Religious Studies

Islam: beliefs about love and sex

Love is often used to describe a close attachment to another person. Sex means sexual intercourse between two people. Most religions have views on love and sex. Islam considers sex as an act of worship.

Islamic views

Islam has very strict views on love and sex. These are based on passages from the Qur’an [Qur'an: That which is read or recited. The Divine Book revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. Allah's final revelation to humankind. ] and Hadith (the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad).

A muslim couple

Arab husband and wife

Muslims view sexual intercourse as an act of worship that fulfils emotional and physical needs as well as being procreative. Having children is the way in which humans can contribute towards Allah’s creation.

Sexual intercourse is a gift from Allah [Allah: The Islamic name for God in the Arabic language ] and therefore can only take place within a married relationship. Islam encourages people to marry and not to lead celibate [Celibacy: Being unmarried; taking a vow of chastity means promising not to get married or to engage in sexual intercourse. ] lives. Marriage places a responsibility on both the husband and the wife to meet each other’s sexual needs.

Homosexual relationships

Homosexual and lesbian relationships are forbidden by Islam because of these strict rules about sexual intercourse only taking place between a husband and wife. Some Muslim lawyers have argued that it is a crime which should be punished by death.

Adultery

Men are not allowed to be alone with women other than their wives in case they are tempted by them:

Let no man be in privacy with a woman who he is not married to, or Satan will be the third.

Hadith

Islam recognises that men and women can both be tempted to have sexual relationships outside of a marriage, but any such relationship is forbidden and adultery [Adultery: Sexual intercourse between a married person and another person who is not their spouse. ] by a husband or wife is a serious crime:

Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).

Surah 17:3

The punishment for adultery is found in the Qur’an [Qur'an: That which is read or recited. The Divine Book revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. Allah's final revelation to humankind. ]:

The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication - flog each of them with a hundred stripes: let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment.

Surah 24:2

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