On Sexual Fantasies: Shariah The Fitrah (Natural State Of
Man) And Harmony With Human Nature
Islamic Rulings -
Living Shariah Verdicts
Islamic Questions & Answers
We got married three and a half years ago, and
he is very good and very religiously committed. We
worship Allaah together as much as we can, praise be
to Allaah. But the problem started with me from the
beginning of the marriage. Whilst having intercourse
he had to tell me sexual stories and I would use my
imagination, because I could not reach climax
otherwise. In order to feel satisfied I have to
fantasize. The problem with me is that I feel guilty
every time after having intercourse, because the
images that I fantasize about stay with me– I never
imagine myself with any other person at all, only
people whom I do not know. I told him about this
problem and he did not get angry, but I feel like it
is a kind of betrayal. What should I do? Please advise
me. What is the Islamic ruling?.
Praise be to Allaah.
Sexual fantasies are among the thoughts that cross a
person's mind because it is something that is stored
in the subconscious which is affected by the
environment in which he lives and the scenes that he
sees. These are thoughts that occur to most people,
especially the youth, but they vary from one person to
another with regard to their type, strength and
Islamic sharee'ah is the sharee'ah of the fitrah
(natural state of man) and it is in harmony with human
nature, and it takes into account the psychological
fluctuation that Allaah has made a part of the human
make-up. So it does not go beyond human limitations or
impose impossible burdens.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
"Allaah burdens not a person beyond his scope" [al-Baqarah
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be
pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Allaah has
forgiven my ummah for whatever crosses their mind so
long as they do not speak of it or act upon it."
Narrated by al-Bukhaari (2528) and Muslim (127).
Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said
commenting on this hadeeth:
Whatever crosses a person's mind, so long as he does
not dwell on it or continue to think of it, he is
forgiven for it, according to scholarly consensus,
because it does not happen voluntarily and he has no
way of avoiding it.
Al-Adhkaar (p. 345).
Passing fancies come under the heading of that which
crosses a person's mind, which is forgiven according
to the hadeeth quoted above. So if a person imagines
haraam things that came to his mind unbidden, there is
no blame or sin on him, rather he has to ward them off
as much as he can.
If a person dwells on haraam thoughts and calls them
to mind, then the fuqaha' differed as to how to view
this situation – is it covered by that forgiveness or
does it come under the heading of thinking and
resolving 9to do something haraam) for which a person
may be called to account?
This issue was discussed by the fuqaha' in the
If a man is having intercourse with his wife and is
thinking of the charms of another woman, so that he
imagines he is having intercourse with her, are those
thoughts and fantasies haraam? The fuqaha' differed
The first view is that it is haraam, and that the one
who deliberately brings haraam images to mind whilst
having intercourse with his wife is sinning.
Ibn ‘Aabideen al-Hanafi (may Allaah have mercy on him)
The view that is closest to the spirit of our madhhab
is that it is not permissible, because imagining that
woman as if he is having intercourse with her is
imagining oneself committing a sin with a woman who is
not permissible for him.
Haashiyat Radd al-Muhtaar (6/272).
Imam Muhammad al-‘Abdari, who is known Ibn al-Haaj al-Maaliki
(may Allaah have mercy on him), said:
A man should refrain from thinking such thoughts and
tell others to avoid this behaviour too, i.e., this
obnoxious characteristic that has unfortunately become
very common, which is when a man sees a woman whom he
likes, he goes to his wife and has intercourse with
her, and starts to imagine that woman whom he has
This is a kind of zina (adultery) because of what our
scholars (may Allaah have mercy on them) have said
about the one who takes a tankard and drinks water
from it, but he imagines that it is alcohol that he is
drinking – so that water becomes haraam for him.
What we have mentioned does not apply only to men,
rather it also includes women, and it applies even
more so to them, because what is common nowadays is
that they go out or look out from windows, and if they
see someone whom they like, they start thinking about
him, then when they have intercourse with their
husbands they bring that image that they have seen to
mind, so each of them may be committing zina in some
sense – we ask Allaah to keep us safe from that.
He should not only avoid that himself, he should also
draw his family's and other people's attention to it,
and tell that this is haraam and is not permitted.
Al-Madkhil (2/194, 195).
Ibn Muflih al-Hanbali (may Allaah have mercy on him)
Ibn ‘Aqeel stated in al-Ri'aayah al-Kubra that if a
man imagines the image of another woman who is
forbidden to him whilst having intercourse with his
wife, he is sinning, but a passing thought that he
cannot prevent does not constitute a sin.
