Love, Sex and Islam
Sex in the Here-And-Now
Anne Part 2
I could not bring myself to tell her I loved her back, though I liked her lot, as a person and as a lover. If I had said I loved her, it would have meant I cared for her more than I cared for Lucette, and that was simply not the case. Nonetheless, when she asked me to move in with her, I said I would talk it over with my wife—as silly as that sounds.
That obviously took her aback. “What do you mean you want talk it over with your wife?” she said. “You tell her you’re leaving, pack your bags, and come over to my place. You don’t drag this sort of thing out!”
Talking about things that mattered is what my Lucette and I did all the time. When I brought up the idea of leaving her, she said: “It’s Anne, isn’t it?” Before I had a chance to answer, in the forthright and confident manner that I admired, she added: “She is not the woman for you. I am!”
She would grant me a divorce only after we had gone to a marriage counsellor and been told that our marriage could not be saved. I said my mind was made up. “In that case,” she replied, “I will see a counsellor by myself.”
She may have been playing for time, hoping that I would come to my senses, which I did, but it was a close thing. During what turned out to be a short affair—as affairs go, I assume—I had never spent the night with Anne. I always went home to my Lucette.
It was another late night at work and with nothing for her to do, I asked Anne to wait for me at the bar across the street. When I arrived, she was having a drink with the barman and another guy. She got straight to the point. If I didn’t spend the night with her, she would spend it with these guys, pointing at each grinning face in turn.
Lucette was right. She was not the one for me. Lucette was already in bed when I got home. It was not that late, but since the day I had told her of my intention to leave her for another woman, she had started going to bed earlier and earlier.
I sat on the floor. She allowed me to take her hand while I apologized for what I had put her through. She admitted that the counselling had ended some time ago, and that the last piece of advice from the counsellor had been that I wasn’t worth it, to divorce me and get on with her life.
I also didn’t think I was worth it at the time, but I am glad my Lucette did.
“But what if it happens again?”
A line had been crossed. The only guarantee I could give her was that I would never leave her. I would always be there for her when she needed me. She would have to leave me.
That I would always be there to look after her, if she needed looking after, she took for granted. I think I proved that during the more than eight years she struggled with the twin afflictions of lung cancer and kansasii that would eventually compel her to reluctantly leave me forever. Her respirologist, in a final report on her condition, noted what he considered extraordinary devotion on the part of a spouse. It wasn’t. It was her due and a promise kept.
After the episode with Anne, my Lucette was obviously doubtful that I still loved her the way I used to—at least, until the broken condom incident.
Anne didn’t come into work the next day. She called just before lunch and asked if I would come over. She met me at the door dressed in some sort of swimsuit with frills. I didn’t care to come in and told her it was over. She said she was sorry about the night before, and turned around, asking me to follow.
The bottom backside of what I took to be a one-piece swimsuit was nothing more than a piece of crinkly fabric, slightly wider than a G-string, stretched between two squarish, kissing buttocks. It reminded me of the behind that Cybil Shepherd bared in The Last Picture Show.
She started walking up the stairs that led to her bedroom, those attractive buns moving to the rhythm of her slow climb as if begging me to follow. I did.
When I got there, she was already sprawled across the bed, resting on her elbows and facing me with legs spread apart and bent at the knees. There was no mistaking that nearly irresistible come-hither look.
I stopped looking at her face when she surprised me with another feature of her outfit. She reached down and released a snap holding the V of fabric covering what Allah and Muhammad referred to as her “private parts.” I looked down at an exquisite manicured patch of curly hair that pointed like the tip of an arrow to a place that looked none the worse for wear despite Anne’s reputation for being nice.
Even when there was no time for foreplay, Anne just oozed lubrication. I knew I could easily slide in there, a prelude to a no-holes-barred last session, and none would be the wiser. But that would have been disrespectful of my Lucette and taking advantage of a person I also had feelings for, whether she minded or not.
Anne inviting me to enter her private domain the way she did was in keeping with the stereotype Allah and His spokesman have of women: that they are addicted to sex, and left to their own devices, would open their legs for every Tom, Dick and Harry, and even attempt to rape a man who would rebuff their advances, then claim they were the victim.
In Joseph, son of Jacob’s story in the Koran, Allah explains why women who complain of rape are usually lying, and how you can tell, using the example of the wife of an Egyptian who bought Joseph. She would attempt to seduce the reluctant Joseph after being told by her husband to make his stay an honourable one.
12:21 And the Egyptian who bought him said to his wife: “Make his stay honourable; perhaps he will profit us or we may take him for a son.” Thus We established Joseph in the land and taught him the interpretation of dreams. Allah has control over His Affairs though most people do not know.
12:22 When he was fully grown, We gave him judgement and knowledge, and thus We reward the beneficent.
12:23 And the woman, in whose house he was, sought to seduce him. She closed the doors firmly and said: “Come.” He said: “Allah forbid. It is my Lord who gave me a good abode. Surely, the wrongdoers do not prosper.”
