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Nine Parts of Desire - The Hidden World of Islamic Women
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Sonsowey Offline
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Nine Parts of Desire - The Hidden World of Islamic Women
This is a book written by an Australian journalist, a woman who was raised Christian and converted to Judaism, about women and female sexuality in Islam. She spent many years of her life living in different Muslim countries as a journalist, spending time in Egyp, Jordan, Syria, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Iran and other places. This woman was undoubtedly an outsider in the places she visited, but certainly a well informed outsider. Her perspective, as anything, is her own and should be taken with a grain of salt, but it was a very informative book. She quotes extensively from the Hadiths to explain where differing views on sexuality come from in Islamic thought.

The title refers to a phrase that says that Allah created sexual desire in 10 parts, and gave 9 to women and 1 to men. Women's sexuality is viewed as more in need of control than men's, beginning to explain all their various laws concerning women's sexuality.

You learn for instance that in Shia Islam, and in Iran specifically, there exists such a thing as a temporary marriage. You can not go anywhere in public with a woman who is not your immediate family member or your wife. You will be asked for your marriage license regularly. However, Iran provides for a temporary marriage license. You could make it for only a few weeks if you like.

After the Iran-Iraq war, when many Iranian men were killed, their leader urged the country to make use of this temporary marriage license to repopulate the country. Just get married for a few weeks, pop out a kid, it's for the good of the nation.

During her travels in Iran, the author was in a holy temple and wearing a chador, trying to pass herself off as muslim but worried that she would be caught. An Iranian security guard said something to her and she became frightened thinking she had been caught. She hid her face and moved away from him. Her Iranian companion told her that her chador was being worn in a rather suggestive manner, and because of it, the security guard had actually asked her for a temporary marriage, assuming her to be "one of those girls".

In Saudi Arabia, she talks about women who go shopping for all this modern high fashion with all their oil money. Around the house, women dress as they please, as long as it's only other women and children around. Saudi homes generally have separate social quarters for men and women. Even being seen in casual clothing by, say, your in-laws is considered to be no good. So when families gather, basically men and women hang out separately and there women will dress in the latest western fashions while dealing with the kids.

She interviews some wealthy Saudi who keeps a very traditional and strictly religious household. He invites her to his "office" one evening. There, interviewing him, she finds him and his friends surrounded by alcohol and strippers. How can he justify such things, she wonders. To him, strippers are no different from the slaves in the Quran. They were not his daughters or wives, they were not even muslims, and as such, could be used for his pleasure. He even mentions that some religious scholars have acknowledged as much. The reporter ends up sharing a cab home with one stripper, a pinay girl. The stripper dons a hijab as she leaves, and the reporter does not. Walking around in public being dressed less decently than the stripper tickles the author pink.

In Syria, hanging out with some women, she was surprised to see just how sexy they all were. Completely waxed of all hair, hanging out in nice negligee. Apparently in the Quran there is some law about removing all body hair every so often. And another about making sure you do all you can to please your husband. These Syrian women took it very seriously by being incredibly dolled up when at home, looking to her like exaggerated sex toys.

In Egypt, she encountered the changing mores of Egyptian society. Previously a place where you could find belly-dancers, music, lively social scenes, these things were being pushed to the sidelines. Perhaps you've seen this famous picture of Cairo University's graduating classes:

[Image: BlJle2dCcAAvcJg.jpg:large]

In the past, wearing hijab was just not something Egyptians really did. The custom has obviously become more and more prominent. Some view this as the encroachment of Saudi ideas, the Saudis apparently provide funds for many groups that promote their brand of Islam throughout the muslim world. This leads to the interesting fact that many older women, and older people in general, are much more secular than the younger generation in the muslim world. In Universities you may find older women who still cling to secular, pan-arabist, even feminist ideas. But young women are much more likely to reject these as heretical, much more likely to view wearing hijab as something you must do.

It's interesting here to think how often the U.S. has been opposed to secular leaders in muslim countries. Mossadeq in Iran decades ago. Saddam Hussein, Qadaffi, Al-Assad. We were all too eager to see these secular leaders go and helped knock each of them out. I'm sure the Saudis were also eager to see them go.

This was an amazing book, it showed me lots of things which I had always wondered about. The author's perspective is of course questionable as an outsider, but all the same it was very well written and the kind of book I could not put down. I would highly recommend it.

http://www.amazon.com/Nine-Parts-Desire-...0385475772
(not an affiliate link)

RVF Book Club February: Julius Evola - Revolt Against the Modern World
07-26-2014 10:54 PM
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rangman2000 Offline
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RE: Nine Parts of Desire - The Hidden World of Islamic Women
That was an interesting write up.
I'll check that book out.
Thanks.
07-28-2014 06:26 PM
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SydneyD Offline
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RE: Nine Parts of Desire - The Hidden World of Islamic Women
Very interesting

Humans are and have always been sexual creatures, and if sex is publicly restricted by government or by religion, that only means that dirtier, freakier and filthier sex is occuring somewhere hidden from the view of the naked eye.
08-07-2014 11:28 PM
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mastauser Offline
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RE: Nine Parts of Desire - The Hidden World of Islamic Women
I know that our muslim housekeeper indeed told my mother that she shaves everything once in a month or so.
08-09-2014 03:40 PM
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kosko Offline
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RE: Nine Parts of Desire - The Hidden World of Islamic Women
The Islamic nations excelled most when they adhered to secularism and "soft" authoritarian rule to keep the radicals out from power. Trace back to Egypt at it's heights was hen Nasser was rocking three piece suits as preaching for development over holy doctrine. Saddam, though no saint had the war education and health levels in the region during his time, Gaddafi gave Libyan people the best quality of life in Africa and was on pace to exceed Russia by next year. Saudi Arabia meanwhile still practices slavery/bondage widespread and has complete shit living for it's people for the amount of wealth it possesses.

Secularism was always an enemy to the West and to the Saudi royals, and was systematic to always treat it with hostility.
08-09-2014 10:32 PM
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mikado Offline
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RE: Nine Parts of Desire - The Hidden World of Islamic Women
Well, again I will ask you to change your title ( sadly you can't ) : The Hidden World of Middle East Islamic Women.

The interpretation of the Quran is different according to the region.

In the Middle East, they pretend Islam allows you to marry a woman for pleasure only, and divorce her quickly.
This is not the case elsewhere ( the rare occurences of it in Western World are from those migrating from Middle East ).
Iran (and Saudi Arabia too) took some of its traditions and mixed it to Islam. Come to think of it, every Muslim country does it. However, the degrees are not the same.


Saudi Arabia is the "most interesting case" . Though it was the homeland of the Holy Prophet, they were used to commiting the worst atrocities ( killing and raping, burying alive women when their husband was dead, not giving them ANY inheritance when their husband/son died, and way more). Some centuries after he died, the situation started to go out of control again. Now, westerners will take the example of Saudi Arabia, Iran or Irak when asked about a Muslim country. However, my brothers would refer to Asian, or African examples instead of the aforementionned countries... Because of the slaves policies, the racism towards people of color (of course, white men have a god factor), their money, that they refuse to share with others, their mutism towards Palestine, the religious wars between Sunnites and Chiites...

Thank God, in Senegal, though there are a lot of confreries, we leave in peace. And there is not much secularism.The pleasure marriages are not done. Actually, the sexuality of women here is closer culturally to senegalese traditions rather than religion.
Actually, you can do almost whatever you want here, as long as the reputation of your family is preserved.
Senegalese girls are very sexual Smile

[Image: DSC_2941.jpg]

That pearl belt is yummy here, because you can play with it, accidentally break it, and search for all the pearls in a lot of places Big Grin

[Image: 5827133-8687827.jpg?v=1378547564]

I am sure this girl is Muslim (95% muslims here) , however the Quran says nothing about wearing this Big Grin

[Image: 1875319981_1.jpg]

Je suis le roi du monde!!!
(This post was last modified: 08-11-2014 06:34 AM by mikado.)
08-11-2014 06:28 AM
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Sonsowey Offline
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RE: Nine Parts of Desire - The Hidden World of Islamic Women
Mikado, my thread title is the title of the book.

The author was mainly in the Middle East, but she told a funny story about some type of "Islamic Olympics" hosted in Iran where women competed. Iran wanted to avoid sending women to the Olympics so they figured, we'll organize an Islamic Olympics and invite only muslim countries to attend.

Women from Indonesia, for instance, got into lots of conflicts with the Iranian morality police. In Indonesia, many of these athletes had been in the police force or the military, and did not take kindly to being bossed around by some idiot about their clothing.
08-11-2014 11:30 AM
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mikado Offline
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RE: Nine Parts of Desire - The Hidden World of Islamic Women
(08-11-2014 11:10 AM)mikado Wrote:  
(08-11-2014 11:02 AM)Fighting888 Wrote:  Muslims have the tendency to treat their women as pure, while looking at non-Muslim women as whores. This often takes the form of sexual violence. That accounts for a lot of the dislike of Muslims.

