Although when we are writing this guide, our main aim is to cover wedding night and sex life from a woman’s perspective however the general points can be applied to both men and women. Please note that the aim of the guide is to help practising Muslim brothers and sisters to enjoy intimacy according to Shariah. This is not an immoral ‘guide’ where sex acts are detailed for various depraved reasons. This guide is strictly for brothers and sisters who are about to get married or those who have been married but haven’t had the best of times inside the bedroom. We will inshaAllah try to discuss sex only to a detail that doesn’t cross the beautiful borders of Hayaa but still try to cover it as much as possible to help young Muslim men and women in today’s age where haram is the norm unfortunately. May Allah help us in doing so, Ameen!
- 1 Frequently Asked Questions about Sex in Islam
- 1.1 Q. I like to watch Porn. Can I watch Porn with my spouse?
- 1.2 Q. My brother and his wife touch each other while I (her sister) am sitting there watching TV – Public Displays of Affections (PDA) Halal or Haram?
- 1.3 Q. Is Anal Sex allowed in Islam?
- 1.4 Q. Is Oral Sex allowed between a Muslim husband and wife?
- 1.5 Q. Can I have Sex during her period – Is Period Sex Halal or Haram?
- 1.6 Q. Can we make love uncovered?
- 1.7 Q. What if I breastfeed from my wife?!
- 2 How to spice up your sex life the Halal way!
- 2.1 Is Sex really that important?
- 2.2 Express your Love, Women!
- 2.3 Shyness in Bedroom!
- 2.4 How to please your wife/husband
- 2.5 Kindness – Be Kind To Each Other!
- 2.6 Romance – Do something romantic for your partner every once in while!
- 2.7 Remembrance of Allah – Remember Allah All The Time!
- 2.8 Compromises – Mismatched Sex Drives
- 2.9 Modern Economy – Make Time For Each Other
- 2.10 Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus
- 3 Engaging in Intimacy in front of People or Children
- 4 Revealing Intimate Details of Each Other & Sex
- 5 Etiquette in Polygamy
- 6 The Wedding Night Guide
- 7 Islam – The most sexually liberal religion
- 8 For the Unsullied Unmarried
Frequently Asked Questions about Sex in Islam
We will start first by trying to answer some of the most commonly asked questions by lot of young Muslims when they are about to get married.
Q. I like to watch Porn. Can I watch Porn with my spouse?
NO. Watching pornography is wrong on so many levels. First of all, if you are paying for it, then you are actually financially helping people have Zina on camera…Just let that sink in for a moment! Secondly even if you are not paying for it, pornography in any form is the zina of eyes.
Allah has decreed for every son of Adam his share of zina, which he will inevitably commit. The zina of the eyes is looking, the zina of the tongue is speaking, one may wish and desire, and the private parts confirm that or deny it. (al-Bukhaari, 5889; Muslim, 2657)
Also with most couples watching pornography, it can have two negative effects. The first is that the person pressuring their spouse does not realise that the spouse is unhappy or dissatisfied and may be feeling suffocated. The second negative effect is that the spouse might prefer what is on screen to what is happening in bed and therefore start unduly pressurising the spouse, in most cases this is usually the wife. A lot of porn is aimed towards male gratification and in demoralising women. Men can often have disruptive demands from their wives, and if a wife is not accustomed to such scenarios she might quickly start to break from within.
Pornography has also been shown to have psychologically harmful effects on humans. In 1986, a review of epidemiological studies by Neil M. Malamuth found that the quantity of pornographic material viewed by men was positively correlated with degree to which they endorsed sexual assault. There have also been studies that have shown that watching pornography is more likely to make men think of women as objects. Let’s be honest, in a lot of cases pornography, these days is about bondage/S & M acts, causing physical harm to the other party or even goes as far as threesomes in bed. There was a case a few years back where the wife was constantly being “pleasured” by the husband through climax via asphyxiation. Now I know we are being fairly blunt here, but does that not sound wrong in it-self? In Islam it is sinful to hurt another and this is someone you love! The poor girl eventually left the marriage as more was expected from her and she had reached breaking point. If you are a wife, is that what you would like your husband to view you as? And if you are a husband, would you really want your wife to get off as she watches another man naked engaged in zina? And the most important question is would you like to weaken your Iman by watching porn together while there was a halal outlet for your physical desires!? You are sitting right next to each other and watching porn, does that not worry you? You should be experimenting amongst yourselves rather than doing something that will open up the doors of hell.
Q. My brother and his wife touch each other while I (her sister) am sitting there watching TV – Public Displays of Affections (PDA) Halal or Haram?
PDAs according to their exact definition are strictly prohibited. Basically, what PDA means to someone can vary but the practical definition could include things like holding hands in public, kissing each other and even touching each other on areas like for example hips of your spouse. Now whether Islam forbids it or not depends pretty much on your definition of PDA. If PDA for you means hugging/embracing your wife in a non-sexual way before you go on an overseas trip then that is definitely allowed. Let’s say your younger sister who is in her mid 20s is sitting beside you & your wife and all of you are watching TV together. If you want to ask whether in that situation, you can lock lips with your wife, then I think the answer is pretty clear. Not only such PDAs make most people around the couple uncomfortable but they are strictly forbidden in Islam as you have no idea what thoughts would be crossing other person’s mind when you show such affection to your spouse. It’s also worth reminding ourselves that Hiya (Modesty) is a very integral component of Islam and this has been mentioned in several saheeh hadiths.
In today’s western culture it is easy to lose sight of whether something is haram or halal. We are accustomed to seeing non-Muslim couples around us displaying signs of affection. Mothers and fathers will lip-lock, hug and inappropriately touch in front of the children, whilst the children are pleased to see their parents in a loving relationship. However, in Islam, as part of the tarbiyah (proper upbringing) of a child, parents must teach their children about love, kindness, and affection. The children will learn these characteristics when they see how their parents care for them, hug and kiss them, and always look out for their best interests. Such actions towards the children will instil these noble characteristics in them, as well. Children can also observe how parents are with each other, are they kind and gentle or rude and hostile? It is not necessary for children to see physical acts of affection to determine whether the parents love each other. Parents should avoid displaying physical acts of affection, such as intimate hugging and kissing, in front of their children in order to instil the principles on Haya (modesty, shame) in them. Rather, they should focus on their character and behaviour with each other, as well as with the children.
