*For mature audiences only
This short piece is intended to provide insight on the troubling and detrimental lack of understanding among Muslim men for the necessity and virtue of the female orgasm during sexual intercourse in married couples. The importance of the female orgasm is substantiated by naṣṣ of Qurʾān, corroborated by the ḥadīth of Rasūlullāh, and has been elaborated upon by the fuqahāʾ throughout the centuries.
Many Muslim sisters have taken it upon themselves to tackle the issue online and anyone who has love and concern for the Muslim community should praise their efforts. In initiating conversation on this matter, they have shown concern, initiative and courage worthy of the followers of Rasūlullāh . The benefit which their writings, webinars, round-table talks have provided is obvious to anyone who ponders. It is a known principle among the fuqahāʾ that knowledge is to be imparted to the masses by order of its need and prevalence of troubles within the masses.
The anonymous testimonies of our Muslim sisters are undoubtedly a justification for drawing the attention of our Muslim brothers to what authentic Islām teaches us on the subject. It is also known among the fuqahāʾ that women are the only legitimate source of information for matters specific to them; such as the different patterns of menstruation and post-natal bleeding. Consequently, the only legitimate source for determining whether and to which magnitude the issue of reaching orgasm during intercourse is pertinent to Muslim women is the Muslim women themselves.
A synopsis of the most striking among those anonymous testimonials follows:
Testimonial 1: “Being married for 10+ years Alhamdulillah with 3 kids it’s a journey of pain and frustration in terms of sexual life. I never knew till some 4 years of marriage that there is something called ‘orgasm’ for females. I simply cannot explain the emptiness it leaves when he just sleeps calmly leaving me aroused once he is done. He feels hurt when I say I too want to be satisfied. But my requests to all the brothers out there: don’t be selfish no matter how tired you are. If you want to be satisfied every single time of making love, make sure so does your wife too. Your wife will never be emotionally attached to you if you do not satisfy her with your own love and willingness in bed.”
Testimonial 2: “I am 2 years in this marriage and I’m highly dissatisfied. Because I’m outspoken I have told my husband clearly many times that even if he doesn’t want I do. But it only led to fights and more dissatisfaction. He tried to improve but after it had done enough damage already. He loves me, he kisses and cuddles a lot but his appetite for love making is very poor. I don’t feel desired. We so often hear [sic] that we should not deny intimacy to the husband but why is it not the other way round too?”
Testimonial 3 “In [my first] 5 years of marriage, I’ve orgasmed once with him though I love him with all my heart. I cannot stress on the importance of a female climaxing and reaching an orgasm with her husband because this has saved our marriage [after he realized how important it was]. It brings a couple so much closer. To all you ladies who think sex is a chore, I can guarantee none of you have ever had an orgasm. Had you had a true orgasm you would be pulling him to bed. It’s the best physical feeling ever and melts away the stress.”
These testimonials speak for themselves, and the verses of Qurʾān, aḥādīth and sayings of the fuqahāʾ below will demonstrate their legitimacy.
The Qurʾān unambiguously affirms the presence of lust in both men and women, without distinction:
“Tell the believing men that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts; it is more decent for them. Surely Allāh is All-Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts” (s. 24, v. 30-31).
In Aḥkāmul-Qurʾān, Qāḍī Abū-Bakr Ibn al-ʿArabī (passed away 543 A.H/1148) comments on this verse as follows: “Just as it is not permissible for a man to gaze at a woman, it is likewise not permissible for a woman to gaze at a man; the man’s attachment to her is no different than her attachment to him. His [lustful] intent from her is likewise identical to her [lustful] intent from him”. It is noteworthy that Al-Qurṭubī also relays this statement of Ibn al-ʿArabī in his tafsīr. This then raises the question: if lust is set to be fulfilled through marriage, then what is the purpose and benefit of such fulfillment?
The Qurʾān provides clear guidance as to the importance of a loving marital relationship. “And it is among His signs that He has created for you wives from among yourselves, so that you may find tranquility in them, and He has created love and kindness between you” (s. 30 v, 21). The greatest mufassir among the Ṣaḥāba, ʿAbdullāh b. ʿAbbās, contends that “love is intercourse (jimāʿ)” i.e a loving relationship stems from the act of intercourse. It is simply inconceivable for the relationship to be a loving one, if one of the parties to intercourse is dissatisfied. Mujāhid and al-Ḥassan al-Baṣrī ascribe the same meaning to love as Ibn-ʿAbbās.
The Qurʾān does not detail the requirements of the act of intercourse. That responsibility is carried out by Rasūlullāh . While commenting on the verse “And We sent down the Reminder (The Qur’ān) to you, so that you explain to the people what has been revealed for them, and so that they may ponder.” (s. 16, v. 44), Al-Qurṭubī explains: “The Rasūl explains on behalf of Allāh that which He intends in the rules of ṣalāt and zakāt as well as other commands, by detailing such intent where Allāh has provided statements which are general in nature”. This leads us to the aḥādīth below for the guidance of men on how to satisfy their spouses during intercourse.
