Islamic Perspective of Sex: Islam & Sex

Islamic Perspective of Sex

Abdur-Rahman A. Al-Sheha

Islam and Sex
Islam considers sex as one of the essential human needs that must be properly satisfied. It is a necessity of the human being that. It require favorable consideration. In fact, Islam considers it one of the requirements of life that should be properly and lawfully satisfied. Moreover, Islam does not treat it as a distasteful, filthy, or heinous act of man. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states in the Glorious Quran Sura Al-Imran [The Family of Imran] (3:14):” Fair in the eyes of men is the love of things they covet: women and sons; heaped-up hoards of gold and silver; horses branded [for blood and excellence]; and [wealth of] cattle and well-tilled land. Such are the possessions of this world’s life; but in nearness to Allah is the best of the goals [to return to]”.

In addition, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which reads as follows:” Three items of this world were made attracted [or likeable] to me: women, perfume [but] the [utmost] pleasure of my eyes [soul] is in prayer”[1].

In fact, Islam forbids controlling and deprivation of the sexual behavior. This is, simply, because Islam is the natural religion commensurate to pure human innate. Islam does not, at any time, conflict with the requirements of the human’s requirements or desires. Islam rather attempts to answer and fulfill all human needs and requirements. Islam does so by setting certain lawful limits and restrictions to ensure satisfying these needs in a right and lawful manner. Islam endeavors to keep the sex within the framework of human needs and elevates it above the savage and uncivilized way. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which reads as follows:” People enter Jannah, Paradise mostly based on Taqwa of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) [full respect and obedience of the Commands of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)], and based on their good conduct. [While] most people enter the Hellfire because of the [ill use] of the mouth and private parts”[2].

We shall attempt to present in this booklet, the method, which Islam instituted for Muslims to regulate the use of the sex. In fact, Islam sets the mode for the better advancement of man, if he follows the Islamic rules on the subject. Islam looks at the proper use of the sex as an act of worship, Ibadah. A Muslim would be rewarded when he practices this act, as he is rewarded when he does any other acts of prescribed types of worship. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) alluded to this concept when he said, which reads as follows:” [A Muslim] would have an intercourse with his spouse ad would be rewarded for it. The Companions (may Allah be pleased with him) asked: Oh Messenger of Allah! A person would be rewarded while satisfying his sexual need? Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) replied: Yes. Isn’t it that he would be punished had he practiced sex illegally? The same applies if a Muslim practiced a lawful intercourse with his spouse. As such, he would be rewarded”[3].

The only acceptable way for sexual satisfaction in Islam is a lawful “marriage”. In fact, Islam urges Muslims to seek marriage and encourages them to practice it. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which reads as follows:” Whoever is financially capable of marriage but does not marry, he does not belong to Me [i.e., Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)]” [4].

” Islam regards marriage as a natural necessity in order to achieve tranquility and peace of mind for the Muslim. To the society, Islam regards marriage as a place to foster love, affection, closeness, and self-denial. Further, Islam regards marriage as a requirement to maintain the human race. Yet, Islam regards marriage as a mean for better moral values, preservation of honor and dignity, and preservation of the moral values of the human society. Thus, neglecting marriage or rejecting it is regarded as a denial of all the normal human behaviors and pure code of social ethics”[5].

Hence, the objective of marriage in Islam is to achieve tranquility and peace of mind for both spouses. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states in Quran Sura Rum (30:21):” And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your [hearts]: verily in that are Signs for those who reflect”.

In fact, one of the objectives of marriage is to protect both spouses against indulgence in unlawful sexual practices that may lead to corruption and immoral acts [such as prostitution, fornication and adultery or else] in the society. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states in Quran Sura Baqarah (2:187):” They are your garments and ye are their garments”.

Undoubtedly, there are certain individuals who reject the call of Islam for purity and chastity. Such individuals advocate unliceneced sexual freedom. We believe that such people do not enjoy a normal and natural human satisfaction. As for Islam, it refuses to degrade Believers to the state of lower creatures, such as animals. Animals alone are left to practice sexual freedom as they wish and without any restrictions. Islam regards it a great sin for man to place his semen in a womb that is unlawful to him. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) states, whihc read as follows:” There is no greater sin after the sin of associating partners with Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), than a man placing his semen in a womb [private part of a woman] that is unlawful for him to place” [6].
Islam and Purity
Islam instructs Believers purity and chastity. Islam further bestows on Believers on dignity and honor. Islam guides and directs its followers in the right direction by which they would be, Allah willing, morally respectable and productive. Listen to the story of the young man who came to Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asking him to permit him to practice adultery, as he can’t live without it, after embracing Islam. The Companions (may Allah be pleased with him) loudly rejected the young man appeal and denied it wholeheartedly. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), however, called the young man closer to him and said, which reads as follows:” Do you accept [to see] your mother committing adultery?” The young man replied negatively. Thus, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, which reads as follows:” As such, other people refuse to see their mothers [or any other female in their families] being indulgent in adultery. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) further asked the young man, which reads as follows:” Do you accept [to see] your sister committing adultery?” The young man replied negatively. Thus, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, which reads as follows:” As such, other people refuse to see their sisters committing adultery as well”. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) further asked, which reads as follows:” Do you accept [to see] your daughter committing adultery?” The young man replied negatively. Thus, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, which reads as follows:” As such, other people refuse to see their daughters committing adultery as well”. Thus, we notice that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was not harsh at all on the young man, but he rather prayed for the well-being of this young man saying:” Oh Allah! Purify the heart of this young man, chastise his private parts, and enable him to lower his gaze”. This young man is reported to have said:” By Allah! I had never sought unlawful relations again ever” [7].

