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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

Making Ghusl After Continual Exiting of Sexual Fluids

Answered by Ustadha Shaista Maqbool

Question: I understand that if one has an orgasm, a ghusl is required each time something exits from one’s private parts after intimate relations. However, because it is normal for most women to have discharge all day long even without any relations, how does one know whether what is coming out is sexual fluid or everyday discharge? When do the ghusls stop?

For example:

Husband and wife are intimate at 2 AM.
Wife experiences exiting of fluids afterwards.
She does ghusl before fajr at 5 AM.
Wife experiences the exiting of fluid all day thereafter.
It could be sexual fluid but it could also be her usual discharge.

Please help clarify this as its becoming a huge source of waswasa and hardship for me.

JazakAllahu khair,
Wasalaam

Answer: Wa’alaikum assalaam warahmatu Allah,

If a woman urinates after intercourse, if semen exits from her thereafter, she is only required to do wudu, not ghusl. Therefore she would only take one ghusl after intercourse.

If she has discharge after this, she does wudu if she is certain or predominantly believes the fluid exiting is semen. If she is uncertain (for example 50/50), she would consider it to be normal female discharge.

And Allah knows best.

Wasalaam,

Shaista Maqbool

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

The Fiqh Details of Oral Sex

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: What is the fiqh ruling of performing oral sex?

Answer: Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Oral sex takes various rulings depending on the situation:

a) if oral sex entails swallowing or likely swallowing of filthy substances–such as pre-sexual discharge–then it is prohibitively disliked and sinful;

b) if there is fear of this, and this fear is at the level of likelihood, then it would also be impermissible and sinful;

c) if the fear is not at the level of likelihood–such as when all precautions are taken–then it would be disliked and improper;

d) when there is no fear of swallowing any filth, even accidentally, then it would be other than the best thing to do (khilaf al-awla).

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,

Faraz Rabbani

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

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
www.daruliftaa.com