Islam on Love and Sex

Islam on Love and Sex

February 26, 2022


Islam considers sexual partners as garments to each other for procreation. Such creative act has to be done in the spirit of love where each partner is out to satisfy the other.

This is because being united for a common purpose, they are "garments" to each other, meaning that they trust each other, protect each other and hide each other’s flaws. In concrete, it means committing and promising when it comes to chastity, self respect, and saving each other from outward harm.

Sexual relations are sanctioned by God and are viewed as part of the spiritual relationship that exists between a husband and wife. Such a relationship implies a sense of balance and mutual nurturance from one another.

The references to love, sex, and sexuality are found in the Qur'an and hadith. Hadith is a collection of traditions containing sayings of the prophet Muhammad which, with accounts of his daily practice (the Sunna), constitute the major source of guidance for Muslims apart from the Qur'an.

Take, for example, the following verse in Qur'an (2:187):

"It is lawful for you to go in unto your wives during the night preceding the (day's) fast: they are as a garment for you, and you are as a garment for them. God is aware that you would have deprived yourselves of this right, and so He has turned unto you in His mercy and removed this hardship from you. Now, then, you may lie with them skin to skin, and avail yourselves to that which God has ordained for you. .

In verse 223 of the same Surah, the Qur'an says:

"Your wives are your tilth; go, then, unto your tilth as you may desire, but first provide something for your souls, and remain conscious of God, and know that you are destined to meet Him. And give glad tidings unto those who believe."

Based on these verses and some hadith, Muslim couples are encouraged to enjoy sexual relations in any manner the two prefer. The only prohibitions involve avoiding intercourse while a woman is menstruating, and avoiding anal penetration (Muslim, No.3365).

The specific details include the following:

(1) All sexual practices are permissible, besides the specifically prohibited or harmful ones. Allah Most High says, “Your spouses are your fields, so approach your fields whichever way you like.” [Quran, 2.223];

(2) The Islamic position on sexual behavior is explicit. Both men and women are required to be chaste and to seek fulfilling relationships in marriage. Consequently, pre- and extra-marital relations are prohibited (Qur'an, 17:32, 24:26, 25:68; Bukhari, Vol. 8, Nos. 798-802).

(3) The basis of all relations, including marriage, is mutual agreement, so any sexual activity needs to be consensual—and while both spouses are obligated to fulfill the reasonable sexual needs of their spouse, neither is expected to agree to any type of sexual activity that they aren’t comfortable with, especially when unusual;

(4) The Prophet Mohammad encouraged each spouse to strive to fulfill the sexual desires of the other. Given that many men would neglect satisfying the sexual needs of their wives, the Prophet discouraged intercourse without foreplay;

(5) The Prophet described permissible sexual intercourse as charity. One should have multiple intentions—which serve as means of expressing how one is striving to seek Allah–in one’s sexual relations.

(6) Several hadith exist regarding menstruation. The only Qur'anic reference is found in Surah 2, verse 222 where Muslims are told to avoid sexual intercourse during a woman's menstrual period:

"And they will ask thee about (woman's) monthly courses. Say, 'It is a vulnerable condition. Keep, therefore, aloof from women during their monthly courses, and do not draw near unto them until they are cleansed; and when they are cleansed, go in unto them as God has bidden you to do."

(7) Virginity and the hymen. In case of virginity, sexual penetration triggers bleeding. Such blood loss has been required in some cultures to prove that the woman is a virgin at marriage so a blood-stained cloth would be given to the groom's family on the wedding night to verify the bride's pure state.

If a woman did not bleed, the repercussions could be severe. So, it becomes vitally important that the hymen remain intact as a sign of virginity with the family's honor at stake. It should be noted also that the concern about the hymen is not limited only to Muslims.

While virginity of both men and women is emphasized in Islam, there is no text in the Qur'an or Hadith which specifically addresses the intactness of any part of a woman's anatomy as a marker for virginity.


Personal Notes:

The Islamic worldview on love and sex is now influencing the lives of many people around the world. On the same level, we witness the same great influence by other religious beliefs like Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Chinese, Yogis, Sages, and Mystics as well as Christianity.

Competing for love and compassion for the greater glory of the Lord God Almighty (AMDG) is, of course, admirable. Many, nevertheless, now know that the issue of love and sexuality today is not only moral and ethical. To some, it has become political, economic, business, social, ecological, and racial, as it is now happening in many parts of the world. But this is something that has to be addressed by the host countries and the international migrants coming from other countries.

In my conclusion of this article on love and sex, I will discuss what I have learned (both theory and practice) from Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Chinese, Islam, Yogis, and Christians as an advocate of ACA.

Meanwhile, let me dwell on the Chinese's view on love and sex in my subsequent posts.