Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur'an, Hadith and Jurisprudence

By Kecia Ali

Whether exploring the thorny problems with better halves' sexual tasks, divorce, homosexuality, or intercourse outdoors marriage, discussions of sexual ethics and Islam usually spark heated clash instead of reasoned argument. during this up-to-date and accelerated version of her ground-breaking paintings, feminist Muslim student Dr Kecia Ali asks how you can make certain what makes intercourse lawful and moral within the sight of God. 

Drawing on either printed and interpretative Muslim texts, Ali opinions medieval and modern commentators alike to provide a balanced and complete research of a subject matter either delicate and pressing, making this a useful source for college students, students, and readers.

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Ninth-century jurist al-Shafi‘i spoke for almost all while he declared husband was once now not certain via a stipulation in his marriage agreement to not marry extra better halves or take any concubines from between his girl slaves, justifying his view at the floor that this kind of situation “would be narrowing what God made extensive for [the man]. ”7 actually, the matter-of-fact references to concubinage through the writings of Muslim students spotlight the main impressive distinction among modern and classical sexual ethics: the premodern popularity of a male owner’s sexual entry to his woman slaves. Classical texts weren't describing demographic fact, yet really engaging in a discourse of recommendation and law. still, their assumption that males could have a number of sexual companions, better halves and/or concubines, stands in marked contrast to modern Muslim discourses on sexual relationships which, once they talk about polygamy approvingly, in most cases achieve this with justifications premised on lady wishes for cover instead of easy male prerogative. even if generalizations approximately smooth sensibilities are fraught with peril, really given the variety in the billion-strong Muslim population, it isn't a stretch to say that almost all Muslims this day may view al-Shafi‘i’s doctrine on permissible sexual relationships, really relating slave concubines, as incompatible with equity and justice (themselves notoriously variable concepts). eight but whereas nearly not anyone advocates reviving slavery as an establishment, slaveholding essentially formed the contours of Islamic moral and felony proposal on intercourse in ways in which haven't been totally well-known. And even supposing the basically unequal version of sexual ethics enshrined in classical texts not is smart to an important variety of Muslims, a minimum of at an intuitive point, not anything new has emerged to exchange it. regardless of the readiness of a few Muslims to discard the version inherited from the classical jurists in want of anything extra egalitarian – and the need, at the a part of a subset of those, to be open to new types of sanctioned relationships – little awareness has been paid to issues equivalent to consent, reciprocity, and coercion which are the most important to either an realizing of conventional Islamic sexual ethics and the probabilities for differences in these beliefs. My exploration of those matters during this publication is a initial contribution to an important and far-ranging dialog over all facets of sexual ethics in Muslim existence and suggestion. in fact, the sexual subordination of ladies is in no way unique to Muslim societies or Islamic concept. until eventually the very fresh previous there has been a close to universality of legislation presenting a procedure of allocating marital rights in keeping with an trade of male help and safety for lady “sexual, reproductive, and house responsibilities providers. ”9 (The targeted contours of such exchanges different dramatically among or even inside societies as a result of variables together with type prestige and non secular doctrine; in Muslim societies, the requirement of house responsibilities was once often absent in idea, although frequent in perform.

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