Foreplay Between Spouses

Islam regards the satisfaction of sexual desire a natural instinct that should be fulfilled in an appropriate manner following certain regulations. The aim of marriage is that both spouses find comfort and spiritual stability in each other.

Allah (y) says: “And of His signs is that He created for you wives from among yourselves, so that you may find tranquility in them, and He engenders love and mercy between you. Indeed in that are signs for a people who reflect.” (30:21)

Marriage is encouraged in Islam. Jabir b. Abdullah said, ‘My father died and left seven or nine girls and I married a matron. The Messenger of Allah said: “O Jabir! Have you just got married?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘A virgin or a matron?’ I replied, ‘A matron.’ He said, ‘Why not a virgin, so that you might play with her and she with you, and you might amuse her and she amuses you.’ I said, ‘Abdullah [my father] died and left girls, and I dislike marrying a girl like them, so I married a lady (matron) so that she may look after them.’ On that he said, ‘May Allah bless you.’” (Bukhari)

Foreplay with the spouse is an important matter, for this increases the love, care and concern each has for the other

The Messenger of Allah (s) said:“Everything besides the remembrance of Allah is an idle and vain pursuit except for four things: A man’s playing with his wife, training his horse, target practicing, and learning swimming.”(Saheeh al-Jami as-Saghir) Each spouse should groom themself for the other. They should also clean themselves hygienically, wear pleasant scents, and appear in good attire. This increases one’s love for the other. The Prophet (s) said:“Allah is beautiful and loves beauty.”(Muslim)
Na’fi’, may Allah have mercy on him, said that Abdullah b. Umar used to perfume himself with pure Ood and Ood mixed with camphor, and say, “This is how the Prophet (s) perfumed himself.” (Muslim)
A’ishah said, “I used to perfume the Prophet (s) with the best perfumes he brought, and see its shine on his head and beard.”(Bukhari)
“Ibn Abbas said, “I beautify myself for my wife, as she beautifies herself for me. I do not demand from her all my rights, for I would have to give her all her rights, for Allah says, ‘And due to the wives is similar to what is expected of them, according to what is reasonable.’” (2:228)

Types of Foreplay Between Spouses

On the Bed

Each spouse is allowed to undress completely in front of the other, and they are allowed to enjoy looking at each other. Bahz b. Hakeem reported that his father said that his grandfather said, “I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, from whom should we conceal our private parts and to whom can we show?’ He replied, ‘Conceal your private parts except from your wife…’ I then asked, ‘Messenger of Allah, (what should we do), if the people are assembled together?’ He replied, ‘If it is within your power that no one looks at your private parts, then no one should look at it.’ I then asked, ‘Messenger of Allah, if one of us is alone, (what should he do)?’ He replied, ‘Allah is more entitled than people that bashfulness should be shown to him.’” (Abu Dawood)

Both spouses can enjoy each other the way they like, as long as the husband approaches the wife in the appropriate place (the vagina).

Ibn Abbas said that Umar b. al-Khattab came to the Prophet (s) and said, “O Messenger of Allah! I am destroyed!” The Messenger of Allah said, “What has destroyed you?” He said, “I approached my wife in a different manner last night.”The Messenger of Allah did not say anything to him, and Allah revealed: “Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth, when or how you will.” (2:223)

The Prophet (s) said: “Approach your wives in any manner as long as it is in the vagina, and as long as she is not in her menses.” (Tirmidthi)

This Hadeeth does not mean that the husband should stay away from his wife, and abstain eating or drinking with her if she is menstruating. A’ishah said: “While I was in my menstrual period, I drank from a cup, and the Prophet (s) drank from the same spot I drunk from and I ate meat from a bone, and the Prophet ate from the same place.” (Nasai)

One may enjoy his wife while she is in her menstrual period, but should avoid having intercourse with her. Anas b. Malik said, “When a Jewess was in her menstrual period, [the Jews] would not eat or drink with her, and they would not approach her while they were in their houses.’ The Companions asked the Prophet about this, and Allah revealed: ‘Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth, when or how you will, and put forth [righteousness] for yourselves. And fear Allah and know that you will meet Him. And give good tidings to the believers.’” (2:223)

The Prophet (s) said: “Enjoy your wives (during their menses), but do not have intercourse.” (Muslim)

When the Jews heard this, they said, “This man wants to differ with us in every matter!”

Usaid b. Hudhair and Ab’baad b. Bishr informed the Prophet (s) of what the Jews had said, and said, “Shall we not have intercourse with our wives while they are menstruating?’ (Upon hearing that) the Prophet (s) was angry, and the two Companions left. Someone brought some milk as a gift for the Prophet (s) and he called them back, so that the Companions would not think that he was angry with them.” (Muslim & Abu Dawood)

Jabir said, the Jews said, “If a man approaches his wife from behind (but in the vagina) the child would be born cross-eyed.” So Allah revealed the following verse: “Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth, when or how you will.” (2:223)

Jabir then said, “If the man wishes he may approach his wife from any position, as long as he approaches her in the vagina.” (Muslim)

It is a Sunnah practice to mention the name of Allah, when a man approaches his wife, and to say the supplication that has been reported in the Hadeeth: “If someone wants to approach his wife, and says:بِسْم الله اللّهُمَ جَنِّبْنَا الشَّيْطَان وجَنِّبْ الشّيْطانَ ما رَزَقْتَنَا ‘Bismillah, Al’laahum’ma jan’nib’nash-shaitan wa jan’nib ashShaitan maa razaqtana.’ ‘I begin with the name of Allah. O Allah ward away Satan from us and from that which You bless us with.’ If Allah wills that a child be born, Shaitan would never harm him.” (Bukhari)

He should also engage in foreplay with her, by kissing and touching her, to make her sexually aroused. A husband must wait for his wife to satisfy her sexual desire. Anas said that the Messenger of Allah (y) said: “If a husband has intercourse with his wife he must be truthful with her. If he got sexually satisfied before her, then he should wait for her to get her satisfaction.” (Abu Ya’la)

Umar b. Abdul-Aziz reported that the Prophet (s) said: “Do not have intercourse with your wife right away. Wait until she is as sexually aroused as you are.” The man asked, “O Messenger of Allah, what should I do [in order to achieve that?]” He (s) replied, “Kiss her, touch her, and try to arouse her. If you notice that is she is as ready [sexually] as you are, then engage in the intercourse.” (Al-Mughni)

In addition, it is also an act of Sunnah to perform a complete ablution by taking a full bath, or a partial ablution, as one does to offer a prayer, if the husband desires to have another round of intercourse with her. The Prophet (s) said: “If a man has intercourse with his wife, and thereafter wants to approach her again, let him perform ablution.” (Muslim)

This practice is purer, more hygienic and enables the person to have stronger sexual strength and desire.

When bathing

Foreplay with one’s wife is not confined to the bed. A husband may sport with his wife at any time, if privacy for both is secured and maintained.

A’ishah said: “The Messenger of Allah and I bathed from the same pot of water. He (s) (playfully) rushed to take the water and I said to him, ‘Leave some for me! Leave some for me!’” (Muslim)

In the house

A’ishah was asked: “What did the Messenger of Allah do upon entering his home?’ She said, ‘He used the tooth stick (siwak) to purify his mouth to kiss and hug his family.’” A’ishah said: “The Messenger of Allah kissed one of his wives and went to the Masjid to perform his prayers, and he did not make ablution in between.” (Ahmed)

Outside the house

As we pointed out earlier, fun with the wife is permitted at all times and places if full privacy is ensured. Nobody must see a husband and wife having fun with each other in public

A’ishah said: “While I was young, before I put much weight on, the Messenger of Allah and I were on a trip. He asked his Companions (s) to go ahead of him and asked me to race with him. I beat him in that race. Thereafter the Messenger of Allah (s) did not ask me to race with him. Later on, after I had put on some weight and forgotten that I had beaten him in a race, he asked his Companions, while I was traveling with him, to go ahead of him. He then asked me to race with him, I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! How can I race with you and I have put on weight?’ He (s) said, ‘You will do it.’ We raced and he beat me. He (s) said, ‘O A’ishah this win [of mine] by that win [of yours] in the (previous) race!’” (As-Silsilah as-Saheehah)

It is unlawful to reveal marital secrets or to talk about what takes place between a husband and his wife in private. The Prophet (s) said: “The greatest betrayal on the Day of Resurrection is that of a man who approaches his wife and she approaches him, and he fulfills his desire, and then tells people what he did with her.” (Muslim)

In order for matrimonial life to be maintained, and the family to be protected, Islam has designated certain rights each spouse owes to the other.