TURNING SEX INTO SADAQAH
An excerpt from ‘The Muslim Marriage Guide.’
By Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood “Women shall have rights similar to the rights upon them; according to what is equitable and just; and men have a degree of advantage over them.” (Quran, 2:216)
They do indeed! This passage of the Holy Quran was revealed in connection with the rights of women following a divorce, but it also has a general sense. One basic right of every person taking on a contract never to have sex other than with their own legitimate partner is that each spouse should therefore provide sexual fulfillment (imta’) to the other, as part of the bargain.
Now, every man knows what sexual things please him–but some men, particularly those who have not been married before and are therefore lacking experience, don’t seem to know much about how to give the same pleasure to the woman; even worse, some men do know but they can’t be bothered to make the effort. Yet this is vital if a marriage is to succeed and not just be a disappointing burden for the woman, and it is a vital part of one’s Islamic duty.
It is not acceptable for a Muslim man just to satisfy himself while ignoring his wife’s needs. Experts agree that the basic psychological need of a man is respect, while that of a woman is love. Neither respect nor love are things that can be forced–they have to be worked for, and earned. The Prophet (s) stated that in one’s sexual intimacy with one’s life partner there is sadaqa (worship through giving):
God’s Messenger(s) said: “In the sexual act of each of you there is a sadaqa.” The Companions replied: “0 Messenger of God! When one of us fulfils his sexual desire, will he be given a reward for that?” And he said, “Do you not think that were he to act upon it unlawfully, he would be sinning? Likewise, if he acts upon it lawfully he will be rewarded.” (Muslim)
This hadith only makes sense if the sexual act is raised above the mere animal level.
What is the magic ingredient that turns sex into sadaqa, that makes it a matter of reward or punishment from Allah? It is by making one’s sex life more than simple physical gratification; it is by thought for pleasing Allah by unselfish care for one’s partner. A husband that cannot understand this will never be fully respected by his wife.
Neither spouse should ever act in a manner that would be injurious or harmful to their conjugal life. Nikah is the sacred tie between husband and wife, that sincere and devoted love without which they cannot attain happiness and peace of mind.
“Of His signs is this: that He created for you spouses that you might find rest in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy.” (Quran, 30:21)
Now, every Muslim knows that a man has a right on his wife. However, because nikah is a contract never to seek sexual satisfaction outside the marriage bond, Islam commands not only the women but the men in this respect, and makes it clear that if a husband is not aware of the urges and needs of his wife, he will be committing a sin by depriving her of her rights.
According to all four orthodox jurists, it is incumbent upon the husband to keep his wife happy and pleased in this respect. Likewise, it is essential for the wife to satisfy the desire of the husband. Neither should reject the other, unless there is some lawful excuse.
* Now, it is fairly easy for a woman to satisfy a man and make herself available to him, even if she is not really in the mood. It is far harder for a man to satisfy a woman if he is not in the mood, and this is where an important aspect of male responsibility needs to be brought to every Muslim man’s attention, and stressed strongly.
The jurists believed that a woman’s private parts needed “protecting” (tahsin). What they meant was that it was important for a Muslim husband to satisfy his wife’s sexual needs so that she would not be tempted to commit zina out of despair or frustration.
A Muslim wife is not merely a lump of flesh without emotions or feelings, just there to satisfy a man’s natural urges. On the contrary, her body contains a soul no less important in God’s sight than her husband’s. Her heart is very tender and delicate, and crude or rough manners would hurt her feelings and drive away love. The husband would be both foolish and immoral to act in any way unpalatable to her natural temperament, and a man selfishly seeking his own satisfaction without considering that of his wife is a selfish boor. In fact, according to a hadith: “Three things are counted inadequacies in a man. Firstly, meeting someone he would like to get to know, and taking leave of him before learning his name and his family. Secondly, rebuffing the generosity that another shows to him. And thirdly, going to his wife and having intercourse with her before talking to her and gaining her intimacy, satisfying his need from her before she has satisfied her need from him.” (Daylami)
This is another of the things implied by the saying that one’s wife is “a tilth unto you.” (Quran, 2:223) The imagery is that of a farmer taking care of his fields. According to Mawlana Abul-Ala Mawdudi: “The farmer sows the seed in order to reap the harvest, but he does not sow it out of season or cultivate it in a manner which will injure or exhaust the soil. He is wise and considerate, and does not run riot.” (Afzalur Rahman, Quranic Sciences, London 1981, p.285)
Likewise, in the case of husband and wife, the husband should not just:
* Take hold of his wife and rub the seed and finish the business of procreation. The damage in this case could sometimes be irreparable, because a woman, unlike a farm, is very sensitive and has emotions, feelings, and strong passions which need full satisfaction and attention in a proper and appropriate manner.â€ (Afzalur Rahman, Quranic Sciences, London 1981, p. 286)
If this is not taken into consideration, and the wife is not properly prepared to start lovemaking, or is unsatisfied when it is finished, there could be many psychological and physiological complications leading to frigidity and other abnormalities. Indeed, many husbands eventually become disappointed with their wives, believing them to be frigid or unable to respond to their activities (unlike the sirens on the film or TV screen), and they wonder what is wrong with them. A possible explanation will follow in a moment.
Allah created male and female from a single soul in order that man might live with her in serenity (Quran, 7:189), and not in unhappiness, frustration and strife. If your marriage is frankly awful, then you must ask yourself how such a desperate and tragic scenario could be regarded by anyone as “half the Faith.” According to a hadith: “Not one of you should fall upon his wife like an animal; but let there first be a messenger between you.” “And what is that messenger?” they asked, and he replied: “Kisses and words.” (Daylami)
These “kisses and words” do not just include foreplay once intimacy has commenced. To set the right mood, little signals should begin well in advance, so that the wife has a clue as to what is coming, and is pleasantly expectant, and also has adequate time to make herself clean, attractive and ready. As regards intimacy itself, all men know that they cannot achieve sexual fulfillment if they are not aroused. They should also realise that it is actually harmful and painful for the female organs to be used for sex without proper preparation. In simple biological terms, the woman’s private parts need a kind of natural lubrication before the sexual act takes place. For this, Allah has created special glands, known to modern doctors as the Bartholin glands, which provide the necessary “oils.”
