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Encyclopedia > Sexuality in Islam
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History of Islam Islam (Arabic: ; ( (help· info)), submission (to the will of God)) is a monotheistic faith, considered one of the Abrahamic religions, and the worlds second-largest religion. ... Image File history File links I made this. ... The History of Islam involves the history of the Islamic faith as a religion and as a social institution. ...

Beliefs and practices

Oneness of God
Profession of Faith
PilgrimageCharity This article is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Tawhīd (also Tawhid or Tauhid or Tawheed; Arabic توحيد) is the Islamic concept of monotheism, derived from Ahad. ... An example of allāhu written in simple Arabic calligraphy Allah (Arabic allāhu الله) is traditionally used by Muslims as the Arabic word for Singular God (not Gods personal name, but the equivalent of the Hebrew word El as opposed to YHWH). Both Muslim and non-Muslim scholars often... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... The Hajj or Haj (Arabic: ) is the Pilgrimage to Mecca (Makkah) in Islam. ... Zakât (or Zakaat or Zakah) (English:tax, alms, tithe) (Arabic: زكاة, Old (Quran) Arabic: زكوة) is the third of the Five Pillars of Islam in Sunni Islam and one of the Branches of Religion in Shia Islam. ...

Major figures

AliAbu Bakr
Companions of Muhammad
Household of Muhammad
Prophets of Islam This list is poorly defined, permanently incomplete, or has become unverifiable or an indiscriminate list or repository of loosely associated topics. ... For other people named Muhammad, see Muhammad (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Ali (disambiguation). ... Abu Bakr As Siddiq (Arabic ابو بكر الصديق, alternative spellings, Abubakar, Abi Bakr, Abu Bakar) (c. ... In the Islamic religion, the Sahaba (or Asahaaba,الصحابه; both forms are plural--the singular is Sahaabi, which is Arabic for friend, or companion) are the companions of the Prophet Muhammad. ... This is an Arabic phrase literally translated as People of the House, or family. ... This article is 200 KB or more in size. ...

Texts & Laws

Biographies of Muhammad // Quran Text Surahs Ayah Commentary/Exegesis Tafsir ibn Kathir (by Ibn Kathir) Tafsir al-Tabari (by Tabari) Al Kordobi Tafseer-e-kabir (by Imam Razi) Tafheem-al-Quran (by Maulana Maududi) Sunnah/Hadith Hadith (Traditions of The Prophet) The Siha-e-Sitta al-Bukhari (d. ... The Quran (Arabic , literally the recitation; also called or The Noble Quran; also transliterated Quran, Koran, and less commonly Alcoran) is the holy book of Islam. ... Hadith (Arabic: , Arabic pl. ... Sharia (Arabic: ; also Sharīah, Sharia, Shariah or Syariah) is the Arabic word for Islamic law, also known as the Law of Allah, and governs both secular and religious life of the devout Muslim. ... Islamic jurisprudence, (Arabic: Fiqh) (in Arabic and Persian: فقه) is made up of the rulings (Fatwa) of Muslim Islamic jurists (Ulema) to direct the lives of the Muslims. ... Kalam (علم الكلم)is one of the religious sciences of Islam. ... This article is not about the group of British engineering companies called Sira; see Sira (group of British companies). ...

Branches of Islam

The religion of Islam has many divisions, sects, schools, traditions, and related faiths. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Shia Islam or Shi`ism (from the Arabic word شيعة, Persian: شیعه) is the second largest denomination of the religion of Islam. ... Sufism (Arabic: تصوف, taṣawwuf), a part of Islamic studies, is a mystic tradition of Islam based on the pursuit of spiritual truth as it is gradually revealed to the heart and mind of the Sufi (one who practices Sufism). ...

