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Foreplay Before Sexual Relations

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by DarulIftaBirmingham

Answered by: Alimah Habiba Akhtar


We pray and hope this message finds you well. Please excuse the nature of our question but it is something which is taking a toll on my mind so much that I feel it can affect my marriage.

I recently found out in a text that:

Imam Munaw’i states, “Foreplay and passionate kissing before sex is an emphatic Sunna (sunna mu ‘akkada), and it is disliked ( makruh) to do otherwise.” (Fayd al-Qadir Shari} al-Jami’ al-Saghir 5:115)

Does this mean a husband cannot come close and play with his wife (engaging in acts which are considered foreplay like playing with the upper part of her body or passionately kissing her) unless it will end in a sexual encounter? Are all these acts of Makruh within a Halal marriage especially when she menstruates? We once told our husband not to kiss us because it is Makruh and he got really upset and mad at me. Please help me understand the concept proper. Would mean so much. Please remember us in your precious prayers.

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful


To engage in relations is rewarding and encouraged between a married couple according to Islam. It is helmed for the purposes of procreating and satisfying pleasure.

The following hadith describes the reward and positive notion towards intercourse within a marriage thus establishing the following:

  • Intercourse can take place for the purpose of pleasure alone as claimed by the companions.
  • As the act is rewarding and the prophet SAW didn’t disapprove of engaging in intercourse for pleasure, it is encouraged to have relations with one’s spouse.

Abu Dharr (RA) narrates:

“And in man’s sexual intercourse (with his wife, ) there is a Sadaqa. They (the Companions) said: Messenger of Allah, is there reward for him who satisfies his sexual passion among us? He said: Tell me if he were to devote it to something forbidden, would it not be a sin on his part? Similarly, if he were to devote it to something lawful, he should have a reward.”

(Sahih Muslim, 1006) (1)

Therefore, we can establish that fulfilling one’s sexual pleasure and passion is acknowledged in Islam.

Thus, from the encouragement from the hadith above to engage in relations, we can establish that aiding one another to reach the point of intercourse is also a rewarding activity as they often follow one another.

Now, regarding whether Foreplay (non – intercourse sexual activities) are allowed without the act of intercourse comes to question, we can understand this from the answer to the query of whether a man and a menstruating woman are allowed to be with each other.

There are numerous accounts from the following hadiths that state the closeness and intimacy the Prophet SAW and the companions enjoyed which didn’t result in intercourse:

Narrated `Aisha:

“While in menses, I used to comb the hair of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) .”

(Sahih Bukhari, 295) (2)

This establishes the closeness that is allowed which is often misunderstood and not practised as some believe that a man and a woman cannot be in each other’s vicinity when she is menstruating.

It was narrated that ‘Aishah said:

“The Messenger of Allah used to put his head in my lap when I was menstruating and recite Qur’an.”

(Sunan Ibn Majah, 634) (3)

This hadith indicates the intimacy between the Prophet SAW and Aisha RA despite her menses.

More importantly, the following hadith proclaims the permissibility of engaging in intimacy away from the area of intercourse when one is menstruating thus engaging in foreplay without resulting in intercourse:

Narrated Abdullah ibn Sa’d al-Ansari:

Abdullah asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ): What is lawful for me to do with my wife when she is menstruating? He replied: What is above the waist-wrapper is lawful for you.

(Sunan Abu Dawud, 212) (4)

Therefore, in response to your query, engaging in intimate actions not leading to intercourse is allowed and permissible as is allowed and permissible when one is menstruating and thus, abstinence from the presence of each other wouldn’t be necessary.

Only Allah knows best

Written by Alimah Habiba Akhtar

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

  1. عَنْ أَبِي، ذَرٍّ أَنَّ نَاسًا، مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالُوا لِلنَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ذَهَبَ أَهْلُ الدُّثُورِ بِالأُجُورِ يُصَلُّونَ كَمَا نُصَلِّي وَيَصُومُونَ كَمَا نَصُومُ وَيَتَصَدَّقُونَ بِفُضُولِ أَمْوَالِهِمْ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ أَوَلَيْسَ قَدْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ مَا تَصَّدَّقُونَ إِنَّ بِكُلِّ تَسْبِيحَةٍ صَدَقَةً وَكُلِّ تَكْبِيرَةٍ صَدَقَةٌ وَكُلِّ تَحْمِيدَةٍ صَدَقَةٌ وَكُلِّ تَهْلِيلَةٍ صَدَقَةٌ وَأَمْرٌ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ صَدَقَةٌ وَنَهْىٌ عَنْ مُنْكَرٍ صَدَقَةٌ وَفِي بُضْعِ أَحَدِكُمْ صَدَقَةٌ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَيَأْتِي أَحَدُنَا شَهْوَتَهُ وَيَكُونُ لَهُ فِيهَا أَجْرٌ قَالَ ‏”‏ أَرَأَيْتُمْ لَوْ وَضَعَهَا فِي حَرَامٍ أَكَانَ عَلَيْهِ فِيهَا وِزْرٌ فَكَذَلِكَ إِذَا وَضَعَهَا فِي الْحَلاَلِ كَانَ لَهُ أَجْرٌ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

(Muslim, 1006)

  1. عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، قَالَتْ كُنْتُ أُرَجِّلُ رَأْسَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَأَنَا حَائِضٌ‏.‏

(Bukhari, 295)

  1. عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، قَالَتْ لَقَدْ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ يَضَعُ رَأْسَهُ فِي حِجْرِي وَأَنَا حَائِضٌ وَيَقْرَأُ الْقُرْآنَ

(Ibn Majah, 634)

  1. عَنْ حَرَامِ بْنِ حَكِيمٍ، عَنْ عَمِّهِ، أَنَّهُ سَأَلَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم مَا يَحِلُّ لِي مِنَ امْرَأَتِي وَهِيَ حَائِضٌ قَالَ ‏ “‏ لَكَ مَا فَوْقَ الإِزَارِ ‏”‏

(Abu Dawud, 212)

This answer was collected from DarulIftaBirmingham.co.uk, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.

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