Marriage is a legal contract that gives both parties the right of sexual pleasure. It has been emphasized by the Holy Quran and the Islamic tradition since it is a means of satisfying one’s needs and urges, forbidding him from committing sins, and maintains procreation and the continuity of the human race.
The issue has been raised among scholars from a jurisprudential point of view. The majority of Sunnischolars proposed that is it more favorable to engage in a sexual relation with one’s wife rather than proceed with the recommended acts of prayer. However, the Shafi’s oppose the matter. They regard marriage as a basic instinct. It has been compared in the Holy Quran to the instinct of possession of fortune: “The love of desires, of women and sons and hoarded treasures of gold and silver and well bred horses and cattle and tilth, is made to seem fair to men; this is the provision of the life of this world; and Allah is He with Whom is the good goal (of life).” (3:14). The Shafi’s has alluded to this verse in their claim explaining that engaging in a sexual intercourse with one’s wife is not favored over recommended acts of prayer since it is a matter of pursuing and fulfilling instinctual needs. Thus, it is a worldly affair rather than a religious one.
Other scholars claim that recommended marriage, that is the kind of marriage which strives at giving man immunity against sins and committing adultery, is more favorable than recommended acts of prayer.
In other stories, it is mentioned that marriage itself is an act of worship since it satisfies one’s desires. It has been mentioned that sins of a married couple are erased when they are engaged in a sexual act.
One can balance between both issues. He can make use of his time in providing for his family, and giving his wife her marital rights upon him. In the case of an unmarried man who wishes to get married, then it is more favorable to spend time working and preparing for his marriage rather than engaging in recommended acts of worship.