It is still possible to read old-fashioned advice to husbands that a desirable wife should be “dry”–which is remarkable ignorance and makes one really grieve for the poor wives of such inconsiderate men. Just as no one would dream of trying to run an engine without the correct lubricating fluids, it is the same, through the creative will of Allah, with the parts of the female body designed for sexual intimacy. A husband should know how to stimulate the production of these “oils” in his wife, or at the very least allow her to use some artificial “oils.” This lack of knowledge or consideration is where so many marital problems frequently arise.
As Imam al-Ghazali says: “Sex should begin with gentle words and kissing,” and Imam al-Zabidi adds: “This should include not only the cheeks and lips; and then he should caress the breasts and nipples, and every part of her body.” (Zabidi, Ithaf al-Sada al Muttaqin, V 372)
Most men will not need telling this; but it should be remembered that failure to observe this Islamic practice is to neglect or deny the way Allah has created women.
Insulting a wife with bad marital manners.
Firstly, a husband must overcome his shyness enough to actually look at his wife, and pay attention to her. If he cannot bring himself to follow this sunna, it is an insult to her, and extremely hurtful. Personal intimacy is a minefield of opportunities to hurt each other– glancing at the watch, a yawn at the wrong moment, appearing bored, and so on. A husband’s duty is to convince his wife that he does love her–and this can only be done by word (constantly repeated word, I might add–such is the irritating nature of women!), and by looking and touching.
Many people believe that the expression in the eyes reveals much of the human soul. Certainly the lover’s gaze is a most endearing and treasured thing. Many wives yearn for that gaze of love, even after they have been married for years. If you cannot bring yourself to look at her while paying attention to her, she can only interpret this as a sign that you do not really love her. And even though it may be irritating to you, and seem quite superfluous, most women are deeply moved when a man actually tells her that he loves her.
Sex is clean!
A modest upbringing is part of good character. The Prophet (s) himself said: “Modesty brings nothing but good.” (Bukhari and Muslim) But another, also important, part of Islamic teaching says that all of Allah’s creation is beautiful and pure, particularly when it is part of the body of human beings, who are designed as His deputies upon the earth. In some religions, people traditionally believed that the woman’s private parts are in some way unclean, or dirty, or even evil.
SEXISM AND ISLAM
By Hisham Zoubier
“As salaam wa allaykum. Peace be upon you. For those of you not familiar with that Islamic greeting, it is said between all Muslims and Arabic speaking peoples around the world; white, black, man or woman. I have invited you here today because it has become increasingly apparent to me that the image of women in Islam is one of sexism and degradation. One of inferiority, and one of disgrace. One of inequality, and one of male domination. In fact, nothing could be further from orthodox Islamic teachings. Many of you will look at me with disbelief, and with skepticism and I fully expect it. However, everything I tell you here today will have it’s justification by historical fact and by Quranic quotation. The Quran is the basis of all Islam and history shows that the application of it has not always been one of contradiction. Now, in Islam there are very specific rules relating to the equality of men and women. They are both looked upon as being equal in soul and in mind, and in spiritual responsibilities. Of course, they are not looked upon as the same; but merely different. You cannot say that the role of the mother is the same as the role of the father, or vice verse; because they are different. But you cannot say that one is inferior to the other. The mother cares for the new-born baby a lot more than the father does and this sort of motherly love is held in the highest regard in Islam. The Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, was asked by a follower one day whom he should treat with more affection. The prophet answered ,”Your mother.” The man asked who was next in line, and again the prophet replied, “Your mother.” He asked again and the response the same; it was not until the fourth time that the prophet said, “Your father.” The prophet also said, “Paradise lies at the feet of mothers.”
In the West, female assault( ie, assault on women) is very common. Statistics show that 25% of all reported crime in the UK are violent assaults on women. The question of violence towards women in Islam is very clear. IT IS NOT ALLOWED. The honor of women is of extreme merit, and no man may dare to infringe upon it. Islam does not permit any sort of abuse to women; verbal or otherwise. Wife beaters were declared by the prophet not be Muslims and it has been reported that the prophet never hit any child nor any woman. In fact, rape or any assault on women is a very serious crime in Islam. Here, there has been much talk about “date rape”. I’ve been told that rapists can get off with a year or less in jail here. And this is justice; this is the law, in the civilized world. A man can violate a woman’s honor and put her under all sorts of duress and harm, and scar her emotionally for life…. and a few months later, he can walk out of jail, free to continue his life with barely a thought to what he has done to that woman.
In some countries in the Middle East, rape can be punishable with life imprisonment or lengthy prison sentences; although, I am sure that many would prefer to simply remove the problem from down below and get it over with. That sort of safety in those countries, which is alien in the West, is why my sister can walk the streets at any hour of the night on her own and feel completely safe; secure in the knowledge that no man will trouble her or molest her, because he knows that as soon he crosses that line, he will be held accountable for his actions. How many of you would do walk the streets alone at night in the West’s towns and cities?
