Thursday, 6 October 2011

Ruling on sexual fantasies


We got married three and a half years ago, and he is very good and very religiously committed. We worship Allaah together as much as we can, praise be to Allaah. But the problem started with me from the beginning of the marriage. Whilst having intercourse he had to tell me sexual stories and I would use my imagination, because I could not reach climax otherwise. In order to feel satisfied I have to fantasize. The problem with me is that I feel guilty every time after having intercourse, because the images that I fantasize about stay with me– I never imagine myself with any other person at all, only people whom I do not know. I told him about this problem and he did not get angry, but I feel like it is a kind of betrayal. What should I do? Please advise me. What is the Islamic ruling?.

Praise be to Allaah.


Sexual fantasies are among the thoughts that cross a person’s
mind because it is something that is stored in the subconscious which is
affected by the environment in which he lives and the scenes that he sees.
These are thoughts that occur to most people, especially the youth, but they
vary from one person to another with regard to their type, strength and

Islamic sharee’ah is the sharee’ah of the fitrah (natural
state of man) and it is in harmony with human nature, and it takes into
account the psychological fluctuation that Allaah has made a part of the
human make-up. So it does not go beyond human limitations or impose
impossible burdens. 

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Allaah burdens not a person beyond his scope”

[al-Baqarah 2:286] 

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with
him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
said:  “Allaah has forgiven my ummah for whatever crosses their mind so long
as they do not speak of it or act upon it.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (2528)
and Muslim (127).

Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said commenting on
this hadeeth: 

Whatever crosses a person’s mind, so long as he does not
dwell on it or continue to think of it, he is forgiven for it, according to
scholarly consensus, because it does not happen voluntarily and he has no
way of avoiding it. 

Al-Adhkaar (p. 345). 

Passing fancies come under the heading of that which crosses
a person’s mind, which is forgiven according to the hadeeth quoted above. So
if a person imagines haraam things that came to his mind unbidden, there is
no blame or sin on him, rather he has to ward them off as much as he can.


If a person dwells on haraam thoughts and calls them to mind,
then the fuqaha’ differed as to how to view this situation – is it covered
by that forgiveness or does it come under the heading of thinking and
resolving 9to do something haraam) for which a person may be called to

This issue was discussed by the fuqaha’ in the following

If a man is having intercourse with his wife and is thinking
of the charms of another woman, so that he imagines he is having intercourse
with her, are those thoughts and fantasies haraam? The fuqaha’ differed
concerning that. 

The first view is that it is haraam, and that the one who
deliberately brings haraam images to mind whilst having intercourse with his
wife is sinning. 

Ibn ‘Aabideen al-Hanafi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

The view that is closest to the spirit of our madhhab is that
it is not permissible, because imagining that woman as if he is having
intercourse with her is imagining oneself committing a sin with a woman who
is not permissible for him. 

Haashiyat Radd al-Muhtaar

Imam Muhammad al-‘Abdari, who is known Ibn al-Haaj al-Maaliki
(may Allaah have mercy on him), said: 

A man should refrain from thinking such thoughts and tell
others to avoid this behaviour too, i.e., this obnoxious characteristic that
has unfortunately become very common, which is when a man sees a woman whom
he likes, he goes to his wife and has intercourse with her, and starts to
imagine that woman whom he has seen. 

This is a kind of zina (adultery) because of what our
scholars (may Allaah have mercy on them) have said about the one who takes a
tankard and drinks water from it, but he imagines that it is alcohol that he
is drinking – so that water becomes haraam for him. 

What we have mentioned does not apply only to men, rather it
also includes women, and it applies even more so to them, because what is
common nowadays is that they go out or look out from windows, and if they
see someone whom they like, they start thinking about him, then when they
have intercourse with their husbands they bring that image that they have
seen to mind, so each of them may be committing zina in some sense – we ask
Allaah to keep us safe from that. 

He should not only avoid that himself, he should also draw
his family’s and other people’s attention to it, and tell that this is
haraam and is not permitted. 

Al-Madkhil (2/194, 195). 

Ibn Muflih al-Hanbali (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:  

Ibn ‘Aqeel stated in al-Ri’aayah al-Kubra that if a
man imagines the image of another woman who is forbidden to him whilst
having intercourse with his wife, he is sinning, but a passing thought that
he cannot prevent does not constitute a sin. 

