Islamic law: Wives are obligated to be available for intimacy with husbands


Another tweet for which I got a lot of unjustified complaints from social justice warriors and other confused folks.

Recently, Sh. Yasir Qadhi was viciously attacked because of his explanation of the hadith: “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.”

He explained that, as far as Islamic law is concerned, women are obligated to be available for intimacy because that is the husband’s right. That does not mean the husband can harm his wife physically, but it does mean that if a wife refuses without a valid excuse, she is sinful. But this right of the husband is balanced by many rights of the wife. First and foremost, she is entitled to being supported financially (nafaqa) and if the husband fails in this and continues to demand his own marital rights, then he is sinful. So there is a clear parity here between husband and wife in Islamic law as far as this issue is concerned.

Well, the feminists did not like this explanation and proceeded to accuse Sh. Yasir of being a rape enabler.

This is the kind of unhinged histrionics that characterize the new state of gender discussions in the Muslim community. Feminists are pushing hard to get their categories, their frames, their normativities accepted wholesale by the community at large. Whoever disagrees is going to get accused of being Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, a rapist, a rape enabler, a misogynist, etc.

We cannot bow to this pressure. There is nothing wrong or out of place — Islamically, rationally, or otherwise — in explaining the basic tenets of fiqh and Islamic ethics.

In my tweet, I simply pointed out the feminist hypocrisy of bemoaning one kind of obligation but completely ignoring another obligation that is equally taxing and equally pressing just because it involves men. Isn’t this a clear double standard?

In being required to provide nafaqa for their families, the vast majority of men have to do things that they ultimately would rather not do. They have to go to work. They have to subject themselves to employers who ultimately don’t care one way or another about their well-being. They have to be at the mercy of the often cruel and unforgiving world of wage labor. This is no small obligation that men have vis-a-vis their wives.

Plenty can be said about this, but the point is, the feminist outcry completely misses this aspect of the issue in its haste to present a victimized image of women, and Muslim women in particular. This is their project to portray Islamic law as misogynist and therefore immoral and therefore rejected. We have to be willing to push back.


Categories: Feminism, Islam

9 replies

  1. One more thing is wife could keep her salary for herself don’t need to share with her husband.

  2. one thing i think we have to understand is how this must make women feel, when actually, men have the ability (and many do) rape. yes Islamic law is perfect and yes Islamic law never accepts harming a wife, but it doesn’t mean that some men don’t twist this ruling to emotionally manipulate a woman. as Muslims we should convey correct law but i strongly believe we as Muslims sometimes fail to go about it in a sensitive mannor. rape and domestic abuse are prevalent in our current society. we cannot ignore this and we cannot jump at women for being shocked or upset by it, instead we must reassure them and speak to them well rather than pointing the finger with ‘feminists are this and feminists are that’. we need to understand the potential fear in their hearts and ease them

    • @ Hinnaaamani

      Salamualakum. I don’t think Paul (author of the post) was endorsing rape (which is obviously wrong) I think he used two extreme examples to point out the hypocrisy of the argument that just because you don’t feel like doing something doesn’t make it wrong. I didn’t see the lecture but if Yasir Qadhi basically just said:

      “Yo, you all need to be available for your husbands as you’re his only means of halal intimacy. If you have no reasonable excuse then know you’re sinning”

      Then I see no reason for the cry of outrage, and to claim he is a “rape enabler” is wrong. Yes, I agree we should have lectures on multiple aspects of marriage as people do things out of ignorance or lack of taqwa but to attack Yassir Qadhi for stating a fact, that its a sin to turn down one’s husband for no reason isn’t right. But Allah hu alim.

  3. @ Paul
    Do you really believe that the angels will curse the woman all night long?
    I think this is a very convenient hadith fot the MAN who wrote it. Maybe just a little bit too convenient.

    • I have no idea. Is the hadith authentic?

    • @ Paul

      The hadith is authentic:

      @ Dr. Rhines

      Yes, it does favor the man. Just like if a man does take care of a woman she can steal from her husband:

      Narrated `Aisha:

      Hind (bint `Utba) said to the Prophet (ﷺ) “Abu Sufyan is a miserly man and I need to take some money of his wealth.” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Take reasonably what is sufficient for you and your children ”

      Or can’t treat your wives harshly:

      Believers, you are not allowed to inherit women. And you may not treat your wives harshly, hoping to take something back that you’ve given them, unless they’re guilty of an affair. So live with them in accordance with what is kind and fair. If over time you start disliking them, remember that it’s possible that God might bring much good to you through that very thing you dislike. (4:19)

      Or the time God reprimanded a person who disrespected his wife:

      58:1. God has heard the cries of the woman who spoke about her husband with you and directed her complaint to God. God was listening to the discussion that you both were having because He is All Hearing and Seeing.
      58:2. Those of you who divorce your wives by comparing them to having relations with your mother ˹know that˺ they are not your mothers. No one can be your mother except the one who gave birth to you. They have said a disturbing saying as well as a hurtful lie. But God is endlessly Pardoning and Forgiving.

      God is neither a male or a female and makes rulings accordingly. Muslim men can’t watch porn, we don’t look at other women, we have no other permissible means for sex other than our wife, etc. So yes it is an understandable sin. Not “feeling like it” is not a valid excuse just like how a man doesn’t “feel like” going to work doesn’t mean he is not obligated to pay the bills. of his household. I guess this rule was awfully “convenient” for women. 🙄🙄🙄

    • @ Dr. Rhines

      Like I said I have no idea.

      I have no problem with it coming from a ‘MAN’.

      stewjo004 gives a good explanation I think.

  4. Dr.Rhines: Do you really believe that the angels will curse the woman all night long?
    I think this is a very convenient hadith fot the MAN who wrote it. Maybe just a little bit too convenient.

    Let’s say the hadith is convenient for husbands. So what?

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