Spiritual equality in Islam:
In Islam, women are not regarded as the fountain of all evil; Eve is not blamed for Adam’s mistake; both were at fault and both repented. In spiritual matters, a woman is as responsible as the man is; this is clear. Both have to fulfill the requirements of being a Muslim; in fact, the woman generally has the easier time! During Ramadan, which is the Muslim month of fasting and cleansing, a woman does not fast, if her menstruation cycle happens to be in place. This also applies to their praying; they can be excused from praying during this cycle. Men, on the other hand, always have to fast; unless they are ill and are incapable or their health is in jeapordy (same as women). Women, like men, have to pray, have to do Hajj (which is the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca), they have to give Zakat (which is charity to the needy); all men and women have to perform these duties; there is no difference between them, and they all will be held accountable by God. “Whoever does deeds of righteousness, be they male or female, and have faith, they will enter paradise and not the least injustice will be done to them” [Nisaa 4:124] The Quran also says,” They(women) are garments for (men) while (men) are garments for (women).
Education and social status of women in Islam:
The woman in orthodox Islam, is not held back. She is expected to care for her children; but that attitude is universal. All mothers care for their children. And the mother has a bond with her child that no man, including myself, can ever really understand. But the idea, that she is not allowed to leave the house without her husband or his permission or participate in the running of the society, or be ignorant is not in Islam. The husband does not rule the woman’s life. Some may think they do, but they do not. As a matter of fact, and this is interesting, under certain conditions, the wife runs the husband’s life!! If the man is not tending to his familial duties, or is squandering his wealth, as opposed to providing for his family, the wife is permitted to seize control to help the family. In providing for her family, the woman has a special privilege. The husband is supposed to provide for his family; in fact, sacrifice his worldly goods and himself to do so. The wife, on the other hand, does not have this compulsory duty. Although in many Muslim families the woman gives much of her own wealth to provide for the family; in fact, I have a Sudani cousin whose parents split up and he lives with his mother, and she provides, through working, for him. But the obligation of the wife sacrificing her assets, or her wealth, is not in Islam. She is permitted, under Islamic law, to spend her money as she chooses. In education, the woman also has the paramount duty to learn. The man is not allowed, under Islamic law, to prohibit or restrict her quest to do so. The woman is ordered by God, as much as the man is, to learn, to read, to seek truth, to educate themselves. “The search for knowledge is a duty for every Muslim, male or female.” And since her primary duty of caring for the children diminishes as time goes by, she has a lot of time with which to do that. In fact, a matter of history, Islam was far and away the first social system that gave women equality. Hundreds of years ago, more than a millenium before the rest of the world caught up, Islam gave women the right to own property. And as far as running businesses are concerned; the Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him, was employed by his own wife Khadija, may Allah be pleased with her. Women were eminently active in their societies in the time of the Prophet. In fact, it is on record that a woman debated with the prophet; something barely any man would dare to do! And it is also recorded that there was a debate between a man and a woman and the woman was declared correct and accurate, by the prophet.
In matters of finding a mate, Islam also has very clear rules about the practice of arranged marriages. It doesn’t do them. The woman and the man are both free to marry whoever they choose and free to divorce one another at any given time, although divorce is looked upon as the final resort. There is a story related about a woman who came to the prophet and complained that she had been married to a man without her consent; her parents had forced her into it. The prophet told her that she was free to annul the marriage if she wanted to, since she had not freely agreed to marry him in the first place. As a matter of fact, she was happy with the marriage; but she complained so as to make the point to Muslim women that they were not under the command of any human being. Only God. It is also said in the Quran that: Whoever does deeds of righteousness, be they male or female, and have faith, they will enter paradise and not the least injustice will be done to them [Nisaa 4:124] In the Quran we are told that the believing men and believing women should, and I quote, ” lower their gaze and guard their modesty.” The hijab is not what many of you think it is; the basic hijab, in fact, the complete hijab, is a scarf that a woman puts on her head, and drapes onto her shoulders. It is NOT a mask, or a veil. Many Muslim women do wear the mask, and the veil, but this is out of culural demands on a people; not Islamic. There is a sound hadith that supports that notion; the prophet said that all the body must be covered except for the hands and face. The second point of the hijab, is that it is not a sign of inferiority. Many people view it as such, but anyone who meets a woman who has converted to Islam out of her own free will, which is, by the way, a fundamental rule of the religion; freedom to choose, the woman will tell you that the hijab is a sign of respect. It identifies her as being a noble Muslim lady, A woman who does not want to be harassed. Women have told me that when they wear the hijab, a miraculous transformation takes place on the streets. They are not pushed when they board buses, and the men around them are careful not to bump into them. And another Muslim woman will see her and treat her as a sister, because in Islam all Muslims have a singular bond to one another, which I have never seen outside of Islam. But more on that at another time. The hijab, as hard as it may be to believe, is not a degrading symbol. It is merely a symbolic gesture to the world, when the woman is on the streets, she does not want to be harassed. And that the woman is a honorable lady. Just as the man’s clothing regulations attribute the same to him; on fact, many Muslim men also cover their hair. Of course, they do not wear a scarf; their hair isn’t long enough. And lastly, and this should make my point clear, when the woman is not in public or amongst strangers, she does NOT have to conform to any real clothing regulation. She is permitted to wear as she pleases; amongst her family, amongst her sisters, amongst her extended family (in Islam the family is massive). In fact, the only time that is she is requested to wear the hijab, is when she knows she will be among male strangers that are over the age of puberty and when she is over the age of puberty and before she reaches an older age where she no longer anticipates marriage or when she is praying. Many older women do wear it as an example to the younger generation. And no one is to be forced to uphold even these slight regulations. The command from the Quran states very clearly, “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands clear from error.” I knew plenty of Muslim women who were devout, including my own mother, who has done more charitable endeavors than any person I know that do not wear the hijab, unless they are praying. I’m not encouraging it either way; I am not a woman, so I cannot really speak for it. I do know that it is said in the Quran for a woman to