Asslamo Allaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh,
Disclaimer: Please don’t read any further if you are minor or under the age of 13.
I was travelling with some young Muslims on a plane and all of sudden during the long flight one of the recently married young brother started to ask about sexual intercourse and ashamedly admitted that he liked it. Others unmarried brothers around him perked up and wanted to hear the discussion and for the next half an hour or so I heard the most absurd things you could ever hear from grown up men, examples of what was said:
1. Love is Haram
2. Love is a disease and one needs to see a “traditional” Islamic Doctor for it
3. You can’t really take a shower with your wife
4. Sex should be “conducted” to fulfil the rights to the wife only
5. Sex is not for enjoyment but for fulfilling your duties as a husband and that is way its full of reward
6. Sex should be done as simply and in a straight forward manner as possible and no messing around!
I patiently listened to most of these and then asked as to where they had “gained their knowledge” and I was astonished to find the names of some very well known Mashaykh who have mentioned these things. Over the course of next few months I actually listened and read firsthand what is being said and the only thing which I can think of is perhaps due to cultural differences something is getting lost in translation.
An avid student of the History of Christianity can tell you that Christianity had an extremely unnatural attitude towards love and sex.
1. On one extreme you had people who went to absolute lengths to shun the opposite sex
2. On the other extreme you had people who crossed all limits for physical pleasure (be it with members of their sex or opposite)
First was the reaction of religious fanaticism and trying to get closer to God and the other was extreme rejection of everything godly.
Islam is the last divinely protected religion of Allah (SWT) and safe from any extremes. The only extremes which are “preached” are figments of people’s imaginations and it doesn’t matter who teaches and propagates these extreme messages it should be countered.
Barrier upon barrier and restriction upon restriction in Islam between members of opposite sexes:
Islamic Shariah places great importance on segregating and separating members of the opposite sexes who are eligible to marry each other.
Firstly, Islam commands women to remain indoors:
[33:33] Remain in your homes, and do not display (your) beauty as it used to be displayed in the days of earlier ignorance; and establish Salah, and pay Zakah, and obey Allah and His messenger. Allah only intends to keep (all sorts of) filth away from you, O members of the family (of the prophet), and to make you pure through a perfect purification.
Secondly, it commands Muslim women to cover themselves up properly and not invite unlawful gazes:
[33:59] O prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they should draw down their shawls over them. That will make it more likely that they are recognized, hence not teased. And Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very Merciful.
Thirdly, she is commanded not to wear something or dress up in a manner which incites a member of the opposite sex:
Narrated Sayyidina Abu Hurayrah (RA): A woman met him and he found the odour of perfume in her. Her clothes were fluttering in the air. He said: O maid-servant of the Almighty, are you coming from the mosque? She replied: Yes. He said: For it did you use perfume? She replied: Yes. He said: I heard my beloved AbulQasim (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) say: The prayer of a woman who uses perfume for this mosque is not accepted until she returns and takes a bath like that of sexual defilement (perfectly). [Abu Dawud]
Fourthly, it commands both men and women to lower their gazes.
[24:30] Tell the believing men that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts; it is more decent for them. Surely Allah is All-Aware of what they do.
[24:31] And tell the believing women that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts, and must not expose their adornment, except that which appears thereof, and must wrap their bosoms with their shawls, and must not expose their adornment, except to their husbands or their fathers or the fathers of their husbands, or to their sons or the sons of their husbands, or to their brothers or the sons of their brothers or the sons of their sisters, or to their women, or to those owned by their right hands, or male attendants having no (sexual) urge, or to the children who are not yet conscious of the shames of women. And let them not stamp their feet in a way that the adornment they conceal is known. And repent to Allah O believers, all of you, so that you may achieve success.
Fifthly, it commands that speech should be in a natural manner and deliberate voice intonations to attract a member of the opposite sex is prohibited:
[33:32] O wives of the prophet, you are not like any other women, if you observe taqwa (righteousness). So, do not be too soft in your speech, lest someone having disease in his heart should develop fancies (about you); and do speak with appropriate words.