This is Islam. It is a religion that doesn’t condone monasticism and total negligence of the worldly affairs. Islam doesn’t to reject all worldly goods and pleasures completely. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)is reported to have said, which reads as follows:” By Allah! I am, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), the most God respectful amongst you and most obedient to His Commands. However, I observe fast [for some days] and break it [for other days]. I [stand up during the night] offering prayers [for some time], and I also sleep [some times of the night]. I also marry [women]. Hence, whoever chooses any other way, other than my Sunnah, tradition, he doesn’t belong to me” [8].

Islam doesn’t condone a blind and uncontrolled satisfaction of personal whims and caprices. Muhammad Qutub, the renowned contemporary Muslim scholar, says:” We can find no problem for ‘sex’ in Islam. Islam erects barriers before all human desires, including sex, which do not totally block them or deny them. Nevertheless, Islam rather, elevates and controls such human desires. Islam designs these barriers like that of the regulating devices on a river during flood seasons. As such, the regulating devices attempt to raise the level of water temporarily to a level that can’t normally reach, then it let the water run at a higher level. Similarly, Islam controls the level of human desires by raising it to a higher plateau. Islam sets rules and regulations for the sex not to restrict or deny it completely, but rather to permit it within the scope that Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala)permits to practice such human desires. These are the limits set by Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) as He states in the Glorious Quran Sura Baqarah (2:229):” These are the limits ordained by Allah; so do not transgress them if any do transgress the limits ordained by Allah, such persons wrong [themselves as well as others]”. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) , in His vast wisdom knows that these are the “safe” and “secured” limits to drain such energies stored in man through human desires. By releasing such energies in an organized, controlled and safe manner, man can achieve a great level of success for himself and his society. Nevertheless, even Jahiliyah, state of ignorance, acknowledges the necessity to organize, regulate, and control all the human desires, except for “sex”. Sex, among all human desires drives, is the crazy one. Imagine if such a crazy drive is left without control, regulation, and restrictions, what would happen to the society, its morals, honor, and individuals? Jahiliyah doesn’t permit the drive and desire of ownership without regulations. If such a desire left unrestricted, we could see man wanting to possess and own whatever he likes, through any mean. However, man made laws classify such acts as a punishable crime of theft by law. The same is practiced insofar as the food, clothing and housing drives and desires. All these drives and desires are controlled by laws and not left for personal or emotional whims”[9].
Islam and Marriage
Islam commands its followers to marry as early as they are able. Muslims should not fear poverty nor should they apprehend increase of family members as result of marriage, and thus, because of that, they stay away from marriage. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states in Quran Sura Nur [The Light] (24:32):” Marry those among you who are single, or the virtuous ones among your slaves, male or female: if they are in poverty, Allah will give them means out of His Grace: for Allah encompasseth all, and He knoweth all things”.

Moreover, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which reads as follows:” Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) takes it upon Himself to help three types of people. These are: A warrior, who is striving in the cause of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). A contracted slave, who wants to pay off the value set for his freedom of slavery, and, a person, who seeks marriage to chastise himself” [10].

If a male Muslim can’t afford to marry because of poverty, he is commanded to chastise himself. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states in Quran Sura Nur [The Light] (24:33):” Let those who find not the wherewithal for marriage keep themselves chaste, until Allah gives them means out of His Grace”.

Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) gives advice that makes it easier to a certain extent for a person, who is unable to marry for dearth of marriage expenses. This advice harnesses his desire to marry and enables him to control his sexual desires. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which reads as follows:” Oh young men! Whoever is capable [financially and otherwise] to [afford the expenses] of marriage, let him do so. [Marriage] helps one control his eyesight and chastise his private parts. But, he who can’t afford the marriage expenses, let him observe fast as it would [act] as a protector for him” [11].

The Glorious Quran further illustrated the best example of subduing the sexual drive in the story of Prophet Yousuf (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) [Joseph]. Prophet’s Yousuf (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) story is set as one of the best examples for the Muslim youth. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states in Quran Sura Yousuf (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) (12:23-24):” But she in whose house he was, sought to seduce him from his [true] self: she fastened the doors, and said: Now come, thou [dear one]! he said: Allah forbid! Truly [thy husband] is my lord! He made my sojourn agreeable! Truly to no good come those who do wrong! And [with passion] did she desire him, and he would have rejected her, but that he saw the evidence of his Lord: thus [did We order] that We might turn away from him [all] evil and shameful deeds: for he was one of Our servants, sincere and purified”.

Yousuf (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) overlooked the adverse results stemming from his denial to the request of the prestigious lady. The result of rejecting her request for evil acts was imprisonment. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states in Quran Sura Yousuf (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) (12:32-34):” She said: There before you is the man about whom ye did blame me! I did seek to seduce him from his [true] self but he did firmly save himself guiltless! And now, if he doth not my bidding, he shall certainly be cast into prison and [what is more] be of the company of the vilest! He said: O my Lord! The prison is more to my liking than that to which they invite me: unless Thou turn away their snare from me, I should [in my youthful folly] feel inclined towards them and join the ranks of the ignorant. So his Lord hearkened to him [in his prayer], and turned away from him their snare: verily He heareth and knoweth [all things]”.
——————————————————————————–
[1] Amad and Nasai report this Hadith.
[2] Trimithi reported this Hadith.
[3] Ahmad reported this Hadith.
[4] Al-Baihaqi reported this Hadith.
[5] Al-Kholi, al-Bahi, ‘Woman Between Home and Society’.
[6] Ahmad reported this Hadith.
[7] Tabarani reported this Hadith.
[8] Bukhari and Muslim reported this Hadith.
[9] The Islamic Education Curriculum, Dar-al-Shuruq, Vol.2, P.218-9.
[10] Tirmithi reported this Hadith.
[11] Bukhari and Muslim reported this Hadith.

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