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Islamic Society ( 5 Feb 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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What is the Ruling of Marital Rape in Islam?



By Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

Feb 06, 2013

"Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will; but do some good act for your souls beforehand; and fear God. And know that ye are to meet Him (in the Hereafter), and give (these) good tidings to those who believe. (The Noble Quran, 2:223)"

Allah hates compulsion, even if one forces others to do good. The good done in a state of compulsion will never come from the bottom of the heart. The action would be like, as if, a robot is doing it. For example, when a person does not wish to do Salah (Islamic way of prayer), but is forced to do it (either by his/her parents or teachers) then, I believe, there will be no reward for such an action. Similarly Allah says that before you approach your wife, do some good deed. Surely forcing her can never be a “good deed” and although it is said approach “when or how you like” but this phrase will contradict itself, if there is forced sex.

Allah gives permission for the husbands to sleep with their wives, but they must fear Him and remember Him, and that a Day will come when they have to meet Him, when they do so. Forcing his wife into sex, or forcing her to do something which she does not desire would not please Allah Almighty. He warns those men who are sexually mean, impatient and demanding to their wives that they will have to meet Him, and everything they do they will be held accountable for it.

 "Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it! And anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil, shall see it. (The Noble Quran, 99:7-8)"

Men and women, in Islam stand at equal but distinct levels. What this means is that in some instances a man’s responsibilities is superior, while in some other instances a woman’s accountability is higher and more valuable. On an average both stand on equal footing.

There is a Hadith which, according to some orthodox views, allows men to “rape” their wives.

“If a man calls his wife to bed and she refuses, and then he sleeps angry, the angels shall curse her until he awakens.”

Here, instead of us focusing on the “duties” of wife, as in why she did not go to satisfy her husband’s needs, we should give more attention to the husband. He should understand and respect the feelings of his wife. He should not be too demanding. Allah says ‘Don’t commit excesses in your religion’. And Allah wants us to follow ‘the middle path’.

I think this is a symbolic Hadith because if we take it literally then there will be double loss for both the husband as well as the wife. If the wife does not feel like having sex and if she is forced, against her will and her body, then there will be: a) physical harm- her private part might get damaged or in some cases, as has often been the case, it may lead to vaginitis and b) emotional harm, which is far more painful and lasting than physical abuse, she may feel “used” and this feeling hampers her future sex life, and not to mention her married life as well.

It is narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “A true Muslim is one from [the transgressions of] whose tongue and hands, all other Muslims are safe; And a true Mu’min is one from whom people’s lives and wealth are secured; And a true Mujahid is one, who subdues his inner self and forces it into God’s obedience; And a true Muhajir is one, who leaves everything that God has disapproved.” 

We should never deal with our wives harshly. They are delicate like flowers. Allah says:

“{O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness that ye may take away part of the dower [money given by the husband to the wife for the marriage contract] ye have given them, except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and God brings about through it a great deal of good.} (Qu’ran An-nisa 19)

Prophet Muhammad said:

“A believing man must not hate the believing woman. If he dislikes one of her characteristics, he will be pleased with another [of her characteristics]. ((Sahih Muslim)) ”

Some are bent of denying this and want to lord over their wives. They quote a saying of the Prophet: “If I were to order anyone to prostrate himself before another, I would have ordered a woman to prostrate herself before her husband”. [At-Tirmidhi]

This, again is symbolical. If it were true then the husband (man) should prostrate to his mother as well, because the Prophet said, as is very well known: “Paradise lies under the feel of your mother”. Finally, if we logically and mathematically see it, the mother (female) wins!

The conclusion that could be derived from this is that a man should treat his wife nicely, give her all the rights. Good and long lasting relations work out only if both sides compromise, gloss over the negative aspects of their partners and focus on the positive ones.

“And among his signs is this: that He created from you mates from among yourselves that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them and He has put love and mercy between your hearts.” Surah Al Rum 30:21