Aisha Badeji

Let’s just say that some of us have a knack for ‘’taboo topics’’, but we have got to have honest and open conversations about these issues because sweeping them under the carpet hasn’t exactly helped us as an Ummah.

Also, it is interesting to know that the problems that emanate from ‘’taboo topics’’ such as physical intimacy in marriages have no basis in Islam. The problems are largely as a result of cultural misguidance and the age-long practices in certain cultures. Agreed, culture is as old as man, but since it is a man-made construct, the negative aspects can be expunged. The Muslim community needs to bust these myths that are paraded as Islamic beliefs and as a result, fuel the narrative that Muslim women are oppressed.

That’s a bit clear right? Now, back to the question.

Should Haya (shyness or modesty) really be extended to the bedroom? The short answer is no. I mean, intimacy between spouses is a God-given human desire and according to Islam, it must be enjoyed within the confines of marriage. You know what’s more? It is a beautiful act of worship, highly rewarding and a means to earn Divine pleasure. As narrated by Abu Dharr, some people from among the companions of the prophet said to him ‘’O Messenger of Allah, rich people will get more reward. They pray as we pray, and they fast as we fast, but they give in charity from their excess wealth.’’ He said ‘’has Allah not given you things with which you can give charity?’’ Every Tasbeehah (saying ‘Subhan Allah (glory be to Allah’) is a charity. Every Takbeerah (saying ‘Allah Akbar (Allah is great’) is a charity. Every Tahmeedah (saying ‘Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah’) is charity. Every Tahleelah (saying La illaha illa Allah (there is no god but Allah’) is a charity. Enjoining what is good is a charity. Forbidding what is evil is a charity. Having intercourse (with one’s wife) is a charity.’’ They said ‘’O Messenger of Allah, if one of us fulfills his desire, is there a reward in that?’’ He said ‘’do you not see that if he does it in a Haram way, he will have the burden of sin? So, if he does it in a Halal way, he will have a reward for that.’’ [Muslim 1674]

However, Islam discourages sexual intercourse with menstruating women. Allah says in Surah Baqara verse 222

 ‘’And they ask you about menstruation. Say: it is a discomfort; therefore keep aloof from the women during the menstrual discharge and do not go near them until they have cleansed themselves, go in to them as Allah has commanded you; surely Allah loves those who turn much (to Him), and He loves those who purify themselves.’’

 In the next verse 223, Allah describes the freedom to enjoy intimacy with your Halal spouse.

‘’Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth, when or how you will, and send (good deeds, or ask Allah to bestow upon you pious offspring) for your own selves beforehand. And fear Allah, and know that you are to meet Him (in the Hereafter), and give good tidings to the believers (O Muhammad).’’

This verse pretty much gives us an insight into the importance of sexual pleasure for BOTH married men and women.  Imagine being ‘‘too shy’’ to discuss your sexual needs with your partner in a respectful yet honest manner because (some) culture demands that you have unnecessary sexual shame. Again, there is no basis for this in Islam. Throughout the lifetime of the Messenger (PBUH), his companions could walk up to him and freely demand explanation on sexual matters. What then is wrong with modern time Muslims? Are we suggesting that we are pious than the believers (some of whom were promised Jannah even before they died) of the past?

On the rare occasions that intimacy is discussed by Muslim scholars, it is hardly through the female lens. Thus, some women are forced to think that intimacy is a chore or an obligation they owe their husbands. But, really, this has to change. Islam gives you the express right and freedom to enjoy physical intimacy with your spouse without feeling ashamed or guilty. Your marriage is the only chance you have to do this right, so why not?

It is important for women to know their bodies, take charge of their personal sexual satisfaction and be clear to their spouses about it. Haya (shyness or modesty) should really be thrown out of your bedroom window.