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[Abdelwahab Bouhdiba, Sexuality in Islam, translated from the French by Alan Sheridan, London: Routledge, 1974, pp. 30-42]

CHAPTER 4: The frontier of the sexes

The Islamic view of the couple based on the pre-established, premeditated harmony of the sexes presupposed a profound complementarity of the masculine and the feminine. This harmonious complementarity is creative and procreative. By that is meant that the extension of life, which is happiness and appeasement of tension, but also satisfaction and legitimate pleasure, may take place only within the framework of nikah, whose global, total and totalizing character we have already stressed. Indeed Islam conceives of both the separation of the sexes and their union, their differentiation and their mutual adjustment. Hence the unique value attributed to each of the two sexes.

The bipolarity of the world rests on the strict separation of the two 'orders', the feminine and the masculine. The unity of the world can be achieved only in the harmony of the sexes realized with full knowledge. The best way of realizing the harmony intended by God is for the man to assume his masculinity and for a woman to assume her full feminity [sic]. The Islamic view of the world removes any guilt from the sexes, but it does so in order to make them available to one another and to realize a 'dialogue of the sexes' in a context of mutual respect and joie de vivre.

Anything that violates the order of the world is a grave 'disorder', a source of evil and anarchy. That is why zina arouses such strong, unanimous condemnation. However, in a sense, zina still remains within the framework of order. It is a disorder in order: it does not strictly speaking violate the fundamental order of the world; it violates only its modalities. It is, in its own way, a form of harmony between the sexes. It is a false nikah, it is not an anti-nikah. It recognizes the harmonious complementarity of the sexes and its error lies in wishing to realize it outside the limits laid down by God.

Islam remains violently hostile to all other ways of realizing sexual desire, which are regarded as unnatural purely and simply because they run counter to the antithetical harmony of the sexes; they violate the harmony of life; they plunge man into ambiguity; they violate the very architectonics of the cosmos. As a result the divine curse embraces both the boyish woman and the effeminate man, male and female homophilia, auto-eroticism, zoophilia, etc. Indeed all these 'deviations' involve the same refusal to accept the sexed body and to assume the female or male condition. Sexual deviation is a revolt against God.

'God has cursed those who alter the frontiers of the earth.'1 In these terms the prophet condemns any violation of the separation of the sexes. Tradition has it that four categories of person incur the anger of God: 'Men who dress themselves as women and women who dress themselves as men, those who sleep with animals and those who sleep with men.'2 Homosexuality (liwat)3 incurs the strongest condemnation. It is identified with zina and it is advocated that the most horrible punishment should be applied to those who indulge in it.

In the final analysis, liwat even designates all forms of sexual and parasexual perversion. Nevertheless, in Islam, male homosexuality stands for all the perversions and constitutes in a sense the depravity of depravities. Female homosexuality (musahaqa), while equally condemned, is treated with relative indulgence and those who indulge in it incur only the same reprimand as those condemned for auto-eroticism, bestiality or necrophilia.4

Lot, as we shall see, has a quite different significance in Islam and in Christianity.5 Indeed, in Genesis there is an extension of the myth6 that does not exist in the Quran. Held alone in a cave with their father, Lot's two daughters get drunk and sleep with him in turn in order to perpetuate the race threatened with extinction by the destruction of Sodom.

The Quran,7 unlike the Bible, makes no mention of Lot's incest, let alone justifies it. So a veritable change of meaning in the approach to sexual questions takes place in the movement from the Bible to the Quran. A modern dictionary can declare:

The biblical account is our first tradition of incest, extrapolations from the Egyptian civilization forming only part of our culture and Oedipus being no more than a poetic idea. Indeed the difference between the three incestuous states is quite considerable. The incest of the pharaohs belonged to a sort of sacred biology to which they submitted themselves. Oedipus's incest is an involuntary drama worked out by fate. Only Lot's incest with his daughters is a willed act, at least on the part of the two women; even if we do not ignore that the purpose was to perpetuate the race, incest, willed and willing, is nevertheless present.8