12:24 Certainly she made for him and he would have made for her if it were not for a sign from his Lord. And that was to divert him from evil and indecency. He was indeed one of Our sincere servants.
A woman can also be expected to lie about a sexual assault, for example falsely accusing a man of attempted rape when, in fact, she was the aggressor.
12:25 They raced to the door, and she ripped his shirt from behind. When they met her husband at the door, she said: “What is the penalty of one who intended evil for your wife except imprisonment or severe punishment?”
Exceptionally, when relating this encounter, Allah concedes that men can, in rare instances, be the aggressors and describes how you can tell.
12:26 He (Joseph) said: “She sought to seduce me.” And a member of her household bore witness: “If his shirt was torn from the front, then she is telling the truth and he is a liar.
12:27 “But if his shirt is torn from behind, then she lies and he is one of the truthful.”
While admitting that men are, on occasion, forceful in the pursuit of intimacy, Allah makes another generalization about women: that they are skilled in the art of deception. Notice the plural, “you women,” in verse 12:28:
12:28 When he (the husband) saw that his shirt was torn from behind, he said: “This is part of your guile, you women. Your guile is indeed very great.”
This perfidious behaviour and their destructive, insatiable urge is why women must be kept under close supervision—under lock and key, if necessary.
That Anne liked sex is obvious. It’s a natural urge that, in my opinion, women find easier to control than men. Allah perhaps—His spokesman almost definitely—was projecting personal insecurities when urging women to cover up, and tasked their fathers and later their husbands to make sure they did. This is not to protect women from themselves, but from the weakness of men unable to control their lust for females who expose even the most innocuous part of their anatomy, with Muhammad the poster boy for such men.
Allah, it is clear, was extremely attentive to His spokesperson’s sexual needs. This is evident, for example, in a revealed truth (an immutable fact communicated to a mortal by a god) where he laid out, in some detail, all the females Muhammad could have sex with, including “believing women” who threw themselves at him because of his exalted position. I interpret the phrase “who gives herself freely to the Prophet” in the following revelation as allowing Muhammad to break one of Allah’s most strict prohibitions: sex outside of marriage.
33:50 O Prophet, we have made lawful, for you, your wives, whose dowry you have paid, what your right hand owns (slave-girls) out of the spoils of war that Al-lah gave you, the daughters of your paternal uncles, the daughters of your paternal aunts, the daughters of your maternal uncles, the daughters of your maternal aunts who emigrated with you, and any believing woman who gives herself freely to the Prophet, if the Prophet desires to marry her, granted exclusively to you, but not the believers. We know what We have prescribed for them, regarding their wives and what their right hands own, so that you may not be at fault. Allah is All-Forgiving, Merciful.
Muhammad's outspoken child bride Aisha told her husband how she felt about Allah's readiness to indulge him in everything sexual.
I used to look down upon those ladies who had given themselves to Allah's Apostle and I used to say, "Can a lady give herself (to a man)?" But when Allah revealed: "You (O Muhammad) can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives), and you may receive any of them whom you will; and there is no blame on you if you invite one whose turn you have set aside (temporarily).' (33:51) I said (to the Prophet), "I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires."
This rush to fulfill her husband's "wishes and desires" included stuff as mundane as granting her husband—in the most sacred of scriptural text, of all things—the right to re-schedule a wife’s turn in his coitus rotation, or even denying a spouse the pleasure of his company for as long as he wished.
33:51 You may defer any of them you wish, and take in any of them that you wish or any that you may have cut off. So you are not liable to reproach. For thus it is more likely that they will be delighted and will not grieve, but be content with what you have given each one of them. Allah knows what is within your hearts; and Allah is All-Knowing, Clement.
Allah’s most pathetic pandering to His spokesperson’s all-consuming lust would prove particularly detrimental to both the physical and emotional wellbeing of orphans.
Muhammad was already married to six women, not counting concubines and slave-girls, who could, depending on the circumstances, satisfy any sexual yearning, when he walked in on his daughter-in-law Zaynab when she was almost naked. He just had to have her.
During the time of ignorance (before Islam on the Arabian Peninsula), men adopted orphaned boys who then became part of the adopted father’s lineage and were considered de facto progeny, e.g., a legitimate heir. Because laws and traditions at this time did not distinguish between an adopted or natural-born son, the taboo against marrying your natural son's wife extended to adopted descendants.
A legal way had to be found for Muhammad to marry his daughter-in-law, who also just happened to be his cousin. The Law-Maker was only too happy to oblige His greatest and last spokesperson by changing the status of adopted sons from sons to “brothers in religion,” Revelation 33:5.
33:4 Allah did not create two hearts within the breast of any man; and He did not make your wives, whom you compare to your mothers’ backs; and He did not make your [adopted] sons your sons in fact. That is your own claim, by your words of mouth. Allah speaks the truth and He guides to the Right Path.
33:5 Assign them to their own fathers. That is more equitable in the sight of Allah; but if you do not know their real fathers, then they are your brothers in religion, your adopted fellow Muslims. You are not at fault if you err therein; but only in what your hearts intend. Allah is ever All-Forgiving, All-Merciful.
Demoting adopted sons to “brothers in religion” made their wives, upon divorce, eligible to be taken in marriage by the adoptive father.
33:37 And [remember] when you said to him whom Allah favoured and you favoured: (this is addressed to Zayd regarding his wife Zaynab) “Hold on to your wife and fear Allah”, while you concealed within yourself what Allah would reveal and feared other men, whereas Allah had a better right to be feared by you. Then, when Zayd had satisfied his desire for her, We gave her to you in marriage; so that the believers should not be at fault, regarding the wives of their adopted sons, once they have satisfied their desire for them. For Allah’s Command must be accomplished.
Leave it to Allah to come up with an excuse for Zayd (also spelled Zaid) wanting to divorce Zaynab, which neatly encapsulates His view of women as commodities. It has nothing to do with Zayd wanting to please his father-in-law and the most powerful Arab ever, but because he “had satisfied his desire for her.” This left God free to give her to His cherished spokesman so that he, in turn, could quench his craving for his irresistible cousin.
After Zayd prudently divorced Zaynab, Muhammad was free to marry the object of his lust, Allah having relegated her former husband to no more than an acquaintance for whom His spokesman provided room and board.
Orphaned boys were almost unknown in the Arab world until Allah changed their status so that His spokesman could marry his adopted son's wife. The revelation changing the relationship between adopted sons and their surrogate parents—allowing Muhammad to add his former daughter-in-law to his collection of wives, concubines and slave-girls—resulted in an untold number of children in the Islamic world from that day onward with no living person to call father.
God may have regretted creating orphans, where before there were only sons, so that His spokesman could satisfy his lust for his cousin and daughter-in-law, to send more than a handful of revelations about looking after their welfare.
Muhammad’s adopted son, now brother-in-religion, would die in one of the innumerable bloody, pitiless battles waged to convert the people of the Peninsula and beyond. God's spokesman ordered that the women mourning Zayd's passing a little too loudly be silenced, but that proved impossible.
When the news of the martyrdom of Zaid bin Haritha, Ja'far and 'Abdullah bin Rawaha came, the Prophet sat down looking sad, and I was looking through the chink of the door. A man came and said, "O Allah's Apostle! The women of Ja'far," and then he mentioned their crying.
The Prophet (p.b.u.h) ordered him to stop them from crying. The man went and came back and said, "I tried to stop them but they disobeyed."
The Prophet (p.b.u.h) ordered him for the second time to forbid them. He went again and came back and said, "They did not listen to me, (or "us": the sub-narrator Muhammad bin Haushab is in doubt as to which is right)."
Aisha added: The Prophet said, "Put dust in their mouths."
I said (to that man), "May Allah stick your nose in the dust (i.e. humiliate you). By Allah, you could not (stop the women from crying) to fulfill the order, besides you did not relieve Allah's Apostle from fatigue."
Anne’s brazen exhibitionism should have, according to our in-and-out-of-this-world dynamic duo, caused me to experience a Pavlovian-like reaction, an uncontrollable urge to dive right in, then and there, and jump her bones. Instead, I repeated that it was over and went back to work.
Wanting to experience the closeness, the physical intimacy that only intercourse makes possible, let alone the desire to procreate, is an urge that both sexes use to influence the other. Anne’s provocative display of what Allah and His spokesperson consider to be for her husband’s eyes only was obviously meant to influence my behaviour toward her, perhaps by reminding me what I would be missing if I broke up with her over what had transpired the day before.
It didn’t work, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with her sending such a clear and unambiguous, not to say, memorable message.
Anne was on probation. The next day when she was supposed to return to work, there was no Anne. Dennis, the public servant to whom I reported, said that he had kicked her off the team because she was a disruptive influence (she wasn’t). Why now? I don’t know.
Being on probation, she risked losing her job. A heated argument ensued and we almost came to blows. If it was about the affair, I was just as responsible, if not more, and it was none of Dennis’s business. I quit in protest.
Before I could make it out the door, I was intercepted by Dennis’s boss inviting me into his office. He knew I was worried about Anne losing her job. He assured me that, before that happened, he would find her a better one elsewhere, as long as I did not quit.
He was true to his word. It took a few weeks to secure the position, during which time Anne would have nothing more to do with me, avoiding me like the proverbial plague. The last time I saw her at work, I was having a cigarette (I quit smoking a long time ago) in a place I used to go to be alone with my thoughts.
She came by to say thank you. She would shortly be taking a new position in another building and had just found out that by quitting my job—if only for a few minutes, as it turned out—I had saved hers.
With Anne, I had not yet learned to separate sex from love. When I was having sex, I was making love. This meant falling in love to a certain degree with whomever I was doing it with, even if I could not admit it. That would have to change if I was going to keep my promise to Lucette.
It would change, thanks, in part, to the young woman who got me interested in reading the Koran and to whom Remembering Uzza is dedicated.