Quran Facts | 2:224 – Have Sex With Your Wives As And When You Want
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2:224 – Have Sex With Your Wives As And When You Want

Introduction

It is alleged that the Holy Quran and the Islamic tradition is oppressive to women. Verses of the Holy Quran are showcased by detractors as promoting the inferiority of women, misogyny and abuse against women.

 

On the contrary, the Holy Quran and the Islamic tradition have probably the greatest historical legacy of the emancipation and empowerment of women. The Holy Quran unequivocally announces the equality of men and women in several verses such as 16:98– Whoso acts righteously, whether male or female and is a believer, We will surely grant him a pure life; and  We will surely bestow on such their reward according to the best of their works.

 

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (on whom be peace) had a direct hand in this legacy. One of the first acts of the Prophet Muhammad (on whom be peace) to shift attitudes towards women was halting the practice of female infanticide. He announced that daughters were a blessing upon the household they were born into: A person who is blessed with a daughter or daughters and makes no discrimination between them and his sons and brings them up with kindness and affection, will be as close to me in Paradise as my forefinger and middle finger are to each other.” (Muslim II, Section Beneficence).

 

As is sometimes alleged, Muhammad (on whom be peace) was clearly not a misogynist, rather a great benefactor in the emancipation and empowerment of women. He spent his career as a trader working for a woman named Khadijah who later became his wife. Throughout his ministry he regularly consulted her in matters and decisions as the leader of the Muslim community. Islam accorded women the right to accept or refuse a proposal for marriage, and the right to inheritance and ownership of property. While acknowledging that men and women have been endowed with different roles and functions in society, the Quran exhorts on equality between men and women in the eyes of God in that both will be rewarded solely on the basis of their deeds (see section below ‘Fundamental Teachings of Islam About Women’).

 

The women of the family of prophet Muhammad (on whom be peace) became revered figures and great examples among Muslims which aided in shifting attitudes about women. His first wife Khadijah (ra) was a business leader and his trusted advisor. His daughter Fatimah (ra), known for her piety, was a great example to the Muslim community. And his wife Ayesha (ra) came to be known as a religious and community leader.

Your wives are a tilth for you; so approach your tilth when and how you like and send ahead some good for yourselves; and fear Allah and know that you shall meet Him; and give good tidings to those who obey. (2:224)

 

Allegation

The allegation against this verse is that it allows men to demand sex from their wives as and when they please without any required consent from the wife.

 

Context

When God revealed the Holy Qur’an, he revealed it for all men to ponder upon and to take similitude from the heavens and earth around them (18:55 – “And, surely, We have explained in various ways in this Qur’an, for the good of mankind, all kinds of similitudes…”). In this verse of the Qur’an, God Almighty takes the example of a wife’s role as a child-bearer as ‘a place of cultivation’.

The truth comes when one looks at how a farmer treats his field. He wakes up every morning before the sun rises and the first thing that he thinks of his field. He leaves the comfort of his bed and wakes his whole family to begin a strenuous day of watching after his crops. He looks after his field, and watches closely for any signs of sickness, outside predators, or even dehydration. His end goal is simple: he wishes to bear a harvest of the best possible quality.

The same is what God Almighty beautifully teaches the believers. The wife of a believer is his harvest. If he invests his time and treats his spouse with love and care, she will reciprocate with ‘fruits’, or a healthy and successful relationship that in turn will form the foundation of a good family and upbringing of children. This verse does not signify some sort of allowance of sexual perversion, rather a serious responsibility entrusted upon man. If this verse allows for marital rape or for men to demand sex upon impulse at the displeasure of the wife, then the simile of cultivation does not make sense as it will not bear the fruits of a healthy relationship and good child upbringing.

The Prophet Muhammad (on whom be peace) once said “the best among you is the one who is best with his family, and I am the best with my family”. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 3252 Narrated by Aisha ; Abdullah ibn Abbas)

Keeping this in mind, we can see that there is no instance where the Prophet ever showed any aggression to his wife, rather he treated them with nothing but love. In return he taught us how we can live our lives with our wives in harmony and accord. He also taught us in his last sermon that wives are the trust of God upon the husband.

Therefore this verse should be kept in mind to be one that gives men a great responsibility and duty towards his wife.


Fundamental Teachings of Islam

The Holy Quran and Islamic fundamental teachings hold one of the greatest historical legacies advocating equality between men and women and according rights to women in an era wrought with misogyny. Although men and women have fundamentally different roles in life and society, the Holy Quran clearly emphasizes equality between men and women as is clear from the following verses:

Surely, men who submit themselves to God and women who submit themselves to Him, and believing men and believing women, and obedient men and obedient women, and truthful men and truthful women, and men steadfast in their faith and steadfast women, and men who are humble and women who are humble, and men who give alms and women who give alms, and men who fast and women who fast, and men who guard their chastity and women who guard their chastity and men who remember Allah much and women who remember Him – Allah has prepared for all of them forgiveness and a great reward. (33:36)

 

So their Lord answered their prayers saying, I will not allow the work of any worker from among you, whether male or female, to be lost. You are from one another. Those therefore, who have emigrated, and have been driven out from their homes, and have been persecuted in My cause, and have fought and been killed, I will surely remove from them their evils and will cause them to enter gardens through which streams flow – a reward from Allah, and with Allah is the best reward. (3:196)

 

They (your wives) are a garment to you, and you are garment to them. (2:188)

 

But whoso does good works, whether male or female, and is a believer, such shall enter Heaven, and shall not be wronged even as much as the little hollow in the back of a date-stone. (4:125)

 

And think of the day when thou wilt see the believing men and the believing women, their light running before them and on their right hands, and it will be said to them, ‘Glad tidings for you this day! Gardens through which streams flow, wherein you will abide. That is the supreme triumph. (57:13)

 

Whoso acts righteously, whether male or female and is a believer, We will surely grant him a pure life; and We will surely bestow on such their reward according to the best of their works. (16:98)

 

The following verse exhorts a gender not to covet that which, as an endowment and creation of God, makes one gender excel the other. For example, men having more physical strength than women. The verse exhorts that both men and women will be ultimately rewarded per their deeds and righteousness.

 

And covet not that whereby Allah has made some of you excel others. Men shall have a share of that which they have earned, and women a share of that which they have earned. And ask Allah of His bounty. Surely, Allah has perfect knowledge of all things. (4:33)

 

These verses make the equality of men and women abundantly clear. Males and females are repeatedly mentioned on an equal footing in attaining spirituality, the ultimate success in the eyes of God Almighty.

 

This is further reinforced in Hadith literature which are the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (on whom be peace) such as the following examples:

 

‘It is the duty of every Muslim man and every Muslim woman to acquire knowledge’ (Ibne Majah)

 

‘The best among you is he who is best in his treatment towards his wife.’ (Abu Daud)

 

‘Paradise lies under the feet of your mother.’ (Nisai)