For a Muslim, on the other hand, it would be unthinkable that Lot, the virtuous prophet, the man spared from the destruction of Sodom, could, even unknown to himself, sink into incest. This is because the meaning of Lot's paradigm has been displaced in Islam from incest to homosexuality. Not that incest is less serious. It is an abominable depravity and strictly prohibited. There is no legal nikah between ascendants and descendants, between laterals and collaterals, between uncles and nieces, and between aunts and nephews. But the crime of incest is never actually mentioned in the fiqh. It is not differentiated, not even linguistically, since there is no word in Arabic to designate it specifically. Indeed we have already noted that the notion of incest is quite different in Islam and in Christian canon law. This is because the great sexual taboo of Islam is not so much failing to respect a kinship relation as violating the order of the world, the sexual division and the distinction between male and female. In addition to being a depravity, a search after refined pleasure, homosexuality is a challenge to the order of the world as laid down by God and based upon the harmony and radical separation of the sexes.

So much so indeed that the segregation of the sexes almost ends up embracing the segregation of the age groups, and by affecting beardless boys whose virility is not yet sufficiently marked to discount any wicked temptation of homophilia. The mere sight of pretty boys is regarded by the fiqh as disturbing and terribly tempting. According to one hadith there are three sorts of male homosexual: 'those who look, those who touch and those who commit the criminal act'.9

'Grown men', comments Alussi, 'have behaved in an exaggerated fashion in turning away from beardless boys, in refraining even from looking at them and sitting next to them. Al-Hassan Ibn Dhakwam said: "Do not sit next to the sons of the rich and noble: they have faces like those of virgins and they are even more tempting than women."'

Thus we pass imperceptibly from a world based on the dichotomy of the sexes to a world based on the dichotomy of ages, since youth is quite simply projected on to the feminine side - and duly repressed! This is because the frontier between the masculine and the feminine was to be so carefully marked in terms of the hudud Allah. After all the temporary devirilization of the fityan and murd constitutes no more than an additional precaution arising from the laying down of rigid frontiers between masculine and feminine.

The sexual dichotomy ought quite naturally to be marked at the level of clothing. It is hardly surprising, then, that the books of the fiqh regulated the ways in which each of the two sexes were to dress right down to the slightest detail. The collection of Bokhari's hadiths represent an entire book on correct dress.10 Of course, the Muslim is left free to dress as he wishes providing he respects everything that serves to differentiate the sexes, while covering the shapes of the body. What it amounts to is a substitution of the anatomical forms of the body by a sexual symbolism of clothing. Clothes fulfill, therefore a very precise function over and above their universal utilitarian one: that of transcending the biological towards the theological. Clothes cease to be a mere custom and become a system of ethics, even of theology. Thus the toga (izar) must reach the ankles. Clothes must not be tight or cling to the body. Canonical clothing consists of a loose burnous, very loose-fitting trousers for those who do not have cloth, sandals, a turban, a night cap and a flannel belt, which may be decorated. The way the clothes must be worn is also laid down. One must not wrap oneself in a single garment, thus allowing the sexual organs to be exposed in whole or in part. The prophet also advised against touching other men's clothes or pulling on them violently lest they be accidentally removed.11

The colours green, red and white are strongly advocated for men to the exclusion of any other colours. What is more, men must not wear clothes made of silk: 'Silk is made for women', 'al harir lil nisa'.12 Gold jewellery is strictly forbidden for 'al khatem lil nisa'.13

The beard is a male prerogative. It must be the object of scrupulous and continuous attention. Indeed five things are defined as 'natural' (mianl fitra): circumcision, mourning, shaving of the armpits, cutting of the fingernails and wearing a beard.14 Another hadith adds shaving of the pubic hair and the trimming of the moustache.15 On the other hand, men must not have tattoos.16

In this set of prescriptions, the beard enjoys a privileged position. It is indeed the symbol of virility, just as the veil is the symbol of feminity [sic]. But whereas the veil, as is normal, must conceal femininity, the beard is intended on the contrary to draw attention to itself and in some sense exhibit virility. The beard is a form of masculinity. There is therefore a canonical duty to wear a beard.

