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Does the Wife Have Equal Rights Regarding Intercourse?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Mathabah.org

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Badat


My husband does not perform his marital duties (sexual intercourse etc.) with me. He lives abroad. He lived a complete month with me after marriage but just touched me once. What should I do? What does Islam say about this? Islam condemns Muslim women refusing their husbands if they call them but what about a Muslim man refusing his wife. Please I need advice to decide my future.


Jazākumullāhu Khayran/ Thank you for your question.

We pray for your situation. May Allāh ease the difficulties.

It must be noted that the wife has the right to enjoy sexual intimacy just as the husband has the right. It is wājib (necessary) upon the husband to fulfil this right when ever the wife desires, especially if there is no genuine excuse (such as absence due to travel or intense sickness).

There is a famous incident during the reign of ‘Omar ibn al Khattāb (may Allāh be pleased with him) that Ka’ab (may Allāh be pleased with him) instructed a husband to have intercourse with his wife every four days.

Almighty Allāh says,

“Women have rights similar to what they owe in a recognized manner” (Qur’ān 2:228)

The great contemporary jurist, Shaykh Khālid Saifullāh Al Rahmāni (may Allāh preserve him) writes:

“If the wife’s desire to have intercourse is not fulfilled, there is a potential danger for abundant evil, severe immorality and indecency. . . As far as my knowledge is concerned, the following statement ‘sexual intercourse is the right of the husband, not the wife’ is incorrect. The legal verdict (fatwa) is not issued as per this statement, especially in the modern era we live in, an era of much temptation and indecency. Indeed the rights that are mandatory through marriage are inclusive of both the husband and wife. . . The Hanbali school’s verdict is most appropriate to adopt in today’s time which states that intercourse is a perpetual right of the wife and is necessary upon the husband to fulfill whenever the wife desires sexual intimacy. The wife will have the right to separate if sexual intercourse does not take place at least once in four to six months”. (See Fiqh Al Halāl Wal Harām by Sh. Khālid Saifullāh Al Rahmāni)

I suggest you have a counselling session with your husband in the presence of a trusted islamic scholar or family elder. Address the issues of the marriage and the expectations. Thereafter, you may form a mutual understanding and or agreement which will hopefully resolve things. It is also advisable that both of you should try to live together, as this will strengthen the bonds. If you exhaust all your efforts and you feel nothing is improving, you do have the right to seek a divorce.

We pray Allah guide one and all with ease and grant protection from discomfort and oppression.

And Allāh Knows Best

This answer was collected from Mathabah.org. It’s an Islamic educational institute based in Canada. The questions are generally answered by Sheikh Yusuf Badat and Sheikh Omar Subedar.

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