SEX ISSUES IN THE ARAB-MUSLIM WORLD

SEX ISSUES IN THE ARAB-MUSLIM WORLD


Even though Islamic rules can be very strict about what women can wear and do in public, in regard to sex, in many ways, anything goes as long as it is done with a husband and within the confines of the home. The Qur’an contains no prohibition against sex for pleasure. This contrasts with Catholic Church doctrine which frowns upon any sex that is not intended to produce babies. Religious authorities at Al Azhar University in Cairo told the Washington Post, "There is nothing wrong with a man getting pleasure from his wife. As long as both have pleasure, as long as they are married. If both fulfill their sexual duty it prevents them from searching elsewhere." However, adultery and homosexuality are sometimes treated as serious crimes.

Muhammad seems to have no qualms with sex, as long as it was done between husband and wives. He had at least nine wives, including one who was his nephew’s fiancé, and even decreed sexual fulfillment was a woman’s right. In many Muslim countries, wives are legally obligated to have sex with their husbands. Sheik Nefzawi, author of the “Perfumed Garden”, said that honey was a great aphrodisiac.

Mohja Kahf, the Saudi author of “The Girl with the Tangerine Scarf”, wrote in the Washington Post : “Medieval Christianity excoriated Islam for being orgiastic, which seems to mean that Muslims didn’t lay a guilt trip on hot sex (at least within what were deemed licit relationships). Now that sex is all the rage in the post-sexual revolution West, you’d think Muslims would get some credit for the pro-sex attitude of Islam...Listen, we’re the only monotheistic faith I know with an actual legal rule that the wife has a right to an orgasm.”

Public displays deemed too sexy are another story. In Iran, shop owners that display mannequins deemed provocative face arrest. The actress Gohar Kheirandish was threatened with jail time and 74 lashes after she kissed director Ali Zamani on the forehead during a televised award ceremony in 2002. Some Muslim scholars have said that oral sex is permissible for married couples. Even so the discussion of sex, even between husband and wife, is often taboo.

In his 16-volume, 19th-century translation of “The Arabian Nights”, Sir Richard Burton. Burton provided footnoted information on Muslim customs such as female circumcision, homosexuality and bestiality. The English version of the “Scented Garden Men's Hearts to Gladden”, he wrote would be "a marvelous repository of eastern wisdom: how eunuchs are made and married...female circumcision, the fellahs copulating with crocodiles."

Websites and Resources: Islam Islam.com islam.com ; Islamic City islamicity.com ; Islam 101 islam101.net ; Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Religious Tolerance religioustolerance.org/islam ; BBC article bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam ; Patheos Library – Islam patheos.com/Library/Islam ; University of Southern California Compendium of Muslim Texts web.archive.org ; Encyclopædia Britannica article on Islam britannica.com ; Islam at Project Gutenberg gutenberg.org ; Islam from UCB Libraries GovPubs web.archive.org ; Muslims: PBS Frontline documentary pbs.org frontline ; Discover Islam dislam.org;

Arabs: Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Who Is an Arab? africa.upenn.edu ; Encyclopædia Britannica article britannica.com ; Arab Cultural Awareness fas.org/irp/agency/army ; Arab Cultural Center arabculturalcenter.org ; 'Face' Among the Arabs, CIA cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence ; Arab American Institute aaiusa.org/arts-and-culture ; Introduction to the Arabic Language al-bab.com/arabic-language ; Wikipedia article on the Arabic language Wikipedia ; Sharia (Islamic Law): Oxford Dictionary of Islam oxfordislamicstudies.com ; Encyclopædia Britannica britannica.com ; Wikipedia Wikipedia ; Sharia by Knut S. Vikør, Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Politics web.archive.org ; Law by Norman Calder, Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World oxfordislamicstudies.com ; Sharia Law in the International Legal Sphere – Yale University web.archive.org ; 'Recognizing Sharia' in Britain, anthropologist John R. Bowen discusses Britain's sharia courts bostonreview.net ; "The Reward of the Omnipotent" late 19th Arabic manuscript about Sharia wdl.org;

Arabs: Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Who Is an Arab? africa.upenn.edu ; Encyclopædia Britannica article britannica.com ; Arab Cultural Awareness fas.org/irp/agency/army ; Arab Cultural Center arabculturalcenter.org ; 'Face' Among the Arabs, CIA cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence ; Arab American Institute aaiusa.org/arts-and-culture ; Introduction to the Arabic Language al-bab.com/arabic-language ; Wikipedia article on the Arabic language Wikipedia

Muslim Circumcision

20120510-Circumcission Foreskin.JPG
Circumcission Foreskin
Muslim boys are supposed to be circumcised, but when is not specified. For most Muslims it is kind of coming of age right generally performed when a boy is six or seven, and is usually done at least before the onset of puberty. In a few Muslim communities it is done shortly before marriage.

Muslims circumcision ritually marks a boy’s prompt entrance the religious community. It is typically celebrated with a large party. Sometimes animist practices accompany the ritual.

Circumcision is pretty much universally practiced by Muslims even though the Shafi legal school is the only one that makes it obligatory. Circumcision was not mentioned in the Qur’an and Muslim tribe did not practice it but it has been practiced since early times by Muslims presumably to distinguish Muslims from Christians, Persians and Indians who did not practice it.

Circumcision

Circumcision is the surgical removal of the double layer of skin and mucosal tissue covering the end of the penis, which is referred to as the foreskin or prepuce. The foreskin protects the penis and has a sensory and sexual role. In a hospital-performed circumcision, an infant’s legs and arms are restrained in a special chair; the penile area is cleaned and an anesthesia is injected into the end of the penis; a clamp or plastic ring is s attached to the penis; and the foreskin is cut away. The entire procedure takes about 15 minutes. Afterwards, petroleum jelly is applied to the wound and the penis is wrapped in gauze and heals in between a week and 10 days.

Jews also practice circumcision but Christians traditionally did not (although many Christians are now circumcised in Western countries for “health” reasons). Circumcision among Jews is performed eight days after birth.

