Everything wrong with Yasir Qadhi’s, “Like a Garment”Course on halal intimacy and sex in islam.
I just got an unfortunate email this morning – informing me that a widely circulated and praised course about sexuality in Islam called “Like A Garment” is being delivered again, and by a male scholar, Yasir Qadhi, who is well known and looked up to in the Muslim community with a large following, of people who rely on and trust him.
One would hope that when a course about sexuality in Islam surfaces, we can all breathe a sigh of relief – that a taboo topic is being covered through an “Islamic lens”. Nothing could be further from the truth. I took this course previously, and was instead deeply disturbed by its content.
I wasn’t alone though, I reached out to predominant female scholars in the Muslim world, and the women and men in my personal circle, who were all equally disturbed, shocked, unsure what to think, unsure how to undo the damage being done. And we weren’t from one demographic – these were young and old single women, married couples in marriages for over 30 years, and newly weds. Of course, we tried to reassure ourselves that Yasir and his opinions were a minority, and that the majority of men had a sense of humanity and did not share his mentality. But a bigger problem presented itself. Thousands of men were listening to this course – being advertised as a halal intimacy guide – that is thousands of married couples and those looking to get married were being fed damaging ideas, and contributing to the already terrible and complex state of intimacy in Muslim marriages, and the continued struggles of Muslim women and men seeking satisfaction and fulfillment in their own marriages.
Islam, hadith, sharia, and fiqh – were all being misconstrued to justify Qadhi’s claims.
Some of the women talked to me about how the course had had a direct negative impact on their marriages. They had tapped into their sexuality, and were hoping to explore it further in their marriage – but found the course condoning sex as mainly a male dominated activity, where couples were taught women aren’t really that sexual and are in fact fearful of sex – thus their husbands found them to be abnormal if they expressed more interest in exploring their own pleasure.
Other women spoke about how their husbands now demanded sex, and threatened them with hadith of hellfire and angels regardless of their reasons, placing their own sexual needs over their wives’.
One of the most frightening things shared with me by one wife, was that her husband came away from the course quoting Qadhi’s making permissible marital rape, by denying that rape can even exist within a marriage given the nikah contract – that her consent as a wife did not matter to her husband, because sex is his need and his wife’s job/responsibility to comply. if he wants to have sex, she cannot say no, and must “provide him access to her body, according to the sharia”.
Nearly all the husbands expressed two concerns: how awkward and unnatural the course was, not taking into account the natural progression of a sexual relationship, and how they as men, were made to appear as selfish and thoughtless by nature, seemingly incapable understanding their wives, wanting nothing out of their relationship other than sex – simply by virtue of being men.
When we contacted Yasir Qadhi with feedback on his course, we were ignored. We then asked him to review and remove the parts of his course that caused damage, pain, and abuse, in both marriages and on single men and women looking forward to marriage, yet we were still ignored.
We have gathered together, to compile a review of the course, and a FEW of the many reasons why:
- Why You should not waste your money on this course, why it will damage your marriage, and why it should be discontinued
- How Many of the things in this course are in direct contrast with Allah’s views of marriage and sexuality
- Why many ideas presented in this course promote abusive, problematic, unhealthy, Un-islamic, and outright misogynistic
- Why Yasir Qadhi should be taken to account for his teachings, and misconstruing the Deen to fit his own personal agenda or view
Problematic Aspects and our Responses:
- Yasir Qadhi uses language that takes away a woman’s power and control over her own body. In no unclear terms teaches – that a man does not needs his wife’s consent to engage in sexual activity.
- Yasir Qadhi Promotes a twisted, unhealthy, view of the concept of marriage and gender roles, in direct contrast with Islam
- Yasir Qadhi promotes grossly inaccurate beliefs about female (and male) sexuality
Yasir Qadhi uses language that takes away a woman’s power and control over her own body. In no unclear terms teaches – that a man does not needs his wife’s consent to engage in sexual activity:
- A woman’s sexual rights, and sexual freedom not as important as the husbands
- A woman agrees to give up her sexual freedom when she signs a nikaah contract in return for financial security.
