Did Muhammad Preach Against Marital Rape?

The following account from the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (hadith) has been said by some to actually promote spousal rape.

Narrated Abu Huraira:
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.”
حَدَّثَنَا مُسَدَّدٌ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو عَوَانَةَ، عَنِ الأَعْمَشِ، عَنْ أَبِي حَازِمٍ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ إِذَا دَعَا الرَّجُلُ امْرَأَتَهُ إِلَى فِرَاشِهِ فَأَبَتْ، فَبَاتَ غَضْبَانَ عَلَيْهَا، لَعَنَتْهَا الْمَلاَئِكَةُ حَتَّى تُصْبِحَ ‏”‏‏.‏ تَابَعَهُ شُعْبَةُ وَأَبُو حَمْزَةَ وَابْنُ دَاوُدَ وَأَبُو مُعَاوِيَةَ عَنِ الأَعْمَشِ‏.‏
Reference : Sahih al-Bukhari 3237In-book reference : Book 59, Hadith 48USC-MSA web (English) reference : Vol. 4, Book 54, Hadith 460

According to many trusted Muslim scholars, Muhammad’s intention with this teaching was to combat the marital issue of a sexless marriage.

Most psychologists will agree that regular sex is part of a healthy relationship and if one partner has loss interest in sex, it can damage the entire relationship and is an indication of deeper issues.

And most Muslim scholars will agree that the best solution to this marital problem is to invoke the fear of displeasing Allah (swt) and his angels until that fear is high enough to bring compliance for the purpose of ending said fear.

Take a look:
Problem: Wife doesn’t want to have sex. 
Strategy: Invoke fear in her over what may happen if she doesn’t agree to have sex. 
Outcome: She’ll have sex with her husband (provided that enough fear was invoked in her. If simply doesn’t comply then she simply doesn’t fear Allah which is an ever bigger problem).

As we can clearly see, the problem is solved. As for what was stated earlier about sex-refusal being an indication of other underlying issues within the marriage, you may be wondering how this hadith solves that. Well, I don’t know either, to be honest with you. But that’s what Muslims tell me. When I ask them to explain, that’s usually the point where they indicate that we’ve reached the end of their knowledge on this subject because Islam is very complex and that a scholar who is more knowledgeable on Islam can answer that and all my other question on Islam.

So I’m currently trying to find a scholar who will sit down with me and answer this question and all of the other questions that have been left hanging in all the other conversations I’ve had that were started by people who knew proclaimed that I was wrong about something but couldn’t explain it because their knowledge in it was limited.

Muslim Rebuttal: The hadiths (quotes/accounts of the life and teachings of Muhammad) were compiled 200 years after Muhammad’s death. 200 years is a long time and his true message would’ve been easily misinterpreted by patriarchal scholars via a game of telephone that lasted two centuries.

The Muslims that say this don’t realize that everything they know about Muhammad is from this same source. They reject this story because it doesn’t go inline with their idea of Muhammad being a good person because all they’ve heard about Muhammad are his good stories. So the good stories they accept come from the same source which are these accounts that were recorded 200 years after Muhammad’s death by patriarchal scholars who twisted his words to suit their patriarchal agenda.

But back to Muhammad’s marriage counseling advice, if he was truly directed by God, wouldn’t God know that this was a terrible strategy?

Muslim Rebuttal: But it was a long time ago and historical context matters. People’s mentalities and mindsets were different then.

Answer: So you’re implying that men wouldn’t understand such a concept because demanding sex when it’s refused to you was normal back then, even if this concept was being conveyed by Muhammad, the man they are convinced God speaks through as his final messenger for all of humanity?

MR: Precisely!

Answer: But they would totally be expected to believe Muhammad telling them that he flew to Jerusalem on a winged mule, ascended to heaven, met all the prophets before him, and was the middle-man in a bargaining showdown between God and Moses over how many daily prayers they could handle?

MR: I’m sorry but we’ve reached the end of my knowledge on this matter because Islam is very complex and I’m not a scholar at all. I suggest you talk to a scholar if you want that question answered.


New Rebuttal: “It’s the same for men. Men also can’t say no to their wives.”

How is that any better? Why is it so hard to fathom the idea of a man not wanting sex? Even if the idea is applied to both genders, it’s still a bad rule. Nobody should be obliged to have sex every time their spouse wants it.


New Rebuttal: “She doesn’t have to do it if she’s sick or tired.”

Why would she have to have a reason? What if it’s for a reason that isn’t being sick or being tired?

If you can answer this question or have any points that I may not be aware of, I’m completely open to hearing them so please leave a rebuttal in the comments or email it to MuslimRebuttals1@gmail.com.

If the rebuttal is detailed and has addressed the issues spoken about here, it will be added to the original post.