guard her chastity, as do the men, and the hijab is a means of that, amongst other things. But the wearing of the hijab alone does not make the woman pious; many women who wear the hijab are not at all pious. But they wear it to give that illusion. The prophet said that actions were by intent alone; the intent for a moral existence must be there. The history regarding women in Islam is also astounding, considering what Muslim women are thought of today. If you look at the historical account of women is Islam, then you will find there as well that women were not devalued. Before Islam came, the people of the world disgraced women. They treated them as cattle, as dishonorable things. In fact, many families would kill a newly born baby simply because it was a girl. Can you imagine that? It is dire indeed; the prophet thought so, because one the many things that he put a stop to was that. But before Islam came, women were not allowed to marry whom they chose, or own property, or businesses; in essence, their role was to be pretty, stay in the home for all their lives and be breeding stock. And then, in the Islamic world, over 1400 hundred years ago, that all changed. Women were given the right to own; in fact as I said before, if their husbands were incapable of handling their businesses or assets properly, wives were permitted to take over from them! The wife of the prophet, may God be pleased with her, was not only his wife. She was also his employer; he worked for her! Oh, and by the way, he did not ask her to marry him; she asked him to marry her. And because of her righteousness, because of her decency, she is regarded to be one of the most reliable sources of information regarding the prophet’s life. If she were inferior, why would the prophet have accepted her proposal? If she were inferior, why would he have worked for her? If she were inferior, why would male Muslim scholars today still accept her observations regarding the prophet? History shows that in the beginning, Islam was the true emancipator of women. I quote now from Fatima Mernissi’s book, the Veil and the Male Elite; a Muslim lecturer in Morocco who is a devout Muslim and a devout feminist. “Women fled by the thousands to enter Medina, the Prophet’s city in the seventh century,, because Islam promised equality and dignity for all, for men and women, masters and servants. Every woman who came to Medina when the Prophet was the political leader of Muslims could gain access to full citizenship, the status of sahabi, Companion of the Prophet. Muslims can take pride that in their language they have the feminine of that word, sahabiyat, women who enjoyed the right to enter into the councils of the Muslim umma, to speak freely to its Prophet-leader, to dispute with the men, to fight for their happiness, and to be involved in the management of military and political affairs. The evidence is there is the works of religious history, in the biographical details of sahbiyat, by the thousands who built Muslim society side by side with their male counterparts.”
And all this, more than 1400 years ago.
The sign that the majority of people who convert to Islam each year, are women further shows that Islam is not sexist. The first adherent to Islam was a woman; If Islam was sexist, then why would they do such a thing? What Western woman of common sense would convert to a religion that would degrade her? They are not forced into it; if you do not believe that Islam is fundamnetally against forceful conversion, then believe the laws of the Western governements, where they live! Islam is not a sexist relgion. I know that you have heard various things, seen various things; but believe me, you have been misinformed. The application of religion, no matter what school of thought, is not always representative of the actual teachings; be it Christianity, Judaism or Islam. Before I leave, I have one last thing to say:
“For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast and deny themselves, for men and women who guard their chastity, for men and women who engage in Allah’s praise, for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and a great reward.”
That is the 35th verse of the 33rd chapter of the Holy Quran..
By Islamic Medicine
At the time of the prophet, muslims men and women were never too shy to ask the prophet about all affairs, including such private affairs as sexual life, so as to know the teachings and rulings of their religion concerning them. As Aisha, the wife of the prophet testified, “Blessed are the women of the Ansar (the citizens of Madina). Shyness did not stand in their way seeking knowledge about their religion.” (All except Termizi).
The way the ladies asked the prophet-directly or through his wives is a proof that sexual matters were not taboo but were fully acknowldged and respected. “Shyness is part of the faith” as the prophet taught, but he also taught “There is no shyness in matters of religion” even entailing the delicate aspects of sexual life.
It is our firm belief that facts about sex should be taught to children in a way commensurate with their age as they grow up both by the family and the school. We emphasize that this should be done within the total context of Islamic ideology and Islamic teaching, so that the youth-beside getting the correct physiologic knowledge become fully aware on the sanctity of the sexual relation in Islam and the grave sin of blemishing such sanctity whether under Islamic law, or far more important in the sight of God. Provided the Islamic conscience is developed we see no reason to shun sex education (unfortunately the rule in many muslim countries), and we believe it is better to give the correct teaching rather than leave this to chance and to incorrect sources and to the concomitant feeling of guilt by the hush-hush atmosphere in which this is done.
Teaching about sex should also have its presence in the curricula of medical schools. We have done this in our medical school as part of the gynaecology and obstetrics program. We had no difficulty whatsoever with our religious and rather conservative men and women students, for the subject is given within an Islamic perspective.
Sex is an important area of marital life, and when people are in trouble they have only the doctor to resort to: and unless the doctor has had some basic teaching of sex, he or she will be quite helpless to help out. Sexual problems may manifest as strained family relations, psychosomatic symptoms or infertility. Medical treatment may affect sex such as some antihypertensive or antidepressant drugs. Sexual counsel is often a neglected aspect of managing such varied diseases as coronary thrombosis, diabetes, incipient heart failure etc. The role of lack of sexual education in some cases of infertility is well known. Surgery may influence sex in men and women. A carelessly repaired episiotomy, or colporrhaphy may have a devastating effect on marital happinnes. The psychological premath and after-math of the operation of hysterectomy is only too well known. On top of all of this, muslim women patients would wish to know the religious ruling on the multitude of gynaecological and obstetric situations relating to worship, and their reference is their doctor. It is therefore a religious, dictate that medical education preparing doctors who will cater for the needs of muslim communities, should equip them with the knowledge necessary to answer this need.
By Brother Othman
Perhaps another detail that every Muslim husband must remember, is the importance of the sexual activity with his spouse. Someone in this board mentioned before that one of the responsibilities of the muslim husband (one of many rights of the wife) is intercourse. However intercourse is a very generalized term, and leaving it at that, would allow many men to think that simply “having intercourse” satisfies this requirement.
