Islamic sexual jurisprudence

''This is a sub-article of Islamic marital jurisprudence and human sexuality.

Sexuality in Islam is largely described by the Qur'an, Islamic tradition, and religious leaders both past and present as being confined to marital relationships between men and women. While most traditions discourage celibacy, all encourage strict chastity and modesty with regards to any relationships across gender lines, holding forth that intimacy as perceived within Islam -- encompassing a swath of life more broad than strictly sex -- is largely to be reserved for marriage. This sensitivity to gender difference and modesty (hijab) outside of marriage can be seen in current prominent aspects of Islam -- interpretations of Islamic dress and degrees of gender segregation, for example.

While prohibitions against adulterous relationships are strong, permissible sexual relationships are described in Islamic sources as great wells of love and closeness for the couple involved. Specific occasions -- most notably daytime fasting and menstruation -- are times forbidden for intercourse, though not for other ways of touching and being close to one another. Issues such as masturbation and homosexuality are frowned upon or outright forbidden; contraceptive use is permitted, as is abortion, though the latter often with great restriction.

Sex within marriage

To varying degrees Islamic law explicitly states that both men and women are entitled to sexual gratification in marriage; the failure or inability to provide this may be cited as grounds for divorce initiated by either the wife or husband. Throughout the history of Islamic exegetical traditions, philosophies, and law, much has been written to encourage, often in quite frank and explicit terms, believers in Islam to cultivate between themselves in their marriages both sexual passion and tenderness.

Aims of sex

Sex is viewed as both for recreational purpose, for strengthening the bonds between the couple and for reproduction.

Islam obligates a married couple to try and have children. The theological understanding and reasons for this are varied, but this essentially means that a spouse is encouraged, religiously, to have sex with their partner on request. However, it is considered forbidden (Haram) for a woman to have sex during her period. This encouragement is on both partners, and while neither partner can force the other to comply, constant refusal to have sex (with a view to conceiving a child) has been recorded as a reason why many women choose to divorce their husband.

Also, while Islam does not teach the Catholic doctrine sometimes caricatured as "every sperm is sacred", it does consider that the consumption of sperm to be haram. As such many scholars consider orally stimulating the male sexual organ to be Haram or unlawful, whereas most see doing so to the female organ as acceptable.

Rewards for sex


In, Muhammad(soll-ALLAHU alaihi wa sallam) refers to the shaving of the pubic region.


In hadith, it is said that engaging in sexual intercourse without talking to or kissing one's wife is a sign of a husband's weakness.

Sex and purification

Islamic sexual hygienical jurisprudence is a prominent topic in Islamic jurisprudence, due to its relevance to the issues prominent in everyday life.

Sex outside of marriage


Adultery is strictly, and repeatedly, forbidden in the Qur'an.

While harsh, modern commentators are often quick to note that the punishment prescribed for adultery is mitigated by the impracticality of meeting its requirement for being applied: the testimonies of four eye-witnesses to the act (24:13). Many today consider this to mean it is an almost purely symbolic way of denoting the severity of the offense, while others consider it a legally required punishment.

The Qur'an does additionally allow for sexual relations between a man and those whom "his right hand possesses," traditionally interpreted to mean slaves or prisoners of war, a point anachronistic to contemporary times. Again, some commentators differ as to what is the exact meaning of this term.

Pre-marital sex

The Quran never explicitly prohibits pre-marital sex, though is it commonly assumed to be implied - given its stance towards marriage and controlling one's lustful urges.

While the strictest forms of Sharia law can prescribe the death penalty for adultery, pre-marital sex is considered a lesser offence and is punished by a maximum of 100 lashes to both the male and female. In addition to adultery's underlying betrayal, it is also argued that exception is made towards pre-marital sex because they have no easily-attainable release for their sexual energy, while married couples have their spouse who they should turn towards, for fulfillmentChapter Three: The Islamic Sexual Morality (2) Its Structure

As a result of the Islamic beliefs regarding extramarital and pre-marital sex, many modern Muslim societies highly value virginity and maintain high rates of abstinence until marriage. While this is true for both genders, often a higher premium is placed upon a girl's virginity, with the associated higher social consequences involved for losing it.

Sex and fasting

Regarding sexual intercourse during the month of Ramadan:

Through emulation of the actions of Muhammad and interpretation, this same type of prohibition is extended to voluntary fasts (those which fall outside of Ramadan) as well. Select interpreters have held that the right to sexual gratification in marriage is strong enough that a married woman should seek her husband's approval before choosing days to fast; on this contemporary opinions and practices vary.

Sex and menstruation

Many hadith, however, relate stories of Muhammad sharing a bed with his wives while they were menstruating, "fondling" them, or lying with his head in their laps, so this verse should not be interpreted to mean that "to keep away" from women when they are menstruating means anything more than a particular sexual euphemism. the bottom line is a man may share the bed with wife but he is not allowed to have sexual relations with her in those days, because it is not good for both of them.


Ordinarily accepted interpretations of the Qur'an condemn male homosexuality through the story of Lot (see Qur'an verses: 11:69-83, 29:28-35), similarly rendered to the story as it appears in the Biblical book of Genesis, as well as through a verse addressed directly to Muhammad and his followers, which reads:

It is not always clear whether or not the Qur'an specifically refers to female homosexuality. The verse prior to the one cited above, which begins "if any of your women commit a lewd act," has been interpreted to mean female homosexuality by way of its being paired with a verse regarding "two men among you," but it has also been interpreted to refer to a more general state of illegal sexual activity. Regardless, as sexual activity in Islam has in effect been restricted to marriage and marriage restricted to relationships between opposite sex partners, the correlation broadly drawn has been that all homosexual activity is forbidden, without respect to gender.


The Quran does not mention masturbation.


The primary method of birth control in Muhammad's time was coitus interruptus (Arabic: ''al-'azl''), the withdrawal method. Numerous hadith are used to declare this an acceptable practice, some with stipulations that it is only so with the woman's consent. A minority of opinions instead uphold a saying attributed to Muhammad that it is "a minor infanticide," however the accuracy of this remark is generally considered weak and therefore may be disregarded.

By correlation this general acceptance of the withdrawal method is expanded to include most modern forms of birth control. However, their use is limited to family planning purposes and are generally considered makruh (things not explicitly forbidden but which should be avoided nonetheless) if intended to permanently prevent conception.

The above hadith makes it clear that intercourse for sole aim of sexual gratification allowed in Islam.


Islam does not traditionally hold that ensoulment occurs at the point of conception. Two passages in the Qur'an describe the fetal development process:

Traditional scholarship places the point of ensoulment nearer to the end of this process, naming it as anywhere between 40 and 120 days after conception, making abortion permissible until that point, though increasingly disliked as time passed.

Contemporary scholarship, however, is more likely to more strongly restrict or even forbid abortion, on the grounds that modern technology has permitted us to perceive life in the womb earlier than was previously possible. All schools of thought, traditional and modern, make allowances for circumstances threatening the health or life of the mother.

Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari in a lecture stated that it was murder if done after three months and before that it was a crime, but not to the degree of murder.

See also

External links

Index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

This article is based on "Islamic sexual jurisprudence" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia ( It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: