Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan gives the ruling on reading romance–erotica with one’s spouse.
Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa baraktuh.
Is it halal or makruh to read romance or erotic stories with one’s wife?
Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.
Thank you for your question.
The reading of romantic or erotic novels essentially leads one to draw images of romance or sexual relations to mind. If, when reading such stories, each spouse draws an image of the other to mind, then the reading of such novels will be permissible. If, however, the reading of these erotic encounters causes one or both of the spouses to imagine having relations with other than his or her spouse, then this would not be permissible as it constitutes intentional reflection upon haram. Yes, thoughts that appear unintentionally in ones mind are overlooked, but this is not the case with intentional thoughts.
In his Adhkar, Imam al-Nawawi said, “Thoughts that are established or does not settle in one’s mind are overlooked by the agreement of the scholars. This is so, since he has no control over them and there is no way for one to avoid it completely.” Accordingly, thoughts that are entertained or intentionally brought to mind will not be overlooked and one would be held accountable for that.
And Allah knows best.
Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.