And though it may, in the technical sense, satisty this requirement, the Prophet (SAW) showed us that this requirement meant much more than its technical implication. Intercourse is not only to “have intercourse” with one’s wife. In Islam, it is term that implies intimacy, care, love, affection, and patience. It combines the sexual and physical satisfaction with pure intentions, remembrance of Allah (SubHana Wa Ta`ala) and prayers; and this is what “elevates it from mere bestial pleasure and plain physical desire.”
The point I would like to make here is concerning the woman’s side of intercourse. A woman, just like a man, is entitled to the full enjoyment of the sexual activity, for it is as much her right as it is his. But by sexual activity I do not mean the sexual act alone. We have in the life of the Prophet (SAW) a beautiful and perfect example of how a man should approach his wife. He (SAW) said: “When you approach your wife, do not come to her like the animals do, but send a messenger before you. The companions asked, “And who should be this messenger?” The Prophet (SAW) answered, “A kiss, a caress, some kind words.” (reference to be provided, inshaAllah).
Thus, foreplay plays a very important role in lovemaking. And foreplay can take place not only right before intercourse occurs, but all throughout the day. A kind loving word, a special touch, a whisper, a flower, a phone call in the middle of the day for no reason whatsoever, a heart-felt smile, when done with love, can all be a part of foreplay. A foreplay that begins in the morning, with a good-bye kiss, and ends at night with intercourse.
It is the man’s responsibility to make sure that his wife is satisfied. Intercourse is a means of protection from the temptations of shaytaan. So the husband should ensure that such protection is accomplished by making sure that his wife’s sexual appetite / desire is satisfied as well. This sexual satisfaction may be gained not only through intercourse, but through any means which have been made halal to us by Allah (SubHana Wa Ta`ala) and His Messenger (SAW).
There are only certain things which are prohibited during the sexual activity. As long as these things are avoided, the man should take the initiative and explore the different ways by which he can please his wife. He may be surprised to find out how many more things he can do, which will be enjoyed by both, husband and wife.
Communication between the couple is very critical. Both, husband and wife, should give one another feedback, letting each other know what works and what doesn’t. Through this communication, both can be sure that they are doing that which pleases the other. Without it, it will be like walking down a black alley — both of them thinking that they are going in the right direction, but neither one knowing for sure if they are.
I personally believe that the greatest satisfaction of sexual activity is knowing that both partners are pleased. This creates in both, husband and wife, an overwhelming feeling of happiness and peace of mind that cannot be achieved through the sexual act of intercourse alone. It also keeps the love-flame alive.
One of the main differences between Islam and other religions, is that Islam has left no stone unturned. It has covered every aspect of our lives, and the sexual aspect plays a very important role in the marital life and family integrity; therefore it feels no shame in discussing such issues which can help to improve the conjugal relationship and subsequently strengthen the moral characters of individuals. Sex is a given gift of Allah. Enjoy it to the max, and be grateful for it.
COPING WITH SEXUAL DESIRES
Islam, being a complete and total way of life that is the most beneficial for all mankind, recognizes the natural built-in urges that occur in every healthy normal mature human being. For this reason we find, as usual, the best of guidance in the Qur’aan and the authentic sunnah for how to deal with sexual matters. The following article will provide a general outline on just what Islam prescribes in this important area of life.
It should first be mentioned that Islam encourages healthy and lawful sexual activity. Sex itself is neither a taboo subject nor a preoccupation. It has been dealt with at length and detail in nearly every aspect by scholars of Islam, not as a means of titillation, but in order to guide the ummah of Muhammad in this basic and vital area of life so they can live in a manner that Allah Most High is pleased with. Free and wanton sexual practices are proven unhealthy physically and psychologically and have a tremendous negative impact upon society whereas when people conduct themselves according to the divine guidelines set down by Islam, sexual behavior is both controlled and beneficial for individuals and society.
“Some scholars have concluded that the human being should pledge 1) To walk at least a minimum distance every day 2) To feed his stomach at regular intervals 3) Not to abstain from having lawful sexual intercourse…” [Zaad Al-Ma’ad]
We find that the following general points are advised for people from the Qur’aan and sunnah that afford the believer the means to control his or her self and properly channel their desires. Indeed, the major role of Islam is to provide human beings the means by which they can control themselves, develop in righteousness and fulfill their roles as slaves of Allah.
Remembrance of Allah (i.e. through reading and understanding the Qur’aan and Sunnah and seeking refuge in Allah from the whisperings of Shaitan and keeping Allah constantly in mind.
Lowering the gaze
Staying away from bad company
Staying away from places of temptation (fitnah)
The benefits of lawful sexual intercourse are that it protects one’s eyes from looking at what is unlawful, it preserves one’s chastity and helps to control one’s desire and lust against what is unlawful and of course is the means through which society may flourish. Anas Ibn Malik (radiallahu ‘anhu) said that “the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) use to command us to marry and forbid celibacy severely and say, ‘Marry women who are very prolific and loving, for I shall outnumber the prophets by you on the Day of Resurrection.'” [Ahmed, Ibn Hibban, Abu Dawud, An-Nasaa’i]. Also Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, “Yet I pray and sleep; I fast and break my fast; and I marry women. He who desires other than my sunnah is not my follower”. He (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) also said, “O young men, whoever among you has the means to establish a family, he should get married, for marriage preserves the chastity of one’s eyes and sexual organ, and whoever cannot afford to establish a family, he must fast from desiring sex, for abstention in that case will protect him from sin.” [Al-Bukhaari & Muslim]
Islam even provides guidance as to sexual conduct between spouses and one can read these details in the works of the scholars and in the hadeeth. Notable in this regard is the work of Ibn Qayyim Al-Jowiyyah (b. 1292 d. 1350 CE) who dealt with the subject in detail in his famous book Zaad Al-Ma’aad Fi Huda Khairil-‘Ibaad. He deals with what is permissible, recommended and forbidden with regards to sexual conduct and every married Muslim as well as those about to be married should seek such knowledge.
