Islamic Perspective of Sex:Islam and Marriage

Islamic Perspective of Sex

Abdur-Rahman A. Al-Sheha 

Islam and Marriage
Islam permits Muslims to satisfy their sexual needs only through lawful marriage. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) ordained man to be different than all other irrational creatures. Sayyid Sabeq, in his book, ‘Fiqhu-Sunnah’, comments as follows:” Islam controls and organizes the sexual behavior and needs. A perfect system is laid down by Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) to maintain and preserve the honor, dignity, and respect of man. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) ordained that a mutual acceptance and agreement must be secured for a marriage relationship between a man and a woman. The man and the woman who are to establish a marriage contract and relationship must perform a “Request” and an “Acceptance”. Both spouses to be must have witnesses to testify that marriage contract. Thus, a proper and safe way for this relationship is established. Moreover, the progeny, which is a byproduct of this relationship is also protected, well preserved, and properly cared for. In addition, the woman in Islam is also protected by such contract against unlawful and harmful relationships. Islam established the basis of a nucleus family that is nourished by the mother, and supported by the father. Thus, the products of this marriage are lawful relationship, which would grow up in a fine and suitable environment. This is the system that Islam accepts and maintains for its Believers and as such, it ruins all other unlawful and meaningless relationships”[23].
Wife Selection in Islam
Islam established its own theory for a process of spouse. The issue of marriage in Islam is not an issue of mere sexual satisfaction. Islam considers marriage an institution to establish a family. Therefore, Islam urges marriage seekers to select a long lasting relationship, establish a beloved, and caring family, which should serve the society. All these conditions would not be fulfilled unless there is a pious and righteous wife, who is mindful of the commands of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and careful about all duties entrusted to her. However, other issues of social life must not be neglected. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states in Quran Sura al-Nur (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”.

Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) explained the issues that urge a Muslim to marry. He also, emphasized the everlasting factor for marriage, which is righteousness. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which read as follows:” A woman would be sought for marriage for the following four items: for her wealth, beauty, [honorable] lineage, or for her [strong commitment to] Islam. [When you seek a woman to marry], may Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) bless your hands; seek the one with a strong commitment to faith”[24].

Islam seeks to prepare the best men as husbands. Islam cares a lot for the woman and urges Muslims to be the best for their families, and wives in particular. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which read as follows:” The most perfect Believers in terms of faith are those, who possess the best character and manners. The best among you are those who are best to their women. I, as Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), am the best among you to my family” [25].

In addition, Islam idealizes a wife as the best woman. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) describes such a woman as follows, which read as follows:” [She is that woman] who pleases [her husband] when he looks at her, obeys him when he commands [instructs or requests], fulfills his demands and preserves his wealth” [26].

Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is also reported to have said concerning the same subject, which read as follows:” The best gain a Muslim acquires after [commitment to] Islam is a beautiful wife who pleases him when he looks at her, obeys his commands, protects his privacy when he is absent, and protects his wealth” [27].
Lawful sight of a prospective bride
Islam aims at long lasting marital relationship. If both, strong commitment to Islam and sound moral background are ensured in a marriage, good looks leads to a successful marital relationship. A bridegroom, however, and his bride, both must enter into this relationship with full conviction, mutual acceptance, and preliminary satisfaction of the essential marriage requirements.

Therefore, Islam permits both spouses to look at each other. A man came to Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and informed him that he sought marriage from a specific woman of Ansars. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which read as follows:” Did you look at her? The man answered negatively. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said: Look at her. There is something [funny] about the eyes of Ansari women [i.e., some blemishing effect]” [28].

This is, of course, a wise advice so as the bridegroom would not regret later if had seen the bride before marriage. He may think, ‘I would had changed my mind had I known her to be like that!’

Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) explained the wisdom of the lawful sight of the bridegroom to the bride, prior to concluding a marriage contract. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said to a man who came and told him about his engagement of a certain woman. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which read as follows:” Did you look at her? The man replied negatively. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) commanded him: ‘Go and see her. It is hoped that you both would become lovable to each other” [29].

