Short Answer: Any Muslim, male or female, are allowed to break their nafl fast for a valid reason. This will not be counted as a sin when done with a correct intention. Therefore, a husband may break his nafl fast if his wife is experiencing very high sexual desire. If he does so to sexually satisfy her, and this increases the love between them, then he will be earning reward.
Asalaamu alaykum, and thank you for sending in your question to our website.
May Allah reward you, sister, for your keenness to understand your rights in Islam.
The rights of both spouses
According to Qur’an and hadith, some rights of a husband are superior to those of his wife. For example, the right to make the final decisions, and the right to obedience. In lieu of certain ahadith, he has a slightly superior right to having his sexual needs satisfied as well. That is, he can demand sexual intercourse from her. If she refuses his demand without a valid reason, she is sinning.
However, please bear one thing in mind, sister. This superior status of the husband in Islam, does not allow him to abuse his authority. Rather, it is because of his greater responsibilities. As the appointed leader and provider of his family, he is more accountable.
What about the wife’s sexual needs?
It is true that a wife may feel the need to have sex whilst her husband is fasting. However, he does not need her permission in order to keep a nafl fast.
This disparity i.e. she needs his permission to fast, whereas he does not, is because of practical and physiological reasons. Men and women are not 100% the same, when it comes to sexual desire. Even though they both have sexual desires, there are differences.
For one: there is the matter of quickness of arousal. Men can get aroused by simply a look, or a few racy words. Second is the matter of urgency. Sometimes, men urgently need to have sex, especially when they are in severe temptation.
Women, on the other hand, are programmed a little differently. In both aspects i.e. quickness of arousal, as well as the level of urgency, Allah has favored them over men. Women can delay sexual gratification without being put to great trial because of it. They also do not get greatly aroused merely by a single look.
So gaining permission from his wife to keep a nafl fast is not imperative for the husband. However, he should still consult his wife first and try to respect her wishes. It is ideal if they fast together.
This need for permission is not just because of sex
Sister, men can look at each issue related to marriage in Islam, in the light of sex. However, there is great Divine wisdom in every decree related to marriage. Every ruling in an Islamic marriage does not have to do with sexual intercourse.
Fasting involves abstention from eating, drinking, fighting, and sexual intercourse. A nafl fast affects a person’s energy level, social commitments, and daily routine. It also impacts their level of concentration and focus.
When a wife is fasting, she might not be able to go out somewhere far during the day. She might not be able to do certain errands. While her husband is present at home, she will not be able to play around with him and the children. She will not be able to eat lunch with them. Logistically, her fast will affect the whole household and family routine.
A wife/mother is the pillar of domestic life. If she is down in any way, the whole family gets affected.
Conclusion: There is flexibility in nafl fasts
In the end, sister, I’d like you to keep in mind one important thing. Any Muslim, male or female, are allowed to break their nafl fast for a valid reason. This will not be counted as a sin when done with a correct intention.
Therefore, a husband may break his nafl fast if his wife is experiencing very high sexual desire. If he does so to sexually satisfy her, and this increases the love between them, then he will be earning reward.
And Allah knows best.
I hope that this answers your question.
Salam. Please stay in touch.
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