The common medical rationale for circumcisions was that it reduced the risk of urinary tract infection, penile cancer, cervical cancer in sex partner and the transmission of sexually-transmitted diseases---but there is little evidence to support this except with sexually-transmitted diseases. From a hygienic point of view, circumcision was encouraged to keep the penis free of smegma---a substances comprised of dead cells, bacteria and anti-bacterial agent now as lysosyme. Cleaning away smegma can easily be achieved by pulling back the foreskin..

See Jews

History of Circumcision

The removal of the foreskin is a custom found in many cultures and was practiced by a host of ancient Semitic tribes. It is believed to have originally been a sort of male menstrual rite performed on pubescent boys dressed as girls, symbolizing a willingness to give up his virility to God. The reference to the use of a "sharpened stone” by Moses's wife Zipporah to circumcise her son suggest that it is a custom that predates the invention of metal. The ancient Greeks rejected circumcision as a violent tribal customs.

In the late 19th-century a Victoria-era doctor described the male foreskin as a “source of serious mischief” and linked it to excessive masturbation and in severe cases “masturbatory sanity.” He promoted circumcision as a cure for excessive masturbation and other maladies associated with it. For a long time the procedure was performed without anesthesia because it was believed that babies had no sensation of pain.

Circumcision has been widely practiced on the United States since then 19th century when it was though the procedure would reduce disease and cut down on masturbation, which was blamed for a number of health problems at that time, including kidney disease, gout and rheumatism. The procedure remained routine until the 1980s when medical organization said there was no medical reason for circumcision.

20120510-Circumcission Map_of_Male_Circumcision_Prevalence_at_Country_Level.png
Map of Male Circumcision Prevalence at Country Level

By one estimate 80 percent of the world’s male population has not been circumcised, including most French, Dutch, Germans, Chinese, Russians, Japanese and Scandinavians. Outside of religion, circumcision is a procedure that is commonly not done in Europe but is still done in the United States less so than before. In the 1960s, about 90 percent of newborn males had their foreskin removed, now only about half do. Circumcision has been mostly abandoned in Britain.

In recent years whether or not to circumcise an infant has become a moral and ethical issue. Critics of the practice say that is it unethical to perform such an operation on a child before they have a chance to weigh in the issue. It turns out the foreskin is packed with nerve endings and it protects and lubricates the head of the penis, maintaining its sensitivity sort of like an eyelid does. Supporters of circumcision point to its health beneifts. Recent research from Uganda, for example, indicates that circumcision reduces the chance of catching HIV/AIDS by 50 percent and significantly reduces the chances of getting other sexually transmitted diseases.

Eunuchs

According to the BBC: “Male slaves who had had their sexual organs removed were called eunuchs, and played an important part in some Muslim societies (as they did in some other cultures). They had the advantage for their masters of not being subject to sexual influence, and as they were unlikely to marry, they had no family ties to hinder their devotion to duty. [Source: BBC, September 7, 2009 |::|]

“Eunuch slavery involved compulsory mutilation, which usually took place between the ages of 8 and 12. Without modern medical skills and anaesthetics this was painful, and often led to fatal complications, and sometimes to physical or psychological problems for those who survived the operation. |::|


Harem pool and eunuch

“Eunuchs had a particular role as guardians of the harem and were the main way in which the women of the harem had contact with the world outside. |::|

“In the Ottoman Empire eunuchs from Africa held considerable power from the mid sixteenth century to the eighteenth. It's recorded that the Ottoman family owned 194 eunuchs as late as 1903, of whom 35 'bore a title of some seniority'. Eunuchs could also play important military roles. |::|

Concubinage and Sexual Slavery in Muslim Societies

According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam: “Concubinage may be defined as the more or less permanent cohabitation (outside the marriage bond) of a man with a woman or women, whose position would be that of secondary wives, women bought, acquired by gift, captured in war, or domestic slaves.”

In the Ottoman Empire the sale of woman as slaves continued until 1908. The BBC says: “Muslim cultures are thought to have had more female slaves than male slaves. Enslaved women were given many tasks and one of the most common was working as a domestic servant. But some female slaves were forced to become sex workers: not prostitutes, as this is forbidden in Islam, but concubines. Concubines were women who were sexually available to their master, but not married to him. A Muslim man could have as many concubines as he could afford. [Source: BBC, September 7, 2009 |::|]

“Being a concubine did have some benefits: if a slave woman gave birth to her owner's child, her status improved dramatically - she could not be sold or given away, and when her owner died she became free. The child was also free and would inherit from their father as any other children. |::|

“Concubinage was not prostitution in the commercial sense both because that was explicitly forbidden and because only the owner could legitimately have sex with a female slave; anyone else who had sex with her was guilty of fornication. Concubinage was not unique to Islam; the Bible records that King Solomon and King David both had concubines, and it is recorded in other cultures too.” |::|

Harem Women


Harem

Harem women were essentially concubines who lived in the harem, an area of the household where women lived separately from men. According to Ehud R Toledano: 1) The harem system grew out of the need in Ottoman society to achieve gender segregation and limit women's accessibility to men who did not belong to their family. 2) Households were divided into two separate sections: the selamlik, housing the male members, and the haremlik, where the women and children dwelt. 3) At the head of the women's part reigned the master's mother or his first wife (out of a maximum of four wives allowed by Islam). [Source: Ehud R. Toledano, “Slavery and Abolition in the Ottoman Middle East, 1998,” the BBC |=|]

4) The concubines were also part of the harem, where all the attendants were women. Male guests of the master were not entertained in the harem. 5) An active and well-developed social network linked harems of similar status across Ottoman towns and villages; mutual visits and outdoor excursions were common. 6) For the women who actually spent their lives in the harems, reality was, of course, far more mixed and complicated. |=

7) The women who came into the harem as slaves (câriyes) were taught and trained to be "ladies," learning all the domestic and social roles attached to that position. As they grew up, they would be paired with the men of the family either as concubines or as legal wives. 8) However, harem slaves' freedom of choice was rather limited, as was that of women in general in an essentially male-dominated environment. Harem slaves frequently had to endure sexual harassment from male members of the family. |=

