Can My Husband Force Himself on Me?

06 August, 2020
Q Can a husband force himself on his wife if she is not willing to have sex because of fatigue, suffering mental illness like depression/anhedonia and autoimmune disease (fibromyalgia/arthritis)?

Can he coerce her into having sex with him by quoting the hadith that the angels will curse her? Does Islam not take into consideration the physical and mental well being of a woman?

Or is it just the misinterpretation of the text from Quran and hadith by men to gain dominance over women; i.e Spiritual Abuse?

Answer


In this counseling answer:

In short, to answer your question, yes Islam takes into consideration the well-being of both the woman and the man.

Interpretations that allow for hurting people and forcing them to do things are cultural in nature and do not reflect the mercy and compassion of Islam nor the kind treatment the Prophet Mohamed (saws) shows us in his examples with his wives. 

Spouses do have sexual rights over each other, which should be met in a good way with intimacy and learning to please one another.

It should not be forced on them and used in a hurtful way that makes them dislike being sexual, it should be about mutual pleasure.

A husband will be more successful in having his sexual needs met if he learns to entice his wife and is not hurtful with sexuality.  


Assalamu alaikum,

Thank you for taking the time to write in and share your concerns with us. It is my understanding you are questioning if a husband can force himself sexually on his wife and use Islam as justification for forcing her to perform sexually. My dear Sister, absolutely not.

Please understand I am a counselor, not a jurist, so I will give the counseling perspective. It is never ethical to force someone to do anything they do not want to, that is not Islamic character, that is culture. 

Sister let us look to the example of the Prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him). He was known as a kind and good man who was amazing to his wives with mercy, care, patience and helping them how they needed. 

“Narrated ‘Aishah:

that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “The best of you is the best to his wives, and I am the best of you to my wives”

[Tirmidhi]

If we look to the Quran, we see this beautiful verse:

“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.”

[Quran 30:21]

We see from these here that Islam places marriage as means of mercy and affection and the best spouses are the ones who are the best to their wife. We know Islam never seeks to harm or hurt anyone and places the family as important. 

Can My Husband Force Himself on Me? - About Islam

Forcing a wife or husband to do something they don’t want to sexually is NOT mercy or affectionate, it is not being good to them. And if they use hadith to justify their actions then they are guilty of spiritual abuse. Such people will actually cause their spouse to resent sex and not want to have it at all. Since it becomes a form of abuse instead of a form of intimacy. 

You mention the wife has illnesses and various concerns with her health that make sex more difficult. Sister, even if she is healthy it is still unethical to force her to do anything, her being ill makes it even worse on the man doing this. 


Check out this counseling video:


Sexual Health

Sister, it is a right of the man and woman to be sexually satisfied and this should be important, but that does not justify hurting the other or forcing. Just as the husband has a right to sexual satisfaction, so does the wife. Narrations about intimacy in Islam paint a picture that ensures the woman is given sexual pleasure and should be taken care of. 

Ideally, a healthier sexual life looks like this man coming to her when he needs it and learning how to entice her and please her rather than just appeasing his own wants. For example, if she feels tired or not in the mood, he can attempt to massage her and talk to her in a way that makes her more likely to want sex and feel her mood changing.

This also provides more pleasure for the man in the end because she will be more active and engaging in the sexual act rather than just wanting him to finish. 

Of course, the woman also goes to the husband whenever she feels desire and has a need. If the husband is not forceful and instead focuses on enticing her and pleasing her more often, it is likely she will come to him on her own more often because they are creating a positive mindset around sexuality that seeks mutual happiness. 

If a woman or man has a low sex drive and is not satisfying the other person’s sex drive, this can create issues within the marriage. It is important for both husband and wife to communicate their sexual needs to the other and let them know if they feel frustrated. If they have healthy and kind communication about this topic then inshallah, they will be more likely to try and help the other feel relief and be satisfied. 

Final Thoughts

In short, to answer your question, yes Islam takes into consideration the well-being of both the woman and the man. Interpretations that allow for hurting people and forcing them to do things are cultural in nature and do not reflect the mercy and compassion of Islam nor the kind treatment the Prophet Mohamed (saws) shows us in his examples with his wives. 

Spouses do have sexual rights over the other, which should be met in a good way with intimacy and learning to please one another. It should not be forced on them and used in a hurtful way that makes them dislike being sexual, it should be about mutual pleasure. A husband will be more successful in having his sexual needs met if he learns to entice his wife and is not hurtful with sexuality.  

Salam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees are liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

About Monique Hassan
Monique Hassan graduated with honors in 2012 with her BSc in Psychology and a minor in Biology and is certified in Crisis Prevention and Intervention. She has years of professional as well as personal experience with trauma, relationship struggles, substance abuse, identifying coping skills, conflict resolution, community outreach, and overall mental health concerns. She is a professional writer specialized in Islamic Psychology and Behavioral Health. She is also a revert who took her shahada in 2015, Alhamdulillah. You can contact Sister Monique Hassan via her website "MoniqueHassan.com"