Love and affection, between a husband and wife, are normal feelings according to Islam. Therefore, so long as this love is pure, innocent, and lawful, Islam condones it and nourishes it by lawful means. A man came and asked Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) which read as follows:” Oh Messenger of Allah! I have an orphan girl in my custody. Two men sought her for marriage. One is rich and the other is poor. We like the rich and she likes the poor. [to whom should we offer her in marriage?]. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Nothing is known to be better for people who love one another than marriage” [30].
Additional aspects on marriage preference

Islam urges Muslims to intercede between two loving and righteous spouses, if their marriage is on the verge of breaking. For example, a man called Mogheith was noticed following his wife Burairah, after she obtained divorce from him. The ex husband cried and begged his divorcee to come back to him [as a loving wife]. Upon noticing this Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said to Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him), which read as follows:” Isn’t it amazing how much Mogheith loves Burairah and how much she hates him? Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)turned to Burairah and requested her: I wish you return to him [as a wife]! urairah asked: Oh Messenger of Allah! Do you command me to return to him? Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)said: No, I Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) just interceding for him. She said: I have no need for him” [31].
A Muslim guardian of a woman may, based on the acceptance and approval of the woman, propose her for marriage to someone who is well acquainted with his character and qualities. A guardian is usually keen to serve the interest of the woman he is entrusted him for guardianship. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states in Quran Sura al-Qasas (28:22-27):” And when he arrived at the watering (place) in Madyan, he found there a group of men watering (their flocks), and besides them he found two women who were keeping back (their flocks). He said: What is the matter with you? They said: We cannot water (our flocks) until the shepherds take back (their flocks): and our father is a very old man. Therefore, he watered (their flocks) for them; then he turned back to the shade, and said: O my Lord! Truly am I in (desperate) need of any good that Thou dost send me! Afterwards one of the (damsels) came (back) to him, walking bashfully. She said: My father invites thee that he may reward thee for having watered (our flocks) for us. So when he came to him and narrated the story, he said: Fear thou not: (well) hast thou escaped from unjust people. He said: I intended to wed one of these my daughters to thee, on condition that thou serve me for eight years; but if thou complete ten years, it will be (grace) from thee. But I intend not to place thee under a difficulty: thou wilt find me, indeed, if Allah wills, one of the righteous. He said: Be that (the agreement) between me and thee: whichever of the two terms I fulfill, let there be no ill-will to me. Be Allah a witness to what we say”.
Marriage contract, dowry and wedding

Islam requires specific conditions in a marriage. The first requirement is the acceptance and approval of both parties. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which read as follows:” A widow or divorcee [woman] must not be [forced to] married unless she approves it. The virgin, also, must not be [forced to] marrying unless she is sought permission. The Companions asked: How could we seek her permission? He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) replied: If she observed silence it means she gave her permission”.
If a woman is forced to marry without her consent, she has the right to break that marriage. This is based on the action of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when a woman called Khansa bint Jutham was forced to marry, without her consent. She came to Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and informed him that her father offered her in marriage without her consent. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) declared that marriage null and void. Of course, this is done with the intent to ensure the protection of the Muslim family. In addition, this would help eliminate the vices in the society, as it would protect against any marriage betrayals resulting from the dislike of spouses to one another.
The role of a legal guardian is also another requirement of a valid marriage. This is based on the Hadith reported of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saying, which read as follows:” A marriage would not be valid unless a [bride] guardian and two just witness are [all] present” [32]. Again, all this is done in order to preserve the relationships among the family members. A [sound and matured] guardian is also keen and more careful to choose the best for his guarded woman. Thus, he would exert every possible effort to select the most suitable marriage partner for her.
If there is no guardian, or if the guardian forbids his guarded woman to marry, despite the mutual agreement of male and female, the guardianship would automatically transfer to the judge or authorities. This is based on the Hadith reported of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) which read as follows:” The governor [judge] is the guardian for [a woman or minor] who has no [relative] guardian”.
A dowry is another requirement for the validity of marriage. A dowry must be paid to the bride. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states in Quran Sura al-Nisa [The Women] (4:3):” And give the women [on marriage] their dower as a free gift; but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it and enjoy it with right good cheer”.
Muslims must not be extravagant in dowries. This is based on the Hadith reported of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saying, which read as follows:” The signs of a good fortune of a woman are: the ease of engagement [when marriage is sought], the ease of dowry, and the ease of relationship with her relatives” [33]. Omar, the second Caliph (may Allah be pleased with him) said: ” Don’t exaggerate when you request for a dowry for your brides. If there were an honor to be given in this world, or a piety in the Sight of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)would have earned the best of these. I don’t know of any marriage, which Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) performed, either for his wives, or for his daughters, that exceeded twelve Uqiyah[34]” [35].
In addition, all other lawful conditions that both parties agree upon for the marriage contract must be executed after marriage. This is based on the Hadith reported of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saying, which read as follows:” The most entitled contracts’ provisions to fulfill are that of the marriage contract” [36].
Islam ordains a wedding party to celebrate their happiness for the occasion. Such a party should invite the relatives and friends of the bride and the bridegroom in order to publicize and announce the marriage in the community. This is based on the Hadith reported of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saying when he noticed that he had married, which read as follows:” May Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) bless you. Throw a [wedding] party, even if you slaughter [and prepare] one [head of] a female sheep” [37].
Islam does not condone lavishness on the wedding party. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states in Quran Sura Isra [The Night Journey] (17:27):” Verily spendthrifts are brothers of the Evil Ones; and the Evil One is to his Lord [Himself] Ungrateful”.
Islam exhorts the invitees for a wedding party to attend it, unless he has a valid excuse. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which read as follows:” [Attempt to] liberate the prisoner, honor the call of an inviter, and visit an ill person” [38].
Islam urges the people who attend the wedding meal party to pray for the inviters, as he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) instructed, which read as follows:” Oh Allah! Forgive them, be Merciful to them, and bless what You have provided them” [39]. Also, to pray for them, which read as follows:” May Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) bless her for you, may Allah bless you, and may Allah gather both of you on good things” [40].
Islam permits the use of the flat drum only at this occasion, as well as morally encouraging songs and chanting. This is based on the Hadith reported of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)saying to our beloved mother of Believers Aeshah (may Allah be pleased with him) who attended a wedding of an Ansari woman:” Did you have any fun [singing and playing the flat drum]? Ansar people liked to listen to that” [41].
The etiquette at the night of wedding

At the first meeting after wedding night, the bridegroom is advised to present himself in a pleasant manner, with sweet conversations, and in a very kind way to the bride. This is the first meeting of a new life style. Doing so would bring the two spouses closer together. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did the same on the night of marriage to Aeshah (may Allah be pleased with him). He sat next to her, requested a jug of milk, and drank of it, and then he passed it to her. She also drank of the same glass. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) told her to pass the jug to her peers, as reported by Imam Ahmad.
It is also an act of Sunnah to hold the hair bangs of the bride and offer a Sunnah supplication, as reported in Hadith, which read as follows:” Oh Allah! I seek of you [to grant me] the best of this woman and the best of her characteristics. Oh Allah! I seek refuge with you to protect me against all the evils of this woman and her evil characteristics” [42].
Joking and playing between spouses
Islam regards the fulfillment of sexual instinct as natural, but with regulated and specific conditions. This sexual fulfillment is described in Quran Sura Rum (30:21), as follows:” 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”.

Islam therefore encouraged the establishment of such relationship and stressed to promote it. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which reads as follows:” Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked his Companion Jaber (may Allah be pleased with him): Did you marry? Jaber (may Allah be pleased with him) replied affirmatively. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)asked: Is she a virgin or a divorcee or widow? Jaber (may Allah be pleased with him)stated that she was a widow. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) commented: Why didn’t you get a virgin, as you would have fun with each other!”.

Islam, in fact, places a great value for the fun between the two spouses. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which reads as follows:” All the fun that man has is vain except for three items: shooting arrows, disciplining [training] a gorse and having fun with his wife. These three items are but truthful [or lawful] means of fun” [43].

In fact, Islam encourages best grooming for both spouses. Decent grooming promotes love and increases affection between spouses. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which reads as follows:” Truly, Allah is Beautiful and He likes beauty” [44].

Ibn Omar (may Allah be pleased with him) also reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have done as Ibn Omar (may Allah be pleased with him) does, which reads as follows:” Ibn Omar (may Allah be pleased with him) used two types of perfume and said: this is the way that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) perfumed himself” [45].

Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said, which reads as follows:” I try to look best to my wife, as I like her to look best to me. I also do not like to demand all my rights onto her, as I, as Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) , am afraid she would also demand her full right onto me [in such a case I wouldn’t be able to fulfill it for her]. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states in Quran Sura al-Baqarah (2:228): And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree [of advantage] over them. And Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise”.
Limits of fun between spouses Bed fun

Both spouses are permitted to see each other in the nude. Both are also entitled to enjoy one another to the utmost. Mu’awiyah (may Allah be pleased with him) asked Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), which reads as follows:” Oh Messenger of Allah! To what extent should we protect [cover] our private parts? Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have replied: Protect [cover] your private parts [fully] except from your spouse or those whom your right hand possess” [46].
Both spouses are entitled to enjoy each other fully in terms of sexual intercourse in any position, if the husband approaches his wife in the proper place, i.e., where a baby is delivered. Tirmithi reported that Omar (may Allah be pleased with him) came to Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and declared, which reads as follows:” Oh Messenger of Allah! I’ve destroyed myself! Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked: What cause you to say this? Omar (may Allah be pleased with him) replied: I’ve changed the method of my intercourse tonight. [i.e., he approached his wife from the back, but in the proper place]. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not comment on the issue [as he doesn’t have any jurisdiction to say]. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) revealed to Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) , on the spot, the following verse in Sura al-Baqarah (2:223): Your wives are as a tilth unto you: so approach your tilth when or how you will; but do some good act for your souls beforehand; and fear Allah, and know that ye are to meet Him [in the Hereafter], and give [these] good tidings to those who believe”

Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, at this point, which reads as follows:” You may approach her from the front, or from the back, provided that you avoid the anis and while the wife is in menses” [47].

This Hadith, however, means that a husband must avoid doing anything with his wife while she is in menstruation period. Aeshah (may Allah be pleased with hher) reported that:” While I was in menstruation, I would drink from a cup, then Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would take the cup, place his lips in the same place of mine on the cup, and drink. I would also take a piece of meat on the bone; bite of it, then put it down. Then, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would take the same piece and eat from it, placing his lips in the same place of mine” [48].

Similarly, a husband and wife may enjoy each other, while in menstruation, if they avoid the actual intercourse. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which reads as follows:” You may do anything [with each other as a husband and wife, while in menstruation] except of actual intercourse” [49].

Jaber (may Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said, which reads as follows:” Jews used to believe that if a husband approaches his wife from the back, in the proper place, the born child would be cross-eyed. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) revealed, the following verse in Sura al-Baqarah (2:223): Your wives are as a tilth unto you: so approach your tilth when or how you will; but do some good act for your souls beforehand; and fear Allah, and know that ye are to meet Him [in the Hereafter], and give [these] good tidings to those who believe” [50].
It is Sunnah to utter the name of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) before approaching one’s wife sexually. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which reads as follows:” If a husband, before he approaches his wife sexually, supplicates as follows: Oh Allah! Protect us from Satan, and make him away from us. If the two spouses get a child as a result of this sexual intercourse, Satan would not be able to harm the child” [51].
The husband must play with his wife, talk to her nicely, and kiss her in order to arouse her sexually. In addition, a husband must wait for his wife to satisfy her sexual desire. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which reads as follows:” If a husband has an intercourse with his wife he must be truthful with her. If he got sexually satisfied before she does, then he should wait for her to get her satisfaction” [52].

In addition, Omar bin AbdulAziz (may Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have narrated the following Hadith of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), which reads as follows:” Don’t approach your wife sexually and have intercourse with her right away. You should wait until she is as sexually aroused as you are. The man asked: Oh Messenger of Allah! What should I do [in order to achieve that?] He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) replied: Kiss her, touch her, and try to arouse her. If you notice that is she is as ready sexually as you are, then perform the intercourse” [53].
In addition, it is also an act of Sunnah to perform a complete ablution by taking a full bath, or a partial ablution, as one does to offer a prayer, if the husband desires to have another intercourse with her. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which reads as follows:” If a husband has an intercourse with his wife once, and wanted to repeat it again, let him perform an ablution” [54].
This good practice is purer, more hygienic and enables the person to have a stronger sexual strength and desire.
Fun while taking a bath
A fun with the wife is not confined to the bed only. A husband may have fun with his wife all the time, if privacy for both is well secured and maintained. It is reported of mother Aeshah (may Allah be pleased with her) that she said, which read as follows:” Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and I, bathed of the same pot of water that we placed between both of us. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would beat me to take the water until I say to him, let me have some! Let me have some!” [55].
Fun at home
Mother Aeshah (may Allah be pleased with her) was once asked, which read as follows:” What would Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) do first when he entered his home? She replied: He brushed his teeth with his Siwak, the wooden toothbrush. I would think that he cleans his mouth and makes it smell better in order to hug his family and kiss them”. Mother Aeshah (may Allah be pleased with her) also reported that, which read as follows:” Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) kissed one of his wives and went straight out to the Masjid to offer his prayers. He did not perform Wudu ablution” [56].
Fun with wife outside the house
As we pointed out earlier, fun with the wife is permitted at all times and at all places if the full privacy is secured and maintained. No body must see a husband and wife having fun or playing with each other in public. Mother Aeshah (may Allah be pleased with her) is reported to have said, which read as follows:” While I was young, before I put much weight on me, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and I were on a trip. He advised his Companions (may Allah be pleased with him) to go ahead of him and called me to race with him. I beat him in running. Then, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not ask me any more to race with him for a while. Later on, after I gained weight and forgot that I’ve beaten him in the race, I was again on a trip with him. He advised his Companions (may Allah be pleased with him) to go ahead of him for a distance. Then, he told me: come let’s have a running race! I totally forgot the previous incident when I beat him in the race. Mother Aeshah (may Allah be pleased with her) commented: Oh Messenger of Allah! How can I race with you and I am as heavy as you can see? He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: You must do it. Thus, we raced and he beat me this time. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) began laughing and said: Oh Aeshah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon her), this win [of mine] by that win [of yours] in the race” [57].

It is important to note here that it is completely unlawful to reveal the secrets of marriage. It is an unacceptable practice to talk about what takes place between a husband and his wife in privacy. Abu Horairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that once Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) , after we finished the prayer, turned to us and said, which read as follows:” Remain seated! Is there among you who comes out of his house, after he does whatever he likes with his wife, comes out and tells other: I’ve done such and such with my wife? Those who were present did not reply anything. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) turned to the women and asked the same thing, and they did the same. A young woman, who was present then, sat on her knee, stretched up to be noticed and her voice heard by Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) , and said: By Allah! They all do, males and females. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said: Do you know the example of the person who does so? His example is like that of a male and female Satans who meets one another on the road, satisfy their sexual desire by getting their thrill while people are watching” [58].

In order to perpetuate the matrimonial life, Islam sets forth certain rights and duties on each of the two spouses. This tends to protect family structure from disintegration at future time. Both spouses must understand their relative rights and duties.
The rights of wife over her husband
It suffices here to list some verses of Quran and traditions of Hadith of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that illustrate the rights of the wife in Islam.

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states in Quran Sura Nisa (4:19):” On the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them, it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good”.
Allah also (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states in Quran Sura Baqarah (2:228):” And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them. And Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise”.
Allah’s Messenger (subhanahu wa ta’ala)is reported to have said:” The best among you is one who is best to his family [wife], and I as Allah’s Messenger am the best among you to my family”.
One of the Companions (may Allah be pleased with him) asked Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), which read as follows:” What is the right of the wife? Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said: To feed her if you eat, clothe her if you clothe yourself, don’t slap her on the face, don’t be nasty to her and don’t be away from her [physically] except while both of you are at the same house” [59].
Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which read as follows:” The most perfect Believers are those who are best in moral conduct, and the best among them are those who are best to their women” [60].
Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which read as follows:” Be mindful of Allah concerning women. You have taken them in by Allah’s Trust and their private parts became lawful for you with Allah’s Word” [61].
Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which read as follows:” A [married male] Believer should not hate his Believing wife. He may dislike one of her attitudes, but he would [definitely] like another one of hers” [62].
As such, we see that full perfection is due to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) alone. No man is perfect one hundred percent on this earth.
The rights of a husband over his wife
The following are only hints from the Glorious Quran and Hadith concerning the rights of a husband over his wife.

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states in Quran Sura Nisa [Women] describing the righteous women, (4:34):” Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard”.
Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said to mother (may Allah be pleased with him) when she asked him, which read as follows:” Whose right is the greatest on a woman [wife]? He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) replied: Her husband. She continued: Whose right is the greatest on a man? He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: His mother”.
Hossain bin Mohsen reported that his aunt once said to him, which read as follows:” I went once to Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asking him about a certain matter. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked: Who is this woman? Does she have a husband? I replied affirmatively. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) further asked: How do you treat him? I replied: I do my best serving him, until I can’t. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) commented: You better take care of him as he is [your husband], either your Jannah, Paradise or your Fire” [63].
Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which read as follows:” The best of women is the one who pleases you if you look at her, obeys you if you commands her [to do a lawful item], and protects your privacy and wealth if you are absent”.
Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which read as follows:” If a woman [wife] maintains her five daily prayers, observes the fast of the month of Ramadan, protects her private parts [by not committing adultery or fornication], and obeys her husband, she would be given the choice to enter Jannah, Paradise through any gate she likes” [64].
Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which read as follows:” If I were to command someone to prostrate to another person, I would have commanded a wife to prostrate before her husband”.
Divorce in Islam
Islam regards marriage bond as sacred and blessed. As such, Islam is keen to strengthen the relationship between the two spouses. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) indicates the great value of the marriage bond as He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) states in Quran Sura Nisa (4:21):” And how could ye take it when ye have gone in unto each other and they have taken from you a solemn covenant”.

