The Islamic sexual morality is fundamentally different from the new sexual morality in a sense that it does not accept the concept of free sex.
Yes, Islam has surely not been indifferent to social problems.
Islam recognizes the sexual needs of human beings and believes that the natural instincts should be nurtured, not suppressed. Islam says that the biological parts of our body have a purpose; they have not been created uselessly. No text in Islam can be found to equate sex with inherent evil or sin; whatever has been taught by the Qur’an, Prophet Muhammad and his Ahlu’l-bayt points in the opposite direction.
It is important to realize that in Islamic texts the idea of marriage is not restricted to a platonic relationship between husband and wife, nor is it confined to sex for the purpose of procreation. The legal term for marriage is “nikah” which literally means sexual intercourse.
Marriage is a highly recommended deed. Allah says,
“Marry the spouseless among you…if they are poor, God will enrich them of His bounty.” (Qur’an 24:32)
The first word of this verse begins with “ankihu” (Marry!) which is an imperative form of the word nikah. According to the principles of Islamic jurisprudence, any communication in imperative form from God can have two levels of meaning: either it is an obligatory command or a very high recommendation.
And therefore we see that in Islam celibacy is not considered as a virtue. Based on this verse we find the Prophet saying that, “Whoever refrains from marriage because of fear of poverty, he has indeed thought badly of God.” In another verse Allah says:
“… Then marry such women as seem good to you two, three or four. But if you fear that you will not do justice between your wives, then marry only one…” (4:3)
Sex has been openly recommended in the Qur’an,
“When they [i.e., the wives] have cleansed themselves [after menstruation], you go into them as Allah has commanded.” (2:222)
Marriage and sex are among the signs of God’s power and blessings. The Qur’an says,
“And among His signs is that He has created for you spouses from among yourselves so that you may live in tranquillity with them; and He has created love and mercy between you. Verily, in that are signs for those who reflect.” (30:21)
The Prophet and the Imams of Ahlu’l Bayt also encouraged their followers to marry and to fulfill their sexual urges in lawful ways as can be seen from the following: The Prophet said, “No house has been built in Islam more beloved in the sight of Allah than through marriage.”
The Prophet said, “O you young men! I recommend marriage to you.” Imam ‘Ali said, “Marry, because marriage is the tradition of the Prophet.
The Prophet said, ‘Whosoever likes to follow my tradition, then he should know that marriage is from my tradition. Imam Riza said, “Three things are from the traditions of the messengers of God: using perfume, removing the [excessive] hair and frequently visiting one’s wife.” Ishaq bin ‘Ammar quotes Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq as follows: “Loving women is among the traditions of the prophets.”
The Prophet said, “Prayer has been made the apple of my eyes, and my pleasure is in women.” See with what ease the Prophet moves from prayers to the pleasure of women! The Prophet said, “No Muslim man has gained a benefit after [the religion of] Islam better than a Muslim wife who is a cause of his pleasure whenever he looks towards her…”
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir quotes the Prophet as follows: “Allah says that, ‘Whenever I intend to gather the good of this world and the hereafter for a Muslim, I give him a heart which is humble [to Me], a tongue which praises [Me], a body which can bear [worldly] affliction and a believing wife who is a cause of his pleasure whenever he looks towards her and who protects herself and his property when he is absent.” See with what ease Allah has combined His praise with the pleasure a man derives from a faithful wife!
Jamil bin Darraj quotes Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq saying, “Mankind has not enjoyed [anything] in this world and the hereafter more than the desire for women. Allah says, ‘The love of desire of women has been made to seem fair to people.'[3:14] The people of the Paradise do not enjoy anything from it more desirable than sex, neither food nor drink.”
The Islamic point of view about the worldly good things is not negative; rather it says that we should appreciate them as the blessings of God. And Islam is, therefore, totally opposed to monasticism and celibacy. ‘Uthman bin Maz’un was a close companion of the Prophet. One day his wife came to the Prophet and complained, “O the Messenger of God! ‘Uthman fasts during the day and stands for prayers during the night.”
In other words, she meant to say that her husband was abstaining from sexual relations during the night as well as the day. The Prophet was so much angered with this that he did not even wait to put on his slippers.
He came out with the slippers in his hands and went to ‘Uthman’s house. The Prophet found him praying. When ‘Uthman finished his prayers and turned towards the Prophet, the latter said, “O ‘Uthman! Allah did not send me for monasticism, rather He sent me with a simple and straight [shari’ah].
In another incident, three women came to the Prophet and complained that their husbands were abstaining from meat, perfume and intimate relations with their wives. The Prophet quickly came to the mosque, went on the pulpit and said, “What has happened to some of my companions that they do not eat meat, they do not use perfume and they do not go to their women?! Whereas I eat meat, use perfume and go to my wives. Therefore whosoever dislikes my tradition, then he is not from me.
Imam ‘Ali narrates that some companions of the Prophet had vowed to abstain from sexual relations with their wives, from eating during the day and from sleeping during the night. Umm Salamah, the Prophet’ s wife, informed him about this group. The Prophet went out to his companions and said, “Do you abstain from women whereas I go to the women?! I eat during the day and sleep during the night! Whosoever dislikes my tradition, then he is not from me.” After this speech, Allah revealed the following verse:
O you who believe! Do not forbid [for yourselves] the good things which Allah has permitted you; and do not exceed [the law] Allah does not like those who exceed [the law]. Therefore eat of the lawful and good things that Allah has provided you, and fear Allah in whom you believe. (5:87-8)
After this verse was revealed, those companions came to the Prophet and said, “O Messenger of God! We have taken oath to abstain from those things.” That is, how can we now break our oath of abstinence? Then Allah revealed the following verse:
“Allah will not call you [to account] for vain oaths…” (5:84)
Again, note that an oath of celibacy or abstinence from the good and lawful things is considered by Islam as ‘vain oaths!’
The discouraging of celibacy is not confined to men, even women have been discouraged from remaining single. Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq said, “The Prophet has forbidden the women to become ascetic and to prevent themselves from husbands.”
The Imam: “What does asceticism mean to you?”
The woman: “It means that I will never marry.”
The Imam: “Why?”
The woman: “By practicing asceticism, I want to acquire favor (of God).”
The Imam: “Go away! If asceticism was a means of acquiring favor (of God), then Fatimah would have been more entitled to it than you because none can gain more favor [in the eyes of Allah] than her.”
The Prophet said, “The most low [in status] among your dead are the singles.”
Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq says that a person came to my father. My father asked him, “Do you have a wife?” He said, “No. “My father said, “I would not prefer to have the world with all its riches while I sleep at night without a wife.”
In Islam, contrary to Christianity, marriage and sex are not antipathetic to the love for and worship of God. Instead of an obstacle, marriage is regarded as an asset in acquiring spiritual perfection.
The Prophet said, “One who marries has already guarded half of his religion, therefore he should fear Allah for the other half.” A person who can fulfill his sexual urges lawfully is less distracted in the spiritual journey. Love for women and faith are inter-related.
In one hadith, ‘Umar bin Zayd quotes Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq that, “I do not think that a person’s faith can increase positively unless his love for women has increased.” The same Imam said, “Whenever a person’s love for women increases, his faith increases in quality.” He also said, “Whosoever’s love for us increases, his love for women must also increase.”
Marriage even elevates the value of prayers. The Prophet said, “Two rak ‘ats (cycles) prayed by a married person is better than the night-vigil and the fast of a single person.” Ibn Fuzzal quotes Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq saying that, “Two rak’ats prayed by a married person is better than seventy rak’ats prayed by a single person.”
The Prophet said, “If anyone likes to meet Allah in purity, then he should meet Him with a wife.”
The Prophet told her to inform her husband about the reward of sexual intercourse which he described as follows: “When a man approaches his wife, he is guarded by two angels and [at that moment in Allah’s views] he is like a warrior fighting for the cause of Allah. When he has intercourse with her, his sins fell like the leaves of the tree [in fall season]. When he performs the major ablution, he is cleansed from sins.