The Message International Magazine is a bi-monthly magazine published by ICNA. What you find in ‘The Message magazine’ is a universal publication for the whole of Muslim community. Echoing the concerns and ideas pertaining to Muslims in America, this non-profit publication is a forum for the youth searching their Islamic identity in a western land.


Counseling 2011_janfeb_five

Published on December 27th, 2010 | by Dr. Shahid Athar

17

Marriage, Intimacy Related Questions

Twenty years ago when my children were growing up, living in American society, I realized the need for appropriate Islamic sex education for Muslim youth and parents. I wrote an article on this topic. At that time, and even now to some degree, “sex” was considered by some Muslims to be a dirty word.  Thus my article was rejected by nearly all the American Muslim magazines, and their explanation was “We are not ready for it”. Finally the Journal of the Islamic Medical Association (JIMA) published it. Then I edited and published the book Sex Education for Muslim Youth and Parents (1994- Kazi). Although conservative Muslims consider sex a taboo subject and avoid talking about it, young Muslim men and women frequently ask me questions regarding sex and marriage via email.

Here are some of those questions, which have been left unedited, and my responses (these should be taken as my personal opinion and not a fatwa as I am not a mufti but a physician; readers may or may not agree with my opinion – and Allah SWT knows best.)

Q I am 28 year old and getting married in 3 months. I like to know what is permissible islamically and what is not in matters of sex after marriage?

A Sex is an expression of love. All acts of sex between husband and wife are permissible with mutual consent except anal sex, sex during menstruation and sex out side marriage. There are no laws about sexual positions. It is up to a couple to decide what pleases and satisfies them.

Q Are husband and wife allowed to look at and touch each other’s private parts or should they do it under cover in the darkness?

A Modesty (haya) is part of the Islamic faith. It is preferable that a couple protect each other’s privacy. Nudity even in front of husband or wife is not encouraged.  However, what spouses do behind closed doors is up to them. To my knowledge, Prophet (pbuh) used to cover when in private relationship with his wives.

Q  Is oral sex permitted in Islam? (This is the most frequently asked question.)

A Oral sex is neither forbidden nor encouraged but falls into a gray area. It is up to husband and his wife to mutually agree to it making sure organs are clean and disease free. What appears to be normal to non-Muslims may not be good for Muslims.

Q What should be the frequency of sex? It appears my husband wants sex every day and I don’t.

A This is a common complaint. There is no hard rule. In the first year of marriage a couple may have sex daily. After that it may be a couple times a week or a couple times a month. It has to do with the mutual desire for each other. Islam does not permit forced sex or marital rape.

Q We have a 3 month infant. While the baby nurses on my breast, my husband wants to nurse on my other breast. Is this allowed in Islam?

A NO. If he does that, this act will nullify his marriage to you.

Q We are engaged. Our marriage is planned after 6 month. During this period, is it permissible that we go out to Movie Theater together, hold hands or kiss each other?

A No. You two should not be alone together. If you go out, maybe you can have another family member with you. No holding hands or kissing before marriage. You will have plenty of time to show your affection after marriage.

Q Is masturbation allowed in Islam? (a frequently asked question)

A Masturbation falls in the category of makrooh (detestable). Some scholars have allowed it for young single Muslim men living in a non-Muslim society to prevent falling into temptation of adultery.

Q Is watching porn OK between husband and wife?

A NO. The same concept of haya applies here. Remember, the woman and man who are nude and performing lewd acts in these movies (for money) are someone else’s sister, brother or wife. Do you wish your sister, brother or wife to be seen like this by others? Treat others as you wish to be treated.

Q Is it OK to take Viagra or Cialis to improve my sexual performance?

A Please refer to my article “Sex, Viagra and Islam” available on line at www.islam-usa.com . If you have ED (erectile dysfunction) you should see your doctor (an internist, an endocrinologist or a urologist) to find the cause. Indiscriminate use of such drugs may damage your health and may not be effective if you have hormone deficiency or pituitary tumor.

Q We just got married. Both of us are still college students and want to delay having children till we graduate. Is contraception allowed in Islam?

A Delaying pregnancy and family spacing is allowed in Islam. In fact Imam Ghazali has cited several reasons for this including preserving the health and beauty of the wife. However certain criteria have to be met to be allowed to do so.

