Dear scholars, As-Salamu `alaykum. We often hear a Hadith quoted to the effect that a wife should meet her husband’s physical needs unless there is a valid reason; otherwise she is subject to curse. I would like to know how Islam has protected the rights (needs) of the wife? Jazakum Allah khayran.
Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear questioner, we would like to thank you for the great confidence you place in us, and we implore Allah Almighty to help us serve His cause and render our work for His Sake.
It goes without saying that in Islam it is the duty of the husband and wife to see that they are a source of comfort and tranquility for each other. They should do everything physically, emotionally and spiritually to make each other feel happy and comfortable. They must care for each other.
Islam enjoins husbands to deal with their wives with kindness, decency and fairness. Intimacy is a mutual right for both husband and wife. This has been best summed up in the Qur’anic imperative: “And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness…” (Al-Baqarah: 228)
Therefore, the husband should not deny himself to his wife and the wife also should not deny herself to her husband. They should do their best to satisfy their marriage partner. A husband who without any genuine reason neglects his wife’s needs is as sinful as a wife who neglects her husband’s needs without any excuse.
The right of the wife to have her physical needs fulfilled by her husband is so well recognized in Islam that no husband should deny his wife this right even if he is involved in worship and devotion. This is clear from the Hadith reported by al-Bukhari on the authority of Abu Juhayfah who said:
The Prophet made a bond of brotherhood between Salman and Abu Ad-Darda’. Salman paid a visit to Abu Ad-Darda’ and found Umm Ad-Darda’ (Abu Ad-Darda’s wife) dressed in shabby clothes and asked her why she was in that state. She replied, “Your brother Abu Ad-Darda’ is not interested in (the luxuries of) this world.” In the meantime Abu Ad-Darda’ came and prepared a meal for Salman. Salman requested Abu Ad-Darda’ to eat (with him), but Abu Ad-Darda’ said, “I am fasting.” Salman said, “I am not going to eat unless you eat.” So, Abu Ad-Darda’ ate (with Salman). When it was night and (a part of the night passed), Abu Ad-Darda’ got up (to offer the night prayer), but Salman told him to sleep and Abu Ad-Darda’ slept. After some time Abu Ad-Darda’ again got up but Salman told him to sleep. When it was the last hours of the night, Salman told him to get up then, and both of them offered the Prayer. Salman told Abu Ad-Darda’, “Your Lord has a right on you, your soul has a right on you, and your family has a right on you; so you should give the rights of all those who has a right on you.” Abu Ad-Darda’ came to the Prophet and narrated the whole story. The Prophet said, “Salman has spoken the truth.”
Also, when the Prophet heard that `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`As used to fast during the day and offer prayers all the night, he said to him: “`Abdullah, Don’t do that; fast for a few days and then give it up for a few days, offer Prayers and also sleep at night, as your body has a right on you, and your wife has a right on you, and your guest has a right on you…” (Reported by al-Bukhari)
In his response to the question in point, Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former President of the Islamic Society of North America, states:
“It is also emphasized in Islam that a husband should not deny his wife’s physical needs. Both of them are related to each other, as Allah says in the Qur’an, “They are a garment for you and you are a garment for them…” (Al-Baqarah: 187) A husband who without any genuine reason neglects his wife’s needs is as sinful as a wife who neglects her husband’s needs without any excuse. The husband and wife both should care for each other in all matters, whether they are moral and spiritual or financial and physical. The relationship between the husband and wife should be based on what the Qur’an says, “love and compassion” (al-Rum: 21).”
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