"Well, how do you know if you and your future spouse are sexually compatible if you don't have sex before marriage? What if he's a dud in bed?"
I did a double take at the text message, let out a sigh of exasperation, and tucked my phone away.
Abstinence. Islam, and many other faith traditions, preach "no-sex-before-marriage" as the ideal. Yet the reality is that the majority of non-married individuals will engage in pre-marital sex. The statistics related to Muslim communities are no different: research by Sobia Ali-Faisal indicated that of over 400 17-35 year old Muslims surveyed, 2/3 had engaged in pre-marital sex. And of the 1/3 who didn't, 50% had seriously considered it.
At this point, I'd like to clarify that this post is not about the fiqh (i.e. religious law) related to pre-marital sex. I'm sure at one point or another as Muslims that we have either received the "sex is haraam" line during our 5-minute pre-puberty sex talk, an…
No one gets married with the intention that they will get divorced, nor do they think that divorce will ever happen to them.
But it does. And within our own Muslim communities and that of the mainstream population, divorce happens approximately 50% of the time. The majority, within our own community, are after between three to seven years of marriage, followed by one to two years. Marriages that are still in their infant stages, but for a whole host of complicated reasons, they cannot and do not survive.
To state that there is stigma in our community around divorce would be an understatement. For something that happens at astounding rates, we are doing a horrible job at (a) holding safe conversations for people to share experiences and receive support; (b) educating couples prior to the wedding regarding marriage strategies; (c) supporting those who have gone through divorce with re-entering the marriage arena, should they desire to do so; and (d) not passing judgments onto those who…
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a topic that for many reasons elicits strong reactions within groups who are against the practice, those who support it, and even those who are confused about what to believe. However, very few resources on FGM take a holistic view on the topic and bring in an understanding of female sexuality. Given that I have worked extensively in the field of sexual health and not religious scholarship, many of my points relate to the former field with some elucidations to religious contexts with the support of an expert. Please refer to the highlighted text within this post to link to further readings.
The following points are worth considering:
1. Those who are in support of FGM often believe that the practice is a means to "control female sexual desire," which implies that women have rampant sexual desires that if not controlled would lead to a great deal of premarital sexual activity, and from an Islamic perspective, sin. The term "hypersexual…