Islam forbids sex outside the lawful marriage tie, and it strictly forbids homosexuality, bestiality and any other harmful or deviant practices. It also provides measures through its laws and ethics to prevent such sinful behavior along with appropriate punishment for those who do so. One of the major causes of sexual immorality today is the absence of limits in many so-called modern societies. This permissive attitude is propagated through the popular media, especially TV and films where prohibited sex is glamorized and encouraged. Also books, songs and poetry encourage and stimulate the sexual urge among men and women to the point where they can no longer refrain from indulging in what Allah has made forbidden for them. Those who are responsible for the spread of these mediums among society and especially among Muslims have a heavy burden to bear upon their shoulders on the Day of Resurrection.
Constant exposure to the opposite sex or to whatever affords a person the opportunity to indulge in concentration upon them can lead to sexual obsession. Once a person is put in this position “…they will find themselves under constant, irresistible, and compelling influence to engage in sex.” [Zaad Al-Ma’aad] Allah Himself refers to this when talking about women’s erotic passion and in relation to the sexual inversion of the men engaged in homosexuality and pedophilia. The first instance is that which is related in the story of Yusuf (alaihi salaam) and the uncontrollable desire of the wife of the Aziz for him [See this month’s Understanding Al-Qur’aan]. The second can be found in the story of the people of Lot (‘alaihi salaam) who sought to satisfy their perverted lusts with the guests of Lot (‘alaihi salaam) and ultimately Allah destroyed them. [See Al-Qur’aan Chapter 15]
Ibn Qayyim writes: “Fascination and attraction to physical forms, objects, pictures, statues, idols, books, portraitures, museums, images, arts, nature, beauty, scenery, or obsession and pride about one’s own beauty or self sometimes develop into an abnormal excitability and is an illness that must be treated as such. These are creations, and fascination with the creation is a mask that obstructs one’s recognition of his Creator. A heart that is filled with love for Allah will see life in this world from a different depth.” How true ring such words in these times when films and magazines bombard our senses that our designed to make us focus on the “sexy” celebrity and that have the main theme of how one can make themselves sexually attractive!
We thank Allah Who has told us, “It is He who created you from a single being and out of that, He created its mate, so that he may enjoy the pleasure of living with her” [Al-Qur’aan 7:189] Allah has made the nature of mating congruity between man and woman based on love for they are of like nature and the core of peace and tranquility between them is love. Real satisfaction is not merely based on beauty, looks, intention, goal, will, character, or spiritual attainment, though such elements can help to bring about love, peace and tranquility.
The overemphasis in society on physical beauty and constant exposure or preoccupation with the opposite sex undermines the ability of people to apply wisdom, logic and sound reasoning to overcome desires. This is where the wisdom of keeping good company and staying away form the places of temptation (fitnah) is so crucial, for bad companions will surely do nothing but encourage the wrong behavior. The closest and constant companion for many is the television which is the worst of companions and a center of fitnah, not to mention actual supposed friends who are but shayateen in disguise who call to corruption and immorality by various means. We must avoid both. Certainly places where men and women freely mix are a great cause of temptation. Take any college campus or even work environment in the west (or even in Muslim countries where adherence to hijaab and separation of the sexes is lax or non-existent) and you will naturally find a higher incidence of unlawful premarital and extramarital relations between the sexes. The same applies to situations where men and women have many opportunities to be alone together.
As Ibn Qayyim said with regards to being infatuated and giving the degree of love to others that belongs only to Allah : “…love for other than Allah is polytheism, and since Allah created one heart for each human being, the focus of such a heart should not be divided…we can say that love for other than Allah is wine for the spirit, and an intoxicant that can cloud one’s clarity, and obscure one’s real purpose. It inebriates the mind, impairs one’s proper functions, occupies the heart from concentrating on the remembrance of Allah…occupying one’s heart with attachment and love for someone else besides Allah breaks up one’s devotion, for the heart naturally adores its beloved, and that is worship (‘ibaadah).”
Allah is most Wise and the guidelines He has laid down regarding lowering the gaze, wearing hijaab, not being alone with the opposite sex who is not mahram and not coming near to zinaa (illicit sex) are all for our benefit in this life and the Hereafter and we ask Allah to guide us to adhere to that which He has taught us, and that He and His Prophet are the most beloved to us all Ameen.
References to Ibn Qayyim’s words was taken from the book “Natural Healing With The Medicine Of The Prophet” Translation and Emendation by Muhammad Al-Akili, Pearl Publishing House
SEX, VIAGRA, AND ISLAM
By Dr. Shahid Athar
Sex to most Muslims is a dirty word. A word that they don’t even want to talk about. On the other extreme, many Muslims’ are obsessed with sex. This I can say from the questions about sex that I receive on E-mail from the Islam-USA Web-page.
The desire to have a better sexual performance for men is again, not a new preoccupation. Muslim Hakims (traditional physicians’) have been working on medications for over one thousand years trying to achieve a magic love pill. Now that this “love pill” seemingly has arrived, wealthy Muslims’ are ecstatic. Viagra which is sold around $10 per pill in the U.S.A., is being sold at $100 per pill on the black market in Saudi Arabia. Kuwait recently had allowed the sale at about $49 per pill officially. The grand religious scholar of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Baaz has allowed it to be used by men if it does not cause any harm to the body.
Recently a visitor from Pakistan wanted to get some samples of Viagra, and I asked him why. He stated ” that he wanted to give them as a gift to his boss”. Obviously, he did not get the gift.
Sexual desire is a gift from God, just like all other desires that He has built in us. It is not our fault that we get aroused at sexual thoughts. These are built in physiology. In order to have a legitimate outlet for this built in desire, God has created mates for us.
Quran says, “He that created you mates from among yourselves that you can dwell in them in tranquility”. (30:21) Sex outside of marriage is not permitted in Islam.
Impotency is a disease and should be dealt with as any disease. To seek a cure for a disease is advised by Prophet Mohammed (P) who said that “God has created no disease unless he created a cure for it as well, except old age”. Thus, before we physicians’ start a new treatment, we either must find out the cause for impotency which could be vascular, neurogenic, infection, diabetes, or hormonal deficiency. To treat all the causes with one type of treatment would be wrong, and that is why many patients’ on Viagra do not respond because they have not been screened properly to see if they would be good candidates. In addition, if the mental stimulation is not present before, then Viagra alone will not achieve the desired results as the brain is the most important sex organ.
The appropriate way for a man to deal with this is to see his physician for a thorough evaluation, hormone testing, and psychological testing. There is some suggestion that patient’s who may have underlying coronary artery disease, who have not been actively involved in sex, should be screened first for coronary artery disease before using Viagra. About 20 men have died after sex while taking Viagra. It is not clear that any of these deaths were directly related to Viagra.
I see several social problems in the use of Viagra indiscriminately. It may lead to more sexual promiscuity and infidelity. Recently and old man in New York who used Viagra, left his wife and then went for a much younger lady. His wife sued the company. It is also being called “the party drug”, or the “love pill”, and it is being distributed by some of the night clubs. What is the difference between getting high on marijuana and cocaine, or on Viagra? Many women are also complaining that they are being subject to Viagra attacks by their husbands’ and boyfriends even if they are not in a mood.
Sex is an __expression and extension of love. In the absence of love, sex becomes a boring routine. Forced sex even in marriage is rape. Instead of trying to achieve potency, men should try to achieve love and respect for and from their wives. Prophet Mohammed (P), who was ahead of his time, had encouraged foreplay before intercourse saying “Do not attack your women like a wild beast, but send a message before”. He also was known to have said, “Do not leave her before she is satisfied”. Thus Islamic sexuality is based on nature and not attempting to achieve a quick result. The human body is a wonderful creation of God, but not a sex machine. It will not run better on a high octane oil or any potency drug.
ISLAM ON PORNOGRAPHY: A DEFINITE NO NO
By Abdul Malik Mujahid
Every Friday we hear the Imam conclude his sermon by reciting the following verse of the Quran: “Surely God enjoins justice, kindness and the doing of good, to kith and kin; and He forbids all that is shameful, indecent, evil, rebellious and oppressive.” InnaAllah Yamuru bil adel, wal ehsane, wa itae zil qurba; wa yanha anil fuhshae, wal munkari walbaghi; yaizukhum lallakum tazakkaroon. (Quran 16:90)
Pornography and the culture of pornography has all the three elements which God has prohibited in the above verse of the Quran: Fuhsha; Munkar, baghi. Here is a bit of terminology before we review the rest of the evidence prohibiting pornography.
According to the Al-Mawrid Arabic-English dictionary of Munir Baalbaki, Fuhash is obscenity, vulgarity, indecency, shamelessness and something that is dirty, filthy and foul. Al-Mawrid’s English-Arabic dictionary translates pornographic as Fahish. The Hans Wehr Dictionary Of Modern Written Arabic adds monstrosity, abomination, vile deed and fornication to its meaning as well. Fuhsha, translated as anything shameful, is a Quranic term which in the Quran and Hadith has been used widely for unIslamic sexual behavior. The Quran uses it as in the above verse (Quran 16:90). It is a set of vices that embraces the whole range of evil and shameful deeds. Scholars of the Quran have included every vice which is intrinsically of a highly reprehensible character into this category whether it be fornication, nudity, public foreplay as depicted in films and photos, pornography, hurling abuses and curse words, promiscuous mixing, or dresses designed to expose the body. At the highest level of Fuhsha, Allah has included adultery (Quran 17:32) and same gender sex (Quran 7:80; 27:54). All scholars agree pornography is included in the term Fuhsha.
Al-Mawrid English – Arabic Dictionary describes Munkar as gross, abominable, detestable, atrocious, outrageous, flagrant. As a major Quranic term it means something which is universally acknowledged as bad and immoral. This category includes all evils which have been unanimously condemned by the human conscience and which have been forbidden by Divine Law in all ages. People of all faiths abhor pornography. Even the norms of American society do not allow its propagation in mainstream newspapers and prime time TV, forcing it to hide in dark alleys. Those who are addicted to pornography try to watch it mostly discreetly. This indicates that it is a universally accepted immoral act which Quran calls al-Munkar.
According to Al-Mawrid English – Arabic dictionary, this term means wrong, injustice, outrage, and transgression. Al-Baghi in the Quranic terminology means transgression and trespassing into the space and the rights of others, whether those rights be of God or of a fellow human being. Pornography is a transgression towards God as well as towards human beings and animals. The pornographic industry trespasses on the rights of women especially by turning them into sex objects. Pornographic emails trespass the private email boxes of Americans at least four times a day.
God is Against Pornography (Fuhsha) whether Open or Hidden
“Tell them (O Muhammad): ‘My Lord has only forbidden indecent acts, whether overt or hidden.” Innama haram rabbial fawahisha ma zahar aminha wma batan.. (Quran 7:33). Therefore, watching pornography or other indecent acts in the privacy of the home or on the internet is also forbidden.
Allah Asks Us Not to Even Go Close to It
“Say to them (O Muhammad!) Édo not even draw near to things shameful–be they open or secret; ” (Quran 6:151 partial) Éwa la taqrabul fawahisha ma zahara minha wa ma batanÉ. Allah has mentioned this instruction along with shirk and murder which means that Allah considered shameful things like pornography among the major sins. Allah knows best. He knows His creation. He knows that we are weak. Therefore, He likes us to stay away from shameful things.