إذا جامع أحدكم أهله فليصدقها فإن سبقها فلا يعجلها خرجه أبو يعلى عن أنس
“When one of you has intercourse with his spouse, then let him be truthful towards her. If he happens to precede her then he should not rush her” .
Al-Manāwī comments on this ḥadīth as follows: “He should be truthful in his love and his display of good will towards her. This means that it is commendable for him to make love to her with strength, resolve and make fine love to her”.
إذا جامع أحدكم أهله فليصدقها ثم إذا قضى حاجته قبل أن تقضي حاجتها فلا يعجلها حتى تقضي حاجتها خرجه عبد الرزاق وأبو يعلى عن أنس
“When one of you has intercourse with his spouse, then let him be truthful towards her. Then if he fulfills his need before her need is fulfilled, let him not rush her until it is fulfilled”
Al-Manāwī comments as follows: “When he has fulfilled his need from her by reaching climax, then-as a matter of merit-he should not impel her to separate from him. Rather he should carry on with her until her need from him is likewise fulfilled. This will only occur by her reaching climax and her lust settling.”.
The next ḥadīth praising a woman whose appetite for intimacy is strong, should therefore not come as a surprise.
خيرُ نسائِكم العفيفةُ الغَلِمَةُ ، عفيفةٌ في فرجِها ، غَلِمَةٌ علَى زوجِها
“The best of your women is the one who is modest yet lustful. She is modest with regards to her private parts (towards strange men) while she is lustful towards her husband”.
Al Manāwī comments as follows: “The modest woman refrains from the ḥarām. For her to be lustful means that her carnal desire is restless. However, such restlessness is not praiseworthy in an absolute sense, as explained by the ensuing part of the ḥadīth i.e she is modest towards strange men”.
The above references in ḥadith literature are not meant to be exhaustive. Other references exist, and the commentators have been consistent in their explanations.
The fuqahāʾ(jurists) in the Ummah have, from very early on, also unapologetically touched on the subject in the most emphatic and direct manner. Some are quoted below to demonstrate such.
In his commentary of Al-Naṣīḥa al-Kāfiya Ibn-Zukrī, a Moroccan scholar who passed away 400 yrs ago (1133 A.H) quotes from Ibn al-Ḥājj (passed away 737 A.H/1336), Imam al-Ghazālī (passed away 505 A.H/1111) and al-Manāwī (passed away 1031 A.H/1621). The quotations below are directly taken from his commentary on al-Naṣiha of Shaykh Aḥmad Zarrūq (passed away 899 A.H/1493). These dates are quoted here to stress on the fact that this subject is not a contemporary one, it is rather a subject that has existed from the very time Muslim scholarship has. What is most pertinent here is the unambiguous language the fuqahāʾ use to get their point across.
“And softness towards the woman, until her fluid mixes with the fluid of the man, is certain to induce love for her and for him as well”.
Ibn-ʿArdūn explains: ‘The author of al-īdāḥ explains: whenever their two fluids blend together at the same moment, it is the utmost form of reaching pleasure, love, affection as well as cementing love. The amount of pleasure and love will be commensurate with how closely in time they blend together’.
The author of al-Iḥyāʾ mentions: ‘And once he has fulfilled his need let him take his time with his spouse until she likewise fulfills her need because her climax may be delayed and to withdraw from her while her lust has been agitated would cause her harm. Differences in patterns of climax inevitably lead to repulsion and discord whenever the husband should reach climax first. It is more gratifying and pleasurable for the woman that she and her husband reach climax simultaneously because he will be engaged and absorbed alongside her, accommodating thereby her likely shyness [she will enjoy her orgasm without bashfulness]’
In al-Madkhal [Ibn al-Ḥājj] explains: ‘It is fitting for him, when he has fulfilled his need, not to rush to rise because it is among the things which will upset and perturb her. Rather he should remain agreeable and engaged until he ascertains that her need has been fulfilled. The intent is to have consideration for her matter because the Nabī used to advice [men] regarding women just as he used to encourage kindness towards them. At this juncture, it is not possible to show kindness to her without it [the fulfillment of her need]. The man should therefore thoroughly exert himself to achieve that goal, and Allāh will certainly forgive any incapacity’.
Ibn Zukrī then goes on to quote al-Manāwī’s commentary of the two first ḥadiths quoted above.
The author of the Naṣīḥa then goes on to explain, and Ibn Zukrī’s commentary follows:
“And whoever wishes to accomplish that, then let him not come close to her until her breathing becomes intense and her eyes hollow, and that she seeks to remain attached to him; those are signs of her lust having been awakened”
Ibn Zukrī : it is explained in the commentary of al-Waghlisiyya : part of the etiquette of intimacy is to engage in foreplay so that the wife’s heart becomes cheerful and that the attainment of her desire becomes easy. This should be done until the point that her breathing becomes intense, her agitation increases, and she seeks to remain attached to the man, only then should he come close to her [for the act of intercourse].