Q. Is Anal Sex allowed in Islam?
NO. Anal sex is not only disallowed in Islam, it is indeed considered one of the most reprehensible acts in Islam. This is not a simple case of being Makruh but there are very clear instructions against it. For example, in one hadith Prophet Muhammad (saw) has mentioned that one who has anal sex with his spouse has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad. The Prophet (saws) said: If anyone resorts to a diviner and believes in what he says or has intercourse with his wife when she is menstruating or has intercourse with his wife through her anus: he has nothing to do with what has been sent down to Muhammad (saws) (Abu Dawood : 3895). Now these are very harsh words, basically this is saying that one who has engaged in anal sex has done kufr! Similarly, in another hadith, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: Allah will not look at a man who has anal sex with his wife (At-Tirmidhi : 1165). Again, this doesn’t need any explanation that if Allah will not look at someone on that tough day of judgement the length of which could be more than a thousand years, what would be the fate of that unfortunate person! May Allah safeguard us all, Ameen.
There is something that needs to be addressed at this point which unfortunately causes confusion in the minds of some young people. Now whether this confusion is the deliberately spread by few who have deviated from the right path or whether it is really misunderstanding on some people’s part, only Allah knows best. The ayah below is misquoted as a case for permission of anal sex:
Your wives are a place of sowing of seed for you, so approach your place of cultivation however you wish (Quran – 2:223)
Now some people take this ayah in its literal form and try to argue that both vaginal, as well as anal sex, are being made permissible by this ayah. However, this is a grave mistake since the context in which this ayah was revealed is the source of understanding its true meaning. Before the Hijrah of Prophet Muhammad (saw) to Madinah, the tribes in Madinah used to hold Jews of Madinah in high esteem as they were the only people of Book amongst them. Despite the fact that many tribes were not Jewish however their customs and traditions had borrowed a lot from Jewish traditions and customs. One very interesting example is the sex position that was considered permissible amongst Jews was what is commonly today known as missionary position. Basically, this means women lies on her back while the man mounts her from top. Interestingly this is considered the best position for sex by today’s medical standards when you are trying to actually conceive. So, because of the influence of Jews, most of Ansar men/women in Madinah would only establish marital relations in missionary position as other sex positions had negative notations attached to them. There was a prevalent belief that if you had sex from behind (again this still means Vaginal intercourse but behind means the position of husband behind his wife), the offspring born would be cross-eyed! However, things took an interesting turn when Muhajireen of Makkah married women of Ansar. It is believed that men/women of Makkah didn’t have such hang-ups about mating positions. So, when a particular Sahaba (ra) tried to approach his wife from behind and not in the customary position of missionary position, that woman refused to comply. The woman said that I will not allow you to do it until Prophet of Allah (saw) has cleared the situation. She went to Umm Salamah and told her the story. Umm Salamah (ra) said, “Wait until Allah’s Messenger comes”. When Allah’s Messenger came, the Ansari woman was shy to ask him about this matter, so she left. Umm Salamah told Allah’s Messenger the story and he said: “Summon the Ansari woman”. She was summoned and he Muhammad (saw) recited the above quoted Ayah to her!
If there is any doubt still remaining in the minds of our readers, this should inshaAllah further clear it up with regards to the banning of Anal Sex in Islam. “Allah is not ashamed of the Truth! Do not have intercourse with women through the anus.” (Al-Tirmidhi : 3192)
Q. Is Oral Sex allowed between a Muslim husband and wife?
This is a tricky question. Now there are some scholars who say that it is haram. However, in our opinion and after looking at the lot of research on this issue, we tend to agree with the majority of scholars who believe that this is not haram. Reason for this is we have to be careful about declaring things haram because if there is no clear indication about something being haram that can be proven from Quran and authentic hadiths, then we would be making a grave mistake that can have a lot of implications not only for Muslims who would adhere to that advice but also for us on the day of judgement! Now whether it is Makruh (disliked) or not is a different question.
Now let’s look at a few things practically whilst still maintaining modesty as much as possible. Why is a question about Oral Sex being asked? It has lot to do with the society we live in (more on this later below). However, we cannot ignore certain biological differences between a man and a woman. Intravaginal Ejaculation Latency Time or IELT is the medical term used to describe the time taken by man to ejaculate during vaginal penetration. Although it varies from man to man and it also varies for the same man from one time to the next, there have been a lot of studies which do give us certain statistics for the average times and the median range for this is 4-8 minutes. However, what is interesting is that the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) applies a cut-off of 15 seconds from the beginning of sexual intercourse to describe ejaculation as Premature. Yes, that is 15 seconds and much below the normal range of 4-8 minutes. NHS website says that occasional episodes of premature ejaculation are actually common and not a cause for concern. However, for women reaching climax is a completely different story. A simple search on Google brings up question by frustrated wives that their husbands aren’t doing enough in bed to please them. A simple chat with the Imam of the local mosque can indicate this problem is also a widescale problem in the Muslim community and not just an online issue! There are usually two outcomes possible in this situation for a Muslim couple. Either the husband just ignores the wife after he is done and has enjoyed himself and sadly this is the norm and wife either due to her ignorance doesn’t know any better or out of her modesty, doesn’t ask more of him. The second is to approach it constructively and look at ways where husband could do his part in keeping her wife chaste as well! We must always remember as soon as the doors to do something lawful are closed, the doors to unlawful behaviours become wide open. Oral sex can be a perfectly valid thing in this sense for both parties to pleasure each other especially for a man who either suffers from P.E. or simply because the wife struggles to achieve an orgasm during vaginal intercourse.
According to Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî, former professor at al-Imâm University in Riyadh, the possibility of the existence of impurity does not stand as a sufficient evidence for forbidding it. If a person thinks the intake of impurity is imminent, he must take action to avoid it. The female genitals are not impure as long as they are free from ordinary impurities. A feeling of guilt cannot stand as evidence for the unlawfulness of something. The evidence can only be derived from what is in Allah’s Book or the Prophet’s Sunnah (peace be upon him). There is no evidence whatsoever from these two sources forbidding this practice. Therefore, as things are basically lawful unless evidence to the contrary exists, then this practice is lawful. Some people may dislike a practice for their own personal reasons, but we cannot say that it is an unlawful practice in Islam.
Q. Can I have Sex during her period – Is Period Sex Halal or Haram?
Period sex is haram, Period (Pun intended). Sex with wife, while she is on her periods, comes under the exact same ruling of Anal sex! There is a clear prohibition on sex during a woman’s periods. However, this sex only refers to vaginal intercourse. It is known from authentic hadiths that Ayesha (ra) would have herself covered from the waist down while Prophet Muhammad (saw) would be intimate with her during her periods. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “So do everything except intercourse” while referring to intimacy with women during her menses.
Unfortunately, there are a multitude of cases where husbands are having sex with their wives whilst they are on their periods. Often, they will make the wife feel guilty if she refuses and will pressure her into having sex when it is not permissible. Sadly, in most cases not only will the wife feel guilty for the haram committed, the poor thing is already in pain from the bleeding and her body is weakened but she won’t have the courage to refuse. It is advisable to all Muslim women to consider their obligation to Allah (swt) over their husband and to make the right decision.
Q. Can we make love uncovered?
It’s commonly understood by many that it is required to be covered by a sheet or some other kind of covering whilst engaging in intercourse. However, some further digging reveals the fact that the hadeeth most often quoted to support this understanding are weak as opposed to the hadeeth which is more often quoted which has a different understanding- that it is permissible.
The majority of scholars have quoted as evidence that it is permissible to be naked during intercourse the hadeeth of Bahz ibn Hakeem, from his father, from his grandfather, who said:
I said, O Messenger of Allaah, with regard to our ‘awrah, what may we uncover of it and what must we conceal? He said: “Cover your ‘awrah except from your wife and those whom your right hand possesses (i.e., concubines).”
Q. What if I breastfeed from my wife?!
If, in the course of being intimate with a wife who is breastfeeding, a man drinks his wife’s milk, no mahram relationship will be created. It must be noted that there is no benefit to drinking the milk of a breastfeeding woman.
In al-Muwatta’ (2/603), Maalik reported that Ibn ‘Umar said: “There is no breastfeeding except for the one who is breastfed in infancy; there is no breastfeeding for one who is grown up.” Its isnaad is saheeh.
How to spice up your sex life the Halal way!
Is Sex really that important?
Interestingly this question comes to lot of people’s mind when halal intimacy is discussed even in an Islamic context. Some people unfortunately also adopt a holier than thou attitude when it comes to learning about marital relations between husband and wife. You can go to any online forum and see sometimes brothers and sisters immediately branding such topics as ‘filthy’. Now there is no doubt that yes some so called Muslims might want to follow their whims and desires and use religious excuses to do that. However, how will a young Muslim sister or brother learn about this if no one taught them in the first place!
We also can NOT ignore a very basic fact that Sex is an extremely powerful human drive. Like food and water, it is a very basic need of a human being. Islam being a practical religion has provided beautiful solutions to this basic human need. Unlike Christianity where Church looked down on sex and considered it a necessary evil even in the best possible cases, Islam encourages early marriages and even allows polygamy to keep people chaste. Islam encouraged romance and kind treatment of spouses and families. However certain Muslims have adopted the ways of other religions when they claim that such basic elements of life are not worth our time. We also witness that Christianity repressed natural human sexuality and as result what went on inside a lot of churches was in fact rape of minors!
Prophet Muhammad (saw) said “….Having intercourse (with one’s wife) is a charity.” They said, “O Messenger of Allaah, if one of us fulfils his desire, is there reward in that?” He said, “Do you not see that if he does it in a haraam way he will have the burden of sin? So if he does it in a halaal way, he will have a reward for that”(Saheeh Muslim : 1674).
Intercourse may be an act of worship if the intention behind it is to fulfil the rights of one’s wife, to treat her kindly as enjoined by Allaah, to seek a righteous child, to keep oneself or one’s wife chaste, to prevent both partners from looking towards or thinking of haraam things, and other good intentions. So, we believe physical intimacy is extremely important aspect of a Muslim’s life and practising it in a halal way is actually rewarding in keeping one away from haram desires and acts but earns the person ajar!
Express your Love, Women!
Sometimes, unfortunately, practising Muslimahs mainly from conservative cultures feel that there is no need to express their love for their husband. They feel they can cook and clean and that should be enough. We must remember men are like women too in many respects. If a man consistently feels that his wife never expresses her love for him or never expresses her desire to be with him or never initiates any physical intimacy herself, he may start getting frustrated and jealous. This becomes particularly dangerous in today’s environment when the street is full of Fahishahs who will snatch a husband away from an unsuspecting wife by sweet words, flattery and false promises! While no sane person can condone falling prey to these haram actions, however at the same time we cannot and should NOT ignore what lead to these actions in the first place! A man also plays an important role here. You need to be best friends with each other, and there should be open honesty amongst you. If this exists, a wife will free to tell her husband anything and everything and this then allows her to express what she wants and what she feels for him.
Shyness in Bedroom!
When women go out they need to keep a barrier between themselves and the opposite sex. This protects them from a multitude of sins. Modesty outside of the home includes lowered gazes, keeping body parts covered and being careful how you portray yourself to someone. One of the most important aspects of Shyness (hayaa) for women, is that of guarding the woman’s chastity and modesty. To do this it is important to follow the order of Allah (swt) which tells them to keep hidden their beauty and adornments from all men unlawful to them in marriage. There are many women in our society who claim that they have believed in Islaam and have hayaa’ but consider the commandments pertaining to veiling as backward. Even though the Prophet (saw) has said, “Indeed hayaa’ (modesty) and eemaan (faith) are Companions. When one of them is lifted, the other leaves as well.” (Baihaqi).
When a woman first gets married, she is nervous as hell! Generally, a feeling of shyness and nervousness will overcome you. However, as days go by this gets easier and it you adjust to your situation and become more free with your husband. However, there have been cases where women have been too shy to express their feelings and wants and have just accepted whatever the husband wanted. Often in bed a woman will be shy or afraid to express what she wants as a lot of cultures tend to feed the notion that men “take” what is theirs. in this instance the man will be sexually gratified whilst the woman is left seeing the entire experience as a chore. She will be too shy to ask; some women are too shy to even hug their husband when they come home from work! We would suggest you become more daring and start to have open discussions with your husband as this will lead to a long term fulfilling relationship. Brothers if you are reading, then you need your wives to be open about what they want from a relationship. If they know that they can trust you and you hold a strong friendship between yourselves, discussing intimacy should not be a problem!
How to please your wife/husband
This is a very tricky topic for us to discuss so we will try to be as detailed as possible while still maintaining the hayaa according to Islam. Pleasing your spouse physically and satisfying them in bed is not only ibadah but is actually the responsibility of every married Muslim! Not fulfilling this responsibility leads to not only leads to a very unhappy life but opens the doors of zina. Zina is one of the major sins in Islam and there is absolutely no doubt in this. May Allah protect us all from it, Ameen.
“None of you should fall upon his wife like an animal, but let there first be a messenger between you”, said our beloved Prophet (saw). “And what is that messenger?” They asked. “Kisses and sweet words” [Daylami] Now this hadith is very interesting especially since most religions seem to have very male dominated narratives and sex is usually considered a dirty word. However here the Messenger of Allah (saw) is almost commanding men to do certain things before they engage in actual intercourse. But Why? (Refer to section Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus below on explanation on this) We will also quote another hadith here and then give a few bits of advice to follow. Aisha (RA) said “The prophet would kiss her whilst he was fasting (m, refer to the fiqh of kissing during fast) and he would suck her tongue.” [Sunan Abu Dawud : 2378] So that art of passionate kissing is one that would definitely help both spouses not only to spice up their sex lives but it would also be a Sunnah at the same time if done with the right intention.
The advice for men is very clear from the above which is saying nice things to her, in other words be romantic, kiss her and kiss her heavily. Make her comfortable especially if she is nervous. Notice how she reacts when you touch and kiss her and take your cues from there. It should be a learning experience and communication is the key. Ask her what feels good to her while at the same time, keep trying different things. There is another medical thing of importance that should be mentioned here. When a woman is aroused, her vagina enlarges and becomes lubricated to facilitate physical intimacy. The easiest way to know if she is ready for the real deed is to notice this. However, there can sometimes be medical reasons for vaginal dryness too which need to be treated by a doctor. Do NOT force yourself on her because even if it is your right to be physically satisfied by your wife, this will not only hurt her physically but also emotionally. The relationship might not even be the same again!
However, the advice for women is not very clear from Islam. Obviously, the advice given by our Prophet (saw) is generally also applicable to women, but we will also try to bring in common sense tips from various experts and also address some of the issues we have seen mentioned commonly. Your hard work would start much prior to sex for example thank him if he does something for you. You could say how attractive he looks to you when he wears a new cloth or simply comment on his bicep muscles if he has just had a workout. Remember though, be honest as most people can see right through flattery! As for the act itself, you could initiate it yourself. Researching on the internet, we can say this with utmost confidence that if you have never initiated sex with your husband, then the first time you will try to hold him to plant a kiss and move further, he will be blown away by that experience. This is psychology 101, you are basically making him feel wanted and everyone loves that feeling of being desired & loved! You could also offer a nice massage if he’s been doing lot of physical work all day. Again, a lot of advice in this blog post may not seem directly related to physical intimacy but it is these other important things going on in your life that will have a huge effect on your sexual relations. Massage can be very erogenous and can definitely spice up your sex life. The giver is in physical contact with their spouse’s body hence the excitement is natural whereas the receiver receives enhanced blood flow to different organs of the body which can be very relaxing as well as stimulating.
The advice to kissing and licking your spouse on different parts of their body applies equally to women too. Generally, ‘erogenous zones’ on the male body are Penis, Mouth & Lips, Scrotum, Neck, Nipples, Perineum (area between Anus & Scrotum) & Ears whereas those on female body are Clitoris, Vagina, Cervix, Mouth & Lips, Neck, Breasts & Nipples & Ears. Almost all these areas of the human body have a very high concentration of nerve endings, so they’re particularly sensitive to touch, pressure, or vibration. These so-called erogenous zones can contribute to sexual arousal—think of them as the road map to a happy ending. However, also remember that every person is slightly different so try different things and see what works. Experiment with love and affection and this is how can you please your spouse!
Kindness – Be Kind To Each Other!
Kindness…What!? In a manual of reviving marital intimacy and spicing up sex lives, I am mentioning Kindness…boring, isn’t it especially in the today’s age. Wrong! Kindness just like Romance is the key to have a good fulfilling sex life. Let’s break it down, the physical act of sex is the last stop of this track. Everything that follow prior to it, if you are not going to do it well, you will never get to this stop! If you are not kind to your wife and vice versa, how will you even feel the need of kissing and touching each other! If you are always having arguments and don’t miss a moment to score points over each other, do you really expect that both of you will switch off those feelings as soon as you hit the bed so to speak.
Kindness is a great virtue. It involves forgiving and overlooking each other’s mistakes, strengthening each other Iman with sweet words and delicate actions, and most importantly going the extra mile to please each other. Like every human being, your spouse will have character flaws. Instead of working together to improve on them and sometimes even ignoring those flaws, if we just keep on criticising our spouses, our marriage will not last long. Let’s also not forget as Muslims, that if we are kind to fellow human beings including our spouses, Allah and His creation will be kind to us!
Romance – Do something romantic for your partner every once in while!
