In Islam, it is the husband's right to have sex with his wife whenever he desires, as long as she is not menstruating, she is in good health and neither of them are fasting.

According to Islam, is it permissible for the husband to force himself on his wife (bed his wife without her permission or when she is not willing) even if she is in good health?

  • This question seems related.
    – G. Bach
    Commented Aug 1, 2017 at 20:16
  • 1
    It’s sad seeing so many Muslims think this is okay because of a Hadith they don’t even understand. If Muslims think it’s legal for the husband to sexually assault his wife, then their understanding of this religion is very poor.
    – Shadi
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 2:29

2 Answers 2


A wife refusing sex (without the usual caveats: menses, Ramadan, medical conditions, etc.) would be a form of rebellion (nusyuz), which is a sin on her part. Nevertheless, there's limitations to what the husband can do in retaliation:

If the husband used violence to force his wife to sleep with him, he is legally a sinner and she has the right to go to court and file a complaint against him to get punished.
Dar Al-Ifta Al-Missriyyah

... the above does not in any way mean that the husband may force himself over her for sexual gratification. The Hadith mentions “the husband spends the night in anger or being displeased” which clearly shows that he must restrain himself from forcing himself over her. ...

... if the wife is ill, fears physical harm or she is emotionally drained, etc; she will not be obliged to comply with her husband’s request for sexual intimacy.
Darul Iftaa

Sheikh Assim Al Hakeem generally concurs with this in a YouTube video and states:

What is known as marital rape is sinful, but it's not a crime to be punished, to be punishable by law.

The Qur'an recommends a path forward:

... But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. ...
Qur'an 4:34

So among the the Qur'an's recommendations is "forsake them in bed" (or "leaving them in separate beds" Tafsir al-Jalalayn); it doesn't recommend physically forcing her to obey, but instead getting her to return to obedience.

Moreover, Muslims are required to obey the law of the land (Darul Iftaa), so if spousal rape is illegal, then the husband would be committing a crime, which is a sin.

There are laws in some places where a husband may legally enforce his rights under Sharia Law. In Selangor, Malaysia, for example:

Section 60. ... a wife shall not be entitled to maintenance when she is nusyuz or unreasonably refuses the lawful wishes or commands of her husband ...

Section 130. ... Any woman who wilfully disobeys any order lawfully given by her husband according to Hukum Syarak [Sharia Law] commits an offence and shall be punished with a fine not exceeding one hundred ringgit [about $US 26] or, in the case of a second or subsequent offence, with a fine not exceeding five hundred ringgit [about $US 128].
Islamic Family Law (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003, sourced from esyariah.gov.my


Contrary to what some may believe, it is NOT permissible for a husband to rape his wife, although the term "rape" might not be used due to the presumption of mutual consent in marriage. But we start with the very first aya of Surat al-Nisa' (Women) 4:1:

O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from a single soul and created from it its mate, and dispersed from both of them countless men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you demand your mutual rights, and (reverence) the wombs that bore you: Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer.

Rape or forced sex harms the wife both physically and emotionally. This is contrary to how Allah wants us to conduct our lives. Fear of Allah in how one conducts one's relationships, especially in this case those of marriage (but also other types), is paramount. Applying this to sexual violence, does this seem like a God-fearing act? "Reverence the wombs" actually refers to upholding high standards in maintaining family relations generally, but at the same time, the womb specifically relates to women, and certainly rape disrespects the woman in whose trust the man has entered in marriage.

In 4:19,

O you who have believed, it is not lawful for you to inherit women by compulsion. And do not make difficulties for them in order to take [back] part of what you gave them unless they commit a clear immorality. And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them - perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good.

To have sex by force is not kindness. The prophet also recommended to treat people in general with kindness and consideration, even family members who are not Muslim. So how could it be ok to harm one's wife?

In 4:21, referring to the husband taking unlawfully his wife's dower:

And how can you take it when you have become intimate with each other, and they have taken from you a solemn covenant?

The "solemn covenant" here is in Arabic "meethaq ghaleeth" and refers to the marriage covenant itself, in which both parties pledge to treat each other with honor, respect, kindness, and consideration. The same expression is also used in reference to the covenant between Allah and bani Israel in the Quran, and their breaking of that covenant was the reason for the severe punishment of wandering in the wilderness. Such a covenant is binding in the strongest possible way, and in fact one could translate "ghaleeth" as "sacred" in the sense of "inviolable". In 2:187, the relationship of husband and wife is described as being each other's "garment." That is expressive of the ultimate trust. There is no relationship of trust that permits one of the two to cause such deliberate harm to the other, especially a part of the relationship wherein trust is given in the most vulnerable way. For the husband to violate his wife in this way would violate the sacred bond between them. She should in turn try to fulfill her part and not unreasonably deny him intimacy. And in the matter of unfaithfulness both parties are equally bound to comply, although only the husband has the right to marry multiple wives. But even that is with the caveat that he will be capable of complete fairness in dealing with them.

Should the situation of the marriage get worse between them they should seek an intermediary or some kind of legal or other mediation rather than resorting to cruelty.

From the scholar Taqi al-Din al-Subki:

At the time when it becomes obligatory for a husband to provide financial support, clothing, (and other such provisions) for his wife, he should exert himself in doing so, and not be negligent in this duty such that his wife would have to file a complaint of his negligence with the judge [haakim], and in so doing spend from her own expenditures. Similarly, a wife should be responsive to her husband’s request for intimacy, such that he would not need to bring a complaint (against her) to the judge, and in so doing spend from his own expenditures.

Here even if the wife refused intimacy (and we presume this to be on multiple occasions where it became an issue), the resolution was via a judge, just as would be a complaint by the wife against her husband. The resolution is not by force or violence, and rape is an act of violence. So no, sexual violence is not permissible in Islam by a husband against his wife.

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