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Islamic Sex Education

Written by: by Islamic Education & Services Institute :: (View All Articles by: Islamic Education & Services Institute)

It's very natural to be slightly embarrassed or uncomfortable in the face of this issue but we have to admit that sex is a natural part of our existence. Also, teens and adolescents will be curious and they will search for answers. If they have nowhere or no one reliable to go to because of embarrassment, they will go to more readily available but unreliable or unIslamic sources. This might end updoing more harm than good. I hope providing this information will benefit everyone - parents and youth alike.

  1. Basic bedroom fiqh
  2. Turning Sex Into Sadaqa
  3. Sexual Relations Between Husband & Wife
  4. Sex - a means of keeping the heart pure
  5. Human Sexuality and the Shariah
  6. Sex Is Good For You
  7. More about Sex & Islam
  8. Is your Ghusl Correct?
  9. Circumcision may prevent AIDS
  10. Medical benefits from circumcision (male)
  11. Female Circumcision
  12. Taking pictures whilst naked or having intercourse
  13. Reading sexual advice in books on Internet
  14. Learning about abortion and veneral diseases
  15. Abortion of babies with genetic diseases
  16. Is In Vitro Fertilization Allowed?
  17. Masturbation: Halal or Haram?
  18. Mutual Masturbation between spouses
  19. Advice for one who wakes up masturbating
  20. Masturbating to avoid pornography
  21. Drinking one's wife's milk during foreplay
  22. Oral Sex
  23. Family Planning
  24. Reproductive Issues
  25. Flirtation and Love Affairs
  26. Lowering our Gaze
  27. Islamic Perspective on Homosexuality
  28. Private Schools Promoting Homosexuality
  29. Homosexuality. The Cost to Society 
  30. Qaradawi on Free-Mixing of Men and Women
  31. Anal Sex
  32. Condoms
  33. Viagra
  34. Transplanting Testicles
  35. Sterility Operations

    Question: I just got married, and would like to know the essential fiqh of bedroom relations. I wanted to know the fiqh of intimacy with one's spouse. Specifically what is haram, makrooh, mubah, halal..etc...


    It is disliked to:

    • Face the qibla. (Ibn `Abidin)
    • Be in the presence of a mature child. (Ibn `Abidin)
    • Talk, for it is from the sunna not to talk excessively during intercourse. (Ibn `Abidin)

    It is proper to cover up a Qur’an in the bedroom. (Ibn `Abidin)

    It is best to avoid looking at each other’s private parts, though some Companions held that it is fine because it increases desire. (Durar)

    Ibn al-Hajj al-Maliki mentioned in al-Madkhal:

    • The beginning of the night is better…
    • One must avoid intercourse with one’s wife before any foreplay, because it has been interdicted. Rather, one should play around with her and jest with kisses, touches and the like. Then, one sees that she is ready, prepared, and desirous of him, only then should he initiate intercourse. The wisdom of the Lawgiver in this is evident, for the woman derives pleasure as a man does. If he approaches her while she is unprepared, he may fulfill his need, but she may not, and would feel frustrated…
    • Before penetration, one should say, Bismillah Allahumma Jannibna al-Shaytan, wa Jannib ish-Shaytanu ma Razaqtana, as has been authentically reported in the sunna…
    • One should be careful to fulfill the rights of the wife with regards to intercourse, and to safeguard her religion. One should fulfill oneself [=orgasm] after she has achieved fulfillment, to be under the general rubric of the Prophet’s saying (Allah bless him and give him peace), “Allah is in the assistance of a servant as long as he is in the assistance of his fellow.”
    • One should not have intercourse without covers…
    • It is best to perform ghusl before sleeping after intercourse. Or, at least to do wudu and wash the private parts. [f: One should not, at the very least, leave washing the private parts.]

    These are general guidelines. Ruqayya Waris Maqsood’s book on marriage goes into some detail on the subject, as does Imam al-Ghazali’s work.

    Anal sex is, of course haram.

    Mutual hand stimulation is permitted.

    Sexual fluids are najis, so oral sex is detested.

    During mentruation (hayd), intercourse is haram. So is direct skin contact between the wife’s navel and knee. Everything else, however, remains permitted.

    And Allah knows best.

Turning Sex Into Sadaqa
An excerpt from 'The Muslim Marriage Guide', By Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood (Amana Publications), reprinted in Beliefnet.com

"Women shall have rights similar to the rights upon them; according to what is equitable and just; and men have a degree of advantage over them." (Quran, 2:216)

They do indeed! This passage of the Holy Quran was revealed in connection with the rights of women following a divorce, but it also has a general sense. One basic right of every person taking on a contract never to have sex other than with their own legitimate partner is that each spouse should therefore provide sexual fulfillment (imta') to the other, as part of the bargain.

Now, every man knows what sexual things please him--but some men, particularly those who have not been married before and are therefore lacking experience, don't seem to know much about how to give the same pleasure to the woman; even worse, some men do know but they can't be bothered to make the effort. Yet this is vital if a marriage is to succeed and not just be a disappointing burden for the woman, and it is a vital part of one's Islamic duty.

It is not acceptable for a Muslim man just to satisfy himself while ignoring his wife's needs. Experts agree that the basic psychological need of a man is respect, while that of a woman is love. Neither respect nor love are things that can be forced--they have to be worked for, and earned. The Prophet (s) stated that in one's sexual intimacy with one's life partner there is sadaqa (worship through giving):

God's Messenger(s) said: "In the sexual act of each of you there is a sadaqa." The Companions replied: "0 Messenger of God! When one of us fulfils his sexual desire, will he be given a reward for that?" And he said, "Do you not think that were he to act upon it unlawfully, he would be sinning? Likewise, if he acts upon it lawfully he will be rewarded." (Muslim)

This hadith only makes sense if the sexual act is raised above the mere animal level.

What is the magic ingredient that turns sex into sadaqa, that makes it a matter of reward or punishment from Allah? It is by making one's sex life more than simple physical gratification; it is by thought for pleasing Allah by unselfish care for one's partner. A husband that cannot understand this will never be fully respected by his wife.

Neither spouse should ever act in a manner that would be injurious or harmful to their conjugal life. Nikah is the sacred tie between husband and wife, that sincere and devoted love without which they cannot attain happiness and peace of mind.

"Of His signs is this: that He created for you spouses that you might find rest in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy." (Quran, 30:21)

Now, every Muslim knows that a man has a right on his wife. However, because nikah is a contract never to seek sexual satisfaction outside the marriage bond, Islam commands not only the women but the men in this respect, and makes it clear that if a husband is not aware of the urges and needs of his wife, he will be committing a sin by depriving her of her rights.

According to all four orthodox jurists, it is incumbent upon the husband to keep his wife happy and pleased in this respect. Likewise, it is essential for the wife to satisfy the desire of the husband. Neither should reject the other, unless there is some lawful excuse. 

Now, it is fairly easy for a woman to satisfy a man and make herself available to him, even if she is not really in the mood. It is far harder for a man to satisfy a woman if he is not in the mood, and this is where an important aspect of male responsibility needs to be brought to every Muslim man's attention, and stressed strongly.

The jurists believed that a woman's private parts needed "protecting" (tahsin). What they meant was that it was important for a Muslim husband to satisfy his wife's sexual needs so that she would not be tempted to commit zina out of despair or frustration.

A Muslim wife is not merely a lump of flesh without emotions or feelings, just there to satisfy a man's natural urges. On the contrary, her body contains a soul no less important in God's sight than her husband's. Her heart is very tender and delicate, and crude or rough manners would hurt her feelings and drive away love. The husband would be both foolish and immoral to act in any way unpalatable to her natural temperament, and a man selfishly seeking his own satisfaction without considering that of his wife is a selfish boor. In fact, according to a hadith:

"Three things are counted inadequacies in a man. Firstly, meeting someone he would like to get to know, and taking leave of him before learning his name and his family. Secondly, rebuffing the generosity that another shows to him. And thirdly, going to his wife and having intercourse with her before talking to her and gaining her intimacy, satisfying his need from her before she has satisfied her need from him." (Daylami)

This is another of the things implied by the saying that one's wife is "a tilth unto you." (Quran, 2:223) The imagery is that of a farmer taking care of his fields. According to Mawlana Abul-Ala Mawdudi:

"The farmer sows the seed in order to reap the harvest, but he does not sow it out of season or cultivate it in a manner which will injure or exhaust the soil. He is wise and considerate, and does not run riot." (Afzalur Rahman, Quranic Sciences, London 1981, p.285)

Likewise, in the case of husband and wife, the husband should not just:

“Take hold of his wife and rub the seed and finish the business of procreation. The damage in this case could sometimes be irreparable, because a woman, unlike a farm, is very sensitive and has emotions, feelings, and strong passions which need full satisfaction and attention in a proper and appropriate manner.” (Afzalur Rahman, Quranic Sciences, London 1981, p. 286)

If this is not taken into consideration, and the wife is not properly prepared to start lovemaking, or is unsatisfied when it is finished, there could be many psychological and physiological complications leading to frigidity and other abnormalities. Indeed, many husbands eventually become disappointed with their wives, believing them to be frigid or unable to respond to their activities (unlike the sirens on the film or TV screen), and they wonder what is wrong with them. A possible explanation will follow in a moment.

Allah created male and female from a single soul in order that man might live with her in serenity (Quran, 7:189), and not in unhappiness, frustration and strife. If your marriage is frankly awful, then you must ask yourself how such a desperate and tragic scenario could be regarded by anyone as "half the Faith." According to a hadith:

"Not one of you should fall upon his wife like an animal; but let there first be a messenger between you." "And what is that messenger?" they asked, and he replied: "Kisses and words." (Daylami)

These "kisses and words" do not just include foreplay once intimacy has commenced. To set the right mood, little signals should begin well in advance, so that the wife has a clue as to what is coming, and is pleasantly expectant, and also has adequate time to make herself clean, attractive and ready. As regards intimacy itself, all men know that they cannot achieve sexual fulfillment if they are not aroused. They should also realise that it is actually harmful and painful for the female organs to be used for sex without proper preparation. In simple biological terms, the woman's private parts need a kind of natural lubrication before the sexual act takes place. For this, Allah has created special glands, known to modern doctors as the Bartholin glands, which provide the necessary "oils."

It is still possible to read old-fashioned advice to husbands that a desirable wife should be "dry"--which is remarkable ignorance and makes one really grieve for the poor wives of such inconsiderate men. Just as no one would dream of trying to run an engine without the correct lubricating fluids, it is the same, through the creative will of Allah, with the parts of the female body designed for sexual intimacy. A husband should know how to stimulate the production of these "oils" in his wife, or at the very least allow her to use some artificial "oils." This lack of knowledge or consideration is where so many marital problems frequently arise.

As Imam al-Ghazali says: "Sex should begin with gentle words and kissing," and Imam al-Zabidi adds: "This should include not only the cheeks and lips; and then he should caress the breasts and nipples, and every part of her body." (Zabidi, Ithaf al-Sada al Muttaqin, V 372) Most men will not need telling this; but it should be remembered that failure to observe this Islamic practice is to neglect or deny the way Allah has created women.

Insulting a wife with bad marital manners.

Firstly, a husband must overcome his shyness enough to actually look at his wife, and pay attention to her. If he cannot bring himself to follow this sunna, it is an insult to her, and extremely hurtful. Personal intimacy is a minefield of opportunities to hurt each other--glancing at the watch, a yawn at the wrong moment, appearing bored, and so on. A husband's duty is to convince his wife that he does love her--and this can only be done by word (constantly repeated word, I might add--such is the irritating nature of women!), and by looking and touching.

Many people believe that the expression in the eyes reveals much of the human soul. Certainly the lover's gaze is a most endearing and treasured thing. Many wives yearn for that gaze of love, even after they have been married for years. If you cannot bring yourself to look at her while paying attention to her, she can only interpret this as a sign that you do not really love her. And even though it may be irritating to you, and seem quite superfluous, most women are deeply moved when a man actually tells her that he loves her.

Sex is clean!

A modest upbringing is part of good character. The Prophet (s) himself said: "Modesty brings nothing but good." (Bukhari and Muslim) But another, also important, part of Islamic teaching says that all of Allah's creation is beautiful and pure, particularly when it is part of the body of human beings, who are designed as His deputies upon the earth. In some religions, people traditionally believed that the woman's private parts are in some way unclean, or dirty, or even evil.

Sexual Relations Between Husband & Wife

Date: 18 MAY 1996
Newsgroups: soc.religion.islam
Subject: Re: Sexual Relations Between Husband & Wife

XXXX wrote: Hello. As a recently married Muslim, I was hoping someone could refer me to sources which can guide me as to what is permissible in Islam between a man and his wife. I once heard of an Islamic book called "Perfumed Garden"? Is there such a publication? Or could someone suggest other sources. In particular, I needed to know what the five schools of thought advised on oral sex or fellatio. Please email or post responses. Thank you.


alssalaamu 3alaykum

May Allah bless you and your wife with his blessing and unite you in harmony and happiness.

The book you mentioned, "The Perfumed Garden", was written in Tunisia in the 16th century A.D. by Cheikh 'Omar bin Sidi en-Nefzawi. It is a sort of marriage manual written in a rather provocative and lewd style. Even the author himself acknowledges its lascivious nature by ending it with these words: "I have indeed committed a sin by writing this book. Forgive me O Thou to whom we call not in vain. O Allah, do not confound me for this on the Day of Judgment. And you, O Reader, I beg you to say 'Amen'." The book is an interesting historical and cultural oddity; it is not to be recommended as an educational manual for married couples.

The principles of conjugal love in Islam are few and uncomplicated.

1. Sexual relations are for the pleasure of both the husband and the wife and for the procreation of children. Sexual intercourse is not limited to vaginal penetration but includes other forms of sexual caressing, such as kissing and fondling of various kinds.

2. Nothing should be done that is offensive or harmful to either person. Each has a duty to be sexually available to the other, but neither has the right to disgust or injure the other.

3. With a few exceptions, the couple can engage in any activities that they like, in any manner and in any position. Allah rewards such activities as surely as he punishes sinful activities. The Qur'an says, "Women are your fields. Go then into your fields as you please." (2:223)

4. It is forbidden to have vaginal intercourse while a woman is menstruating (Qur'an 2:222). According to the Sunnah of the Prophet (God's grace and peace be upon him), a man and his menstruating wife can however give one another pleasure so long as the woman's genitals are avoided.

5. There are ahadith that forbid anal intercourse and scholars generally agree that it is not permissible. However, in his tafsir (commentary) Tabaari (3d century A.H.) while forbidding sodomy, says that earlier authorities were divided on the question.

6. The Qur'an and the Sunnah are generally silent as to the various forms that sexual relations may take. Most authorities consider that it is up to the husband and wife in love and mutual respect to decide how to physically express their sexual desires.

7. What goes on in bedroom, is a private matter and should not be discussed or revealed to other persons unless there is some necessity, such as health or safety. Abu Hurairah narrates that the Prophet (pbuh) said this about people who reveal and discuss openly their sexual practices: "Do you know what those who do this are like? Those who do this are like a male and female devil who meet each other on the road and satisfy their desire while the people look on."

Therefore, in Islam the husband and the wife choose their sexual activities according to the sure teaching of the Qur'an, in the light of the Sunnah as we are able to understand and appreciate it, in mutual respect for one another and knowing that the only witness to the expression of their desires will be Allah the Exalted, who will judge them according to their deeds and their heartfelt intentions.

The question of the lawfulness of oral-genital contact is difficult because there are many opinions. For some, it is forbidden. For others, tolerated. For some it is lawful. Some consider it to be lawful as long as the couple use such contacts as foreplay and conclude their love-making with vaginal intercourse.

I believe that this is a matter to be decided by the husband and wife together after seeking the guidance of Allah, who alone knows best.

Peace to all who seek God's face.

Sex - a means of keeping the heart pure
Taken from "The Proper Conduct of Marriage in Islam" ('Adaab an-Nikaah), Book 12 of Imam Ghazalis "Ihya 'Ulum ad-Din", Translated by Muhtar Holland. Al-Baz Publishing, 1998, ISBN: 1-882216-14-8.

Al-Junaid used to say: "I need sexual intercouse just as I need food." The wife is in fact nourishment and a means of keeping the heart pure. That is why Allah's Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) commanded anyone who caught site of a woman, and desired her, to couple with his wife, since that would dispel the temptation from his soul. (Page 24)

It is likewise related of Ibn 'Umar (may Allah be well pleased with him), who was one of the more ascetic and scholarly Companions, that he used to break his fast with sexual intercourse before eating. He would sometimes copulate before bathing and performing the sunset prayer. All this he did so as to leave his heart clear to worship Allah, and to dispose of Satan's power to distract him. (Page 25)

After the death of Fatima (peace be upon her), her husband 'Ali (may Allah be well pleased with him) remarried in seven days. (Page 26)

Human Sexuality and the Shariat
by Professor Dr. Omar Hassan Kasule Sr.


Separate Gender Identity

Allah created 2 different and distinct genders as a pair (75:39, 53:45, 92:3). The male is different from the female (3:36) although ultimately both are from the same source (4:1, 7:189, 16:72, 30:12, 39:6). Each gender is encouraged to maintain its biological, psychological, emotional, and social identity. This is for the purpose of facilitating and regulating relations between the two genders for the good of the whole society. Parity, a basic phenomenon of creation, requires that men and women complement one another each bringing to the relationship unique features of the respective gender identity. This complementation would be meaningless if the two genders lost their separate identities. On the demographic level, there should exist equal numbers of men and women. This is maintained in a normal social setting. In abnormal situations the balance may be lost leading to social problems. One of the signs of the impending last day, yawm al qiyamat, will be gender imbalance with too many women for few men (KS p. 106). This will be followed by a lot of adultery, zina (KS p. 264). Gender awareness develops very early in children. Sexual awareness develops towards puberty.

Gender Discrimination

Gender separation has been used in a wrong way to discriminate against women on the basis of their sexuality. In contemporary western society the woman's body is sometimes treated as a sexual object to be exploited in the commercial advertisement and entertainment industries. In pre-Islamic Arabia, jahiliyyat, there was despise for females, idhlaal al nisa. There was preference for male births and hatred for females (6:137, 6:140, 6:151, 17:31, 60:12, 81:8-9, 16:58-59). Parents were sad on birth of a daughter (16:58-59, 43:17). Infant daughters were considered a blemish, aar (16:58-59, 43:17) and were buried alive, wa'ad al banaat (6:137, 6:140, 6:151, 16:58-59, 17:31, 60:12, 81:8-9). Women were inherited as goods (4:19) and were denied the good things of life (6:139). In Christendom, women were blamed fior the original sin of Adam and Hawa and suffered discrimination as a result. Islam has emphasized gender identity while rejecting all forms of discrimination against the woman on the basis of her sexuality. The Qur'an makes it clear that both Adam and Hawa were misled (2:36, 7:22, 20:121). They both sought forgiveness from Allah and were forgiven (7:23). In 2 verses it is Adam and not Hawa who is mentioned as seeking forgiveness (2:37, 20:122). Human sexuality could be a cause of corruption. Women because of their sexual attractiveness can be a source of fitnat (MB #1837 Qur'an 64:14). This has been misunderstood as derogatory to the moral standards of women. In practice it is men who are more often the active or aggressive party in sexual corruption and should take the blame. Any situation of corruption involves both a man and a woman and both are morally guilty. The law equalizes their guilt and their punishment (24:2). In the same way Islam equalizes their reward for good work (3:195, 4:124, 16:97, 40:40, 33:35). Men can also be a sexual attraction as the Qur'an tells us in the story of Yusuf (PBUH). His beauty was a temptation, fitnat, for women (12:26).


The law considers any blurring of the gender distinction between males and females as highly undesirable. This applies to the way of dressing, talking, behaving and socializing. Effeminate men must not be allowed to enter homes (MB #948). Severe punishment is reserved for men who try to appear like women, mukhannath, and women who try to appear like men, mutarajjil, (KS p. 190, KS p. 540). The law specifies acceptable clothing and other bodily ornamentation for men and women (KS p. 266, KS p. 466). Only women can use silk (MB p. 947, KS p. 465) and gold (KS p. 213). It is recommended for men to grow a beard as a sign of their masculinity (KS p. 468).


Human Sexuality is Normal

Allah created sexual desire, shahwat, in humans (3:14, 7:81, 27:55). It is as normal as is the desire for food or shelter. Like other desires that Allah created in humans it is powerful and can overwhelm a weak human (23:106). Sexual desire like the desire for food can be satisfied legally or illegally. It is illegal to satisfy the sexual desire outside marriage or with a partner of the same gender (7:81, 27:55), or with animals or inanimate things. Humans differ from animals in that their sexual desire is there all the time. Animals develop the desire only in the period just before copulation and in their reproductive season or phase. This period is called estrus in apes. It is clear that human sexual desire is not only for reproduction but also for pleasure. In animals sexual desire is strictly related to the reproductive function. Expression of human sexuality involves the male and female together. This has been the convention since the creation of Adam. The mutual needs of men and women for one another are illustrated in the case of Adam and Hawa (KS p.41). Allah told him to settle in heaven with his wife.

Monasticism is Forbidden

Islam forbids complete rejection and suppression of the sexual instinct (MB #1828, 1829, 1830, KS p. 253). The prophet forbade his companions from castrating themselves so that they may be devoted to worship, ibadat, all the time. Monasticism as practiced in some Christian sects and other religions is a human invention (57:27) that goes against basic human nature.

Sexual Attraction

Allah has created in each gender features that attract the other gender. These include the physical beauty of the body (shape, size, movements, texture, color), the voice (pitch and depth), scalp and body hair (length, distribution, texture). Studies in animals have shown the existence of pheromones. These are chemical sexual attractants emitted by females. Their existence in humans is being studied. Physical beauty is appreciated by Islam and is considered one of the 4 reasons for marrying a woman (MB #1835). The intending spouses must see one another before marriage (MB #1846). This is to ensure that there is enough sexual attraction between them and prevents the regrets that may occur after marriage. Physical beauty deteriorates with age. Virginity enhances female sexual attraction and is considered desirable (56:36, 66:5). Marrying virgins is preferred (MB #1831) but there is no prejudice against the elderly widowed (2:234-235) or divorced (2:232) women. Aisha was the only wife of the Prophet who was a virgin. Shaitan exploits the sexual attraction between the genders to inflame passions that lead to sexual transgression. Each person always has shaitan with him or her (KS p. 48). The sexual attractiveness of the woman is generally more than that of the man. Thus in sexual relations it is the male who usually seeks out the female. The extra beauty and attractiveness of the woman can be a temptation for both her and for men (12:23-24 & 12:30-34). A woman conscious of her beauty may exploit it by being flirtous and thus exposing herself to men. Men will be attracted by her beauty and may lose control and commit sexual transgression.

Enhancing Sexual Attractiveness

Human sexual attraction is enhanced in many ways; some are legal whereas others are not. Clothes enhance physical appearance besides the functions of covering nakedness and protecting the body against the elements of the weather. Perfumes and other good smells perhaps play the role of pheromones in humans. Women and men can dye their hair (KS p. 215). It is however forbidden to dye the hair black or to use artificial hair. Circumcision (khitaan) is exercised in many societies for both men and women. Some societies consider that it enhances sexuality whereas others consider it to decrease sexuality and use it to control sexual transgression. Islam did not forbid it but requires that it be moderate and considerate (KS p. 214). Circumcision of men is of hygienic importance.


Sexual Hygiene

The 2 hollow organs will lead most people to hell: the mouth, fam, and the genitals, farj (KS p. 178). Both are involved in sexual corruption one negotiates whereas the other commits the crime. The law has regulations for proper conduct of sexual relations. These either aim at decreasing sexual stimulation or removing antecedents of adultery. Normal functioning of society requires that marriageable men and women interact. Both genders, in their appearance and behavior, can stimulate sexual passions. This results into a higher likelihood of sexual transgression. The physical acts of sexual transgression are preceded by acts that may not innately be illegal. They are however forbidden or restricted because they could lead to or facilitate the commitment of sexual transgression. These restrictions come under the rubric of prevention of approaching adultery, qurb al zina (6:151, 17:32). The severe punishment for adultery, hadd al zina, (24:2-3) is a social or public deterrent in cases of flagrant violation of the law. Under normal circumstances, actual regulation should be social exercised by the family and not the state.

Control of Sexuality

It is wrong to consider control of human sexuality. It must be expressed. The issue is the manner in which it is expressed. This may be right or wrong. For the youths who are not able to marry, fasting is recommended as a means of controlling the sexual urge for a short time (MB 440). For the married fasting should not be overused. The fasting person must remember that the family has rights (MB p 454). Thus conjugal rights of the husband or wife can not be abolished on the basis of non-obligatory, nafil, fasting. The individual can exercise control over the sexual urge even in the presence of extreme provocation. A husband and wife need not be separated in situations in which coitus if forbidden like pilgrimage, fasting, or menstruation. A fasting couple are not allowed to engage in behavior that may make them lose control and engage in coitus. Kissing of spouses in fasting is allowed provided there is no fear of transgression otherwise it is forbidden (KS p. 138).