Al-Adaab al-Shar’iyyah (1/98). 

The evidence for this opinion is the view favoured by a
number of scholars, that if thoughts that cross the mind become entrenched
and may turn into something that one resolves to do, then they come under
the heading of things for which one is accountable, and that haraam
fantasies that a person deliberately calls to mind are not covered by
forgiveness, because they have been thought of deliberately and the person
will be called to account for that. 

Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The reason why
passing thoughts are forgiven is what we have mentioned above, that they
cannot be avoided. But it is possible to avoid dwelling on them. Hence
dwelling on them is haraam. 

Al-Adhkaar (345). 

The second view is that it is permissible, and that there is
no sin on the one who does that. This is the view of a number of later
Shaafa’i scholars, such as al-Subki and al-Suyooti. 

They said: That is because there is no resolve or
determination to sin in fantasies. He may imagine that he is having
intercourse with that woman, but there is no resolve in his heart or any
plan to do that, rather he may refuse if given the opportunity to do it. 

It says in Tuhfat al-Muhtaaj fi Sharh al-Minhaaj
(7/205, 206) – which is a Shaafa’i book: 

Because when he thinks of that or imagines it, it does not
occur to him to actually commit zina or do any of the things that lead to
it, let alone resolve to do it. All that is happening to him is that he
imagines something reprehensible as something good. End quote. 

See: al-Fataawa al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kubra (4/87). 

It seems that the correct view is the view that such
fantasies are makrooh, even if we do not say that they are haraam. That is
for the following reasons: 

Many psychologists regard
sexual fantasies as a psychological disorder if they dominate a person’s
thinking to such an extent that he cannot enjoy any pleasure except through
these fantasies, and that may lead to abnormal sexual fantasies.

Islamic sharee’ah teaches the
principle of sadd al-dharaa’i’ or blocking the means that may lead to haraam
things and closing every door that may lead to evil. It is to be expected
that sexual fantasies may lead to a person committing haraam deeds. A person
who frequently imagines something and wishes for it will inevitably develop
the motive to do it and will try to do it a great deal. So he starts by
looking at haraam images, and his eyes become accustomed to looking at
haraam things, then he will try to fulfil his fantasies.

Most of these fantasies comes
to people’s mind by haraam means in people’s minds, such as permissive
satellite channels and by watching scenes of decadent societies from kaafir
lands all over the world, where there is no modesty and watching sex scenes
is becoming a daily habit, as is obvious to anyone who live or works in
those countries.

Finally, such fantasies may
lead to spouses losing interest in one another, so the wife is no longer
attractive to her husband, and vice versa, which leads to marital problems,
and then sufferings and problems start. 

For all of these reasons, our advice to everyone who is
tested with such fantasies is to hasten to put a stop to them and rid
himself of them. The following means may be of help: 

1 –Completely avoiding everything that may provoke such
fantasies, such as haraam movies and TV shows which are shown on satellite
TV, as well as avoiding reading stories that generate such fantasies. We
have already discussed on our site the fact that it is haraam to read such
sexual stories. See the answer to question no.

Al-Ghazaali said in Ihya’ ‘Uloom al-Deen (1/162): 

The way to ward off distracting thoughts is to cut off their
source, i.e. avoid the means that could create these thoughts; if the source
of such thoughts is not stopped, it will keep generating them. End quote 

2 – Regularly reciting the adhkaar that are prescribed in
sharee’ah, especially that which is said before having intercourse: “Allaahumma
jannibna al-shaytaana wa jannib al-shaytaana ma razaqtana (O Allaah,
keep the Shaytaan away from us and keep the Shaytaan away from that with
which You bless us).” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (141)and Muslim (1434). 

3 – Focusing on the present enjoyment instead of that which
is absent. In both spouses there is that which will keep the other from
thinking of haraam things. If each spouse focuses on the attractions of the
other, they will not be distracted by fantasies of other things. 

4 – Imagine if your husband had fantasies like you do, would
you accept that? Wouldn’t that make you feel unhappy? How can you accept to
make your husband feel like that? Try to use this thought to get rid of what
you are feeling. 

5 – Consult psychologists. There is nothing wrong with your
going to a female psychologist or family doctor and asking her for advice;
you may find something to help you in sha Allaah. 

I ask Allaah to guide and bless you and your husband. 

And Allaah knows best.

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