Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Embracing Sexuality

As Muslims, we are caught between two extremes: a culture of hypersexualization that trivializes and belittles the value of sex, that turns intimacy into something crude and vulgar; and a 'back home' culture where everything that is romantic, sexual, and intimate is made forbidden and shameful.

Umm Sulaym (radhiAllahu anha) was not ashamed of asking a question which openly discussed an aspect of female sexuality (wet dreams), in an appropriate manner, despite the fact that others around her (such as Umm Salamah) were shocked that she had the audacity to discuss it in public.

Many Muslim women are pressured into denying their sexuality, or fully being able to explore and acknowledge it, even within their marriage. Cultural double standards that make it acceptable for men to transgress the bounds of chastity but taboo for women to be honest about their desires are poisonous.

Not only does such a mentality warp and harm those individuals affected by it, but it also interferes in every Muslim's right to a sound Islamic education and a holistic, happy life based on the Deen - including the area of halal sexual gratification.

Muslim women should not be made ashamed of being aware of their bodies, their physical needs, and their sexuality; these things are all gifts from Allah, which, with the right intention, can be made a source of ajr (reward) from Him.
On the flip side, these things are also responsibilities, for if misused and abused, they can also be a source of punishment.

Let us embrace the mature, dignified, respectful, and positive attitude towards female sexuality that Sahabiyaat such as Umm Sulaym displayed, and cast away the crippling mentalities that pressure women to deny their very natures.

Umm Salama (Allah be pleased with her) relates that Umm Sulaym (Allah be pleased with her) came to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and said, “O Messenger of Allah, Surely, Allah is not shy of the truth. Is it necessary for a woman to take a ritual bath after she has a wet dream?” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) replied: “Yes, if she notices a discharge.” Umm Salama covered her face and asked, “O Messenger of Allah! Does a woman have a discharge?” He replied: “Yes, let your right hand be in dust [an Arabic expression said light-heartedly to someone whose statement you contradict], how does the son resemble his mother?” (Sahih al-Bukhari 130)

Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) said: “How praiseworthy are the women of Ansar; shyness does not prevent them from having a deep understanding of religion.



Hyde said...

Agreed. But let's forget modesty. Sexuality should be an open discussion inside the house.

Hyde said...

oops..*let's not forget modesty

Anonymous said...

Yes. Thank you.