- A wife and i quote “must provide her husband access to her body“ even if she has previously said she does not wish to engage sexually, she cannot say ‘no’, if her husband still ”demands it”. according to the nikah contract, she must consent to sexual activity whenever he demands, in return for financial security. by taking away her ability to say no, he paves the way for husbands not to need their wives’s full/ interested/willing consent to engage sexually
- conversely, a husband is not obligated to satisfy his wife whenever she desires it, if she is wearing lengerie and asking her husband for sex, he *can* refuse, because the sharia for sex from the husbands side outlines it should be according to her desire and his ability, similar to his finacial protection of her rights, are only according to his ability.
- Yasir Qadhi uses language that does not communicate a healthy, holistic, partnership in marriage – sexually or otherwise.
- There is a great deal of emphasis on the husband’s (unrestricted) sexual access to his wife. This includes sentiments such as, “A wife is sinning and disobedient if she does not have sex with her husband whenever he demands it”
- a wife must *obey* her husband’s sexual demands, regardless of how she feels about it, in order to be a good wife; a woman’s only “valid” reason for turning sex down, according to YQ, is: “If she has a migraine and will vomit violently if she has sex, or is ill or on her menses, or after childbirth.”
- Yasir Qadhi uses language that allows husbands to ‘spiritually abuse’ their wives into having sex with them by saying that they can reprimand or threaten her that the “angels will curse her”, and then go on to actually have sex with her, knowing she doesn’t desire it, or it is causing her pain. He removes accountability from a man who does this, saying it is his right as a husband, within a marriage contract.
- A wife is allowed to try and ‘seductively convince and persuade’ the man not to have sex, but if he does not back down, she is not permitted to say no. Sexual manipulation is apparently a woman’s greatest tool. Women are emotional and irrational and cannot be understood or taken seriously, because they are hormonal. This is just how they are created.
- The language and concepts communicated are deeply toxic and unhealthy.
- Using this language takes away a womans power and control of her own body, and her ability to provide consent to sexual acitivity if in a marriage. The language used dehumanizes women and paves the way for men to view women as a means to an end for their own sexual desire on demand
- Rather than discussing sex as a mutually enjoyable activity, as an Islamically rewardable exercise for both spouses to engage in, and something which should take place in the context of a loving, trusting relationship, YQ has turned the discussion into one of “rights” and wifely duty.
- The framing of the entire discussion turns women into objects and merely a means of men fulfilling their sexual desire. Women are no longer seen as individual human beings, as wives deserving of a healthy, happy relationship that includes sex, and are viewed instead as passive and unwilling objects
- Teaching men (and women) that a woman’s consent isn’t important, makes her his own sexual property. Islam came to absolve this rhetoric.
- A wife is absolutely NOT obliged to give access to her body, under any circumstances whatsoever to her husband simply because he is her husband, or he is demanding it. A husband does not own her body, or the ‘rights’ to ‘demand’ she be sexual with him.
- By emphasizing the fiqh without any other holistic discussion on healthy intimacy, the concept of marital rape becomes acceptable to those listening. A woman is not seen as having the ability – or right – to have any say with regards to her intimate life.
- Qadhi does say that a man cannot “rape” his wife, however this statement sits in contrast with all the language he uses, and his other teachings. A final statement saying you cannot ‘rape’ your wife has no standing when you use islam to remove the wife’s ability to say no, and the husbands right to sex, regardless of how his wife feels, is left unquestioned. In fact, the concept of marital rape is ill-discussed or defined in this class, which is unfortunate considering YQ’s insistence on talking about Islamic sexual rights of the husband – without taking into consideration the real-world implications of his statements, and without providing any further detail that would address this matter.
- Sex is not something that can be demanded in any form, in a healthy relationship. a man is not entitled to sexual pleasure through a woman’s ‘body’ by virtue of her being his wife. he is only allowed to pursue and create a sexually fulfilling experience for both of them – with her. a woman is not entitled to her husbands body. neither is he entitled to her body. Unfortunately the repercussions of Qadhi’s course, permits men to seek marriage believing they have a free pass to sex. this creates an attitude of entitlement in men, towards their wives, making it appropriate behaviour, for a man assume it is his god given right to ‘demand’ sex whenever and wherever he pleases, irrespective of his wife’s desires, arousal, needs, feelings, or consent. He considers it is his ‘right’ that his wife be sexually available on demand – that it is his wife’s primary role, and job at the end of the day
- This assumes sex is something you “give” as opposed to two partners willingly consenting and enjoying intimacy with one another together.
- Marriage in this case, is a contract. the mahr and dowry are seen as negotiating instruments in (nikah). Her acceptance of the mahr is, to put it crudely, his passport to ‘enjoy her.
2.Yasir Promotes a twisted, unhealthy, view of the concept of marriage, and gender roles, in direct contrast to Islamic teachings, and Gods view of marriage. He teaches that:
- Sex on the wedding night is framed within the paradigm of, a man is ‘being kind’ and ‘generous’ if he waits until his wife is ready to have sex, even if he is angry or feels entitled to have sex.
- it his right to demand it regardless of her feelings. On the flip side, a wife is not allowed to demand sex with her husband, nor is he obliged to provide it accordingly.
- There is no contextualization of fiqh with reality; there is no attempt made to instruct husbands on how to view intimacy as being more than just sex, or on how to build and maintain a flourishing relationship that incorporates sex in a healthy manner.
- “Marriage is the ‘price’ men pay for sex, and sex is the price women pay for marriage.”
- Men marry only to ‘fulfill their sexual desires’; women should not be fooled into thinking that men are actually seeking friendship, companionship, connection, or an emotional relationship – their primary reason for marriage is solely to have halal sex
- Men and women will never be able to understand each other. They come from different ‘planets’ and can never actually relate to one another on a human level
- women need to understand the nature of men – Men are created sexual, think of sex all the time, are weak, sexually driven, visually stimulated and can’t control themselves in this department. Sex is a need for them, more so than for women. This is just how they are wired, they simply cannot control themselves and marriage is the only halal ‘outlet’. , and viewing Marriage in a utilitarian way as a halal ‘outlet’ is permissible and rewarded
- Men are visual creatures that are driven almost solely by sexual need and desire; their testosterone deems them incapable of thinking of anything else until their desire is satisfied, so it is excusable that they feels so compelled by this carnal desire, and needs to have his wife on hand to curb it, so he can then focus in the real world
- Men have no need or desire for useless things like foreplay, cuddling, hugging, non sexual touch, talking, or emotional connection. However burdensome it is for them, men should still try to engage in approximately 10 minutes of foreplay before moving on to satisfy themselves.
- Men find all women attractive and women must accept this. Wives must understand the struggle that men go through and must always be ready to offer sex when they come home. Qadhi mentions that because a man cannot look at a woman without wanting sex, men should advise their wives of their struggle and demand they offer sex. He advises women not to hurt a man’s ego, his sex needs are the key to making him feel like a man and especially the keys for him to ignore his wife’s flaws” in essence, if a man doesn’t ‘get’ sex he will discover all of his wifes flaws, and she should be wary of this. fear and manipulation, instead of love and connection, are used to encourage a sexual relationship.
- Most men engage in pornography even though it is haram, and will look at other women; wives must accept this is in the nature of men, and should thus make an attempt to compete with these outside forces in order to keep their husbands’ attention. Women should not think their husbands don’t love them if they watch pornography, simply realize this is a reality for most men even though they know it is haram. Instead, remember that if you dont flaunt your body for your husband, he will seek this elsewhere and it will be largely your fault if he does.
- Men have trouble Seeing their wife as a friend, it is incredibly difficult for them, they often have male best friends, but see their wife as primarily their sexual outlet.
- Men need respect, so don’t question the husband’s choices, even if he makes mistakes and cannot accept them, the wife should simply be patient and hope he will learn from his mistakes himself. even if it is hurting you, your family or kids – just listen to your husband and don’t question him – this will be disrespectful since he will get angry and getting angry is just part of being a man
- Women are meek, delicate, and fragile. Women are emotional and irrational and cannot be understood or taken seriously, because they are hormonal. This is just how they are created.
- They do not require sexual fulfillment and orgasm the way that men do. They are unable to enjoy sex fully because they’re multitasking and thinking about other things while doing it.
- Women are required to stroke the male ego and to fulfill it. Even if the husband is wrong, a wife should not question him or display disapproval, being upset, and so on.
- Since a husband is a woman’s door to Jannah, this means that even if she doesn’t enjoy sex or is unfulfilled in her relationship with her husband, it is irrelevant so long as he is satisfied, Obligation sex will bring her jannah.
- Qadhi fails to see marriage as a partnership, women are not replacing their father with their husband when they marry. He believes men are supposed to receive blind obedience from women, especially in regards to sex. Blind obedience is not even something god demands from his creation. He is falsely teaching men to be so incompetent that they cannot be an equal partner in their own marriages! In Marriage both men and women need intellectual, emotional and sexual support. As far as sex is concerned, Human nature is sexual regardless of gender. In his course, Qadhi encourages the false social conditioning that allows Muslim men to control and use their wives for selfish sexual gratification
- This is not a normal description of two people in a marriage. It’s a cold, utilitarian, and mechanical pairing of individuals under a contract. It’s a toxic, and disturbing concept of marriage that makes one wonder if the man and wife here, even have a foundation to their relationship at all. One should be able to read their spouse, enjoy spending time with each other and have fun while they learn each others bodies together.
- The blanket statements made about male and female sexuality are skewed and do not reflect a healthy understanding of either male or female sexuality. He seems ignorant about life, religion and human nature. For example: if a woman is thinking about taking out the trash or other chores while having sex, the problem is not that she’s a “multitasker,” but that the sex clearly isn’t good enough.
- Portraying foreplay as a chore demeans women as well as men. A man who truly cares about his wife’s sexual experience will look forward to and enjoy foreplay as a means of connecting to his wife intimately, and will be happy to engage in various forms of intimacy so as to maximize the overall experience for them both. No woman wants to have sex with someone whom she knows considers her own pleasure to be a chore.
- The depiction of men as primarily sexual creatures removes accountability, agency, and intellect from men. Such ideas assume and teach that a husband is not a grown, mature adult whom a wife can trust to intellectually understand her needs. Since he is mostly driven by sex, he can be seduced to agree to anything.
- It also strips him of the ability to practice self control, particularly with regards to his wife. It strips him of responsibility, common sense, being a decent human being, being respectful, being able to read his wife, being able to connect with her and know how and what she is feeling.
- The framework being taught centers romance as a self-serving agenda: one that men use solely to have sex (as opposed to enjoying her company or providing her pleasure and happiness); and one women use to ‘get their own way,’ since their intellect and reason is not enough to warrant being taken seriously.
- it encourages the idea of a man romancing a woman to GET her in bed and have sex with him. romance then becomes a self serving agenda. Not because he enjoys her company or simply wants to make her happy or do things for because he cares for her. Similarly, it encourages a woman to USE sex to get what she wants. this is a relationship model that is devoid of connection, depth, intimacy, love, and respect. All strangely being taught in the name of a course on intimacy and sex ‘in Islam’.
- Yasir Qadhi reduces men to mindless sex beasts. He instills in both genders that having a very low expectation of morality and humanity from men is the only rational thing to do, based on the ‘nature’ of men. However a marriage has many facets, and sex is just one of them – Sex is a bond that is unlike any other, one of the most pleasurable things in the dunya
- Men and women are both dehumanized in this course.
- Men desire deep connection and intimacy, and sex – and it is not natural, and hardwired in them to seek this through mindless intercourse with an unwilling partner. Men work on their relationship, know that their wives are not their property, and will and figure out WHY their wives don’t want to share a meaningful experience of closeness with them if that ever becomes the case. A marriage has many facets, and sex is just one of them.
- Women have sexual desires and needs as well; in fact, only women have a body part designed solely to provide sexual pleasure – the clitoris. Female pleasure is significantly overlooked, beyond an insulting reference to foreplay.
- Sex is not something one person ‘Gives’ or ‘withholds’ from another person, it’s an action both people choose to take part in and share with each other. To be open, to be vulnerable, to give love, to give and receive mutual connection and pleasure.
- Yasir displays perfectly how misogyny permeates our attitudes such that men automatically do not consider women to be of equal footing even in bed
- Most importantly, this stamping of rights between the sexes is damaging. there is a dance and a way of relating with people. Marriages need to heal and grow slowly and sexual and emotional passions from both sides need to be honored.
Yasir Qadhi promotes ignorant, inaccurate beliefs about female (and male) sexuality by teaching and implying the following:
- YQ makes many sweeping statements about female sexuality that are incorrect, missing nuance, or simply based on a small fraction of women.
- Since a husband is a woman’s door to Jannah, this means that even if she doesn’t enjoy sex or is unfulfilled in her relationship with her husband, it is irrelevant so long as he is satisfied, Obligation sex will bring her jannah.
- practicing Muslim women are pure and modest, they do not really experience sexual arousal or any feelings of intense sexuality before marriage. In fact, the very idea of sex is disturbing and unnatural to them, they are unable to comprehend the true nature of intercourse before marriage.
- Women don’t ‘need’ to orgasm, or need sex as much as men do; their sexual feelings are minimal and what they truly seek from sexual encounters is not necessary physical pleasure, but emotional connection.
- Women have an inherent and instinctive fear or aversion to sex
- Women don’t enjoy sex as much as men. They simply do it to be good wives.
- Women’s fitrah is such that they are modest, shy, and less sexual than men.
- Muslim women are intimidated/scared by discussions about sex prior to marriage
- ‘’How you treat your wife in the kitchen is how she will treat you in bed.”
- There is a bizarre disconnect in equating “purity” and “modesty” for women with aversion to sex or lack of sex drive, while equating a higher sex drive with being a positive masculine characteristic. Which consequently (and incorrectly) means both that men are naturally more immodest and impure, as well as the natural direction of this belief leads men to – which is seeing women as meek shy, and unwilling participants in sexual activity. This concept is disturbing, because it perpetrates that women by nature, are unwilling participants, thus men must manipulate, or force them into sexual activity.
- Part of the problem that YQ is perpetuating what many Muslim cultures and societies teach women: to have a very negative perception of sex, leading to fear and certain types of trauma. While it is absolutely true that many Muslim cultures teach women unhealthy negative attitudes about sex and equate female sexual desire with being dirty or impure, this in no way actually reflects the physiological need that women as a whole have for sex.
- Qadhi does not realize or teach that a Muslim wife has a sexual identity, need, arousal etc. Despite the fact that Islamic texts fully recognize women’s sexual needs and in fact protects them as a religious right, Qadhi perpetuates ideas of the nature of female sexuality and falsely passes them off as Islamic guidance. Which is strange because women are seen as epitomes of sexual pleasure to BE enjoyed by men, but not that they would be sexual beings themselvea
- No matter how much cultural brainwashing women receive regarding their sexuality, most women will still inevitably experience feelings of sexual arousal at some point in their lives – and for those who do, it will generally first happen before marriage
- It is precisely because of this brainwashing, and repression, compared to the open and elaborate discussions of how much of a natural and pure NEED sex is for men, that women are made to fear a sexual relationship with a man, which should be an exciting, celebrated, and intensely fulfilling experience, especially for a woman who is more capable of having powerful, longer and multiple orgasms.
- The clitoris – which has no other function than to be an organ of pleasure, unlike the penis which is also used for urination, has thousands more nerve endings than the penis, which means that its orgasm can be correspondingly much, much more intense than the male orgasm, and contradicts the belief of those men who are convinced that women don’t really ‘feel it.’ (Not to mention that women are capable of different types of orgasm and multiple orgasms.
- More accurate would be to state that what men and women find sex equally appealing and arousing, but how they react to such stimuli, and the levels at which they respond to such urges differ greatly – but do not take away from the inherent sexuality of women
- The claim that women have fewer or less intense desires, or are somehow less important need for orgasm, is in fact minimizing female sexuality and its priority in a relationship.
- If women (and men) are continuously taught that their consent doesn’t matter, their role is to essentially be a sex slave to their husbands, and that women don’t enjoy, and don’t have to enjoy sex, both husband and wife will continue to suffer.
- Qadhi ignores the many stages of life a couple will journey through together, and paints all women with one brush by mentioning that a woman in any stage should look done up and ready for sex all the time for her husband! He reduces marriage to be based primarily on sex on looks! A woman, just like a man will look rough and some days has not even had time to wash her face. Men walk in from work looking sweaty and rugged. this is life. its not perfect, its messy. its part and parcel of an intimate relationship to know and witness each other this way. Your wife is not a sex slave – she is who she is – a free woman that you chose to be in a relationship with. Doing the dishes is not the way to ‘get her into bed with you’. A man shouldn’t have to be “trying” to get his wife to sleep with him. He should have a solid relationship based on mutual friendship, trust, respect, and love, that sex is a natural part of because of those foundational things. What a silly naive thing – to state that doing the dishes will turn her on. Knowing her and knowing what will turn her on – is what will turn her on.
- Sexuality, libido and sexual desire are all nuanced topics affected by many factors. Each couple will experience many phases in their marriage! sex within marriage is a journey with no simple answers, and to paint all couples, all men, or all women the same is problematic. Women in marriages are all in different stages of their lives. At some stages, they will be in school all day, at other stages their time is mostly occupied caring for young children at home most of the time. In each of these stages the couple goes through many things together. Sometimes women do experience a drop in libido for a long period of time for different reasons (hormonal causes, stage in life where she is simply dealing with a lot emotionally, or caring for young children, menopause etc) and such women shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for it, or pressurized to express a certain amount of sexual desire. Even if their lives are going well in other ways, they simply may just not want to have sex much or at all. (men can and do experience this as well).
- So any woman (or man) who is feeling emotionally fulfilled may not automatically enjoy having sex – and these periods are simply part of marriage, sharing a life together, and working on sharing their sexuality with each other. Meaningful marriages cannot – and are not – based solely on sex. In fact sex therapists tell us how men may not experience drastic changes in libido but woman can; it is easy to slip into a schedule of irregular sex and for women to need to have fulfilling sex first, and more often, to jumpstart their libido – and this requires a caring, connected and attuned partner to be able to journey through and achieve
- There is a growing need for women to celebrate and take ownership of their own sexuality, which is NEVER spoken about in this class, or any Muslim space -yet again, the entire conversation was cantered around the husband, his desire, pleasure and need for sexuality, while mechanical instructions were given to both men and women on how to achieve a sexually fulfilling relationship for both of them
- Women tapping into their own sensuality, and being given the sense of empowerment to discover what they really enjoy sexually is what a course like this should be highlighting. Muslim stereotypes about romance revolve around women just wanting flowers and romance, not sex – but there is zero acknowledgement of female sensuality and sexuality. There is no emphasis on men and women both realizing the ways in which women feel sexy about themselves, and the ways in which they enjoy sex – there is rarely any communication to women about their own sexual desires, and the ways that husbands should be invested in the journey of their wife’s sexuality, as opposed to their wives sexuality as a means to their own. Women are never taught that, in marriage, they should and will explore their sexuality, discover what they like, explore their own desires and fantasies, and that it is not only a priority, but absolutely necessary. Because of the framework for sexuality, under which these types of conversations and courses are being held, women often see themselves as extensions to male sexuality. Husbands need to firstly see their wives as equal partners in sex, and be helping their wives achieve that – not by taking the lead in deciding what kind of sex they have, when and how, but by following his wifes lead
- Although Yasir brought on Haleh Banani to add a woman to the discourse on female sexuality – it changed little of the content. Haleh teaches her own flavor of damaging narratives in her own course the “Pillars of marriage”, when she states that she “understands why men are right to feel angry when their wives are not ready to have sex in the first month of their marriage. The husbands do feel entitled to sex because they waited until marriage and are providing for their wives” after all. She also mentions that a husband exhibiting the natural and normal human response to a new relationship where both muslim partners have to learn how to be sexual is a great feat – called being “patient”, yet a woman taking her time to do the same thing in said marriage, is being ‘difficult’ and ‘depriving her husband’. Implying that a man simply being a decent human being, is in fact being “patient” with his wife, although both are virgins and are navigating sex as a new part of their relationship. She also perpetuates the idea that part of the blame is on women for “their husbands not lowering their gaze, cheating, or looking at porn, since men are visually stimulated, and will get their needs met elsewhere if wives don’t dress up for them”, removing the responsibility from the man, and placing it on the attractiveness of the woman.
What allah says about Marriage and sexuality:
Overall, this entire course discusses marriage and sex in a cold, heartless, and cruel manner. The way marital rights – and specifically sexual rights – are spoken of strips away all aspects of love, compassion, mercy, consideration, and mutual respect. In fact, the image one gets of marriage from this class is vastly different from how the Qur’an describes it. The objective of marriage, according to the following Qur’anic verses, is to enable us to dwell in peace and tranquility. This is the relationship that Allah describes.:
Allah talks about marriage being a relationship where one finds peace and tranquility in the other.
- “It is He Who created you from a single person, and made his mate of like nature, in order that he might dwell with her in love…” (Chapter 7, Verse 189)
- “And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in peace and tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): Verily in that are signs for those who reflect” (Quran 30:21).
- “And We said, O’ Adam, dwell – you and your wife – in the Garden and eat freely of its (fruits) as you wish… (Chapter 2, Verse 35)
- “O Humans revere your Guardian Lord, who created you from a single person created of like nature its mate, and from this scattered (like seeds) countless men and women. Reverence Allah through Whom you claim your mutual rights” (Quran 4:1).
- Quran 25:74] And they say, “Our Lord, let our spouses and children be a source of joy for us, and keep us in the forefront of the righteous.”
In Conclusion, and now what:
Many young people, women especially are no longer interested in marriage, and it is primarily because of narratives like the ones expressed by scholars like Yasir Qadhi in Courses that talk incorrectly about about marriage, gender and women from a male perspective, and label it islam.
If couples are married, its because they decided they love and care for each other as human beings above all else. They actually like each other. they need to take the time to get to know each other, to respect each other as people, and learn about their sexuality together. Sexual intimacy is a ritual, and a ceremony of the union of two people. Its an opportunity of being seen authentically as who you are, bare, with no defenses, egos or clothes in the way. woman to man. man to woman. Holding yourself and each other as a work of art, as a creation of Allah, being connected to each other on a deep level, literally becoming one with each other which is a tremendously powerful experience, a healing experience, and one of the most intensely pleasurable experiences you will ever have. and this experience can only happen when two people willingly want to take part in it, love and respect each other as people, and desire each other.
Both Men and women have sexual desires. Some more, some less based on libido. Some men think of sex numerous times an hour, and some women think of sex numerous times an hour. But that’s all they are; DESIRES. That’s it. With desire comes a human responsibility to practice self restraint, and self care. What does one do with a desire? They either fulfill it, or Control it. A wife isn’t her husband’s personal release, or to be used in a utilitarian way through “halal sex via marriage” to curb, or ‘fulfill his desire’. One cannot act on one’s desires as they please, or when the urge arises, simply because one is married. Marriage is a bond and a loving space which allows you to jointly enjoy, explore, and share your sexuality. Both the husband and wife need to be enjoying the experience. If one isn’t having fun while partaking in an activity designed for pleasure, why are they doing it? Moreveor, why would one force or reprimand someone to do it?
Marriage is complicated, and beautiful and everything in between. And sex is not a black and white thing. It is not simply achieved by being married. It is a journey. Many couples don’t properly have sex until many years into their relationship. it is far more complex than what Yasir Qadhi has limited it to. In fact, it is important for youth, newly weds and those looking to get married, to know that in marriage there are periods where sex is not an option and they need to be ok with that. they need to be mature enough to work through their problems and weather the many seasons of sexual intimacy. Some seasons mean having sex would be unhealthy for the marriage.
Promoting his own ideas as “harmless jokes” Yasir Qadhi, in his Like a Garment course, is doing damage – shaping disgustingly negative, and utilitarian attitudes towards one’s spouse, and even more damaging attitudes in the minds of young men looking to get married. How he can recite platitudes about women’s empowerment and status in Islam publicly, while in this course undermining those very rights he claims to cherish is perplexing. He publicly proclaims respect for women, while deeming them little more than sexual conquests.
No woman would marry a man who is simply marrying her for sex. Unfortunately, as the months went by I became more and more aware of the toxic and damaging views many scholars have and are perpetuating through talks, YouTube videos, khutbahs, halaqas and the sort. In fact, the very places we go to seek a safe space for guidance and to revive our iman, are the places that ensure these ideas are reaching the masses and are being so deeply ingrained in our minds. They are the ideas being taught to the men our own daughters will marry, and our sons, and brothers. Furthermore, these skewed ideas are forming the foundations of how we think about the opposite gender, the sacredness and blessing of the bond of marriage.
One of the bigger issues here is that there is unfortunately no female discourse on this, in fact female sexuality, and sexuality within Islamic marriage has largely been a male dominated discussion in the Muslim world. Beyond the more complex reasons that make this course dangerous, there is the obvious fact that a male (with no educational background on the subject), decided to teach both genders about women’s own sexuality. Most of which was grossly incorrect. Additionally, when women and sexuality are discussed, there is a colossal sense of twisted hypocrisy evident. On the one hand you have male scholars talking about females dressing modestly, and lowering one’s gaze, how objectifying women to sell products, is unacceptable and reduces their value and dehumanizes them. And on the other hand if its in the context of a Muslim man, and his desires, you find the same people objectifying women to such a huge degree. You have men who talk about the insanely pure and modest nature of women, yet see them as sexual objects of enjoyment at the same time. A quick google search will bring you to a lecture for brothers by Mufti Menk – graphically talking about the elasticity of a ‘Hoor-ul-ayn’s” vagina, and her ability to be a re-virginizing creature… for a mans desire of tight fulfilling virgin sex every time and anytime he desires. And not to worry, Menk reassures the men during the lecture, the women aren’t in the audience, so they wont hear them talking about how being joined in jannah with their nagging wives would be reducing the value of paradise for them.
And this is nothing new. Throughout history, famous Muslim male scholars and authors, have often taken it upon themselves to deliver incorrect, degrading and subjugating advice to both genders about the role of women, not just sexually but as wives, and mothers. His teachings in this course support the towering, carefully constructed, religiously disguised pedestal that has cradled the male ego for centuries. This is male chauvinism at its best.
What truly needs to be encouraged, emphasized, and taught is the importance of men and women alike to improve communication with their spouses about matters of intimacy. To learn together. To respect each other. To rid themselves of the hold of gender stereotypes, to remove toxic masculinity from their interactions, to make their own decisions, to remove themselves from social conditioning, to see each other as human beings first and foremost.
From there, it should become much easier for husbands and wives to become comfortable with and learn their own and each others’ bodies and minds together. If you really need a course on sexuality seek it where the professionals are. Seek it where the Sex books and therapists are. Seek healthy sexual education for yourself and your kids. Yasir Qadhi is not a professional in this field, and neither is Haleh Banani, and they have done much more harm than good in his course. Know what the basic haram and halal is, and then explore your relationship together. marriage is more than sex. To truly seek an improvement in the sex lives of married Muslims, the first step should not be to make sweeping generalizations of female and male sexuality that are based on androcentric perspectives, and simply taking away the fact that they are humans and have complete control over their bodies. Your spouse is a gift and a blessing. Respect each other, and each others hearts, and bodies with honor – Get to know each other naturally, let your spouse guide you. Everyone’s sexual experience is different. grow, heal, and love each other for who you are as people.
content created by 17 anonymous contributors including predominant female scholars who wish to remain anonymous.