Please advise what are the rights of a husband over his wife and vice versa when it comes to sexual communion between the two? How long can a wife refuse her husband sex and can he then after repeated attempts to gain her sexual favour then put her out of the bedroom?
Marriage is a contract enacted between two partners. Shari’ah has awarded each of them their rights and each partner will have to fulfil their obligations for the marriage to run smoothly. In general circumstances, it is Waajib (incumbent) upon a woman to be obedient to her husband provided he does not instruct her toward anything impermissible. Over and above this, when the husband calls the wife to fulfil his need, she should respond promptly, lest she be guilty of a sin and will incur the wrath of the angels.
This is clearly evident by the following quotations of Nabi [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam]. Nabi [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] has mentioned,
1. ‘If a man calls his wife to his bed and she does not come to him, the angels will curse her until the morning.’ (Muslim)
2. ‘By Him in whose hand is my soul, there is no man who calls his wife to his bed and she refuses him, but the one who is in heaven will be angry with her, until the husband is pleased with her once more.’ (Sahih Muslim)
3. ‘Allah will curse those procrastinating women who, when their husband call them to their beds, they say ‘I will, I will…’ until he falls asleep.’ (Tabrani)
4. ‘If a man calls his wife, then she should come even if she is busy at the oven.’ (Tirmidhi)
5. ‘Three people whose prayers will not be accepted, nor their good deeds. Firstly, a disobedient slave until he returns to his master, a woman whose husband is angry with her until he is pleased with her again, a drunkard until he becomes sober.’
From the above quotations, it is clearly evident what are the rights of the husband over the wife. Whenever the urge arises, he may ask to have relations with her. Whilst it may not be permissible for her to refuse, he should consider her also. It may sometimes be such that she may be ill or just not up to it so her temperament and emotions should also be considered. The Qur’aan states, ‘Those women from whom you fear disloyalty and illconduct, admonish them, then separate from their beds and strike them.’ (al-Nisaa 34).
If a woman refuses to listen, then she should first be advised/counseled and if she still refuses, then he should separate from her bed, i.e. he should not have sexual relations and if she still doesn’t listen, some slight physical correction may be administered. The Mufassireen have written that physical discipline may only be administered as a last resort, that too in such a manner that does not injure (leave marks or break the bones)/ to hit on the head is also forbidden. Nabi [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] is reported to have mentioned, ‘The best amongst you do not hit.’
and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Mufti Ebrahim Desai