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7 Marriage and Sexuality

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Chapter Summary

Marriage in Islam is not a religious duty like fasting and prayer. It is, however, an important institution that is addressed in the Koran, ḥadīth, and religious literature. For Arab men, sex was and still is a thorny problem. In his lifetime the Prophet was their adviser in this and other domains. The Koran and ḥadīth enjoin young men to marry, but at the same time impose on them a duty to provide a dowry, or a bridal gift. The most famous statement made on masturbation is the story cited by al-Ghazali, in the context of the second advantage of marriage, i.e., the satisfying of sexual desire.The cult of virginity in Arab culture is rooted in the Koran and ḥadīth. Men had an extra advantage over and above all other privileges: they were required to observe no waiting period after divorce.

Keywords: ḥadīth; Islam; Koran; marriage; sexual desire; virginity



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