There is no concept of marital rape in Islam.
In Islam Rape is a crime of Zina, which refers to extramarital or pre marital sex.
Within marriage there is no extramarital or premarital intercourse by definition.
Therefore there can be no marital zina.
No marital rape.
Zina can also mean other things;
The eyes commit Zina, the hands commit Zina and feet commit Zina and the genitals commit Zina.” (Musnad Ahmad, Hadith no. 4258)
Which means there can be Zina in lustful gazes, thoughts, or without full intercourse.
The word Rape in English is much broader, it refers to “a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person’s consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, or below the legal age of consent”
There is no concept of marriage within this current definition.
However within Islam there can be illegal intercourse within marriage. Such as intercourse during menses, during obligatory fast or intercourse which will harm the woman, due to illness, infection and so on
So although there can be no zina in Islamic marriage. There can be illegal intercourse. Which in English translates as rape.
Still with me?
There can also be assault within an Islamic marriage.
Therefore the man who forces his wife to have sex can be guilty of assault on his wife.
Now, many will be saying a woman should not be refusing her husband, so he shouldn’t have to force her based on the hadith;
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If a man calls his wife to his bed, and she refuses to come, the angels curse her until morning comes.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3065; Muslim, 1436.
However this is simplifying the situation and ignoring some other rulings. It has to be understood that out of context the rulings of shariah don’t work. They only work when applied together in its entirety. A demonstration of this is arranged marriages work if the parents are looking out for best interest of kids as per Islam, but if they are more bothered about status and debts and other stuff it doesn’t work for the best of all involved.
firstly – “al-Fataawa al-Islamiyyah, 3/145, 146
It is not permissible for a husband to force his wife to do more than she is able to bear of intercourse. If she has an excuse such as being sick or unable to bear it, then she is not sinning if she refuses to have intercourse”
Secondly – This is ignoring the nature of an abuser. That is not the fault of who ever brings the argument that a woman shouldn’t be saying no,as they are normal, reasonable human beings.
In a normal marriage women say no, men say no, neither are upset, the husband who loves his wife and cares about her akhirah wouldn’t be angry with her, as he wouldn’t want the angels to curse her.
In an abusive marriage the husband does not force the woman because she does not give him intercourse. This is a misunderstanding. according to Shariah if the husband wants more sex then the wife they should come to an agreement.
“Because there are no sharee’ah courts nowadays in your country, the wife should try to come to an agreement with her husband on this matter, so she should speak to him frankly and remind him of the verses and ahaadeeth that command the husband to be kind to his wife. She should explain to him that she is only refusing because of the harm that is being caused to her, and that she is very keen to obey him and respond to his desires.”
and often women in abusive marriages do go willingly to their husbands. That is why they are still in the marriage. Because they want to make it work. They are trying. They love their husbands. They try everything, even making agreements with a man who is forcing them to have sex on how often they will be intimate.
This will not stop a rapist raping his wife. Even if she had consensual intercourse with him a few hours previously, he will still force her, hold her down. There is no concept of the woman responding to his call, as he will not even call, or give her a chance to respond. He will just take what he wants.
He will not do this out of desire that is natural. He will do this out of a desire to control, humiliate, degrade, make his wives life difficult. Rape is not a crime of passion.
Will you say then the woman is sinful as she didn’t fulfil her husbands rights willingly?
and we have to remember The husband has to fear Allaah with regard to his wife, and not make her do more than she is able to do. He should be kind to his wife and treat her in a reasonable manner.
In the Prophet sallalahu allayhi wa salaams last sermon He sas emphasised good treatment of women, in his last days he wanted his Ummah to remember;
“Fear Allah concerning women! Verily you have taken them on the security of Allah, and intercourse with them has been made lawful unto you by words of Allah.”
and he sallalahu allayhi wa salaam also said
The most perfect amongst the believers in faith is one who has the best manners and best of you are those who are best to their wives.”
So how does the treatment of ones wives when a man forces her to have sex come in to agreement with the above hadith?
Also, we need to educate men a bit about female anatomy. This may be offensive but;
“When we turn to our own classical works, we find that sexual conduct has been mentioned in
numerous books. Every single work of fiqh has chapters related to sex. Every explanation of
hadith, every tafsir of the Qur’aan, must by its very nature deal with matters pertaining to sexuality. Additionally, throughout our own fourteen centuries of tradition and history, there have been
many books written to help couples find more meaningful relationships and increase sexual pleasure within marriage. These works are many times quite explicit, but hardly ever crude or vulgar.
And I believe that we can learn much from their language and style.”
So, a woman does not walk around in a state with a gap between her thighs. There is a closed wall of muscle there. If it is forced open it will hurt and bruise. Even if a man forcing his wife does not leave bruises and marks externally, and one says, she has not been harmed by my actions, there are no marks on her, the act of forcing a woman who is not ready or prepared will harm her and bruise her internally.
That is not even considering the emotional affect on the woman. In Islam a woman’s fitrah is to be emotional. Emotions effect the woman’s ability to do things in ways they don’t effect a mans.
So, there is no Marital rape in Islam.
for further info read http://islamqa.info/en/ref/9602
if you are a muslim woman being effected by Domestic violence, please contact Nour DV http://nour-dv.org.uk/ or national zakat foundation http://www.nzf.org.uk/ if you contact me on fb I can put you in contact with people in these organisations if you like.
Do not suffer in silence, we are one Ummah, you are my sister, if you hurt I hurt too.
p.s Although the legal definition of rape and assault has changed with time, and marital rape was only criminalised recently in the west, marital assault and being good to your wife have always been important parts of Islam. Islamic standards do not change according to time or the changing whims of society, but remain constant inshallah.
EDIT: can someone please let me know who shared this article on twitter? I would like to say thanks!