“Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “If a husband calls his wife to his bed (i.e. to have sexual relation) and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.” Sahih al-Bukhari 3237 []. Does this apply the other way around too and if not, what can be said for men that don’t satisfy their wife’s needs? Jazakullah Khair”


In Islam, both husband and wife have rights to intimacy. It is from the foundational rights of the marriage that both spouses need to fulfill for one another. As for the above mentioned Hadith, then the scholars mention that it is specific for the men. Shaikh Ibn ul-‘Uthaymeen (d. 1421 H.), may Allah have mercy upon him, was asked,


“…what do you say if a wife requests intimacy and the husband refuses and she becomes angry, is the husband deserving of this threat [mentioned in the Hadith]?”


“he is not deserving of that. However it is obligatory upon the husband to treat his wife with good treatment and to have marital relations with her in accordance to the custom. This differs in accordance to the different women and different men, and in accordance to the different situation of people…”. End. [Fath Dhil-Jalali wal-Ikraam Sharh Bulugh al-Maram (4/566)]

Some of the scholars explained why this Hadith applies to men and not women. It is because men have a stronger need for intimacy than women, and they have less patience in resisting the urge than women do.

Hafidh Ibn Hajar (d. 852 H.), may Allah have mercy upon him, wrote,

“In the hadith is evidence that the patience of a man in leaving off sexual intercourse is weaker than the patience of women in this regard. In the hadith is also the proof that the greatest distraction for a man is the need for sexual intercourse and due to that, the Legislator encouraged the women [i.e. the wives] to assist the men [i.e. the husbands] in that”. End. [Fath ul-Baari (9/206)]

With that being said, it does not mean that the wife does not have a right to marital relations. Rather it is obligatory upon the husband to fulfill his wife’s desires just as it is obligatory upon her to fulfill his rights.

Shaikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728 H.), may Allah have mercy upon him, said,

“It is obligatory on a man to have marital relations with his wife in Ma’roof (good/honourable manner) and it is the most emphasized of her rights upon him, greater than the right of providing food for her. Having marital relations is obligatory. It was said it is obligatory to do so once every four months, and it was also said in accordance to her need and his ability, just as he provides food for her in accordance to her need and his ability. This is the more correct of the two opinions. And Allah knows best”. End. [Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (32/170)]

This is even in the situation when the man is not desiring intimacy but the wife is. Imam Ibn Qudaamah (d. 620 H.), may Allah have mercy upon him, said,

“Imam Ahmad (may Allah have mercy upon him) was asked,

‘[Question:] “is a man rewarded for fulfilling the needs of his wife while he has no desire [for it]?” He said [in reply], “By Allah, yes. He should seek a child through it”. Ishaq (the narrator) said, ‘and if he does not want a child?’ Imam Ahmad said, ‘This is a young woman (i.e. his wife), why would he not be rewarded for it?'”. End. [al-Mughni (10/241-242) and Masaail al-Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal wa Ishaaq bin Ishaq ibn Raahawayhi by Ishaaq bin Mansur al-Marwzi (no. 3446)]

That is: the husband will be rewarded for fulfilling his wife’s needs and he should do so. If a husband neglects fulfilling his wife’s desires, then it is a serious violation of her rights. He is sinful for that and if he does not do so, it can seriously harm the success of the marriage. Both spouses should be keen on fulfilling one another’s rights as the Prophet (ﷺ) said in the farewell Hajj,

أَلاَ إِنَّ لَكُمْ عَلَى نِسَائِكُمْ حَقًّا وَلِنِسَائِكُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ حَقًّا

“Indeed you have rights over your women, and your women have rights over you” End. [Saheeh at-Tirmidhi no. 1163]

Mentioned by

Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan
Abu Sulaymaan