Al-Adaab al-Shar'iyyah (1/98).
The evidence for this opinion is the view favoured by
a number of scholars, that if thoughts that cross the
mind become entrenched and may turn into something
that one resolves to do, then they come under the
heading of things for which one is accountable, and
that haraam fantasies that a person deliberately calls
to mind are not covered by forgiveness, because they
have been thought of deliberately and the person will
be called to account for that.
Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The
reason why passing thoughts are forgiven is what we
have mentioned above, that they cannot be avoided. But
it is possible to avoid dwelling on them. Hence
dwelling on them is haraam.
The second view is that it is permissible, and that
there is no sin on the one who does that. This is the
view of a number of later Shaafa'i scholars, such as
al-Subki and al-Suyooti.
They said: That is because there is no resolve or
determination to sin in fantasies. He may imagine that
he is having intercourse with that woman, but there is
no resolve in his heart or any plan to do that, rather
he may refuse if given the opportunity to do it.
It says in Tuhfat al-Muhtaaj fi Sharh al-Minhaaj
(7/205, 206) – which is a Shaafa'i book:
Because when he thinks of that or imagines it, it does
not occur to him to actually commit zina or do any of
the things that lead to it, let alone resolve to do
it. All that is happening to him is that he imagines
something reprehensible as something good. End quote.
See: al-Fataawa al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kubra (4/87).
It seems that the correct view is the view that such
fantasies are makrooh, even if we do not say that they
are haraam. That is for the following reasons:
1- Many psychologists regard sexual fantasies as a
psychological disorder if they dominate a person's
thinking to such an extent that he cannot enjoy any
pleasure except through these fantasies, and that may
lead to abnormal sexual fantasies.
2- Islamic sharee'ah teaches the principle of sadd al-dharaa'i'
or blocking the means that may lead to haraam things
and closing every door that may lead to evil. It is to
be expected that sexual fantasies may lead to a person
committing haraam deeds. A person who frequently
imagines something and wishes for it will inevitably
develop the motive to do it and will try to do it a
great deal. So he starts by looking at haraam images,
and his eyes become accustomed to looking at haraam
things, then he will try to fulfil his fantasies.
3- Most of these fantasies comes to people's mind by
haraam means in people's minds, such as permissive
satellite channels and by watching scenes of decadent
societies from kaafir lands all over the world, where
there is no modesty and watching sex scenes is
becoming a daily habit, as is obvious to anyone who
live or works in those countries.
4- Finally, such fantasies may lead to spouses losing
interest in one another, so the wife is no longer
attractive to her husband, and vice versa, which leads
to marital problems, and then sufferings and problems
For all of these reasons, our advice to everyone who
is tested with such fantasies is to hasten to put a
stop to them and rid himself of them. The following
means may be of help:
1 –Completely avoiding everything that may provoke
such fantasies, such as haraam movies and TV shows
which are shown on satellite TV, as well as avoiding
reading stories that generate such fantasies. We have
already discussed on our site the fact that it is
haraam to read such sexual stories. See the answer to
question no. 34489.
Al-Ghazaali said in Ihya' ‘Uloom al-Deen (1/162):
The way to ward off distracting thoughts is to cut off
their source, i.e. avoid the means that could create
these thoughts; if the source of such thoughts is not
stopped, it will keep generating them. End quote
2 – Regularly reciting the adhkaar that are prescribed
in sharee'ah, especially that which is said before
having intercourse: "Allaahumma jannibna al-shaytaana
wa jannib al-shaytaana ma razaqtana (O Allaah, keep
the Shaytaan away from us and keep the Shaytaan away
from that with which You bless us)." Narrated by al-Bukhaari
(141)and Muslim (1434).
3 – Focusing on the present enjoyment instead of that
which is absent. In both spouses there is that which
will keep the other from thinking of haraam things. If
each spouse focuses on the attractions of the other,
they will not be distracted by fantasies of other
4 – Imagine if your husband had fantasies like you do,
would you accept that? Wouldn't that make you feel
unhappy? How can you accept to make your husband feel
like that? Try to use this thought to get rid of what
you are feeling.
5 – Consult psychologists. There is nothing wrong with
your going to a female psychologist or family doctor
and asking her for advice; you may find something to
help you in sha Allaah.
I ask Allaah to guide and bless you and your husband.
And Allaah knows best.