It must be worn long, but trimmed, brushed, combed and smoothed down.17 One grasps it in the fist and only that part of it that protrudes from the fist must be cut. It is recommended to scent it.18 It may also be dyed, henna being particularly recommended. One may ask one's wife or concubine to assist one in this matter.19

The Prophet set the example by taking meticulous, patient, loving care of his beard.20 He recommended 'to trim the moustache and to let the beard flow free'.21

But he himself combed his beard forty times on the top and as many times underneath and said that this increased one's vivacity and intelligence and eliminated phlegm.22 Aysha was fond of taking an oath by using the following words: 'Not by him who has adorned heroes with beards.' Another hadith 'makes a link between the fullness of the beard and the breadth of the intelligence.' There is, therefore, a definite connection between the beard and intelligence! There is a close correspondence between the beard and authority, wisdom, power and judgment.

An Arabic treatise on physiognomy informs us that 'the superior man, reasonable, intelligent, philosophical, enlightened, aware, learned, a good judge of men, has hair (khamuti) between the dark and the red, neither hard nor sparse, neither abundant nor thin, neither excessively long nor too hard, neither too thick nor too fine....'23

At a more general level, one recognized, in traditional Arab society, the social rank of a man by the length, shape and colour of his beard. 'Thus a bourgeois sported a fine beard of average length, dyed either blue, yellow, green or red. A workman or a slave could be recognized by a small beard cut fairly short. Notables and men practising the liberal professions, doctors, qadis, teachers, imams, wore very long beards, white as snow, while those of soldiers were divided into two tufts of the finest black.'24

It is understandable, then, that facial hair should be a matter of pride, for youths who have waited for it so long and for mature men who wear it as an aesthetic attraction, an instrument of seduction and as a sign of prestige.

The female point of view must not be ignored, for it is crucial on this subject, as Shahrazad makes quite clear in The Thousand and One Nights. To a woman who expresses a preference for youths without prickly moustaches and beards, she replies caustically:

My sister, you are a fool...! Do you not know that a tree is beautiful when it has leaves...? A beard and moustaches are to a man what long hair is to a woman.... And yet you tell me to choose a beardless boy for a lover? Do you think that I would ever stretch myself out for love below a youth who, hardly mounted, thinks of dismounting; who, hardly stretched, thinks of relaxing; who, hardly knotted, thinks of unknotting; who, hardly arrived, thinks of going away; who, hardly stiffened, thinks of melting; who, hardly risen, thinks of falling, who, hardly laced, thinks of unlacing.... Undeceive yourself, poor sister! I will never leave a man who enlaces as soon as he sniffs, who stays when he is in, who fills himself when he is empty, who begins again when he has finished, whose moving is excellence, whose jerking is a gift, who is generous when he gives, and, when he pushes, pierces!'25

Generally speaking, it can be said that there is an undeniable fetishism of hair in Islam, the significance of which is both sexual and religious. If Kairwan is regarded as a very holy city it is not so much because it was the first city to be founded in Africa by the Arab conquerors or because so many martyrs of the Islamic faith died there and still have their graves there, but rather because of the presence there of the remains of the Prophet's companion, Abu Zama'a al-Balawi, buried in the city with the three hairs that he pulled one day from the Prophet's beard and which he always kept on him.26

Behind the fetishism of the beard stands the wider fetishism of clothing based on the separation of the sexes. Clothes, an instrument of modesty, must conceal the body and at the same time reflect the sexual dichotomy of the world. This function was to be assumed on the female side by the veil, whose value goes well beyond its merely utilitarian purpose and springs from a veritable theology of the maintenance of female purity.

The veil appears to have been 'invented' by Omar27 and he was no less proud of the fact because it was God himself who had given it to him. The ultimate limit of the separation of the sexes, the ever-renewed, tenacious symbol both of Islam and of Muslim woman, the veil, is to be found at the centre of a powerful mythology that derives its letters patent of nobility and its justification from the Quran itself.

Say to the believers, that they cast down
their eyes and guard their private parts;
that is purer for them. God is aware of
the things they work.
And say to the believing women, that they
cast down their eyes and guard their private
parts, and reveal not their adornment
save such as is outward; and let them cast
their veils over their bosoms, and not reveal
their adornment save to their husbands,
or their fathers, or their husbands' fathers,
or their sons or their husbands' sons,
or their brothers, or their brothers' sons,
or their sisters' sons, or their women,
or what their right hands own, or such men
as attend them, not having sexual desire,
or children who have not yet attained knowledge
of women's private parts; nor let them stamp
their feet so that their hidden ornament
may be known. And turn all together
to God, O you believers; haply so
you will prosper.28

So there is a double recommendation to lower one's eyes and to conceal one's private parts. There is a psycho-sociology of the look here, but one that apprehends it as the beginning of 'transgressing' the limits laid down by God.

The veil, then, places the Muslim woman in the most utter anonymity. To be a Muslim woman is to live incognito. And to make doubly sure, Arab society places the female sex behind bars. The Arab house was to become a stone veil enclosing the cotton or woollen veil. Misogyny is not far away. A subtle lover of femininity, Ibn Hazm, himself the author of the treatise on love known as The Pigeon's Necklace, does not hesitate to make the following comment on the quranic verses:

Now if Allah the Powerful and the Great did not know the subtlety with which women play with their eyes to try to attain their lovers' hearts, the subtlety of their strategems when they use craft to arouse passion, certainly he would not have laid such stress on that vast and profound idea, infinite in its implications. These are cases when one remains outside the limit of the danger of seduction. What then can be said of cases in which one finds oneself within that limit?29

The look, the last entrenchment of the frontier of the sexes, was to become the object of strict religious recommendations. If one remembers Sartre's fine observations on the look, the various descriptions of the fiqh and Sunna take on a striking significance. The confrontation of the sexes, as conceived by Islam, transforms each sexual partner into an 'être-regard', being-as-a-look, to use Sartre's term.30

The 'upsurge of the other's look'31 has been so clearly felt by Islam that one may speak quite literally of a subtle dialectic of the encounter of the sexes through the exchange of looks. How to look and how to be looked at are the object of a precise, meticulous apprenticeship that is an integral part of the socialization of the Muslim. To be a Muslim is to control one's gaze and to know how to protect one's own intimacy from that of others.

However, the concept of intimacy is far-reaching, for we are confronted here by the concept of 'aura, which tradition divides into four categories: what a man may see of a woman, what a woman may see of a man, what a man may see of a man, what a woman may see of a woman.

Between men and women and also men before their own wives, the part to be concealed from the eyes of others stretches from the navel to the knees exclusively, with a greater or less tolerance for the lower part of the thighs, especially in the case of youths. A woman must reveal only her face and hands. Between husband and wife sight is permitted of the whole of the body except for the partners' sexual organs, which one is advised not to see for 'the sight of them makes one blind'.32 However, this is allowed in cases where it is necessary, for juridical or medical purposes, to examine the sexual organs of the zani or woman in confinement.

Certain fuqaha authorize the partners to look at one another's sexual organs during intercourse. Zayla'i, armed with the opinion of Ibn 'Omar and Imam Abu Hanifa, even affirms that it increases one's ability to reach the quintessence of ecstasy.33 Could it be that in every Muslim there is a sleeping voyeur? One is tempted to think so when one reads a hadith reported by Zayla'i himself. 'The sight of the sexual organs engenders oblivion.'34 For Razi the look is an aphrodisiac so powerful that the temptation it arouses is irresistible.35

Indeed the root 'aur is very rich. To begin with it signifies the loss of an eye. The qualificative adjective 'aura came to mean the word or the act, for, as the Lisan al'-arab explains, it is as if 'the obscene word or act put out the eye and prevented it from carrying the look very far and with great clarity'.36 A powerful conjoint mythology of the look and the sexual organ!

Other significant hadiths bear witness to the canonical and oneiric importance of the 'aura. 'The man who looks with concupiscence at the attractions of a woman who is not his will have lead poured into his eyes on the Day of Judgment.'37 'The man who looks at the forms of a woman beyond her clothes to such an extent that he is able to make out the form of the bones (sic) will not smell the odour of paradise.'38 'The man who touches the hand of a woman who is not his will have burning coals put into his hand on the Day of Judgment.'39

Zayla'i adds this admirable commentary: 'If the woman in question is very beautiful, of course. But if she is simply an undesirable old woman there is at first sight no harm in shaking her hand and touching it: she could not arouse temptation.' And he adds at once, almost correcting himself, by way of conclusion: 'But if it is a young man shaking the hand of an old woman, he will certainly not feel desire rising within him. But the old woman herself may very well be excited when the young man touches her hand. She has known the pleasure of intercourse and touching a man's hand, therefore, arouses desire in her. It is therefore permitted only to two children, or two old people sheltered from any temptation, to touch one another's hands.'40