According to the BBC: “Writers disagree over the nature of concubinage and the harem: 1) Some argue that it was seriously wrong in that; 2) it was just slavery; 3) it breached human rights; 3) it exploited women; 4) women could be bought and sold, or given as gifts; 5) it involved compulsory non-consensual sex - which would nowadays be called 'rape'; 5) it reinforced male power in the culture; 6) Others say that it was relatively benign, because; 7) it gave female slaves a relatively easy existence; 8) it gave female slaves a chance to rise socially; 9) it gave female slaves a chance to gain power; 10) it gave female slaves a chance to gain their freedom. [Source: BBC, September 7, 2009 |::|]

“A balanced view might be to say that sexual slavery in this context was a very bad thing, but that it was possible for some of the more fortunate victims to gain benefits that provided some degree of compensation. |::|

Political Role of Concubines in the Ottoman Empire


Concubines sometimes played important political roles and wielded direct political influence government policy. Leslie P. Peirce wrote in “The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire”: “More than any other Muslim dynasty, the Ottomans raised the practice of slave concubinage to a reproductive principle: after the generations of Osman and Orhan, virtually all offspring of the sultans appear to have been born of concubine mothers.” [Source: Leslie P. Peirce, “The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire,” 1993]

According to the BBC: “The benefit to the state, or at least to the ruling dynasty, of having the ruling line born through concubines rather than wives was that only one family was involved - the family of a concubine was irrelevant, but the family of a wife would expect to gain power and influence through their relationship to the mother of the son. These conflicting interests could threaten the succession and weaken the ruling family. (This didn't eliminate conflict between heirs and families altogether, but it probably reduced it.) [Source: BBC, September 7, 2009 |::|]

“Concubines as well as wives also played an important role in strengthening cohesion, stability, and continuity at household level too, as this remark about 18th century Cairo demonstrates. Mary Ann Fay wrote: “Marital and nonmarital unions strengthened the links among men; women legitimized the succession of men to power, and women's property ownership added to the overall wealth, prestige, and power of a household. [Source: Mary Ann Fay, “From Concubines to Capitalists: Women, Property, and Power in Eighteenth-century Cairo,” Journal of Women's History, 1998 <~>]

“However, the harem was not a prison; it was instead the family quarters of an upper-class home which became exclusively female space when men not related to the women were in the house and whose entry into the harem was forbidden. Women, heavily veiled, could and did leave their homes...Women were not imprisoned in the harem or in the veils and cloaks that concealed their bodies and faces on the street, but both customs were important signifiers of women's lack of sexual autonomy and of men's control over the selection of women's sexual and marital partners. In the economic sphere, however, women had a great deal of autonomy... Therefore, the eighteenth-century Egyptian household should not be seen as the site of unrelieved oppression of women but rather in terms of asymmetries of power between men and women.” <~>

History of Sex in the Arab-Muslim World


slave girl

There are stories that seraglio of the Ottoman sultan housed about 1,600 virgins. But Middle Eastern men were not the only ones having fun. Lesley Blanch in her book “The Wilder Shores of Love,” describes European ladies in Arabia having lots of sex with Bedouin sheiks.

Richard Burton, the 19th century adventurer and writer, described tribal slave girls — known as kabbazah, Arabic for “holder”— who used their “the constrictor vaginae muscles,” to induce her partner’s orgasm “not by wriggling and moving but by tightening and loosing the male member with the muscles of her privities.” Holders were quite expensive. Burton also described how a single slash brutal transformed a boy into a eunuch, adding “He often survives.” [Ibid]

The great 13th century mystic poet Jalaluddin Rumi wrote:
If you want what visible reality
can give, you’re an employee.
If you want the unseen world,
you’re not living your truth.
Both wishes are foolish,
but you’ll be forgiven for forgetting
that what you really want is
love’s confusing joy.

Ghusl — the Muslim Post-Sex Cleaning Ritual

Ghusl is an Arabic term referring to the full-body ritual purification — or ritual bath — mandatory before the performance of various rituals and prayers, for any adult Muslim after having sexual intercourse, ejaculation or completion of the menstrual cycle. Ghusl is often translated as "full ablution", as opposed to the "partial ablution", of wudu, that Muslims perform after lesser impurities such as urination, defecation, breaking wind, deep sleep, light bleeding, etc. [Source: Wikipedia]

Ghusl is obligatory for seven causes, and the ghusl for each of these different causes has different names: 1) Ghusl Janaba, performed after sexual intercourse or ejaculation; 2) Ghusl Hayd, following menstruation; 3) Ghusl Istihadad, for irregular bleeding (in women); 4) Ghusl Nifas, for post-partum bleeding; 5) Ghusl Mayyit, performed on a dead Muslim; 6) Ghusl Mase Mayyit, obligatory if one directly touches a dead body; and 7) Ghusl also becomes obligatory following a vow or oath to perform it.

The Quranic mandate for ghusl comes in surah an-Nisa: “O Believers, do not come near to prayer when you are drunk, until you know what you are saying; nor when sexually defiled, unless passing through, until you perform ablutions. If you are ill, or on a journey, or one of you comes from the toilet, or you had intercourse with women, and you do not find water, then use some clean earth and wipe your faces and hands. [Quran 4:42–43 (Translated by Tarif Khalidi)]

There are three fard (obligatory) acts. If one of these acts is omitted, it must be returned to and completed before the remaining acts. 1) Niyyah; 2) Rinsing the inner mouth; 3) Sniffing water and blowing it out; 4) To wash the entire body in a rigorous manner.

Sunnah of Ghusl (optional - practised by Muhammad according to Sunnah hadiths): 1) Washing both the hands up to the wrists; 2) Wash the private parts and remove dirt or filth from the body; 3) Perform wudu; 4) Water should be poured over the head three times so that it flows all over the body; 5) Pour water on the right shoulder three times; 6) Pour water on the left shoulder three times.

