Is Anal Sex Prohibited in the Quran?
"Fatwas" have been passed for its prohibition based on the following verse:
"They ask you [Prophet] about menstruation. Say, ‘Menstruation is a painful condition, so keep away from women during it. Do not approach them until they are cleansed; when they are cleansed, approach them where God has ordained. God loves those who turn to Him, and He loves those who keep themselves pure." (Qur'an 2:222)
Here the mentioning of "then approach them where God has ordained", is not forbidding anal sex as is claimed.
The context from which this part follows is menstruation which originates from the vagina. The verse states that when menstruation ends, vaginal intercourse can resume as the 'harm' the verse speaks of is no longer there. In explaining this, and since the vagina is specifically designed for penetration, God uses the term "where God has ordained" to refer to the vagina. This expression however does not mean He is prohibiting other sexual activities like anal penetration.
The fact that the anus' 'primary purpose' is not penetration does not make it prohibited for penetration. A body region or part does not need to have its 'primary' purpose sexual to be enjoyed sexually. For instance, one may argue the mouth's primary function is talking or eating, but it also plays sexual roles.
God uses the expression, "where God has ordained", for the vagina because this is the only location whose primary purpose is penile penetration. And as stated, other regions may also be enjoyed sexually which do not necessarily have their primary purpose sexual - but perhaps secondary etc.
As an additional point, Quranic style of prohibiting something is not ambiguous, rather very clear and direct i.e. "forbidden for you are the catch of the land during pilgrimage..." (5:96), "Believers, do not consume usury..." (3:130). God is not embarrassed to state it in a clear manner, if He wished to prohibit it: "God does not shy away from telling the truth" (33:53).
Note that the metaphor 'حَرْث / fields' used in 2:223 for wives, is still valid for vaginal intercourse. Forms of anal play can be seen as forms of pleasuring / enjoyment 'unrelated' to reproduction. Sexual enjoyments do not have to result in reproduction and the expression is used to refer to the reproductive element of men and women - not with the intention to restrict, but to express.
It is argued the Qur'an admonishes the people of Lot for engaging in this activity. The Qur'an is admonishing them for approaching the same gender sexually, and not the type of sexual activity. The Qur'an would be against any form of sexual activity between same gender, not restricted to this activity.
In conclusion, this matter is a personal choice between a married woman and man - it is based upon love and mutual understanding of what they find and share as pleasurable in their intimacy - no prohibition can be found.
NOTE: To see our full article on Halal and Haram, click here.