Sources of the narration and linguistic explanations and interpretations
This hadith appears in sahih Muslim in two versions 1, 2 and the 2nd version can also be found here in sunan abi Dawod.
Allah () says in the Qur'an, when quoting intercourse between spouses in the nights of Ramadan:
... They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them. ... (2:187)
This is interpreted as that the women (wives) are keeping and hiding the secrets of their men (husbands) as clothes would hide their 'awrah and men (husbnads) are keeping and hiding the secrets of their women (wives) as clothes are hiding their 'awrah.
Note that the Arabic word used here is
In the Qur'an you may find it in the meaning of sexual intercourse in:
And how could you take it while you have gone in unto each other and they have taken from you a solemn coven (4:21)
But it linguistically could also come in the meaning of telling/sharing a secret.
Now lets see what hadith scholar have said about the meaning and how they interpreted it:
From a commentary of sunan abi Dawod
In 'Awn al-Ma'abod عون المعبود the commentary on sunan abi Dawod of
Muhammad Shams al-Haqq al-'Adhim Aabaadi محمد شمس الحق العظيم آبادي seems to follow the meaning of the translation from sunan abi Dawod (My own translation take it carefully):
( يفضي إلى امرأته ) : أي يصل إليها ويباشرها
(consorts, had intercourse or was intimate by touching, fondling and sexual intercourse.
( ثم ينشر ... سرها ) : أي ما جرى بينه وبينها من أمور الاستمتاع .
(and then publicizes her secret) means publicize what has happened between them of these kinds of joyful acts.
والمعنى أن نشر الرجل وإفشاءه ما جرى بينه وبين امرأته حال الاستمتاع بها من أعظم خيانة الأمانة .
And the meaning of this hadith is to say that the greatest and most evil betrayal of trust, is if a man publicizes what happened between him and his wife.
From a commentary of sahih Muslim
In his commentary of this hadith in sahih Muslim imam an-Nawawi said (My own translation take it carefully:
وفي هذا الحديث تحريم إفشاء الرجل ما يجري بينه وبين امرأته من أمور الاستمتاع ، ووصف تفاصيل ذلك وما يجري من المرأة فيه من قول أو فعل ونحوه . فأما مجرد ذكر الجماع ، فإن لم تكن فيه فائدة ولا إليه حاجة فمكروه لأنه خلاف المروءة .
This hadith shows the prohibition of publicizing what happens between husband and wife among the joyful acts of intimacy, and describing them with details and what the wife may say or do (during the intemcy) etc., while only quoting intercourse, if there's neither benefit nor need (*) is frowned upon because it goes against the sens of honor.
وقد قال صلى الله عليه وسلم : من كان يؤمن بالله واليوم الآخر فليقل خيرا أو ليصمت
And the Prophet Allahs prayers and blessings be upon him said: "He who believes in Allah and the Last Day should either utter good words or better keep silence"
وإن كان إليه حاجة أو ترتب عليه فائدة بأن ينكر عليه إعراضه عنها أو تدعي عليه العجز عن الجماع أو نحو ذلك فلا كراهة في ذكره
And if there was a necessity or a benefit like if some would disapprove his
aversion towards his wife or if she would pretend he would be incapable for intercourse or something similar then there wouldn't be any karaha (disapproval or frown on doing so)
كما قال صلى الله عليه وسلم : إني لأفعله أنا وهذه وقال صلى الله عليه وسلم لأبي طلحة : ( أعرستم الليلة ؟ ) وقال لجابر : ( الكيس الكيس ) . والله أعلم .
As the Prophet () has said . "I and she (the Mother of the Faithful) do it" or as he () asled Talha "Did you spend the night with her"
or as he () advised Jabir "Seek to have offspring, seek to have offspring!" and Allah knows best!