There are some differences in details between the Sunni and the Shia schools of thought. Sunnis: 1) Start by making niyyah (intention) to perform Ghusl, say Bismillah (in the name of Allah) and cleanse yourself of impurities. 2) Wash the right hand up to and including the wrist (and between the fingers) three times, then similarly for the left hand. 3) Wash the private parts and remove dirt or filth from the body. 4) Perform Wudu as if for prayer. Ensure that the mouth and nostrils are thoroughly rinsed three times. If sitting on a stool or stone while bathing then the feet should also be washed when performing Wudu. But if sitting in a muddy place, feet should not be washed at this stage. 5) Water should be poured over the head three times so that it flows all over the body, ensuring that the roots of hairs and parts not easily reached by water such as the backs of the knees are washed thoroughly. 6) Pour water over both the shoulders three times each. Hands should be passed all over the body when water is poured so that no part of the body is left dry. 7) Move to a clean spot and wash the feet if not washed during Wudu. 8) As at the end of Wudu, it is recommended to recite the Shahada.


Ghusl


The following hadith describes how ghusl should be performed by Sunni Muslims. A narration attributed to Aisha bint Abi Bakr reports: “When Allah's Messenger bathed because of sexual intercourse, he first washed his hands; he then poured water with his right hand on his left hand and washed his private parts. He then performed wudu as is done for prayer. He then took some water and ran his fingers in the roots of his hair. And when he found that it had been properly moistened, he poured three handfuls on his head and then poured water over his body and subsequently washed his feet.”

In another hadith, ibn Abbas stated that Maimuna said that The Messenger of Allah was given a towel (after ghusl), but he did not rub his body with it, but he did like this with water (i.e. he shook it off). In addition, ibn Abbas recorded the following hadith on the authority of his mother's sister. A narration attributed to Maymunah bint al-Harith reports: I placed water near The Messenger of Allah to take a bath because of sexual intercourse. He washed the palms of his hands twice or thrice and then put his hand in the basin and poured water over his body then struck hand against the earth and rubbed it with force and then performed ablution for the prayer and then poured three handfuls of water on his head and then washed his whole body after which he moved aside from that place and washed his feet, and then I brought a towel (so that he may wipe his body), but he returned it.

Islam and Shaving Pubic Hair

Many Arabs and Muslim women shave their pubic hair. This done more for hygienic reasons rather than sexual ones. Turkish women say they shave their pubic hair to rid themselves of hiding places for microbes and germs. A Scottish woman I know wanted to go to a salon in Istanbul to have her legs waxed. Before she went a friend warned her to tell the women at the salon to stop at the top of her legs or else "they'll take the whole lot off."

There are actually Muslims sunnahs (teachings, deeds and sayings of Muhammad) that address shaving pubic hair as well as plucking armpit hair. According to islamqa.info: “The Sunnah indicates that it is prescribed to remove pubic hair and armpit hair. Al-Bukhaari (5889) and Muslim (257) narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The fitrah [natural order] is five things – or five things are part of the fitrah – circumcision, shaving the pubes, cutting the nails, plucking the armpit hairs, and trimming the moustache.” The wisdom behind the prescription of removing the hair from these two places – and Allah knows best – is that removing it helps one to attain a perfect level of cleanliness and prevents what could emanate from them of bad smells if the hair was left without removing it. And there are other reasons and wisdom behind it. [Source: islamqa.info, December 3, 2016 ^|^]

“Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) said: These characteristics of the fitrah may serve some religious or worldly interests, that one may notice by reflecting upon the issue, such as: improving one’s physical well-being; cleansing the body thoroughly; taking precautions to ensure purity when doing ghusl or wudoo’; doing a favour to one’s friends and companions by avoiding unpleasant smells that may offend them; differing from the practices of the disbelievers such as the Magians, Jews, Christians and idol-worshippers; obeying the command of the Lawgiver; preserving that which is mentioned to in the verse in which Allah, may He be exalted, said (interpretation of the meaning), “and [Allah] has given you shape and made your shapes good (looking)” [Ghaafir 40:64], because by doing so one is preserving that beautiful image – it is as if the verse implies: I have given you beautiful shapes, so do not distort them with anything that may make them ugly, and take care of them so that they will continue to be beautiful, for taking care of them is a kind of adhering to dignity and maintaining harmony with others, because if a person appears handsome or beautiful, that makes others feel at ease with him, so people will listen to what he says and appreciate what he says, and vice versa. — Fath al-Baari. ^|^


“What was well known at the time of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) was that they would use a razor to shave their hair. Al-Bukhaari (5079) and Muslim (715) narrated that Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “We were with the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) on campaign, and when we approached Madinah, we wanted to enter the city straight away, but the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Delay it until we enter at night, so that the one who is dishevelled may tidy herself up and the one whose husband is absent may shave her pubic hair.” ^|^

“Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Fath al-Baari: “This refers to the woman whose husband is absent. What is meant is so that she may remove her pubic hair, and the word used in this hadith refers to shaving, because that is the usual method of removing hair, but that does not mean that it is not allowed to use something other than a razor.” Al-Bukhaari (3989) narrated the story of Khubayb ibn ‘Adiyy (may Allah be pleased with him), in which it says: “when they [the disbelievers who had captured him] decided to kill him, he asked to borrow a razor from one of the daughters of al-Haarith so that he could shave his pubic hair, and she lent it to him.” It says in Musnad al-Imam Ahmad (26705), in the hadith of Ma‘mar ibn ‘Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him): … When the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) had slaughtered his sacrifice in Mina, he instructed me to shave his head. So I picked up the razor and stood by his head. The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) looked me in the eye and said to me: “O Ma‘mar, the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) has let you take hold of his earlobe when you have a razor in your hand…” ^|^

“The Sunnah with regard to the removal of pubic hair is to shave it. In the case of armpit hair, the Sunnah is to pluck it, but if a person simply trims it, there is nothing wrong with that, but it is not what is best. Ibn Qudaamah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: Shaving the pubic hair is mustahabb and is part of the fitrah, and it is very inappropriate to leave it, so it is recommended to remove it, and whatever means one uses, there is nothing wrong with it, because the point is to remove it. It was said to Abu ‘Abdullah (i.e., Imam Ahmad): Is it acceptable for a man to cut his pubic hair with scissors, even if he does not cut all of it? He said: I hope it is acceptable, in sha Allah. — al-Mughni (1/65). ^|^

