• Islam terms anal sex haram, Christianity calls it violation; both urge faithful to desist
• Medically it poses health and physical risks due to greater vulnerability than vagina
With anal sex being reported in marriages in Lamu as an alternative to vaginal sex during menstruation, a sheikh, a pastor and sex therapists weigh in on the topic.
The consensus is that it is an anathema to spiritual beliefs, though one denomination makes some allowance for it.
Sheikh and Muslim scholar Abdalla Ware of Witu in Lamu West explains why the Shiite and Sunni hold varied reservations on why anal sex should not happen at all.
Ware says according to Sunni Islam, anal intercourse is haram, even if the husband and wife mutually agree on it, because mutual agreement does not allow something that has been made haram in Sunni hadith.
He says the same ruling applies for heterosexual relationships, like the case of a married couple who might perform it as an alternative while the wife is menstruating.
He says when married, it is rightful and obligatory for the husband and the wife to mutually fulfil their needs, but only by upholding the guidance of Hadith and the Qur'an.
He quotes the Holy Quran as follows:
“And they ask thee concerning menstruation. Say, 'It is a harmful thing, so keep away from women during menstruation, and go not in unto them until they are clean. But when they have cleansed themselves, go in unto them as Allah has commanded you. Allah loves those who keep themselves clean'."
According to publications by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a contemporary Sunni Muslim scholar, anal intercourse is prohibited and a wife must abstain from it should her husband demand it, and may seek divorce over it if her husband persists or tries to force her, as the act is forbidden.
Sheikh Ware, however, says that such acts don’t necessarily have to lead to nullification of the marriage if the couple who have done it repent and stop repeating such a major sin.
“We encourage that those who have done this repent and stop with immediate effect so they cause no further disrespect to their bodies in such a manner,” he says.
Ware refers to the ‘Hadith’, which are reports of Prophet Muhammad's sayings and deeds from those close to him in his lifetime, and says that Sunni Hadiths on the subject of anal intercourse between individuals clearly state that it is strictly forbidden.
“One of the hadith states that Allah is not shy to tell you the truth; do not have intercourse with your wives in the anus. We are told that on the day of resurrection, Allah will not look at a man who had intercourse with his wife in her anus. We are also told to make love to our wives from the front or the back, but avoid the anus and intercourse altogether during menstruation,” Ware said.
It is very clear that whoever has intercourse with his wife through her anus is accursed, he adds.
He explains that different sexual positions a married couple chooses to engage in during the act are fully permissible as long as intercourse takes place in the vagina and not the anus.
Involving the anus in foreplay is also forbidden, and inserting fingers or objects into the back passage is considered a perversion and is forbidden.
Sheikh Ware says there is a part of the Quran that has been commonly misinterpreted and decontextualised as a ground to validate anal intercourse between husband and wife. He quotes 2:223, which says, “Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate), so go to your tilth as ye will, and send (good deeds) before you for your souls, and fear Allah, and know that ye will (one day) meet Him. Give glad tidings to believers, (O Muhammad).”
He quotes the Quran, Sura 4, 15-16, as follows:
“Those who commit unlawful sexual intercourse of your women, bring against them four [witnesses] from among you. And if they testify, confine the guilty women to houses until death takes them or Allah ordains for them [another] way. And the two who commit it among you, dishonour them both. But if they repent and correct themselves, leave them alone. Indeed, Allah is ever accepting of repentance and merciful.”
According to the Shariah Law in the Shiite opinion, Ware says anal intercourse is not permitted and those who do it say it is extremely makrooh (disliked or offensive act).
However, he says the act is subliminally accepted.
“Anal intercourse between a married couple is permissible under the condition that the wife accepts it and is comfortable doing it, but the act itself remains strongly undesirable, said Ware.
He says generally, the act is hated and discouraged.
Anal sex appears to breach the biblical concept of mutual respect and enjoyment between partners. Renowned Christian sex therapists Clifford and Joyce Penner report that most women who engage in anal sex with their husbands admit that they don’t enjoy it but rather that they feel violated.
Pastor Nahashon Bwire of the Christ Revelation Church says such an act should not cross the mind of a Christian.
“The Bible heavily disapproves of such an act. A married couple is supposed to have intercourse the normal way, and by this I mean via the vagina. If the woman is on her period, then the man should practice self-control until she is done,” Bwire said.
From a medical perspective, anal sex poses various risks, including bacterial and viral infections of the vagina, penis, rectum and anus.
Rectal tissue is also more delicate and vulnerable to tearing and abrasion than vaginal tissue.
Edited by T Jalio