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After the nikkah, can one consummate the marriage or should they wait?

Question: After the nikkah, can one consummate the marriage or should they wait a few weeks to know the person? Would it apply when living with parents and living together after the nikah?

Answer:

Bismi Llahir Rahmanir Rahim

Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuhu

Islamically, once a sound marriage contract (nikah) has been completed with witnesses, the two people are ruled as husband and wife. Thus, from a legal perspective, the two parties can touch each other in the way spouses touch, and they can also consummate the marriage, regardless of whether they are living together or not.

However, some cultures expect that the couple should not consummate the marriage until the bride and groom begin living together. For example, it is common in Arab culture to treat the time between the nikah and the wedding party like an engagement period, which can last a couple of months up to a year. After the wedding party, the couple lives together and immediately consummates the marriage.

Parents and family members usually expect the newly married couple to be mature enough to adhere to these cultural norms. It is important to look at the bigger picture and the potential consequences of one’s actions. For instance, bad feelings may arise between in-laws if the bride unexpectedly becomes pregnant before her wedding party. It could be perceived as disrespectful and dishonorable conduct.

Nevertheless, if the husband and wife become fully intimate with each other prior to the cultural expectation of when the consummation should occur, it would not count as an unlawful act (haram).

On the other hand, if the couple will live together directly after the nikkah, then they should consummate the marriage at the time both people feel comfortable. Every couple will differ on how soon this will be. Some are ready on the wedding night itself, while others may be more shy and prefer to get-to-know each other more before going all the way.  

This is a topic that the bride and groom should discuss and decide on together closer to the time that they will consummate the marriage. The ability to engage in sexual intercourse is an Islamic right of both spouses. As such, open communication about bedroom expectations is crucial for a healthy lifelong marital bond.

I highly suggest our Premarital Coaching Program for couples who have decided to get married. It will guide you on how to form a loving marriage for the years to come insha’Allah.

Jazak Allah khayran

Naielah Ackbarali

References:

  • Imam Muhammad Qadri Pasha, الأحكام الشرعية في الأحوال الشخصية

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Naielah Ackbarali

Ustadha Naielah Ackbarali is the founder and CEO of Muslima Coaching. She is passionate about inspiring Muslim women by way of spreading the beauty of living an Islamic life. Ustadha Naielah is a trained strategic relationship coach, certified life coach, and a certified NLP Master Practitioner. Combined with her knowledge of the shariah sciences, coaching experience, and personal marriage of 15 years, she also offers faith-based marriage coaching and relationship advice.