Psychological Barriers

The family and society must erect psychological barriers that make the commission of sexual transgression difficult. Severe punishment is reserved in the hereafter for a person who allows sexual misconduct in his or her family, duyuuth (KS p. 263). There should exist in society a psychological revulsion to sexual corruption. Sexual misbehavior, fahishat, should not be allowed to broadcast openly (4:148, 24:19). Thus accusations of marital infidelity, al qadhaf, should not be made without proof and severe punishment is reserved for the accuser who can not produce 4 witnesses (KS p. 435, 24:4, 24:11-19, 24:23). Talking about sexual infidelity openly and lightly will eventually make the crime look ordinary and common and thus easier to commit. Those who committed sexual transgression should be socially isolated by not allowing them to marry chaste people but to marry only among themselves.

Non-coital Adultery

Adultery is a major sin. It has antecedents and if these are avoided the major ultimate sin may be avoided. The sexual urge is so strong that many people involved in an antecedent of zina may not be able to control themselves from going on to commit the illegal coitus. The concept of non-coital adultery refers to acts and behaviours that lead to zina. The various organs of the body can therefore be said to commit non-coital zina, zina al jawarih (MB #2061, KS p. 264). The eye, the ear, the mouth, and even the legs that walk from place to place can be accessories to the ultimate sin of illegal coitus. Thus there are regulations to prevent people from ever getting near adultery (17:32). The measures that protect the genitals from the ultimate crime are referred to as hifdh al farj (70:29-30) and inhsan al furuj (21:91, 24:33, 66:12). Men who protect their genitals are called al muhswinin and women are called al muhswinat (4:24-25, 5:5, 24:4, 24:23.

Shyness, Haya

The Islamic term haya is not perfectly translated by the English term, shyness. Haya is an inner spiritual protective device that makes a person shun sin and what may lead to it. It is not bashfulness or being introvert as some may think of it. Haya is considered part of faith, iman (KS p. 206). It is the morality of Islam (KS p. 206). Haya is always for the good and can never be negative (KS p. 206). It is a characteristic attribute of all messengers (KS p. 206). The Qur'an describes in detail the haya of the daughters of Shuaib in their meeting with Musa (PBUH) which should serve as a model for other women (28:23-28).

Covering Nakedness, Satr al Awrat

Awrat are those parts of the body that could elicit sexual stimulation if seen. Covering awrat prevents sexual corruption. Nudity of varying degrees is found in societies according to their level of sexual morality. Both men and women must cover the awrat. The awrat of men is different from that of women. The woman's awrat is all her body except the face and the hands. The man's awrat is confined to what is between the navel, surrat, and the knee, rukbat. The extent of covering awrat also depends on the person likely to see and the person being seen (24:31). More of the awrat could be exposed to close relatives within the confines of the home (24:31, 33:55). A close male relative is not allowed to see a woman's nakedness except what is between the navel and the knee. The regulations of hijab are relaxed for an elderly woman with no hope of marriage (24:60). The laws on exposing nakedness start applying to children from the age of 7. They should seek permission before entering rooms of adults in the home for fear of accidental exposure of awrat. Male and female children should not share beds after the age of 7. The law regulates the use of public baths. Where it is not possible to cover awrat, public baths are forbidden (KS p. 203). Naked persons are not allowed in such baths (KS p. 203). The laws of hijab contain special provisions for women as was described in the verses on hijab (KS p. 541). It is not enough for the woman to cover her nakedness. The law of hijab specifies in detail how that nakedness has to be covered. For example it must be covered in such a way that the shape of the body is not definable. Clothes through which the color of the skin can be seen are not permitted. In general the woman should cover all of her body except the face and the hands. In cases of high temptation due to her beauty she may have to wear a full veil covering her face as well.

Seclusion, Khalwat

It is forbidden for a women to be alone with a marriageable man (KS p. 540, MB # 1868). Whenever a man is with a woman in seclusion, shaitan comes between them. Shaitan is always trying to misguide as he did with Adam and Hawa (2:36, 7:22, 7:27). Seclusion is defined as a man being with a marriageable woman who is not his wife in a place where others can not see them.

Mixing, Ikhtilat

The law prohibits men and women mixing without necessity. When men and women are together the natural sexual attractiveness could lead them into temptation. When mixing is unavoidable for societal necessity, certain etiquette have been prescribed by the law to guide male-female interaction. Awrat must be covered as prescribed by the law, satr al awrat (24:31). The regulations of hijab for women must be followed. Men and women who are strangers to one another have to lower their gaze, ghadh al basar(24:31), and not look at each other fixedly and for a prolonged time. Both genders must have haya (28: 23-25). If a man and woman talk to one another they must be serious, jidiyyat al takhatub (33:32) and not engage in frivolous talk that could lead to temptation. An atmosphere of solemnity, wiqaar, must be maintained during the whole period of interaction (24:31).

Sexual Display, Tabarruj

Women are supposed to conceal their ornamentation from public display (24:31). Women are discouraged from going out of their homes heavily adorned with attractive ornamentation (KS p 539). This includes wearing very heavy perfume in public. Such ornamentation should be reserved for the home. The ruling is more severe for a wife whose husband is absent (KS p. 540).

Privacy of the Home, Hurmat al Bayt

A stranger is not allowed to enter a home unless given permission. This is to preserve the privacy of the occupants. The stranger may enter unannounced and find them in various degrees of nakedness. Thus permission to enter ensures that the house occupants' nakedness will not be exposed accidentally (MB #2060). A wife can not admit a stranger to her home without the permission of her husband (KS p. 542). Rooms within the home are also private territory that should not be entered before asking for permission.


Marriage and Satisfaction of Sexuality

Marriage is a natural human institution. Adam and Hawa were the first couple (2:35). Marital relations have continued ever since. A spouse is a source of psychological tranquillity (30:21, 25:74, 7:189). Marriage is the only institution that allows full expression of human sexuality in a responsible way. It is described by the Qur'an as a deep and serious relationship (4:21). The spouses give good company to one another, mu'asharat (4:19). Islam encourages marriage for all (KS p. 546). Marriage is protection against sexual immorality (KS p. 547, 60:10). If a man sees an attractive woman he should go to his wife immediately because that protects him from potential sin (KS p. 155). Marriage also serves the purpose of procreation to maintain the human race and rear children until adulthood (3:47, 4;1, 16:72, 19:20). Marriage is a public affair that must be announced and known in the community that a couple are husband and wife to avoid any suspicions that arise in secret marriages (KS p. 547, 2:235). The spouses must freely consent to enter into a marital relation (4:191). Desire for sexual satisfaction is a major reason for marriage. It is considered offensive by the law for a person who has no sexual desire at all to get married. A person who has desire for sexual satisfaction but has impediments like poverty or physical disability (disease, impotence) should control the desire by fasting. The sexual relation in marriage is wider that coitus. It involves mutual enjoyment such as kissing and fondling. The marital relation is much wider than a sexual relation. It involves social and psychological bonding. The husband and wife have to be close physically, psychologically and emotionally. Mutual good treatment and sympathetic consideration sustain love after the initial period of passionate involvement (4:19). The husband and wife can bathe together and see each other's nakedness (MB p 123/p). The husband can not keep away from contact with the wife because of menstruation. He can sleep with his menstruating wife provided both can control themselves to avoid copulation (MB p. 147). It is forbidden for a wife to withhold sexual favors from her husband without a valid reason (KS p. 542). The wife can not fast nafilat without the permission of the husband (MB #1860) because that would deny him his conjugal rights.

Prohibition of Temporary Sexual Relations

There are 4 types of temporary sexual relations: (a) temporary marriage, mut'at (b) prostitution, bighaa (c) adultery between consenting adults, zina and (d) marriage with the hidden intention to divorce after a time, zawaaj bi niyyat al talaq. They are forbidden because they reduce the sexual relation to its physical form without regard to the emotional, psychological, and social dimensions. They undermine and destroy the fabric of society. Temporary marriage, mut'at, is forbidden by law (MB #1844, KS p. 549). This is a type of marriage contracted by both parties for a fixed period of time. It violates the need for children to be reared in a permanent family. Humans require at least 15 years to be reared to adulthood. Prostitution is the exchange of sexual favors for money. It is physical enjoyment without emotional or psychological involvement. The law prohibits forcing girls into prostitution (24:33) for the sake of money. Adultery, zina, may have some form of emotional and psychological involvement besides the physical enjoyment but these are temporary. Some scholars have quoted evidence on the permissibility of marriage with the intention of divorcing. In our view the practice involves dishonesty on the part of the husband by failing to disclose his full intentions to the partner. Disclosure would of course turn this type of marriage into a form of mut'at marriage.

Privacy of the Sexual Relationship

The sexual attributes of a woman are private between and her husband. It is forbidden for one women to describe the sexual details of another women to her husband (MB #1869, KS p. 539). It is forbidden for both spouses to disclose their sexual experiences to any outside parties (KS p. 540).

Sexual Attractiveness in Marriage

The sexual attractiveness is a continuous process that is necessary to bind the 2 spouses together. Some people misunderstand this to mean that a woman is attractive before marriage in order to attract the man and need not maintain her attractiveness after that. A married women must always look attractive to her husband (KS 540). This prevents him from being tempted by other women. The prophet forbade the return of a husband from a trip at night because he may surprise his wife who will not be able to prepare herself and be in the most attractive form (MB #1871). The wife is entitled to articles of hygiene to maintain her beauty. This however does not include cosmetics.


The word ghiirat has been translated incorrectly into English as jealousy. It is more than simple sexual jealousy. It is a drive in the spouse and other members of the family to protect the chastity of both males and females. Ghiirat is commendable (MB p. 904 chapter #30) and is necessary for proper functioning of society. Too much of it could be destructive.

Prohibited marriages, Maharim

For proper functioning of the extended family, free and easy social intercourse must exist among its members. More intimate contacts will occur among the family members that is possible with outsiders. Sexual attraction and the sexual desire being human and natural could also exist within the extended family. The door to this was closed by the law by declaring degrees of relatives who are not marriageable (4:23) and with whom close social intercourse is allowed within the family.



Coitus serves 2 purposes: reproduction and sexual enjoyment. It is the most intimate and intense physical expression of human sexuality. All other expressions of sexuality precede or prepare for it. Sexual enjoyment in marriage, al istimtau fo al zawaj, is normal and is encouraged (4:24). Some scholars have argued that this enjoyment is confined to vaginal coitus. The majority argue that the enjoyment covers all parts of the body unless specifically prohibited by law.


Coitus is necessary for child-bearing. Children are a bounty from Allah, n'imat al dhuriyyat (25:27, 42:49). It is difficult to describe the benefits of health to physical and psychological health. It is however known that its deprivation for prolonged periods of time leads to psychological and emotional disorders

Consummation of Marriage

Marriage is annulled when coitus is physically impossible and there is no hope for a medical or surgical solution. This may be due to anatomical or physiological anomalies in both the male and the female. With recent developments in surgery some of these may be correctable. Psychogenic factors may cause vaginismus or frigidity in female and impotence in males. Appropriate treatment may be undertaken to prevent marital annulment. In cases of male impotence a grace period of 1 year is allowed while treatment is being sought. After that the marriage has to be annulled because it can no longer fulfil the fundamental purpose of protecting chastity of both partners. The marriage is considered consummated when successful coitus is achieved at least once. Coital failure after that is not an automatic annulment of marriage. The marriage payment, mahr, is not due in marriages annulled before sexual consummation.

Conjugal Rights

Both husband and wife have rights to sexual satisfaction. The conjugal rights are enforceable by law. None of the spouses can refuse under reasonable conditions. The refusal of a wife is considered rebellion, nushuuz, and the law has prescribed remedial measures for it.


Like all other human activities there should be a balance between too little and too much coitus. Too much indulgence could be harmful in both the physical and psychological dimensions. Too little could be similarly harmful. The law does not stipulate any particular frequency. Each couple should find out for themselves what frequency is sufficient to satisfy and protect, ihswaan,, them from sexual corruption. Some jurists have argued that once every 4 days is the ideal based on the reasoning that a man with 4 wives can rotate among them in 4 days. Omar decreed that no soldier would be kept away from his wife for longer than 6 months which perhaps sets the upper limit of sexual deprivation.

Conditions in which Coitus is Forbidden

There are a few conditions in which coitus is prohibited for health or religious reasons. Coitus with menstruating women is forbidden (2:222). The same applies to women in the period of post-natal or post-abortion bleeding, nifaas. Coitus is prohibited during the day for fasting persons but is allowed at night (2:187). It is prohibited at all times during the period of ihram in pilgrimage, hajj (2:197). Coitus is forbidden in the mosque (2:187). A divorced woman is required by law to stay in her former husband's home for 3 months. He is prohibited from having sexual relations with her during this time and if he does the divorce automatically lapses. There are disputes about the permissibility of coitus with a lactating woman, ghayla. The best opinion is that it is permissible. It is inconceivable that sexual relations could be stopped for the period of 2 years that the Qur'an recommends for breast-feeding.

Actions Prohibited in Sexual Ritual Impurity, Janabat

After coitus and before ritual bath, ghusl, the following acts are forbidden: (a) reciting the Qur'an (KS p. 163), (b) prayer, salat, (c) circumbulating the kaaba, tawaaf.

Adab of Sexual Conduct

Coitus is an act of love and not mere physical satisfaction. It should be approached with that end in mind. Foreplay is a sunnat and it allows both parties to be psychologically and physiologically prepared. It is preferable that there is desire in both parties. Preparation for coitus includes reciting the (KS p. 154) and a supplication, dua, (MB# 1854, KS p. 155). There is no control of the manner or postures of coitus provided it is vaginal (KS p. 154) and is natural. Coitus interruptus ('azl) is permitted (KS p. 154). It is considered offensive, makruh (KS p. 155). It can not done without the permission of the wife (KS p. 155). Coitus with women is vaginal. Anal intercourse is forbidden with both women ( ) and men (KS p. 155). It is recommended to make wudhu if coitus is repeated ( ). Ritual bath, ghusl, is required after coitus. It has to be undertaken by mere contact of the male and female genitalia even if no fluids were emitted.

Sex Is Good For You

Information Taken From: Natural Healing With the Medicine of The Prophet, Translated & Emendation from original Arabic by Muhammad Al-Akili. Edited by the webmaster, because it was androcentric (male centred) in its original form. It takes two to have sex. Some men forget the pleasure is not only theirs.

The sexual aspect of life has three basic purposes:

1. Conservation of the human race, and continuity of its kind until it reaches the total number of human beings intended by Allah’s (SWT) leave to experience life in this world, to fulfill the divine purpose, and to show gratitude to its Creator.

2. Ejection of bodily fluids from the body, otherwise, suppression or retention of congested semen can cause various kinds of serious illnesses.

3. Fulfillment of one’s desire, satisfaction of one's sexual pleasure, and enjoyment of this blessing.

The latter is the only pleasure of such intercourse which is also provided in the heavenly paradise, whereby, therein three is neither ejaculation, natural discharge of bodily fluids, nor reproduction.

Sex is Good for You

Learned physicians find that sexual intercourse yields essential health benefits.

Galen attributes semen to the elements of fire and air, and describes its humors as hot and moist. This is because semen is rich in prostaglandins, which are hormonelike fatty acids found throughout the body and particularly in semen. Prostaglandins are primary nutrients that affect essential body processes, including blood pressure, metabolism, and body temperature among others. Hence, understanding the value of this most unmitigated and purest form of blood an its preciousness requires great consideration in discharging it.

This means to wisely value the reasons behind dispensing of this precious water of life for either conceiving a child, or emitting it through lawful sexual intercourse upon congestion.

In fact, congested semen which are retained for an extended period can cause various illnesses and infirmities, including obsession, habitude, lunacy, and even insanity, and sometimes, engaging in lawful sexual intercourse may aid in the recovery from such illnesses.

On the other hand, congestion and prevalence of semen for an extended period can cause its corruption, and turns it into a harmful toxin that the body cannot easily dispose of. However, sometimes, nature produces a spontaneous and involuntary emission of excess semen, usually during sleep, and without sexual intercourse.

Some learned predecessors have concluded that the human being should pledge:

1. To walk at least a certain minimum distance every day.

2. To feed his stomach at regular intervals, and not to extend fasting from food beyond the religious requirement.

3. Not to abstain from having lawful sexual intercourse, for a water well drains out if its water if its not used regularly.

Imam Muhammad ibn Zakariyya once said:

"Abstaining from sexual intercourse for an extended period weakens one’s nervous system, can cause obstruction of the urethra, and shrinks the penis."

He added when he observed some people who vowed temporary abstention from sexual intercourse, that their sexual energy diminished, they suffered general weakness of their bodies, became doleful, lost their desire, and their digestive system became corrupt.

Hold on....Only Lawful Sex

Other benefits of lawful sexual intercourse include protecting one’s eyes from looking at what is unlawful, preserving one’s chastity, controlling one’s desire and lust against what is unlawful, and providing the same for his or her spouse. This will certainly provide the believing man and woman with innumerable benefits in this world and in the hereafter. Imam Ahmad alluding to abstention from sex, once said:

"I exercise patience when fasting from food and drink, though it is still difficult."

He also reported in his collection of correct prophetic traditions that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) encouraged the believers to get married, saying:

"Get married, and conceive many children for I shall take pride in your number on the day of judgment."

Ibn Abbass (RA) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said:

"I get married, eat meat, sleep, stand up in night prayers, fast, and break my fast. Whoever disdains from my traditions (Sunnah) is not one of my followers."

He (SAW) also said:

"O young men whoever among you has the means to establish a family, he should get married, for marriage preserves the chastity of one’s eyes and sexual organ, and whoever cannot afford to establish a family, he must fast from desiring sex, for abstention in that
case will protect him from sin."

Ibn Abbass (RA) one said:

"We recognize that marriage is the best solution for two people who are in love."

It is also narrated in the two collections of correct prophetic traditions that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said:

Allah’s Messenger (SAW) also encouraged people to choose the young and fertile. On this subject, Mu’qal bin Yasar related that a man said to Allah’s Messenger (SAW):

"I found a beautiful woman from a noble family but she cannot bear children, should I marry her? Allah’s Messenger (SAW) replied, "Nay." The man came back and asked a third time and asked the same question, Allah’s Messenger (SAW) turned to his companions and said: "Choose in your wives the fertile and the affectionate, for I shall take pride in your number on the day of judgment."

Hmmm...So how about some Tips?

Imam al-Tirmithi narrated that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said:

"It is among the traditions of Allah’s Messengers to marry, to brush their teeth, to anoint themselves with perfume, and to be circumcised."

Prior to engaging in sexual intercourse, it is necessary for the husband to express his affection and love for his wife by touching her, caressing her, kissing her, and sometimes sucking her tongue. Jabir bin ‘Abdullah narrated that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) enjoined upon a man not to engage in sexual intercourse before caressing his wife.

It is also a prophetic tradition to take a complete ritual ablution (ghusl) after engaging in sexual intercourse and before retiring to sleep, and at least, to take a ritual ablution (wudu), should that man desire to reengage in sexual intercourse anew.

Upon climax, the innate heat transfuses throughout the entire body, and by taking a complete ritual ablution, the water refreshes one’s spirit, and ensures cleanliness and ritual purity. It also rejuvenates the body’s innate heat, musters its caloricity, and helps the gametogenous process. Almighty Allah (SWT) says:

"Verily, We have created man from Nutfah drops of mixed semen (discharge of man and woman), in order to try him, so We made him hearer, seer. (Al-Insan 76:2)


More About Sex In Islam
Information taken from Questions and Answers About Women's Rights In Islam, Compiled by Lea Zaitoun

The Right to Adequate Sexual Relations

Since the purpose of marriage is to be a mutual source of comfort, peace, and enjoyment for each other, like a garment that protects and covers, the sexual aspect of marriage is an extension of this. The husband is asked to be gentle, considerate and loving with his wife, and to try to satisfy her needs.

The wife must reserve herself exclusively for her husband, and make efforts to be attractive, as well as making herself available to him whenever he is in need of her. This latter obligation also applies to the husband.

In Islam, any sexual relations are reserved EXCLUSIVELY for the confines of marriage. Both husband and wife are also obligated to honor the privacy of the intimate relations between them, and should not speak of them to anyone.

The Prohibition of Sex when She is Menstruating

It is forbidden for a Muslim man to have sexual intercourse with his wife when she is menstruating. The Quran is clear on this subject:

"They ask you concerning menstruation. Say: that is an Adha (a harmful thing for a husband to have a sexual intercourse with his wife while she is having her menses), therefore keep away from women during menses and go not unto them till they have purified (from menses and have taken a bath). And when they have purified themselves, then go in unto them as Allah has ordained for you (go in unto them in any manner as long as it is in their vagina)…" (Al-Baqarah 2:222)

The Prohibition of Sodomy

Allah (SWT) will not look at the man who commits sodomy with a man or a woman (reported in Sahih Al-Tirmithi (Al-Baaniy) Vol. 1 No. 341).

Malik related to me that he asked Ibn Shihab about someone who committed sodomy. Ibn Shihab said,

"He is to be stoned, whether or not he is muhsan." (Reported in Malik’s Muwatta)

It is forbidden for a Muslim man to enter his wife in her anus. Allah (SWT) says in the Quran:

"Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth (have sexual relations with your wives in any manner as long as it is in the vagina and not in the anus), when or how you will, and send (good deeds, or ask Allah to bestow you pious offspring) before you for your ownselves. And fear Allah, and know that you are to meet Him (in the Hereafter), and give good tidings to the believers [O Muhammad (SAW)]. (Al-Baqarah 2:223)

What is understood from the above verse is that a tilth can only refer to a place where something might grow. Therefore, what is meant here is the entry which produces children.

Other sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) on the subject:
"He is cursed who has anal intercourse (with his wife)." (Reported by Ibin Maja)

"Whoever has sexual intercourse with a menstruating woman, or woman in her anus… has disbelieved in that which was revealed to Muhammad (SAW)." (Reported by Al-Tirmithi)

It can not be stressed too strongly that even animals do not satisfy their sexual urges in this unnatural way. Human beings who are guilty of sodomy are, thus, even lower than animals.

Purification between 2 acts of Sexual Intercourse

In Islam, when a husband has had sexual intercourse with his wife in the legal manner, and then wishes to return another time, it is preferable that he first performs another ablution (wudu).

Meaning: it is better if he does not commence sexual intercourse in an unclean physical state. In the words of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW):

"This way is purer, cleaner and better." (Reported by Abu Dawud)

From The Waterval Islamic Institute


Before making Ghusl one should make Niyyah (intention) thus: - "I am performing Ghusl so as to become Paak." Without Niyyah, there is no Thawaab (reward) although Ghusl will be valid. Ghusl should be made in a place of total privacy and one should not face towards the Kiblah while making Ghusl. Ghusl may be performed standing or seated, preferably seated. Use sufficient water, don't skimp nor be wasteful. One should abstain from speaking while performing Ghusl. It is better not to read any Kalimah or Aayah while bathing. Be aware of these rules whilst making Ghusl.



  • Wash both hands up to and including wrists.
  • Wash the private parts. The hands and private parts should be washed even if one is not in the state of Janaabat or Najaasat.
  • If there is Najaasat elsewhere on the body, it should now be washed off.
  • Perform Wudhu (Read separate pamphlet for Wudhu according to Sunnah). If making Ghusl on a stool or platform where water will rapidly flow away, and then perform the complete Wudhu. If there is fear of the feet being immersed in wastewater during the Ghusl then postpone the washing of the feet to the end of the Ghusl. Ensure that the mouth and nostrils are thoroughly rinsed thrice.
  • After performing Wudhu, pour water over the head thrice, then pour thrice over right shoulder and thrice again over left shoulder. Now pour water over entire body and rub. If the hair of the head is not plaited, it is compulsory to wet all the hair up to the very base. If a single hair is left dry, Ghusl will not be valid. If the hair of a woman is plaited, she is excused from loosening her plaited hair, but it is compulsory for her to wet the base of each and every hair. If one fails to do this then the Ghusl will not be valid. As for men who grow long hair and plait them, they are NOT excused from leaving their hair dry. If a woman experiences difficulty or is unable to wet the very bottom of her plaited hair, then it is necessary for her to unplaite her hair and wash her entire head. It is Mustahab (preferable) to clean the body by rubbing it. All parts of the body should be rubbed with the hand so as to ensure that water has reached all parts of the body, and that no portion is left dry. Rings and earrings, etc. should be moved so as to ensure that no portion covered by them is left dry. Ensure that the navel and the ears are all wetted. If they are not wet Ghusl will be incomplete.
  • On completion one should confine oneself to a clean place. If, while performing Wudhu, the feet had been washed, it is not necessary to wash them again. Dry the body with a clean towel, and dress as hastily as possible.

If, after Ghusl, one recalls that a certain portion of the body is left dry, it is not necessary to repeat the Ghusl, but merely wash the dry portion. It is not sufficient to pass a wet hand over the dry place. If one has forgotten to rinse the mouth or the nostrils, these too could be rinsed when recalled after Ghusl has been performed.


The three Faraa'ids (compulsory acts) of Ghusl are: -

  • To rinse the mouth in such a manner that water reaches the entire mouth.
  • To rinse the nostrils up to the ending of the fleshy part.
  • To completely wet the whole body. When one performs these Faraa'id intentionally or unintentionally Ghusl will be valid.

Study finds circumcision may protect men from HIV
Channel News Asia, 31 January 2000

Circumcision may somehow protect men from sexual transmission of the AIDS virus, researchers said on Sunday, but they admitted they do not have a clue why.

A study in Uganda aimed at examining how couples infect one another found two things seemed to protect people - being older and being circumcised.

"Acquisition of HIV did not occur in any of the circumcised men," Dr. Thomas Quinn of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, who led the study, told the 7th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, a meeting of AIDS researchers.

"Age, independent of viral load, appeared to have a protective effect," Quinn added. The highest transmission rate was in people 15 to 29 years old.

Quinn's team, working with 15,000 people in the Rakai district of Uganda, also found that people did not pass on the virus to their partners if they had a naturally low level of HIV in the blood - in this case, 1,500 copies according to standard measures.

He found that the more virus people had in their blood, the more likely they were to pass it on. There were no differences in women infecting men or men infecting women.

Quinn said his team was one of the first to actually go out and test the idea where HIV is raging the worst. More than 23 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV.

The findings might suggest ways of stemming the epidemic.

Telling people to abstain from sex or use condoms has not worked, and the drugs that keep the virus at bay in some patients in rich countries are not available in the poor countries hardest hit by the epidemic.

But the study suggests that using drugs to keep the virus at lower levels, or a vaccine that might do the same without quite curing a patient, might help.

Quinn said he was at a loss to explain why circumcision might affect a man's risk of being infected by a woman.


Circumcision hailed as way to curb Aids
Bryan Appleyard
The Sunday Times, UK

NEW evidence suggests that circumcision of all male babies could help to halt the global Aids epidemic. With 50m living cases and more than 16m deaths, the disease is now the worst human health disaster since the Black Death.

The thesis - laid out in a scientific paper to be published soon - seems likely to create huge controversy as it represents a complete change in accepted ideas about the transmission of Aids.

One of the paper's authors, Roger Short, professor of obstetrics at Melbourne University and a respected scientist with long experience of Aids-ravaged areas, has been told he cannot address the subject at a forthcoming international conference.

Short and his co-author, Dr Robert Szabo, are convinced that a high level of receptors - sites to which invading organisms attach themselves - on the inside of the foreskin make it responsible for transmission.

Short and Szabo noted a sharp difference in the prevalence of HIV infection in the "Aids belt" countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In some areas the infection rates are as high as 25%, in others as low as 1%. The lower infection rates were clearly associated with the practice of male circumcision.

"The presence of an intact foreskin," says the Short-Szabo paper, "has consistently been shown to be the single most significant factor associated with the much higher prevalence of HIV in countries of the Aids belt."

The link is stronger than with more familiar indicators such as promiscuity, other sexually transmitted diseases and multiple marriage.

Even more startling evidence came from a recent study in Uganda, reported in February. This showed that among a large group of "discordant couples" - where one is infected and one not - no circumcised males became infected over 30 months, even though their wives were HIV-positive. Short describes these results as "staggeringly significant".

Outside Africa there is the same pattern. Countries with low circumcision rates, such as Thailand, India and Cambodia, have between 10 and 50 times the rates of infection compared with countries with high circumcision rates, such as the Philippines, Bangladesh and Indonesia.

Once they get ethical clearance in Australia, Short and Szabo intend to test their conclusions by applying live HIV virus to newly removed foreskins to check its rate of uptake. They could have definite results within weeks.

If experimentally confirmed, the implications are radical. Short and Szabo believe that about 80% of male HIV infections in the world happen through the foreskin.

Short is not advocating adult circumcision, a painful and potentially dangerous operation. But future generations could be saved if mass circumcision began now.

Short believes his findings should be spread globally, as rapidly as possible.

"There has been insufficient focus on prevention," he said, "and too much emphasis on the search for a vaccine." Despite the billions poured into research, there is still no sign of an Aids vaccine.

The crisis in sub-Saharan Africa - where life expectancy rates at birth as a result of Aids have dropped from 59 to 44 - is out of control.

"The whole of my life's prejudice has been anti-circumcision," said Short.

"I've written papers against it. I didn't believe the benefits outweighed the costs. If God had made us the way we were, why remove a sound organ? But I have been totally converted."


Medical Benefits of Circumcision

Circumcision is the removal of a fold of loose skin (the foreskin) that covers the head (glans) of the unerect penis. The amount of this skin varies from virtually none, to a considerable amount that droops down from the end of the flaccid penis. The practice is common amongst many divergent human cultures. A variety of methods are, moreover, used and the amount of foreskin removed also varies.

Historically circumcision has been a topic of emotive and often irrational debate. At least part of the reason is that a sex organ is involved. (Compare, for example, ear piercing.) During the past two decades the medical profession in Australia have tended to advise parents not to circumcise their baby boys. In fact there have even been reports of harrassment by medical professionals of new mothers, especially those belonging to religious groups that practice circumcision, in an attempt to stop them having this procedure carried out. Such attitudes are a far cry from the situation years ago when baby boys were circumcised routinely in Australia. But over the past 20 years the rate has declined to as low as 16-19% [55].

However, a reversal of this trend is starting to occur. In the light of an increasing volume of medical scientific evidence pointing to the benefits of neonatal circumcision a new policy statement was formulated by a working party of the Australian College of Paediatrics in August 1995 and adopted by the College in May 1996 [5]. In this document medical practitioners are now urged to fully inform parents of the benefits of having their male children circumcised. Similar recommendations were made recently by the Canadian Paediatric Soc iety who also conducted an evaluation of the literature, although concluded that the benefits and harms were very evenly balanced. The American College of Pediatrics has moved far closer to an advocacy position and many recognised authorities in the USA strongly advocate circumcision of all newborn boys. More details of their statements appear below.

In the present literature review I would like to focus principally on the protection afforded by circumcision against infection by micro-organisms, some of which can cause disease and even death, but will also touch on other aspects, including sexual benefits. I might add that I am a university academic who teaches medical and science students and who does medical research, including that involving genital cancer virology, as well as molecular biology and genetics. I am not Jewish, nor a medical practitioner or lawyer, so have no religious bias or medico-legal concerns that might impede a rational presentation of the information that has been published in reputable journals.

Why the foreskin increases infection risk

The increased risk of infection in the uncircumcised may be a consequence of the fact that the foreskin presents the penis with a larger surface area, the moist skin under it represents a thinner epidermal barrier than the drier, more cornified skin of the circumcised penis (the glans of which develops a thick stratum corneum layer), the presence of a prepuce is likely to result in greater microtrauma during sexual intercourse, thereby permitting an entry point into the bloodstream for infectious agents, and, as one might expect, the warm, moist mucosal environment under the foreskin favours growth of micro-organisms. The preputial sac has even been referred to by Dr Gerald Weiss, an American surgeon, as a 'cesspool for infection', as its unfortunate anatomy draped around the end of the penis results in accumulation of secretions, excretions (urine), dead cells and growths of bacteria. Parents are told not t o retract the foreskin of male infants which makes cleaning difficult. Even if optimal cleansing is performed there is no evidence that it confers protection [96][97].


Circumcision has been practiced widely in Western countries this century. From at least the mid -1940s to mid-1970s over 90% of boys in the USA and Australia were circumcised soon after birth. The major benefits at that time were seen as improved lifetime genital hygeine, elimination of phimosis (inability to retract the foreskin) and prevention of penile cancer. The trend not to circumcise started in the mid to late 1970s, after the American Academy of Paediatrics Committee for the Newborn stated, in 1971, that there are 'no valid medical indications for circumcision'. In 1975 this was modified to 'no absolute valid ... ', which remained in the 1983 statement, but in 1989 it changed significantly to 'New evidence has suggested possible medical benefits ...' [3].

Dr Edgar Schoen, Chairman of the Task Force on Circumcision of the American Academy of Pediatrics, has stated that the benefits of routine circumcision of newborns as a preventative health measure far exceed the risks of the procedure [77]. During the period 1985-92 there was an increase in the frequency of postnewborn circumcision and during that same time Schoen points out that the association of lack of circumcison and urinary tract infection has moved from 'suggestive' to 'conclusive' [77]. Moreover, it heralded the finding of associations with other infectious agents, including HIV. In fact he goes on to say that 'Current newborn circumcision may be considered a preventative health measure analogous to immunization in that side effects and complications are immediate and usually minor, but benefits accrue for a lifetime' [61], reduction in balanitis (inflammation of the glans, the head of the penis) [24], reduced urinary tract infections, problems with erections at puberty, decrease in certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV, and, in older men, elimination of penile cancer and a decrease in urological problems and infections [reviewed in [2][5] [25][47] [73] [76]. Therefore the benefits are different at different ages.

Different specialists see different things

Neonatologists only see the problems of the operation itself. Moreover such problems occur in only a minor proportion of boys, and generally because of poor technique by an inexperienced operator. However, urologists who see and have to treat the problems of uncircumcised men cannot understand why all newborns are not circumcised [76][77]. Other health care workers in hospitals and aged care homes also have adverse comments about the uncircumcised penises they see. The demand for circumcision later in childhood has increased, but, with age, problems, such as anaesthetic risk, are higher. Thus Schoen states 'Current evidence concerning the life-time medical benefit of newborn circumcision favours an affirmative choice' [77].

Anti-circumcision lobby groups

In a letter written by Dr Schoen to Dr Terry Russell in Brisbane in 1994 Schoen derides an organization known as 'NOCIRC' for their use of 'distortions, anecdotes and testimonials to try to influence professional and legislative bodies and the public, stating that in the past few years they have become increasingly desperate and outrageous as the medical literature has documented the benefits. For example they have compared circumcision with female genital mutilation, which is equivalent to cutting off the penis. In 1993 the rate of circumcision had risen to 80% in the USA and Schoen suggests that 'Perhaps NOCIRC has decided to export their "message" to Australia since their efforts are proving increasingly futile in the US'. One only has to do a search on the World Wide Web to read the statements from this group and others like it and any intelligent person can quickly make up their own mind about the quality of their material and the message they are trying to promulgate. Some of these people mean well and some are intelligent, but lack a broad perspective. Dr Schoen also noted that when Chairman of the Task Force his committee was bombarded with inaccurate and misleading communications from this group. They even publish their own journals, e.g. 'Cicumcision'. Another of these groups is 'UNCIRC', which promotes procedures to reverse circumcision, by, for example, stretching the loose skin on the shaft of the retracted penis or the use of surgery. This has led to genital mutilation [88]. Claimed benefits of 'increased sensitivity' in reality appear to be a result of the friction of the foreskin, whether intact or newly created, on the moist or sweaty glans and undersurface of the prepuce in the unaroused state and would obviously in the 're-uncircumcised' penis have nothing to do with an increase in touch receptors. Indeed, nerves do not regenerate. Moreover, the sensitivity during sexual intercourse is in fact identicle, according to men circumcised as adults.

Benefits outweigh the risks

Dr Tom Wiswell, a respected authority in the USA was a strong opponent, but then switched camps as a result of his own research findings and the findings of others. This is what he has to say: 'As a pediatrician and neonatologist, I am a child advocate and try to do what is best for children. For many years I was an outspoken opponent of circumcision ... I have gradually changed my opinion' [93] [94]. This ability to keep an open mind on the issue and to make a sound judgement on the balance of all available information is to his credit ­ he did change his mind!

Wiswell looked at the complication rates of having or not having it performed in a study of 136,000 boys born in US army hospitals between 1980 and 1985. 100,000 were circumcised and 193 (0.19%) had complications, with no deaths, but of t he 36,000 who were not circumcised the complication rate was 0.24% and there were 2 deaths [98]. A study by others found that of the 11,000 circumcisions performed at New York's Sloane Hospital in 1989, only 6 led to complications, none of which were fatal [73].

A retrospective study of boys aged 4 months to 12 years found significantly greater frequency of penile problems (14% vs 6%; P < 0.001) and medical visits for penile problems (10% vs 5%; P < 0.05) among those who were uncircumcised, compared with those who were circumcised [36]

Pain and memory

No adverse psychological aftermath has been demonstrated [75]. It must be recognised that there are many painful experiences encountered by the child before, during and after birth [54]. Circumcision, if performed without anaesthetic is just one of these. Cortisol levels have registered an increase during and shortly after the procedure, indicating that the baby is not unaware of having had something done in its unanaesthetized state and one has to weigh up the need to inflict this short term pain in the context of a lifetime of gain from prevention or reduction of subsequent problems. Anaesthetic creams and other means appear to be at least partially effective in reducing trauma and some babies show no signs of distress at all when the procedure is performed without anaesthetic. Many, however, do, and this may be contributed by the restraining procedure, as well as the surgery itself.

Penile hygeine

The proponents of not circumcising nevertheless stress that lifelong penile hygeine is required. This acknowledges that something harmful or unpleasant is happening under the prepuce. Moreover, a study of British schoolboys found that penile hygeine does not exist [73]. Furthermore, Dr Terry Russell, an Australian medical practitioner states 'What man after a night of passion is going to perform penile hygeine before rolling over and snoring th e night away (with pathogenic organisms multiplying in the warm moist environemnt under the prepuce)'[73]. The bacteria start multiplying again immediately after washing and explain the whitish film, termed 'smegma', that is found under the foreskin. Bacteria give off an offensive odour, necessitating several showers a day by uncircumcised men, some of whom, together with their partners, find the stench so unpleasant that this smell has caused these men to seek a circumcision on this basis alone. For mothers and fathers, it is far easier to maintain cleanliness of their son's penis if it is circumcised. If their son isn't the messages are confusing: 'leave it alone', 'clean under it', 'pull it back sometimes', 'irrigate occasionally'!

What motivates parents to get their baby boy circumcised and the rates

The reasons for circumcision, at least in a survey carried out as part of a study at Sydney Hospital, were: 3% for religious reasons, 1-2% for medical, with the remainder suggested by the researchers as 'to be like dad' or a preference of one or both parents for whatever reason [22]. The main reason may have more to do with hygeine and appearance, as will be discussed later in the section on socio-sexual aspects. The actual proportion of men who were circumcised when examined at this clinic was 62%. Of those studied, 95% were Caucasian, with younger men just as likely to be circumcised as older men. In Adelaide, South Australia, a similar proportion has been noted, with 55% of younger men being circumcised. In Britain, however, the rate is only 7-10%, much like Europe. Rates in Africa, Asia and India vary according to religion and cuture, with higher rates amongst Muslims and certain tribes and low rates amongst other groups and nations. In the USA, as indicated above, the rate of circumcision has always been high, although differs in different regions: the rates for 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994 in the northeast region were 62%, 68%, 65% and 70%, in each respective year; for the midwest they were 78%, 78%, 74% and 80%, respectively; for the southern region: 64%, 63%, 61% and 65%; and for the western region: 41%, 38%, 36% and 34% [58]. The actual rates are higher than indicated by this data, as they represent only the numbers reported, whereas not all are. In Canada the rate varies markedly between different regions. Even in the same state, Ontario, for example, the rate between different districts ranges from 2% to 70%, with a mean of around 50%.

Physical problems

Phimosis (inability to retract the foreskin) affects 2-10% of uncircumcised males, and can lead to urinary retention, vesico-ureteral reflux and hypertension. Paraphimosis (where the retracted foreskin cannot be brought back again over the glans) is a very painful problem, relieved by circumcision or slitting the dorsal surface of the foreskin. To paediatric surgeons, the most obvious medical reasons for circumcision are balanitis (inflammation of the glans) and posthitis (inflammation of the foreskin), which are very painful conditions virtually limited to uncircumcised males. In babies, balanitis is caused by soiled diapers, playing and sitting in dirty areas, antibiotic therapy, as well as yeast and other micro-organisms. Balanoposthitis (inflammation of the foreskin and glans) is common in uncircumcised diabetic men owing to a weakened, shrunken penis [24] and such men also have more problems associated with intercourse. Diabetes is common and inherited, so a family history of this disease may add to considerations in favour of circumcision at birth. Uncircumcised boys may entrap their foreskin in zippers, resulting in pain, trauma, swelling and scarring of this appendage. In elderly men, infections and pain from balanoposthitis, phimosis and paraphimosis are seen and carers report problems in achieving optimal hygeine in uncircumcised men. The need for an appliance for urinary drainage in quadraplegics and in senile men is facilitated if they are circumcised. Boys and men who are not circumcised can be a source of irritation if they do not retract the foreskin when they urinate, as 'splatter' will occur. Although not a medical problem, it is a source of annoyance for other people (such as a parent or partner) if it is they that have the job of cleaning the bathroom. Foreskin problems also mean intercourse is painful.

Neonatal uninary tract infections

In 1982 it was reported that 95% of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in boys aged 5 days to 8 months were in uncircumcised infants [32]. This was confirmed by Wiswell [100] and a few years later Wiswell and colleagues found that in 5261 infants born at one US Army hospital, 4% of UTI cases were in uncircumcised males, but only 0.2% in those who were circumcised [101]. Wiswell then went on to examine the records for 427,698 infants (219,755 boys) born in US Armed Forces hospitals from 1975-79 and found that the uncircumcised had an 11-fold higher incidence of UTIs [98]. During this decade the frequency of circumcision in the USA decreased from 84% to 74% and this decrease was associated with an increase in rate of UTI [102]. Reviews by others in the mid-80s concluded there was a lower incidence in circumcised boys [50][71]. The rate in girls was stable during the period it was increasing in boys, in whom circumcision was in a decline. In a 1993 study by Wiswell of 209,399 infants born between 1985 and 1990 in US Army hospitals world-wide, 1046 (496 boys) got UTI in their first year of life [99]. The number was equal for boys and girls, but was 10-times higher for uncircumcised boys. Among the uncircumcised boys younger than 3 months, 23% had bacteraemia, caused by the same organism responsible for the UTI. It should be noted that these studies gave figures for infants admitted to hospital for UTI, so that the actual rate would undoubtedly have been higher. The infection can travel up the urinary tract to affect the kidney and a higher rate of problems such as pye lonephritis and renal scarring (seen in 7.5% [92]) is reported in uncircumcised children [72][82]. These and other reports [e.g., [29] [35][72] [82] all point to the benefits of circumcision in reducing UTI.

Indeed, Wiswell performed a meta-analysis of all 9 studies that had been published up until 1992 and observed that every one had found an increase in UTI in the uncircumcised [99]. The average was 12-fold higher and the range was 5 to 89-fold, with 95% confidence intervals of 11-14 [99]. Meta-analyses by others have reached similar conclusions. There have been other studies since then that have added further support. One of these was in Sydney and involved boys under 5 years of age (mean 6 months). It found that 6% of uncircumcised boys got a UTI, but only 1% of circumcised [16].

The benefit appears to extend beyond childhood and into adult life. In a study of men aged, on average, 30 years, and matched for race, age and sexual activity, the circumcised had a lower rate of UTI [81].

The fact that fimbriated strains of the bacterium Escherichia coli which are pathogenic to the urinary tract and pyelonephritogenic, have been shown to be capable of adhering to the foreskin, satisfies one of the criteria for causality [27] [30][40] [41][82] [102][103]. Thus in infancy and childhood the prepuce becomes colonized with bacteria. Fimbriated strains of Proteus mirabilis, non-fimbriated Pseudomonas , as well as species of Klebsiella and Serratia also bind closely to the mucosal surface of the foreskin within the first few days of life [27][30] [103]. Circumcision prevents such colonization and subsequent ascending infection of the urinary tract [71].

Since the absolute risk of UTI in uncircumcised boys is approx. 1 in 25 (0.05) and in circumcised boys is 1 in 500 (0.002), the absolute risk reduction is 0.048. Thus 20 baby boys need to be circumcised to prevent one UTI. However, the potential seriousness and pain of UTI, which can in rare cases even lead to death, should weigh heavily on the minds of parents. The complications of UTI that can lead to death are: kidney failure, meningitis and infection of bone marrow. The data thus show that much suffering has resulted from leaving the foreskin intact. Lifelong genital hygeine in an attempt to reduce such infections is also part of the price that would have to be paid if the foreskin were to be retained. However, given the difficulty in keeping bacteria at bay in this part of the body [63][77], not performing circumcision would appear to be far less effective than having it done in the first instance [77].

Sexually-transmitted diseases

In 1947 a study of 1300 consecutive patients in a Canadian Army unit showed that being uncircumcised was associated with a 9-fold higher risk of syphilis and 3-times more gonorrhea [91]. Work in the mid-70s showed higher chancroid, syphilis, papillomavirus and herpes in uncircumcised men [85]. At the University of Western Australia a 1983 study showed twice as much herpes and gonorrhea, 5-times more candidiasis and 5-fold greater incidence of syphilis [64]. Others have reported higher rates of nongonococcal urethritis in uncircumcised men [80]. In South Australia a study in 1992 showed that uncircumcised men had more chlamidia (odds ratio 1.3) and gonoccocal infections (odds ratio 2.1). Similarly in 1988 a study in Seattle of 2,800 heterosexual men reported higher syphilis and gonnorrhea in uncircumcised men, but no difference in herpes, chlamidia and non-specific urethritis (NSU). Like this report, a study in 1994 in the USA, found higher gonnorhea and syphilis, but no difference in other common STDs [15]. In the same year Dr Basil Donovan and associates reported the results of a study of 300 consecutive heterosexual male patients attending Sydney STD Centre at Sydney Hospital [22]. They found no difference in genital herpes, NSU, seropositivity for HSV-2 and genital warts (i.e., the benign, so-called 'low-risk' human papillomavirus types 6 and 1 1, which are visible on physical examination, unlike the 'high -risk' types 16 and 18, which are not). As mentioned above, 62% were circumcised and the two groups had a similar age, number of partners and education. Gonorrhea, syphilis and hepatitis B were too uncommon in this Sydney study for them to conclude anything about these other STDs. Similar findings were obtained in the National Health and Social Life Survey in the USA, which asked about gonnorrhea, syphilis, chlamidia, nongonoccocal urethritis, herpes and HIV (which is more often aquired intravenously) [48], although some under-reporting by uncircumcised men was likely as they tended to be less educated. Also, circumcision at birth was assumed, so that the number who sought circumcision later in life for problems, such as STDs and/or other infections, and therefore had switched group, was not taken into account. Design aspects of a number of the studies have in fact been criticised. As a result there is still no overwhelming agreement. Nevertheless, on the bulk of evidence it would seem that at least some STDs could be more common in the uncircumcised, but this conclusion is by no means absolute in Western settings, and the incidence may be influenced by factors such as the degree of genital hygeine, availability of running water and socioeconomic group being studied. In some more recent studies in developed nations, in which hygeine is good, no difference was apparent.

Cancer of the penis

The incidence of penile cancer in the USA is 1 per 100,000 men per year (i.e., 750-1000 cases annually) and mortality rate is 25-33% [44][51]. It represents approximately 1% of all malignancies in men in the USA. This data has to be viewed, moreover, in the context of the high proportion of circumcised men in the USA, especially in older age groups, and the age group affected, where older men represent only a portion of the total male population. Thus 1 in 100,000 per year of life translates to 75 in 100,000 during each man's lifetime, but since it occurs almost entirely in uncircumcised men, if we assume that these represent 30% of males in the USA, the chance an uncircumcised man will get it would be 75 per 30,000 = 1 in 400. In a study in Melbourne in 1990, although 60% of affected men were over 60 years of age, 40% were under 60 [74]. In 5 major series in the USA since 1932 [104], not one man with penile cancer had been circumcised neonatally [51], i.e., this disease is almost completely confined to uncircumcised men and, less commonly, in those circumcised after the newborn period. The finite residual risk in those circumcised later is the major contributing factor to estimates of lifetime risk in the total population of circumcised men of 1 in 50,000 to 1 in 12,000,000 [96][97]. The predicted life-time risk for an uncircumcised man has been estimated as 1 in 600 in the USA and 1 in 900 in Denmark [44]. In underdeveloped countries the incidence is higher: approx. 3-6 cases per 100,000 per year [44] and in Uganda it is the most common malignancy in males, leading to calls for greater circumcision in that country [21]. In Australia, the most recent figures of the New South Wales Cancer Council (for 1993) show 28 cases per year (including one in a child), with 5 deaths, which is similar to the 1 in 100,000 figure above and applies to a population in which the majority of the older men are circumcised. The rate is set to escalate, however, as more of the males who were not circumcised during the period after the mid 1970s reach the ages when this cancer generally begins to appear.

The so-called 'high-risk' papillomavirus types 16 and 18 (HPV 16/18) are found in a large proportion of cases and there is good reason to suspect that they are involved in the causation of penile cancer [53], as is true for most, if not all, cases of cervical cancer (see below). HPV 16 and 18 are, moreover, more common in uncircumcised males [60]. These types of HPV produce flat warts that are normally only visible by application of dilute acetic acid (vinegar) to the penis and the data on high-risk HPVs should not be confused with the incidence figures for genital warts, which although large and readily visible, are caused by the relatively benign HPV types 6 and 11 [42]. Other factors, such as smoking, poor hygeine and other STDs have been suspected as contributing to penile cancer as well [11][51], but it would seem lack of circumcision is the primary prerequisite, with such other factors adding to the risk in the uncircumcised man. Financial considerations are, moreover, not inconsiderable. In the USA it was estimated that the cost for treatment and lost earnings in a man of 50 with cancer in 1980 was $103,000 [34]. The amount today is higher.

In Australia between 1960 and 1966 there were 78 deaths from cancer of the penis and 2 from circumcision. (Circumcision fatalities today are virtually unknown.) At the Peter McCallum Cancer Institute 102 cases of penile cancer were seen between 1954 and 1984, with twice as many in the latter decade compared with the first. Moreover, several authors have linked the rising incidence of penile cancer to a decrease in the number of neonatal circumcisions [17] [74]. It would thus seem that 'prevention by circumcision in infancy is the best policy'. Indeed it would be an unusual parent who did not want to ensure their child was completely protected by this simple procedure.

There is also some data to suggest that circumcised males may have half the incidence of prostate cancer, which is very common (27% of new cancers in males and 7% of all deaths [59]).

Cervical cancer in female partners of uncircumcised men

A number of studies have documented higher rates of cervical cancer in women who have had one or more male sexual partners who were uncircumcised. These studies have to be looked at critically, however, to see to what extent cultural and other influences might be contributing in groups with different ci rcumcision practices. In a study of 5000 cervical and 300 penile cancer cases in Madras between 1982 and 1990 the incidence was low amongst Muslim women, when compared with Hindu and Christian, and was not seen at all in Muslim men [31]. In a case-control study of 1107 Indian women with cervical cancer, sex with uncircumcised men or those circumcised after the age of 1 year was reported in 1993 to be associated with a 4-fold higher risk of cervical cancer, after controlling for factors such as age, age of first intercourse and education 1.

Another study published in 1993 concerning various types of cancer in the Valley of Kashmir concluded that universal male circumcsion in the majority community was responsible for the low rate of cervical cancer compared with the rest of India [18]. In Israel, a 1994 report of 4 groups of women aged 17-60 found that gynaecologically healthy Moshav residents had no HPV 16/18, whereas healthy Kibbutz residents had a 1.8% incidence [38]. Amongst those with gynaecological complaints HPV 16/18 was found in 9% of Jewish and 12% of non-Jewish women. So-called 'high-risk' HPV types 16, 18 and some rarer forms are responsible for virtually every case of cervical cancer [87]. These same high-risk HPVs also cause penile intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN). In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1987 it was found that women with cervical cancer were more likely to have partners with PIN, the male equivalent of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) [9]. CIN may lead to cancer or, more often, it goes away. Thus co-factors are suspected. Interestingly, smegma (the film of bacteria, secretions and other material under the foreskin), obtained from human and horse has been shown to be capable of producing cervical cancer in mice in one study [67], but not in another [70]. Thus the epidemic of cervical cancer in Australia, and indeed most countries in the world, would appear to be contributed, at least in part, by the uncircumcised male and would therefore be expected to get even worse as the large proportion of men that were born in the past 10-20 years and not circumcised reach sexual maturity.

AIDS virus

In the USA the estimated risk of HIV per heterosexual exposure is 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 100,000. If one partner is HIV positive and otherwise healthy then a single act of unprotected vaginal sex carries a 1 in 300 risk for a woman and as low as a 1 in 1000 risk for a man [12]. (The rates are very much higher for unprotected anal sex and intravenous injection). In Africa, however, the rate of HIV infection is up to 10% in some cities. (A possible reason for this big difference will be discussed later.) In Nairobi it was first noticed that among 340 men being treated for STDs they were 3-times as likely to be HIV positive if they had genital ulcers or were uncircumcised (11% of these men had HIV) [79]. Subsequently another report showed that amongst 409 African ethnic groups spread over 37 countries the geographical distribution of circumcision practices indicated a correlation of lack of circumcision and high incidence of AIDS [10]. In 1990 Moses in the International Journal of Epidemiology reported that amongst 700 African societies involving 140 locations and 41 countries there was a considerably lower incidence of HIV in those localities where circumcision was practiced [56][57]. Truck drivers, who generally exhibit more frequent prostitute contact, have shown a higher rate of HIV if uncircumcised. Interestingly, in a West African setting, men who were circumcised but had residual foreskin were more likely to be HIV-2 positive than those in whom circumcision was complete [65].

Of 33 cross-sectional studies, 22 have reported statistically significant association [e.g., [20] [37][39] [68][88], by univariate and multivariate analysis, between the presence of the foreskin and HIV infection (4 of these were from the USA). 5 reported a trend (including 1 US s tudy). The 6 that saw no difference were 4 from Rwanda and 2 from Tanzania. In addition there have been 5 prospective studies and 2 from Kenya and 1 from Tanzania reported statistically significant association. The increased risk in the significant studies ranged from 1.5 to 9.6. The findings have, moreover, led various workers such as Moses and Caldwell to propose that circumcision be used as an important intervention strategy in order to reduce AIDS [12][26] [37][43] [52][56] [57]. Such advice has been taken up, with newspaper advertisements from clinics in Tanzania offering this service to protect against AIDS.

Perhaps the most interesting study of the risk of HIV infection imposed by having a foreskin is that by Cameron, Plummer and associates published as a large article in Lancet in 1989 [13]. It was conducted in Nairobi. Rather than look at the existing infection rate in each group, these workers followed HIV negative men until they became infected. The men were visiting prostitutes, numbering approx. 1000, amongst whom there had been an explosive increase in the incidence of HIV from 4% in 1981 to 85% in 1986. These men were thus at high risk of exposure to HIV, as well as other STDs. From March to December 1987, 422 men were enrolled into the study. Of these, 51% had presented with genital ulcer disease (89% chancroid, 4% syphilis, 5% herpes) and the other 49% with urethritis (68% being gonorrhea). 12% were initially positive for HIV-1. Amongst the whole group, 27% were not circumcised. They were followed up each 2 weeks for 3 months and then monthly until March 1988. During this time 8% of 293 men seroconverted (i.e., 24 men), the mean time being 8 weeks. These displayed greater prostitute contact per month (risk ratio = 3), more presented with genital ulcers (risk ratio = 8; P < 0.001) and more were uncircumcised (risk ratio = 10; P < 0.001). Logistic regression analysis indicated that the risk of seroconversion was independently associated with being un circumcised (risk ratio = 8.2; P < 0.0001), genital ulcers (risk ratio = 4.7; P = 0.02) and regular prostitute contact (risk ratio = 3.2; P = 0.02). The cumulative frequency of seroconversion was 18% and was only 2% for men with no risk factors, compared to 53% for men with both risk factors. Only one circumcised man with no ulcer seroconverted. Thus 98% of seroconversion was associated with either or both cofactors. In 65% there appeared to be additive synergy, the reason being that ulcers increase infectivity for HIV. This involves increased viral shedding in the female genital tract of women with ulcers, where HIV-1 has been isolated from surface ulcers in the genital tract of HIV-1 infected women.

It has been suggested that the foreskin could physically trap HIV-infected vaginal secretions and provide a more hospitable environment for the infectious innoculum. Also, the increased surface area, traumatic physical disruption during intercourse and inflammation of the glans penis (balanitis) could aid in recruitment of target cells for HIV-1. The port of entry could potentially be the glans, subprepuce and/or urethra. In a circumcised penis the drier, cornified skin may prevent entry and account for the findings.

In this African study the rate of transmission of HIV following a single exposure was 13% (i.e., very much higher than in the USA). It was suggested that concommitant STDs, particularly chancroid [12], may be a big risk factor, but there could be other explanations as well. Studies in the USA have not been as conclusive. Some studies have shown a higher incidence in uncircumcised men. But in one in New York City, for example, no significant correlation was found, although the patients were mainly intravenous drug users and homosexuals, so that any existing effect may have been obscured. A study in Miami, however, of heterosexual couples did find a higher incidence in men who were uncircumcised, and, in Seattle homosexual men were twice as likely t o be HIV positive if they were uncircumcised [45].

In an editorial review in 1994 of 26 studies it was pointed out that more work was needed in order to reduce potential biases in some of the previous data [19]. At least one study since then has controlled for such potential confounding factors, confirming a significantly lower HIV prevalence among circumcised men [86].

The reason for the big difference in apparent rate of transmission of HIV in Africa and Asia, where heterosexual exposure has led to a rapid spread through these populations and is the main method of transmission, compared with the very slow rate of penetration into the heterosexual community in the USA and Australia, now appears to be related at least in part to a difference in the type of HIV-1 itself [46]. In 1995 an article in Nature Medicine discussed findings concerning marked differences in the properties of different HIV-1 subtypes in different geographical locations [62]. A class of HIV-1 termed 'clade E' is prevalent in Asia and differs from the 'clade B' found in developed countries in being highly capable of infecting Langerhans cells found in the foreskin, so accounting for its ready transmission across mucosal membranes. The Langerhans cells are part of the immune system and in turn carry the HIV to the T-cells, whose numbers are severely depleted as a key feature of AIDS. The arrival of the Asian strain in Australia was reported in Nov 1995 and has the potential to utilise the uncircumcised male as a vehicle for rapid spread through the heterosexual community of this country in a similar manner as it has done in Asia. It could thus be a time-bomb about to go off and should be a major concern for health officials.

Sexual transmission of HIV and other STDs would be reduced by use of barrier protection such as condoms. Despite the campaigns, passion will over-ride compliance on occasions in the most sexually promiscuous, at-risk group, wh o are at an age when risk-taking behaviour is prevalent (cf. smoking in young people vis-a-vis the anti-smoking campaign), with tragic consequences. Thus education is only part of the answer and where an additional simple procedure is available to reduce the risk, then logic dictates that it should be used. The result will be many lives saved.

Socio-sexual aspects

In the setting of Australia, a small and restricted, but interesting survey of circumcised vs uncircumcised men and their partners was conducted by Sydney scientist James Badger [7] [8] (who regards himself as neutral on the issue of circumcision). It involved responses to a questionnaire published in Australian Forum magazine or placed in Sydney clinics of the Family Planning Association of New South Wales. There were 180 respondents (79 male, 101 female) who were aged 15-60. The women were mainly (50%) in the 20-30 year-old age group cf 25% of the men, more of whom (33%) were aged 30-40. It found that:

· 18% of uncircumcised males underwent circumcision later in life anyway.

· 21% of uncircumcised men who didn't, nevertheless wished they were circumcised. (There were also almost as many men who wished they hadn't been circumcised and it could be that at least some men of either category may have been seeking a scapegoat for their sexual or other problems. In addition, this would no doubt be yet another thing children could blame their parents for, whatever their decision was when the child was born.)

· No difference in sexual performance (consistent with Masters & Johnson).

· Slightly higher sexual activity in circumcised men.

· No difference in frequency of sexual intercourse for older uncircumcised vs. circumcised men.

· Men circumcised as adults were very pleased with the result. The local pain when they awoke from the anaesthetic was quickly relieved by pain killers (needed only for one day), and all had returned to normal sexual relations within 2 weeks, with no decrease in sensitivity of the penis and claims of 'better sex'. (Badger's findings are, moreover, consistent with every discussion the author has ever had with men circumcised as adults, as well as email received from a number of such men. The only cases to the contrary were a testimonial in a letter I received from a member of UNCIRC and a very brief email message that did n't say why.)

· Women with circumcised lovers were more likely to reach a simultaneous climax.

· Women with uncircumcised lovers were 3 times as likely to fail to reach orgasm. (These data could, however, possibly reflect behaviours of uncircumcised males that might belong to lower socio-economic classes and/or ethnic groups whose attitudes concerning sex and women may differ from the better educated groups in whom circumcision is more common.)

· Circumcision was favoured by women for appearance and hygiene. (Furthermore, some women were nauseated by the smell of the uncircumcised penis, where, as mentioned above bacteria and other micro-organisms proliferate under the foreskin.)

· The uncircumcised penis was found by women to be easier to elicit orgasm by hand.

· The circumcised penis was favoured by women for oral sex (fellatio).

These findings are consistent with other studies. In a survey of new mothers, hygeine and appearance were the two major reasons for choosing to have their newborn son circumcised [90]. There was a strong correlation between their son's circumcision status and the woman's ideal male partner's cicumcision status for intercourse. Thus by being circumcised they thought that their sons would likewise be more attractive to a future sexual partner (with the implication that they would be at an advantage in passing on their, and therefore the mother's, genes to the subsequent generation). Their own preference thus affected their choice for their sons. 92% said the circumcised penis was cleaner, 90% said it looked 'sexier', 85% it felt nicer to touch and 55% smelled more pleasant. Even women who had only ever had uncircumcised partners preferred the look of the circumcised penis. Only 2% preferred an uncircumcised penis for fellatio, with 82% preferring the circumcised variety. Preference for intercourse for circ vs uncirc was 71% vs 6%, respectively; manual stimulation, 75% vs 5%; visual appeal, 76% vs 4%. What then is sexier ab out a circumcised penis? Quite likely it is that the glans is exposed in both the erect and unerect state. American producers of erotic films and publishers of photographic works choose circumcised men, or at least uncircumcised men whose foreskin is smooth and free from loose, wrinkled skin, as the latter lacks visual appeal, especially to those who are not used to seeing an uncircumcised penis. 

As far as sex is concerned, the National Health and Social Life Survey in the USA found that uncircumcised men were more likley to experience sexual dysfunctions [48]; this was slight at younger ages, but became quite significant later in life and included finding it twice as difficult in achieving or maintaining an erection. It was also discovered that circumcised men engaged in a more elaborate set of sexual practices. Not surprisingly, in view of the findings above, circumcised men received more fellatio. However, they also masturbated more, a finding that, ironically, contradicts the wisdom in Victorian times that circumcision would reduce the urge to masturbate. As noted in other studies, circumcision rates were greatest among whites and those who were better-educated, reflecting their exposure to and ability to evaluate and respond to scientific information about circumcision. There was little difference between different religious groups.

In Britain a class distinction is associated with circumcision, with the Royal Family and the upper classes being circumcised and the lower classes generally not. Some ancient cultures and some even today practice infibulation (drawing a ring or similar device through the prepuce or otherwise occluding it for the principlal purpose of making coition impossible) [78]. This is the opposite of circumcision. It was, moreover, espoused in Europe and Britain in previous centuries as a way of reducing population growth amongst the poor and to prevent masturbation [78].

Consistent with the accounts a bove of men circumcised as adults, clinical and neurological testing has not detected any difference in penile sensitivity between men of each category [102] [103]. Sexual pleasure also appears to be the same.

The procedure itself

Circumcision of the neonate: There is no evidence of any long-term psychological harm arising from circumcision. The risk of damage to the penis is extremely rare and avoidable by using a competent, experienced doctor. Unfortunately, because it is such a simple, low-risk procedure, it had been the practice to assign this job to junior medical staff and nurses, with occasional devastating results. Parents or patients need to have some re-assurance about the competence of the operator. Also the teaching of circumcision to medical students and practitioners should be given greater attention because it is so commonly performed and needs to be done well. Surgical methods often use a procedure that protects the penis during excision of the foreskin. The most commonly used devices are the GOMCO clamp, MOGEN clamp and PlastiBell. The latter clamps the foreskin, which then falls off after a few days, and so eliminates the need to actually cut the foreskin off [28]. However, some of these more elaborate methods take up to 15-30 min to perform and therefore expose the baby to a greater period of discomfort. Circumcision can be completed in 15-30 seconds by a competent practitioner using more traditional approaches. Rather than tightly strapping the baby down, swaddling and a pacifier has been suggested [95] - [97]. Dr Tom Wiswell strongly advocates the neonatal period as being the best time to perform circumcision, pointing out that the child will not need ligatures or general anaesthesia, nor additional hospitalization [95 - 97]. Without an anaesthetic the child experiences pain and pain is also present for from a few up to a maximum of 12-24 hours afterwards. The child does not, however, have any long term memory of having been circumcised. A greater respo nsiveness to subsequent injection for routine immunization may, however, suggest the baby could remember for a short time [84]. Complication rate is very low (0.2%), as is cost (less than $100).

In the past no anaesthetic was used. However, several anaesthetic procedures are available today. These include dorsal penile nerve block, which works well, with no serious complications. There are also anaesthetic creams. One that has been advocated for newborns and infants recently by various experts is Emla cream (5% lidocaine/prilocaine; Astra) [84][95 - 97], with hard evidence of its effectiveness, not only for circumcision [83,84], but also for relieving the pain of antecubital venepuncture in newborn babies [69]. A sugar-coated pacifier can also help. General anaesthetics and alcohol are too dangerous. For some circumcisions, cultural or religious beliefs dictate the method.

Children: For children aged 4 months to 15 years a general anaesthetic is generally used and this carries a small risk. Also, ligatures are usually needed. Recently, excellent cosmetic results were reported for all of 346 patients aged 14 to 38 months using electrosurgery, which presents a bloodless operative field [66]. Metal of any kind (such as the Gomco clamp) have to of course be avoided in this procedure. Circumcision later obviously requires a separate (often overnight) visit to hospital. Rate of complications is also greater, but still low (1.7%). Pain lasts for days afterwards and those older than 1-2 years may remember. Cost is also much greater.

Adults In adults it may be even more expensive, but can be performed on an outpatient basis, sometimes with local anaesthetic, and pain can last for a week or so, during which time absence from work is required.

In relation to cost, on average the amount per circumcision across all ages versus mean lifetime medical costs in those not circumcised works out about the same [49]. In this analysis it was stated that if the rate of surgical complications fr om circumcision was less than 0.6% or if risk of penile problems in uncircumcised males exceedeed 17% (cf. current baseline of 14%) then circumcision would be preferred on a cost and lifespan basis [49].

Thus when considering when is the best time, it would appear that circumcision in the newborn period is safer, cheaper and technically easier than later in life. 

Whose responsibility?

It is argued by opponents of circumcision that the male himself should be allowed to make the decision about whether he does or does not want to be circumcised. However, there are problems with this argument, not the least of which is the fact that the greatest benefits occur the earlier in life the procedure is performed. If left till later ages the individual has already been exposed to the risk of urinary tract infections, the physical problems and carries a residual risk of penile cancer. Moreover, it would take a very street-wise, outgoing, adolescent male to make this decision and undertake the process of ensuring that is was done. Most males in the late teens and 20s, not to mention many men of any age, are reticent to confront such issues, even if they hold private convictions and preferences about their penis. Moreover, despite having problems with this part of their anatomy, many will suffer in silence rather than seek medical advice or treatment. Really though parental responsibility must over-ride arguments based on 'the rights of the child'. Think what would happen if we allowed children to reach the age of legal consent in relation to, for example, immunization, whether they should or should not be educated, etc, etc. A period of great benefit would have been lost, to the potential detriment of the person concerned. Parents have the legal right to authorize surgical procedures in the best interests of their children [3][23]. For them to make this decision medical practitioners are obliged to disclose to them fully and objectively all information relating to circumcision. This includes benefits and risks, prognosis and alternative methods.


Having described the benefits, let's look at the risks. These are [95 - 97]:

· Excessive bleeding: Occurs in 1 in 1000 ­ treated with pressure or locally-acting agents, but 1 in 4000 may require a ligature and 1 in 20,000 need a blood transfusion because they have a previously unrecognized bleeding disorder. Haemophilia in the family is of course a contra -indication for circumcision.

· Infection: Local infections occur in 1 in 100-1000 and are easily treated with local antibiotics. Systemic infections may appear in 1 in 4000 and require intravenous or intramuscular injection of antibiotics.

· Subsequent surgery: Needed for 1 in 1000 because of skin bridges, or removal of too much or too little foreskin. Repair of injury to penis or glans required for 1 in 15,000. Loss of entire penis: 1 in 1,000,0000, and is avoidable by ensuring the practitioner performing the procedure is competent.

· Local anaesthetic: The only risk is when the type of anaesthetic used is a dorsal penile nerve block, with 1 in 4 having a small bruise at the injection site. This will disappear.

· Death: The records show that between 1954 and 1989, during which time 50,000,000 circumcisions were performed in the USA there were only 3 deaths. (But there were 11,000 from penile cancer, a disease essentially confined to the uncircumcised [96].)

Why are human males born with a foreskin?

The foreskin probably protected the head of the penis from long grass, shrubbery, etc when humans wore no clothes, where evolutionarily our basic physiology and psychology are little different than our cave-dwelling ancestors. However, Dr Guy Cox from The University of Sydney has recently supplemented this suggestion with a novel idea, namely that the foreskin could be the male equivalant of the hymen , and served as an impediment to sexual intercourse during adolescence before humans became civilized [15]. The physical difficulties may explain why the word for uncircumcised in Hebrew means 'obstruction' or 'to impede', so explaining the Biblical term 'uncircumcised heart' when referring to obstructionism.

What caused many cultures to ritually remove it?

According to Cox, the ritual removal of the foreskin in diverse human traditional cultures, ranging from Muslims to Aboriginal Australians could be a sign of civilization in that human society aquired the ability to control, through education and religion, the age at which sexual intercourse could begin. Food for thought and discussion!

Another compelling explanation involves the ritualization of circumcision's prophylactic effects, especially as many different human groups and cultures that live in desert or other hot environments have adopted it as part of their customs. Infections, initiated by the aggravation of dirt and sand, are not uncommon under such conditions and have even crippled whole armies, where it is difficult to achieve sanitation during prolonged battle. Historically it was not uncommon for soldiers to be circumcised in preparation for active service. The Judeo-Muslim practice of circumcision quite likely had its origin in Egyptian civilization, where illustrations of the operation itself, as well as of circumcised Pharoahs, date back to 3000 BC. One possible reason the Egyptians could have circumcised themselves and their slaves might have been to prevent schistosomal infection. Urinary tract obstruction and haematuria are common in localities such as the Nile Valley that are inhabited by the blood fluke, Schistosoma haematobium , and the foreskin would undoubtedly possess the adverse ability of being able to hold water infected with the cercaria stage of the life cycle of this parasite and so facilitate its entry into the body. The perpetuation of the procedure by the Jews may have subse quently been driven by a desire to maintain cleanliness in an arid, sandy desert environment. Such considerations could also explain why it is practiced in multiple other cultures that live in such conditions. In each instance, the original practical reason became lost as the ritual persisted as a religious rite in many of the various cultures of the world. In the Muslim religion 

circumcision occurs near the time of puberty. In other cultures it is associated with preparation for marriage and as a sign of entry into manhood. Interestingly, in Japan, which, like most of Asia, is traditionally a noncircumcising nation, circumcision has recently started to become a fashion amongst young men. The procedure is currently being promoted by way of articles and advertisements in the vast array of 'girlie', sex magazines read by young males. The message is that it improves hygeine and attractiveness to women.

To summarize:

Lack of circumcision:

· Is responsible for a 12-fold higher risk of urinary tract infections. Risk = 1 in 20.

· Carries a higher risk of death in the first year of life (from complications of urinary tract infections: viz. kidney failure, meningitis and infection of bone marrow).

· One in ~400-900 uncircumcised men will get cancer of the penis. A quarter of these will die from it and the rest will require at least partial penile amputation as a result. (In contrast, penile cancer never or rarely occurs is men circumcised at birth). (Data from studies in the USA, Denmark and Australia, which are not to be confused with the often quoted, but misleading, annual incidence figures of 1 in 100,000).

· Is associated with balanitis (inflammation of the glans), posthitis (inflammation of the foreskin), phimosis (inability to retract the foreskin) and paraphimosis (constriction of the penis by a tight foreskin). Up to 18% of uncircumcised boys will develop one of these by 8 years o f age, whereas all are unknown in the circumcised. Risk of balanoposthitis = 1 in 6. Obstruction to urine flow = 1 in 10-50.

· Means problems that may result in a need for circumcision laterin life: complication risk = 1 in 100 (compared with 1 in 1000 in the newborn). Also, the cost can be 10 times higher for an adult.

· Is the biggest risk factor for heterosexually-acquired AIDS virus infection in men. 8-times higher risk by itself, and even higher when lesions from STDs are added in. Risk per exposure = 1 in 300.

· Is associated with higher incidence of cervical cancer in the female partners of uncircumcised men.


The information that appears in this review should prove informative to medical practitioners and health workers and thereby enhance the quality of information that is conveyed to parents of male children and to adult men. It should also prove to have educational value to others. It is hoped that as a result the choice that has to be made concerning circumcision, especially of male infants, is much more informed. Although there are benefits to be had at any age, they are greater the younger the child. Issues of 'informed consent' may be analogous to those parents have to consider for other medical procedures, such as whether or not to immunize their child. The question to be answered is 'do the benefits outweigh the risks'. When considering each factor in isolation there could be some difficulty in choosing. However, when viewed as a whole, in my opinion the answer to whether to circumcise a male baby is 'yes'. Nevertheless, everybody needs to weigh up all of the pros and cons for themselves and make their own best decision. I trust that the information I have provided in this article will help in the decision-making process.

Brian J. Morris, PhD DSc Fax: 61-2-9351-2058
University Academic (in medical sciences) Email: brianm@physiol.usyd.edu.au
This review can be found on the world-wide web:
The author freely grants permission for others to copy and distribute this review.



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  • 73. Russell T. The case for circumcision. Med Observer 1993 (1 Oct issue)
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  • 83. Taddio A, Katz J, Herisch AL, Koren G. Effect of neonatal circumcision on pain response during subsequent routine vaccination.Lancet 1997; 349: 599-603
  • 84. Taddio A, Stevens B, Craig K, Rastogi P, Bendavid S, Shennan A, Mulligan P, Koren G . Efficacy and safety of lidocaine-prilocaine cream for pain during circumcision. N Engl J Med 1997; 336: 1197-1201
  • 85. Taylor PK, Rodin P. Herpes genitalis and circumcision.Br J Ven Dis 1975; 51: 274-7
  • 86. Urassa M, Todd J, Boerma JT, Hayes R, Islingo R. Male circumcision and susceptibility to HIV infection among men in Tanzania.AIDS 1997; 11: 73-80
  • 87. Walboomers JMM, Meijer CJL. Do HPV-negative cervical carcinomas exist? (editorial) J Path 1997; 181: 253-4
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    uncircumcised boys. Pediatrics 1989; 83: 1011-5

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  • Female Circumcision: A Viewpoint
    by Mardiana Abu Bakar, a reporter with The Straits Times (The Sunday Times, Oct 30th '94)

    A horrendous picture of a 10 yr old Egyptian girl, Nagla, screaming in pain as a barber cuts off parts of her genitals has stuck in my mind. And I hope this picture will remain in many other minds too, and for a very long time.

    The circumcision ceremony of Nagla was shown worldwide over Cable News Network (CNN) last month and it created an international furore. Let it be a reminder of the crime that should never be inflicted on daughters in the name of culture or misconceived religious injunctions.

    For it is precisely that combination of antiquated culture and distorted religious injunction that had brought about the unforgiving pain on Nagla and on many other young girls in the Middle East, Africa, and now with mass immigration, in Europe and North America.

    Nagla's pain will not end with that horrendous episode. She might haemorrhage and suffer severe infections that might lead to death. Even if she recovered, sex, which is a conjugal right within marriage, will be less a pleasure than a chore, and childbirth a battle with death.

    What is even more difficult for me to accept is the revelation by International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics which met early this month, that every day, 5500 similar mutilations take place. Details of the rituals in these countries vary according to region and culture, but the basics are the same: between infancy and adulthood, all or part of a girl's external genitalia are cut away with knives or razor blades. The Federation therefore, moved that this mutilation ritual, euphamistically termed "female circumcision", be outlawed.

    As a woman and as a mother of a nine-year-old girl, I will vote 5500 times over if only I could wipe the practice off the face of this earth. I wept for the physical pain that Nagla must have been put through, the indignity of being held down by strong men, and the violation of her body. Which is why, as a Muslim woman, I find it outrageous that the practice has become associated closely with Islam in many minds.

    A colleague reacted to the picture by saying, "Why do Muslims do this to their daughters?" I am not sure how this association with Muslims came about. To begin with, the practice of female circumcision is encouraged, but not compulsory, according to three out of four main schools of thoughts of Islam. One the fourth pronounced it is a must. And even then, the spirit of the injunction is not to mutilate. As the Mufti of Singapore pointed out to me earlier this year, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) stated emphatically that female circumcision should be done "as minimally as possible". The Mufti declared that the practice of female circumcision in Singapore "involves cutting off a tiny part from the outer portion of the clitoris" - about 1mm to 3mm is snipped off the very top of the clitoris. Other parts of the geinitalia remain untouched, and the woman's sexuality is not put into any danger.

    Here too, the practice is carried out by a woman, a doctor or a midwife - in the privacy of a room, with the mother and the aunts in attendance.

    I am not an advocate of female circumcision: I belong to the school of thought that says this injunction is optional. But I think we should respect the choice of Muslims who choose to circumcise their daughters, so long as the practice remains true to the spirit of the Prophet's injunction, and that they protect their daughters' dignity and well-being.

    Female Circumcision Is NOT Required by Islam
    by Dr Hassan Hathout, a gynaecologist, a Board Member of the Minaret, a bi-monthly magazine published by the Islamic Centre of Southern California

    1. Female circumcision is a habit practised long before Isla. Its map of distribution does not coincide with the Islamic map, and includes parts of Russia, some Asian (uncluding some Arab) tribes, parts of South America and the Nile valley (Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia). Female circumcision is still being practised by both Non-Muslims and Muslims in these countries. However, at present in Egypt and Sudan only Muslims practise it, (a minority in Egypt and more in Sudan).

    2. Female circumcision is not an Islamic requirement. There is a hadith "circumcision is sunnah (obligatory) for men and charity (good deeds) for women", but various sources do not consider it authentic. In another hadith, the Prophet (s.a.w.) instructed Omm Atiya, a woman practitioner of circumcision, "Take the minimum, Omm Atiya, and don;t exceed it, for this would be more pleasurable for the husband and protective of chastity by satisfying the wife's desire" (narrated by Ibn Majjah). This is taken to refer exclusively to the tribes of that time who would insist on the procedure, since Islam did not recommend or forbid female circumcision (same stand in Christianity and Judaism: both knew it).

    3. Female circumcision is not practised in Islamic countries other than Egypt and Sudan and possibly exists in few others. Women of Mecca, Medina, Najd, the Persion Gulf, Iran, North Africa, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, etc are not circumcised. This is established fact as well as first hand knowledge - I am a gynaecologist and I have dealt with all those nationalities.

    4. Female circumcision does not diminish sexual desire, for this depends mainly on psychohormonal factors. All circumcision does it to make the woman less able to get satisfaction, and this is certainly a frequent cause of marital disharmony and problems. The major factor of chastity before marriage and fidelity within it remains to be the conscience and proper Islamic upbringing. There is no evidence whatsoever that moral standards in Islamic countries that do not have circumcision are lower than in Islamic countries that have it.

    5. In view of this, it seems that there is no Islamic basis of making circumcision a requirement for women/Muslim converts or, for that matter, non-converts.

    Regarding the question on circumcision versus female genital mutilation: they are techinically one and the same. The degree is quite variable. In its most minor form it is trimming of labia minora. A higher degree is to add amputating part of the clitoris. The severest form, the one still practised in Sudan and called "infibulation", is wide removal of both labia minor and clitoris and sticking both sides together leaving only a small opening for the egress of urine and mestruation, and the entry of the penis at intercourse (sometimes against great difficulty necessitating surgery).

    Medicla complications are possible, including haemorrhage, sepsis, scarring, difficulty at childbirth which has to be tackled surgically, apart from the psychological aftermath.

    Male circumcision is a different story. It is definitely a sunnah (although not compulsory, fardh) and it takes after the convenant of Prophet Ibrahim (Prophet Abraham). It is clearly meant for males only and scriptural referance to it is the Torah, none in the Quran, but ofcourse in the teaching of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). The Torah says, "And Abraham took Ishmael, his son, and all that were born at his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the self-same day as God had said unto him" Genesis 17:22, see also Genesis 17:12.

    The fact that Christians (unlike Jews and Muslims) ceased to circumcise their boys, was not a decree of Christianity proclaimed by Jesus (a.s.). It was Paul who later exempted Christians from circumcision and permitted them to eat pig's meat. Jesus was circumcised and he did not eat pig's meat. Conclusion: Female circumcision is not required by Islam.

      Question: Is it permissible for a husband to take a picture of his wife whilst she is naked and vice versa? Also is it permissble for the husband and wife to take pictures of themselves or use a camcorder to record themselves having sexual intercourse, and thereafter look at the photos or watch the video?


      In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

      Regardless of the difference of opinion between the contemporary scholars about the ruling on photography, (even though, the position taken by virtually all scholars of the Indian Subcontinent and great Arab scholars is that photographs fall under the rubric of taswir (picture-making) of living creatures and humans, which has been explicitly forbidden in over 20 authentic hadiths, see: Reliance of the Traveller), the taking of nude pictures of the spouse or recording the act of sexual intercourse and thereafter viewing it cannot be considered permissible.

      There are few reasons for this:

      Firstly, it is disliked for the spouses to be completely naked during the act of sexual intercourse. Scholars mention, however, that although it is permissible for the spouses to look at any part of the partner’s body, it is disliked that they become completely naked. A cover or sheet over the naked bodies would be sufficient.

      Sayyida Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) said: “I never saw the Messenger of Allah’s (Allah bless him & give him peace) private parts”. (Sunan Ibn Majah, no. 662).

      Secondly, to expose the naked body in front of a stranger is absolutely unlawful (haram) in that Shariah.

      Also, to give someone the opportunity to view one’s nakedness (awra) in any way, shape or form is impermissible. By taking nude pictures of one’s self or recording the act of sexual intercourse may give someone this opportunity. The pictures taken or the video tape could be misplaced and get into the hands of a stranger. One may lose the tape and it could be picked up by another person. Imagine, if the son or daughter of the couple involved got hold of the tape, what would their  reaction be?

      The argument that the tape would be hidden and prevented from getting in to the hands of a third person is not valid for the simple reason that there is this possibility. Some unusual occurrence can transpire, thus it is possible for a third person to get hold of the tape. The well-established principle of Islamic jurisprudence states: “Prevent evil before it actually happens.” (sadd al-dhara’i).

      Thirdly, and finally, Islam is a religion of modesty. It does not approve of one stripping naked even when alone in a room, for Allah has a greater right that one should observe modesty before Him. Thus, it is necessary (wajib) in the Hanafi school, and highly recommended by others, to cover one’s minimum nakedness [between navel and knee for both men and women] even when alone. [Haskafi, Durr al-Mukhtar; Ibn Nujaym, al-Bahr al-Ra’iq] The exception to this is when there is a need, such as taking a shower, relieving oneself, or changing one’s clothes. Even in such situations, it is recommended to minimize the exposure.

      The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Modesty is of faith (iman)”. (Sahih al-Bukhari & Sahih Muslim).

      Ya’la ibn Umayya reports that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Verily Allah is modest and discreet and He likes modesty and discretion. When one of you takes a bath, one should cover one’s self”. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Sunan Nasa’I & Musnad Ahmad). This is a command of recommendation when alone.

      Due to the above reasons, it would not be permissible for the spouses to take nude pictures or record the act of cohabitation. This is disregarding the fact that many scholars hold picture making and photography impermissible from the outset.

      And Allah knows best

      Question: I look for ways on the internet to have better and pleasurable sex with my wife. This does not include naked pictures at all, these are general discussions. I look for different sex positions. Am i being a pervert when i do this. Am i allowed to do research on such stuff. Sometimes i feel that i am too obssessed with having sex with my wife. I mean only my wife. I dont think about anybody else. I want to please her both sexually and morally. We both are trying hard all the time to be better practising muslims. Our only source of entertainment is visiting people and sex. We dont have TV in our house, we dont watch movies, We do go out to eat and parks. Play with our children. But thats it.


      There is nothing wrong with sex. In fact, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) himself explained that one is rewarded for fulfilling one’s desires in a lawful manner with one’s spouse.

      It is permitted to read ‘respectable’ discussions of sexual advice. The condition for the permissibility of reading such matters is that:

      a) The content not be of a perverse or inappropriate nature;

      b) One does not look at the unlawful;

      c) One does not think about that which is haram (such as individuals other than one’s lawful spouse); and

      d) It does not lead one to do the haram (such as masturbate, even if later).

      Many medical sites have good material that does not contravene the first 2 conditions. The other two return to the individual.

      The Human Soul

      Allah swore by a long list of oaths in the Qur’an regarding the soul:

      091.001           By the sun and his brightness,

      091.002           And the moon when she followeth him,

      091.003           And the day when it revealeth him,

      091.004           And the night when it enshroudeth him,

      091.005           And the heaven and Him Who built it,

      091.006           And the earth and Him Who spread it,

      091.007           And a soul and Him Who perfected it

      091.008           And inspired it with its wrong its  right

      091.009           He is indeed successful who purifies it,

      091.010           And he is indeed a failure who stunts it.” [Qur’an, Surat al-Shams]

      Imam Sulaiman al-Jamal explains these last two verses in his Hashiyat al-Jalalayn [4.542] by stating that this success of the soul is by purifying it from bad deeds and being busied by good deeds; its failure, stunting, and abasement is through by sins.

      This is why the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “Fear Allah wherever you are; follow a bad deeds with a a good one and it will wipe it out; and deal with people with excellent character.” [at-Tirmidhi, from Abu Dharr and Mu`adh ibn Jabal (Allah be pleased with them)]

      Abu Malik al-Ash`ari reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “Purity is half of belief. 'Praise be to Allah' fills up the balance, and 'Glory be to Allah and praise be to Allah' fills up everything between the heavens and the earth. The prayer is a light. Charity is a proof. Steadfastness is an illumination. The Qur'an is a proof for you or against you. Everybody goes out and trades with his own self, either setting it free or destroying it.” [Muslim]

      And Allah alone gives success.

    Can we learn about abortion and veneral diseases?

    Question: An article appeared recently in the Times UK regarding capping the intake of muslim medical students due to their opposition of learning about abortion and venereal diseases. The article mentions:"Many of the students oppose abortion, while others have said that they would refuse to treat venereal diseases because they are a punishment for immorality."

    A group of muslim medical students at Manchester University are trying to raise awareness about the misconceptions behind these views. I was hoping maybe you could provide a short statement about the permissibility of at least learning about abortions (due to their permissibility if the life of the mother is in danger) and also learning about and treating venereal diseases.


    Abortion and the termination of pregnancy is normally impermissible and contrary to the teachings of Shari’ah. However, it becomes permissible in certain compelling situations, as mentioned in detail in a recent post.

    Similarly, to perform this act on another person is also unlawful, as what is unlawful for oneself will also be unlawful to perform on another.

    Allah Most High says: “And help one another in virtue and piety and do not help one another in sin and oppression”(Surah al-Ma’idah).

    However, to acquire knowledge regarding the practice of abortion is permissible, as there are circumstances when abortion becomes permissible. It is also perfectly lawful to learn about venereal diseases, and to say that they are a punishment for immorality is incorrect. One may repent from his/her sin and become beloved in the eyes of the Almighty. Also, it is not necessary that all venereal diseases occur due to sinning or immorality.

    And Allah knows best.

    Abortion of babies with genetic diseases

    Question: I have a question regarding the permissibilty of carrying out an abortion on babies with genetic diseases such as Cystic Fibrosis.  Scientists can now actually determine at a stage (before 120 days) weather this child will suffer from CF. This disease bascially involves the child growing up and living to the age of tops 30 years (if Allah Wills) and during these years the accumulation of bacteria and virus in the lungs due to sticky mucus causes 24/7 treatment of drugs. They would suffer many hardships during their life including being looked after. We studied this at college, and i know in the previous, the question has been asked about abortion. But would it still be permissible to carry out an abortion on this child knowing they would have a very serious condition during their short life? Abortion in the sense before 120 days when the ruh is inserted.


    In Islâm, abortion is primarily a prohibited sphere. However, as mentioned in an earlier post, prior to the period of four months (120 days) elapsing, it will become permissible if there is a legitimate and genuinely valid excuse. (Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar, 5/276).

    These excuses are of two types:

    1)    Those that affect the mother. For instance:

    • a) The pregnancy constitutes a danger to the mother’s physical health.
    • b) It constitutes a danger to the mother’s mental health.
    • c) Pregnancy caused due to rape.
    • d) If a pregnant woman is severely crippled or suffers from a serious mental illness and is in no position to care for herself, then, if it is possible to give the child for caring or adoption after it is born, abortion is out of the question. However, if no such arrangement can be made, then an abortion will be permissible.

    2) Those that affect the unborn child

    Many contemporary scholars have stressed that if medical examination determines that the child will be born with severe disabilities or will be inflicted with genetic diseases that will cause him relentless pains, and will be an undue burden for the parents, it will be permissible to abort the foetus, provided the four months have not elapsed.

    This can be derived from the following text of Ibn Abidin:

    “(al-Haskafi’s statement “Abortion is permissible due to a valid reason”), for example, the milk of the pregnant mother ceased, and the father of the child is not in a position financially to hire a wet-nurse, and there is a fear of the child perishing, then they (fuqaha) have stated that it will be permissible to abort the pregnancy, provided the period of 120 days have not elapsed. This is permissible, as the foetus is not as yet developed into a human, and by aborting it, we are saving a human life”  [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar, 5/276]

    The same has been stated in al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, [4/112], which is one of the most important fatwa references in the Hanafi school, as Shaykh Mustafa Zarqa mentions in his Madkhal.

    However, it should be remembered here that there should be a certain danger and risk about this. Mere doubts will not justify abortion. Also, it must be advised by a qualified, God-fearing Muslim doctor. It would be better if this is decided by a team of specialists, rather than just the one person. One should consult with a reliable scholar to confirm the particulars of one’s case, for caution should be should in all matters related to the lawful and unlawful.

    And Allah knows best.

      Question: I have a question regarding the Islamic perspective on infertility treatments. Many couples these days are having trouble bearing children and going through the emotional roller coaster that comes with infertility. Of course the first step is to pray to Allah (swt) for his mercy. In addition to prayers there are medical treatments such as IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) that are available. These treatments involve taking drugs and fertilization outside of the womb. Since many couples are going through infertility, we would like to know what Islam says about IVF. Please can you let us know if you have any advice or information. Jazak Allah


      In the name of Allah, the inspirer of truth. All praise is to Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate, and all blessings and peace to our Master Muhammad, his family, companions, and those who follow them.

      The Islamic Fiqh Academy, and other bodies, including Al-Azhar's Fatwa Committee, have studied this matter at length. They concluded that artificial insemination is permitted, as long as only the husband and wife are reproductively involved. This is permitted whether the fertilization itself occurs inside or outside the woman. It is not permitted to use third party ('donor')  sperm or eggs, even when either spouse is infertile. They stressed that one should ensure that such procedures are carried out in a safe way, for obvious reasons.

      Some of the scholars emphasize, too, that such procedures should only be used when normal means prove ineffective.

      It is important, in the end, to remember that while we have been commanded by Allah Most High to take all permitted means, we have also been commanded to believe that means themselves do not have an effect; only Allah does.

      And Allah knows best.

      Question: Is masturbation haram? The reason im asking this cuz i have so many friends they some says its haram some says its a natural thing . Its keep you away from bad deeds.. My second question is If Someone is Fasting and he gets horny some how "as u know sexual urges are natural and come and go ". So doing masterbating while on fasting is it bad or it doenst matter ? some ppl say it doenst matter cuz its a natural thing , some says its matter your fast broke if u do the masterbation ??


      1. The fiqh regarding masturbation may be found below.

      2. The very meaning of Islam is submission: we submit our bodies, hearts, minds, and souls to Allah Most High, out of thankfulness for the blessing and life-giving light of His religion.

      Allah tests our slavehood. Many people have 'natural' tendencies and urges towards that which Allah has declared unlawful. This is our test with Allah Most High.

      Allah Most High said in the Qur'an,
      "And the soul and He who perfected it
      And inspired it (with conscience of) what is wrong and right for it.
      He is indeed successful who purifies it,
      And he is indeed a failure who stunts it." [Qur'an, 91:9-10]

      The Ruling on Masturbation: Prohibitively Disliked & Sinful

      Masturbation is sinful, being prohibitively disliked, because of its many personal and societal ill-effects that are known and recognised in sane traditional societies and by balanced people the world over.

      As for modern 'expert' opinions that there is 'nothing wrong with it,' these are the opinions of the same people who see nothing wrong with fornication, nudity, and most other personal and social depravity.

      The early Muslims used to say, "The one who weds his hand is accursed." (Fath al-Qadir)

      Its prohibition was established by Allah Most High's words, "Those who guard their private parts, except from their spouses..." [Qur'an, 23: 5]

      Thus, the general ruling regarding sexual activity is that it is impermissible, except through the particular channel that Allah permitted, out of His tremendous wisdom and mercy for His creation.

      The rulings of the Shariah are for the worldly and eternal benefit of humanity, as a manifestation of the tremendous mercy of Allah, for Allah Himself is absolutely free of any need. Rather, it is we who need guidance, to give true joy and illumination to our lives in this world and the next.

      So, When Could Masturbation Possibly Be Allowed?

      Masturbation is only allowed in the very rare situation where:

      • if the person did not do this, they genuinely fear that they would fall into actual zina (i.e. unlawful sexual intercourse), because of their uncontrollable desire, and
      • they are unable to marry, and
      • have taken all reasonable means to lessen their passion (such as fasting, lowering their gaze, avoiding meat and dairy products, avoiing those things that stir their desires, such as bad company, spending unnecessary time outdoors, especially in public places such as shopping malls where there is fitna, avoiding watching tv and surfing the internet, etc).

      In such cases, it is not haram because of the principle that, "If there are only two options, but harmful, then one takes the lesser of the two harms to avoid the greater one."

      However, when there are third options, it remains impermissible to take the lesser harm, such as masturbation.

      Even when the conditions outlined above are met, it would only not be impermissible to the extent necessary to quieten one's sexual desire, not for sexual gratification. Otherwise, it would remain sinful. These conditions are extremely rare.

      [derived from: Ibn Abidin's Hashiya, al-Lakhnawi's Naf` al-Mufti wa'l Sa'il, and al-Nahlawi's Durar al-Mubaha, Kamal ibn al-Humam's Fath al-Qadir]

      As for the fast: masturbation that leads to ejaculation invalidates the fast.

      And Allah knows best.

      Answered by Sidi Faraz Rabbani of the Hanafi fiqh list.

      [Sidi Faraz Rabbani is a student of Hanafi fiqh based in Amman, Jordan. He is originally from Toronto, Canada. He has upcoming translations in Hanafi fiqh, including "Ilm al-Hal: An Essential Hanafi Primer" and Imam al-Shurunbulali's "Ascent to Felicity" (Maraqi al-Sa`adat). He also teaches Hanafi fiqh texts to students in Arabic and in English.]


      Question: Shaykh Yusuf Qaradawi in "The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam" writes that Imam Ahmad (Allah be well pleased with him) regarded semen as an excretion of the body like other excreta and permitted its expulsion as blood letting is permitted. However, Shaykh Yusuf then goes on to say that Hanbali jurists permit masturbation only under two conditions: first, the fear of committing fornication or adultery, and second, not having the means to marry. This begs the question...Is masturbation permissable in the Hanbali madhhab, and if so, is it qualified by any conditions?


      Before talking about the issue of masturbation, it is appropriate to first mention the rulings regarding people getting married.

      [Marriage in general]

      In general, people fall under three categories:

      (1) recommended (sunna)-- for those who feel sexual desire (shahwah) but do not fear that this will drive them to fornicate. This is applies to males and females alike, and even to men too poor to be able to provide for maintenance and upkeep. This is an opinion stated by Imam Ahmad (Allah be pleased with him). It is better for someone who has sexual desire to be busy with marriage than seeking seclusion for works of worship.

      (2) obligatory (wajib)-- for those who fear that they will fornicate if they do not marry, whether male or female. The person does not have to be certain that they will fornicate, rather it suffices that they fear that they may if they do not marry. When someone in this situation must choose between making Hajj or marriage, marriage is given precedence to the Hajj because of the fear that by one will commit the unlawful by delaying marriage.

      (3) permissible (mubah)-- for someone who does not feel sexual desire, whether this has always been the case or their desire has left due to
      sickness or old age. [Dar Al-Harb]

      In addition, marriage is haram in Dar Al-Harb unless there is legal necessity (durura).

      Legal necessity is defined as that the one's religion, life, mind, family & reputation, or property require it. It does not include that which removes difficulty from the above, which is called need (hajja), or that which makes the above nicer, which is luxury (tahsini).

      In Dar Al-Harb it is permissible to marry when there is legal necessity.

      If someone marries in Dar Al-Harb while it is unlawful for him to do so, it is obligatory for to use some form of birth control; otherwise, it is recommended to do so.


      Regarding the position of the Hanbali madhhab regarding masturbation, Kashshaf Al-Qina` (6:125) indicates that whoever masturbates out of fear of committing fornication or fear for their body has done nothing wrong and is not punished if (and only if) he is unable to marry--even a slave girl--and if he was able to marry it is unlawful and he is entitled to punishment. This applies to men and women equally. The reason given is out of necessity (durara), which was mentioned above.

      Please note that one of the conditions is that the person in question not even be able to marry a slave girl who is someone else's property, which means that any children would be born into slavery. What is significant here is that having your children born slaves is better than masturbation. This is not a light matter.

      Also please note that provided there is someone that one could marry, masturbation is unlawful. No where does it say that the spouse has to be from the same culture, has to be a perfect match, or anything like that. As long as there is an upright marriageable Muslim it is unlawful, and if not punished in this world it surely is in the next. It goes back to availability, not economic stability, diploma, beauty, hair color, nationality, ethnicity or cultural origins. There are a lot of people who mix up necessity, need and luxury. This ruling is about necessity.

      In closing, we know that divorce is the most despicable of lawful things to Allah, whereas fornication is haram. Parents should keep this in mind before putting so many conditions that must be met before marriage, especially since anything that leads to the unlawful is itself unlawful.

      And Allah knows best.

      Question: Is a wife permitted to masturbate her husband and her husband permitted to masturbate her?


      In the name of Allah, the inspirer of truth. All praise is to Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate, and all blessings and peace to our Master Muhammad, his family, companions, and those who follow them.

      Ibn ‘Abidin clearly states the permissibility of mutual masturbation between the husband and the wife, quoting the Mi’raj al-Diraya as saying ‘And it is permitted to masturbate with the hand of one’s wife’.  However, elsewhere in al-Durr al-Mukhtar (upon which Ibn ‘Abidin is commenting) Imam al-Haskafi quotes the Jawhara al-Nayyara as saying ‘It is disliked if one enables one’s wife … to play with one’s penis such that it results in ejaculation’.  Ibn ‘Abidin explains that the ‘dislike’ here must mean, at most, somewhat disliked (makruh tanzihan) so it does not negate what ibn ‘Abidin quoted earlier from Mi’raj al-Diraya concerning the lawfulness of this act.

      Ibn ‘Abidin further explains the difference between this and masturbating with one’s own hand, which is clearly forbidden except in exceptional circumstances, as being that in the former one is satisfying oneself with that which is permissible to gain satisfaction from, namely a part of one’s spouse all of whom one is permitted to seek sexual satisfaction from, whereas in the later one is not.

      He adds that therefore just as masturbating with one’s hand is forbidden so is masturbating with one’s own thigh or a wall or any other object.  

      Based on this reasoning and the explicit text mentioned above concerning the permissibility of a man masturbating with his wife’s hand it can be concluded that the reverse is also permissible, namely the wife’s masturbating with the husband’s hand.

      [Radd al-Muhtar, 2:400, 4:28, al-‘Ilmiyya]

      Question: I had a sister come to me yesterday in great distress.  She confessed that she finds herself masturbating and is not sure what to do to stop. When she was younger she said that she had heard it was permissble to stay away from zina - (so how she started) - however growing and learning more she said she sincerely repented and asked Allah to keep her on the straight path. This sister prays 5 times a day and is well respected.  Her problem now is that she wakes up sometimes in the night in this (maturbating) state. She said she stops as soon as she realizes what she is doing. Her confusion is that she is not doing it intentionally.  She was wondering how a one would know if a "Jinn" was touching her or "making her do" such things which she does not want to do and sincerely keeps asking Allah for guidance and forgiveness.


      This may be an additiction or result of emotional strain. The person involved should review her own history and see when she started masturbatng and from that time till the present see exactly under what conditions, states, etc, she normally finds herself masturbating.

      I think then from there we can move forward to narrowing down what we might advise.

      Secondly, a jinn could be involved. But if she:

      • is punctual with her prayers,
      • avoids major sins, and
      • watches what she eats, drinks, and wears to make sure they are 'halal' and sharia permissible,

      ...then these activities will act as shields for her.

      It will be of great benefit to recite:

      • Ayat al-Kursi (Qur’an, 2: 255), and
      • bismillah irrahman irrahim, bismillahi khairi il asma'i, bismillah illadhi la yadhurru ma' ismihi shayyun fil ardhi wa la fis samai' wa huwa ssami'ul aleem ['In the name of Allah the Merciful and Compassionate. In the name of Allah, the Best of Names. In the name of Allah, with whose name nothing in the earth or sky may cause harm, and He is the Hearing and Knowing']

      ...3 times after praying fajr and after praying maghrib.

      My shaykh gave me this general wazifa which he himself reads.

      And Allah knows best.

      Question: I am visiting USA these days and want to find out a few things. I am away from my family for some time now. The nature of my job is that I am on the internet most of the time. Now during my browsing and looking for different things on the internet, there are a lot of pop up advertisements that come up, and these are mostly half naked women, or about dream resorts etc. Sometimes ladies invite to view their web cams. All this i have been restraining my self due to the fear of Allah, but sometimes Shaitan takes over and i do visit these sites. Then suddenly i realize that i am not doing the right thing. Sometimes I feel the extreme urge to have sex with my wife. Is masturbation allowed under these circumstances, i mean this will stop me from seeing naked pictures. It will stop me from the zina of eyes.


      This is a false dichotomy: masturbation, which is strongly prohibited, is not the solution to looking at the unlawful.

      Rather, the simple solution is that you have to stop looking at such things. If you know something about computers, there are many ways to prevent such images from appearing.

      Whenever a bad thought occurs to you:

      a) seek Allah’s forgiveness [saying, Astaghfirullah (‘I seek Allah’s forgiveness’)];

      b) seek protection from the Shaytan [saying, A`udhu billahi min ash-shaytan ar-rajeem (‘I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed shaytan’)]

      c) cut out the things that result in that bad though immediately [e.g. shut the window with such images]

      d) then thank Allah, wholeheartedly, for enabling you to overcome your desires and shaytan [saying, Alhamdulillah (‘All praise is due to Allah’)]; this makes Shaytan despair, and strengthen’s one’s resolve.

      If you keep erring, keep repeating these 4 quick and simple steps, and making dua with your prayers that Allah protect you. If you keep turning to Allah sincerely, He’ll accept your entreating, and free you of these problems.

      Allah Most High has promised, “As for those who strive in Us, We surely guide them to Our paths, and lo! Allah is with the good.” [Qur’an, 29.69]

      And Allah knows best.

      Question: A husband is allowed to take pleasure form any part of his wife body including her breasts. I am aware if he sucks his wife breasts there is no harm in that, but he is not allowed to take any milk in his mouth. I understand that if he does by accident, nikah is still valid according to the Hanafi School, (as some scholars believe nikah is terminated), but some deobandi say it is haram to take milk in. Someone said that even if one takes milk in accidentally, how could it be haram, for milk is pure and not najis like sperm. Could you explain if on takes his wife milk accidentally, if it is makruh tanzihi or makruh tahrimi or haram?


      The husband is not permitted to drink his wife’s milk because, in the words of imam al-Haskafi in al-Durr al-Mukhtar, quoting Sharh al-Wahbaniyya,

      ‘It is a part of a human being and to make use of it without a real need to do so is Haram’. [Radd al-Muhtar, 3:212, Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyya].

      This a general rule in the sacred law:  No part of a human being may be sold or used for nourishment or other ‘deriving of benefit’ (intifa’), beyond that which the Saced Law has permitted.  The baby’s drinking the mother’s milk is an exception, based on textual permission, due to the ‘real need’ (durura) to do so.

      And Allah knows best.

    Oral Sex

    Is oral sex permitted?

    Books of fiqh tend to be quite dry when it comes to bedroom behavior. What you usually find is in the form "everything is permissible, except for x, y, and z" instead of a detailed checklist of things to try if you wish. While the traditional approach of generality is fine as a teaching tool for students of knowledge who would be asked specific questions, it is less effective when laymen have no one to ask, when the only people available to ask mean well and know a bit more than the questioner but are laymen themselves, or when laymen go to the books directly.

    So, since the issue of oral sex is frequently asked it seems necessary to give a general answer. I apologize that the questioner is going to get less and more than he originally asked for.

    The basic list of things that are unlawful between husband and wife include:

    • Anal sex
    • Sex during menstruation and nifas
    • Sex that would be harmful or prolong recovery from an illness

    When books talks about what is lawful, they typically mention that a husband and wife may pleasure one another in any way they wish other than the above mentioned things. Although not specific to sex, we can add the following:

    • Swallowing filth
    • Needlessly getting filthy These things are obvious.

    Regarding the issue of oral sex, if it can be done in such a way that no filth is involved, then from the perspective of lawful and prohibited it in and of itself would be considered lawful. But the term "oral sex" covers a wide range of activities, and there are differences between the various schools of fiqh regarding the purity and filth of bodily fluids, namely: sperm and vaginal secretions; there seems to be agreement among the Hanafis, Shafi`is, and Hanbalis that pre-ejaculatory fluid is filthy.

    Something that entirely escapes the problem of filth is a man kissing the outer parts of his wife's genitals and sucking her clitoris. The first is mentioned in many books of Hanbali fiqh, saying that it is permissible before penetration and offensive after; and to clarify: the issue mentioned is not restricted to the outer parts. The second is mentioned in the Shafi`i work Fath Al-Mu`in and its meta-commentary `Iyanat Al-Talibin. For further reference, look through the index of the book of marriage for the sections concerning looking at members of the opposite sex and the sections conerning bedroom behavior .

    Based on the basic guidelines above and based on the example of a man kissing his wife's genitals, it should also be lawful for a wife to kiss her husband's penis as long as she avoids any areas where there is pre-ejaculatory fluid.

    But what Westerners usually have in mind when they talk about oral sex are fellatio and cunnilingus. Regarding pre-ejaculatory fluid, the only opinion I have ever seen is that it is haram. Additionally, even though the Shafi`is and Hanbali schools both consider sperm to be pure, they both agree that it is unlawful to swallow. This makes fellatio very highly likely to be unlawful. I suppose an enthusiastic couple could always use a condom.

    As for cunnilingus: there are differences of opinion regarding whether or not vaginal secretions are pure or filthy, before and after penetration, and depending on where they are secreted from. Because of this, it is best avoided.

    Should a couple decide to perform these acts, they must be sure to rinse out their mouths afterwards. This is something they should be doing in any case, and it is an essential part of purification for Hanbalis.

    For added benefit and so we don't need to repeat this topic again: Hanbali books mention that it is lawful for a husband to achieve ejaculation by his wife masturbating him, and by rubbing his penis between her thighs or breasts. They also mention that while anal sex is absolutely unlawful, it is lawful to place a finger on the anus as long as it does not penetrate. One of the reasons for mentioning these detailed examples is to show that they were not unknown to the scholars, and in sha Allah to add strength to the idea that the general rulings mentioned in the books are sufficient for working out these detailed cases.

    Up to here the topic concerns the lawful and the prohibited. But this issue is a completely separate from whether these acts should be done, and whether one spouse can compel the other one to do them.

    When I asked my sheikh about these very issues he pointed out that while each spouse is responsible to provide for the other spouse's sexual needs and to keep them chaste, it is absolutely unlawful to abuse one another, mentally or physically. He also points out that Allah Most High in the Qur'an orders husband and wife to act amicably and well towards one another, and one needlessly forcing the other to do something--even when they have the right to demand it--goes against this principle. I once asked whether or not it was disobedience [nushuz] if husband demanded fellatio from his and she refused. His answer was that she is ordered to submit herself to him for intercourse: something she has not denied him here.

    Even if people find this whole topic disgusting in practice, we should take note that the example given in the books is one where it is the wife who receives physical pleasure, not the husband, and that the location mentioned is the one most likely to bring about an orgasm. So much for the idea that Islam totally ignores the sexual needs of women, rendering them as little more than house keepers and sex toys for the husband's every whim. That the example of oral sex in fiqh books is for her pleasure and satisfaction should not go unnoticed.

    And Allah knows best.

    Is Family Planning allowed in Islam?
    by Jamaal Zarabozo

    The question of family planning and birth control was discussed in detail by the Majma al-Fiqh al-Islaami. They had twenty three scholars research this topic and present their findings on this matter. The participants involved represented many different trends and schools of thought. Among the participants were Muhammad Ali al-Baar, Ali al-Saaloos, Muhammad Saeed Ramadhan al-Booti, Abdullah al-Basaam, Hasan Hathoot and Muhammad Sayid Tantaawi. Their proceedings, papers and discussions may be found in Part One of the Fifth Volume of Majallah Majma al-Fiqh al-Islaami (1988/1409 A.H.). These proceedings are 748 pages all about the question of birth control and related issues.

    The following are important points related to the issue of birth control in Islam. These were mentioned by some of the participants in the above program:

    The institution of marriage and the want to have children was the custom of the best of creation, the prophets and messengers chosen by Allah. Allah says about them

    "And indeed We sent messengers before you and made for them wives and offspring"
    (al-Raad 38)

    The best example for the believers is the example of the prophet Muhammad (saw), who married and had children. These prophets and messengers are the people whom Muslims should look to emulate. Allah says

    "They are those whom Allah has guided. So follow their guidance" (al-Anaam 90)

    They should be emulated and not the disbelievers of the West, whose new lifestyles - mostly out of concern for enjoying this life or obtaining as many worldly goods as possible - discourage women from having more children.

    Islam has forbidden celibacy, monasticism and castration for such purposes. The prophet (saw) made this clear when he told those companions who were considering acetic forms of life: "I pray and I sleep; I fast and I break my fast; and I marry women. Whoever turns away from my way of life is not from me."

    The prophet (saw) not only encouraged marriage but he encouraged marrying those women who are child-bearing. He stated: "marry the loving, child-bearing women for I shall have the largest numbers among the prophets on the day of Resurrection."(Recorded by Ahmad and ibn Hibban.)

    From the Islamic perspective, children are a gift and a blessing from Allah. Allah mentions some of the bounties that He has bestowed upon mankind in the following verse: "And Allah has made for you spouses of your own kind and has made for you, from your wives, sons and grandsons, and has bestowed upon you good provisions." (al-Nahl 72)

    Allah also said: "Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world." (al-Kahf 46)

    The only true provider for all mankind is Allah. If Muslims follow what Allah has prescribed for them, Allah will provide for them. Allah has warned about killing one's children out of fear of poverty for either parents or the child. Allah says: "Kill not your children because of poverty - We provide sustenance for you and for them" (al-Anaam 151)

    Allah also says: "And kill not your children for fear of poverty. We shall provide for them as well as for you. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin" (al-Isra 31)

    Hence, Muslims should never abort or kill their children out of fear of poverty. It is Allah who provides for them.

    Based on the above points and numerous others, the scholars who participated in the research on this question came up with the following resolution:

    • It is not allowed to enact a general law that limits the freedom of spouses in having children.
    • It is forbidden to "permanently" end a man's or a woman's ability to produce children, such as by having a hysterectomy or vasectomy, as long as that is not called for by circumstances of necessity according to its Islamic framework.
    • It is permissible to control the timing of births with the intent of distancing the occurrences of pregnancy or to delay it for a specific amount of time, if there is some Shariah need for that in the opinion of the spouses, based on mutual consultation and agreement between them. However, this is conditioned by that not leading to any harm, by it being done by means that are approved in the Shariah and that it not do anything to oppose a current and existing pregnancy.

    Reproductive Issues
    Author Unknown


    A- Fertility Regulation


    Islam permits contraception as long as it does not entail the radical separation between marriage and its reproductive function. Since the time of the prophet contraception has been practiced, but he made it clear that it should be a joint decision between husband and wife. The general recommendation is for the Islamic nation to procreate and grow in numbers, but quality and not sheer numbers was well emphasized by Mohammad. One of his very prophetic sayings was: "There will come the day when other nations will fall upon you like hungry eaters upon a bowl of food." When asked whether this would be due to lack of numbers he said "No. On that day you will be so many, but (quality wise) like the froth on the surface of the torrent."

    Throughout Islamic history jurists permitted family planning for a number of reasons: health, socio-economics, etc. up to merely preserving the beauty of the woman's body. Both natural and medicinal methods of contraception are acceptable, provided the method is not harmful and does not work as an abortifacient. Family planning should be the choice of the individual family without coercion or pressure. Countries that adopt a population policy may resort to wide campaigns of education to ensure the accessibility of contraceptive technology, but the decision rests with the family.

    Reservations about population programs designed by Western countries for the Third World were referred to earlier. There is a consciousness about a "demographic warfare" to strip populations of their sheer power of numbers or to reduce majorities to minorities in some areas. There is also alarm about contraceptive material banned from use in their (Western) countries of origin while at the same time they are abundantly exported to Islamic and Third World countries, compromising on safety standards. More investment in developing resources and a willingness to transfer necessary technology on part of the West remains to be seen.
    Breast Feeding

    This has a prominent place in Islamic teaching. As a family planning method it is not a reliable prescription for the individual family; but it has been estimated on a group (collective) basis to be a more potent contraceptive than all other methods put together, measured by the drop in fertility rate in a community of suckling women. The Quran mentions breast feeding and recommends that its natural course is the span of two years. In Islam, however, breast feeding is more than a nutritional (or family planning) process. It is a "value" and a special bond, so much so that a woman other than the natural mother who breast feeds an infant acquires a special status in Islamic law which is called "suckling parenthood", and this woman is called the infant's "mother in lactation". To accentuate its value, "lactation motherhood" is given the status of natural motherhood in certain legal rulings concerning marriage. The result is that such a mother's natural children are considered "lactation siblings" of the nursed infant, who therefore may not marry any of them.
    The Intra-uterine Device

    If the device acted to cause abortion it would not be acceptable. Its action, however, was explained on the basis of preventing implantation. The current generations of the device contain a copper wire that releases spermicidal copper ions, or include the hormone progesterone that thickens the mucus in the canal of the womb so it cannot be penetrated by sperm. Both actions put the device in the category of contraception and not abortion. This was confirmed by a release from the World Health Organization


    There are no "pro-life" and "pro-choice" lobbies in Islamic communities, with a raging battle such as takes place in America. Islam views abortion very differently from contraception, since the former entails the violation of a human life. The question that naturally arises is whether the term "human life" includes the life of the fetus in the womb.  According to Islamic jurisprudence it does. Islam accords the fetus the status of "incomplete zimma". Zimma is the legal regard that allows rights and duties, and that of the fetus is incomplete in the sense that it has rights but owes no duties. Some of these rights of the fetus are:

    (a) If a husband dies while his wife is pregnant, the law of inheritance recognizes the fetus as an inheritor if borne alive. Other inheritors would receive their shares in accordance with the prescribed juridical proportions, but only after the share of the unborn is set aside to await its birth.

    (b) If a fetus is miscarried at any stage of pregnancy and shows signs of life such as a cough or movement and then it dies, such fetus has the right to inherit anything it was legally entitled to inherit from anyone who died after the beginning of the pregnancy. After this fetus dies, what it has inherited is inherited in turns by its legal heirs.

    (c) If a woman commits a crime punishable by death and is proven pregnant, then the execution of the punishment shall be postponed until she gives birth and nurses her baby until it is weaned. This applies irrespective of the duration of the pregnancy, however early, denoting the right of the fetus to life from its beginning. It applies even if the pregnancy was illegitimate, which shows that the fetus conceived out of wedlock also has the right to life.  All sects and juridical schools unanimously uphold this ruling.

    There is also a money penalty for abortion even if it was inadvertent. This is called the "ghorra". If aggression or willful action causes abortion, suitable punishment by the court is also imposed.

    The question of the beginning of life has been discussed since early times, since the admissibility of abortion hinged around the existence of life (some old jurists permitted abortion before four months, others before seven weeks, of pregnancy, on the assumption that life had not started in the pregnancy.) Some ten centuries ago, a notable scholar called Al-Ghazali rightly described a phase of imperceptible life, before the phase that the mother could feel in the form of fetal quickening. Recent juridical congresses reviewed the subject taking into account the applications of modern technology, and concluded that the stage of an individual's life that can be called its beginning should satisfy ALL the following criteria:  (1) it should be a clear and well-defined event;  (2) it should exhibit the cardinal feature of life: growth;  (3) if this growth is not interrupted, it will naturally lead up to the subsequent stages of life as we know them;  (4) it contains the genetic pattern that is characteristic of the human race at large, and also of a unique specific individual; and (5) it is not preceded by any other phase which combines the first four. Obviously, these postulates refer to fertilization.

    Abortion, however, is permitted if the continuation of pregnancy poses a threat on the mother. The Shari'a considers the mother to be the root and the fetus to be the offshoot;  the latter to be sacrificed if this is necessary to save the former. There are some arguments also in favor of expanding the admissibility of abortion to cover drastic cases of congenital anomalies and fetal illness incompatible with feasible life if performed before pregnancy is four months.


    Unless done for a clear medical indication this operation is generally frowned upon.  It is permitted, however, for women with a reasonable number of children and who are approaching the end of their reproductive life. Voluntary and informed consent should be given by both the husband and wife, giving no promises of a guaranteed successful reversal of the operation if they later change their mind. No government policy should pressure people into undergoing sterilization. The doctor has the right to decline performing the operation if not convinced that it is in the best interests of the patient.


    B- Treatment of Infertility

    The pursuit of pregnancy is legitimate and individuals may resort to the necessary means provided they do not violate the Shari'a.

    Artificial Insemination

    This is permissible only if the sperm belongs to the husband (AIH). Donor's semen (AID) may not be used since procreation is legitimate only within the marriage contract and the elements (the couple) that are party to it.

    In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

    This technology, commonly known as the test tube baby technology, is Islamically acceptable as long as it is between husband and wife, ie. within the boundaries of the marriage contract. The marriage contract should be valid and live. Since divorce or widowhood bring the marriage contract to a conclusion and they are then no more husband and wife, it follows that a woman may not be impregnated by the sperm of her ex-husband kept in deep freeze in a semen bank. Intervention of a third party other than husband and wife and the bearers of their genetic material (sperm and ovum) is not permissible because this would be an intrusion into the marriage contract binding the pair. "Alien sperm," or an "alien egg", or an "alien womb" (to carry a couple's embryo) is not allowed.

    Surrogate Motherhood

    Surrogate Motherhood, where a woman carries in her womb the fetus of another couple, is absolutely unacceptable to Islam. It results in the dichotomy of motherhood into genetic and biologic whereas these should be one. It also entails a pregnancy outside the legitimacy of a marriage contract. Competition between the two mothers (!) has led to legal and other problems in America. A contract deciding the fate of the baby is certainly dehumanizing as it treats the baby as a commodity. The implications might prove to be far reaching since the human female for the first time in history is willingly going into a full pregnancy (and delivery) with the prior intent to give away the baby. Because this is done, in the majority of cases, for a negotiated price, it reduces "motherhood" from a "value" to a price. If this becomes established practice, the long term effects on intergenerational bonds will be devastating.

    Flirtation and Love Affairs
    by Asif Iftikhar

    Question: A friend of mine has a realtionship with this girl in Pakistan. They have a completely non-physical relationship, but they depend a lot on each other and also express their feelings every now and then. He wants to know if this is wrong or not, and, if it is, how should he cut off with her as there is a lot of emotional dependence involved?

    Answer: It is not unnatural to have feelings for a member of the opposite sex. However, there are certain things that must be given consideration in expressing those feelings.

    First of all, there should be nothing immoral or indecent in the feelings or their expression.

    Secondly, there should be nothing against the good norms of society (2:235, especially note the words Qawlan ma‘rufan).

    Furthermore, there are situations in which it is advisable to abstain from not only a sin but also from activities which may lead to it. In verse 151 of the sixth surah, the words ‘Do not go near indecency’ also point to this principle.

    Moreover, it must be borne in mind that there is a spirit behind every law. In Islam, the underlying spirit in every law pertaining to morality and ethics is the purity of one’s soul. This purity is essential if one wants to become a true servant of one’s Lord and enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The object of the Divine law is to ensure that a man’s soul is purged and that its purity is not profaned.

    Therefore, in following these directives one must make sure that one is not negating the spirit behind the law through subterfuges. Of particular relevance in the Divine directives pertaining to social interaction between men and women are the directives in Surah Nur (24:30 & 31).

    ne more thing. A Muslim’s heart should be filled with remembrance of God and with love for Him. In the absence of this remembrance, it becomes easy for the Satan in our souls to lead us to such subterfuges as negate the spirit of the Divine law, if not its structure.

    In the light of what has been said above, your friend should decide for himself whether his attitude and behaviour are appropriate or not. If he feels they are not, then he can explain the whole rationale to his friend, and invite her as well to follow a course of action which, in affording them their mutual pleasure, does not earn them the displeasure of their Lord.

    Also, love without loyalty is merely infatuation, if not flirtation. And this ‘humour’ more often than not proves to be ‘dark and portentous’ in matters which are no joke: love, relations, family and family values.

    True love is never afraid of venturing into a commitment. Unless there is some extraordinary hindrance, your friend should think about marriage. This legal bound keeps the two people involved together ‘when they are out of love until they are in love again’ and thereby ensures that the sanctity of higher and indispensable ideals as love, relations and family values is not desecrated at the unhallowed hands of base desires.

    How To Lower Our Gaze

    A big curtain is not my intention, but a big iman and befitting Islamic manners is

     by Sabeel Ahmed



    "If I were not a Muslim, I would have contracted AIDS" proclaimed my friend. "The ayats in Sura Nur about lowering our gazes doesn't affect me anymore," expressed another youth, talking about the intense temptations felt by today's young. Difficulty in lowering the gaze by both the young and old is readily perceived on the street, weddings, parties and even in the mosques.

    What has gone wrong? How can Muslims, called by Allah, our Creator the model community, the custodians of Truth and the upholders of morality behave this way? Why are we adopting the attitudes and routes of the kuffar? How can we rectify ourselves? What follows is a series of practical, though graphic advises which can work for us and set us free from Satan's stronghold, Insha`Allah.

    Prophet Muhamad (pbuh), by way of warning and as a reminder said, "There is nothing left after I go more dangerous to men than the temptations of women." Being optimistic, a ray of hope was also wisely provided during the prophet's Last Sermon "If the Ummah holds on to the Qur`an and Sunnah, it will never go astray."

    When Allah created humans with all our desires and urges, he also revealed to us sufficient and complete guidance to properly channel these desires, both in the midst of Dar-ul-Kufr or Dar-ul-Islam. All we need to do is seek it, contemplate on it and pursue it. "This day I have perfected your deen for you, completed my favors upon you and chosen Islam as your deen." (Maida 4)

    We should realize that the fact the great sahabas were human beings also. Biologically there were no different from us. They had desires and temptations but yet, they controlled themselves in the best of ways. We can do the same, Insha`Allah. To possess sensual passions is human, to control them is Muslim.

    When confronted with an alluring situation like passing by a non-mahram on the street, office or school, Satan is constantly tempting us to glare at her/him with evil thoughts. Satan is probably excitingly saying, with a big smile, 'yes, yes, yes,' when we steer into the bait he is setting. During these situations, immediately and consciously realize that when we give a second or following glances, we are obeying Satan. "O you who believe, follow not the footsteps of the devil " (24:21). By immediately averting our gazes and disobeying Satan, we are giving him a one-two punch in the face and leaving him frustrated and accursed.

