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Sexual relations in Islam

By His Eminence, the late Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)

Islam had set restraints that govern the Muslimsí sexual relations, knowing that it forbids any sexual extramarital affairs that represent obscenity which smears manís purity; thus, tarnishing his soul and derailing him from the straight path in a way that contradicts with manís interest in life.



Limits of sexual relations

Allah did not want man to live his sexual instincts in a chaotic manner by instantly responding to any incidental state that comes and goes without actually having any impact of any kind on his life. Allah wanted man to live his sexual instincts as part of the deep human relations, in a way that he would experience serenity, stability and tranquility, as well as the integration of materialism with spirituality. Actually, this achieves some sort of a balanced order that governs his relations, for he would be satiating his sexual needs in a calm and stable ambience flourished with love and mercy and at the same time, a small society would start to form from the spiritual and physical relation in which marriage and parenthood would come together to form a family that provides all the love, kindness and affection necessary for human bonding. It also determines each oneís responsibility so that each person would play his role in life; thus, forming the first tutor that teaches how to shoulder the general responsibilities after training on shouldering them in the private realm.

Extramarital affairs represent obscenity which smears manís purity

Marriage, in Islam, is not a mere partnership or contractual life; but rather, it is the unity of a joint spiritual and materialistic life, which Allah expressed in the following Ayah: ďThey are your garments and ye are their garments.Ē (02:187). This is the basis Islam wanted the social relations to be founded on. In this sense, He made the sexual craving in the womanís and manís body the force that propels each of them to communicate with the other and get to know him more, and consequently seal the relation with a sacred bond. Thus, he would satiate both his yearning and his desires, leading a sweet, soft and open life. In this way, the sexual need would no longer be subjected to the demands of the moment; but rather, it would turn into a movement in life that embodies much affection and great responsibilities. Actually, the sexual instinct would no longer be manís primary concern in life and it would turn into a mere natural need just as the other natural needs that roam within the circle of responsibilities in the reality. Thus, the state of fantasy would cease to exist and it would pave the way for the prevalence of the realistic aspect of the psychological conception of the instinctís call. It is mentioned in Nahjul Balaghah, that once, Imam Ali (a.s.) was sitting with his companions who gazed into a beautiful woman as she passed by, so the Imam said: ďThe eyes of these men are covetous and this glancing is the cause of their becoming covetous. Whenever anyone of you sees a woman who attracts him, he should meet his wife because she is a woman like his wife.Ē With this saying, the Imam implied that sex is a natural need that man should perform within the legitimate sphere; i.e. marriage, away from the fantasies that could arouse him. Marriage, in Islam, is not a mere partnership or contractual life; but rather, it is the unit of a joint spiritual and materialistic life; which is the basis Islam wanted the social life to be founded on

How Islam regards adultery and marriage

In the light of the aforementioned, adultery represents the deviation from the straight path described which satisfies manís sexual desires within the sphere of marriage and a cause of certain negative ambiences that could destabilize manís emotions, disrupt his general conditions and create many psychological complexes as he stands perplexed between his need to satiate his sexual desires and his need for stability. Moreover, it leads to the mixing of lineage and the destruction of families after losing any sense of emotional solidarity, spiritual blessings and intimate ambiences in which the family members feel that they are experiencing a state of spiritual unity based on the traits of solidarity and compassion, as well as the sense of responsibility and the unity of the course towards the future through cooperation founded on fixed bases.

Marriage that Islam regards as the only way for satiating oneís sexual desires might entail certain emotional disadvantages or life restraints at the level of the individual and the society, and it could lead to complicated problems in the coupleís life. However, when we study the positive results accomplished by marriage throughout history, we will notice a comprehensive human system that maintained much balance, stability and tranquility in manís life, despite the situations, legislations and traditions that differ with the variation of the primitive or civilized peoples in the way of practicing them. Although marriage, throughout history, might or might not have inflicted any injustice on the wife or husband, it produced a system that governs the family human relations in their various forms of unity and founded a dynamic live model for the other relation within the wide social circle, especially that if the individual got used to shouldering his responsibilities within the private and intimate circles, he would continue to do so in his wider general life.

Although adultery might have some positive aspects by instantly fulfilling oneís emotional tendencies, burning feelings and instinctive sexual hunger that could be satiated in one way or another and by indulging in the fantasies incited by physical beauty or spiritual harmony, its negative results are limitless. It could create many problems and complexes, as well as emotional deprivation and spiritual anxiety, especially for the woman who naturally yearns for emotional and physical stability and who might lose her picture as a human before the picture that depicts her, in manís fantasy, as a means of satiating his whims and desires away from her human characteristics that portray her as a human who thinks, works and takes part in building life.

If we make a comparison between the advantages and disadvantages, we will find out that the advantages of marriage exceeds by far the advantages of adultery; whereas the disadvantages of adultery surpass those of marriage. Thus, if man cannot reach a flawless system, due to the limitedness of the reality in which he moves in terms of the person, arena, tools and ambiences, it is obvious that he should choose a system whose benefits surpass its damages, so that his life would take the straight path towards integration, balance and righteousness.

Source: [(Interpretations) inspired from the Holy Quran]