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


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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