The contraceptive should not lead to abortion, should be by mutual consent, and it should  not be irreversible. Thus tubal ligation, vasectomy, IUD and the morning after pill are not allowed. Using a condom or the withdrawal method is permissible. Oral contraceptives (pill) may be permissible if no other medical contraindication is present as they prevent the formation of a zygote (egg) rather than cause the expulsion of it.

I seek Allah’s protection and forgiveness from misleading and being misled.

by Shahid Athar

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About the Author

Shahid Athar, MD, FACP, FACE is a physician (endocrinologist) in private practice and on the faculty of Indiana University School of Medicine (sathar3624@aol.com).



  • http://twitter.com/azee1v1 Azeem Khan

    In my opinion these answers need references to Qur’an and Hadith. Yes and No answers don’t really help educate anyone when it comes to Islamic Teachings. You also do not want to leave any doubt in the mind of the reader. There should also have been a warning at the top of the article that the questions and answers may not be suitable for younger audiences. The magazine is consumed by families which may have younger children.

  • angie

    The writer didnt give any back up explanation for his yes or no. Means didnt quote any verses from Quran or Hadith as his sources. I dont believe in anything thats not backed up or validated by Quran or hadiths.
    I am glad Allah has given me a mind to question a lot of anwers that are provided here without any explanation for how they come to this conclusion!

  • http://www.ymsite.com FaizanYM

    I agree a warning “for mature audiences” would have been appreciated.

  • HadithCheck

    Assalam Alaikum

    There are a few things that are not accurate which I would like to point out to:

    Q Are husband and wife allowed to look at and touch each other’s private parts or should they do it under cover in the darkness?

    A Modesty (haya) is part of the Islamic faith. It is preferable that a couple protect each other’s privacy. Nudity even in front of husband or wife is not encouraged. However, what spouses do behind closed doors is up to them. To my knowledge, Prophet (pbuh) used to cover when in private relationship with his wives.

    The Prophet peace be upon him used to take baths with his wife as Aisha may Allah be pleased with her reported. So there is nothing wrong with a husband and wife touching and looking at each other naked. As for saying that the Prophet peace be upon him used to cover when in private relationship with his wives, then that is not true nor is it found in any authentic hadith.

    Q We have a 3 month infant. While the baby nurses on my breast, my husband wants to nurse on my other breast. Is this allowed in Islam?

    It is permissible for a man to suck on his wife’s breast, and this does not nullify his marriage to her.

    “Oral contraceptives (pill) may be permissible if no other medical contraindication is present as they prevent the formation of a zygote (egg) rather than cause the expulsion of it.”

    In some cases, if fertilization does take place, the hormones from the pill will prevent the fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus, so the pill doesn’t prevent pregnancy in the same way all the time.

    • Isilverstar

      Now this question pertains to a lactating woman. Are you suggesting that the woman is now producing milk for the baby and the husband?

      • Amina

        So, If you have a child and you are nursing the child and at the same time adopt another child that is the same age but the oppisite sex and also nurse that child then they are forbidden to each other.
        The reason for that is there mothers milk helps build the childs ammunity and bones for the rest of his life and those 2 children have the same foundations if that makes sense.

        So, as for the Fathers case, its too late, he is grown and devoloped so….that would be the reason why it shouldnt matter.

        I hope this helps clarify the situation.

        (We are all learning and should open to listen to each other and communicate efficiently)

        • Assh2assh

          SubhanAllah, people why don’t you guys simply understand. Its been islamically clearly mentioned, Milk of the Nursing mother is Haram (not permissible for the husband) and it nullifies the marriage. The reason is very obvious, a mother nurses the child of her’s and her husband is not her child, so what it does actually making the husband become the child of his wife after sucking or drinking the milk of his wife and thats why it nulifies the relationship. (waAllah o Alam)

    • S Shaik

      Be careful where the topic speaks about breast, as milk is discharged. Read & study this as the doctor /physician only gave their view as a professional. do not condemn the person trying to give guidance, only Allah knows best…. 

    • Tahira

      The question was “if it was permissible for the husband to “nurse” on his wife’s breast?” There is a big difference between nursing on the breast when there is milk present and sucking on the breast when there is no milk.  Sucking may be permissible, but nursing is not.

  • Abu Musabb

    Assalaam ‘O Alaikum.
    There is nothing wrong for a doctor responding Fiqh questions in this magazine, if his/her primary focus is NOT the medical profession but Islamic scholarship (like Dr. Israr or Dr. Zakir Naik). The answers are clearly lacking proofs and in some cases wrong, according to many Imams of Fiqh (They may be correct for some).
    it is the reponsibility of the Editor.

