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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

“Love Poems” as a Clue to the Nature of Man’s/Woman’s sexual desires and the Importance of Modesty

……….. have you ever considered what the desire to serenade or write love poems stems from in humanity? A large part of world literature is filled with love poems. In this type of literature, a man praises his beloved, asks for his needs to be satisfied by the beloved, raises the position of the beloved as he lowers his own status and suffers greatly from separation. What is this? Why does humanity not behave in the same way towards other needs? Have you ever seen a person who worships money or a person who is ambitious for higher material positions, writing love poems on money or on ambition? Has anyone ever written a love poem asking for bread? Why is it that people enjoy listening to or reading the love poems of another? Why is it that so many people receive such pleasure from Hafiz's love poems? Is it not because each person senses that it conforms to some very deep instinct which possesses their whole being? How mistaken are those who say that the one and only reason which forms the basis for human activity is an economic one!

Human beings have developed special literary rhythmic forms to express sexual love just as they have done with spiritualities whereas no special literary rhythmic forms have been developed for things which are essentially material like bread and water. We do not want to insinuate that all loves are sexual nor do we mean to imply that all of Hafiz's or [Sir Thomas Wyatt’s] poems stem from their sexual instinct. This is something which needs to be discussed separately at another time.

But what is clear is that many of the love poems are ones written by men in devotion to women. It is sufficient for us to recognize that a man's attention towards a woman is not based on bread and water so that it can be satiated when the stomach is full. Rather, it either takes the form of greed and worship of variety and multiplicity or the form of love and love poems. We will later discuss under what conditions the state of greed and sexual covetousness is strengthened and under what conditions love and love poems assume a spiritual quality.

At any rate, Islam has placed special emphasis upon the amazing power of this fiery instinct. There are traditions which speak of the danger of a 'look', the danger of a man and woman being alone together and, finally, the danger of the instinct which unites a man and a woman.
Islam has established ways of controlling, balancing and taming the instinct. Duties have been given to both men and women in this area. One duty which is the responsibility of both men and women relates to looking at each other. "Say to the believing men to cast down their glance and guard their private parts..." (24:30). And, "Say to the believing women to cast down their glance and guard their private parts." (24:31). In summary, the command is that a man and a woman should not fix their eyes upon each other; they should not flirt with each other; they should not look at each other with lust or with the intention of seeking sexual pleasure (unless it is within the sacred bounds of marriage).

Islam has established a particular command for a woman which is that she covers her body from a man with whom she is not mahram and that she should not flaunt herself or put her body on display in society. She is asked not to stimulate the attention of men by any means.
The human soul readily accepts stimulation. It is great error to think that the sexual desires of humanity are limited in extent and that after a certain point, are naturally satisfied. Just as the human being, man or woman, is never satiated with wealth or position and is continuously seeking more, in the area of sexual desires, it is the same. No man is ever naturally satisfied by beauty and no woman is ever naturally satisfied by a man's attention and the conquest of his heart. Clearly the desires of the heart are never satiated.

On the other hand, unlimited demands are never fulfilled and a sense of deprivation is continuously felt. Not achieving one's desires results in psychological illnesses and complexes. Why is it that in the West psychological illnesses have increased? The reason is freedom of sexual ethics and continuous sexual stimulation through the newspapers, magazines, cinemas, theaters and official and unofficial parties and even the streets and alleys.

The reason why the Islamic command to cover is exclusive to women is because the desire to show off and display one's self is a particular trait of women. She is the hunter in the domination of the hearts of men and man is the prey, whereas man is the hunter in the domination of the body of women and she is the prey. A woman's desire to display herself comes from this essence of the hunter. It is the female instinct which, because of its particular nature, wishes to capture hearts and imprison the male. Thus, the deviation begins with the female instinct and therefore the command to cover was issued.

The above is an excerpt from a book by a scholar called Murtadha(or Murtaza) Mutahhari entitled “The Islamic Modest Dress”.
It was one of the most comprehensive and logical books I have ever read on the notion of modesty for Men and Women and it also answered many questions in regards with the Lord’s *greater* emphasis on a woman’s modest attire rather than a man’s.


Hajar Zamzam Ismail said...

This is very inspiring. I had never thought of it in the context of insatiability. But I think you are right, the fact that even happily married individuals sometimes stray is a sign of this.

eli said...

The book is really among the best I've ever read on the reasons for modesty and the priority of modesty in clothing for women.

I recommend it to everyone who would want to gain a complete understanding of the subject.


Tony G said...

Lots of good insight here, and scripturally sound at that from a Judeo-Christian perspective.

According to numerous verses in the book of Proverbs, an immodest woman is described in terms of a predator, and verses in 1 Corinthians, 1 Titus and other doctrinal epistles of the messianic period exhort men to flee from lust and fornication, as do numerous verses in Proverbs and other books from the pre-messianic period.

Thank you for your kind invitation. Peace be with you.

eli said...

Thank you Tony for your kind comment.

You are right. Even though this book is written by a Muslim based on the teachings of the Quran, it is very much a confirmation of the Biblical teachings and I'm always delighted to find these similarities.

May our Dear L-rd lead everyone to the ultimate Truth.


~Emily~ said...

Hi Eli!

Sorry it has been so long between chats. I have just updated my will let you know what I have been doing with myself over the past few months.

I hope you and your family are going well. =)


Ms. Modest Fashion Cents said...

Interesting post! I liked it!

I want to share a little something I found once in regards to why human beings love the idea of love (so to speak) and why we write love songs and so on and so forth!

I was studying the Creation story in the Hebrew Scripture (Genesis) and I found an interesting thing. There's a periodic phrase that's tacked on to the end of (at least some) of the days of creation.

"And God saw that it was good."

This word "good" means "pleasant" or "pleasing" - it's used in other places - for example Abraham's wife Sarah was "pleasing to look at". She was attractive, probably in personality as well as physically.

So, what we see here is the act of creating the universe along with beholding what He's created brings God pleasure. It delights His "Soul" in much the same venue as beholding beauty delights the souls of men.

So, as a manifestation of the care and delight God fashioned this universe with; He instilled every living aspect of it with a drive to reproduce that produces pleasure in any organizim that has a nervous/endocrine system. (And maybe even plants? I don't know if plants feel "pleasure" although it's been scientifically proven they thrive in caring inviroments and like to be around other plants.)

Any how, the drive to seek out love (and reproduce) is inherent in the fabric of our make up, as much as the need for food and drink, as much as the drive for self-preservation, and the need to satisfy our emotions. All these are "satisfiable" needs when we relinquish them in submission to the God who created them!

Speaking of "creation"; ironically, human beings are the only creatures on this planet that (like God) bear the capacity to create things outside of the biological reproductive process. We create structures, music, art, societies, political systems, religions, codes of ethics and morality, and things of inventive/ technological nature that make our lives easier; as well as give us pleasure!

All this is part of the "hard wiring" of being created in the image of God. God is love and we manifest different aspects of His nature in a variety of ways.

This post is about modesty in dress mostly as it applies to women - though as it should apply to all humanity (except maybe infants and small children - their "modesty" is their innocence). Due to the fallen state of this world that we live in and our own sin. I think it behoves everyone to be modest. It promotes respect for the natural beauty God has given all of us and when we show respect for that beauty, we show respect for the Lord who made it!