Posted by: Dawud Israel | October 16, 2008

“Sex is half of the Deen” ?


The light-hearted conversation went something like this.

Me: bro I know you…our conversations are always about fatwas and your marriage issues
Brother: hahaha true
Me: let’s face it man…your religion is women
Brother: no
Me: trust me man, I known you for a long time
Brother: half of the deen is sex
Me: what?
Brother: are you forgetting the hadith? about marriage?
sex is half of the religion

And so there you have it. The TRUE mentality of a huge section of the Ummah summed up in a few words.

The real hadith is, “Marriage is half the deen” and he knew that but his interpretation of it was something else–that is “Sex is half of the deen”…is this what he really believes? Marriage has more to do with sex…than with marital life?

I’ll be honest about it, this really made me angry. And is just another sign of a problem in the Ummah. It’s not a secret that the big force behind Islam being the No. 1 religion in the world is because we have more children than most other groups but the other issue is, especially in the West, is this obsession with marriage.

Wallahi, if you were to go on ANY Muslim forum, the vast majority of discussions are regarding marriage and sex-related topics. In fact, even on forums like AlMaghrib forums you find the same thing. Is it just me or is there something seriously wrong here? Nowhere is it mentioned in Islam that marriage is fardh. Marriage is sunnah. Now pause and think about how many sunnahs people will never do in their lifetime…except for marriage.

Let me put it in perspective here:

Saying “Sex is half of the Deen” is a sign of what I’ve always thought that: Muslims are more preoccupied with sexuality than with God. Yes, I said it, sex is more important to people than their Creator. And indeed there is a statistic that proves just that that says Muslim countries watch the most amount of porn in the world. Yes, it’s haraam but more than that let’s deal with the halaal issues–the obsession of practicing Muslims with marriage.

What is wrong with Muslims being so preoccupied with wanting to be married?

There is nothing wrong with being married or getting married–in fact it’s a good thing. The problem is the obsession with the notion and idea of sex (and marriage)–it’s discussed and fantasized to such a degree it is virtually guaranteed a successful marriage will be difficult due to unrealistic expectations.

No, the problem is not that there is anything wrong with it itself…but the issue of sacrifice. It’s something that people don’t always understand but its vital to any endeavor–in order to achieve a goal, you MUST make sacrifices. If Muslims are to fulfill their dreams and make Islam known…is spending how many hours discussing marriage going to help with that? Now taking it a step further, in the biography of Salahuddin (rahimullah) you find that there is no record of him having a wife. Likewise with Imam Nawawi (rahimullah). And with the Prophets alayhim salaam you find Prophet Yahya alayhi salaam, Eesa alayhi salaam, Maryam alayhi salaam and I’m more than likely forgetting a few–you guessed it–never married.

It’s not about not marrying its about what they did instead of marriage that made them so virtuous. While my dear brother is talking about marriage and this sister over here is running around trying to find a good brother to marry–there are exceptional people who are busy learning the deen. While you are flirting with your female neighbor, there are sisters who are hard at work making dawah to her behind the scenes. While a brother is spending time with his wife, there are brothers staying up at night discussing how to take care of the poor and the homeless.

If a person isn’t willing to sacrifice marriage for Islam (or even consider it)…chances are they won’t sacrifice much else for Islam either.

It’s not about halaal and haraam–it’s about what good deeds are needed now and what can wait for later. I know Harun Yahya (I disagree with a lot of what he says and in his own words, he is not a religious reference) the famous Daiee from Turkey, has said that if the Ummah was NOT in the dire circumstances that it is in now–he would marry straightaway. But it isn’t and so he remains unmarried busy trying to help the Ummah.

And the same can be said for the ones who will raise our Ummah up.