Romance in this day and age in underrated, unless you’re having extra-marital affairs, in which often the driving force right after sex is being flattered with romance. It is no secret that most couples who get divorced or who are unhappy in their marriages haven’t had romantic time for months if not years in most cases. Every day we hear and read about cheating stories in the paper and it is often alleged that married couple had not even talked to each other nicely for years! Every marriage will go through tough times and there will be times where both of you will need some space. However, this doesn’t mean that spouses should not put in extra effort for romanticising each other throughout the marriage. Romance is not difficult, what it basically means is engaging in activities that shows care and affection between a husband and wife. It doesn’t have to be physical. In fact, physical romance is just one dimension of romance, it’s the small non-physical romance that makes a huge difference.
Romance can include simplest of things, just holding each other’s hands once in a while, complementing each other often and reminding each other how much you value their company. If your spouse is busy taking care of kids, help her out with the dishes or cleaning or simply join her and the kids to create a memorable family experience together. If your husband is working till late and working hard to provide for the family, make sure you create a peaceful and calm environment for him when he returns home. One of the reasons so many relationships turn sour is that spouses instead of appreciating the good thing that their partner does for them, they just cannot let go of small issues and past grievances. Always remember, there can be no fulfilling sex life of a married couple if there is no romance in there! Romance is the first step in creating a harmonious marital relationship amongst a couple.
There is another important point worth noting here which is particularly important for Muslim women especially from conservative cultures. If you won’t tell your husband how much you love him, how much you find him attractive and if you won’t express your desires for being with him, there are unfortunately a lot of horrible women on the street who will! I have personally witnessed marriages being destroyed for this very basic reason. An unhappy husband with no romance in his life can easily fall prey to cunning and deceiving women elsewhere who will lie and shower him with praises to get favours from him and since he already is yearning for that approval and appreciation at home which he doesn’t get, he becomes an easy target for such haram actions. A good example is an uncle of one of my friends. His wife would not have food on the table, when he came home she would complain, she would want him to listen to her woes and really not care much about him. When the uncle went to work there was a woman there that brought him home made food, she would praise him and say how good he was. Gradually he fell for her, although Alhamdulillah he did not do anything haram, he actually proposed to her! He got married to her and his first wife left him in anger. The reason this example was given is, it is not just affairs, if you want your husband not to get married again you need to let him know he means something to you! Again, Romance is an act of worship and ajar if done with the intention of keeping oneself and their partner chaste inshaAllah.
Remembrance of Allah – Remember Allah All The Time!
Remembrance of Allah is one point we cannot simply overemphasize. Jibreel (as) said to our Prophet (saw) “…Love whomever you wish, for you will be separated…”(Al-Muʻjam al-Awsaṭ : 4410). What this really means that everything and everyone we attach ourselves to on this planet will eventually die. Keeping this harsh reality in our minds, we must lead our lives. This doesn’t mean in any way that we shouldn’t get married, or have sex or go on a halal holiday with our families. What this really means is don’t do something out of your love for someone that will offend Allah because Allah is ever living and the Almighty whereas everything else is his creation. There is also another interesting take on this too, that if you help your spouse in following the commandments of Allah and if you facilitate their lives with your efforts so that they can easily obey the orders of Allah, Allah will in turn put love for you in their hearts! So, the way to get closer to your wife or husband is also via getting close to Allah in the first place and then asking for Allah’s help in strengthening your relationship.
Compromises – Mismatched Sex Drives
One problem that a lot of married couples face are mismatched sex drives. One spouse may want more and the other spouse may want much less. There was a time when an ordinary woman living in Madinah could complain to Qazi (Muslim judge) about his husband’s lack of attention to her sexual needs! However sadly we don’t live in those times anymore. Gone are such days of up righteous Qazis of exemplary character that a woman alone could approach them about such sensitive matters and not be called names for trying to get her legal and marital rights that have been prescribed in the Shariah! So, what can a wife or husband do these days if their partner doesn’t fulfil their responsibilities? We believe two Cs play a very important role: Communication & Compromises. We have already discussed communication above, lets discuss how one can make compromises while still maintaining a healthy sex life. Let’s say a wife has a complaint that her husband is so passionate about working or about Islam that she doesn’t get a chance to be physical with her for weeks. We offer a simple solution that was proposed by a highly intelligent Qazi during the time of Umar Bin Khattab (ra). A man is allowed to have 4 wives. So, if he had to divide his time equally amongst them as told by Allah (swt) in Quran then he would have to spend every 4th night with each wife. Now if a husband complains that he doesn’t have a high sex drive and doesn’t feel the need to be intimate with his wife much but wife feels the opposite way, then he must spend a night with her after every three nights. However, it is mostly men who complain that their wives don’t fulfil their responsibilities towards them in bed. There is a famous hadith that says “Angels curse the woman who refuses to go to her husband when he asks despite their being no valid reason of excuse for her”.
However, sometimes it not about our rights but making compromises in smart but caring manner can be the solution. If a husband wants to be intimate with his wife 6 times a week but a wife feels 3 is enough, common logic would indicate that they should try to reach a common ground of say 4 or 5 times sex a week. We cannot always have the things we want in this World as the World has been made as a test for us by Allah (swt)! Please also note to stop all types of sexual activity with your spouse just to punish them unjustly or blackmail them is indeed a horrible act that leaves a horrible mark on many marriages. Muslim spouses must fear Allah above all when dealing with each other!
Modern Economy – Make Time For Each Other
Now this is something that is a very modern problem and although at first glance, it has nothing to do with our sex lives but if you look deeply, it has effect on every single phase of our lives. Inflation has always been a problem throughout human history but in the last few hundred years, prices of most basic commodities have also skyrocketed. The most important of this is price of decent land that is out of the reach of most middle-class earners today. This is not a luxury by any means since if you can’t even own a home, you are always at the mercy of your landlords which is not a pretty scenario. What most families resort to in today’s age to counter the never ending inflation is by having each and every member of family contribute financially to running of house.
Let’s break it down. Just 100 years ago in most parts of the World, husband would come home after a hard day at work which usually involved manual labour. The wife would take care of his kids while he was away. Usually the kids were asleep by the time he is back or would go to sleep as soon as they all had dinner together. Most wives would make sure that they are dolled up and look nice for their husbands. Women were also told by their mothers to make sure their husbands were physically satisfied. Sex was a natural part of life before going to bed for most couples. However, things have changed drastically now. It’s not only the man who works hard outside but women also have jobs and careers and like men. So, they also face consistent pressure to perform under strict deadlines, have arguments with colleagues/bosses or simply struggle with health while unable to take sick leaves. So now we have both spouses coming home tired. Sex is not something on their mind. Still for men, sex is very much a physical thing but for women, it has a strong emotional and psychological component to it. Hence the modern version of family suffers from this huge flaw.
Although there is no running away from this tough problem, there are ways to mitigate it. One thing that we would recommend is to make time over weekends to have good sex, go on holidays together and save for the future where the wife can stay at home keeping in line with Islam’s requirements of men’s responsibility to provide and women’s responsibility to observe purdah and take care of the home. But even if all of this is not feasible, just taking half an hour out each day to talk to each other, have a laugh is or watch a 30-minute show or documentary you both like is more than enough. Alternatively, why not share a romantic dinner when the children have gone to bed, take a walk around the block. So many things can be done to circumvent this problem, but we become so embroiled in everyday life we miss those little moments.
Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus
Marital relations can suffer if we don’t understand that men and women although being equally important as two pillars of the institution of marriage are still fundamentally different.
Emerson Eggerichs, best-selling author of Love and Respect, found during his research that men in a relationship fundamentally want respect and obedience whereas women need love
Let’s move this into the paradigm of physical relationship. So, if the wife is always nagging, is openly disobedient and doesn’t listen to him or respects his wishes, the husband is very likely to drift away from healthy regular sex. Similarly, if the wife doesn’t experience romance and is not told how much she matters to the husband, the woman is very likely to not enjoy and eventually even abstain from sexual relations with the husband. Again, not everyone is the same, so some men may want different things in a marriage and similarly some women might need different things in a relationship. So communication is the key here.
Engaging in Intimacy in front of People or Children
Intimacy is private, as a rule. Young children who have reached an age of ‘discernment’ are not allowed to enter the bedrooms of the adults in their households without asking for permission first, in case they may intrude upon some kind of intimacy.
Ibn Katheer said: Here servants and children are commanded not to intrude upon the adults of the household at these times, lest the man be in a position of intimacy with his wife and so on. (3/401).
From this we can understand that any intimacy which would require a couple to go to their bedroom to engage in it cannot be engaged in in front of children. As we will discuss below, it is not even allowed to reveal the details of intimacy between husband and wife to others so we can understand that actually engaging in these acts is even more forbidden.
Revealing Intimate Details of Each Other & Sex
It is not allowed for any intimate details of a marriage to be discussed with others – this does not need to be limited to intimacy in the bedroom, it also includes any secrets or confidences that one’s spouse shares with them.
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) turned to the men and said, “Is there any man among you who, when he comes to his wife, he locks the door, throws his blanket over himself and conceals himself with the cover of Allaah?” They said, “Yes.” He said, “And does he sit after that and say, ‘I did such and such, and I did such and such?’” They remained silent. Then he turned to the women and said, “Is there anyone among you who speaks (of private marital matters)?” They remained silent. Then a buxom young girl sat up tall so that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would see her and hear her words, and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, (the men) speak and (the women) speak.” He said, “Do you know what the likeness of that is? The likeness of that is that of a female devil who meets a male devil in the street and he fulfils his desire with her when the people are looking on.”
Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2174. Classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 7037.
Etiquette in Polygamy
It is not allowed for a man to be intimate with his spouse where anyone can see them or hear them and this includes his other wives. It is very important to not invoke feelings of jealousy and ill-will amongst the co-wives and being intimate with another wife in front of the first will naturally make them feel possessive and result in them resenting the other wife.
Ibn Qudaamah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
He should not have intimate relations where anyone can see them or hear them, and he should not kiss her or touch her in the presence of other people.
There is nothing wrong with not making ghusl in between visits to a man’s wives if he is intimate with them over the course of a time period where it is not required for him to perform ghusl so he may pray. But, it is considered better to make ghusl between intimacy with one wife and the next.
Ahmad (22742) and Abu Dawood (219) narrated from Abu Raafi‘ that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) went around to all his wives one day and he did ghusl with this one and with that one. I said to him: O Messenger of Allah, why don’t you make it one ghusl? He said: “This is cleaner and better and purer.” Classed as hasan by Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allah have mercy on him) in Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh (no. 470).
A woman is entitled to one night in two, three or four with her husband depending on how many wives he has. Should her husband neglect to spend those nights with her, these nights are owed to her and he must spend that time with her before going to the next wife in the rotation. However, she can waive her rights if she wishes.
Al-Shaafa’i (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah and the view of most of the Muslim scholars indicate that the man must divide his time, night and day, among his wives, and must do so fairly.
Ibn Qudaamah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: But if he stays out, then he should make it up to her, regardless of whether he stayed out for a valid reason, such as work or being detained or some other valid reason, because she missed out on her rights due to his absence from her.
End quote from al-Mughni (8/145)
The Wedding Night Guide
Leading the Prayer
A man came to ‘Abd-Allah who was called Abu Jareer, and said: I have got married to a young girl and I am afraid that she will dislike me. ‘Abd-Allah said: Love is from Allah and dislike is from the Shaytaan, who wants to make hateful to you that which Allah has permitted to you. So when she comes to you, tell her to pray two rak‘ahs behind you.
Some Sahabas and salafs during early ages of Islam used to recommend praying with your wife the first night and most importantly leading her in prayer. Although as far as I know this is not proven by the Sunnah of Prophet (saw), however there is no harm in starting such an important chapter of life with the most important act of ibadah! If you are a woman, you could even request your new husband to do it and inshaAllah you will be rewarded for such an act!
Milk or Something to Eat
It is proven from authentic hadiths that Prophet (saw) offered Aisha (ra) milk to drink on their wedding (Ahmad). Most scholars believe this is not specific to milk but the real lesson in this is to offer your bride something to eat or drink as it creates love between the two and also lowers the anxiety if there is any.
