THE ISLAMIC SEXUAL MORALITY :THE STRUCTURE by Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi
In this chapter we will first talk about marriage at the age of puberty, then we will examine the possible ways of handling sexual urges if one decides not to marry soon after puberty, and finally we will discuss comprehensively about marriage procedure and sexual techniques.
THE BEGINNING OF SEXUAL LIFE
Sexual desire is aroused in human beings at the age of puberty. In Islamic legal definition, puberty (bulugh) is determined by one of the followings:
1. age: fifteen lunar years for boys and nine for girls;
2. internal changes:
In boys: The first nocturnal emission. Semen accumulates in the testicles from puberty onwards and more semen may be formed than the system can assimilate; when this happens, semen is expelled during the sleep. This is known as nocturnal emission and wet dream or ihtlam in Arabic. In girls: Menstruation. Right from their birth, the girls’ ovaries contains about 400,000 immature eggs; at puberty, the eggs start maturing, usually one ovum each month. If no egg is fertilized, the egg together with the lining of the womb is discarded in form of what is known as menstruation and monthly period or hayz in Arabic.
3. physical change
Growth of coarse hair on lower part of abdomen. Since sexual urge begins at puberty and as Islam says that sexual urge should be fulfilled only through marriage, therefore, it has allowed marriage as soon as the boy and the girl reach the age of puberty. In case of girls, it not only allows them to be married as soon as they become mature, but also recommends such marriage. It is based on such teachings that Islam discourages girls from postponing their marriage because of education; instead, it says that girls should get married and then continue their education if they wish to do so.
But just physical maturity by itself is not enough for a married life, rushed (maturity of mind) is equally important. On the other hand, however, our present way of life has become so much complicated that there has appeared a considerable gap between puberty and maturity -both in financial and social affairs. A recent article on the American youths says, “[Y]oung Americans entering the 21st century are far less mature than their ancestors were at the beginning of the 20th. The difference is evident in all areas of youthful development: sex, love, marriage, education and work. Physically, today’s youths are maturing earlier than previous generations, but emotionally they are taking much longer to develop adult attachments.”1 Consequently, it is not easy for boys and girls of our atomic age to marry as they become physically mature.
So what how should the youths handle their sexual urge? What can the Muslims do about their next generation? In spite of the problem mentioned above, I believe there are ways by which Muslim youths in their late teens can get married without worrying about the financial aspect. Here I can suggest three possibilities::
1. If the parents are well to do and can support their young married children till they are financially independent, then I would strongly suggest that they encourage their children to marry and support them till they can stand on their own. While talking about the contract of freedom made between a slave and his master, the Qur’an says, “… and give them of the wealth of Allah which He has given you …” (24:33) If Islam puts so much emphasis on financially supporting one’s freed slave (so that he may stand on his own feet), it is needless to say how virtuous it would be to help one’s own children to stand on their feet!
On a broader level, the Muslim organizations should create funds (e.g., long term interest-free loans) to support the young Muslims who want to get married but lack financial resources. Once a person guilty of indecent sexual behaviour was brought to Imam ‘Ali. After punishing him, the Imam arranged for his marriage at the expenses of the government. The Imam set an example of how the society can help the youths in starting a family life. By looking at the situation in the Western world, the Muslim organizations should at least morally feel obliged to provide such support for their youths. This is not a matter of charity, it is a matter of surviving as a Muslim community in a hostile environment.
2. The boy and the girl can do their ‘aqd (marriage contract) but postpone the marriage ceremony till after they have finished their education. In other words, they would be married but still staying with their parents. They can meet each other without any shari’ah objection; and if they decide to have relations, then they should use permissible contraceptive means to delay the child-bearing process. In this way, they would be able to fulfill their sexual desire and be free from financial responsibilities.
3. The boy and girl can do their ‘aqd and even the marriage ceremony but delay the child-bearing process AND adopt a very simple life-style. Thus they will be able to fulfill their sexual desire and also be free from heavy financial burden.
