Intimate relationship between a husband and wife is something special and we are taught by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that the husband should approach his wife in the most kind and affectionate way and to flirt with her before intercourse and never to deal with her harshly. If the wife refuses to have intimate relationship with her husband, she may have a good reason for that and the husband in this case should be more understanding about her conditions. Forcing the wife to make love is not an Islamic solution; rather, both spouses should have mutual understanding about this issue.
The prominent Muslim scholar and da`iyah based in London Zienab Mostafa, states the following: Intimate relations are based on mutual feelings between the husband and wife. We learn from the example of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) that he was the best to his wives, and he never forced them to satisfy his sexual desire. Rather, he criticized those who immediately jump into sexual intercourse without introductions that enhance the feelings between the husband and wife. Therefore, intimate relations are not just acts to seek sexual gratification; rather they should strengthen the relationship between the couple.
The wife’s refusal could be attributed to many reasons that the husband should be diligent enough to try and understand. Some of these reasons might be one of the following: her emotional state could be down, she might be expecting her monthly cycle which makes her irritated, she might not like the way her husband approaches her and she does not want to talk about it, and there could be other reasons as well. Therefore, the husband should take the initiative and try to figure out the reason behind his wife’s refusal. Open and gentle communication between the husband and wife is important and can help resolve this issue.
Of course, if the husband insists on sleeping with his wife by force, it would not be considered rape since this is a right granted to him, but it is also not in accordance with Islamic teachings. Such an act contradicts the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and the ethics of intercourse. Gentleness and kindness are among the manners of intimate relations in Islam.