Sex in Islam
When one considers the Qur'anic punishments against fornication and adultery, one would think
that promiscuity and sex crime in islam would be minimal. However rape and child abuse are not, in most cases, reported. The
reason is that the "victim is blamed": a stigma is attached to having been defiled. For example a study into sexual aggression
by grown up men on female children or young girls showed that nearly half of them had been sexually abused in muslim Egypt-a
figure of 45% compared to the United States figure of 24%.
For scientific reasons the ratio of boy to girl babies in any sizeable population is 50:50 so
monogamy, group marriage or equal mixtures of polyandry and polygyny are statistically possible. Undoubtedly monogamy is the
least complicated socially. However, in Muhammad's day many men were killed plundering and fighting and so it was possible
for some males to have more than one wife. Most of Muhammad's eleven wives were widows. Some of them he had made widows himself!
(Could you love, honour and obey your husband's murderer?)
Today, however, if richer men have up to four wives, then there must be a number of unmarried
or late-marrying males. With prostitution and fornication banned, homosexuality haram, and masturbation disdained that leaves
sex within the household. Sisters, cousins and maid-servants often take the place of the girl down the street in western society.
A segregated society with strict separation of the sexes creates widespread sexual frustration and suppression. Muhammad's
only advice to impecunious men was to weaken the sex drive by fasting.
Islam does not condemn sexuality as such, unlike Paul who managed to become the chief spokesman
for Christianity. His ideal state was celibacy. "It is good for a man not to touch a woman. I say to the unmarried... abide
even as I (celibate). But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn." (I Corinthians,
However Qur'anic sex does seem to have the male mainly in mind. The Companions of the Garden
(houris) "untouched before by man or djinn" are undoubtedly to delight the male. The handsome youths in Paradise, however,
are not promised to the women. (52:24)
Islam has an obsession about virginity for girls. God has provided them with a hymen to prove
their chastity. Yet only 40% of girls have a "normal" hymen that will rupture and bleed on the wedding night: for 20% it is
so fine that it breaks during childhood, and 40% may have an elastic hymen that may not rupture. So much for teleology, the
concept that everything has a god-given purpose! What divine justice is there that more than 30% of girls have no bleeding
at all during their first sexual act.'3 The father of the bride cannot hold up the white towel stained with blood
the next morning. The bride is disgraced and may even be divorced or murdered. In a case where such a murder occurs it is
often thrown out of court as a question of Izzat, "honour". There is a double standard, for the male is proud of his sexual
exploits and does not stop to think that his fair share of hymens is one per lifetime. To my knowledge, The Prophet Muhammad
had only one virgin in his life, the child bride A'isha. He did not regard it as shameful to go where other men had been:
he did not, however, cherish the idea of other men succeeding him after his death. (33:53)
There may be several reasons for insisting on virginity in the bride. One, of course, is that
there is no danger of having someone else's child attributed to you. Another is that the groom can educate the young bride
to his own idiosyncrasies and can not be compared with other lovers. Probably the economic factor is the greater.
Saying "I divorce you" three times is equivalent to the decree nisi in western society except
that only the husband can say it. The divorce does not become absolute until the iddah is observed. The iddah of three monthly
periods satisfies the ex-husband that he has not left an heir in the womb and satisfies any prospective new husband that the
womb is ready for his breeding alone.
Rape In Pakistan
Unfortunately, since Pakistan has reverted to an islamic state, rape against women has increased
dramatically. Of course, official figures would say the opposite as, under Shariah, it is almost impossible to prove that
rape has taken place. Rape is often used as revenge against a woman's husband, father, brother or son. When it is used against
a political opponent it is called "power rape". The rapists often cut off the noses of their victims to show that they are
Rape can only be proven if there are four adult male witnesses. (A female's testimony is not
even taken as half-value in the case of capital crimes.) If the case is unproven, the woman can be charged with fornication
which carries the death penalty. There are thousands of women in jail in Pakistan charged with zina. Even if the crime is
not pursued, relatives may expect the woman to commit suicide, preferably by burning herself. Alternatively the husband may
divorce her or, if he has to pay back too much dowry, have her committed to a lunatic asylum. "Human Rights Watch estimates
that Pakistani police abuse 70 per cent of the women in their custody, though no officer has ever been penalized. "18
FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) is carried out among muslims in Egypt, the Sudan, Saudi Arabia,
South Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, the Philippines, Malaysia, Pakistan and Indonesia. Some apologists point
out that it is not performed in Iran, Iraq, Algeria, Libya, Morocco or Tunisia. They will also note that female mutilation
was carried out in pre-Islamic times and is practised in some non-Islamic African states. This does not absolve muslims for
continuing the barbaric tradition and throws doubt on the "civilizing role" of islam. Indeed some of the clergy still advocate
female mutilation. Rather they should speak out vigorously to condemn the old practices.
