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Etiquettes of Marriage in Islam

Updated on December 20, 2015

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim

(In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful)

"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." [Surat Ar-Rum 30:21]

It is advised by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and the Prophet Muhammad salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam that all believers are encouraged get married. In fact the Prophet said:

“Marriage is part of my sunnah, and whoever does not follow my sunnah has nothing to do with me. Get married, for I will boast of your great numbers before the nations. Whoever has the means, let him get married, and whoever does not, then he should fast for it will diminish his desire.” [Hasan Sunan Ibn Majah Vol. 3, Book 9, Hadith 1846]

There are many benefits to believers who choose to marry in accordance to Allah's commandments and the advisement of the Prophet Muhammad salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam. It is said in Sahih al-Bukhari that Anas bin Malik reported the Prophet saying, "When a man marries, he indeed perfects half of his religion. Then he should fear Allah for the remaining half." Marriage also helps protect against having premarital sex, which is considered a major sin in Islam. It also helps strengthen and protect the family dynamic and values.

Treat Your Wife With Kindness

On the night of the wedding, husbands should be patient and show compassion toward their wife. Although this should be a practice throughout the marriage, the wedding night is supposed to be the first night the couple is alone together. The woman may be shy or nervous about what to expect, especially if she is a virgin.

It is advised that the husband does not rush things with his new wife or force anything upon her until she feels comfortable and ready. In fact, consummating the marriage doesn't necessarily have to be on the wedding night. A righteous husband is patient and loving toward his wife and is willing to take the time to show her the compassion and understanding that she deserves.

There is a story that is told about the Prophet Muhammad salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam and Aisha on their wedding night that serves as an example to all believing Muslim men to treat their wives with kindness. The Prophet Muhammad salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam was patient and showed kindness and compassion to Aisha.

Asmaa' bint Yazid ibn As-Sakan spoke about how she beautified and prepared Aisha for her wedding night with the Prophet Muhammad (saws). He poured a cup of milk and drank from it, then offered the cup to Aisha. Aisha was shy so she lowered her head and refused. Asmaa' scolded Aisha for this and told her to take the cup from the Prophet Muhammad's (saws) hand and drink. To ease Aisha's nervousness, he also offered drink to Asmaa' and the other women with Aisha.

Praying as Husband and Wife

It is recommended that the newly married couple should pray two rak'at on their wedding night. This prayer should be lead by the husband. This signifies a good start to the marriage that the couple places Allah in the center focus and foundation of their life together.

The companions of the Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam taught Abu Saeed, a slave of Abu Usaid, that “When your wife comes to you, pray two rak'ats and then ask for the good of what has come to you and seek refuge from its evil. Then it is your affair and your wife’s affair.” [Shaikh al-Albanee in Adaab al-Zifaaf, pg. 94]

Pray For Your Wife

On the wedding night, the husband should place his hand on his wife's forehead and pray a dua' before consummating the marriage. He should say, "Bismillah" (in the name of Allah) and ask for Allah's blessings upon their marriage. As mentioned in the hadiths found in Bukhari, Abu Dawood, and many others, the Prophet Muhammad salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam instructed husbands to pray this dua' while holding his hand gently to his wife's forehead:

"Oh Allah, I ask You for the good in her and the good with which You have created her, and I seek refuge in You from the evil in her and the evil with which You have created her."

Arabic Transliteration:

Allaahumma innee as'aluka min khairiha wa khairi maa jabaltaha 'alaihi wa a'oodhubika min sharriha wa sharri maa jabaltaha 'alaihi

What to Say When You Make Love

When it is time to consummate the marriage, or any time a husband has intercourse with his wife, there is a dua' that is suggest to be said before entering his wife.

Ibn Abbas narrated that: The Messenger of Allah said: "If anyone of you, when having intercourse with his wife, says: (Bismillah, Allahumma jannibnash-Shaitana wa jannibish-Shaitana ma razaqtana) 'In the Name of Allah, Oh Allah! Protect me from Shaitan and protect what you bestow upon us from Shaitan' - then if Allah decrees that they should have a child, Shaitan will not be able to harm him.'" [Sahih Jami` at-Tirmidhi 1092]

It is the belief of some people that if a couple conceives a child without saying this prayer that they will have children who will be disobedient and unruly. Therefore, it is suggested to say this dua' prayer every time you are intimate with your spouse, not just on the wedding night.


How a Husband Should Come to His Wife

"Your wives are a place of sowing of seed for you, so come to your place of cultivation however you wish..." [Surat al-Baqarah 2:223]

It is mentioned in several authentic hadiths, such as Bukhari, Muslim, Jami` at-Tirmidhi and others, that it was once thought that if a husband enters his wife's vagina from behind that their children would be cross-eyed. However, the Prophet Muhammad salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam pointed out a verse in the Qur'an as mentioned above.

In essence, this means that a husband and wife may engage in sexual intercourse in any position as long as the husband enters only his wife's vagina. The reasoning behind this is that in Surat Al Baqarah 2:223 it uses an analogy for procreation. By stating "so come to your place of cultivation however you wish" is allowing any position permissible. Because it is referring to conceiving a child, this can only be done by means of the vagina and not the anus.


Narrated AbuHurayrah:

The Prophet (saws) said: He who has intercourse with his wife through her anus is accursed.

Hasan Sunan Abi Dawud 2162

Is Anal Sex Forbidden?

As mentioned above, the Qur'an and several authentic hadiths talk about a husband being able to enter his wife's vagina from any positioning. But what about through the anus? Well, first off in Surat al-Baqarah 2:223 it talks of procreation and the place where women deliver a child - the vagina. [Sunan Abi Dawud 2164] This cannot be done through the anus.

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet said: "Whoever engages in sexual intercourse with a menstruating woman, or a woman in her anus, consults a soothsayer, then he has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad." [Hasan Jami` at-Tirmidhi 135]

In this hadith, it mentions that the Prophet Muhammad salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam stated that if anyone who has anal sex with their wife is a disbeliever because they do not believe in the word of Allah as revealed in the Qur'an. In another hadith, Hasan Sunan Abi Dawud 2162, it mentions that the Prophet Muhammad salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam further said that he who has intercourse with his wife in her anus is cursed.

However, keep in mind that this topic is often debated by certain scholars and the point of view tends to be on which sect of Islam. For example, the Sunni forbid it completely, whereas some Shia do not and have their own hadiths to back up this opinion. When it comes down to it, though, it is more of a debate of is it permissible, forbidden, or just disliked. But the majority of scholars, especially Sunni, will attest through the Qur'an and hadiths that anal sex is not permissible at all and in fact is considered to be forbidden thus should be avoided.

And they ask you about menstruation. Say, "It is harm, so keep away from wives during menstruation. And do not approach them until they are pure. And when they have purified themselves, then come to them from where Allah has ordained for you. Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves." [Surat al-Baqarah 2:222]

When the Wife Has Her Menstruation

As mentioned previously in the hadith Jami` at-Tirmidhi 135, it is forbidden to have sexual intercourse with your spouse while she is menstruating. It is also narrated in other hadiths that the Jews would send any woman on her menses away from them and not have anything to do with them until they had finished. However, the Prophet Muhammad sallahu alaihi wasallam said, "Be with them in the house, and do everything except for intercourse itself."

A husband can show affection to his wife during the time of her menstruation. In turn, it is also permissible for a wife to show her husband affection and not neglect his needs. It is only forbidden for them to have sexual intercourse while the woman is bleeding due to menstruation or during postpartum bleeding.

Making Wudu and Ghusl

In a hasan hadith in Abu Dawood, 'Ammar ibn Yasir narrated that the Prophet said: "There are three which the angels will never approach: The corpse of a disbeliever; a man who wears perfume of women; and, one who has had sex until he performs wudu."

The Prophet Muhammad salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam said that when a husband has intercourse with his wife and then wishes to return to her again for another time, then the husband should perform wudu before returning to his wife.

It was narrated from Abu Rafi' that: The Prophet went around to all of his wives in one night, and he had a bath after each one of them. It was said to him: "O Messenger of Allah, why not make it one bath?" He said: "This is purer, better and cleaner." [Hasan Sunan Ibn Majah Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 590]

Although it is recommended of all Muslims to wudu before going to sleep regardless of having sexual relations or not, it is also advised by the Prophet Muhammad salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam that both the husband and the wife should not fall asleep in a state of junub or janabah, which means a state of ritual impurity due to sexual relations. Therefore both spouses should ghusl before going to sleep.

Narrated `Abdullah bin `Umar:

`Umar bin Al-Khattab told Allah's Messenger (saws), "I became Junub at night." Allah's Messenger (saws) replied, "Perform ablution after washing your private parts and then sleep." [Sahih al-Bukhari 290]

Also, keep in mind that one cannot return to salah and other acts of worship if one has not made the obligatory ghusl ablution. So regardless of the time of day or night that you make love to your spouse, both of you need to ghusl soon afterwards.

Narrated Aisha: "The Prophet (saws) and I used to take a bath from a single pot of water after Janaba." [Sahih al-Bukhari 263]

Bathing Together

Bahz Hakim said that his father told on the authority of his grandfather the Prophet Muhammad (saws) was asked, "Messenger of Allah, from whom should we conceal our private parts and to whom can we show?" The Prophet replied, "Conceal your private parts except from your wife and from whom your right hands possess (slave-girls)." [Hasan Sunan Abi Dawud 4017]

It is of the majority opinion that it is perfectly permissible to take baths with your spouse. There are many hadiths that verify that the Prophet Muhammad salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam would take baths with his wives. There is no evidence to the contrary to dispute the permissibility.

Another thing to note is that now that you are married, the husband must provide a bathroom within the home because married women should not go to public baths anymore. There is a Jami` at-Tirmidhi hadith that reports the Prophet Muhammad (saws) saying, "Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him not allow his wife to go to the public baths. Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him not go to the baths except with a waist-cloth..."

Coitus Interruptus

Coitus interruptus is commonly referred to as "the pull-out method". It is when one withdraws the penis from the vagina right before the time of ejaculation with the intent of avoiding pregnancy. But please note that according to PlannedParenthood.org, although pre-cum doesn't usually contain sperm, men do leak small amounts of sperm into their pre-cum fluid. Therefore "the pull-out method" isn't an effective way to prevent pregnancy.

However, when it comes to what is lawful in Islam, it is permissible to practice coitus interruptus only if the wife permits it. In fact, there are several hadiths from Muslim, Jami` at-Tirmidh, and others that report "We used to practice coitus interruptus in the lifetime of the Prophet. This reached the Prophet, and he did not prohibit us from doing it."

But it should also be noted that when the Prophet Muhammad sallahu alaihi wasallam was asked about coitus interruptus he replied, "Do you do that? It is better for you not to do it, for there is no soul which Allah has ordained to come into existence but will be created." [Sahih al-Bukhari 6603]

Do Not Gossip

"The most wicked among the people in the eye of Allah on the Day of judgment is the men who goes to his wife and she comes to him, and then he divulges her secret." [Sahih Muslim 1437a]

Your spouse is the one person that you should be able to trust the most in this world. A husband and wife should not go to their friends and talk about things that are entrusted to them in confidence, especially what goes on in the bedroom.

For example, let's say you made a list of things you need your husband or wife to do and they keep putting it off. This may irritate you but you shouldn't complain to your friends about it. Or let's say your spouse has done something romantic for you. You shouldn't go to your friends to talk about it. This is something between you and your spouse. The Prophet Muhammad is reported saying in several hadiths that "The one who spreads gossip will not enter Paradise."

Even based on the words of the Prophet Muhammad salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam gossiping about your spouse to regarding other matters is not favorable and comes with a great price. Not only may it prevent you from entering heaven but the more people who know your private affairs, the more some people want to be intrusive in your relationship. Your spouse may feel betrayed and feel like they can't trust you. This destroys the bond of marriage.


Do Not Neglect Your Spouse

Aisha reported that when Khuwaylah visited her the Prophet Muhammad (saws) saw her and noticed her messy appearance; so he asked Aisha why Khuwaylah appearance was so messy? Aisha explained that Khuwaylah's husband fasts during the day and prays during the night. So continued to explain that it is as if Khuwaylah does not have a husband, and therefore she has neglected her appearance.

Allah's Messenger (saws) then summoned Khuwaylah's husband, Uthmaan Bin Mazoon, and said to him, “Oh Uthmaan! Are you doing that because you dislike my Sunnah?”

Uthmaan replied, “By Allah, no. Oh Allah's Messenger! Rather, my whole interest is to follow your Sunnah.”

Allah's Messenger (saws) then said: “Verily, I sleep and pray, fast and break fast, and marry women. Thus fear and revere Allah. Oh Uthmaan, your family has a right upon you, your guests have a right upon you, and your self (body) has a right upon you. So, fast and break fast, and pray and sleep.” [Abu Dawood]

It is good to marry a spouse that is devoted to the worship of Allah, but the spouse also has a responsibility to his family and his health. By spending time with your spouse and family, this too is something that is pleasing to Allah.

There are many Muslim women today that complain that although they are married, they feel as if they are single and without companionship. This could be due to the husband working too much and although it is the husband's responsibility to provide for the family it is also his responsibility to take the time to spend with his family.

However, that being said, it is also good for a wife to show patience with her husband as he provides for the family. So even if the husband's work keeps him away from the home for long periods of time, a wife needs to be grateful and understanding that he works so hard to provide for her and their family. In turn, the husband needs to also show his gratitude to his wife for taking care of the home and family, especially while he is away. Even if the husband is away, in the 21st century it is easy to keep in touch on a daily basis with your wife. Take the time each day to talk with her and the children. Showing you love and care for your family goes beyond just making money.

Growing Marriage For a Lifetime by Mufti Menk

© 2014 L Sarhan

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    • t aaron brown profile image

      t aaron brown 2 years ago

      This was a difficult topic to write about, but it was done very well. I liked learning about this sacred aspect of Islam. I agree with the author's comments and add that Westerners continue to get only news of war crimes, but not on the average livelihood of Muslims.

      I'm very curious to how the tenant of marriage and the inreased presence of Islam in the U.S. will shape our family structures. The US is less marriage minded and its Judeo-Christian culture more a minority as secularism grows.

      I thought the ritual washings was informative and possibly something that could translate to other faiths as well.

    • LindaSarhan profile image
      Author

      L Sarhan 2 years ago

      This is simply untrue for you to say "most" women are treated as property. As a Muslim woman myself, I can attest that your opinion simply isn't true. In all societies and cultures you have men who treat women in a chauvinistic way but that doesn't mean that all men do. There are many Muslim men that treat their wives better than you can imagine. Unfortunately, so many non-Muslims prefer to learn about Islam from the news media that thrives off negative news. Meaning, they would rather show someone abused then the majority that are treated with honor and respect.

      For example, if a mother abuses or kills her children it is all over the news 24/7 but they won't report on how the majority of mothers are loving and nurturing. Why? Because it doesn't make for good news.

      My advice is this: just as there are women treated badly in all cultures and society, do NOT assume that it is happening as a majority - in which your "most women" comment implies.

      Also note that while some cultures still do see women as property but not all are treated badly AND there is a difference between culture of a country and practices of Islam. In which this article is about the practices in Islam.

    • wmhoward4 profile image

      William A. Howard IV 2 years ago from Baltimore Maryland (USA)

      This may be ideal. Unfortunately, most women are treated more as property in reality.