“An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Shaving the pubic hair is called istihdaad in Arabic because iron (hadeed) is used, i.e., the razor. That is Sunnah, and the purpose behind it is to cleanse the area. The best is to shave it, but it is permissible to cut the hair, pluck it or remove it with a depilatory paste…. With regard to plucking the armpit hair, that is Sunnah according to consensus. The best is to pluck it for the one who can stand it, but it may also be done by shaving or using a depilatory paste. It was narrated that Yoonus ibn ‘Abd al-A‘laa said: I entered upon ash-Shaafa‘i (may Allah have mercy on him), and the barber was with him, shaving his armpits. Ash-Shaafa‘i said: I know that the Sunnah is to pluck it, but I cannot stand the pain. — an-Nawawi (3/149)” ^|^

Arabic Swear Words and Expressions


obscene gesture in some places in the Middle East

Arabic Swear word — English Translation: Airi Fe Sabahak: My dick on your forehead; Neek rasi: Fuck my skull; Yla'an haramak: Damn your spouse; Kos okht ile nafadak: Fuck he who brought you to this life; Aire fe mabda'ak: My dick in your principles; Toj koo' mas: Come suck my penis; Zobree akbar minak: My dick is longer than you; Ya manache'h: Fag, gay; Air il'e yoshmotak: May you be struck by a dick; Air il'e yeba'atak: May you be stabbed by a dick; Fatah: Foreskin (considered a grave insult); Ah dena mukk: Damn your mother's religion; Ahhlass: Shut up; Koos: Cunt, pussy; Yebnen kelp: Son of a dog; Nikomak: Fuck your mother; Sharmoota (or Sharmuta): Whore, bitch; Gahba: Whore, bitch; Shlicke: Slut; Ahbe: Slut; Zarba: Shit; Khara: Shit; Kis: Vagina;

Elif air ab tizak: A thousand dicks in your ass; Elif air ab dinikh: A thousand dicks in your religion; Kisich: Pussy; Mos zibbi: Suck my dick; Waj ab zibik: An infection to your dick; Kelbeh: Bitch; Kul khara: Eat shit; Kanith: Fucker; Kwanii: Faggot; Ya Khawal: Faggot; Bouse Tizi: Kiss my ass; Ebn el metnakah: Son of a motherfucker; Inti sharmoota: You're a whore; Inta sharmoot: You're a male whore; Inta humar: You are a donkey (idiot: to a man); Inti humara: You are a donkey (idiot: to a woman); Inta shaz: You are a pervert; Gildak khashina awee: Your skin is very rough; Ikla hudumak: Take off your clothes; Aiyz temus?: Would you like a blow job?; Takhi: Bend over; Mus zibii: Suck my cock; Boos zibbi: Kiss my cock; Teazak: Ass; Kara: Ass; Teez: Ass; Zubrak: Penis, Cock, Dick; Mekyad: Penis, Cock, Dick; Ayir: Penis, Cock, Dick; Zibbi: Penis, Cock, Dick; Zib: Penis, Cock, Dick; Zabourah: Penis, Cock, Dick;

Elhasi teezi: Lick my ass; Reh tak khara: You smell like shit; In'a'al mayteen ehlak: Damn your dead; Bi kem el sharmoota di?: How much is this whore?; Kul khara we moot: Eat shit and die; Said bousak: Shut your mouth; El hass hasawee: Lick my bollocks; El hass el err: Lick my dick; Rouh ya Ayr: Get lost, you prick; Maniak: Active homosexual; Khanzeera al matina: Pig in the mud (to a woman); Inta khaywan: Animal (to a man); Moomkin almiss bizazeek?: May I touch your breasts?; Aiza ta'mili hagat wiskha ma'aya?: Would you like to do dirty things with me?; Bit tifi wela bit tibla'ee?: Do you spit or swallow?; Kess emmak: Your mother's genitals; Kess ekhtak: Your sister's genitals; Eyreh feek: My cock in you; Eyreh be afass seder emmak: My dick in your mother's rib cage; Akhu sharmoota: Brother of a whore; Ibn haram: Bastard (lit. son of sin); Kalb: Dog; Kis em ick: Go fuck your mom; Gawwad: Pimp; Khaswaat: Penis; Inta Khawal: You are a fag; El Khara Dah?: What is this shit?; Inti mafish Mukh: You have no brains; Hmar: Jackass; Teezak jiyef: Your ass stinks; Yakhreb beytak: Ruin to your house/family; Yahreq deenak: May He burn your religion; Yen 'aal deek ommack: You're an idiot (to a male); Yen 'aal deen ommak: Damn your mother's rooster; Enta ghebee: Damn your mother's faith;

Arie Fique: Fuck you; Koos mahrt ahbook: Your father's wife's pussy; Looty: Fag, gay; Bala ya khumak: May you get swept by a catastrophe; Aneekak: Fuck you; Hak arkab: Come get fucked; Inta wihish: You are ugly; Askut: Shut up; In'al yomak: Curse the day you were born; Zift: Idiot; Wad al haram: Bastard; Ia akho el-aibe eshaibe: Your sister is a slut; Ia eben balaet ezeb: Your mother sucking a dick; Fadak: An old male punter (client of a prostitute); Doe-deki: A young male punter (client of a prostitute); Bizzaz immak ala amood: Your mom's tits are on a pole; Khara alayk: Shit on you; Kir tu cheshet: Dick in your eye; Akho Sharmuta: Brother of a whore; Ayre feek: Fuck you; Fikk wle: Go away, fuck off; Kol ayre wle: Shut up, fuck off; Bidde neek immak: Fuck your mother's cunt; Ana akhannethak: Fuck you; Airy Fik (pronounced Eye ree feek): Fuck you (lit. My Dick in you); Barboog: Prostitute; Zeb omak: Your mum's dick; Oomak tilhas zibi: Your mum sucks dick; Kool zigaan: Eat shit; Yela'an sabe'a jad lak: Damn your seventh grandfather; Ya khorg: Asshole; Lahis zubi: Suck my dick; Aars: Pimp; Meaaaras: Pimp; Yelaan kos omak: Damn your mother's cunt; Zanya: Adulteress; Yabdulh: Get away (lit. balls); Del Haz Bediate: Suck my balls; Aneechik: I'll fuck you; A tabbub zibby ib teezik: I'll insert my dick in your ass; (Inta) Ibn Al-Himar: (You are) a son of a donkey; (Itna) Ibn Al-Kalb: (You are) a son of a canine/dog; Allah Yela'an...(add name): May the Lord curse...(add name); Kiramo Bemek: Suck my dick; Koondeh: Faggot; Kir to koone nanat: Dick up your mother's ass; Surmayye a'raasac: A shoe is on your head (bad insult in Arabic); Akroot: Male whore; Akrooteh: Female whore; Tubjee: Fag (lit. he who sucks a dick); Mos eri: Suck my dick; Mos era: Suck a dick; Aleph Aeer Eb Koos Omak: 1000 dicks in your mama's pussy;

Arabic Swear Word Phrases


Edash bet kalef bentok?: How much for your daughter?; Eyre be imak ya akhu sharmut!: Penis in your mother's ass!; Yin el imek ya bint il sharmoota: Damn your mom, you daughter of a bitch. Kus Abouk: Fuck your dad; Kus Omak: Fuck your mom; Kus Ukhtak: Fuck your sister; Ana Aneek Amouk!: I'll fuck your mother!; Kekri Gahba: Gay Whore; Boofta: Transvestite; Zamel: Gay ass. Gahba: Slut, whore, prostitute; Miboon: Faggot; Fased: A person who has been fucked a lot. Yabn Deen El kalb(a): You, son of the religion of a dog/bitch. Yela'an Mayteen Ahlak: God damn the dead of your family. Haneek rabbak: I'll fuck your God. Haneek Afkar Omak: I'll fuck your mother's thoughts. Haneek Omm elly Khalefetak: I'll fuck you and your grandma. Haneek elly yetchad ded lak: I'll fuck you and your friends. Hottaha fi teezak: Stick it up your ass. Zeb Abouya Fi koss Omak: My dad's dick is in your Mom's twat.

Bedi ikhra aleki ya shloke: I'll shit on you (to a female); Ayri b' shaklak: My dick in your appearance; Akho shlickeh: Brother of a whore; 'ars: Pimp; Ikhlassy akhrasi ya sharmoot wa iftahy khashmik: Shut up man-bitch and open your mouth; Omak zanya fee erd: Your mother committed adultery with a monkey; Badi lahsak manbat sha'er baidi: I will make you lick the roots of the hairs of my balls; Laitohom ragado: Wish your parents slept that night. (the night you were conceived); Alaan abok labo abook, yabn al gahba okho el gahba, yal manyoch kess ommek o ommen yabetek!: Damn your dad, and his dad you son of a bitch and your sister is a bitch, you fucked up [guy] your mom's cunt and her ancestors!; TDh-fa el fuse: The fuse went went out (Accompanied by an insulting gesture indicating stupidity: pointing to the head and making a motion of cutting a wire with a scissors, implying that there is no power to that person's brain.); Ma fish Kahraba: There is no electricity (Accompanied by an insulting gesture indicating stupidity: pointing to the head, implying that there is no power to that person's brain.);

Kiss ikht yalli bazarak, ya akhou el alf menteki: Fuck your sister, the brother of one thousand whores; Yela'an shifit hifit darabzeen kaskoos immak: Damn your mother's labia; Add ma emmak neketo la bayyak men tizo, hebil fik men bayadto: Your mother fucked your father in the ass so much that he got pregnant and held you in his balls. Una bede et'hash zebe be dant bentok: I wish to place my penis in your daughter's ear. Enta neket emmok oo' khelafto ekhtok: You fucked your mum and she gave birth to your sister. Inta ooh abouk beh ileb ma'a zibkoom chil yaum: You and your dad play with your dicks every day. Bedi hotak ala ras airy: I will put you on the tip of my dick; Maftooha: A deflowered girl; Airy yehreek: My dick will wear you out; Aneek Omak: Fuck your mum;

Airy fe dameerak: My dick in your conscience; Kiss wayhik: Your face's pussy; Kis ahlik: Your family's pussy; Rito sitteen alf air yoroso dabke a kis emmak: I hope that 60000 dicks will dance on your mother's pussy; Shem et Duat: Go to hell; Kuss mm-ak ya'arku shar mouteh: Fuck you, mother fucker; Kiss oumm yally bazarak: Fuck who gave birth to you; Aneek oummak: Fuck your mother; Airy be oummak: My dick in your mother; Airy bi mafrat bazazik: My dick between your tits (titty fuck); Airi fee kus imak eil sharmoota: My dick in your mom's pussy, you son of a bitch; Koss ommak ala air jamal mayyet: Your mother's pussy on a dead camel's dick; Kafekom kalaman bel Arabia ya hi wah naht!: Stop speaking in Arabic, you animals!; Kl zegg: Eat shit; Ya mnyakah: You fag; Ya jrar: You pimp; Ya gawad: You pimp; Ihir: Pussy; Aneekik o aneek ummk o obook o ahlk klhm means: I'll fuck you and fuck your mom, dad and your whole family; Mzghabah: Fag; Bkem al lailah?: How much is one night?; Musi o anti saktah: Shut up and suck (girl); Mus o ant sakit: Shut up and suck (man); Tfoo ala wishak: I spit in your face; Yin'al mayteenak: Damn your dead ancestors; Yin'al saleebak: Fuck your cross; Rooh fi siteen alf dahya: Get lost into 60,000 disasters; Kuss Ummak Bisinaan: Your mother's pussy has teeth;

Birth Control in the Muslim World

On the subject of birth control, Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet said “the fewer the children, the more peace of mind.” Even so, both Muslim clerics and rabbis have rejected "Safe sex" programs as endorsements of promiscuity. The only strategy they promote is abstention.