    Satan rebelled and was expelled by Allah, so let's all rebel against Satan and expel him from our hearts. Satan intends to fight a war against Muslims, so let's gather our forces behind the Qur`an and the Sunnah and defeat him. Remember that even if no human eye is watching us, the Ever-Watchful Allah is constantly monitoring the innermost regions of our hearts. Our eyes, limbs, tongue and private parts will be witnesses on the Judgment Day and not an atom's worth of deed will remain unexamined.

    Our minds are conditioned to associate thoughts of stealing clothes from a store to being in handcuffs and hauled into a police van. Likewise we should condition our minds to bring the verses of Surah Nur in front of our eyes during any tempting situations and imagine that Allah is speaking to us directly "Say to the believing, men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty .O you believers! Turn you all together towards Allah that you may attain success" (24:30-31) If the Qur`an contained only these two ayats, it would be enough to convince me that it is the book of Allah.

    With practice, these associations and the remembrance of Allah during tempting situations will prevent us from getting stuck by devilish arrows. Successfully controlling our gazes also deadens our avoidance of sinful situations. An Islamic idiom says, "Anything that leads to haram is haram in itself." To do a pious deed is a reward; to avoid a sin is a reward too.

    One of the biggest culprits in this class is movies. In the name of entertainment, to please our peers and children and an excuse to do something together as a family, we astonishingly allow un-Islamic pictures and dialogues in front of our eyes and ears. Can we ever imagine (aozubillah) any sahaba renting the latest hit from Blockbuster Videos, or listening to music with alluring lyrics at high volume?

    Likewise we watch news on TV and stare at the anchor women, adorned in heavy make-up, scanty clothing and seductive smile. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), was once approached by a woman with a proposal for marriage. He took a single glance at her face and turned his face away. Jabir bin Abdullah reported: "I asked Allah's messenger about the sudden glance on the face of a non-mahram. He commanded me that I should turn away my eyes." (Muslim) Thus, we are not supposed to stare at faces of non-mahrams, be they are our fellow students, our elders, saleswomen or someone on TV.

    Pious ladies of the prophet's household were ordered to observe purdah (separation) in front of a blind sahabah. Asking the curious questions as to why cover/separate when the blind sahabah could not see them, the prophet (pbuh) wisely answered, "But you could see him." 

    In our wedding ceremonies and parties and even in many Islamic fundraising dinners, there is heavy free-mixing between brothers and sisters. Often the chairs of males and females are arranged facing each other, knowing that about 90 percent of our sisters do no wear hijab. It is often noticeable to see males and females peeking glances at each other from the opposite ends of the hall. A big curtain is not my intention, but a big iman and befitting Islamic manners is.

    "A woman who applies perfumes and goes to a gathering is like an adulteress" the prophet said Muhammad. Compare this with our sisters who clad themselves with expensive perfume, one kilogram of makeup, and then come to mixed gatherings. Will this not attract the attention of males? Let's be real. We have lowered our moral guards so low that a humble word of truth often seems so awfully strange.

    Let us contemplate the above humble advices and constantly make the supplication, "O Allah help us control our sensual desires until we get married, and even after we marry, let our desires be only towards our spouses."

    What does Islam say about homosexuality?
    From 'Common Questions People Ask About Islam' by Shabir Ally

    Islam teaches that homosexual acts are sinful and punishable by God. This teaching comes not from human beings, but from the Creator of all humans. God tells us in His own words how He punished the people of Lot for their homosexual behaviour.

    The story of prophet Lot, on whom be peace, finds mention in several Qur'anic passages, especially Chapter 26:160-175 which reads:

    "The people of Lut rejected the apostles. Behold, their brother Lut said to them: "Will ye not fear (God)? "I am to you an apostle worthy of all trust. "So fear God and obey me. "No reward do I ask of you for it: my reward is only from the lord of the Worlds.  "Of all the creatures in the world, will ye approach males, "And leave those whom God has created for you to be your mates? Nay, ye are a people transgressing (all limits)!"  They said: "If thou desist not, O Lut! thou wilt assuredly be cast out!"

    He said: "I do detest your doings." "O my Lord! deliver me and my family from such things as they do!" So We delivered him and his family,- all Except an old woman who lingered behind. But the rest We destroyed utterly. We rained down on them a shower (of brimstone):  and evil was the shower on those who were admonished (but heeded not)!  Verily in this is a Sign: but most of them do not believe. And verily thy Lord is He, the Exalted in Might Most Merciful."

    From these passages we learn that God saved Lot and the righteous ones of his family, and rained on the rest a shower of brimstone, so they were utterly destroyed.  This is mentioned in the Qur'an not only for the sake of information, but mainly to serve as a warning to anyone who dares to repeat such acts.

    Muslim believe that every human action leads to consequences. Good actions entail good results, and evil actions entail evil consequences. Some of these consequences may not become known for many years after a certain action. The consequences of some actions will become manifest only after death when one enters a new, everlasting life.... A common mistake among
    humans is that if they don't see any negative consequences for their actions they consider it harmless. Human experience has taught us that a source of superior knowledge can be of tremendous benefit to humans.... God, the source of all knowledge, warns us of His punishment if people perpetrate homosexual acts. Let us pay attention and learn the easy way.

    Some will say that a person may be born with homosexual tendencies. We say that everyone is a free agent. God lays before us two paths and has given us knowledge of where these paths lead. One is the path to which the devil call us. We must avoid that. One is the path leading to paradise. We must stick to that one. Everyone experiences evil prompting from time to time. We must resist those with all our might. If one feels a tendency to do something that God prohibits, he or she should seek help from a  community of loving, caring, believers who would understand his or her difficulty and help him or her overcome it.

     A common ploy of the devil is to convince people that they cannot avoid sin. Then they do not even try. But God promises that the devil can have no lasting power over those who sincerely seek God (see Qur'an 15:42)

    Finally, our bodies are given to us in trust from God. One should not use his or her body contrary to the user guide provided by its Maker. Consenting adults also need God's consent.

    Private Schools Promoting Homosexuality to Children
    By Peter LaBarbera (Reprinted from "Human Events", May 12, 1999)

    BALTIMORE, Md. - President Clintons recent announcement of a plan to subject junior high students to gay-inclusive tolerance lessons reminded Americans of the ongoing threat of homosexual promotion in the nations public schools.  But few parents realize that the homosexual lobby is also targeting private  including religious  schools with its message to impressionable children that gay is OK.  Six years after the Children of the Rainbow controversy in New York City, homosexual activists are stepping up their campaign to expose grade school students even kindergarteners to pro-homosexual propaganda.

    About 150 teachers and administrators from mostly elite private schools in Maryland and D.C. gathered February 2 at the Maritime Institute outside Baltimore for an all-day conference aimed at guiding educators on how to bring homosexual-affirming programs into their schools.

    The conference, sponsored by the Association of Independent Maryland Schools (AIMS), featured a workshop on lower schools in which kindergarten and first-grade teachers discussed ways to introduce their young students to homosexual themes.

    I have a first grader who is experiencing homosexual tendencies, said Jennifer Barrett, a young teacher at the prestigious Sheridan School in northwest Washington, D.C. (tuition:  $12,000 -$14,000).  Her reasoning: the boy plays with girls rather than his own gender.  Barrett said the child was developing a poor self-image, insisted, I feel its my job as an educator to make sure he feels good about himself, and wanted the other teachers at the workshop to tell her how to achieve her goal.

    Not a single participant in that session attended by this reporter objected to the idea that Barrett  should encourage the boy to feel comfortable with his supposed latent homosexuality.  Not a single person remarked that he might not be a pre-homosexual at all and that there have been plenty of kids who have grown out of such tendencies with the right kind of advice and training. Instead, the focus was on how to help such children feel comfortable about themselves by exposing them to pro-homosexual lessons in an age appropriate way.  (One teacher did coach Barrett on the politically correct terminology, advising her to describe the boy in terms of gender nonconformity rather than homosexual tendencies.)

    A National Campaign

    This was the second AIMS conference dedicated to placing sexual orientation programs in member schools  many of which, like St. Pauls School for Girls, near Baltimore, are religious or religiously based. (Sidwell Friends School, the ritzy Quaker school in the District of Columbia that counts Chelsea Clinton among its alumni, is one of the more than 100 schools affiliated with AIMS.)

    The second keynote speaker at the conference was Emmy Howe, a lesbian parent and activist from Cambridge, Massachusetts, who participated in the AIMS workshop on lower schools. Massachusetts leads the nation in pro-homosexual school programs  spending $1 million annually (and a proposed $1.5 million next year) on its taxpayer-funded campaign to affirm homosexual youth. Homosexual activists from the liberal state are promoting their model to educators in other states with missionary zeal.

    Indeed, homosexual advocates are using a plethora of strategies to encourage young schoolchildren to adopt positive notions about homosexuality.

    Among them:

    • Holding classroom discussions about alternative families, including those with homosexual parents;
    • Promoting gay-inclusive and anti-homophobia curricula;
    • Encouraging homosexual teachers to be open about their sexual orientation in class;
    • Using teachable moments (e.g., correcting a child who uses the word gay as a putdown) to guide young school kids into politically correct attitudes about homosexuality.


    The Pre-Homosexual Child?

    The AIMS conference certainly conformed to the activists agenda. The first keynote speaker was Dr. Justin Richardson, a Harvard-educated psychiatrist and director of Columbia Universitys Center for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Mental Health, and  guess what?  a homosexual to boot. Did any of the teachers or school administrators present think he might be biased in his advice?  No one cared to challenge him on that score.

    Richardson said educators need to aid the pre-homosexual child with a supportive school environment, paving the way for his later coming out. He claimed that a childs sexual orientation is determined very early in life around four years of age, he suggested  so why not prepare the pre-homosexual child for the inevitable?

    Heterosexual children wont be affected by pro-homosexual affirmation in schools, he told the teachers.  Richardson said he is often asked by concerned parents, Will this [submitting children to a pro-homosexual environment] make my kid gay?  Will sending my kid to this school make my kid more likely to be gay?  And you want to be able to lay that one to rest, and I think science has really done that for you.


    Healthier Lesbianism

    Two years ago, Richardson sounded the same deterministic theme, addressing parents who were concerned because several eighth-grade students at an elite New York City school their children attended had declared themselves bisexual. He advised them, according to a New York Times story, not to worry:  [I]f this is a girl who has a genetic predisposition and early experience to grow up to be a heterosexual, then bisexual experimentation will probably only help her clarify that she is more attracted to males than to females.

    However, if she started life on the path to being a lesbian, teenage experimentation might help her to develop her lesbianism in a healthier way than if she were forced to ignore her true desires until adulthood. Translation: lesbian experiences are actually a plus.

    Richardsons morality is atrocious, and his science is suspect, at best. (Consider the recent phenomenon of famous lesbians like Holly Near and JoAnn Loulan, author of the advice book Lesbian Sex, who have stunned their comrades by falling in love with men.)  He offered no scrap of evidence that homosexuality is determined at four or thereabouts.  Indeed, at the AIMS conference, Richardson, while maintaining that genes play a major factor in the development of homosexuality  an assertion clearly unproved  also acknowledged that environment plays a role.  (He cited a study that found that on average, homosexual men report that they had a worse relationship with their father than heterosexual men with their dads.)  Well, if environment can help turn someone into a homosexual, why should schools provide that kind of environment?

    One reason behind the widening acceptance of gay-positive programs in schools, Richardson said, is the growing recognition ... that theres a genetic basis for homosexuality, which has caused people to begin to conceive of a pre-homosexual child....  But the accelerating acceptance of pro-homosexual programs in schools is traceable more to the growing power of the homosexual lobby than any scientific evidence.

    Ironically, a week after Richardsons AIMS speech, the liberal Boston Globe reported that enthusiasm for gay gene research has waned among scientists and homosexual activists.  The Globe reported that six years after a widely reported study (by a homosexual researcher) purporting to locate a genetic marker for male homosexuality, the gene has still not been found ... There is growing consensus that sexual orientation is much more complicated than a matter of genes. (Emphasis added)  Moreover, the prestigious journal Science recently repudiated its own 1993 study, ballyhooed by the media, by a homosexual researcher purporting to find a genetic basis for homosexuality.

    Promoting Homosexuality in the Name of Safety?
    The title of the AIMS conference, Making Schools Safe II, suggested its ideological agenda.  In recent years, homosexual advocates have implemented homosexual-positive programs in schools by arguing that they are necessary to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students from getting teased or, worse, committing suicide or being physically attacked by their peers.

    While everybody in the pro-family movement supports protecting students from harm, many have  voiced dismay at the idea of espousing pro-homosexual school programs in the name of safety  since homosexual behavior, especially among males, has been linked to numerous diseases such as Hepatitis A and AIDS.  But when a Catholic mother in the audience asked the soft-spoken Richardson about the health risks associated with homosexual behavior, including AIDS, he dismissed the connection.

    I think an effective strategy to protect against AIDS is really to encourage people to practice safe sex and not to talk about risk groups, Richardson said.  The best thing would be to teach heterosexual and homosexual adolescents and adults to use a condom.  Thats a much more effective strategy than telling them not to have sex with certain kinds of people.

    Richardsons condescending advice flies in the face of data by the Centers for Disease Control, which has consistently reported a majority of AIDS cases tied to homosexual sex between men (and IV drug use).  Moreover, condom failure is exacerbated by the unnatural act of anal sex, one of several dangerous gay sex practices.  Even liberal sex advice columnist Dr. Ruth Westheimer discourages anal sex as high risk, recognizing that it causes damage to the body.

    The same woman at the AIMS conference asked about Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, the California psychologist who founded the National Association for Reparative Therapy of Homosexuals (NARTH), which counsels men and women who want to abandon their homosexual identity.  Richardson tagged NARTH a fringe group thats not respected by their colleagues  psychiatrists or psychologists, and noted that the American Psychiatric Association recently condemned reparative therapy.

    Richardson said studies show that this sort of treatment not only doesn't change someones actual sexual orientation  that is, their attractions though he did admit that it can change their behaviors.  But he said that behavior change often comes at great cost, which is significant damage to their self-esteem and their ability to be honest with themselves.

    Richardson apparently subscribes to the circular reasoning used by fellow activists: those who claim to be former homosexuals either never were really gay to begin with or they are merely forcing an unnatural change in their behavior and are still suffering.

    Richardsons claims aside, there are literally scores of studies, articles and personal testimonies demonstrating that there are plenty of bona fide ex-homosexuals who have turned into happy heterosexuals.  Nicolosi pointed to an 860-respondent study commissioned by NARTH which shows that "as clients diminish their homosexuality, their self-esteem rises.

    Clients come to us with damaged self-esteem, Nicolosi said.  They don't want to be gay and they've been told there's no hope.  He said NARTH has brought relief to hundreds of people who wanted to change but had nowhere else to turn due to the strong pro-homosexual bias of the mental health establishment.

    But we dont have to rely solely on Nicolosis evidence. Back when the study of change for homosexuals was not politically incorrect as it is today, numerous sexologists and mental health professionals reported success in helping homosexuals overcome their unwanted gay desires.  Famed sex researchers Masters and Johnson reported a 71.6 success rate of homosexual-to-heterosexual change in 1979.  In 1987, New York psychoanalyst Dr. Rubin Fine wrote, I have recently had occasion to review the results of psychotherapy with homosexuals and been surprised by the findings  a considerable percentage of overt homosexuals became heterosexuals.

    Moreover, Richardsons dismissal of change for homosexuals ignores the many men and women alive today who have overcome homosexuality through therapy, Christian conversion or both.  People like Anthony Falzarano, a former gay male prostitute who had over 400 sex partners but is today happily married to wife Diane and the father of two children  and former lesbian Yvette Cantu of the Family Research Council  are living proof that the idea that homosexuality is fixed and immutable is just a myth.


    Affirming the Pre-Homosexual Child

    In the lower schools workshop, Richardsons notion of affirming the pre-homosexual child seemed to embolden the 28 teachers and parents in attendance. The discussion was led by Lina Ayers, a lesbian parent whose child, Lauren, attends the Friends School in Baltimore, a Quaker school. Ayers explained how, in an effort to ensure that other children would understand Laurens two moms, she and her lesbian lover (who also attended the AIMS conference) won permission from the school to read Heather Has Two Mommies, a pro-homosexual childrens book, to all first-grade students. (She whited-out the books biological sections describing artificial insemination.)  The school notified parents by letter of Ayers classroom visits only after they occurred, but nobody complained.

    Although this belated notification surprised a few teachers at the workshop, even that was too much for Anita Marcus, a kindergarten teacher at Green Acres School in Rockville, Maryland (tuition: $12,200), who asked Ayers, What did they have to send a letter home for?  Im wondering what will it take to get to a place where it just is not strange and revolutionary to discuss [homosexuality]  I mean, when I had a big conversation in my kindergarten class about gays and lesbians  I didnt send a note home that said, Guess what we talked about today? and I didnt hear anything [back from concerned parents].  Marcus school, Green Acres, has a sexual orientation program that includes talking about alternative (gay-led) families to elementary-age children.

    Ayers classroom visits highlight another factor behind the pro-gay education push:  homosexual parents with school-age kids are seeking to reduce the social stigma they face from classmates by pressuring school administrators to adopt pro-homosexual tolerance and diversity programs. The model for this parenting strategy was Emmy Howe, the closing keynote speaker who became the Cambridge, Massachusetts school districts first-ever liaison to homosexual parents.  Howe urged homosexual parents to get as involved as much as possible in volunteering at their childs school to win friends for the homosexual cause.

    In the Q & A period after his speech, Dr. Richardson recommended that the educators use the film lesbian-produced film Its Elementary (financed in part by James Hormel, President Clinton's ambassadorial nominee to Luxembourg) for teacher training.  The film shows elementary school teachers giving pro-homosexual lessons to young children, and includes a clip from a gay pride pep rally of sorts at a Quaker elementary school in Howes hometown of Cambridge, Mass.

    Once you have the vocabulary to talk with young children about homosexuality, it becomes very easy, said, Richardson, who received enthusiastic applause following his speech.

    Such comments and the multi-faceted gay campaign to expose impressionable young students to homosexual propaganda demonstrate that parents can no longer assume teachers will guard their childrens innocence  even in kindergarten  and even in some of our nations finest private and religiously-based schools

    Peter LaBarbera is president of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality (703-491-7975, www.americansfortruth.org), which publishes the Lambda Report.  He is a contributing editor to Human Events and is working on a book about the homosexual agenda in Americas schools.  LaBarbera is also editor of CultureFacts, a newsletter of the Family Research Council.

    From: Kevin Johnson <kjohnson@calweb.com>

    What upsets me most about the above report is the fact American Schools will spend this much time an effort on gay awareness when it has yet to begin to spend this much time on cultural and racial awareness. If I were a betting man, I would be willing to wager that these school systems involved in these homosexual awareness programs have yet to include studies on the history and culture of various Asian, African, Middle Eastern, and Latino groups around the world.

    Much of the reason for the racial tension which is prevalent in American society is ignorance. A child can go through nine years of historical studies in grade-school, however; that same child will have never learned of the history or culture of peoples out side of Europe and post-Colombian America. For example, I attended school in Oakland, California in my first years of elementary school. There we learned of the civil rights movement and a small part of African history before the advent of slavery; this curriculum started with the first and second grade.

    Shortly afterwards, my family and I moved to Sacramento, California for the sake of better education and opportunity. I the nine years of historical study to follow, all that was thought of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East was World War II, slavery, and the Crusades; respectively. Each account of the event painted the non-European regions in a negative light. Asians where Communists and supporters of Hitler's, Africans where poor primitive slaves, and the whole of the Middle East was the scourge of Europe. This is what we where taught. And to this very day, America can't seem figure out how to ease its racial tension.

    What these homosexual groups are achieving, is exactly what minorities in America have been trying to achieve for decades. It all starts with the child, if the child learns nothing about a group of people but the stereo types, and has no contact with those people, then it stands to reason that they will carry that ignorance and, in some cases, hatred into their adult life. When they taught us about the "Dark Ages" they should have taught us that while Europe was wallowing in the stagnation of it's own dark ages, the rest of the world, particularly Asia and the Muslim Empires, was at its apex of social, economical, and scientific achievement. When they taught us about the Renaissance, they should have told us that it was a direct result of the Muslims of Northern Africa who liberated Spain and Italy by defeating the various Gothic tribes. When they taught us of Columbus, and celebrated his birthday, and of Vasco da Gama, they should have taught us of the atrocities which followed each of there achievements. And when they taught us about the Egyptians and the Amazons they should not have portrayed them as being white. They couldn't separate them from African history, so they decided to simply incorporate them into European history.

    The homosexual groups that are doing this, are trying to eliminate a vein of persecution which exist in American society. A minor persecution that many of them may have felt while attending grade school. However; this should not take precedence over eliminating the artery of ignorance and hatred in American society by using the tactics which gays are proposing to seal the racial and cultural divide. If we do not do this, then the grade school atmosphere will be such that a boy who plays with girls rather than boys will not be teased for doing so, while those girls he's playing with harass and alienate the young Muslim girl because she wears a hijab. For the sake of future generations we must seek this goal more fervently than the gays are seeking theirs.

    And finally, to everyone I ask this question, Why would we want sexual orientation of any type to be taught to our young children? Isn't that something that is personal and should be dealt with at home by the parents when ever they see fit? After all, the school system's job is to educate children, not to raise them, that's the job of the parent.

    Kevin Johnson
    Allaahu Akbar


    Of all topics most popular in today's media, issues concerning homosexuals and homosexuality in general top the list. Homosexuality is generally defined as a sexual relationship between partners of the same sex. Debate concerning its causes and consequences has been going on for many centuries and almost in every period in human history. However, never before in human history has it been granted such wide scale acceptance in western society as it has now. The question that I seek to answer in this paper is whether such wide scale acceptance should in fact be granted to homosexual behavior? Is such behavior rational, scientifically functional or is it actually detrimental to the high level of civilization that we've achieved?


    Scientifically speaking, sex is a means to an end. The end being the propagation of the human race. This end can never be fulfilled by sex between males (in the case of gays) or between females (in the case of lesbians). Therefore, the general conclusion is that homosexuality is irrational and illogical.

    If we consider the construction of the bodies of the male and female, what is noticed at once is that the construction of a body of a male (the penis and the anus- i.e no vagina) does not accommodate having sex with another male. Nor does the construction of a body of a female (no penis, a vagina) accommodate sex with another female. What is obvious to common sense is that the construction and location of specific sexual organs in the bodies of a male and a female accommodate sex between a male and a female and not among members of the same sex. Therefore, the conclusion once again is that homosexuality is an unnatural and an irrational behavior.

    The case with birth control is different to the "cause effect" argument above [this point was brought up in my meeting in class with the SMSU (Southwest Missouri State) Gay Lesbian Alliance]. Birth control is simply the further delaying or prevention of a naturally occurring delaying process. The egg (ovum), which when fertilized develops into a zygote, which then eventually develops into the fetus, is released in the female's body in a specific period of time and pregnancy is caused only if a sperm fuses with the egg in that specific time period. If the egg is not fertilized during that period, then the cycle in humans ends in menstruation (Encyclopedia Britannica, vol 26, Macropaedia 701-703)


    It was clearly recognized by experts who were objective and unprejudiced, that psychologically speaking homosexuality is an abnormal behavior. However large scale lobbying by homosexuals and certain psychologists brought in biases into this scientific field of inquiry and hence the truth got masked and the results are stated below:

    "Before 1973 the DSM [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders] listed homosexuality as a sexual disorder. Protests by gay activist groups and many psychotherapists eventually led to its elimination from the manual as a sexual disorder per se, but the DSM did retain a category called "ego dystotic homosexuality- the feeling of extreme distress over one's homosexual preference". DSM III R has dropped even this category, and the issue of homosexuality is no longer mentioned (Comer 480)."

    "Until the early 1970's the U.S psychiatric establishment classified homosexuality as a mental illness, but that designation was dropped amid increased political activity and efforts by homosexuals to be seen as individuals exercising different sexual preferences rather than aberrant personalities (Encyclopedia Britannica, vol 6, 31)."

    Homosexuality is proven to be a learned behavior according to experiments with clinical cases of intersexuality. At puberty, the individuals in question were "generally attracted to the sex opposite to their sex of rearing [even if it be opposite to their genetic sex of males, having X Y chromosomes and females both X chromosomes] This suggests that sexual orientation is primarily established in post natal experiences (Encyclopedia Britannica, vol 27, 247)

    There has however been great debate concerning the nature versus nurture question concerning homosexuality:

    i) Brain Difference: The most recent one seems to indicate a certain difference in certain parts of the brains of homosexual people. What has however not been resolved is whether such difference in the brains was the cause or the effect of homosexual behavior. Further many people in the sample studied had Aids and Aids in its later stages affects the brain. Therefore no strong conclusions can scientifically be drawn from such a study.

    ii) Hormonal Differences: when hormones are artificially altered in female animal's bodies [introducing excess androgen prenatally] it makes them behave more like males even showing mating preference for members of the same sex. (Britannica, vol 27 ,248-249).

     The same source however, also narrates that changing the hormone level postnatally does not mean that sexual preference for partners will change. The only thing that will change will be the arousal level.

    Therefore, based on the above, I believe I can justifiably conclude that abnormal sexual preference even when it becomes "normal" to a particular individual due to abnormal circumstances like the above, can be controlled. If every male took his sexual desires towards every attractive female to their conclusion, you can well imagine the galloping rate of rapes in this or any other society. Just because certain individuals experience sexual desires towards members of the same sex, because something went wrong somewhere, does not at all mean that they should engage in homosexual behavior or that their behavior be accepted without question or search for a solution.

    There is absolutely no doubt that Christianity, Judaism and Islam, the three most widely embraced religions in America condemn homosexual behavior in the strongest terms:

    According to the Old Testament the Koran, the people of Lot were destroyed because they engaged in homosexual behavior and were unrepenting and un accepting of God's admonishment (Holy Bible, Genesis chapter 13, 14, 18, 19; Koran 7:80-84; 4:16 etc)
    In the book of Romans, in the Bible [New Testament], Paul states:
    "Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error (Romans 1:22-27)."

    The above verse also condemns those who worship God in the image of a man i.e those who believe in the concept of a "God- incarnate".

    i) Aids: Among the groups that have directly and indirectly contributed to the wide scale spread of Aids to even innocent patients like children are homosexuals and their practice of anal sex.

    "There are specific behaviors that place people at a high risk for Aids. The first is anal sex which can cause rectal bleeding and thereby allow easy transmission of HIV. This practice is therefore extremely dangerous and, of course, the greater the number of sexual partners, the greater the risk. Anal sex is commonly practiced by Gay males in some cases with many sexual partners. For this reason about two thirds of persons with Aids are homosexual or bi-sexual males (Macionis 545)."

    The above statistic of two thirds shows the trend in the spread of Aids a few years after it was recognized as a threat (1987). Now the pattern may have changed due to the initial wide scale spread of Aids which the above statistic suggests was directly or indirectly the result of homosexual behavior among men.

     Aids results in many national cost problems too:
    "....The cost of treating Aids already exceeds $150,000 per person and may rise further as new therapies develop....Added to the direct medical costs are the tens of billions of dollars in lost earnings and productivity...There is little doubt that Aids is a medical and social problem of monumental proportions (Macionis 545)."

    According to common sense, science, logic, psychology and religion - i.e all those aspects of present society, that have contributed to its civilization, homosexuality is irrational, illogical, abnormal and an immoral behavior. Those who practice is should not be personally condemned but their behavior should and solutions to their ills be found, and the free practice of homosexual behavior be stopped, so that our society prospers. If clear and concrete evidence were indeed found in the other direction, I would gladly change my above conclusions. Therefore let our end be towards the truth!

    "..What is left after the truth except error? How then are you turned away."(Koran10:32)


    • Comer, Ronald J. Abnormal Psychology. New York, W.H Freeman Co, 1992
    • Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Iowa, World Bible Publishers Inc, 1971.
    • "Homosexuality", Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol 6 (Micropaedia). 15th ed, 1990
    • Koran. Translation, Picthall, M. Marmaduke, Lahore, Taj co 1981.
    • Macionis, John J. Sociology. New Jersey, Prentice Hall International, 1987.
    • "Reproduction Reproductive Systems", Encyclopaedia Britannica,vol 26 (Macropaedia), 15th ed. 1990.
    • "Sex Sexuality", Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol 27 (Macropaedia). 15th ed, 1990.

    Qaradawi on Free-Mixing of Men and Women

      Our problem, as I said before and will always say, is that we tend to go to extremes when dealing with social and intellectual issues. We are rarely guided to the 'middle' which represent one of the general and most prominent features of Islamic theology and commandments.

      This is strikingly clear in this issue as well as all other issues related to contemporary Muslim women.

      Two opposite types of people have been unfair to women:

      1. The Westernized type who want to impose Western traditions, which include decadence and lack of values - especially religious, and deviation from normal nature. In addition to staying away from the rightly guided path, that Allah has sent prophets and holy books to show to the people and call them to abide by.
      They want the Muslim woman to follow the habits of Western women, inch by inch and foot by foot as was visualized in the hadith of the prophet: "Even if she enters the lizard's hole she follows her even it was twisted and narrow and smelled bad." Nevertheless, if the Western woman enters it, the Muslim woman follows suit. Or in other word, a new kind of amicability that some tried to propagate that was known as "Amicability of the lizard's hole". 

      Those people are not aware of what the Western woman complains of today and the negative repercussions that the 'open' mixing of sexes has brought upon her, upon men, the family and the whole society. They shut their ears to the screams of dissatisfaction that filled the horizons of the Western world, as well as the screams of the scientists and literary men, and the fears of intellectuals and the reformists of the whole civilization that was affected as a result of canceling all restrictions on the mixing of sexes.
      Those people also forget that every nation has its personality that is formed by its beliefs and visualized it to the universe, life, existence and the God of existence, as well as its values, heritage and customs. It is not right for a society to copy another one.

      2. The second half are those who force other traditions on women but they are the traditions of the East not the West. Those traditions are given a religious color. Those people who made those claims made them from their sides; based on something that they understood, or a view that they initiated or preferred because it suits their view on women and their disrespect for her, her religion, her brains or her behavior.
      Nevertheless, it is no more than the viewpoint of a human who can make mistakes due to the effect of time or place on him, the effect of his sheikhs and his school. He is opposed by other views that basing their opinions on what is Sahiih in the Glorious Quran, and in the wisdom of the Noble prophet and the stands of the companions.

      I would like to state that the word 'mixing' in the area of the relationship between men and women is a new word that has entered into our Muslim dictionary. It was never known to our long heritage for the past centuries, and was not known except in this period. Perhaps it was a translation of a 'foreign' word that carries this meaning. Its implication is not a comfortable one to the senses of a Muslim person.
      It would have been better to use the words meeting, gathering, or women's participation with men or something of the sort.

      In any case, Islam does not issue a general ruling on this matter. Islam looks at it in the light of the objectives behind it or the benefits gained as well as possible harms and in what form it takes place and the conditions that should be met, etc.

      The best guidance is that of Muhammad (PBUH) and that of the rightly guided caliphs and companions.

      The onlooker would find that women were not imprisoned nor kept apart as has happened in the ages of the backwardness of Muslims.

      Women used to attend the Jamaa (congregational) prayers and the Friday prayers in the Mosque of the Prophet. The prophet encouraged them to take their places in the rows behind the men. The further they could stand the better, as he feared that something would show of men's bodies, for most of them did not know shorts/trousers. There was no separation between men and women of cement, wood, cloth or anything else.

      At the beginning men and women used the same door. When this caused crowding on entry and exit the prophet said: "If you could keep this door for women." They made that door for women and it became known up until today as the door of women.

      Women at the time of the prophet attended the Jumaah prayers and listened to the speech. One of them memorized Surat 'Qaaf' from the prophet's own voice as a result of hearing him say it from the Friday minbar.

      Women also attended the prayers of the two feasts and participated in this big Islamic festival that included the young and old, men and women, out in the open, praising God out loud.

      Muslim narrated: (Om Attiyah said: "We were all ordered to go out on the two feasts: the women who never leave home and the virgins.)

      In a story she said: "The prophet PBUH ordered us to go out in the Fetr and Adha - those who attained puberty, those who had their periods, those who were confined to their quarters. As for women who have their period, they do not pray but attend the event and the preaching. I said: "O Prophet! One of us might not have a jilbaab (long dress)". He said: "Let her sister give her a dress of her own."

      This is a Sunnah that Muslims have killed in some or all countries except what some youth did lately during the Islamic awakening. They brought to life what died years ago such as spending the last 10 days of Ramadan in seclusion and the Sunnah of having women attend the prayers of the feast.

      Women attended lessons of knowledge, given by the prophet, with men. They asked about issues related to their religion that many women today would be embarrassed to ask. Aisha praised the Ansaari women saying that the shyness did not stop them from understanding their religion. They asked about the major ritual impurity, sexual maturity, washing, the period, sexual maturity as well as other such things.
      It was not enough for women to attend. They wanted the prophet to themselves and asked him to make one day for them where men would not outnumber them. So the prophet dedicated a day for them and gave them wisdom and commandments.

      Women's actions went further and they participated in the war effort to provide services for the army and the fighters in the ways that they are capable of and are good at: nursing, first aid, caring for the injured and wounded, in addition to other services such as cooking, giving water and preparing what the fighters would need of civil matters.

      Om Atiyya said: "I took part with the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) in seven battles. I would stay behind in the camp of men, cook their food, treat the wounded and nurse the sick." - narrated by Muslim.

      Muslim narrated on the authority of Anas: ("Aisha and Om Salim had their sleeves up one day and they were carrying water flasks on their backs that they then gave people to drink. Then, they went back and filled them".) The presence of Aisha here, and she was under twenty, answers the claims of those who said that participating in campaigns and battles was confined to elderly women. That is not true. What would elderly women be able to do in situations that need physical and psychological ability combined?

      Imaam Ahmed narrated: "Six women from the believers were with the army that was putting Khaybar under siege. They were handling arrows, giving water, taking care of the wounded, weaved and worked for the sake of God." The prophet gave them a share of the booty.

      It is true that the women of some of the companions participated in military campaigns and Islamic battles by carrying weapons, when they had the chance. It is well known what Om Umara; the relative by marriage of Ben Ka3b did on the day of Uhud. The prophet said about her: "Her status is better than that of such and such a person."

      Muslim narrated on the authority of Anas, her son: (Om Selim also carried a dagger on Hunayn that she used to stab the stomach of anyone who came near her. Her husband Talhah saw her and said: O prophet! This is Om Selim with a dagger. So the prophet asked her: "What is this dagger?" She said: I took it so that if any of the disbelievers came near me I would stab his stomach. The prophet laughed.") Narrated by Muslim, number 1809.

      Al-Bukhari in his Sahiih has a chapter on the campaigns of women and their fighting.

      The ambition of Muslim women at the time of the prophet and his companions - did not stop at participating in campaigns in nearby battles that were close to Arab land such as Khobayr and Honayn. It went further than that into aspiring to take to the sea and participating in opening far away lands to convey the message of Islam.

      In the Sahiih of Al-Bukhari and Muslim, on the authority of Anas: (The prophet was at Om Haram Ben MalHan, the aunt of Anas, one day. Then he woke up laughingly so she asked him: O prophet what is making you laugh? He said: "People from my nation asked me to go on military campaigns for the sake of Allah, riding the sea, kings on beds or like kings on beds." So she said: O prophet! Pray that I be one of them. He prayed for her. Om Haram rode the sea during the time of Othman with her husband Ibaadah Ben Al-Samit to Cyprus. She fell off her camel. She died and was buried there according to the narration of the people of sirah and history.)

      In the social life women participated in calling for good things, ordering that good deeds be done and forbidding bad deeds as Allah Almighty said: (The Believers, men and women, are protectors, one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practice regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His Mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise.) (At-Tawbah:71)

      Another famous incident related to the response that a woman gave to Omar in a Mosque in the case of Al-Mahwar. Omar changed his opinion and accepted hers openly saying: "The woman was right and Omar was wrong.". Ibn Kathir mentioned it in the Tafsiir of Surat An-Nisaa2 and said that its isnaad was jayyid.

      Omar had appointed, during his caliphate, Ash-Shafaa2 Ben Abdullah Al-Adawaiyyah as 'mu7tasibah' or controller of prices and supervisor of trade honesty over the market. The one who looks deeply in the Quran and how it talks about women in the different ages and in the life of the messengers and the prophet does not feel this iron curtain that people have put between men and women.

      We find that Moses - while he was at the peak of his youth and strength - talking to the two girls, the daughters of the old Sheikh. He asked them questions and they answered without being guilty or embarrassed. He helped them gallantly. One of them goes to him later, sent by her father, to invite him to go with her to her father. Then one of them suggests to her father that he make use of him because of what she saw in him of strength and honesty.

        Let us read what came in Surat Al-Qasaas (verses 23-26): (And when he arrived at the watering (place) in Madyan, he found there a group of men watering (their flocks), and besides them he found two women who were keeping back (their flocks). He said: "What is the matter with you?" They said: "We cannot water (out flocks) until the shepherds take back (their flocks): and our father is a very old man."

        So he watered (their flocks) for them; then he turned back to the shade, and said: "O my Lord! truly am I in (desperate) need of any good that Thou dost send me!"

        Afterwards one of the (damsels) came (back) to him, walking bashfully. She said: "My father invites thee that he may reward thee for having watered (our flocks) for us." So when he came to him and narrated the story, he said: "Fear thou not: (well) hast thou escaped from unjust people."

        Said one of the (damsels): "O my (dear) father! engage him on wages: truly the best of men for thee to employ is the (man) who is strong and trusty.")

      In Mariam's case, we find that Zakariya used to enter her 'miHraab' and ask her about the 'rizk' he found there. (Al-Imraaan: 37)

        (Right graciously did her Lord accept her: He made her grow in purity and beauty; to the care of Zakariya was she assigned. Every time that he entered (her) chamber to see her, he found her supplied with sustenance. He said: "O Mary! Whence (comes) this to you?" She said: "From Allah: for Allah provides sustenance to whom He pleases, without measure.")

      In the story of Queen of Saba', we find her gathering her people to consult them on the issue of Suleiman (An-Naml 32-34)

        (She said: "Ye chiefs! advise me in (this) my affair: no affair have I decided except in your presence."They said: "We are endued with strength, and given to vehement war: but the command is with thee; so consider what thou wilt command."

        She said: "Kings, when they enter a country, despoil it, and make the noblest of its people its meanest; thus do they behave.)

      It cannot be said: this is the legislation of those before us so we do not need it. The Quran did not mention this to us except to let the rightly guided ones gain guidance from and remember its wisdom. 

      It is therefore true to say: the legislation before us as mentioned in the Quran and the Sunnah is a legislation for us as long as it had not been copied to our legislation. God Almighty said to his prophet: (Al-An3aam: 90)

        (Those were the (prophets) who received Allah's guidance: copy the guidance they received; say: "No reward for this do I ask of you: this is no less than a Message for the nations.")

      Keeping a woman at home, between its four walls and not letting her out was considered in the Quran - in one of its sates of legislation before the famous verse of punishment on adultery - as a severe punishment to Muslim women who committed adultery. Allah Almighty said in Surat An-Nisaa': 15)

        (If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, take the evidence of four (reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way.)

      Later, Allah allowed women to go their way when the legislation on adultery was revealed which is the whipping that was mentioned in the Quran for those who are not sheltered (married) and the stoning to those who are sheltered.

      So how can the logic of keeping respectable and honorable Muslim woman at home be in line with the logic of the Quran and Islam?! It is as if we will punish her an everlasting punishment when she has not committed a sin.


      The meeting of men and women is not 'haraam' but is acceptable or required if the objective was participation in a noble cause, related to useful knowledge or good deeds, or a beneficial project or a necessary 'jihaad', or otherwise of the activities that need combining the efforts of the two sexes and cooperation between them in the planning, direction and execution.

      This does not mean that the barriers between them should melt and the legislative barriers related to meetings between two parties are forgotten. People should not claim that they are pure angels that nobody should fear for or from. They want to transfer the Western society to us. The duty is to participate in good deeds and cooperate in what is charitable and pious within the framework that was drawn by Islam, which includes:

      1. Keeping the eyes lowered politely between the two parties. They should not look at each other's private parts of the body 'al-3awrah', nor look with passion, nor look for longer than necessary. (Surat An-Nuur 1)

        (Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.

        And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; ....)

      2. Women should stick to respectable Islamic attire that covers the body except for the face and palms, which is not transparent. (Surat An-Nuur 31).

        (... and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss)

      A number of companions of the prophet had stated that the ornaments mentioned in the verse refers to the face and the palms.

      Allah Almighty explained why women should dress discreetly: "Surat Al-A7zaab:59".

        (O Prophet! tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.)

      In other words this attire differentiates between the serious decent woman from the playful careless one. Hence, nobody would harm the decent woman because her attire and her behavior will force all those who see her to treat her with respect.

      3. Abiding by Muslim behavior, especially when women deal with men.

      a) In talking: women should not talk seductively (Al-A7zaab 32) (O Consorts of the Prophet! ye are not like any of the (other) women: if ye do fear (Allah), be not too complaisant of speech, lest one in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire: but speak ye a speech (that is) just. 

      b) In walking: (An-Nuur: 31) God Almighty said: (and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments.) Muslim women should be as described here: (Al-Qasas: 25) (Afterwards one of the (damsels) came (back) to him, walking bashfully. She said: "My father invites thee that he may reward thee for having watered (our flocks) for us." So when he came to him and narrated the story, he said: "Fear thou not: (well) hast thou escaped from unjust people.")

      c) In movement: she should not bend and twist like the ones mentioned in the Noble Hadith as ((the bending benders)). She should not like the women of the jahilliya period who were over adorned.

      d) Women have to avoid all what can be seductive of perfume or make up that ought to be used at home, not on the streets nor when meeting with men.

      e) There should be caution in having a man sit alone with a woman without a 'mi7rim'. The A7aadiith Ash-Shariifah forbade this and said: "The third is the devil". Fire and firewood should not come together. Women, should not be alone with a man, especially with male relatives of the husband. A 7adiith went: ("Do not enter on a woman". They said: "God's messenger. What about the relatives of the husband?" He said: "The relatives of the husband are death.") That is, the cause of destruction because a man may sit for long and there is danger in this.

      f) The meeting should be limited to what the needs dictate and what the joint work necessitates without the exaggeration that could lead the woman to ignore her duties or make her susceptible to people's evil talk or keeps her from the holy role of taking care of the house and bringing up generations.

    Anal Sex

    Anal intercourse with one's wife is a major sin, whether it occurs at the time of menstruation or not. The Prophet SAWS (Peace & Blessings of Allah be upon Him) cursed the one who does this: "Cursed is the one who approaches his wife in her rectum" (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, 2/479; see also Saheeh al-Jaami', 5865).

    The Prophet SAWS (Peace & Blessings of Allah be upon Him) also said: "The one who has intercourse with a menstruating woman, or with a woman in her rectum, or who goes to a fortune-teller, has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad." (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 1/243; see also Saheeh al-Jaami', 5918).

    In spite of the fact that many wives of sound nature refuse this, there are some husbands who threaten their wives with divorce if they do not obey them (in this matter), and some even deceive their wives, who are too shy to ask scholars about it, into thinking that it is permissible. The Prophet SAWS (Peace & Blessings of Allah be upon Him) said that a man may approach his wife in any way he likes, from the front or the back, so long as intercourse takes place in the place from through which a child is born. There is no doubt that the rectum is the place from which waste matter is expelled, not the place from which a child is born.

    Another reason why some may commit this immoral act is that they enter upon what should be a clean married life with some jaahili (ignorant) traditions and odd practices, or with memories of scenes from indecent movies, for which they have not repented to Allaah.

    It is known that this act is forbidden even if both partners agree to it. Mutual consent to a haraam deed does not make it halaal.

    I ask Allah to bestow upon us a proper understanding of His religion and to make us adhere to its limits, for He is the All-Hearing, the One Who answers prayers.



    It is permissible to use condoms so long as this does not cause any harm and so long as both husband and wife consent to their use, because this is similar to ‘azl (coitus interruptus or “withdrawal”). But it reduces the sensation of pleasure, which is the right of both partners, and reduces the chance of conception, which is also the right of both partners. Neither one of them is allowed to deprive the other of these rights. (For more information, see Question #1100 and 566). And Allaah is the course of strength.


    Viagra (Sildenafil Citrate)

    A fatwa given recently by Shaikh bin Baz on 26/06/98 in Riyadh when questioned as to whether the drug Viagra(Sildenafil Citrate)which is currently being used for treating erectile dysfunction was permissible to use.

    The Shaikh said "Using the drug that helps sexual intrecourse is permitted and there is no legal Islamic prohibition provided it did not contain ingredients that may harm health or an intoxicant material"quoted from Okaz newspaper

    Currently the drug is not prescribable on the NHS but may be later this year (Allah knows best). The only contra-indication for its use at present is the concurrent use of oral nitrate preparations for the treatment of angina since it is a potent vasodilator. Viagra was originally being researched as a treatment for angina.

    Transplanting Testicles

    The Islamic Fiqh Council addressed this issue as follows:

    Transplanting reproductive glands. Because the testicles and ovaries continue to carry and produce the genetic characteristics (DNA) of the original donor even after being transplanted into a new body, the transplanting of reproductive glands is not permitted according to Islamic sharee’ah.

    Transplanting other parts of the reproductive organs. Transplanting parts of the reproductive system which do not transmit DNA (with the exception of the private parts themselves) is permissible in cases of legitimate necessity as long as the relevant rulings and regulations of sharee’ah are adhered to.

    And Allaah knows best.

    Sterility Operations

    It is not permitted to carry out operations on men or women that will lead to complete sterility, such as cutting the vas deferens (vasectomy) in men, or removing the ovaries or womb (hysterectomy) in women. This is because cutting off all possibility of future offspring with no valid reason is haraam, as it goes against what the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) wanted for his ummah, and is a source of shame and humiliation for the Muslims. The more the Muslims increase in number, the more this is a source of pride and status for them. Allaah has guaranteed to provide for His slaves, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): “And no living, moving creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allaah. And He knows its dweeling place and its deposit (in the uterus, grave, etc.). All is in a Clear Book.” [Hood 11:6]. So cutting off all possibility of future offspring for no good reason goes against this teaching. However, if it is necessary to carry out an operation of the kind mentioned – such as a case where the mother’s life will be in danger if she becomes pregnant, or she is suffering from a disease in her womb which it is feared could spread and kill her (such as cancer), so she has no choice but to have her womb removed – then there is nothing wrong with carrying out these operations in such cases of necessity. And Allaah knows best.

    Fataawaa al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah (2/974); Fataawaa li’l-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (2/975); Fataawaa al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraaheem.

    Is Family Planning allowed in Islam?
    by Jamaal Zarabozo

    The question of family planning and birth control was discussed in detail by the Majma al-Fiqh al-Islaami. They had twenty three scholars research this topic and present their findings on this matter. The participants involved represented many different trends and schools of thought. Among the participants were Muhammad Ali al-Baar, Ali al-Saaloos, Muhammad Saeed Ramadhan al-Booti, Abdullah al-Basaam, Hasan Hathoot and Muhammad Sayid Tantaawi. Their proceedings, papers and discussions may be found in Part One of the Fifth Volume of Majallah Majma al-Fiqh al-Islaami (1988/1409 A.H.). These proceedings are 748 pages all about the question of birth control and related issues.

    The following are important points related to the issue of birth control in Islam. These were mentioned by some of the participants in the above program:

    The institution of marriage and the want to have children was the custom of the best of creation, the prophets and messengers chosen by Allah. Allah says about them

    "And indeed We sent messengers before you and made for them wives and offspring"
    (al-Raad 38)

    The best example for the believers is the example of the prophet Muhammad (saw), who married and had children. These prophets and messengers are the people whom Muslims should look to emulate. Allah says

    "They are those whom Allah has guided. So follow their guidance" (al-Anaam 90)

    They should be emulated and not the disbelievers of the West, whose new lifestyles - mostly out of concern for enjoying this life or obtaining as many worldly goods as possible - discourage women from having more children.

    Islam has forbidden celibacy, monasticism and castration for such purposes. The prophet (saw) made this clear when he told those companions who were considering acetic forms of life: "I pray and I sleep; I fast and I break my fast; and I marry women. Whoever turns away from my way of life is not from me."

    The prophet (saw) not only encouraged marriage but he encouraged marrying those women who are child-bearing. He stated: "marry the loving, child-bearing women for I shall have the largest numbers among the prophets on the day of Resurrection."(Recorded by Ahmad and ibn Hibban.)

    From the Islamic perspective, children are a gift and a blessing from Allah. Allah mentions some of the bounties that He has bestowed upon mankind in the following verse: "And Allah has made for you spouses of your own kind and has made for you, from your wives, sons and grandsons, and has bestowed upon you good provisions." (al-Nahl 72)

    Allah also said: "Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world." (al-Kahf 46)

    The only true provider for all mankind is Allah. If Muslims follow what Allah has prescribed for them, Allah will provide for them. Allah has warned about killing one's children out of fear of poverty for either parents or the child. Allah says: "Kill not your children because of poverty - We provide sustenance for you and for them" (al-Anaam 151)

    Allah also says: "And kill not your children for fear of poverty. We shall provide for them as well as for you. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin" (al-Isra 31)

    Hence, Muslims should never abort or kill their children out of fear of poverty. It is Allah who provides for them.

    Based on the above points and numerous others, the scholars who participated in the research on this question came up with the following resolution:

    • It is not allowed to enact a general law that limits the freedom of spouses in having children.
    • It is forbidden to "permanently" end a man's or a woman's ability to produce children, such as by having a hysterectomy or vasectomy, as long as that is not called for by circumstances of necessity according to its Islamic framework.
    • It is permissible to control the timing of births with the intent of distancing the occurrences of pregnancy or to delay it for a specific amount of time, if there is some Shariah need for that in the opinion of the spouses, based on mutual consultation and agreement between them. However, this is conditioned by that not leading to any harm, by it being done by means that are approved in the Shariah and that it not do anything to oppose a current and existing pregnancy.


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