- :Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi
Before I start writing anything about sexual techniques, it is necessary to stay that there exist no rules and laws either in foreplay or in intercourse. The only laws and rules are the ones reached by the lovers by mutual, and often unspoken, understanding. Whatever is pleasing and satisfying to both the husband and the wife is right and proper; and whatever is mutually displeasing is wrong. The only limitation to this general rule would be any shari'ah rule which goes against the wishes of the husband or the wife.
Man often forgets that woman also has been created with the same desires as man. Asbagh bin Nubatah quotes Imam 'Ali that, "Almighty God created sexual desires in ten parts: then He gave nine parts to women and one to men." But then Allah also gave them "equal parts of shyness."1 Many times this shyness makes the man ignore the desires of his wife.
Based on this reality, Islam emphasizes on fore-play. Imam 'Ali says, "When you intend to have sex with your wife, do not rush because the woman (also) have needs (which should be fulfilled)."2 Sex without fore-play has been equated to cruelty. The Prophet said, "Three people are cruel: ... a person who has sex with his wife without foreplay."3 Another hadith equates sex without foreplay to animal behaviour; "When anyone of you has sex with his wife, then he should not go to them like birds; instead he should be slow and delaying."4 The Prophet said, "No one among you should have sex with his wife like animals; rather there should be a messenger between them." When asked about the messenger, he said, "It means kissing and talking."5 Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq has been quoted as follows: "... there should be mutual foreplay between them because it is better for sex."6 The Prophet said, "... every play of a believer is void except in three cases: horse-riding, archery and mutual foreplay with his wife -these are haqq."7 Ishaq bin 'Ammar asked Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq whether a person can look at his wife while she is naked? The Imam said, "There is no problem in that. Is enjoyment other than that?!"8
As for the role of woman in sexual foreplay, the Imam have praised a wife who discards shyness when she is with her husband. A hadith was quoted earlier from Imam 'Ali which said that woman have been given nine-tenth of the sexual desire but Allah has also given them nine-tenth of shyness. I had promised in chapter two to explain the rationale behind this hadith. There might seem a contradiction in this act of God, but it is not so. Both the sexual desire and the shyness have been placed for very specific purpose. The sexual desire is to be unleashed, yes unleashed, when a woman is with her husband, but it must be shielded with shyness when she is with other people. This has been very eloquently explained by Imam Muhammad al-Baqir when he said, "The best woman among you is the one who discards the armour of shyness when she undresses for her husband, and puts on the armour of shyness when she dresses up again."9
These sayings clearly show that the husband and the wife should feel completely free when they are engaged in mutual stimulation which is known as foreplay. There is nothing wrong, according to Islam, for a woman to be active and responsive during sex. This is diametrically opposed to the sexual morality of the Christian West world during the pre-sexual revolution era. Russell says, "Western women of a generation or two ago can recall being warned by their mothers that sexual intercourse was an unpleasant duty which they owned to their husbands, and that they were 'to lie still and think of England'."10 What else but a sexual revolt could such a morality breed?
As for the Islamic shari'ah, all the mujtahids are unanimous in saying that the act of sexual foreplay in itself is mustahab (recommended). Likewise, it is recommended not to rush into sexual intercourse. The operative word is mutual pleasure and satisfaction.
1. Wasa'il, vol.14, p.40.
2. Ibid, p.83.
4. Ibid, p.82.
5. Tahzibu 'l-Ihya', vol.3, p.110.
6. Wasa'il, p.82.
7. Wasa'il, vol.14, p.83.
8. Ibid, p.85.
9. Ibid, p.14-16.
10. As quoted in Sex and Destiny, p.94.
Adapted from: "Marriage & Morals in Islam" by: "Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi"
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