Total nudity is very strongly advised against, even when one is 'alone'. This is because absolute solitude does not exist in a world in which we share existence with the djinns and angels. 'Never go into water without clothing for water has eyes,' Daylami observes.41

This set of prescriptions defines the Muslim conception of the 'lawful look' (al-nadhar al-mubah') and a contrario the zina of the eye (zina al 'aini).42 The Prophet said: 'The zina of the eye is the look; the zina of the tongue is the word; the zina of the hand is the touch; the zina of the foot is to walk towards our desires.'43 He also said: 'God the Sublime said to me: "The look is an arrow of Iblis. The man who looks away out of fear of Me, I transform that look into an act of faith the sweetness of which he will savour in his heart."'44

On the other hand: 'Whoever looks at a woman when he is fasting in such a way that he can see the form of the bones (sic) of that woman, his fast is broken.'45

One should add that similar prescriptions apply to the auditory function. This is because the frontiers between the sexes may be crossed, even if the visual function is limited and regulated, by the hearing of a word, a song or even the sound of a footstep or the movement of hips! The quranic verse quoted above lays down precise recommendations for the sound produced by ankle bracelets (khalkhal). The zina of the ear (zina al-udhuni) is hardly less reprehensible than the zina of the eye.46 It is therefore 'forbidden to the Muslim to take pleasure in the harmonious voice of a woman who is not his'.47

The voice of a Muslim woman is also 'aura. Not only because the sweet words coming from her mouth must be heard only by her husband and master, but because the voice may create a disturbance and set in train the cycle of zina. When one knocks at the door of a house and there is no man or little boy or little girl to answer 'Who is there?', woman must never speak: she must be content with clapping her hands.

Hence that love at a distance based almost exclusively on hearing or hearsay and which is fed on fantasy. 'Sometimes the ear falls madly in love before the eye,' as the libertine poet Bashshar Ibn Burd nicely puts it, but perhaps we should remember that Bashshar was blind.

Yet in a sense does not the whole of Arabo-Muslim society suffer more or less consciously from a 'blindness' imposed by the law of the inexorable separation of the sexes? After all, in practice, a good half of society spends its time hiding itself from the other half, while trying to imagine it or surprise it! Voyeurism is a refuge and a compensation. Arabic poetry became a hymn to the eyes and a symphony of the gaze. Love may be born from a description, a portrait. Fantasy and reality overstimulated one another. Can one ever become blind to others?

Thus rigid, hermetic frontiers define femininity and masculinity, by laying down strict rules governing status and role. It might well be expected that any ambiguity on the matter would have disappeared from Muslim society. However, that would be to ignore human reality. Moreover, there is a great problem of 'travesty' in Arabo-Muslim life. The masculine woman and the effeminite [sic] man are accursed.48

This is because travesty is a constant and because the veil took some time to catch on and indeed never became an absolute rule. In the countryside of the Maghreb, for example, it never became accepted. Habib Zayyat is not afraid to declare that the masculine woman has a widespread occurrence before the Revelation and after it.49

It is because the sexual dichotomy is itself essentially anxiety inducing. How far we are from the magnificent harmony practised by the beautiful, vigorous quranic conception of sexual accord as the source of life and existence! In this context travesty is merely a sign of psychological hermaphroditism aggravated by the cultural context. It indicates a profound disturbance in sexuality. Taking refuge in the clothes of the opposite sex is a refusal to assume one's own sexual condition. It is to play the role of the opposite sex. The virilization of woman, the need to dress as a man, that is to say, the search for the external forms of masculinity, are a more or less satisfied revolt against femininity and the status accorded the weaker sex.

This is the significance of those innumerable masculine women (ghulamiyyat) in Islam. The Thousand and One Nights, the kitab al-aghani, for example, has left us, among others, innumerable delightful examples.

The embarrassment of the fuqaha when faced with the extreme cases of true hermaphroditism is even greater. What is a hermaphrodite, a mukhannath? A man? A woman? Something else? Is it a malformation of nature? In a world in which the pre-established, premeditated, but hierarchized and dichotomized harmony of the sexes is the rule, what exactly is its place and what is its status? Does the hermaphrodite inherit as a male (double) or as a female (half). Does he/she wear the veil? Where does he/she pray, with the men or with the women? What in fact is he/she?

Al-Washtani defines the hermaphrodite thus: 'He resembles women in his moral qualities, his way of speaking, his way of walking. The name comes from the word takhannuth, which is a way of associating gentleness and a break. Indeed the mukhannath is gentle of speech and broken of walk. It may be as a result of creation, but it may also be a mode of behaviour deriving from a perversion.'50 To the ambiguity of intersexuality is added that of authenticity! Hermaphroditism is a pole of ambiguity.

The question was already posed even during the lifetime of the Prophet, who advocated removal to a safe distance.

The incident of the Hermaphrodite of Medina is interesting on more than one count. One day, when the Messenger of God was at home, Um Salma, one of the Prophet's wives, was visited by a hermaphrodite who said to her: 'If God assures you victory at Taif tomorrow, I shall take you to the daughter of Ghailan: seen from the front she has four folds on her belly, but seen from behind she has eight! Her mouth? A veritable poppy! When she walks, she folds herself in two! When she speaks, she enchants! The space between her legs is an upturned jar....' The Messenger of God, who was there, then said to her: 'You allowed your eyes to dwell long upon her!' And he decided to exile him.51 Indeed the rest of the hadith informs us that the hermaphrodite in question was really a woman since in the end she married one of the Prophet's companions.

Ibrahim Halbi's Multaqa al-abhur devotes a whole chapter to the question and provides a perfect summary of it.52 The hermaphrodite has two sexes, male and female. He is to be characterized by the sexual organ from which he urinates most. Where there are equal quantities, there is an ambiguity, for the quantity of urine emerging from both sexual organs can no longer serve as a positive criterion. One will then wait until puberty and the appearance of some feature of masculinity. If his beard grows, if he is able to make love, if he has nocturnal emissions, he is a man. If, on the other hand, he menstruates, gets pregnant, has fairly voluminous breasts and can give milk, if one can have sexual intercourse with him, he is a woman. But if none of these characters appears, or if, on the contrary, they appear, but in a contradictory way, then there is a fundamental ambiguity ... and one is dealing with a true hermaphrodite. When the ambiguity is obvious one must 'decide on the most prudent course'. He will say his prayers veiled, but will take up his position between the men and the women. If ever he says his prayers in the rows reserved for the men, those who were his immediate neighbours on the left, on the right, in front and behind, must say their prayers again.53 If he has said his prayers in the rows reserved to the women, then he must say his prayers again.54 He must wear neither silk clothes nor jewellery. On his pilgrimage to Mecca he must not wear sewn clothes and he must unveil neither before men nor before women. He must not travel without a veil. He will be circumcized neither by a man nor by a woman. But a female slave will be bought for him at his own expense or at the expense of the Bait el Mal and she will circumcize him. If he dies before his sex is determined, he will not be washed.55 But he will be given simply a pulveral lustration (tayammum). He will be wrapped in five winding sheets. When he reaches adulthood, he will never attend any ceremony of funeral washing of man or woman. It is advisable to cover his grave with a veil as his body is being lowered into the grave.56 If the funeral prayers are collective, one places the just man in front of the Imam, then the hermaphrodite and lastly the woman,57 and they all say the prayer together. In the case of an inheritance he must have the smallest share. If his father dies and he has a brother, that brother inherits, according to Shafei, two shares and the hermaphrodite only one. According to Abu Yussef, he will have the arithmetical average, that is, three-sevenths. If he is found guilty of theft, his hand will be cut off and if ever the law of retaliation is applied to him he will be treated as a woman, whether he is the victim or the author of the original damage.

The theoretical importance accorded extreme cases does not derive as one might think from a gratuitous casuistry. On the contrary it expresses a real concern to establish as precisely and strictly as possible the limits of the sexes, for these are in fact, limits laid down by God. This concern to go as far as possible into detail shows how much the intersexual frontiers are difficult to draw up and the importance they have in the eyes of the Muslim consciousness which, having decided to limit sexual relations to nikah, finds itself led more and more to set up an impenetrable wall between the sexes.



1 Alusi Zadeh, Ghaliyyat al-mawa'idh, vol. II, p. 6.

2 Ibid., p. 5. Cf. 'Aini, vol. X, p. 279.

3 Liwat sodomy. Cf. Alussi Zadeh, vol. II, p. 4. Cf. also al-Jassas, Akkam al-quran, vol. III, p. 263; Razi, vol. VI, p. 245ff. Cf. also Quran, VII, 78ff; Xl, 79-84; XXI, 74; XXII, 43; XXVI, 165-75; XXVII, 56~9; XXIV, 27-33.

4 Razi, vol. VI, p. 247, vol. III, p. 182; Alussi, vol. II, p. 5; Jassas, vol. III, p. 263.

5 Cf. Genesis, 19, 1-23.

6 Genesis, 19, 30-40.

7 Cf. Quran, 'The Battlements', VII, p. 143ff.

8 Dictionnaire de sexologie, p. 273.

9 Alussi, Ghaliat al-mawa'idhi, vol. II, p. 7.

10 Bokhari, vol. VII, pp. 158-78.

11 Ibid., p. 166.

12 Ibid., p. 170.

13 Ibid., p. 177.

14 Ibid., p. 177.

15 Ibid., p. 179.

16 'Aini, vol. X, p. 228.

17 Ibid., p. 186. Cf. also 'Aini, vol. X, p. 306.

18 Bokhiri, vol. VII, p. 182.

19 Ibid., vol. VII, p. 183.

20 Cf. Souques, Mahomet et l'hygiène; Mahomet et les parfums; H. Zayat, Le port de la barbe en islam.

21 Bokhari, vol. VII, p. 182.

22 After Nawadir al-ishraq fi makarim al akhlaq, quoted by H. Zayat, loc. cit., p. 735.

23 Shams al-din al-Ansari, Kitab al-syasa fi'ilm al firasa, lithographed, Cairo edition, 1882, p. 29.

24 A. Mazahêri, La Vie quotidienne des musulmans au Moyen Age, p. 70.

25 The Thousand and One Nights, II, pp. 374-5.

26 I shall return later to the theme of depilation of the pubis as a prelude to the sexual act and as a factor in eroticism.

27 'Aini, vol. II, p. 320.

28 Quran, 'Light', XXIV, 30-1, pp. 355-6. Cf. Razi's commentary, vol. VI, p. 295ff. Cf. 'Aini, vol. IX, p. 100 and vol. X, p. 480.

29 Ibn Hazm, Le Collier du pigeon, trans. Bercher, p. 325.

30 J.-P. Sartre, L'être et le néant, p. 327; Being and Nothingness, trans. Hazel. E. Barnes, London, Methuen, 1958, p. 268.

31 Ibid.

32 Razi, vol. VI, p. 296. Cf. also Alussi, p. 13.

33 Zayla'i, vol. VI, p. 18: 'yakunu ablaghu fi tahsili ma'na allaqhdhati'.

34 Ibid.

35 Razi, vol. VI, pp. 297-8.

36 Ibn Mandhur, Lisan al'Arab, vol. VI, p. 293ff.

37 Zayla'i, vol. VI, p. 17.

38 Ibid.

39 Ibid., p. 18.

40 Ibid.

41 Alusi Zadeh, vol. II, p. 13.

42 Cf. Fatawa Hindiyya, vol. V, p. 327.

43 Alusi Zadeh, vol. II, 7.

44 Ibid.

45 Quoted by Ibn Hazm, Le Collier du pigeon, p. 323.

46 Fatawa Hindiyya, vol. V; 351.

47 Ibn Hazm, Le Collier du pigeon, p. 323.

48 Bokhari, vol. VII, pp. 52 and 58. Cf. 'Aini, vol. X, p. 279ff. Moslem, vol. V, p. 444ff.

49 Habib Zayyat, La Femme garçonne en islam, p. 156.

50 Al-Washtani, commentary by Moslem, vol. V, p. 444ff.

51 Moslem, vol. V, p. 445ff.

52 Ibrahim Halbi, Multaqa al-abhur, pp. 224-5.

53 For their prayer, said in the company of a woman, may be regarded as null and void. It is more prudent for them to begin it again.

54 It is his prayer that runs the risk of being null and void, if he later proves to be of the male sex.

55 For one would not know of which sex the person who would wash him should be. Since one cannot buy a slave woman from a dead man she would not belong to him and therefore be allowed to touch him.

56 As would be done in the case of a woman just in case.

57 That is to say the same order as during his lifetime in the mosque.