  • Mrs.Ashfaqrammay

    Its very nice.
    I hope you will answer my question.
    I am 58 years old and my husband is 60years.
    He have the strength of sex and where as I am not .
    Please advise me how I can improve my sex to cooperate him.
    Mrs.Rammay

  • Faraz757

    Salam,

    I have tried to figure this out for so many days but I am unable to find any clear answer.

    Q1.
    I just wanted to know if this is permissible to drink/suck wife’s milk
    if she just gave a birth of my child (3 to 4 months back)?

    Q2. My second question is if this is not permissible then why?

    Allah Hafiz,

  • Anonymous

    is this person even a scholar to be giving these opinions? some of the answers are not right

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sara-Sultana/527793098 Sara Sultana

    Very nice to know,regards,

  • Hassen Morad

    SubhanAllah, how can someone answer fiqh questions like this? Alhadulillah the author’s humility is evident, as he wrote: “these should be taken as my personal opinion and not a fatwa as I am not
    a mufti but a physician”

    If someone is not a mufti or knowledgeable in fiqh then they have no place giving their “personal opinion” to fiqh questions. I think that should be left to our Imams and Scholars. Maybe we the doctors can enlighten us in other areas.

  • amjad

    Answer of the below question is really false statement that if he does that, this act will nullify his marriage to you….

    Q We have a 3 month infant. While the baby nurses on my
    breast, my husband wants to nurse on my other breast. Is this allowed in
    Islam?

    A NO. If he does that, this act will nullify his marriage to you.

    The correct thing is here:

    Question: Is it allowed to a husband to suck and drink milk from the breast of
    his wife?

    Beloved brother in Islam, neither is it natural for an
    adult person like a husband to drink his fill of the milk from his wife’s
    breast, nor is obviously such an act recommended or encouraged in Islam!

    The question that is posed to the scholars of Islamic Law
    is what is the ‘ruling’ if a husband while sexually playing or fondling with
    one’s wife happens to accidentally taste some milk from her breast? Does it
    affect the relationship of the husband and the wife or not?

    Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 3.815 Narrated by Aisha

    Once the Prophet (saws) came to me while a
    man was in my house. He (saws) said, “O ‘Aisha! Who is this
    (man)?” I replied, “My foster
    brother.” He (saws) said, “O
    ‘Aisha! Be sure about your foster brothers, as fostership is only
    valid if it takes place in the suckling period (before two years of age).”

    Al-Muwatta Hadith 30.4

    Yahya related from Malik from Thawr ibn Zayd
    ad-Dili that Abdullah ibn Abbas (r.a.) said, “The milk which a child under
    two years old sucks, even if it is only one suck, makes the foster relatives
    ‘haram’ (sacred).”

    In light of the above guidance, the consumption of a
    women’s milk will only bring into effect foster-relationships if the suckling
    baby is in the suckling period, which is unanimously accepted in Islam as being
    under two years of age. Thus the majority
    of the good scholars in Islam are of the opinion that if a husband accidentally
    or voluntary happens to taste the milk from his wife’s breast, it does not
    effect their relationship or the validity of their ‘nikaah’ in the least.

    If a scholar is of the opinion that the accidental
    drinking of the milk from one’s wife’s breast is prohibited in Shariah Law, or
    that such tasting of the milk of one’s wife develops a foster relationship
    between the husband and the wife, or that it invalidates one’s ‘nikaah’ with
    one’s wife….then it would only be prudent to ask the brother scholar to provide
    the evidence for their opinion and ‘ruling’ from the Quran or the authentic
    Sunnah.

    To the best of our knowledge, we have not come across any
    ruling in the authentic and established Sunnah which specifically declares that
    it is ‘haraam’ or prohibited if a husband happens to taste of the milk from his
    wife’s breast, or that it effects the validity of their ‘nikaah’, or that it
    develops a foster relationship between the husband and the wife. And Allah Alone Knows Best.

  • amjad

    Someone wants to ask three questions:

    CAN HUSBAND AND WIFE BECOME
    FULL NAKED WHILE DOING SEX BUT A BEDSHEET ON THEM?

    CAN WE CAN HAVE SEX WITH OUR
    FIANCES(MANGGETAR)

    CAN WE MARRY TO OUR OWN
    UNCLE`S DAUGTHER(CHACHA`S DAUGHTER).

    (There may be some grammatical and spelling
    errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from
    questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in
    confidentiality.)

    Answer:

    Sex in nude

    In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask
    for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever
    He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that
    there is none worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that
    Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.

    Your Question: CAN
    HUSBAND AND WIFE BECOME FULL NAKED WHILE DOING SEX BUT A BEDSHEET ON THEM?

    Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah
    Baqarah verse 223:

    223 Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so
    approach your tilth when or how ye will.

    Abu Dhar al-Ghafari reported: ‘The Messenger
    of Allah (saws) said: “there is a reward for you [even] in sex with your
    wife.”’ The companions asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah (saws) is there a
    reward if one satisfies his passion?” He (saws) said: “Do you know
    that if he satisfies it unlawfully he has taken a sin upon himself? Likewise, if he satisfies it lawfully, he is
    rewarded.”

    Related by Ahmad and Muslim.

    Islam has allowed the husband and the wife in marriage
    every possible liberty to enjoy conjugal relations with each other, except
    three:

    It
    is strictly prohibited to have sexual intercourse with one’s wife during
    her period of menstruation.

    It
    is strictly prohibited to enter the woman through her anus.

    Although
    there is no specific prohibition mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah, the
    majority of the scholars in Islam have voiced their opinion against ‘oral’
    sex, whereby one touches the other’s private organs with their mouth.

    Other than the above three restrictions, one may enjoy
    conjugal relations with one’s wife any place, any time, and any how their
    heart’s desire.

    Al-Tirmidhi Hadith
    3115 Narrated by Abdullah ibn Umar

    Allah’s Messenger
    (saws) said, “Avoid being naked, for with you are those (Angels) who never
    leave you, except when you are relieving yourselves and when a
    man has intercourse with his wife; so observe modesty before them and honour
    them.”

    The above hadith of the
    Messenger of Allah (saws) clearly implies that it is permissible to be naked on
    two occasions: when relieving oneself, and when one is conjugating with one’s
    wife.

    There is absolutely no ‘purdah’,
    or veil, or ‘hijaab’ between a husband and a wife bonded in the sacred
    institution of marriage in Islam, and there is absolutely no prohibition in
    Islam for a married couple if they wish to enjoy their conjugal relationship in
    the nude.

    One is neither obliged nor
    required in Shariah to cover themselves with a bed-sheet when conjugating with
    one’s wife, but if one wishes to cover themselves with a bed-sheet, there is absolutely
    no harm.

    Your Question: CAN
    WE CAN HAVE SEX WITH OUR FIANCES(MANGGETAR)

    An intention or ‘engagement’ to marry has absolutely no
    legal basis or standing in the Sight of Shariah Law or of Allah Subhanah. An
    ‘engaged’ couple will remain non-mehrams to each other in the Sight of Allah
    Subhanah, and every single restriction of Shariah which applies to a non-mehram
    member of the opposite sex will apply to their fiancé, until a ‘nikaah’ is
    performed between them.

    If Allah forbid, one has sex with one’s fiancé before a
    ‘nikaah’ has been performed, it would constitute an abomination of the sin and
    crime of ‘zina’ in the Sight of Shariah Law and of Allah Subhanah.

    Your Question: CAN
    WE MARRY TO OUR OWN UNCLE`S DAUGTHER (CHACHA`S
    DAUGHTER).

    Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 4 Surah
    Nisaa verse 23:

    23 Prohibited to you (for marriage) are: your mother, daughters,
    sisters, father’s sisters, mother’s sisters, brother’s daughters, sister’s
    daughters, foster-mothers (who gave you suck), foster-sisters, your wives’
    mothers, your step-daughters under your guardianship born of your wives to whom
    ye have gone in, no prohibition if ye have not gone in; (those who have been)
    wives of your sons proceeding from your loins, and two sisters in wedlock at
    one and the same time except for what is past; for Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most
    Merciful.

    Dear and Beloved brother in Islam, cousins (regardless of
    whether they are maternal or paternal cousins) are not ‘mehrams’ or amongst
    those relations whom the All-Knowing, All-Wise Lord has forbidden to be sought
    in marriage; thus marrying one’s uncle’s daughter or paternal cousin is
    absolutely lawful and permissible in Islam, if one wishes to do so.

    Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to
    Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only
    Source of Strength.

    Your brother and
    well wisher in Islam,

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