Monday, September 6, 1999
I have recently been experiencing difficulties in my marriage
which I need some advice about. I am 29 and have been married
for 3 years (my wife is 28). Fairly soon after our marriage (a
year or so), any sexual attraction I had for my wife and I think
my wife had for me started to disappear and intimate sexual relations
have a become a bit of a chore. However, my sexual appetite has
not diminished if anything it has increased.
We have also been trying to have children but have been unsuccessful
so far. This has placed an additional strain on our marriage.
I am desperate to have children but am also desperate to be
sexually fulifilled within the halaal structure of marriage.
I am afraid of zina and the punishment for it so much but find
my self looking at other women with haraam thoughts in my mind
because my wife shows little inclination to want to satisfy me.
Living in London where there seem to be so many women also makes
the fitnah harder to control.
If I discuss this issue with my wife we invariably end up
arguing. Inevitably, the idea of me taking a second wife has
come up and she feels she would be unable to accept me doing
this and would ask for a divorce. I love my wife very much and
would not want to hurt her because in all other ways she is an
excellent companion for me. However, I feel that my desire
for her in a sexual sense has been damaged almost irreparably
by her lack of enthusiasm to have have sexual relations with
me and this side of marriage is very, very important to me. I
do not want to be even tempted by the idea of zina because I
realise the seriousness of this crime in Allah's eyes.
My parents would probably find it difficult to accept their
son taking a second wife also even though by the mercy and blessings
of Allah (SWT) I am in a well paid job and have my own means
Taking a second wife has such a stigma attached to it but
if my wife is unable to bear children as she has been so far
(medical tests on both of us seem to be normal) I feel that I
will have to consider the option of taking a second wife, my
desire to have children is so great. Doctors have suggested that
IVF will be an option but I am not sure of the Islamic legality
of this and even if it is ok according to the Sharee'ah , it
will still not solve the problem of my sexual dissatisfaction
in the future.
I would welcome if you could advise me on the best route of
action according to the Quraan and Sunnah. My imaan has suffered
from these problems. I genuinely want to please Allah (SWT) and
I realise that he is testing me. However, I feel like I am failing
the test and I want to do something about it as soon as possible.
Jazak Allah Khayr
(Please do not print my email address. You will understand
that this matter is of the utmost confidentiality. You are most
welcome to print my question and your answer on your webpage
but without my email address).
- A very worried brother in London
Dear "worried brother in London",
Your question is not new. I think probably
if you talked to most married men, the lack of sexual interest
has been an issue at one time or another, especially in many
long term marriages. However, I in no way minimize your concern
about the matter nor your desire to stay free of any sinful acts.
There could be many answers for you
and your wife. You probably realize that men and women often
differ on this matter. From your letter, you seem to be a kind
and caring husband, which is a good starting point. An atmosphere
of love and concern must be maintained if any positive progress
is to be achieved.
Of course, as Muslims, we are not left
in the dark about these things. We know that a woman is told
to come when her husband desires marital relations, even if she
is at the stove cooking. Surely, Allah Knows Best about these
matters. How great it would be if we all could just "hear
and obey" every tenet of Islam. But herein lies the struggle,
the "jihadul akbar" against those aspects of ourselves
Dear brother, I would not attempt to
solve this concern of yours with a few paragraphs in an advice
column. I would encourage you to seek the counsel of a Muslim
elder or a Muslim who has experience counseling married couples.
It would be best if you and your wife could approach this process
together. There are some stressful issues going on in the marriage
which could be a part of the problem as you already realize.
Making an effort to perform salat and read Qur'an together could
be a good beginning. Make dua together for Allah(swt) to help
you both through the trials of this situation also.
There may be spiritual reasons as well
as the more apparent mental and emotional problems. Try and address
all of them. I pray that Allah(swt) reconciles this problem and
increases your Faith (Iman) thereby.