Sixthly, seclusion between members of opposite sex is completely and utterly forbidden and a means to open the doors for Shaytaan and wreck havoc!
The Prophet said, "Whenever a man is alone with a woman the Devil makes a third." [Tirmidhi]
In our times we have Sisters making Dawah in mixed gatherings and on youtube. We have brothers and sisters engaged in texting, emailing each other. We have brothers and sisters engaged in light hearted banter on Internet forums. Know that this isn’t Dawah towards Allah (SWT) but Dawah towards Fitnah because the Shariah has clearly demarked your role and conduct and there is no blessing in moving away from the commandments of Allah (SWT) and the noble Sunnah of Sayyidina Rasul-ullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam). Even electronically if a person has to contact a member of the opposite sex then be safe and cc. another person in your email!
Love (Emotional Relationship):
Love as a feeling is something which in inherent in a human created by Allah (SWT):
[30:21] And it is among His signs that He has created for you wives from among yourselves, so that you may find tranquillity in them, and He has created love and kindness between you. Surely in this there are signs for a people who reflect.
In the entire history of Islam there hasn’t been a single Scholar who has ever declared love Haram because it is something which is usually beyond a person’s control. The development of love doesn’t even require contact or physical sight of the beloved as a person can fall in love upon hearing the (Islamic) practise or knowledge or worship and devotion of a person regardless of their looks and not only Islamic history but our life is filled with examples of this nature. I have myself heard from brothers and sisters who married the other person merely due to their Islam and clearly admitted that they loved the person. Sisters have experienced attraction and offered themselves in marriage merely on the knowing that a person is knowledge or by hearing that the brother is strict upon the Sunnah. Brothers have felt attraction and sent proposals merely upon knowledge that sister is strict upon the Sunnah.
Then we also have brothers and sisters who have developed love based on illicit contact and breaking the boundaries set forth by Allah (SWT). It is not of immense benefit (in their condition) to remind them that their condition was brought about due to breaking the commandments of Allah (SW). It is even greater absurdity to remind them that “Love is Haram” simply because the origin of it was Haram.
To describe love we start with none other than Sayyidina Rasul-ullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) who truly and genuinely loved Sayyida Khadija (RA) and missed her as long as he lived. This love was not something which Sayyidina Rasul-ullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) developed but it was something which was placed therein by Allah (SWT) as clearly narrated in Authentic Hadeeth:
'A'isha (RA) reported: Never did I feel jealous of the wives of Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) but in case of Khadija, although I did no, (have the privilege to) see her. She further added that whenever Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) slaughtered a sheep, he said: Send it to the companions of Khadija I annoyed him one day and said: (It is) Khadija only who always prevails upon your mind. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Her love had been nurtured in my heart by Allah Himself. [Muslim]
'A'isha reported: Never did I feel jealous of any wife amongst the wives of Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) as I feel in case of Khadija (though I had never seen her), for he praised her very often. [Muslim]
Both of these Ahadeeth are narrated by Sayyida Aisha (RA) and after the passing away of Sayyida Khadija (RA) and our noble and beloved Sayyidina Rasul-ullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) had no reason (Astaghfirullah) to categorically state these words merely for the sake of it!
He had genuine and profound feelings of love for our mother Sayyida Khadija (RA)!
It is absurd to cast this feeling as Haram or a disease otherwise Sayyidina Rasul-ullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) wouldn’t have categorically mentioned it.
Love for a woman is natural and a blessing of Allah (SWT).
'Abdullah b. 'Amr reported Allah's Messenger as saying: The whole world is a provision, and the best object of benefit of the world is the pious woman.
There is nothing wrong in love but what is wrong is unlawful expression of it and transgressing the bounds of Allah (SWT). The love of Allah (SWT) and love for Sayyidina Rasul-ullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) should overpower the love for an individual and the person should retain their sanity and look for an Islamically acceptable outcome of love which is:
Sayyidina Rasul-ullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: “There is nothing better for two who love one another than marriage.” [Ibn Maajah]
In fact to say or act in a manner towards one’s spouse which disaffects them is against the Sunnah:
Sayyidina Rasul-ullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: “He who disaffects a person’s wife or servant from him is not of us.”[Ahmed]
The development of feelings is natural and not in one’s control but to act upon these feelings is under one’s control; there is nothing else which needs to be explained about this subject because the opposite of what is being said is based on cultural practises or experience of people etc. The Qur’aan & Sunnah are blatantly clear on the issue of love.
Those expressing these weird and wonderful opinions of love should try preaching to countless Muslim women (around the world) who beseech their Rabb with utmost humility to soften the hearts of their husbands towards them (Ameen).
Sex (Physical Relationship):
The second exaggeration amongst many Muslims is about sex. Once a person is engaged in the Islamically permissible bond of Nikah then it is not only permissible but praiseworthy to enjoy the sexual contact. The wording in the Qur’aan and Sunnah is frank and clear but not “vulgar”. It is a perfectly acceptable natural phenomenon which Allah (SWT) has created just like Allah (SWT) created “love” and Allah (SWT) gives permission in the Qur’aan to approach one’s wife in any manner a person wishes:
[2:223] Your women are tillage for you to cultivate. So, come to your tillage from where you wish...
This verse was revealed to the Sahaba (RA) to negate the restricted taboos and superstitions of the Jews as the Hadeeth of Saheeh Muslim explains:
Jabir (RA) declared that the Jews used to say: When a man has intercourse with his wife through the vagina but being on her back, the child will have squint, so the verse came down:" Your women are tillage for you to cultivate. So, come to your tillage from where you wish” [Muslim]
Sahabah (RA) was taught that engaging in sexual activity is a means for a reward and they were astonished! Why would they be astonished if they considered it a burden or a chore equivalent to visiting your Dentist?
...Verily for every time you say Subhannallah (Exalted is Allah) there is a sadaqa, and for every time you say Allahuakbar (Allah is Most Great) there is a sadaqa, and for every time you say Al-Hamdulillah (Praise is to Allah) there is sadaqa, and in every act of enjoining what is right there is sadaqa, and in every act of forbidding what is wrong there is a sadaqa, and in your sexual relations there is a sadaqa." The Companions said: "O Messenger of Allah, is there a reward for one of us when he satisfies his sexual desire?" The Prophet said: "Don't you see, if he had satisfied it with the forbidden, would there not have been a sin upon him?" They said: "Why, yes! He said: "In the same way, when he satisfies it with that which is lawful, there is for him in that a reward. [Muslim]
Sahabah (RA) displayed natural excitement towards women and to cohabit with them and to enjoy physical contact with them and take a look at what Sayyidina Rasul-ullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said to them:
Narrated Jabir (RA): I was with Allah's Apostle in a Ghazwa, and when we returned, I wanted to hurry, while riding a slow camel. A rider came behind me. I looked back and saw that the rider was Allah's Apostle . He said (to me), "What makes you in such a hurry?" I replied, "I am newly married." He said, "Did you marry a virgin or a matron?" I replied, "(Not a virgin but) a matron." He said, "Why didn't you marry a young girl with whom you could play and who could play with you?" Then when we approached (Medina) and were going to enter (it), the Prophet said, "Wait till you enter (your homes) at night (in the first part of the night) so that the ladies with unkempt hair may comb their hair, and those whose husbands have been absent (for a long time) may shave their pubic hair." (The sub-narrator, Hashim said: A reliable narrator told me that the Prophet added in this Hadith: "(Seek to beget) children! Children, O Jabir!") [Bukhari]
The attitude of Islam towards sex and sexual intercourse is absolutely and completely at odds with Christianity. Hujjatul-Islam Imam Ghazali (RA) stated in Al-Ihya Uloomud-Deen:
“And I swear, what they have said is absolutely true! For indeed, in this pleasure [of sex] – a pleasure that cannot be compared to any other pleasure – if only it were to persist, it would indeed be a sign or signal for those pleasures of the next life that have been promised to us.
Again, there is nothing else which needs to be explained about this subject because the opposite of what is being said is based on cultural practises or experience of people etc.