24 : Also (forbidden are) women already married, except those (captives and slaves) whom your right hands possess. Thus has Allah ordained for you. All others are lawful, provided you seek (them in marriage) with Mahr (bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) from your property, desiring chastity, not coming to them as fornicators, so with those of whom you have enjoyed sexual relations, give them their Mahr as prescribed; but if after a Mahr is prescribed, you agree mutually (to give more), there is no sin on you. Surely, Allah is Ever AllKnowing, AllWise.
(Quran 4:24)

This means don’t marry for the sake of just having sex. Because that leads to divorce and broken hearts, even the guy ends up with a broken heart.

Subhana kallahumma wa bihamdika ash-haduana la illaha illa ant astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk, Ameen.


  1. Dawud, you make far too many assumptions in this post of yours. Im not sure how to address some of the ridiculous points you’ve made here. I agree with the fact that many muslims have the wrong concept of marriage, and their expectations are not realistic, but the overall message of this post seems to be that “people should focus more on deen than marriage”.

    Thats not the right way of going about it, how many times have you mentioned in this post that “marriage is half of your deen” what does this really mean?

    Isn’t getting married, completing half your deen focusing on Islam? Did the Prophet pbuh not recommend in another hadith that we should marry early? Theres another hadith where a guy said he would leave food and fast all the time, another said he would leave marriage and spend religion, and theres more but the Prophet pbuh said that in him lies the best example a man can follow and he did everything, he married, he fasted, he spent his entire life in the path of Islam.

    The reason why so many people are constantly talking about marriage, could possibly be because this is test they are faced with. Zina is a major sin in Islam, so if someone wants to avoid this and want to get married then who has a right to stop them, if they fear Allah and are worried they are struggling with this aspect of deen, then how can we suggest thats its better for a person to focus moer on other aspects of Islam.

    A brother once said:
    “There is nothing wrong with getting married at an early age – the problem is that you live in a society that works to dumb down adults and extend their childhood by calling them teenagers when Allah (SWT) has made it so that they are reproductively capable at an early age. And it is obvious, because the physical desires start to take hold at this point.”

    Taking that into consideration isn’t it wise for people to get married early, as long as they understand what a marriage is about, and understand their roles, it helps strengthen a persons deen if they arent tempted as much and have halal means to fulfil their desires.

    “If a person isn’t willing to sacrifice marriage for Islam (or even consider it)…chances are they won’t sacrifice much else for Islam either.”

    This is so absurd, Did rasoolAllah pbuh sacrifice marriage for Islam, or did he say that marriage is half of Islam? Did the sahaba sacrific marriage for Islam? Why do you make it out as if its marriage OR Islam, when the prophet pbuh advised us otherwise?

    There is also another hadith where it says those “who reject marriage are not from our ummah” here im not saying that the scholars who did are in wrong, not at all, im saying for the common man whose taqwa isnt as high as the scholars, whose struggling as it with the tempations they are faced now, is it wise to suggest that they shouldnt marry?

  2. I am not discouraging marriage, I am discouraging the attitudes.

    Marriage is not fardh, no amount of hadith quoting changes that. There is so much marriage fanaticism among Muslims, that it has led to unrealistically high expectations and that is why there is such a high divorce rate.

    The point of this post was to say we should put Allah before our marriage and everything else. If you can do that, then when you do get married it’ll be a successful marriage.

    If a guy puts marriage before Islam, to release his desires, then the whole basis of his marriage was to fulfill his desires…what other desires will he try to satisfy? Anger? He’ll twist Islamic texts to mistreat his wife.

    The point is we need to control our nafs, bring Allah in our thoughts and so when we marry, it is for Allah, and so when the marriage gets tough we don’t just run away to satisfy our desire, but we stick it out because we did this for Allah. Just as much as we delayed marriage, for the sake of Allah.

    I hope this makes sense to you. It’s a fine distinction I am making.

  3. Why must marriage be delayed for the sake of Allah swt, when the prophet pbuh recommended that we marry young?

    Whats this about putting marriage before Islam? Where do you this idea from? Why cant the two be done at the same time? Is it not better that you encourage that people are educated about marriage before getting married and leave it that, rather than saying to delay marriage?

    If someone marries to avoid sin, then there is nothing wrong with that as long as they take responsibility for all other areas of marriage too.

    So many teenagers commiting Zina, pregnancies outside of marriage, what does Islam say about this? to teach your kids about the gravity of the sin, teach them the importance of marraige and then to get them married so they avoid falling into this sin.

    I understand the point you’re trying to make, but not the way you’re saying it.

  4. assalam aleikum I dont see nothing wrong…I agree with u, mariage is complex not just about sex. I found Basmatirice comments…out of place.

    Let us put our nafs aside inshaAllah

  5. “The point is we need to control our nafs, bring Allah in our thoughts and so when we marry, it is for Allah, and so when the marriage gets tough we don’t just run away to satisfy our desire, but we stick it out because we did this for Allah. Just as much as we delayed marriage, for the sake of Allah.”

    I agree with this point, but at the end of the day there are so many contradictary things in islam.

    I know that we ‘should’ marry early but at the end of the day teenagers are not ready for the emotional side of being married.

    The guys will be all in it for the sex, where as how do u think a girl would feel if she were to get married at that age? They’d feel like a sex object!

    Also teenagers are not finacially ready in this day and age for marriage.

  6. That’s less about Islam, than it is about cultural ideas. Marrying early is a good thing and could work in this society, but it’s just because we have words like “sex object” and can’t let go of those ideas, and that we are raised up in an environment that makes even adults behave like children, (in Islam there is no such thing as adolescene, you go from youth to adult) that this becomes difficult.

  7. Assalam Alaikom 🙂
    It’s been a while since you last commented on this post, I hope you read this….

    Brother Dawud, I agree with 90% of what you said, but I think it’s easier said than done.

    I’m 21 year old single girl. My family alhamdullah is practicing Muslim and I was brought up in an Islamic environment. I spent most of my school years in Islamic segregated schools. I’m very formal in dealing with the opposite sex alhamdullah. People know that about me especially in Uni, I’m not the kind of person who jokes around in a mixed cycle of friends!! I don’t really have any “guy” friends, just basically colleagues.

    I always believe in what you said, it’s ridiculous to think about marriage that much! Especially that I’m a girl, I don’t have lots of options, it all depends on the marriage proposals I get, I cannot propose to a guy myself of course (at least I don’t have the courage to do that).

    So this is pretty much how I’ve been living for the past say 4 years!! Trying to convince myself that any sexual relation is haram, this is because at this point of my life, it is. I can’t just hope for things I don’t have control over!!

    But I lately found out that I might be pushing myself a little too hard!!! Sometimes when guys start giving me attention, even if I don’t show it, they really give me a hard time!! Girls are attention seekers, and any girl would like to feel cared for and appreciated. So I find myself focusing less in my prayers (astaghfiru Allah) and just thinking about whoever is giving me attention too much!!

    Another thing, when you overlook this body need you could actually be harming your relationship with Allah! Recently this friend of mine was trying to hook me up with this really good guy, masha’Allah good Muslim and all! Anyways, qadar Allah and it didn’t work out! Even though the whole thing took about a week before it was over, in this week (with the help of Allah) I was able to move forward in reaching goals that I have been failing to reach for a long time! I also became more soft-hearted, crying when I listen to Quran concentrating in my prayers better, have a better vision of where I wanna be in the next 10 years or so, and how I’m planning to benefit Islam with the degree I’m currently completing!! It really was an awesome experience.

    I came to understand a comment this scholar made about verse (30:21) “And among His signs is this, that he created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hears); verily in that are sings for those who reflect.” He said when I Allah (SWT) says letaskunu (dwell in tranquility) this reflects a deeply rooted need that we cannot fulfill except with marriage!

    So even though we shouldn’t be thinking about marriage too much, we still need that!! At least to make it easier for us to practice Islam!!

    Allah knows best…

  8. Concerns for our christian friends-we all know that there are a surplus of females in the world( europe usa inc..) if they follow monogomy how will their other sisters who can not get husbands enjoy legal sex! it is better that these christians & jews become Muslims. I am sure they will agree that masturbation is also a sin! ha,ha….salam!

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