Sex in Islam
Kissing and Foreplay in Islam
By Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari, Darul Iftaa, Leicester, UK
My husband does not like foreplay, kissing on the mouth, or much of anything of that sort, but I would like him to have a desire for these things with me. I have told him several times in a humble way, but I am very shy to tell him again and I feel embarrassed to ask him.
He is religious, though, and may listen to religious advice. Are there any sunnahs that he can read, about playfulness with one’s wife, in regards to the intimacy that leads to intercourse? I am hoping that by understanding and following our Prophet’s (SAWS) example, my husband will not feel shy anymore, inshallah.
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
Foreplay between the spouses before actually engaging into sexual intercourse is immensely important (especially for the wife) and a vital ingredient for a happy and prosperous marriage, that which should never be neglected.
The husband should sexually arouse his wife before having sex. It is indeed selfish on the husband’s part that he fulfils his sexual needs and desires, whilst his wife remains unsatisfied and discontented. Failure in satisfying the wife can have terrible consequences on one’s marriage.
It should be remembered that, just as Islam has given the husband his right of sexual intimacy, and extreme emphasis has been laid upon the wife to obey her husband in his request for sexual intimacy, at the same time, Islam also recognizes a woman’s need for love, affection and foreplay. It is quite common in men to demand their sexual rights, but they should also see whether they are giving their women their rights in bed.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) also encouraged foreplay between the spouses.
Sayyiduna Jabir ibn Abd Allah (Allah be pleased with him) narrates: “I was in the company of the messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) in a battle……The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said to me: “Did you marry?” I answered: “yes”. He said: “A virgin or a non-virgin?” I said: “A non-virgin”. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Why not a virgin so that you may play with her and she can play with you?”… (Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 1991)
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) also stated:
“Every game a person plays is futile except for archery, training one’s horse and playing with one’s wife”. (Sunan Tirmidhi, Musnad Ahmad, Sunan Ibn Majah).
Imam al-Daylami (Allah have mercy on him) records a narration on the authority of Anas ibn Malik (Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) is reported to have said: “One of you should not fulfil one’s (sexual) need from one’s wife like an animal, rather there should be between them foreplay of kissing and words.” (Musnad al-Firdaws Of al-Daylami, 2/55)
Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (Allah have mercy on him) reports in his famous “Tibb al-Nabawi” that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) forbade from engaging in sexual intercourse before foreplay. (See: al-Tibb al-Nabawi, 183, from Jabir ibn Abd Allah)
There are many ways and methods that can be exercised during foreplay, and it is best that we leave this to the mutual understanding of the spouses, as each individual differs from another in exactly what arouses and stimulates him/her, although the prohibited acts must be avoided.
Importance of Kissing
However, as the questioner has asked about kissing, I would like to end the article on a few notes with regards to it.
Kissing one’s spouse is also of utmost importance during foreplay and also in general. It is a Sunnah of our blessed Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace).
Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) would kiss one of his wives and then leave for prayer (salat) without performing ablution (wudu). Urwa says that I asked A’isha: “It must have been you?” (Upon hearing this) A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) smiled.”(Sunan al-Tirmidhi, no. 86, Sunan Abu Dawud, no. 181 & Sunan al-Nasa’i, no. 170))
Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) says: “The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) would kiss me before leaving for prayers, and he would not perform an ablution.” (Sunan al-Darqutni, 1/49 and others)
The above two narrations indicate the recommendation of kissing one’s spouse. They also show the importance of greeting the wife when entering the house with a kiss and departing with a kiss. This was the Sunnah of the beloved of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace). Thus, it is inappropriate for husbands to leave the home in a hurry without even greeting the wife in a proper manner with hugs and kisses, and then entering the house with the first question on whether the food is cooked or not, or whether had someone called, etc…
Passionate kissing (or French kissing) is also the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace).
Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) would kiss her whilst he was fasting (m, refer to the fiqh of kissing during fast) and he would suck her tongue.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, no. 2378)
Allama al-Munawi (Allah have mercy on him) states:
“Foreplay and passionate kissing before sexual intercourse is an emphatic Sunnah (sunnah muakkada), and it is disliked (makruh) to do otherwise.” (Faidh al-Qadir, 5/115, See: Hadith no. 6536)
In conclusion, it is important that your husband fulfils your right of foreplay and kissing. It is not something that he should be shy or reluctant about. Some individuals regard practices related to foreplay to be “inappropriate” and consider abstinence from such activities to be from piety (taqwa).
However, this is totally incorrect, for who can possibly be more pious, pure and God-fearing than the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), yet not only did he encourage foreplay, etc, but practically engaged in it with his wives, as we have learnt from the many narrations quoted above.
Thus, it is not a sign of piety to abstain from such activities, for there is no place for monasticism (rahbaniyya) in Islam. It is a practical religion where one may fulfil his/her needs in a permissible way. Explain to your husband in a kind and gentle manner, that prosperity in this world and the hereafter lies in following the example of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace).
And Allah Knows Best
Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari