When we start talking about the marital rape the very first question that come in our mind is “Does marital rape really exist in Islam?” if yes then how? “is the husband allowed to force or do any violence to his wife?”? What is the legal stance on those who advocate for total equality between husband and wife in obedience and expenditure etc.…? And many of the other question come into mind that whether this thing is concerned in Islam or not? If not, then there are many other problems which are not exactly describe by Quran and hadith, so how can we justify this?
Many of the Islamic scholars says that marital rape occurs when the man asks his wife to have sexual intercourse during any abnormal sexual position or during fasting hours in Ramadan. There are two different perspectives regarding marital rape. the first one says that as men and women got equal rights, so a husband can’t force his women or can’t use any violation in their relation. Other perspective says that men are superior to women, because Islam tells us about the “equity” but not “equality” so they can do anything to their women and there is no such conception of marital rape in Islam because there is no hadith or Qur’anic verse related to this. God says, ‘And the male is not like the female…” 3:36
And says, “And do not wish for that by which Allah has made some of you exceed others. For men is a share of what they have earned, and for women is a share of what they have earned. And ask Allah of his bounty. Indeed, Allah is ever, of all things, knowing.” 4:32. Also, the believers of second perspective say after nikah and paying Mehr it becomes man’s unconditional right to have physical intimacy with his wife.
But then the question arises that does nikah and Mehr make him the owner of her body? the Quran describes this relationship as mawaddah and rahmah (3021) i.e. love and compassion and seeking solace in each other. This is a very sensitive description of a marital relationship. Force and compulsion have no place in it. It will destroy this relationship. Love and compassion are the very basis of this relationship. A marriage cannot persist without love and sacrifice for each other. It is not a piece of land that one can acquire the right over after paying for it. (Engineer, 2009)
Regarding this a new question arise that if men is not allowed to do such things then what is the purpose of Nikah? Also, they say Islam does not allow the wife to deny intercourse to the husband. Sexual satisfaction is one of the rights of the husband in Islam. Infect, the actual marriage contract is made in that way. The husband must mainly provide financially, and the wife must provide obedience and sex. in a hadith it states very harshly:
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘If a man calls his wife to his bed and she refuses [and does not come], and he spends the night angry with her, the angels will curse her until morning.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 4794; the additional phrase quoted in square brackets is from Abu Dawood, al-Sunna, Kitab al-Nikah, Bab Haqq al-zawj ‘ala’l-mar’ah (sameer, 2015)
However, the above-mentioned quotations contradict the overall, traditional Islamic view about marriage being a contract based on mutual love, respect and consideration. Both the husband and wife have a right to their own body and, whilst consideration for a person’s sexual needs is normal, forceful sexual acts are not a sign of love or respect but become a fatal blow to a solid marriage.
But then a new problem arise that men are not allowed to harm their women. In some verses or in hadiths it is said that “……. Fear Allah, in case of your wives……” so how can violence be appreciated in Islam? As it is also against the humanity? The Holy Book is so sensitive to a wife`s rights that it allows her even to refuse to suckle her child, if she so decides. Just consider the following important verse (656) “Lodge them where you live according to your means and injure them not to discipline them. And if they are pregnant, spend on them until they lay down their burden. Then if they suckle for you, give them their recompense, and consult one another in a fair manner, and if you both disagree (that mother should suckle the child), another woman should suckle (the child) for her.” Thus, it can be forcefully argued that the Quran gives a woman undisputed right over her body, and not her husband.
Also, there is a hadith which supports this argument that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) once remarked, “The best among you is the one who is the best towards his wife” (Hadith – Muslim, #3466). The Prophet SAW taught, “Only a noble man treats women in an honorable manner and only an ignoble man of low character treats women disgracefully.”
If we consider this hadith in mind this probably explains that the husband is allowed to fulfill his wife sexual desire in one side, and in the other side he is not allowed to force his wife for sex when she is unwilling. It is better for the husband to sacrifice himself (to be patient) rather than sacrificing his wife. A good husband must be wise in choosing the better choice relating to the above issue. A good husband must be patient for not saying that who is not patient is not a good husband.
All of the above discussion, hadith and verses does not clearly talk about the problem but considering these we can say that in a marriage relationship both the husband and wife have their own duties, rights and responsibilities regarding Islam. If anyone of them would go violent, it may cause problems for both. it is found that the type of the relationship between husband and wife as suggested in Islamic teaching naturally prevents the what so-call marital rape to occur. It is difficult to imagine the existence of marital rape inside the Muslim families, since the husband is bound with the obligation to treat her wife well. In sexual matter, the doctrine of mu’asyarah bil ma’ruf can be applied by respecting the need and the willingness of the wife in sexual matter.
- Engineer, A. A. (2009). Islam prohibits ‘marital rape’. marital rape.
- Sameer, a. (2015). Marital rape in Islam.