In fact, Allah’s Mssenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which read as follows:” Iblis [Satan], places his throne on water and sends his troops. The closest one [of his troops to him] is that who has the greatest trail and temptation [to mankind]. As such, Satan would bring that member of his troop closer to him [in honor and respect for what he did]. One of the members of Satan’s troops would come forward and reports what [evil activities] he did. Satan would comment: ‘You did not do anything. Then another one of his troops would come forward and report: I did not leave that man [a husband] until I separated him from his wife. Satan would bring that one of the members of his troop closer to him [in honor and respect] saying: Yes indeed. It is you [who deserves the honor]” [65].

Similarly, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) demonstrated the respect and honor of the marriage bond by saying, which read as follows:” He is not considered among us [Muslims], who turns a woman against her husband” [66].

Although Islam places a great importance on the marriage integrity and declares it holy and honorable, yet Islam legalizes divorce that breaks this great bond. Nevertheless, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have described divorce, which read as follows:” The most hatred lawful item in the Sight of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is divorce” [67].

Islam reached this decision when marriage reaches a dead end between the two spouses and there is no other solution except divorce. Islam is keen to protect the Muslim family and the Islamic society. The anti-social behavior of husband or wife can cause chaos in the society. Such chaos may very well lead to mixed lineage, falsified inheritance, deprivation of genuine rights and spread of indecency in the community.

Although divorce is lawful, it is still well restricted. In fact, divorce is not a toy in the hand of the person, which he may use it any way when he or she likes. Muslim scholars illustrate that divorce must take one of the four following forms:

Divorce may be compulsory when the two assigned referees decide it in the case of the disputed spouses. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states in Quran Sura Nisa (4:35):” If ye fear a breach between them twain, appoint (two) arbiters, one from his family, and the other from hers; if they wish for peace, Allah will cause their reconciliation: for Allah hath full knowledge, and is acquainted with all things”.
Divorce is unlawful, if there is no sound and visible reason or ground for it.
Divorce is permissible, if the wife is vicious in terms of character and attitudes.
Divorce is required, if the wife is not committed to the Islamic teachings, or if she is indecent or vulgar.
The same items also apply to the husband as well. If a husband does not commit himself to the Islamic teachings, if he is indecent or if he has a bad character, or bad personality, or if he has physical defects that make life miserable with him, a wife is entitled to seek divorce from such a husband on such grounds.
Khul’u in Islam
Khul’u is divorce on the instance of the wife’s request in Islam, who must pay her husband compensation in order for him to accept divorcing her.

If marriage were not based on love, affection, comfort, and agreement between the two spouses, life then would turn into misery rather happiness and comfort. Marriage, in such a case, would no longer be a harmony, peace of mind and comfort, but rather hardship and adversity. If one of the spouses hated the other, or doesn’t trust him, there would be no hope for marriage continuation. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states in Quran Sura Nisa (4:19):” On the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good”.

Islam legalized khul’u however when life with the other spouse becomes unbearable. Of course, divorce normally is a right to the husband; therefore, he can issue it when he feels fit. However, if the wife hates the life with her husband and could no longer take it, then, in such a case, she may demand divorce by the process of Khul’u, paying the husband compensation for what he had already paid her in order to terminate the marriage.

This is the justice in the best form, we believe. A husband paid the dowry, bore the marriage expenses, and paid other expenses as well. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states in Quran Sura Baqarah (2:229):” It is not lawful for you, [men], to take back any of your gifts (from your wives), except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah. If ye [judges] do indeed fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah, there is not blame on either of them if she give something for her freedom. 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]”.