However, I cannot overemphasize the importance of the role played by parents in supervision of all such arrangements. I would not at all support the idea that a boy and a girl decide such matters on their own without the parents’ input or without registering such arrangements at the community center. This will protect the reputation of the girl in case things do not work out properly. Moreover, what I have suggested above also means that parents and youngsters both will have to radically change their outlook towards the materialistic aspect of life. They will have to adopt a very simple life-style. If today’s youths intend to have a ‘standard’ financial footing before getting into marriage, then it will not be possible in the late teens; they will have to wait till they are above thirties! The article mentioned above says that the youths “are marrying later than their parents did -partly for economic reason- and many college graduates are postponing marriage beyond age 30.”1
One important benefit of these suggestions is that a youngsters of college age will be free from sexual anxieties and will be able to concentrate fully on his or her studies. On the other hand, if a Muslim youth raised in the Western society without any religious upbringing is not provided with financial and moral support by his parents, then he will most probably melt in the permissive culture that tolerates teenage sex outside marriage And if this happens, God forbid, the youth will not longer regard sexual relationship as a matter of value or commitment. “Most of us got one-night stands out of our system in college,” writes Nancy Smith, 25, in a recent essay for The Washington Post on her generation’s struggle with adulthood. “Sex outside a relationship is not so much a matter of right or wrong as: Is it really worth the hassle?”2 And this type of sexual behaviour has serious social consequences: abortions; unwanted babies; increase in divorce ratio and single-parent families. Add to this the emotional suffering the people in general and the children in particular go through in such crisis.
Marriage & Sex
SOME OFTEN ASKED QUESTIONS
By syed Mohammad Rizvi
Q) Do parents have any right over the marriage of their children?
Ans: The father and paternal grandfather have full authority over the children who have not yet reached the age of puberty. When a child reaches the age of puberty, then there are three different situations:—-
- a child who is baligh but not mentally mature: in this case, the father and the grandfather still have their authority over him or her. Such a child cannot take a decision on marriage without the approval of the father or the grandfather.
- a male child is baligh and also mentally mature: in this case, he has full right to decide about his own marriage.
(c) a girl who is baligha and mentally mature: There are four different opinions on this issue. But the majority of the present mujtahids say that in her first marrige, a baligha and mentally girl cannot marry without the permission of her father or grandfather.. And if such a girl had already married before, then she has full right to decide for herself in case of her second marriage.
This law is in place to act as an extra protection to the honour of a teenage girl. On the other hand, if the father or grandfather refuses to give his consent to a proposal of a suitable man, then the girl can approach a religious judge whose decision will supersede that of her father.
Q 2) By considering the issue of hijab in Islam, is a boy permitted to look at the girl before marrying her?
Man is allowed to see without hijab the woman whom he intends to marry. However, this permission is just for the man or the woman to see the perspective spous once; it is not a perpetual license to go out together! I strongly recommend that this should be done in supervision of the parents or the guardians.
Sharaya’, p.493; Sharh Lum’ah, vol.2, p.67; ‘Urwah, p.625; Minhaj, vol.2, p.253; Tahrir, vol.2, p.254; Tazkirah, vol.2, p.572; an-Nihayah, p.484.
But if two persons who are engaged with to meet each other and go out, then there is a way to legalize that Islamically. This can be done by performing mut’ah marriage between the fiance and the fiancee. They can even put a condition in the mut’ah that there will be no sexual relations. This way, they will be able to meet each other without any objection from the shari’ah. This method can also be adopted by those who wish to go through the engagement ceremony.
However, as mentioned earlier, a girl who has not married before, will need her father’s or grandfather’s approval even in such a mut’ah marriage.
Q 3) Are there any special days in the Islamic calendar when marriage is encouraged or discouraged? Basically marriage is allowed at all times?
However, there are some days on which marriage is not recommended; some of these are based on ahadith and some on cultural, historical reasons. Generally, we can categorize these days into three:
(a) There are some ahadith which say that it is makruh (not recommended) to have marriage ceremony on the days when the moon is in the direction of the Scorpio (this is known as al-qamar fi aqrab or qamar dar aqrab), during the last two or three days of the lunar months, and on Wednesdays.
(b) There are some ahadith which says that certain days of each month are ill-omen days (nahas); these days are the 3rd, 5th, 16th, 21st, 24th and 25th of lunar months.
However, the ahadith for both the above categories would not stand the scrutiny of the scholars of hadith. Our mujtahids do not normally apply their full expertise in matters not related to obligatory or prohibitive commands. They relax the criteria for acceptability of ahadith in matters related to sunnat and makruh acts. This is known in usulu ‘l-fiqh as “qa’idatu ‘t-tasamuh,” that is, the rule of leniency (in ascertaining the acceptability of hadith) This has been mentioned very clearly by Ayatullah al-Khu’i in his manual of fatwas. He says, “Most of the mustahab acts mentioned in the chapters of this book are based on the qa’idatu ‘t-tasamuh in sources of the sunnat acts. Therefore, whatever has not been proved sunnat in our view should be done with intention of raja’il matlubiyyah. The same applies to the makruh acts; these should be abstained from with the intention of raja’il matlubiyyah.
As far as the two categories for marriage days are concerned, it will suffice to quote Ayatullah Gulpayegani, one of the leading mujtahids of our time who says: “One may follow these mustahab and makruh acts with the intention of raja’il matlubiyyah, because there is no clear evidence for some of these things.”
There are certain days of the Islamic calendar which have become associated with the early events of the Islamic history; for example, the 10th of Muharram is the day of mourning for the massacre at Karbala or the day of the Prophet’s death in Safar, etc. Since such days are commemorated by the Muslims as days of mourning, it is socially and, to some extent, religiously not recommended to have a marriage ceremony on such days.
The Wedding Night:
I must explain why I have written wedding ‘night’ and not ‘day’. Wasa’il, vol.14, p.62. The hadith says, ‘Take the bridge to her new home during the night,”1 Based on this saying, it is recommended that wedding should take place at night. After all, Allah has made the night “so that you may rest in it.” (10:67)
After the bride has entered the room, the groom is recommended to take off the bride’s shoes, was her feet (in a washbowl) and then sprinkle the water around the room.
Then the groom should be wuzu and pray two rak’at sunnat prayer and then recite the following du’a:
Allahummar zuqni ulfataha wa wuddaha wa rizaha bi; war zini biha, wajma’ baynana bi ahsani ijtima’in wa anfasu i’tlafin; fa innaka tuhibbul halal wa tukrihul haram
(O Allah! bless me with her affection, love and her acceptance of me; and make me pleased with her, and bring us together in the best form of a union and in absolute harmony; surely You like lawful things and dislike unlawful things.)
Then he should ask the bride to do wuzu and pray two rak’at sunnat prayer.
When they are ready to go to bed, the groom should put his hand on the bride’s forehead and pray the following du’a while facing the qiblah. (So those going on honey moon in a foreign country, don’t forget your qiblah compass!)
Allahumma bi amanatika akhaztuha wa bi kalimatika ‘s-tahaltuha. Fa in qazayta li minha waladan, faj’alhu mubarakan taqiyyah min Shi’ati Al-i muhammad (sal-lal-lahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam) wa la taj-’al lish shaytani fihi shirkan wa la nasiba.
(O Allah! I have taken her as Your trust and have made her lawful for myself by Your words. Therefore, if you have decreed for me a son from her, then make him blessed and pious from among the followers of the Family of Muhammad [peace be upon him and them]; and do not let the Satan have any part in him.) al-’Urwah, p.624
“They ask you about menstruation. Say: Menstruation is a discomfort (for women). Do not establish sexual relations with them during the menses and do not approach them (sexually) until the blood stops. Then when they have cleansed themselves, you go into them as Allah has commanded you.” (2:222)
According to the shari’ah, the duration of the monthly period is more than three and less than ten days. If the bleeding was for less than three days, it is menstruation; if it is for more than ten days, then it was menstruation for ten days and then it is counted as istihazah, irregular bleeding during which sex is permitted The prohibition of sex during the period is limited strictly to sexual intercourse; other intimate contact (with the exception of the vagina and anus) is allowed. However, it is better not to play with her body between the naval and the knees.
If a person who is engaged in sexual intercourse with his wife discovers that her periods has begun, then he should immediately withdraw from her.
It is clear from the verse mentioned above (until the blood stops) that once the blood was stopped, intercourse becomes lawful even if the woman has not performed the major ritual ablution (ghusl). But on the basis of the subsequent sentence (then when they have cleansed themselves …), most mujtahids say that it is better to refrain from intercourse till she performs the ghusl or, at least, washes her private parts Wasa’il, vol.1, p.576.
Sexual intercourse is also not allowed during the post-natal bleeding (10 days), during daytime in the month of Ramadhan, and when a person is in ihram during the pilgrimage to Mecca.
At all other times, sexual intercourse is allowed.
Q )Is it discouraged (makruh) to have sex at any time or on any day?
There are certain ahadith which say that sexual intercourse during some days and at some times is makruh, but not haram. These days and times are as follows:
i. during frightful natural occurences, e.g., eclipse, hurricane, earthquake;
ii. from sunset till maghrib;
iii. from dawn till sunrise;
iv. the last three nights of lunar months;
v. eve of the 15th of every lunar month;
vi. eve of 10th Zil-hijjah;
vii. after becoming junub.
Some of these are self-explanatory: I don’t think any one would be in the mood for sexual intercourse during a hurricane or earthquake. The second and third example are of the prayer times; obviously, a Muslim is expected to spend that time in meditation and prayer. But remember, it is makruh, not haram to have sexual intercourse at these time. Moreover, the hadith for the such issues have been accepted on basis of the qa’idatu ‘t-tasamuh mentioned earlier. Thirdly, the reasons given for this karahat are mostly about possible deformity of a child conceived at that time. By looking at these reasons, I am inclined to restrict this karahat only in cases of couples who plan to have children, and not extend it to those who practise birth control. I would therefore advise the readers to be considerate to each other and not to put your spouse in unnecessary tension; if your spouse is very sensitive about these makruh days, then try to accommodate your likes and dislikes accordingly. Mutual understanding is the key.
Q ) Are there days and times when sexual intercourse is recommended?
Yes, we have certain ahadith which say that it is better to have sexual intercourse at these times:
i. Sunday night;
ii. Monday night;
iii. Wednesday night;
iv. Thursday noon;
v. Thursday night;
vi. Friday evening;
vii. whenever the wife wants to have sex.
Thursday & Friday are weekends in Islamic calendar!
* Are there times when it is obligatory (wajib) to have sexual intercourse?
Yes! It is wajib on man to have sex with his wife at least once in every four months; this is considered as one of the conjugal rights of the wife. This obligation stays in force unless there is a valid excuse or the wife waives her right.
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. . Wasa’il, vol.14, p.40.
” 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).” Ibid, p.83
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 foreplay3. Ibid.
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. Ibid, p.82.
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.” . Tahzibu ‘l-Ihya’, vol.3, p.110.
Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq has been quoted as follows: “… there should be mutual foreplay between them because it is better for sex.” . Wasa’il, p.82.
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.” 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?!” Ibid, p.85.
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.” Ibid, p.14-16.
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’.”1 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.
* Techniques of Foreplay:
As far as the methods of mutual stimulation in foreplay are connected, the shari’ah allows the husband and the wife to see, kiss, touch, smell and stimulate any part of each other’s body. Therefore, oral sex, as it is known in this part of the world is allowed.
Imam Musa al-Kazim was onced asked, “Can a person kiss his wife’s vagina?” The Imam said, “No problem.”1 The only restriction is that no foreign object should be used. And this restriction is quite understandable: nothing can really substitute the things Allah has created in our bodies!
The restriction I am placing on the use of foreign objects is based on the following hadith. ‘Ubaydullah bin Zurarah says that he had an old neighbour who owned a young slave-girl. Because of his old age, he could not fully satisfy the young slave-girl during sexual intercourse. She would therefore ask him to place his fingers in her vagina as she liked it. The old man complied her wishes even though he did not like this idea. So he requested ‘Ubaydullah to ask Imam ‘Ali ar-Riza about it. When ‘Ubaydullah asked the Imam about it, the Imam said, “There is no problem as long as he uses any part of his own body upon her, but he should not use any thing other than his body on her.” Wasa’il, vol.14, p.77.
