When Should Marriage Consummation be Done?
Generally speaking, marriage in Islam is intended to cater to multiple purposes which include, above all, spiritual tranquility and peace, and cooperation and partnership in fulfilling the divine mandate. Islam – being a natural way of life – takes into account all of genuine human instincts such as physical, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, etc.
It is established in the sharia that once a Muslim conclude the marriage contract on a woman, she is his wife according to the sharia and he is entitled to all rights of the husband. Moreover, the couple can consummate marriage and turn to the marital home at any time depending upon their agreement. Yet, it is strongly desirable for them to shorten this period as much as possible in order to enjoy the advantages of marriage unless there are some necessary matters such as furnishing of the home or being occupied with other things such as study or other hindrances that could delay the consummation.
It is noteworthy to mention here that if a man and a woman, after contracting marriage, will have to wait for a time to consummate marriage there are certain things that should be observed.
Elaborating on this, Dr. `Abdul-Fattah `Ashoor, professor of the Exegesis of the Qur’an, states the following:
“According to the `urf (custom) in a religious society, one who concludes his marriage contract should not embark on making love to his wife until he consummates the marriage and publicly announces it. It is definitely a reprehensible act to do what contravenes this social norm. Religion, in fact, comes in harmony with custom as long as the latter is not at loggerheads with the established rules of Sharia.”
He adds, “However, viewing this case in sharia perspective, we have to stress that if one, after concluding a marriage contract, and before making it public through wedding ceremony, makes love to his wife, he is not sinful according to the sharia. Yet, in this case, he will be obliged to shoulder all the marital responsibilities incurred by such practice.”