Those who Propagate Shameful things among the Believers
“Verily those who love that indecency should spread among the believers deserve a painful chastisement in the world and in the Hereafter. Allah knows, but you do not know.” (Quran 24:19) Innal lazeena yuhibbuna an tasheeal fahishatu fillazeena amanou lahum azabun aleemun fid dunya wal akhirate, wallahu yalamu wa antum la talamoon. The words used in the verse (fahishatu) embrace all the various forms that might be used to spread shameful and lewd behavior though any means be it pictures, films, or internet.
Don’t follow Satan
At several places in the Quran, God warns us not to follow the steps of Satan: “He will incite you for shameful things (fuhsha) and encourage you to do universally accepted wrong things (al-munkar) Quran 24:21
Restrain Your Gaze & Guard Your Private Parts
“Enjoin believing men to restrain their gaze and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Surely Allah is well aware of all what they do. And enjoin believing women to restrain their gaze and guard their private parts and additionally not to reveal their adornment except that which is revealed of itself.” Quran 24:30-31
Sayings of the Prophet: Hadith
No man or woman should look at the naked body of each other (unless married). Sahih Muslim
By God, I would prefer to be thrown from the skies and spatterred in parts than to look at someone’s private parts or let someone look at my private parts. Narrated by Salman. Almabsooth kitabul istehsan.
Don’t expose your thigh to anyone and don’t look at the thigh of any person even if s/he is dead. Narrated Ali ibn abi Talib. Ibn e Maja, Abi Dawud, Darqutani. Tafseer Kabeer
Once someone’s thigh was open in public. The Prophet said don’t you know thigh is supposed to be kept covered? Jerhad Aslami. Muatta Imam Malik, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud
Allah has written for Adam’s son his share of adultery which he commits inevitably. The adultery of the eyes is the sight (to gaze at a forbidden thing), the adultery of the tongue is the talk, and the inner self wishes and desires and the private parts testify all this or deny it. Abu Hurairah. Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud.
Other Scholarly Perspectives
“It’s absolutely Haram,” notes Shaykh Muhammad Nur Abdullah. He is the Imam of the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis in Missouri. “If someone is looking at someone committing Zina (sex outside of marriage) whether it is in movies or pictures or the actual thing, it’s all Haram,” he adds.
“Pornographic pictures and movies are haram (prohibited). Muslims should not watch, sell or make such movies. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is reported to have said: ‘The eyes commit adultery, the tongue commits adultery, the hands commit adultery, the feet commit adultery and then the private parts confirm it or deny it.” (Reported by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal) “This means that watching pornographic movies, listening to such songs or singing them, using one’s hands and feet for this purpose, all these are sins that are related to Zina and then the final act of Zina takes place through haram intercourse.” Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi
Logging in and browsing pornographic sites is forbidden because a Muslim is always commanded to lower his/her gaze, let alone give a loose rein to his/her É eyes to look at the private parts of others.
May Allah keep us all safe spiritually and physically.
HUSBAND DEMANDS WIFE PERFORM ORAL SEX ON HIM
By Shaykh ‘Abdullaah ibn Munee
Taken from Fataawa Muhimmah li-Nisaa. al-Ummah, Page 154
Question: One of the sisters is asking, saying that she is a practising young woman who got married six months ago. (She says) her husband demands she suck his penis, and she asks if this is permissible or not?
Response: All praise is due to Allaah (alone). There is no doubt that (the request of) this practise from the husband of the questioner is a disgusting practise and obviously disliked. It also undermines the (good) manners between the husband and wife, and could possibly be a cause for (each partner) disliking (the other) and (leading to) separation (divorce).
Aa.ishah (radhi-yallaahu ‘anhaa) was one of the wives of the Messenger of Allaah (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam), and it has been narrated on her authority that: ((He (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) did not see this of her and she did not see this of him)). (i.e. they did not see each otherâ€™s private parts, even though it is permisible).
As regards the ruling about this, then the least that can be said about it is that it is disliked, and Allaah knows best.
Note: The basic ruling regarding the wife seeking pleasure of her husband’s penis is that of permissibility, however, that which is feared is that this act may lead to possible oral intake of sperm or prostatic fluids. The Hanaabilah have indicated the permissibility of a wife kissing her husbandâ€™s penis, as is mentioned in ((al-Insaaf)) of al-Maardeenee [Volume 8, Page 33], and this is the opinion of Ibn Aqeel and other than him. Also, Asbagh from the Maalikiyyah has indicated the permissibility of a man kissing his wife’s vagina as is mentioned in ((Tafseer al-Qurtubee)) [Volume 12, Page 231].
Certain cases of mouth cancer appear to be caused by a virus that can be contracted during oral sex, media reported, quoting a new Swedish study.
People who contract a high-risk variety of the human papilloma virus, HPV, during oral sex are more likely to fall ill with mouth cancer, according to a study conducted at the Malmo University Faculty of Odontology in southern Sweden.
“You should avoid having oral sex,” dentist and researcher Kerstin Rosenquist, who headed the study, told Swedish news agency TT.
HPV is a wart virus that causes many cervical cancers, including endometrial cancer (in the uterus).
Comparing 132 patients with mouth cancer with a control group of 320 healthy people, Rosenquist found that 36 percent of the cancer patients were carriers of HPV while only one percent of the control group had the virus.
The main factors that contribute to mouth cancer, most commonly contracted by middle aged and older men, are smoking and drinking alcohol, scientists agree.
“But in recent years the illness has been on the rise among young individuals and we don’t know why. But one could speculate that this virus (HPV) is one of the factors,” Rosenquist said.
Her findings confirm other international studies in recent years.