely to be a better long-term partner in whom one will find more beauty, and indeed attraction, than someone who is a Helen of Troy on the outside, but a Medusa within.

‘Marriage,’ as an old German Sufi once told me as he watered some plants, ‘cannot work on sex alone.’

And the beauty and attraction of religiousness is often something far more satisfying than mere appearance. Imam al Shafi’i said, ‘See well to abstinence [zuhd], because the abstinence in the abstinent one is more beautiful than jewelry on a buxom maid.’ (Siyar Alam al Nubala, Dhahabi)

Sexual Pragmatism

Notwithstanding the foregoing, prioritizing religiousness overlooks does not mean that looks are ignored. Indeed it is recommended [sunna] to marry someone who is good-looking. (Mishkat al Misbah, Ba Fadl)

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘When you [wish] to propose to a woman, then if you are able to look at her to see if you want to marry her, then do so.’ (Abu Dawud)

The encouragement to look tells us quite clearly that looks are important. Indeed it is quite clear from the Prophet’s actions (Allah bless him and give him peace) and teachings that although looks are not a priority, they are not irrelevant at all.

If we reflect on the Prophet’s multiple marriages (Allah bless him and give him peace), we see that beauty, although by no means a priority, is given consideration.

Our Mother Aisha (Allah be well-pleased with her) tells us that when Our Mother Juwayriyya came knocking on the Prophet’s (Allah bless him and give him peace), ‘She was a very beautiful woman.’ She added, ‘I knew the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) would see in her what I had seen.’ (Tahdhib Sirat Ibn Hisham, Abd al Salam Harun)

Now we know Our Mother Juwayriyya was very religious, and explicitly chose Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) over her previous husband, and spent hours in worship. (Tahdhib al Kamal, Mizzi; Muslim and others) But to say that her looks had nothing to do with it at all would be far-fetched, just as it would be far-fetched, or rather downright wrong, to say that her looks were all that he saw!

So too, when he (Allah bless him and grant him peace) married a woman from the Ghifar tribe, on the wedding night he saw a white mark on near her hip and distanced himself from her. He then told her to go back to her family, letting her take the entire dowry. (Ahmad, Hakim, and others; Subul al Huda wa al Rashad, Salihi) Now it is of course possible that he did this for fear that it was leprosy, but it is also quite possible that he felt that as a mortal man, the purely aesthetic defect was too much for him.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) also asked one of his companions if he had seen his prospective bride. Upon responding in the negative, he advised him to do so, explaining that some of the Medinan Helpers (from whom the bride was amongst) had something odd about their eyes. (Muslim) Clearly he was advising his followers to be wise and not marry someone whom they had never seen before because, from a purely aesthetic point of view, they might be disappointed.

This of course also applies to women. Sayyidna Ali said, ‘Women should not marry men that are not like them [in age and looks]. After all, they like in you [men] what you like in the [women]. Similarly, Sayyidna Umar said, ‘Does one of you really go out and find an old, ugly man for his daughter?! They love for themselves what you [men] love for yourselves!’ (Adab al Nisa, Ibn Habib)

Good Looks

As mentioned before, scholars tell us that it is recommended to marry someone who is good looking. What does that actually mean?

The late Shafi’i scholars actually debated this. Ibn Hajar al Haytami was of the opinion that it meant marrying someone whom you personally found good looking. Others opined that what was relevant was that the person was generally considered good looking. (al Manhal al Naddakh, Qarahdaghi)

This is a very interesting debate and applies to other things one might look for in a spouse. Do you marry someone you personally feel attracted to or someone your peers would otherwise be interested in? Do you marry a doctor because you like doctors, or because your extended family values doctors? From an individualistic point of view, it might seem like a silly question, but we cannot ignore the fact that our values, and therefore what we value in other people, are clearly affected by our surroundings. One would do well to think hard about this.

Conclusion

One should definitely prioritize religiousness overlooks, but one should also follow the advice of the Sacred Law and find someone one can live with and keep one chaste. Allah Most High says,

‘The believers have already succeeded–those who humble themselves in awe in prayer, who turn away from nonsense, who give in alms, and who protect their private parts.’ (Qur’an, 23: 1-5)

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.

Supplication to Find Someone to Marry

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question: I love someone a lot and I want to marry him. At first, he said he wanted to marry me, too, but later, during an argument, he said he is not interested at all. Please can you give me a Supplication [du’a] that can help this marriage happen and that softens his heart toward me?

Answer: Assalamu alaykum sister,

I pray that you have success in your life and marry the right man for you. I know this must be very difficult for you, getting in an argument and hearing big proclamations is not easy.

Limits

First, sister, I would recommend that you remain within the limits that Allah has set for you. You say you love him but are not yet married to him. Please refrain from being alone with him or uncovering in front of him. Please lower your gaze with him, be sure not to make physical contact and your interaction should be restricted to a need-basis only. I don’t want you to get more attached to him and then it doesn’t end up working out.

Trust (Tawakkul)

Rely on Allah regarding this matter. Pray the prayer of need and ask Allah to help you. If this really is the right person, ask that Allah manifest this to you. If he isn’t, ask that Allah make it plain to you. This link will show you how to pray it: How Does One Perform The Prayer Of Need (salat al-haja)?

Du’a

The best du’a for a Muslim is a du’a from the desperate heart. Bless the Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, ask forgiveness for your sins, thank Him for the countless blessings, and then supplicate from your heart. Then end off with blessing the Prophet again, may Allah bless him and give him peace.

In addition to this, some supplications from our Holy book come to mind:

“Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers. [Qur`an, 7:23]

Oh my Lord! I am indeed needy of whatever good you may send to me. [Qur’an 28:24]

Also please go through these excellent articles that comprises all you need to know for a successful marriage, in sha Allah: Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered

May Allah give you the best in this world and the next.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

Why Married Couples Struggle and How to Respond Successfully

Why Married Couples Struggle and How to Respond Successfully. A Muslim Perspective from Ustadha Shireen Ahmed & Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

The closest relationship a person will ever experience in their lifetime is with their spouse. In this SeekersHub seminar, we learn how to cultivate this union to the fullest, how to overcome common hurdles, and how to maintain a high degree of moral conduct and excellent character.

For more info and FREE registration for our upcoming seminars – wherever you are in the world, visit SeekersHub Toronto.

Cover photo by Azlan DuPree.