Saturday, September 29, 2018

Conjugal Relations in Islam

Marital (In)stability: Role of Attitude

Imam Bukhari mentions a Hadith of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), reported by Hazrat Abu Huraira (ra) which is as follows: “If a husband calls his wife to his bed (i.e. to have sexual relation) and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.”

There are many women who, as a result of a dispute between themselves and their husbands, think that they are punishing them (i.e. their husbands) by not allowing them to satisfy their carnal desires. However, this attitude can lead to serious problems that can lead the husband to commit a prohibited act or things can turn against her (i.e. the wife) and he will think about getting married to a second woman. The wife must therefore satisfy his desire by putting into practice a recommendation of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh):  If the man calls his wife for sexual intercourse, she must answer spontaneously even if she is on the saddle of a camel!” 

All the same, the husband must also take into account the condition of his wife, who may be sick, pregnant or have trouble, all this to reach an agreement (with her, mutual agreement) without difficulty.

Divorce Has Consequences

Many women are eager to ask their husbands for divorce after a small dispute between them or for some trivial reason. Women who do so may be pushed by some close relatives or neighbours who are skilled in the art of sowing discord. And it may be that the woman goes so far as to challenge her husband with irritating and harsh words, like this: “Repudiate me if you are a man!”

However, it is known to all that divorce causes considerable problems such as the separation of the family and unbalanced children. The woman may regret later. But when it will be too late. For these and many other reasons, the wisdom of Islamic law appears when it prohibits women from seeking divorce.

Hazrat Thawban (ra) reports that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “Any woman who asks her husband for a divorce without valid reason, the perfume of paradise is forbidden to her.” (Ahmad)

According to Uqba Ibn Amir (ra), the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said: “Those who seek divorce and separation from their husbands are hypocrites,” reported by Tabarani.

Divorce: An Exception

However, when the case is legally founded, with valid reasons, such as abandoning the prayer or the husband consumes intoxicating drinks (e.g. liquor/ alcoholic drinks) and uses narcotics (drugs and other intoxicants) or compels his wife to commit a prohibited act or is unfair to her by torturing her or depriving her of her legal rights, and that neither the advices given to him, nor the attempts of correction are of any use, the woman incurs nothing by asking for divorce to safeguard her religion and her own being.

Charity as Expiation for marital wrongs

In periods of menstruation, the husband is not allowed to approach his wife until she has purified herself (she takes the ritual bath after the period of her menstruation). If by desire, someone has sex with his wife during her menstrual period, he must give the weight value of a gold dinar or about 4.25 grams. This is based on a Hadith. Hazrat Ibn Abbas (ra) reported what the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said about the person who has sex with his wife during menstruation, that he should give a dinar, or a half-dinar in charity.

When a man is alone in the company of a foreign woman, Satan makes a lot of effort to tempt people and persists in plunging them into the illicit. This is why Allah the Almighty has warned against Satan who prescribes immorality and wrongdoing.

The blessings of having many children

Allah (swt) wanted to establish the descent of man (his progeny/ bloodline) through the union of a mother and a father. The union of a man and a woman is done with the formulas of praise of Allah the Almighty (Muslim). Thus the Prophet (pbuh) has taught us to accord prestige and respect to the parents of our wives according to their rank of priority. Allah the Exalted says, “It is He Who has created man from water: then has He established relationships of lineage and marriage: for your Lord has power (over all things).” (Al-Furqan, 25: 55).

In the times we are living, couples prefer not to have many children. They argue and give as reasons a limited budget and lack of time. In fact it is a sign of the approach of the Day of Judgement that couples will not wish to have children (Tabarani). The Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) announced among the signs of the Day of Judgment: “... (Married) Couples who have many children will be grieved while the sterile women will be delighted ...” (Tabarani).

So, the concept of ‘Family Planning’ was prophesied by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and the Quran rejects these arguments (i.e. concerning Family Planning) and instead asserts that having more children is not a source of impoverishment. We (i.e. every stakeholder who is directly concerned with this problem) now realize that today the pension fund will be insufficient for an aging population. We are worried because there are not enough children to one day feed the pension fund of old people! An economy following the Sunnah would never have caused such an imbalance. If only we can listen to the Quran when It says, “And do not kill your children for fear of poverty; We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you.” (Al-Isra 17:32)

The Quran has linked our sustenance with the number of children! So, do not worry about feeding/ providing for your children because it is Allah Who is going to give these children their livelihoods in your hands! And when you have fewer children, then the livelihoods also will also decrease. And finally your old age will be considered a burden for the working population.

‘Family Spacing’; not ‘Family Planning’ 

Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth when or how you will, and do some good act for your souls beforehand.” (Al-Baqara 2: 224)

In a rich and fertile land, vegetables and fruits are harvested. A wife is like a fertile land where children are harvested. But since the agricultural principle of crop rotation requires that the land be left at rest at times, then the principle of ‘Family Spacing’ and not ‘Family Planning’ which should be followed. That is, we will let the mother rest two to three years so that she can have the strength to carry and breastfeed the next baby. It depends on the constitution of the woman. This can be judged by medical means. So we can use today’s (modern) means to avoid fertilization after the first birth and this for about (a limit of) 3 years. Spend time with children (for both parents, especially the mother) leads to Paradise!

It is reported from Muslim Shareef that he who raised three daughters with piety and married them off, then he will have Paradise. Moreover, the one who raised children with piety and educated them then he shall receive from Allah benefits/ rewards from these children’s (good) deeds. For the widow who refused to marry (again) to raise her children when she was still young and beautiful but, with the passing of time, she grew older and devoted herself entirely to her children, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) promised that she will be as close to him as the two fingers of one hand (Abu Dawud).

Bukhari Shareef reported that once a woman asked the Holy Prophet (pbuh), “Can this child perform Hajj?” The Holy Prophet (pbuh) replied, “Yes, and you will have the reward (for it).” (Bukhari)

So, every good action the child will do, the parents will benefit from their rewards. It is reported from Muslim Shareef that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said, “When a man dies, his action discontinues from him except three things, namely, perpetual charity (Sadaqah Jariyah), or the knowledge by which benefit is acquired, or a pious child who prays for him.”

Finally, it is reported from Bukhari Shareef, that Anas (ra) spent 10 years in the service of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). His mother (Anas’ mother) has vowed to receive the prophet’s (pbuh) prayers for Anas (ra). He received the prophet’s prayers that he shall obtain wealth, many children and blessings. (Bukhari). It is narrated from Bukhari Shareef that he had more than 120 children! So this is the result of the prophet’s (pbuh) prayer for blessings. 

By the way, blessings come with a lot of children. Instead of two having two children, go for at least four. That way we will solve the problem of an aging population. And also if one of your children goes to study abroad and settle there (in other countries), then there will still be children by your side to comfort you in your old age. Those who have no children, try to go out in the way of Allah (i.e. for Deen works, Dawa etc.) to receive the blessings of children. Otherwise, it’s good to adopt an orphaned child. But it is very important to adopt a baby.

May Allah (swt) guide us on the right path, and always seek the pleasure of Allah (swt). Insha-Allah, Ameen, Summa Ameen.

--- Friday Sermon of 28 September 2018 (18 Muharram 1440 AH) delivered by Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius.