Monday, January 04, 2016

The Double Standards of Desire

“Brother, the fitnah! It’s too difficult! If I don’t get a second wife right now, I’m going to do the haraam!”
This statement is not only common to hear amongst Muslim men, but acceptable as well. Guess what, bros – polygyny isn’t the solution to your all-important male arousal. And really, let’s face it… you can’t afford a second wife to begin with. So if your first wife won’t compromise some of her basic Shar’i rights in order to cater to your libido, what are you going to do, hire a prostitute? Watch porn? Really? Are you that desperate for ‘variety,’ when at the end of the day – as RasulAllah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said – your wife has the exact same thing the other woman has?
Newsflash: Your physical desire isn’t the center of the universe.
Now how about we stop for a moment and consider the flip side. Oh, I know what you’re thinking – what flip side? Women can’t possibly understand what men go through; women don’t have anywhere near the levels of libido or triggers of desire… do women even have desire, really?
If you ever bothered to ask a woman, she’d tell you – hell yes. We know all too well what you’re going through, because the fitnah we go through is just as bad. It is, perhaps, even worse when you consider the fact that so many Muslim leaders perpetuate the idea that women don’t experience any sexual fitnah to begin with.
For every Muslim man who complains about the fitnah of other women, they don’t realize that Muslim women are going through the exact same thing… if not worse.
Muslim women are groomed from young adulthood to believe that their role as wives is all-encompassing: to take care of a husband spiritually by waking him up for Fajr, to take care of him physically by cooking and cleaning for him, to take care of him by fulfilling his need for progeny by bearing his children, and to take care of him sexually by being always, constantly sexually attractive and available.
A woman who is not perfectly coiffed, waxed, and shaved is responsible for any illicit sexual desires that he may be troubled by; a man who develops a potbelly and showers a couple times of a week within the first few years of his marriage is considered perfectly normal and ‘a good guy’ as long as he remembers to take out the trash.
While Muslim men complain that their wives don’t match up to the Hollywood actresses paraded before their eyes, they don’t stop to think that they in turn don’t match their wives’ standards of attractiveness either.
Even before marriage, Muslim women can expect very little of their male cohorts; Muslim men, it seems, are not raised with the some of the basic grooming standards that many nonMuslim men (especially today with the hipster and lumberjack craze) have picked up on. Whether it has to do with a sense of dress, hygiene, or beard grooming habits (the only reason so many Muslim women appear to be repulsed by beards is because of how poorly Muslim men keep them), nonMuslim men these days far exceed Muslim men in the basic necessities of looking decent. Many Muslim men seem to think that they deserve praise for wearing clean socks and putting on deodorant.
NonMuslim men are also raised in an environment where – with all its other unpleasant realities acknowledged – they are expected to put in some effort in wooing a woman. From at least high school onwards, they’re taught the basics: dress well, smell good, bring some flowers, and take the woman out somewhere nice. The woman is given the sense that she is wanted and that the man is willing to make an effort to be desirable to her in return. In short, there is a courtship ritual.
For all that people make snide comments that the only reason nonMuslim make any effort whatsoever in either grooming themselves or how they conduct themselves with women, is because they want to get laid – well, duh. That is precisely the point. NonMuslim men do all these things without a guarantee of having sex after all that work; Muslim men have a guarantee from their wedding night onwards that they will never, ever be turned down for sex (and if they are, then the angels are right there to curse those disobedient women)… and yet make little effort to maintain even a simple level of physical attraction.
Every Muslim woman has been through the cringe-worthy experience of listening to a pot-bellied imam lecturing them on how to be attractive to their husbands – and inevitably rebuking them for not doing enough to spare them from ‘the fitnah.’
Now imagine, if you will, the following scenario instead:
“Shaykh, the fitnah is too much… my husband is no longer attractive to me, he is overweight and doesn’t try to look good for me. If I can’t be sexually satisfied soon, I’m going to do the haraam!”
I’m pretty sure we can all agree that the response would be a collective outburst of self-righteous rage: “AstaghfirAllah sister, how dare you say such a thing! Have modesty and do not allow Shaytan to whisper to you in such horrific ways!”
There is little to no acknowledgment whatsoever of the sexual fitnah Muslim women experience when faced by well-groomed, courteous nonMuslim men in contrast to the men they are either married to, or can look forward to marrying – the type who either make a (painfully) half-hearted attempt in university before abandoning themselves to early onset uncle-hood, or those who assume that being religious means never daring to emasculate themselves by grooming their beards.
Few, if any, will stop to mention that Ibn Abbas (radhiAllahu ‘anhu) used to brush his teeth, comb his beard and hair, and scent himself before going home. When asked why he did so, he retorted, “For my wife! I like to beautify myself for her just as I like her to beautify herself for me.”
Rather, the idea that women need to be physically attracted to their spouses appears alien amongst many Muslims today. The idea that women need to find their husbands sexually alluring is almost bizarre. And it is precisely because of this refusal to acknowledge Muslim women’s sexual needs within their marriages, that the dangerous door to sexual fitnah outside of their marriage exists.
Neither men nor women are immune to sexual fitnah – it is a desire that exists in all human beings, not solely within one gender. Women have eyes that see as much as men do; women have desires that exist just as men do, even if that desire is considered socially unacceptable to voice. Unlike men, women do not have the option of marrying more than one husband… so it could be said, perhaps, that there is more of an onus on men to please their wives and be physically attractive and sexually available to them than is commonly purported.
So please, for the sake of your womenfolk – Muslim men, please do more than take a shower.


Mama of Leo said...


When I used to say that it is my right to look for a handsome man, I was blamed :-)

And whenever I turned down a marriage proposal for reasons related to personal grooming an hygiene reasons I was accused of being shallow!

Alhamdulellah, I am married to a handsome, well groomed man, now. Out of respect for me, he does an effort to keep himself looking beautiful, because I do that in return.

He does not make me feel (an instrument) of his own. He does not make me feel "guaranteed".

And that makes a huge difference!

Anonymous said...

Your articles are full of delusion and junk. Women do not have the same desires as men, this is backed by pure science. So yeah, continue your pathetic charade of pitting male and female sexuality the same and watch how easily you get shot down.

Anonymous said...

Women do have sexual and physical desires. They may not be identical to males, but they are there. We are sick of Muslims acting like women have no sexual desire when that is completely not true.

Syed Ahmed said...

I do agree that men need to keep themselves clean, hygienic and attractive, but this was perhaps the worst way to put your point forward. You may have inspired a number of girls to look for a man that pleases their eyes and to expect their SO's to be chivalrous, but you most certainly didn't convince any Muslim man to stay clean and attractive because of your style. How many Muslim countries have you been to? How many non Muslim countries have you been to? How many Muslim and non Muslim men have you examined and seen up close? How can you make the same kind of a broad generalising statement such as the media does in other matters? In my family, we are taught that cleanliness is half our Deen and that Allah loves beauty right from birth. We are taught to open doors be romantic with our wives. I'm pretty sure there are both Muslim and non Muslim men who keep themselves tidy and unclean alike. Tell whatever you want, to us in a way that doesn't offend anyone, least of all, don't just blindly say that most non Muslim men clean up better than us. It has nothing to do with religion. Also, Muslim women have an equal part in bringing the same Muslim men you complain about. We face these problems, advise each other as a team, as a group, not by offending and making blanket statements. Please be more constructive with your advice, or whatever that was, next time. Tip: Don't write when you are emotional, and do not get emotional when you write.

Sara Adam said...

Funny how men say don't get emotional, duh! emotions are a woman's strength
also when did the author say non muslim men are better, she was pointing out the double standards