He continues to say: “Those preliminaries consists in abundant foreplay with her, fondling her breasts and rubbing his penis with her labia”. Ibn Zukrī explains: the author of the Madkhal explains: ‘When one decides to intimately engage with his spouse, it is befitting for him to refrain from the prohibited behavior which some of the common folk adopt, which consists in approaching their spouses hurriedly. Rather he should not do so until he has played and bantered with her in permissible ways. That includes cuddling, kissing and similar actions, until he sees that she has aroused herself to what he is seeking from her, feels relaxed and takes interest in it. Only then should he approach her. The wisdom of the religious code in this matter is obvious, and it is that the woman desires from the man what he desires from her. If he were to come to her abruptly, he may very well fulfill his need while she would remain upset and her dīn and chastity may be compromised as a result. If he however does as stipulated, then the matter will be eased for her and her dīn and chastity will be protected’.
End of quotes from Ibn-Zukrī.
It is clear from the above that the fuqahāʾ have kept within the confines of the Qurʾān and the Sunna and, as is their responsibility, lucidly relayed the information contained therein to the masses, with a full understanding of the pertinence of the subject in society.
This article cannot be complete without mentioning what some of the people of ḥaqīqa i.e taṣawwuf have said on the subject.
Ahmad Ibn Ajība explains, regarding ḥaqīqa: ‘It is derived from the Qurʾān and the Sunna, as well as from the inspirations of the ṣāliḥīn [pious ones] and the spiritual unfoldings [futūḥāt] of the ʿārifīn [gnostics]’. The subtle understanding of the Quran and the Sunnah is predominantly found among the ṣālihīn. Their statements clearly show that.
In his book on the etiquettes of marriage, Muhammad al–Tihāmī Kanūn (passed away 1915) explains: Abul ʿAbbas Aḥmad b. Yaḥya al–Wansharīsī says in his abridgment of the nawāzil of al–Burzulī: ‘The pious Shaykh Abu–Bakr al–Warraq states: every worldly passion hardens the heart, except the passion of intercourse which in fact softens the heart, which is why the Anbiyāʾused to engage in it’. It is also mentioned in hadith:
Three things have been made beloved to me among your worldly matters: perfume, women and the coolness of my eyes has been placed in salat’.
In fact, al–Qurtubi relates the statement from al–Warrāq with a prelude explaining how it is said that the desire for intercourse is commensurate with one’s taqwa.
Note: We will state the obvious here, that this is true for both men and women, in accordance with what has been stated above regarding their equivalency in the search for carnal satisfaction from one another.
Finally, the author of marginal notes on Tafsīr al–Jalālayn Aḥmad al–Ṣāwī states: ‘One of the gnostics [ʿārifīn] has mentioned that intercourse is one of the avenues towards reaching [the ma’rifa of] Allāh’.
These last statements from the ṣālihīn should serve as an admonition as well as an encouragement to the Muslim brothers who are lacking in being mindful of their spouse’s sexual needs. They may beg the question: is it a deficiency in taqwā which causes a man to not be mindful of this? It clearly makes the case for an opportunity for spiritual development through the act of intimacy.
There are many related subjects which have not been discussed here, as the intent was very specific. However, our brothers and sisters should certainly take it upon themselves to contribute in educating the Muslims on those issues. Issues such as: the need and importance of marriage counseling; how to nurture a good relationship outside of the bedroom; how to address psychological and/or medical issues related to intimacy; how to educate Muslim adolescents (girls and boys alike) on sexuality, etc. There are, alḥamdulillāh, many competent and articulate brothers and sisters who specialize in different fields, and/or have valuable life experience which can be put to the profit of the Muslim Ummah.
And we all ask Allāh for tawfīq.
- Aḥkāmul-Qurʾān, Vol. 3 p. 380
- Tafsīr al-Qurṭubī, Vol. 16 p. 412
- Tafsīr al-Qurṭubī, Vol. 12 p. 329
- Faidhul-qadīr, Vol. 1 p. 325. Ḥadīth n. 548.
- Faidhul-qadīr, Vol. 1 p. 325. Ḥadīth n. 549.
- Al-Manāwi mentions that this is mustahab, and he is correct. However, the statement of istiḥbāb is only to encourage this action, in order to avoid harm to the woman. If she is being harmed by the lack of satisfaction, then it becomes wājib.
- Faidhul-qadīr, Vol. 3 p. 493. Ḥadīth n. 4093.
- Sharḥ al-Naṣīḥa, Ibn-Zukrī Al-Fāsī, p. 651.
- Reference from Hikam.
- Qurratul-ʿuyūn bi-sharḥ naẓm ibn-Yaʾmūn, p. 48.
- It is worthy to mention here that the commentators of hadith have determined that “three things” is an addition from the narrator as opposed to being the speech of the Nabi SAW. Salat is not part of worldly matters. The hadith should therefore be: ‘Among your worldly matters perfume and women have been made beloved to me and the coolness of my eyes has been placed in salat’.
- Tafsir al-Qurtubi, Vol. 6 p. 419.
- Ḥāshiya al-Ṣāwī, Vol. 3 p. 204.
Source: Muslim Matters