Muslim Matrimonials and More's Ask Bilqis


Monday, September 6, 1999


Dear Bilqis,


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 of accommodation.

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 which resist.

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.

-Bilqis Muslim Matrimonials