Is Marriage a Sexual Enjoyment Only?
Fatwa No: 381381

Question

Sheikh, few years ago i was a very bad person, not religious and i used to think women as sex objects. But after sometime i became good and religious and i heard islamic lectures and all. In them i heard that in islam you love women for their religion and charecter and not for beauty and sexual desires so i statred to follow this and stopped thinking women as sex objects. But recently i read that in islam marriage is exchange of provision and intimacy. That is man should provide and woman should beautify and fullfill sexual desires, and i had heard mahr is given to honour woman , now i got to know it is given in return for intimacy. I feel phycologically affected after knowing this. I fought so hard to not to think about woman as sex object, but now i feel devastated knowing that woman are married for sex. I thought in islam intimacy is for both to enjoy. But now i feel it is only for man to enjoy woman, i feel scared now to get married. I dont understand whether woman are sex objects or not? Please help.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Islam is the religion of Fitrah (natural predisposition upon which Allah created mankind), and it is revealed by Allah Almighty, The Al-Knowing, The Wise, Who created man and knows what he needs in his worldly affairs as well as in his Hereafter. Allah Says (what means): {Does He who created not know, while He is the Subtle, the Acquainted?} [Quran 67:14]

The wise legislations of Allah call to a balance between the spiritual needs of the soul and the needs of the body, in a way that neither of them overwhelms the other.

In marriage, there are many religious and worldly benefits that people seek to achieve. Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "A woman is (usually) married for four reasons: her wealth, her family lineage, her beauty and her religion (religious commitment). So choose the religious one (you will prosper)." [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

There is no doubt that if other characteristics are found (in a woman) along with her religious commitment, then this would be better. However, if any of them oppose religion, then religion should come in priority. Commenting on this narration, Ibn Hajar said in his book Fat-h Al-Baari:

"We conclude from this Hadeeth that it is desirable to marry a beautiful woman, unless there is a conflict between beauty and religious commitment. For example, having a woman who is beautiful but not religious, and a woman who is not beautiful but religious. Indeed, if they are both equal in their religious commitment, then the beautiful woman takes precedence.” [End of quote]

There are many great and noble objectives which marriage achieves, and fulfilling (sexual) desires is one of them. This is a right each spouse has upon the other. Hence, it is not correct to limit this right to the husband upon the wife, as it is a mutual benefit. Allah Says (what means): {It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting to go to your wives [for sexual relations]. They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them........} [Quran 2: 187]

Some scholars interpreted the word “clothing” (in the verse) to mean preserving (or protecting) chastity; meaning that they protect you [men] and you protect them [women], as each spouse preserves the chastity of the other and protects them from dissoluteness and suffices him/her from forbidden satisfaction (of sexual desires).

In general, there are rights between the spouses; some rights are due on the husband to his wife, as you mentioned like earning a living to spend on the family. On the other hand, there are rights due on the wife to her husband, such as the service (housework) that the wife does in the house according to reasonable terms. Additionally, there are mutual rights, such as the right to enjoy one another as we mentioned above.

The obligation on the husband to give a dowry to the wife was legislated for many reasons, and it is not only in return for making her private parts lawful for him. Rather, it also reflects the status of the marriage contract and a way to honor women and so on.

From what we said, you now know that the rumors about marriage in Islam (or in other fields) are nothing but illusions, so do not pay attention to them and do not busy yourself with them. Rather, be focused and only think about things that would benefit you.

Allah knows best.

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