“Sex, Soul and Islam” reviewed

by Imran Andrew Price

Brisbane, Australia

Apart from some academic writings, there are few publications that deal with this fundamental issue in a simple and straight forward manner that makes it accessible to a wide audience of Muslims of all ages and both sexes. And it covers a lot of sensitive modern issues in a non-controversial manner.

I have known Osman since he taught the Basic Course in Islam class that I attended in 1996 at the Muslim Converts Association of Singapore. I did not know then how much of an impact that class would have in a very positive sense on my life since then. Osman and Enon have put to good use all their years of teaching and counselling people about their faith and their sex lives into one compact book that covers a lot of territory.

Chapter One “The element of sex in our faith” begins with a useful basic overview of Islam in order to explain the role of sex in the scheme of existence and as an expression of faith. It discusses the crucial role of marriage in Islam and why Islam is sometimes seen as being old fashioned in its views and approach to sexual matters. It emphasises that sex in marriage allows the celebration of heavenly pleasures as a “conjuror” of tranquillity, love and mercy between spouses.

Chapter Two deals with conjugal rights and looks at how Muslim societies have often failed to live up to the ideal set by the faith. It calls for a conceptual reframing of the legal rulings that are not in accordance with the faith. Both of the authors have a good understanding of the social sciences and sexual therapy theories and based on their own counselling experience have valuable lessons to share on the ideals and reality of Islamic Sexual Values.

Chapter Three titled “Rulings and etiquettes of sex” discusses how classic Islamic law rulings respond to modern trends, fetishes and genres of sexual practice. It deals with the obligatory, recommended, forbidden, undesirable and legally neutral aspects of Shariah law and then discusses topics like masturbation, oral sex and “kinky” sex.

The last chapter, “The sexual experience” Is a very practical conclusion on all of the above to give recommendations to couples based on scientific knowledge of sex especially for those newly married on their first night, those in “mid-marriage” and those in their “golden years”. It breaks a few sexual myths along the way and concludes by aiming to reclaim the Quranic ideal by embracing the guidance of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) so that “tranquillity, love and mercy may prevail in our marriages”.

It is hoped that this book will be of great assistance to many Muslims who otherwise may have difficulty in finding people to talk about these issues that are knowledgeable, sensible and sensitive to their needs.