Sex in the Muslim Marriage

Allah created men and women as two halves of a whole, made complete through marriage. The Koran says, “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you 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.” (Ar-Rum 30:21)

Marriage should provide physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual fulfillment. Although it is rarely spoken of, lovemaking is an important part of a Muslim marriage. Sex is made legal through marriage; sex outside of marriage, whether premarital or extramarital, is a grave sin. Physical intimacy is a wonderful way for spouses to show kindness, love, and comfort to one another. Sex between a husband and wife is considered a holy act. In fact, it has been said that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “When any of you engages in sexual intercourse [with your wife], there is a reward.”

Like most things in life, there are rules regarding physical intimacy within marriage.

[h]Be Considerate[/h]

As in all areas of life, a Muslim husband should approach his wife with gentleness and respect during lovemaking. He should not be overly rough or force her to do things which make her uncomfortable. In addition, the Koran says, “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.” (Al-Baqarah: 223) While there has been some disagreement as to the exact meaning of this, scholars generally agree that the verse refers to foreplay. Husbands should “romance” their wives with words, kisses, and touch.

[h]More about the Tilth[/h]

It is also important to note that the word “tilth” refers to the vagina. This is the only allowable passage for intercourse. One of the most important aspects of the sexual relationship is the potential for creating children.

[h]No Sex During Menstruation[/h]

Although a woman is not considered “dirty” during her menstrual period, she does have certain restrictions. For example, a menstruating woman is not allowed to have sexual intercourse. About this, the Koran says, “They ask you about menstruation; say, it is ‘a kind of hurt’; so abstain from sexual intercourse with them until (their period expires and) they have purified themselves.” (Al-Baqarah: 222)

This does not mean that a woman is isolated during her period. She is still allowed to share her husband’s bed. The couple is still free to hug, kiss, cuddle, and express their love and desire in any way besides intercourse.

Lovemaking is an integral part of a happy Muslim marriage, and we will discuss it further in coming entries, en sha Allah.