In earlier discussion, we said that masturbation (i.e., self-stimulation of one’s own sexual organ till emission of semen or orgasm) is not allowed. However, in case of married persons, there is no problem if the wife stimulates her husband’s penis till the emission of semen or the husband stimulates his wife’s vagina till orgasm. This is allowed because it does not come under “self-stimulation;” it is stimulation by a lawful partner.
The Qur’an clearly says that, “The believers are … those who protect their sexual organs by a lawful partner surely comes under the definition of protecting one’s organs “except from their spouses.”
* Sexual Intercourse:
Is there any particular position for sexual intercourse which is forbidden in Islam? No! As far as the basic coital positions are concerned, there is no restrictions. I am using the term ‘basic coital positions’ for the positions known as the man above, face to face; woman above face to face; side position, face to face; rear-entry position in which the husband penetrates the vagina from the rear. Actually, the shari’ah has left it on the husband and the wife to explore and experiment as they wish.
In the early Islamic period, an event took place which clarified this issue for all. The people of Medina, influenced by the Jews, used man-above face to face position during sexual intercourse; whereas the Meccans liked to experiment various positions. After the migration of Muslims to Medina, a Meccan married a Medinese woman and wanted to have sex with her in his own way. The woman refused and said that he can have sex only in one position. The case was reported to the Prophet; so Allah revealed the verse saying “Your women are a tilth for you, so go into your tilth as you like.” (2:223) That is, in any position. al-Mizan, vol.3 (English translation) p.319.
However, it is makruh to adopt a standing position, or to face the qiblah or keep it on the backside during the intercourse.
It is advisable to refrain from the acrobatic positions given by some sexologists of the East and the West which might even cause physical harm. Remember, the basic rule is mutual pleasure and flexibility. If one partner does not like a particular position, then the other should yield to his or her feelings.
* Anal Intercourse:
The opinions of our mujtahids vary on the permissibility of anal intercourse. This variance in fatwas is because of the difference in the ahadith we have on this issue.
There is a hadith, for example, from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq quoting the Prophet that “The anus of women is haram for my community.” Wasa’il, vol.14, p.104.
Now this hadith categorically forbids anal intercourse. But the chain of narrators of this hadith is not completely flawless. See Tazkirah, vol.2, p.576-7; Shahid’s Masalik, vol.3, p.303
On the other hand, we have an authentic hadith in which ‘Abdullah bin Abi Ya’fur asked Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq about a man who had had intercourse in the anus of his wife.
The Imam said, “There is no problem in it if she agrees.”
‘Abudllah, “Then what do you say about the statement of Allah that ‘Then go into them as Allah has commanded you’?” The Imam replied, “This command is about seeking children, it means seek children as Allah has commanded you. But he also says, ‘Your women are a tilth for you, therefore go to your tilth as you like Wasa’il,, vol.14, p.103.
When a mujtahid is faced which such conflicting ahadith, he has to see whether he can bring them together or not. In our case, the mujtahids have taken the more authentic hadith which approve anal intercourse as a qualifier for the ahadith which totally forbid such sex. Especially so with the reference to the Qur’anic verses found in the approving ahadith. And in conclusion, they say that the prohibition in the above mentioned ahadith is not on the level of haram, instead it is on the level of makruh Sharh Lum’ah, vol.2, p.68; Shahid’s Masalik, vol.1, p.438-9.
This conclusion is supported by a third category of the ahadith in which the Imams have clearly discouraged their followers from anal intercourse.
Safwan al-Jammal said to Imam ar-Riza that, “One of your followers has requested me to ask you a question which he himself feels embarrassed to ask you.” The Imam said, “What is it?” Safwan, “It is about a man having sex in his wife’s anus.” The Imam said, “Yes, he can do it.” Then Safwan, who was a close companion, asked, “Do you do it?” The Imam said, “NO! We do not do it.” Wasa’il, vol.14, p.102-3.
Therefore the majority of the Shi’ah mujtahids say that anal intercourse is not haram but strongly disliked (karahatan shadidan) provided the wife agrees to it.
And if she does not agree to it, then all mujtahids say that it is precautionarily wajib to refrain from it. al-’Urwah, p.628.