Polygyny and enjoyment of women:
I don’t belong to the same camp as one of our beloved Syed Maulana who has patented the discussed of polygyny on the Internet :- )
Nevertheless the issue on this matter is blatant and clear from the Qur’aan:
[4:3] If you fear that you will not do justice to the orphans, then, marry the women you like, in twos, in threes and in fours.
It is a matter which Allah (SWT) has made permissible and no Mufti, Shaykh or “elder” has got the right to impose his experiences over the commands of Allah (SWT).
What prompted be to add this section to the blog was a talk from a well known Shaykh who narrates the story which he heard from his Shaykh about a circus juggler and narrates his bad experience about polygyny. While he is narrating this anecdote you can hear laughing and giggling crowd in the background.
On one hand is an explicit command of Allah (SWT) and on the other is the experience of a circus juggler being narrated 2nd hand from the pulpit, should I even dignify this with a response?
Then another anecdote is mentioned and personal experience is narrated where the Shaykh never found anyone happy who has married again! I personally know of Ulamah and Mahaykh within the Silsilah of this Shaykh who are either divorced or unhappy in their current marriage, in fact the Shaykh (HA) has a book in which he writes, “I am compelled to write this due to the prevalence of unhappy marriages and complaints which have reached me”. Almost all of us his Khulafa have talks explicitly devoted to problems in marriage!
So what should be done in the light of experiences of the very same Shaykh and his Khulafah, should we abandon marriage all together to avoid the hassle completely? Surely that is the logical outcome which is to decide Islamic issues based on anecdotes and experiences instead of explicitly relying on verses of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah of Sayyidina Rasul-ullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam).
During the same talk the Shaykh derides those who follow their Nafs and take another wife despite having a beautiful and dutiful wife and I ask, “So what?” Which commandment of Shariah has this man broken?
Let’s suppose a man decides to take a wife half his age, exemplary in beauty, a virgin and of stunning physical features, “so what?” Which commandment of Shariah has this man broken?
Let’s take it a step further and let’s suppose that a man decides to take a wife half his age, exemplary in beauty, a virgin and of stunning physical features, simply to enjoy her physically “so what?” What commandment of Shariah has this man broken?
Neglect of the first wife is separate matter altogether and should be addressed and stressed but let’s drop the apologetic attitude towards sex and sexuality as it isn’t the way of Islam but the way of Christianity. The apologetic attitude is to defend polygyny on the grounds of increased women or to assist a Muslim woman in need etc. All of these are noble acts and Insha’Allah the person will be richly rewarded, nevertheless the issue here is that if a person chooses to forgo altruistic motives and marries merely to satisfy his desires and physicality then there is nothing wrong with it in Islamic Shariah.
Again, there is nothing else which needs to be explained about this subject because the opposite of what is being said is based on cultural practises or experience of people etc.
Those laughing in these talks should ponder over their behaviour! Shaykh is sitting on the mimbar of Sayyidina Rasul-ullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) and mocking an injunction of Allah (SWT) with anecdotes of circus jugglers, did the thoughts of what is being said and what is being opposed ever cross the minds of those laughing and giggling?
Extreme examples aside, those laughing and giggling at polygyny should laugh to the faces of countless Muslim women (around the world) who for one reason or another cannot get married and go to sleep sobbing in tears every night making duas to their Rabb to relieve them of their loneliness. Those laughing and giggling at polygyny should laugh to the faces of countless Muslim men (around the world) who feel unsatisfied emotionally and physically, yet feel powerless to do something about it. The pathetic attitude of our brothers and sisters have turned a perfectly permissible act of Allah (SWT) into a social and moral stigma!
Outcome of ignoring Halal:
When all of the above which is perfectly legal and Halal is ignored then the Muslim Ummah will suffer what Christians and Christianity suffered and we are already witnessing the signs:
In the end we ask Allah (SWT) to give us firmness and steadfastness upon the Deen of Allah (SWT) and the noble Sunnah of Sayyidina Rasul-ullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam) and if we are unable to recognise the true face of our Deen from the original sources of Qur’aan, Sunnah, Ijmah and Qiyas then give us the ability to learn from the horrors of Christianity, Hollywood & Bollywood! (Ameen).