Dua after Marriage and Dua before Sexual Intimacy
The husband should put his hand on the front of wife’s head and say: “Allaahumma inni as’aluka khayraha wa khayra ma jabaltaha ‘alayhi wa a‘oodhi bika min sharriha wa min sharri ma jabaltaha ‘alayhi (O Allah, verily I ask You for her good and the good of what You have created in her, and I seek refuge with You from her evil and the evil of what You have created in her).” (Abu Dawood : 2160) But if he fears that the woman may get upset if he takes hold of her forelock and recites this dua, then he can take hold of her forelock as if he is going to kiss her, and recite this dua to himself under his breath, without letting her hear him, so that she will not be upset. If she is a woman who has knowledge, she will know that this is prescribed by Islam and that there is nothing wrong with him doing and saying this in such a way that she can hear it.
When a husband is about to have intercourse with his wife, he should say: “Bismillaah, Allaahumma jannibnaa al-shaytaan wa jannib al-shaytaan maa razqtanaa (In the name of Allaah, O Allaah Keep us away from the Shaytaan and keep the Shaytaan away from what You bestow on us (our children)).” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: If Allaah decrees that they should have a child, the Shaytaan will never harm him.” (Al-Bukhaari : 9/187)
We have already mentioned a hadith of not jumping on women like animals and similarly another one where kisses are prescribed. Basically, the key thing is communication. Wedding night can be very exciting yet very nerve wrecking for both spouses especially if they have been single and have refrained from zina. It’s totally appropriate to ask each other questions to determine whether your spouse is ready and willing for the intercourse or if the appropriate path is to build up to it in the next few days.
Whoever said the most important thing in life is to finish strong never had a frank conversation with a woman about the importance of foreplay. “It’s particularly important for women to have successful foreplay because it takes a woman a longer time [than a man] to get up to the level of arousal needed to orgasm,” says Dr. Ruth Westheimer, EdD, a psychosexual therapist, professor at New York University, and lecturer at Yale and Princeton universities.
Foreplay becomes even a more important factor on wedding night. Both parties are likely to not only be nervous about it but also totally exhausted after a tiring wedding day. For many Muslim women, that’s the first time she has ever left her house to live with someone which can be traumatising too! Hence romantic & assuring chat followed by prolonged foreplay can make the night memorable for both spouses inshaAllah.
We’ve discussed the process of beginning intimacy in detail. But what about afterwards? It’s not just as simple as rolling over and going to sleep – one should at least make wudhu before sleeping. Also, before you can pray again after having intercourse, you must make ghusl.
The Prophet of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When a man sits between the four parts (arms and legs of his wife) and has intercourse with her, then ghusl is obligatory.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 291. Muslim added (525): “Even if he does not ejaculate.”
It is also sunnah to make wudhu if one wishes to have intercourse a second time.
It was narrated that Abu Sa‘eed al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “If one of you has intercourse his wife and wants to repeat it, let him do wudoo’ in between.” Narrated by Muslim, 466
Love, Not Lust…Get Approval!
Islam doesn’t allow us to treat women like objects. I would have assumed that every practising Muslim man would already know this because of a plethora of hadiths that stress the importance of being kind to your family. However unfortunately over the years and also during my research, I have heard and read so many stories where unfortunate Muslim sisters were treated in a disgusting manner. Although sometimes lusting for each other physically can actually be a good thing but if the relationship is based on lust, it is bound to fail! Love her with her strengths, work on her weaknesses kindly and lovingly and when you approach your wife for sex, don’t remind her it is your right to have sex with her (although it is) but remember you are talking to a human being with feelings & emotions. We would strongly suggest asking for approval before marital intimacy. Now asking doesn’t mean verbally popping up the question but it means looking for non-verbal cues. If your wife is tired, or simply isn’t interested, respect her wishes and don’t be angry with her for this. If this happens occasionally, then there is nothing to worry about, however if this is a regular occurrence then it’s better to have a serious discussion about it.
Hollywood & Pornography
There is no doubt that Hollywood and pornography in particular has had a very negative role on minds of young Muslim men and women alike. While men have been bombarded with the Hollywood idea of this ideal attractive women of a certain bust to hip ratio with blonde hair & blue/green eyes, pornography has even gone further and corrupted their minds on what their wife should or should not do. Although watching pornography is haram but you would hard pressed to find someone today who hasn’t watched porn at some stage of their life. On the other hand, women suffer slightly differently from men, not only that they have also developed similar standards of male beauty in their heads and get disappointed when they cannot find someone like that in their real life but young women are always extreme pressure from society to look, act and behave in a certain way that is considered ‘sexy but not slutty’. What ends up happening is that both spouses end up unhappy because of their unrealistic expectations of their spouse not having that ‘ideal’ body or not ‘performing’ the way they want.
Muslims must almost always remember that those paid to do their filthy work in Hollywood or Porn industry should not be our role models. We as Muslims must have faith in Allah and should always be grateful for what we have. A good Muslim man or woman is always content with what Allah has given him. Similarly, he/she should not demand more than their spouse can possibly deliver in bed. If your wife has gained weight and has become unattractive, help them lose the weight in a kind and affectionate way but don’t criticise them or make fun of them in any way. If your husband doesn’t ‘perform’ the way you would like him to, communicate with him in the kindest way possible to not hurt his feelings. If your wife refuses to please you in halal ways, try to remind her in the most loving possible; lead by example and do something for her that is not even your responsibility; give it some time, she may simply be shy and after a few weeks she may surprise you by doing a lot more for you than you even imagined! Make dua to Allah (swt) to improve your sex life and always remember that the people who have set these unrealistic expectations in your head aren’t exactly close to Allah, in fact they are committing grave sins in front of camera for the rest of the World to witness! Seek medical help if there is any underlying medical issue that prevents from having satisfying sexual relations with your spouse. Don’t blame each other or brush the issues under the carpet as this would just lead to further resentment!
Hygiene/Cleanliness & Body Hair
Cleanliness is half of Iman. How many of us have heard this but do we really understand and follow it? Narrated ‘Ata’: I heard Jabir bin ‘Abdullah saying, “The Prophet (ﷺ) said, ‘Whoever eats (from) this plant (he meant garlic) should keep away from our mosque.” I said, “What does he mean by that?” He replied, “I think he means only raw garlic.”[Sahih Bukhari]
But these days go to any masjid you will have people standing next to you who are stinking of cigarette odour, smelly ketchups and the list goes on. However, when praying Salah, although you stand close to each other but you are not breathing on each other to speak literally but sex requires such intimacy that even sight of bit of uncleanliness or foul smell can be extremely off-putting for other partner.
Although Muslims should ALWAYS be immaculately clean but since marital relations require so much more intimacy, it can sometimes help to decide on a set of rules between the spouses. For example, if one of you suffers from excessive sweating, you could decide on both parties first having a shower before making love. Similarly, you could both use perfumes/attar before the deed. Use Miswak or toothbrush to clean your teeth. If you suffer from bad breath, then sort the underlying condition by talking to the doctor but using mints or mouthwash can help you temporarily.
Body hair is also something that varies a lot from one person to another. It is also surprising that most women love men with at least some body hair and find it very attractive whereas most men prefer their wives to shave or completely wax. Whether you shave or wax, it is up to you or your spouse’s choice but make sure you communicate with each other and keep it trimmed and tidy down there! Islam also has some strict guidelines regarding some body hair. Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said: “He (saw) set us a time limit of no more than forty days for trimming the moustache, clipping the nails, plucking the armpit hairs and shaving the pubic hair.” Again, say if your husband wants to shave your hair completely, go for it! Although it doesn’t sound like a big thing but these small things can make a world of difference when it comes to quality of marital intimacy in the long run!
Islam – The most sexually liberal religion
When I started working on this guide, I had no idea that this would become the longest blog I have ever written. Over the course of my research, some facts about sex education in Islam really surprised me. Researching this topic has further strengthened my Iman alhamdulillah. We in West have seen how sexual depravity has set in the customs and traditions over the period of last century. It is not just acceptable but actually expected that young men and women every weekend would gulp down gallons of alcohol to lower their inhibitions and then hit the nightclubs. These nightclubs allow for dimly lit dance stages with loud music blasting. In such an environment, drunk young women would dance in almost naked outfits suggestively moving their bodies while men would hit on them relentlessly. Showered with attention and praises they will engage all sort of haram activities and eventually end up doing zina in each other’s beds. The institution of marriage is on its last legs. Any person who has worked in London especially in Finance knows how things goes. To relate one example, large finance/law firms throw parties quarterly and sometimes even monthly where most employees get drunk because alcohol is free. What ends up happening is that everyone is sleeping with everyone else regardless of them being married or not. The poor wives/husbands are at home and taking care of kids absolutely while their other halves are grinding anything moves. However, if you talk to most people, this is termed as ‘freedom’ and the term used is ‘sexually liberated’ and for many Asians, Africans and Arabs, the term used is sexually repressed!
SubhanAllah, what we see in the West today is partly because of centuries of stifling of sex and not accepting it as an integral component of life by Christianity which has resulted into another extreme as mentioned in the paragraph above. However, it is so beautiful and practical that Islam on the other hand more than 1400 years ago stressed on the important of sex in the lives of Muslims. It didn’t view it as something dirty that you just need to get it done with if you are really frustrated but instead it promoted it in lot of halal ways. Marriages were highly encouraged at an early age for both men and women. Even the money from Baitul Maal (Central Bank in Shariah) was provided to help young men get married! This is even more socialist that any definition of socialism I have ever read. Women were able to get divorces if their husbands weren’t able to sexually satisfy them. Islam knew and stressed that if both men and women are not given halal ways to engage in physical relations, zina and hence fitna would spread. However, with time as Islam spread in different parts of the World, culture become dominant force in certain spheres. Muslims have unfortunately seen the lowest ebb in last couple of centuries. We hear everyday stories that young men and women want to get married but their parents don’t allow them to because of racial, financial and status differences with the suitor. In extreme cases parents cut off all contact with their own daughter just because she married someone with less money!
Daughters in some parts of Muslim World are actually a very profitable ‘commodity’. The prettier the daughter is, the more you can ‘charge’ for her dowry which not only makes it difficult for men to get married but also for young women. On the other hand, in certain other Muslim cultures, fathers would force their daughters to die as virgins but would not let them marry anyone outside their caste. Men also face lot of struggles. With the rising inflation across the World, many young Muslim men not only have to support themselves but their parents and many sisters. By the point they are able to get married as in terms of financially supporting a wife, they are already older than 30 and in some cases even 40!
So yes, Islam indeed is the most sexual liberal religion if properly practised and was the first religion to attach importance to sex as an important desire and not some dirty passing thought. However Muslim cultures throughout the World have made lives of young Muslim men and women difficult in such testing times.
Yes, unfortunately there is no land of Westeros for the Unsullied to fight over. The single unmarried, depending on their age group, can find life difficult in varying degrees. Ranging from not being eligible for a couple’s discount on a holiday to feeling lonely and having no one to share your life in happiness and in despair, single Muslims mostly find themselves in painful situations at times. Hence, we thought we should introduce some advice for our single brothers and sisters. Although we would strongly recommend everyone to get married as that is indeed the only way to satisfy your sexual desires the halal way in today’s World. However, you should in no way be under the illusion that every marriage is a bliss. When one is single, that’s the best time to work on improving oneself whether it be one’s religion, spirituality, health or career. Also, it’s worth remembering that Allah tests people in different ways some by allowing them to get married, some by providing them with kids, some with not having kids after decades of being married and some not even getting married all in their lives. We have been told by our beloved Prophet (saw) that Allah Himself helps the man who sets out on the path to getting married. Yet we should always be careful in reigning in our desires if there is no halal outlet. Lowering one’s gaze, fasting and generally keeping oneself busy are amongst the most successful ways of avoiding zina and the best of them indeed is to get married.
May Allah grant us all with emotionally, physically, spiritually satisfying spouses that partner with us in this World but also the life hereafter inshaAllah. Ameen!