Islam aims at preserving people’s honor and dignity. Islam also aims to protect and secure the society by closing all doors for possible social corruption. The presence of a husband with a woman whom he does not like, and vice versa, would very likely lead to suspicious and unlawful relationships. Therefore, Islam legalized divorce. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states in Quran Sura Nisa (4:130):” But if they disagree [and must part], Allah will provide abundance for all from His All-Reaching bounty: for Allah is He that careth for all and is Wise”.
Results of sexual freedom and confusion
Islam bans adultery and all types of fornication labeling it as one of the major sins in Islam. In fact, Islam bans all acts and means that may lead one to commit adultery or fornication. Sayyid Qutub illuminated in his book In the Shade of Quran:” Islam aims at eliminating all forms of pure animalistic sexual behavior. Islam wishes to help establish a proper home and a caring family resulting of the proper and lawful sexual relationship. Islam does not tolerate a mere sexual relationship that makes the human being very much like an animal, which is driven only by his mere sex for mating and reproduction. Islam erects a loving and caring relationship between two hearts and bodies of two human beings who live together and have the same hopes and common ground life. The proper “marriage nest” that is built on such basis would house the new generation under the custody, care, and guardianship of both Muslim parents. Hence, Islam instituted very strict and severe punishment for adultery and fornication. Islam considers adultery as animalistic behavior that abolishes all human manners and principles. If a person is merely interested and concerned to satisfy his sexual desires, he would turn into an animal in the shape and body of a human being. Such a person may not be trusted for being in charge of the prosperity on earth. In fact, there is no real emotional satisfaction of the mere sexual relationship. Emotional relationship is a continuous, everlasting, and caring one. It is not, in reality, what is categorized to be in terms of a short-term materialistic love as a response for the bodily attractions only, although some people may shed so many emotional characteristics on it. Islam does not, at all, fight, or stand in the way of the normal human behavior, but rather controls it, organizes it, purifies it, and elevates it above the level of the animalistic behavior. Islam promotes the human sexuality or lust to become the core of the personal morals, social attitudes, and relationships. As for adultery and fornication, and more precisely prostitution, one feels that it is, in reality, empty of all these feelings, emotions, and sense of belonging and relationship. Islam looks at prostitution as one of the lowest ill acts of a human society. Such a poor practice makes man below the level of animals in attitudes and behavior. In fact, there are many animals who live a decent and organized social life, away from the mess and confusion that prostitution creates in some human societies “[68].

It is useful to list some of the bad results and the chaos situation that sexual confusion brings to a human society and to the morals of the people. One of the inevitable results is the spread of adultery and fornication in the society. These are some of the results of the sexual confusion in the human society:

The spread of epidemic and fatal diseases. Such diseases are not restricted to the person who practices such unlawful activities, but it rather spreads to others, whom he or she contacts. In fact, such diseases may, very likely, spread very wide in the community. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states in Quran Sura Isra (17:32):” Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful [deed] and an evil, opening the road [to other evils]”.
Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which read as follows:” Be mindful of adultery [and fornication] as it possesses six traits. Three of these traits [are noticeable] in this world while the other three are felt in Hereafter. As for the worldly three traits, they are as follows: it would remove brightness from the face of the practicing person. It would also cause a person to feel poverty. In addition, it would shorten the life span of a person. As for the other three traits that would be felt in the Hereafter, they are as follows: it would entitle the practicing person to receive the wrath and anger of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). It would also cause such a person to have poor results when he/she is held accountable for what he did in this world. Lastly, it would entitle such a person to dwell eternally in the Fire of hell” [69].

