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Why No Marital Intimacy in Ramadan?

Questioner

Marco

Reply Date

May 06, 2019

Question

Hello, Your page is really interesting. Now I know it is your month of Ramadan. But why do you fast? I mean it is OK to pray for your God, but why would he want you to stop eating and drinking... and also you should not have love relations with your wives. What is the use of that for your God? I liked about your religion the value it gives for marital relations, not like in some other beliefs regarded as a "base" relation… only to bring children. I understood from your Quran that the relation between husband and wife is regarded to be a decent act. If so, why then stop it in Ramadan as a manner of worship? Some of my Muslim friends keep telling me that you Muslims are the ones who get the benefit of this fasting and not your God - how is that? They say; it elevates your soul! Please explain, thank you.

Consultant

Answer


Why No Marital Intimacy in Ramadan

Short Answer:When Allah asks human beings to perform an act of worship, He does so to purify him/her and help him/her to lead a happy life in both worlds; this world and the one to come. The only beneficiary of these five pillars is attained by the one who abides by them. Every act of worship in Islam has an outcome and a fruit. So, when human beings performs such an act, sincerely, and only for the sake and pleasure of Allah, he/she gets that fruit. The first and most important benefit of fasting is, as stated in the verse, self-restraint. Because if you can refrain from your lawful pleasures for God’s sake, with full freedom to do so, it would be easier for you to stop doing what is unlawful and forbidden.The institution of fasting is a unique form of worship prescribed as part of an overall system of Islam. Its uniqueness mirrors the uniqueness of the human being, a creature of both physical and spiritual natures, whose excellence depends on the right balance between these two natures. Fasting orients the observer to the art of balancing the spiritual essentials with physical needs. It is a vivid proof that there is – in all of us – the will power, a pivotal element that controls our actions.

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Salam Dear Brother,

Thank you for your question and for your interest in understanding Islam.

You first need to know that a Muslim is the one who submits his will to that of Allah and obeys His orders, stipulated in the glorious revelation of the last testament, which is the Noble Quran.

A Muslim chooses – by his Islam – to follow the example of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Prophet said in a hadith (tradition) that Islam is built on five pillars:

  • Declaring that there is no god but Allah (God the creator) and that Muhammad is His messenger
  • Establishing prayers
  • Giving charity
  • Fasting the month of Ramadan
  • Performing pilgrimage to Makkah (by those who are able physically and financially).

Thus, the fourth pillar on which Islam is built is fasting the month of Ramadan. Therefore, a Muslim fasts in obedience to the order of Allah.

According to the belief of Muslims, Allah is the All-Powerful and Sustainer of all creatures on earth, in the skies and heavens, under the sea and everywhere in the universe. Allah is no need of His creatures, but they all need Him.

When Allah asks human beings to perform an act of worship, He does so to purify him/her and help him/her to lead a happy life in both worlds; this world and the one to come. The only beneficiary of these five pillars is attained by the one who abides by them.

Every act of worship in Islam has an outcome and a fruit. So, when human beings performs such an act, sincerely, and only for the sake and pleasure of Allah, he/she gets that fruit.

You have mentioned in your question that it is normal that a Muslim prays for God, but you did not ask why should he/she pray? Will such prayers add anything to Allah? Is Allah in need of such prayers? What will happen if people stopped praying? Will this affect Allah?

If you ask me why do Muslims pray, I will refer you to Allah Himself to give you the answer, which is revealed in the Glorious Quran:

{[…] establish regular prayer: for prayer restraints from shameful and evil deeds; and remembrance of Allah is the greatest [thing in life] without doubt. And Allah knows the [deeds] that you do […]} (Quran 29:45)

Thus, prayers help the Muslim to stay away from evil deeds. It is quite illogical that a person who establishes a good relation with Allah via prayers and seeks His pleasure all the time, would engage himself in acts that lead to His dissatisfaction such as, backbiting, stealing, committing adultery, etc.Why No Marital Intimacy in Ramadan? - About Islam

Likewise, when Allah made charity an obligation and one of the 5 pillars, there must be some wisdom behind it. Allah says in the Quran what means:

{Of their wealth take alms, that so you might purify and sanctify them […]} (Quran 9:103)

Thus, zakah (charity) purifies the person from his sins and cures his heart from obsession with money and miserliness. Again, this act of worship is meant to better the behavior of the Muslim.

The same principle applies to fasting. The fruit of fasting is stated in the Quran as follows:

{O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may [learn] self-restraint.} (Quran 2:183)

Since Allah is the Creator of human kind, then He is the best One to know what is beneficial for us and what makes us develop ourselves for the better. When a person fasts from dawn to sunset, he/she abstains from food and drink, along with sexual intercourse if he/she is married.

Thus, he stops eating or drinking what is lawful, in obedience to his Creator and he/she would be the one who gets the benefit too.

The first and most important benefit of fasting is, as stated in the verse, self-restraint. Because if you can refrain from your lawful pleasures for God’s sake, with full freedom to do so, it would be easier for you to stop doing what is unlawful and forbidden.

The institution of fasting is a unique form of worship prescribed as part of an overall system of Islam. Its uniqueness mirrors the uniqueness of the human being, a creature of both physical and spiritual natures, whose excellence depends on the right balance between these two natures. 

Fasting orients the observer to the art of balancing the spiritual essentials with physical needs. It is a vivid proof that there is – in all of us – the will power, a pivotal element that controls our actions.

This will is needed to help us curb the animalistic tendencies originating from the stomach, in full. It makes us forget about our beginning, it awakens the mind and kindles clear thinking and consciousness of Allah.

Fasting is the sobering of a mind and reconstruction of our spiritual faculties. It has instilled in food and beverages a religious legitimacy, as its amount and the hour taken are expressed in terms of religion. Chewing and sipping at proper intervals equals praise and glorification of Allah.

It even makes the individual ready and primed to meet his/her Creator. You see, it has never been easy, trying to gain access to the nearness of Allah.

This is due to several considerable obstacles obstructing our view, mainly ignorance, multiple images or double vision, passive will power, time, place, culture, upbringing and prejudice. Fortunately, the gates that lead to the nearness of Allah swing both ways with the help of fasting!

Fasting cures the double vision that many people suffer in the realm of spirituality. Its inauguration eliminates the middleman, a spiritual broker, an insidious opinion held by some that a believer can only gain access to nearness to Allah through another, who is endowed with superpowers to reach Allah more easily.

No, indeed, Allah is Ineffable… Yet, Approachable.Why No Marital Intimacy in Ramadan? - About Islam

It is the sum and scope of our worship of Allah that clarifies all the acts of worship including prayers. Fasting renders this magnificent and beautiful idea of Oneness of Allah, there being no deity but Allah, and Muhammad being His messenger, into an effective power charge.

It becomes a potent and effective concept for focusing and organizing one’s worldview and epitomizing the religious and psychological orientation of the believer.

Thank you, Marco, for reminding us again about the previous logic of fasting, as we always need reminders … so that we do not lose the spirit of Ramadan, after it has come to a close. Thank you again.

I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.

Salam.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Capture the Spirit of Ramadan

Intimacy in Ramadan

Newlyweds in Ramadan: Is Everything under Control?




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