However, according to Ayatullah al-Khu’i, it is precautionarily wajib to abstain from anal intercourse no matter whether the wife agrees to it or not. Minhaj, vol.1, p.64.
I would strongly advise against anal intercourse because it can be painful and it can cause injury as the area was not designed for that! Moreover, the scientists say that if you engage in anal intercourse, do not mix it with vaginal intercourse because this will lead to infections in some people with yeasts and other organisms which belong in the anus, not in the vagina or the male organ. I like to end this section with the sayings of Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq and Imam ‘Ali ar-Riza about anal intercourse: “Woman is a means of your pleasure, therefore do not harm her. Wasa’il, vol.14, p.101-2.
* Decency & Privacy:
There was a time when people need not be reminded of some of the basic moral and ethical values, but now we are living in an era where moral values are changing with the change of the worn-out car tires!
One of such issues is decency in dress at home and privacy at the time of sexual intercourse or intimate contact between husband and wife. There are some people in the West (of course, in minority) who think that it is okay, nay healthy, to stay naked in presence of their children! Ona collective basis, they also organize nude camps. Why? So that the children will not think negatively about their own sexuality. Such parents also feel that there is nothing wrong in sexual intercourse in presence of their children. This behaviour is an example of the extreme reaction to the rigid Christian morality. To protect their children from associating sex with evil, some of these parents go to the extent of completely opening up to their children!
Such behavior is not only condemned by those who still abide by religious moral systems, it is equally condemned by those who are familiar with child psychology. A sexual manual read by millions of Westerners says, “Never involve children in adult sexual activities: militant and exhibitionist liberals who try to acclimatize children to the naturalness of sex by letting them in any level of their own sex lives probably do at least as much harm as was ever done by the prohibitive sex-is-dirty generation.”
We have quite a few ahadith in which the Prophet and the Imams have emphasized that when you engage in sexual intercourse, make sure that no child (or, for that matter, any other person) sees you or hears you.
Abu Basir quotes Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq as follows, “Be careful not to have sex with your wife while a child can see you. The Prophet used to dislike this (attitude) very strongly.” . Wasa’il, vol.14, p.94-5.
If a child sees and hears the parents engaged in sexual intercourse, he or she might go through a shocking psychological experience. It might also create problem in his or her own adult life.
The manual quoted earlier says, “Most young children are biologically programmed to interpret the sight or sound of adult coition as evidence of a violent assault (they are aware of it earlier than you would expect, so don’t keep babies in the bedroom), and the awareness of mother-father sexual relations is on all counts for too explosive a matter to be monkeyed with in the interest of Reichian experiments.”
Islam has laid down cler guide-lines about the privacy of adults. Referring to the children who have not yet reached the age of puberty (bulugh), the Qur’an say:
O you who believe! … Those of you who have not yet reached puberty should ask you for permission (before entering your bedroom during) three times: before the dawn prayer, when you put off your garments at midday (for siesta), and after the night prayer -these are three times of privacy for you. Besides (these three times), there is no blame on you or them if you go to one another (without announcing yourselves). Thus God makes clear to you the signs, and God is All-Knowing, Wise (24:58)
Then referring into the children who have reached the age of puberty, the Qur’an says:
When your children reach puberty, they should ask your permission (at all times before entering your bedrooms) just as those who were before them had asked permission. Thus God makes clear to you the signs, and God is All-Knowing, Wise (24:59)
These two verses give us the following rules about privacy within and without the family circles:
1. There are three times in a day -night, early morning and afternoon- which are considered as times of privacy.
2. The minor children should be taught that during times of privacy they are not allowed to enter into the bedroom of their parents or adults without first asking their permission. Obviously, by minor we do not mean infants; we mean the children who can understand what is right and what is wrong. I would put that at age five and above. The parents will have to ingrain this teaching to their minor children gradually.
3. At other times, the children are free to come and go into the bedroom of their parents without asking for their permission. In retrospect, this means that the parents should be decently dressed at those other times.
4. As for the mature children and adults, the Qur’an is clear that they may enter the bedroom of their parents or other adults at all times only after asking their permission.
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