This is no different from the average westerner non muslim joe.
Unless he is comfronted daily to the whoreness of his female relatives, he will expect them as pure, or at least quite chaste ( if the guy is blue pill).
It is just that the ones you call Muslims, whereas it's mostly Arabs, are more prone to be violent about it.

Again, the amalgam that Muslim=Arabs, especially Middle East Arabs, strikes.

They will often be equally as violent if they see an Arabian girl get married to a black man, even if he is muslim. Just search on the internet about racism from Arabs, and the many black people killed for something lighter than this(like refusing to give up one's seat in the bus). Of course, not all Arabs are like that.

Who is the culprit here? Islam? Or the home culture of people, who happen to be Muslim?


For me, the problem is quite simple.
When the medias give us a view of Islam, they take people of Arab roots ( as expected).
As with every religion, the "stricto sensu" principles mix with the local culture ( for example there is some folklore going on Christian Celebrations in Senegal, which I am sure do not exist in Europe).
The Arab culture is really polarized towards itself ( and even then, some dissenssions appear). If you take your average Arab, explore his brain and see how does he view muslims from other backgrounds (Africa, Asia, Europe, America, Australia) and if he would give his daughter to a guy from these, he will for example strongly reject Black guys. White guys are likely to get a pass nowadays, if they have enough money, but even with money, a black guy will often be a no-go.

So when you see these guys' behaviour on TV, how can you assume this is 100% how muslims behave, whereas they call "Azziyya" black people in Morocco, and sometimes throw them rocks? - personal anecdote from my sister and her friends ?
When you see Muslim leaders , Senegalese ones,congratulate a christian elected cardinal ( Theodore Sarr) after being nominated by Benedict XVI , if you concluded that all Muslims were like that would it be right?
When you see a country murdering itself towards religious questions like Iran, would you conclude all Muslims are like that?

When you see also Senegalese people talking sometimes with desdain about other black African citizens , treating them like second-zone citizens , or Algerian men refusing to give their daughters to Moroccan men, solely because the two countries hate each other, would you say that Muslims are all like that?

There comes the mistake then: if you confronted Africa, the Chechenes, the Ouighours, the Maghrebians, the Indonesians, and try to figure out the similarities, you would surprisingly find quite a few ones only, I think. Because our local culture influences the way we practice Islam.

However the media only shows you what's going on in the Middle East ( or for example, in France, only look at the people of Algerian blood). Because it is easier to pack everyone in the same bag, and make you hate the religion.

For me, it's the Arabs that Westerners hate , not Islam. Because if you were showed documentaries of Islam in the regions other than Middle East, then you might revise your opinion I think.

PS: I notice that often I will compare to Senegal, when I want to defend the religion. I think it is a good example, because officially 95% are Muslims , 2-3% Christians, and the rest Polytheists or atheits.

However, we don't really recognize ourselves in Arabian countries for example, because of its policies and attitude towards foreigners non white ( we think it's silly to forbid women from driving, and we dont like being basically called and treated as "niggers").As example, one senegalese guy was dead after arguing with a Moroccan in a bus-he did not attack him physically. Investigation conducted? NO. Or I think the Moroccan ended with a slap on the wrist.

This does not prevent us from being really faithful. We celebrate the Aids, we fast, the sense of family is high, and honour killings have disappeared ( can't recall a single case in many years).

The country is westernized by some sides ( ex-French colony). And young girls are slutting it up more and more.
However we all live in peace. There is no religion issue, and we often give other christians a share when we eat the mutton for the Aid el Kebir ( they give us too when it's Easter time).
For me, it's very close to what was taught to us by the Prophet.




I already explained it in that quote.
I wonder why didn't that woman go to Maghreb, SubSaharian Africa, USA, Australia etc.
If she went to all these places, saw how sexuality worked there, then her book would have been relevant.
The title should be as I said: The Hidden World of Middle East Islamic Women.


If I wanted to write a book on Christianity, if I only focused on what happens in Rome, would it be representative?
Of course not. I would have to include protestants, orthodoxes, and for every major branche, single 2-3 sous-branches.
Then if I compare all the 8-10 streams I singled out, the results may be more accurate.
However today, you cannot expect people to carry all of this, because of laziness/need to feed people what they want, or at least expect to hear.

Je suis le roi du monde!!!
08-11-2014 12:05 PM
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