Sociopolitical aspects

Women in IslamLeaders
Muslim culture is a term primarily used in secular academia to describe all cultural practices common to historically Islamic peoples. ... Islamic Studies is the academic discipline which focuses on Islamic issues. ... Islamic philosophy (الفلسفة الإسلامية) is a longstanding attempt to create harmony between faith, reason or philosophy, and the religious teachings of Islam. ... Islamic art is the art of Islamic people, cultures, and countries. ... Islamic science is science in the context of traditional religious ideas of Islam, including its ethics and philosophy. ... Islamic architecture is the entire range of architecture that has evolved within Muslim culture in the course of the history of Islam. ... // This is a list of cities that various groups regard as holy. ... The Islamic calendar or Muslim calendar (also called Hijri calendar, Arabic التقويم الهجري) is the calendar used to date events in many predominantly Muslim countries, and used by Muslims everywhere to determine the proper day on which to celebrate Islamic holy days. ... Friday is an important day in the life of a Muslim and it is believed that any devotional acts done on this day gain a higher reward. ... This article needs a complete rewrite for the reasons listed on the talk page. ... Islamic religious leaders are persons who, as part of the clerisy, mosque, or government, perform a prominent role within their community or nation. ... This article needs a complete rewrite for the reasons listed on the talk page. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Since the 19th century, Muslim progressives have produced a considerable body of liberal thought within Islam (in Arabic: الإسلام الاجتهادي or interpretation-based Islam; also الإسلام التقدمي or progressive Islam). These have in common a religious outlook which depends mainly on ijtihad or re-interpretations of scriptures. ...

See also

Vocabulary of Islam
Index of articles on Islam The following list consists of concepts that are derived from both Islam and Arab tradition, which are expressed as words in the Arabic language. ...

Sexuality in Islam is largely described by the Qur'an, Islamic tradition, and religious leaders both past and present as being confined to marital relationships between men and women. While most traditions discourage celibacy, all encourage strict chastity and modesty with regards to any relationships across gender lines, holding forth that intimacy as perceived within Islam -- encompassing a swath of life more broad than strictly sex -- is largely to be reserved for marriage. This sensitivity to gender difference and modesty outside of marriage may be perceived in many of the more contemporarily prominent aspects of Islam -- interpretations of Islamic dress and degrees of gender segregation, for example. The Quran (Arabic , literally the recitation; also called or The Noble Quran; also transliterated Quran, Koran, and less commonly Alcoran) is the holy book of Islam. ... Celibacy may refer either to being unmarried or to sexual abstinence. ... Islam (Arabic: ; ( (help· info)), submission (to the will of God)) is a monotheistic faith, considered one of the Abrahamic religions, and the worlds second-largest religion. ... Hijab (Arabic: حجاب) is the Arabic term for barrier or dressing modestly. ...

While prohibitions against adulterous relationships are strong, permissible sexual relationships are described in Islamic sources as great wells of love and closeness for the couple involved. Specific occasions -- most notably daytime fasting and menstruation -- are times forbidden for intercourse, though not for other ways of touching and being close to one another. Issues such as masturbation and homosexuality are frowned upon or outright forbidden; contraceptive use is permitted, as is abortion, though the latter often with great restriction.


Sex outside of marriage

Adultery is strictly, and repeatedly, forbidden in the Qur'an.

  • And do not go anywhere near adultery: it is an outrage, and an evil path. (17:32)
  • This is a sura (chapter) We have sent down and made obligatory: We have sent down clear revelation in it, so that you may take heed. Strike the adulteress and the adulterer one hundred times. Do not let compassion for them keep you from carrying out God's law -- if you believe in God and the last day -- and ensure that a group of believers witnesses the punishment. The adulterer is only [fit] to marry an adulteress or idolatress, and the adulteress is only [fit] to marry and adulterer or an idolater: such behavior is forbidden to believers. (24:1-3)

While harsh, modern commentators are often quick to note that the punishment prescribed for adultery is mitigated by the impracticality of meeting its requirement for being applied: the testimonies of four eye-witnesses to the act (24:13). Many today consider this to mean it is an almost purely symbolic way of denoting the severity of the offense, while others consider it a legally required punishment.

The Qur'an does additionally allow for sexual relations between a man and those whom "his right hand possesses," traditionally interpreted to mean slaves or prisoners of war, a point clearly anachronistic to contemporary times. Again, some commentators differ as to what is the exact meaning of this term. The term what your right hands possess (ma malakat aymanukum) occurs 14 times in the Quran, in the following Arabic forms: ما ملكت أيمانكم ما ملكت أيمانهم ما ملكت أيمانهن ما ملكت يمينك الذين ملكت أيمانكم It is most often used with reference to women, but is applied to both sexes. ...

As a result of the Islamic beliefs regarding extra-marital and pre-marital sex, many modern Muslim societies highly value virginity and maintain high rates of abstinence until marriage. While this is true for both genders, often a higher premium is placed upon a girl's virginity, with the associated higher social consequences involved for losing it.

Sex and fasting

Regarding sexual intercourse during the month of Ramadan, the Qur'an states: Ramadan or Ramadhan (Arabic: رمضان) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and the holiest month in Islam. ...

  • You [believers] are permitted to lie with your wives during the night of the fast: they are [close] as garments to you, as you are to them. God was aware that you were betraying yourselves1, so he turned to you in mercy and pardoned you: now you can lie with them -- seek what God has ordained for you -- eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct from the black. Then fast until nightfall. Do not lie with them during the nights of your devotional retreats in the mosques: these are the bounds set by God, so do not go near them. In this way God makes his messages clear to people, that they may guard themselves against doing wrong. [1 Some muslims admitted to the Prophet that they had spoiled their fast by having sexual relations during the nights of Ramadan.] (2:187)

Through emulation of the actions of Muhammad and interpretation, this same type of prohibition is extended to voluntary fasts (those which fall outside of Ramadan) as well. Select interpreters have held that the right to sexual gratification in marriage is strong enough that a married woman should seek her husband's approval before choosing days to fast; on this contemporary opinions and practices vary.

Sex and menstruation

Verse 2:222 of the Qur'an reads:

  • They ask you [Prophet] about menstruation. Say, 'Menstruation is a painful condition, so keep away from women during it. Do not approach them until they are cleansed; when they are cleansed, you may approach them as God ordained.

Many hadith, however, relate stories of Muhammad sharing a bed with his wives while they were menstruating, "fondling" them, or laying with his head in their laps, so this verse should not be interpreted to mean that "to keep away" from women when they are menstruating means anything more than a particular sexual euphemism. [citation needed]


Ordinarily accepted interpretations of the Qur'an condemn male homosexuality through the story of Lot (see Qur'an verses: 11:69-83, 29:28-35), similarly rendered to the story as it appears in the Biblical book of Genesis, as well as through a verse addressed directly to Muhammad and his followers, which reads: Since its coinage, the word homosexuality has acquired multiple meanings. ... Lot and his Daughters, Hendrik Goltzius, 1616. ... This article is about Genesis, the first book of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). ...

  • If two men commit a lewd act, punish them both; if they repent and mend their ways, leave them alone -- God is always ready to accept repentance, He is full of mercy. (4:16)

It is not always clear whether or not the Qur'an specifically refers to female homosexuality. The verse prior to the one cited above, which begins "if any of your women commit a lewd act," has been interpreted to mean female homosexuality by way of its being paired with a verse regarding "two men among you," but it has also been interpreted to refer to a more general state of illegal sexual activity. Regardless, as sexual activity in Islam has in effect been restricted to marriage and marriage restricted to relationships between opposite sex partners, the correlation broadly drawn has been that all homosexual activity is forbidden, without respect to gender.

As with other faiths, some contemporary interpreters and organizations are working to reinterpret texts so as to allow for same-gender relationships, however this burgeoning venture has not been widely accepted in the mainstream Muslim community.


At least one Islamic legal tradition forbids masturbation on the authority of a hadith which indicates that those who seek sexual gratification from other than their legal sexual partners are transgressing set limits. This is interpreted to refer not only to adultery but to masturbation as well. Another legal tradition refers to an addition hadith which reads: Islamic jurisprudence, (Arabic: Fiqh) (in Arabic and Persian: فقه) is made up of the rulings (Fatwa) of Muslim Islamic jurists (Ulema) to direct the lives of the Muslims. ... Masturbation is the manual excitation of the sexual organs, most often to the point of orgasm. ...

  • 'We were with the Prophet while we were young and had no wealth whatsoever. The Prophet said: "O assembly of youths; whoever among you possesses the physical and financial resources to marry should do so, because it helps him guard his modesty, and whoever is unable to marry should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power."' [citation needed]

Interpretations of this saying have stated that were masturbation permissible, Muhammad would have named this as a remedy for sexual frustration rather than the more difficult act of fasting, as Islamic traditions have taken seriously the belief that hardship is not sought for believers. Still, some legal schools of thought -- while agreeing that masturbation is essentially forbidden or at the very least extremely disliked -- allow for its permissibility through a legal principle of necessity, designating it as a last resort for unmarried individuals attempting to avoid succumbing to the greater sin of adultery. Madhhab(مذهب) (Madhahib, pl) is an Islamic term that refers to a school of thought or religious jurisprudence (fiqh) within Sunni Islam. ... Man and woman undergoing public exposure for adultery in Japan, around 1860 Adultery is generally defined as consensual sexual intercourse by a married person with someone other than their lawful spouse. ...

Ibn al-Qayyim is quoted as: Ibn al-Qayyim is the salafi Imam of Ahl Al-Sunna Wal-Jamaa, the haafidh (preserver of hadith), the scholar of tafseer (Quranic exegesis), usool (fundamentals of jurisprudence and law) and Fiqh (jurisprudence), Aboo ’Abdullaah Shamsud-Deen Muhammad Ibn Abee Bakr - better known as Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (or...

  • "Ibn 'Aqeel, and many of our scholars, and our Shaykh (Ibn Taymiyya) have ruled that masturbation is makruh (disliked), and never explicitly said he that it was haram". Bida al-Fawaid ref

It is not, however, in any case a sin for which there is a prescribed punishment. And as above, contemporary beliefs and practices vary. Abu al-Abbas Taqi al-Din Ahmad ibn Abd al-Salaam ibn Abdullah ibn Taymiya al-Harrani, was a jurist, reformer, preacher, scholar, exegete of Islam. ... Acts and substances which should be evaded by muslims. ... Haraam (harām) (Arabic: حرام ) is an Arabic word, used in Islam to refer to anything that is prohibited by the faith. ...


The primary method of birth control in Muhammad's time was al-'azl -- coitus interruptus, the withdrawal method. Numerous hadith are used to declare this an acceptable practice, some with stipulations that it is only so with the woman's consent. A minority of opinions instead uphold a saying attributed to Muhammad that it is "a minor infanticide," however the accuracy of this remark is generally considered weak and therefore may be disregarded. Birth control is a regimen of one or more actions, devices, or medications followed in order to deliberately prevent or reduce the likelihood of a woman giving birth or becoming pregnant. ... Coitus interruptus or withdrawal is an unreliable method of contraception in which, during sexual intercourse, the man removes his penis from the womans vagina just before he reaches orgasm. ... Hadith (Arabic: , Arabic pl. ... In sociology and biology, infanticide is the practice of intentionally causing the death of an infant of a given species, by members of the same species. ...

By correlation this general acceptance of the withdrawal method is expanded to include most modern forms of birth control. However, their use is limited to family planning purposes and are generally considered makruh (things not explicitly forbidden but which should be avoided nonetheless) if intended to permanently prevent conception. Acts and substances which should be evaded by muslims. ...


Islam does not traditionally hold that ensoulment occurs at the point of conception. Two passages in the Qur'an describe the fetal development process: Ensoulment refers to the creation of a soul within a human being or other creature. ... Fetal development is the process in which a fetus develops during gestation, from the time of conception until birth. ...

  • ...We created you from dust, then from a drop of fluid, then a clinging form, then a lump of flesh, both shaped and unshaped: We mean to make Our power clear to you. Whatever We choose We cause to remain in the womb for an appointed time, then We bring you forth as infants and then you grow and reach maturity. ... (22:5)
  • We created man from an essence of clay, then We placed him as a drop of fluid in a safe place, then We made that drop into a clinging form, and We made that form into a lump of flesh, and We made that lump into bones, and We clothed those bones with flesh, and later We made him into other forms -- glory be to God, the best of creators! (23:12-14)

Traditional scholarship places the point of ensoulment nearer to the end of this process, naming it as anywhere between 40 and 120 after conception, making abortion permissible until that point, though increasingly disliked as time passed.

Contemporary scholarship, however, is more likely to more strongly restrict or even forbid abortion, on the grounds that modern technology has permitted us to perceive life in the womb earlier than was previously possible. All schools of thought, traditional and modern, make allowances for circumstances threatening the health or life of the mother.

Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari in a lecture stated that it was murder if done after three months and before that it was a crime, but not to the degree murder.

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Sexuality, Gender & Islam- Progressive Islam (3645 words)
Sexual behaviour is different to sexual orientation as sexual behaviour refers to actions whereas sexual orientation (also) refers to feelings and to self-identity.
Someone’s sexual orientation is categorised according to the gender(s) or biological sex of the people he/she has these feelings for, that is, it describes whether a person is attracted primarily toward people of the same or the opposite sex, or to both.
Sexual orientation is different from sexual behaviour because it refers to feelings and to self-identity, rather than mere actions.
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The genius of Islam, then, is fundamentally the genius of the Arabs; the cadences of Islam are the cadences of the Arabic language; the universe of Islam was one forged in the mind of Arabic culture.
Islam, however, postulates that rationality is the highest function given to human beings and that no "faith" is legitimate without it.
Islam is primarily an exoteric religion: it is focussed on the community of the faithful rather than limited to exceptional individuals.
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