Why this book is different

Firstly, the book is written to complement the currently prevailing approach of correcting and rebutting individual misconceptions. As important as that approach is, there is also a need for the message to be told from the beginning to the end, from its root formation to its blooming splendour, in totality, the way it was meant to be understood. To believe or to scorn is the readers’ prerogative. But the true message deserves a fair hearing intact and ours is an attempt at this approach.

Secondly, much of available literature on Islamic sexual guidance are heavily inclined towards the syariah: the halal-and-haram, rulings, dos and don’ts and such. However, it bears reminding that syariah is only one aspect of the Islamic message. As far as we know, no one had interweaved the subject of sex with all three aspects of aqidah, syariah and akhlaq into one holistic message. Not all subjects are addressed in all three aspects. But sex is. Muslim couples would benefit from this holistic study of the three different sexual connections to the Islamic message.

Thirdly, sexual guidance books by and for Muslims are typically instructive and prescriptive in nature. Obviously, this applies to fiqihi-inclined guide books. But even those promising an akhlaqi angle of sexual guidance usually end up dwelling into its adabs or prescribed etiquettes, instead. In other words, there is an enduring tendency to prescribe. Muslims could do with a little bit of reflections on why these are what they are in order to have an inkling of the ideals and spirit behind these prescriptions. This book essentially shares our reflections through the decades of observing the disconnect between Islamic sexual ideals and Muslim sexual practices gleaned from our sex-related marital problem cases.

Fourthly, the book synthesizes Enon’s university education in the social sciences as well as a combination of her professional and Osman’s para-counselling experience in sex-related marital counselling supported by our self-study of sexual research and sex-therapy techniques – on the one hand – with our traditional Islamic upbringing and more than two decades of gradual study of Islamic literature on sex and marriage to feed our career and activism – on the other. As such, the book is a bridge between old and new, theory and practice, religion and science, and ideals and realities – regarding marriage, family, love, sex and relationships. In addition, our experience educating converts and non-Muslims helps us present these age-old ideals in ways appreciable to discerning, critical, and even sceptical modern adults.