Islam, Sex, and the Terror War
All religions devote a lot of time telling the
faithful how to conduct their sex lives. The debate over sex led to large
bodies of recommendations, rules, and traditions. Judaism celebrates women
as wives and mothers. Christianity does so as well and Catholicism goes a
step further beatifying some women as saints. Islam, as actually practiced
in Middle Eastern nations, has diverged from its purported theological
grant of equality of the sexes.
A quick look at the Judeo-Christian tradition shows
how its creators felt conflicted about women. Eve, of course, gets the
blame for the expulsion from Eden. If one reads the Ten Commandments, it
is noteworthy they include injunctions against adultery and against
coveting the wife of your neighbor. So sex and the problems that can arise
from it were on the minds of the writers of the laws set forth for Jews.
In both the Old and New Testaments, a great deal of thought is devoted to
the relationship of men and women. There is even debate today over the
relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. The early Church fathers
converted her from a beloved apostle of Jesus to a prostitute. When it
comes to religion, women do not fare well.
Muhammad, an Arab merchant with what appears to be a
powerful sex drive, promulgated some significant changes as he put
together Islam to bring the various Arabian tribes under his control. The
most obvious change he instituted was the right of a man to have four
wives. When Muhammad took a fancy to the wife of an adopted son, Ziad, a
quick divorce ensued and a marriage followed (Koran 33:37).
Muhammad was given special dispensation (Koran 33:50) to have a
score of wives and concubines. His second wife after the death of his
first was literally a child who was married off to him at the age of six
and had her marriage consummated at age nine. He was 53 at the time.
The notion of four wives is clearly out of step with
the Judeo-Christian tradition of one man and one woman forming an
exclusive union. Multiple marriages (for men only) were, however, an
effective way for Muhammad to induce early converts to Islam. Moreover,
under Islam, a man could also keep any number of concubines. There’s
even a mechanism to sanction what we in the West would call “one night
stands” called a “m’uta marriage.” It is banned by Sunnis, but
reportedly still permitted by Shiites. In short, men were given license to
satisfy their lust and, at the same time, produce more children to
increase the population of Muslims.
Muslim apologists maintain that women have equal
rights, but Muslims recommend, above all other considerations, that a
woman be a virgin when she marries and that she marry early. Islam appears
to limit sex exclusively to marriage, but historically Muslim men were
given access to as many women as they could afford, as wives, as
concubine, or as “right hand possessions”, i.e., women captured in
war. Conversely, sex between two unmarried people is regarded as
“filthy.” Indeed, sex and hygiene is the subject of detailed