I want to know Shaykh: Can a husband put jam or honey on the breasts/body of his wife and lick it from there?
Sexual relations between the spouses are vital and one of the most important aspects of marriage. A couple happy in bed are happy in their marriage, as the proverb states. Intimate relations with one’s spouse purify and prevent one from falling into fornication and the unlawful. As such, spouses may fulfil their mutual sexual needs in any way they desire as long as it does not violate any injunction of Shariah.
Islam too has generally abstained from placing a lot of restrictions with regards to bedroom behaviour. Rather, with the exception of certain harmful and unhealthy practices, the Shariah has left it to the discretion of the spouses as to how they enjoy one another in their sexual and intimate relations.
Certain practices are clearly prohibited in the Qur’an and Sunna, such as: 1) Anal sex and 2) Sex during menstruation (haydh). When classical books of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) discuss the do’s and don’ts of sexual relations between the spouses, they typically mention that a husband and wife may give pleasure to each other in any way they wish other than the above-mentioned two things. Also, swallowing sexual fluids of the wife or husband is not allowed, for Islam forbids the swallowing of filth intentionally, as it will be explained further on. Other acts are disliked but permissible, such as: complete nudity, excessive sexual intercourse and oral sex if it is not accompanied by swallowing genital excretions and fluids. (For a detailed discussion on “Oral sex” please search the archives on this website)
As for placing food such as jam, honey, whipped cream and chocolate on the spouse’s body and then licking/eating it, to a certain degree, this practice counts as foreplay. Foreplay between the spouses and sexually arousing one another before having sex is not just permitted but rather encouraged and immensely important.
Imam Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya (Allah have mercy on him) reports in his famous At-Tibb al-Nabawi that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) forbade from engaging in sexual intercourse before foreplay. (See: al-Tibb al-Nabawi, 183, from Jabir ibn Abdullah, Allah be pleased with him)
There are many ways and methods that can be exercised during foreplay, and it is best to leave this to the mutual understanding of the spouses, as each individual differs from another in exactly what arouses and stimulates him/her, although the prohibited acts must be avoided. As such, generally it would be permitted to place food and lick/eat it of the spouse’s body. However, this permissibility is subjected to the following two conditions:
1) The food may be placed on parts of the body that are away from the genital areas such as the mouth, chest, breasts, etc. Fondling with the wife’s breasts is permitted which includes sucking on the breasts with the mouth, although it is unlawful (haram) and a sin for the husband to intentionally drink milk from his wife’s breasts. But to place food on body-parts that are close to the genital areas such as the male and female sexual organs, thighs, etc must be avoided due to two reasons:
Firstly, it is a form of disrespect to place food, considered a blessing (ni’ma) from Allah Most High, on areas of the body that are close to the place of impurities. The Shariah has prescribed many etiquettes and manners when eating such as pronouncing the name of Allah when starting, thanking Allah when finished, eating what is in front of one, eating using one’s right hand, not eating whilst resting against something and so on and so forth. Food is a blessing of Allah, hence misusing it and disrespecting it in any way is contrary to Islamic teachings. As such, placing food close to the area of impurities is surely a form of disrespect.
Secondly, by placing food on body-parts that are close to the place of impurities, there is a possibility of the food coming into contact with impurities and getting mixed with it. The jurists (fuqaha) have explicitly declared that consuming impurities is forbidden. Imam an-Nawawi (Allah have mercy on him) states in al-Majmu’:
“The correct well-known opinion is that it is forbidden to consume semen (mani) because it is filthy. Allah Most High says: “and He (Allah Most High) prohibits them from what is impure (khaba’ith)” [Surah al-A’raf:157]. (See: al-Majmu’ 2/397)
As such, eating/licking food that is mixed with filth even if a little, whether this filth is semen (mani) or pre-ejaculatory fluid (madhi), is not permissible. Genital excretions and fluids are considered impure and filthy, thus make them impermissible to take in orally.
2) The second condition is to ensure no part of the food is wasted, for that is contrary to Islamic teachings. If some food is placed on the spouse’s body, one must make sure that no part of it is wasted such as falling onto the bed or being washed away. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) advised to lick one’s fingers after eating, as not to let even a small particle of food go to waste.
The above are two conditions for the permissibility of the practice of placing food on the spouse’s body and eating of it, and if they are met, it is difficult to consider this practice unlawful (haram). However, there is no doubting the fact that this practice is contrary to Islamic etiquettes and morals and religious propriety (adab). Food is something that is not consumed directly with the mouth, but rather using one’s hands. Also, there are many etiquettes and Sunnas when consuming food, which cannot be acted upon during this practice. As such, it is better to avoid this practice altogether, as there are many noble ways and means of enjoying intimate relations with one’s spouse. Intimate relations between the spouses should be in accordance with Islamic etiquettes and good noble manners. However, strictly speaking, if the above-mentioned two conditions are met, this practice cannot be considered unlawful in of itself.
And Allah knows best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK