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199179: Can the husband’s cheating be justified by blaming his wife for refusing intimacy with him?


If a husband cheats on his wife, can he blame his wife for his sin or be partially blamed? Not to say that they did not have intercourse for months or so, but refrained from sexual intimacy for a much shorter time (such as a week or more weeks, past the time the menstrual time has ended and intimacy is possible but has not occurred for whatever reason). Can he justify his actions by saying that she will get the sin because he did not fulfill his desires? Can at any point the wife be blamed, if it is a long period of time since sexual intimacy?

Praise be to Allah.

One of the worst things that the one who has been disobedient towards Allah can do is trying to justify his sin by referring to something that is worse than it and trying to justify his transgression of the sacred limits by making up excuses when he knows that the truth of the matter is that he was overcome by desires, by his nafs (self) that prompts him to do evil, lust that he could not control and a conscious decision to commit this action. 

And he does this at the time when what the one who has committed an action that is contrary to Islam should do is hasten to admit his shortcomings and ask Allah for forgiveness. Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, loves for His slave who has slipped up and fallen into the mire of immoral actions to hasten to regret it and turn to his Lord, may He be glorified, and admit what he has done, then ask Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, to forgive him, help to do righteous deeds and protect him from evil deeds. Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And turn in repentance and in obedience with true Faith (Islamic Monotheism) to your Lord and submit to Him, (in Islam), before the torment comes upon you, then you will not be helped”

[az-Zumar 39:54]

“And those who, when they have committed Fahishah (illegal sexual intercourse etc.) or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins; - and none can forgive sins but Allah - And do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know”

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:135]

We may ponder the story of our father Adam (peace be upon him) and how he hastened to admit his sin and take responsibility for what he had done and for his shortcomings. Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

“They said: "Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers”

[al-A ‘raaf 7:23].

So Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, rewarded him by accepting his repentance and forgiving him, by His grace. Allah, may He be glorified, says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Then Adam received from his Lord Words . And his Lord pardoned him (accepted his repentance). Verily, He is the One Who forgives (accepts repentance), the Most Merciful”

[al-Baqarah 2:37].

This is a good example for all of us; we should remember the grace and kindness of Allah, and we should put our trust in Him acknowledging our sins and our wrongdoing towards ourselves, and we should hasten to repent as Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

“If they (hypocrites), when they had been unjust to themselves, had come to you (Muhammad SAW) and begged Allahs Forgiveness, and the Messenger had begged forgiveness for them: indeed, they would have found Allah All-Forgiving (One Who accepts repentance), Most Merciful”

[an-Nisa’ 4:64]

As for the accursed Iblees, he persisted in his disobedience and did not admit his shortcomings; rather he tried to pin the blame on others and he argued about his reasons for going against the command of Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, as Allah tells us (interpretation of the meaning):

“(Allah) said: ‘What prevented you (O Iblees) that you did not prostrate, when I commanded you?’ Iblees said: ‘I am better than him (Adam), You created me from fire, and him You created from clay.’

(Allah) said: ‘(O Iblees) get down from this (Paradise), it is not for you to be arrogant here. Get out, for you are of those humiliated and disgraced.’”

[al-A‘raaf 7:12-13]

On the other hand: 

It is not permissible for the wife to try to justify her disobedience by forsaking her husband’s bed with made-up excuses. Marital intimacy is a confirmed right and there is a stern warning against wives who fall short in that regard. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “If a man calls his wife to his bed and she does not come to him, and he goes to sleep angry with her, the angels will curse her until morning.”

Narrated by al-Bukhaari (3237) and Muslim (1436). 

This is a stern warning to every wife who refuses to share her husband’s bed for any reason other than a legitimate shar‘i excuse such as menses, nifaas (postpartum bleeding) or sickness. If she refuses for several weeks, then the sin is greater and more abhorrent, and she is required to repent and seek forgiveness, and also ask her husband to forgive her, so as to turn over a new leaf and to create a calm and happy family atmosphere in the home, filled with tranquillity, respect and fulfilment of rights and duties. 

For more information, please see fatwa no. 99756

And Allah knows best.

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