Muslims are generally more tolerant about the use of birth control than Catholics. The governments of some Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia and Egypt strongly support family planning. Iran and Malaysia have implemented strong birth-control policies that have lowered their birthrates to below-replacement levels, However, some Islamic leaders are opposed to family planning on the grounds that it is a Western plot to reduce the number of Muslim children being born.

Muslim groups approve of the use of contraceptives by married couples. The prophet himself reportedly used to practice coitus interruptus, which was the one of the few methods of family planning available in the 7th century. Since sterilization is permanent there has been some debate on whether or not it should be permitted.



Some attempts at population control in the Muslim world have focusing on increasing the status of women, improving education for girls and providing women with jobs so they have an alternative to rearing children.

Some governments in Muslim countries have done little to push birth control and family planning because of Islamic traditions. Islamists have spoken out against United Nations population controls on the grounds that they condone extramarital sex, homosexuality, abortion and prostitution.

Turkey's Erdogan: Family Planning Not for Muslims

In May 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that family planning and contraception were not for Muslim families. Erdogan said it was the responsibility of mothers to ensure the continued growth of Turkey's population."I will say it clearly... We need to increase the number of our descendants," he said in a speech in Istanbul. "People talk about birth control, about family planning. No Muslim family can understand and accept that! As God and as the great prophet said, we will go this way. And in this respect the first duty belongs to mothers." [Source: Stuart Williams, AFP, May 30, 2016 ~]

AFP reported: “Erdogan and his wife Emine have two sons and two daughters. Earlier this month, the president attended the high-profile marriage of his younger daughter Sumeyye to defence industrialist Selcuk Bayraktar. The Platform to Stop Violence Against Women, which campaigns to stop the killings of hundreds of woman every year, condemned Erdogan's comments as violating the rights of women. "You (Erdogan) cannot usurp our right to contraception, nor our other rights with your declarations that come out of the Middle Ages," the group said in a statement on Twitter. "We will protect our rights," it added. ~

“Erdogan has often annoyed feminists and women's activists with his comments on sex and family planning. In a speech marking International Women's Day this year, he said he believed that "a woman is above all else a mother". In 2014, he described birth control as a "treason" which risked causing a whole generation to "dry up". And he has famously urged mothers to have four children, saying: "one (child) means loneliness, two means rivalry, three means balance and four means abundance." ~

Birth Control in Iran


condom factory in Iran

In ancient Persia women inserted salt-water-soaked sponges in their vaginas in the belief it killed sperm. Today, condoms, birth control pills and intrauterine devises are widely available and free. Condoms are sold at pharmacies but government officials don’t like the word “condom” mentioned out of fear it will promote promiscuous sex among teenagers.

Faced with one of the world's highest growth rates, Iran's ruling Islamic Consultive Assembly quietly reversed it high birthrate policy in 1989 and established a family planning program. In the first three years contraceptive use jumped to 22 percent per couple.

The aggressive Iranian family program includes free vasectomies, funding for condom factories, making birth control free and available for men and women, and requiring women to take a mandatory birth control course before they are allowed to get married. Parliament tried to raised the marriage age from 9 to 15 but the effort was blocked by the Council of Guardians, a conservative religious body.

In 1997, after Mohammad Khatami was elected President of Iran, he said, “I am hoping that Iran will be able to channel 10 percent of our arms expenditures into family planning and population projects.” Conservatives were shown a religious decree that states birth control is okay. Explaining how family planning could be justified under Iran’s strict Islamic code, one mullah told Newsweek, “We favor small families because we simply couldn’t adequately educate large families. And our religion calls for an educated public.” The effort payed off. Women gave birth to an average of three children instead of six after the campaign took effect. Iran’s population growth rate was cut almost in half to 2 percent.

Women, Virginity and Honor in Muslim Societies

In many Muslim societies purity and chastity before marriage are considered imperative. From an early age girls learn about eib (shame) and sharaf (honor). They are taught to dress modestly, lower their eyes when in public and above all else to remain a virgin until they are married. Honor is linked to a woman's purity and based on the fact she is weak and needs a man's protection. In some societies, rape and being raped is regarded as worse than murder. Any affront on a woman's honor is something that must be avenged.


Women are guarded and secluded because if they do anything regarded as unchaste or impure it dishonors their entire family. Female chastity and the appearance of chastity lie at the foundation of the Arab code of honor and the codes of honor of other cultures that embrace Islam.

The Muslim extremist belief seems to be that the honor of women is upheld by imprisoning them. The “protecting” is done by fathers, brothers and husbands. Explaining how honor works, a feminist Turkish lawyer told the Los Angeles Times, “It is a virtue that only a man can possess and that can only be soiled by a female body. It is a notion that was concocted by men to ensure their continued domination over tribe and society long before Islam was ever introduced."

In families where honor is held at a premium, brothers follow their sisters around like private detectives, on the lookout for any questionable behavior. A French woman born to Algerian parents told the International Herald Tribune: “Until I was 17 my older brother hit me”for being in the street, or for visiting friends, or for wearing makeup, all the normal things French girls did. For a long time I tried to keep my head down, like all the other submissive women hidden in their homes."

A lawyer explained how honor affects all the women in a family. “A stained reputation means that other unmarried girls in the family will never find suitors until it is cleansed," she said. “If a woman has no skills, no education, her honor is her only currency in the marriage market." Many girls are told the story of a girl who killed herself after she was raped so as not to stain her family's honor. For this she was buried in gold. By contrast, girls who bring shame to their families are buried unceremoniously in unmarked graves.

Virginity Operations

In many places women can easily get operations to reconstitute their hymens and get medical certificates that state they are virgins. Hymenoplasty is the name of the surgical procedure that reconstructs the membranes of the hymen after it has been broken usually after sexual intercourse.

Whether or not the operations should be performed has become a matter of controversy. One French doctor told the Time of London, “We get more and more women coming in and saying their brothers and fathers will kill them if they found out they've slept with a man. But it's important to say no, because if we don't we're giving in to the fundamentalists." However he said that some doctors were ignoring his advice in hopes of protecting patients from violent beatings.


a woman is expected to be a virgin on her wedding day

Isabell Levy, who wrote about the issue in France in her book Religion in the Hospital, told the Times, “One the one hand, young Muslim girls are born in France . They are modern and they have adventures like other Europeans---which never happened in the past. But on the other hand, fundamentalism is spreading and these girls are getting sent back to their countries of origin to marry. And they will be rejected if it is found out that they are not virgins."