There are three main degrees of female "circumcision" Firstly the "sunna proper" where the clitoral
hood or prepuce is removed. This is analogous to male circumcision and does not physically damage female sexuality. It may
well do psychological damage especially the way it is performed on older girls: a number of female relatives hold the girl
down and the piece of skin is removed with a razor blade.
The practice has no Qur'anic justification and the Prophet did not have his daughter Fatima
circumcised. '4 There is one hadith where he is reputed to have told Umm Attiya who performed excisions: "Reduce, but do not
destroy." (He would not have liked his sexuality reduced by one micro-watt.) The inference from this hadith is to remove only
the glans (tip) of the clitoris. This is analogous to removing the glans (head) of the male penis. To confuse things this
circumcision is also known as "sunna" although a better name sometimes used is Khifad ("reduction").
The second level of female mutilation is clitoridectomy where the whole of the clitoris is removed.
This is particularly traumatic for the girl: the pain and bleeding may continue for days-the clitoris is well-supplied with
blood vessels so that it can swell on stimulation. This is analogous to the removal of the penis of a male as the clitoris
is the centre of female sexuality and most women cannot achieve orgasm without it. What a terrible thing to do to your daughter!
If sexuality is given to us by Allah then the implication is that it is there to be used, enjoyed. But sexual desire is not
reduced by mutilation, only the means of satisfying it. It is not surprising that instead of being chastely frigid, some of
these women go on a "promiscuous" search for satisfaction.
Thirdly there is pharaonic circumcision (often called infibulation, the Roman practice of putting
rings across the vaginas of slave women.) All exterior genitalia are removed: the clitoris, the labia minora (the inner lips)
and the labia majora (the outer lips). What is left of the vulva is sewn up leaving a small hole for urine and menses to escape,
but penetration by a penis is impossible. On marriage, the macho male tries to penetrate often causing "hufta"-invaginated
skin near the vaginal opening. On divorce, social pressures dictate that the opening be sewn up again. On childbirth, the
skin must be cut but even then there can be complications: prolonged labor, foetal death and brain damage.
Many males favor the pharaonic method as the vaginal orifice can be made tight to enhance their
sexual pleasure even if it is painful to the woman. Indeed, many women find anal sex preferable. If the woman is Makhtoma,
too tight, she can take an hour to void her bladder and it is common for the abdomen of a girl to swell with undischarged
menstrual blood-girls have even been murdered by fathers thinking that they were pregnant.
Pharaonic circumcision often leads to permanent trauma, frigidity, urinary and gynaecological
infections, abortions or sterility, painful menstrual periods, fistulas, scar tissue, abscesses and even cancers. And yet
the girl's relatives and the bridegroom expect it. The little girl aged 4 to 8 must have her tahara (purification) as she
would be unacceptable in a Ghalaja (uncircumcised) state.
The name "sunna" (Muhammad's traditions) should not be given to any method of circumcision as
surveys have shown that the name was the primary reason (religion) given by men for approving circumcision. However the fact
should be faced that many of the husbands like to be in full control of the sexual act. He should be able to prolong it or
bring it to an end when it suits him and not the woman. They can be compared with necrophiliacs but few normal western men
would agree that passivity on the part of the female contributes to sexual enjoyment.
The reason for female mutilation is sometimes given that it prevents promiscuity. A random
survey of 200 prostitutes in Cairo showed that 170 of them had suffered a clitoridectomy, exactly the same percentage (85%)
as the general population. Of fifty women who had had sexual experience before "circumcision", none had been able to reach
the level of satisfaction they knew before-hand.'5
But the girl does not only face physical circumcision, there is also the denial of mental and
psychological development. Ignorance of the human body and sex is considered a virtue. Experience and knowledge about life
is regarded as shameful. Passivity of the personality is considered a prerequisite of a wife.