Adultery and fornication would remove brightness from the face of the practicing person because of the deprivation to enjoy full personal satisfaction, physically and spiritually. Such a person would feel low in morals and attitude. Thus, such a person would turn into an animal, in the shape of a human being. All what such a person cares for and interested in is to satisfy his sexual desire, regardless of the means. Furthermore, adultery would also cause a person to face poverty because of the huge amounts of money he would spend on such unlawful sexual activities. Such a person would exert lot of efforts and wastes lot of valuable personal energies as well, that he might have utilized it in a better and more productive form. Thus, spending such wealth and energy causes constant regret. Indulging in unlawful sexual activities would cause great harms to the health. In fact, adultery is a major health hazard. Thus, adultery and fornication would shorten the life span of a person because of the potential diseases that may endanger his life and possibly cut it short.
Illegitimate children: Such children are deprived the normal care and custody of real loving parents. As a result, such children would lack the objective and proper guidance and direction in their lives. No one, other than the real parents, could offer an honest, truthful, and meaningful guidance to a child. Consequently, such deprived class of children would grow up to be uncontrolled and full of hatred to the rest of the society members. Anna Freud, in her book Children without Families, comments on the psychological disorders that can’t be corrected by a psychiatric specialist except with great difficulties[70].
Psychological disorders:Unlawful sexual relationships would lead to a lot of psychological diseases and disorders. People who practice and maintain such unlawful relationships would develop unease, lack of personal happiness and satisfaction, inferiority complex, guilt, and self-discern as a result of practicing unlawful sexual relationships. 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”.
Sexual confusion leads to moral confusion in the society. It is a well-established fact that money could easily trap and lure people to do anything evil. Money also enables a person to get all what he likes in terms of pleasures and satisfaction. Thus, if those who are practicing unlawful satisfactions lack the needed funds, they may commit any type of crime to satisfy their needs. Such individuals may steal, cheat, molest, rape, lie, deceive, bribe, or even kill in order to get what they want. They do not care where, or how they get the needed funds, even if this is on the account of others.
Descending of the Wrath promised by Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) promised the communities where adultery and fornication is practiced or condoned, to receive one of the severest punishments. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, which read as follows:” My Ummah, nation would continue to enjoy a blessed life so long as illegitimate children are not produced in their society. When illegitimate children become available in the society, then the punishment of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) would become imminent” [71].
——————————————————————————–
[23] Sayyid Sabeq, ‘Fiqhu-Sunnah’, Vol.2, P.7.
[24] Bukhari and Muslim reported this Hadith.
[25] Abu Daoud reported this Hadith.
[26] Muslim reported this Hadith.
[27] Tirmithi reported this Hadith.
[28] Tirmithi reported this Hadith.
[29] Tirmithi reported this Hadith.
[30] Ibn Majah reported this Hadith.
[31] Bukhari reported this Hadith.
[32] All reports of Hadith except for Muslim reported this Hadith.
[33] Ahmad and Nasai reported this Hadith.
[34] Uqiyah is a weight.
[35] Ahmad, Tirmithi and Nasai reported this Hadith.
[36] Bukhari and Muslim reported this Hadith.
[37] All the members of the group of narrator reported this Hadith.
[38] Bukhari reported this Hadith.
[39] Muslim reported this Hadith.
[40] Abu Dawoud and Tirmithi reported this Hadith.
[41] Bukhari reported this Hadith.
[42] Bukhari reported this Hadith.
[43] Ahmad reported this Hadith.
[44] Muslim reported this Hadith.
[45] Ahmad reported this Hadith.
[46] Abu Daoud and Tirmithi reported this Hadith.
[47] Tirmithi reported this Hadith.
[48] Muslim reported this Hadith.
[49] All the reporters of Hadith except for Muslim reported this Hadith.
[50] Bukhari and Muslim reported this Hadith.
[51] Bukhari reported this Hadith.
[52] Abu Ya’la reported this Hadith.
[53] Al-Moghni, Vol.8, P.137.
[54] Muslim reported this Hadith.
[55] Bukhari and Muslim reported this Hadith.
[56] Ahmad reported this Hadith.
[57] Ahmad, Abu Daoud and Nasai reported this Hadith.
[58] Ahmad and Abu Daoud reported this Hadith.
[59] Ahmad reported this Hadith.
[60] Tirmithi reported this Hadith.
[61] Muslim reported this Hadith.
[62] Muslim reported this Hadith.
[63] Tirmithi reported this Hadith.
[64] Ahmad and Tabarani reported this Hadith.
[65] Muslim reported this Hadith.
[66] Abu Daoud and Nasai reported this Hadith.
[67] Abu Daoud and Hakim reported this Hadith.
[68] In the Shade of Quran, Sayyid Qutub.
[69] Baihaqi reported this Hadith.
[70] Man between Materialism and Islam, Mohammed Qutub.
[71] Ahmad reported this Hadith.

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One Response to “Islamic Perspective of Sex:Islam and Marriage”

  1. shaistha jabeen Says:

    May ALLAH bless you all and u’r families .I came to know many things b’coz of you.Pray for me so that i may follow them and prove myself as a good wife and mother and secure my place in paradise. I hope after reading this many people will come to know their rights and duties .

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