One North African girl who wrote on an Internet forum and was quoted in the Times of London said she slept with her boyfriend because “he said he was made about me and wanted to marry me and I believed him because I was madly in love with him." Afterwards she got pregnant her boyfriend left her and she secretly got an abortion. Later her mother found a letter from the clinic that performed the abortion. The girl wrote her mother “fainted and afterwards I was total despair---tears, insults, blows, disappointment and finally a dressing down.. She has asked her gynaecologist to re'do my hymen because she says that if not it will ruin my future."

Some doctors refuse to sign virginity certificates or perform te hymen operations on the grounds that: 1) filling out the certificates if the girls is not a virgin is dishonest; 2) performing the operations is not a medical necessity; and 3) the state health care program should not pay for it. One doctor who does fill out the certificates told Le Monde, “I worked in Algeria as a junior doctor and I saw these young women whose throats had been slit because they were suspected of having lost their virginity. So if someone asks me, I sign the certificate."

Sex in Turkey

The Turks are into Western style sex in a big way. Bare breasted women are seen on the front pages of newspapers and there are Turkish editions of “Playboy “and “Penthouse”. When I was living in Istanbul the hottest movie by far was Henry and June, the film about Henry Miller's torrid love triangle with the incestuous Enius Nynn and his wife June.


Eunuch at the door of the sultan's harem

Sex education was not introduced until the early 2000s. The discussion of contraception and sex are still taboo in many places and conservative Islamic groups are especially opposed to it. As part of the effort to combat AIDS, the Turkish health ministry released a handbook, “Never Without My Guardian Angel”, with a chorus of singing condoms and fun facts on how medieval Europeans used fish bladders for condoms.

The Turkish word for cucumber—“hiyar”—is often used a synonym for penis. Turks avoid using the word hiyar the same way Americans avoid using dick, cock or balls. Cucumbers are often called “salatalik” (“salad ingrediant”) so as not to offend anyone. [Source: Paul Theroux, “The Pillars of Hercules”]

Turkish Men and Sex

Turkish men have a reputation for being so highly sexed, they themselves sometimes say, they will fuck anything. There is a Turkish expression that says it is okay for a man to screw a women, a man or a sheep; just as long as he is the one that is doing the fucking. A lot of ex-patriot gay men end up in Istanbul. I know one American man, who it turns was related to a U.S. Senator, who hired a couple of male servants on the basis of their penis size.

Another American woman I met, who claimed she had slept with men from all over the world, said that German were quick, but Turkish men were strong.

In a Turkish version of the Dwayne Bobbit case, Zeynep Atici allegedly got her boyfriend Abdullah Kemal Konak drunk, tied him up and then cut of his penis with a bread knife after he said he was leaving her for another woman. According to Time magazine, the penis was reattached but it was not clear whether it would ever be functional again.

Viagra in Egypt

Both Muslim clerics and rabbis have endorsed Viagra. Viagra was made legal in Egypt in 2002. It sold very well. Many of those who bought were young men worried about their performance. One pharmacist told the Los Angeles Times, “Everybody is using it. They think they will be stronger if they take it.”

Before it was legalized, Viagra was sold on the black market for as much as $22 a pill. There were reports of lawyers being paid in Viagra, construction inspectors being bribed with it and women having is slipped into their drinks. Counterfeit pills were sold. Smugglers brought in suitcases full of Viagra from Syria, China, Jordan and India. Customs officials arrested one man for smuggling 260,000 Viagra pills. Herbal remedies such as “Happy Life” are purported to have the same benefits.

Counterfeit Viagra is reportedly made in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, the main hashish-producing area of the Middle East. In the early 2000s, there were a lot of Viagra jokes circulating around. One went: A religious scholar took ten Viagra tablets and died when people found him there was only one thing standing.

Lingerie Shops in Egypt

In Nasr city in Cairo you can find a number of shops and street vendors selling lingerie, sexy underwear, g-strings and plum-colored teddies. Some shops sell items from Victoria Secret and other Western companies as well as stuff produced by local designers. There are even lingerie fashion shows—albeit ones which only women can attend. The sales of one local design increased from $177,000 in 1986 and $3,25 million in 1996. [Source: John Lancaster, Washington Post, April 25, 1997]

One lingerie shop owner told the Washington Post, "Even the completely veiled people, they come and buy lingerie. It's not wrong if she wear it in private. Our religion is very forgiving about that sort of thing." One designer who has had much more success with racier stuff than conservative stuff said, "We came to the conclusion that the lady in Egypt, because' she's conservative during the day, the only time to show here feminine side is at night.”

One customer in a lingerie shop told the Washington Post, "I'm buying things mainly for my honeymoon, but I hope I can keep on wearing them afterward. I don't think I can bring my husband back or prevent him from leaving me by wearing such lingerie, but I want to enjoy my private life and make him happy.” A 23-year-old checking out a chiffon nightgown said, "Seduction is fine as long as it is between husband and wife, who love each other." A 35-year-old man said, "This nothing compared to what happened abroad in public, I have the right to see my wife as I wish to see here. If it pleases me, why not?"

Image Sources: Wikimedia, Commons except Iran condom factory, AP and Columbia University

Text Sources: Internet Islamic History Sourcebook: sourcebooks.fordham.edu “World Religions” edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); “ Arab News, Jeddah; Islam, a Short History by Karen Armstrong; A History of the Arab Peoples by Albert Hourani (Faber and Faber, 1991); Encyclopedia of the World Cultures edited by David Levinson (G.K. Hall & Company, New York, 1994). Encyclopedia of the World’s Religions” edited by R.C. Zaehner (Barnes & Noble Books, 1959); Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Geographic, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, The Guardian, BBC, Al Jazeera, Times of London, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated September 2018

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