Quran 2:223 [Wife as Tilth]

Your wives are a tilth for you; so approach your wives when and how you like but take heed of your ultimate future; and fear God and know that you shall meet Him; and give good tidings to those who obey [Quran 2:223] 


 The verse creates an analogy where a husband is compared to a farmer who sows the seeds by going to his tilth (and not anywhere else) and secondly to have produce (in this case, children).   Critics of Islam claim that the verse reduces women to a lowly position of a sex object, but that’s certainly not what is intended.  Unlike in puritanical forms of Christianity, in which the primary objective of sex is reproduction,  Quran is using a figure of speech to suggest a caring sexual relationship that comes with responsibility.  That pleasure has to come with wisdom that the comforts of life are all temporary and one would eventually be answerable to God.

Shakespeare used similar language in his play, Measure for Measure:

Your brother and his lover have embraced:
As those that feed grow full, as blossoming time
That from the seedness the bare fallow brings
To teeming foison, even so her plenteous womb
Expresseth his full tilth and husbandry

Explanations by Muslim Scholars

Maududi:  That is, God’s purpose in the creation of women is not merely to provide men with recreation. Their mutual relationship is like that between a farmer and his tilth. A farmer approaches his field not just for the sake of pleasure, but to acquire produce. Similarly, man ought to approach the tilth of the human race with the purpose of acquiring produce, that is, offspring. What is of concern to the Law of God is not the particular mode of cultivating one’’ tilth, but rather that one should go only to one’’ tilth and not elsewhere, and that one should go there for the purpose of cultivation.


2 thoughts on “Quran 2:223 [Wife as Tilth]

  1. Amal September 16, 2012 at 2:51 am Reply

    As-salam Alaykom, bro…
    I like your site.. I like the specification you made in it… hope that Allah would reward you the best way
    jazak Allah Khaira

  2. sincereadvisor September 16, 2012 at 3:18 am Reply

    Walaikum as Salam,
    Thank you for your encouragement and may Allah bless as well.

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