2428 Islamic sexual culture

democratic space and the acknowledgment of
human rights the rights of the individual and
religious freedom. Studying these questions
society by society and country by country, the
social sciences could provide a new framework
that emphasizes the magnitude of the crisis, but
also the significance of the changes that Islamic
societies are already undergoing.

SEE ALSO: Asabiyya; Fundamentalism; Isla
mic Sexual Culture; Khaldun, Ibn; Oriental
ism; Religion

REFERENCES AND SUGGESTED
READINGS

Allam, K. F. (2002) LIslam globale. RCS Libri,
Milan.
Arkoun, M. (1970) Comment lire le Coran? Introduc-
tion to Le Coran. Garnier-Flammarion, Paris.
Arkoun, M. (1984) Pour une critique de la raison
islamique (For a Criticism of Islamic Reason). Mai-
sonneuve et Larose, Paris.
Association pour lAvancement des Etudes Islami-
ques (1982) Discours, ecriture et societe dans le
monde islamique contemporain (Speech, Writing
and Society in Islamic Contemporary World).
Actes du Colloque tenu au Colle`ge de France a`
Paris le 4 et 5 fevrier 1977. Paris.
Benkheira, M. H. (1997) LAmour de la Loi. Essai sur
la normativite en islam (Laws Sake: Essay on Nor-
mativeness in Islam). PUF, Paris.
Berque, J. (1991) Relire le Coran (To Reread the
Koran). Albin Michel, Paris.
Charnay, J.-P. (1994) Sociologie religieuse de lIslam
(Religious Sociology of Islam). Hachette, Paris.
Cheddadi, A. (2002) Introduction. In: Ibn Khaldun,
Le Livre des Exemples (Book of Examples). Galli-
mard, Paris.
Chouemi, M. (1966) Le Verbe dans le Coran (The
Verb in the Koran), n.VI serie 3: Etudes et
Documents. Etudes Arabes et Islamiques. Librairie
C. Klincksieck, Paris.
Filali-Ansary, A. (2001) La democratie a-t-elle un
avenir dans les pays du sud? (Has Democracy a
Future in Southern Countries?). Prologues Revue
maghrebine du livre, 22 3 (Autumn).
Geertz, C. (1968) Islam Observed. Yale University
Press, New Haven.
Gellner, E. (1981) Muslim Society. Cambridge Uni-
versity Press, Cambridge.
Hame`s, C. (1987) La Filiation genealogique (nasab)
dans la societe dIbn Khaldun (The Genealogical
Filiation (Nasab) in Ibn Khaldun Society).
LHomme 102(27), Ecole des Hautes Etudes en
Sciences Sociales, Paris.
Hourani, A., Khoury, P. S., & Wilson, M. C. (Eds.)
(2004) The Modern Middle East. I. B. Tauris, New
York.
Kepel, G. & Richard, Y. (1990) Intellectuels et mili
tants de lIslam contemporain (Intellectuals and
Militants of Modern Islam). Seuil, Paris.
Lapidus, I. M. (1988) A History of Islamic Societies.
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Laroui, A. (1999) Islam et Histoire. Essai depistemo
logie (Islam and History: Essay of Epistemology).
Albin Michel, Paris.
Peters, R. (1979) Islam and Colonialism: The Doctrine
of Jihad in Modern History. Mouton, The Hague.
Rodinson, M. (1980) La Fascination de lIslam
(Enchantment of Islam). Maspero, Paris.
Said, E. (1978) Orientalism. Routledge & Kegan Paul,
London.

Islamic sexual culture

Hammed Shahidian

Delineating criteria for Islamic sexuality
appears impossible because there exist no uni
form codes for sexual behavior or relations.
There are in fact many Islamic sexualities. Even
so, one may deduce certain (relative) constants
in sexual ideology. Islam considers sexual
desire a natural aspect of human relationship
and dissociates sexuality from guilt. In the
Quran, just as plants and animals are created
in pairs, two and two (13:3), humans are
created with a mate. Several Quranic verses
(2:1837; 4:1; 53:45) refer to mating as a divine
design for making a harmonious family, a
microcosm of the society wherein people can
lead a peaceful life. Thus, sexuality in Islam is
in nature heterosexual, with women being
mens tilth; men are instructed to enter their
fields as they please (2:223). Islamic sexuality
reflects gender power hierarchy. Men are active
and on top; women, boys, slaves, servants, and
maids passive and at the bottom.
Having recognized the legitimacy of sexual
desire, and having limited the legitimate outlet
for sexual satisfaction to the marital bed, Islam
promotes marriage (nikah) at the earliest possi
ble time. Yet in reality early marriage is not