The Whisper, the Look and the Touch
Amr Abu Khalil
The delicate, refined Qur’anic expressions describing the intimate relationship between man and woman have surpassed anything that could be found in volumes of specialized books dealing openly with the subject of man-woman relationships.
The sexual relationship between a man and a woman has been described several times in the Qur’an:
[Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) go to your tilth as ye will, and send (good deeds) before you for your souls, and fear Allah, and know that ye will (one day) meet Him. Give glad tidings to believers, O Muhammad.] (Al-Baqarah 2:223)
[It is made lawful for you to go unto your wives on the night of the fast. They are raiment for you and ye are raiment for them. Allah is aware that ye were deceiving yourselves in this respect and He hath turned in mercy toward you and relieved you. So hold intercourse with them and seek that which Allah hath ordained for you, and eat and drink until the white thread becometh distinct to you from the black thread of the dawn. Then strictly observe the fast till nightfall and touch them not, but be at your devotions in the mosques. These are the limits imposed by Allah, so approach them not. Thus Allah expoundeth His revelations to mankind that they may ward off (evil).] (Al-Baqarah 2:187)
[How can you take it (back) after one of you hath gone in unto the other, and they have taken a strong pledge from you?] (An-Nisaa’ 4:21)
These verses describe the intimate relationship, the marital relationship, which is the total submission to one another.
The Whisper, the Look, and the Touch
The wife cultivates her husband and the husband cultivates his wife; the Qur’an uses agricultural terms to describe a sensitive relationship. To cultivate land means to turn the soil in order to air it, to rejuvenate it, to purify it; it means to prepare the land to receive and to produce. What does the husband have to do to cultivate his wife, especially when the term comes in a sexual context? The picture is complete: The man is free and totally delegated to approach his wife to make love to her in any fashion he wants, except that he should not penetrate from the anus as mentioned in the previous verse. The preparation of the soil is the preliminary groundwork before planting the seeds.
To the husband, his wife is all his; he should revitalize and invigorate her. He should make her feel his love in order for her to get rid of all pressure and existing sadness. The pleasure derived is not of the meeting of the two bodies to culminate in the erection and penetration of one organ into the other; it is the interaction between the land and the cultivator. The husband should not leave his wife’s body untouched, or un-caressed; otherwise, his work is not complete: a soft word in the ear, a tender look in the eyes. It is body talk, a mutual dialogue between the two; the wife is asked to reciprocate, if not the same then better. This is just a light interpretation of the Qur’anic term, the greater part of the explication will be left to the couple’s imagination and innovation to reach the farthest dimension of the term.
The Warmth of a Hug
The second image describes the act as a cover to the couple. The general meaning of a cover is the protection, the warmth, the containment, and the beautification: It is everything can you imagine yourself without clothing. During these intimate moments the husband and the wife become each other’s clothing. He takes her in his arms, and the closeness warms her; she feels secure. He grooms himself for her and she beautifies herself for him. She warms him with her body and subdues him with her gaze. To the extent they become part of each other, the couple during these moments become one.
Love and Emotions
The third image, the coming together, may seem to have a wider general meaning. It is true, but it also means the coming together of the bodies, which is one of its meanings. And both are part of a wider coming together, that of the meeting of the souls, the interlacing of emotions. The sexual relation is not complete; there is no sense of pleasure without the entwining of the souls. Without love, without emotions, the act will be one of repulsion instead of closeness.
The Tender Touch
Now comes the moment of intercourse, but He Almighty chose to describe it by using the word meeting of the flesh. In the Arabic language, it is a derivation of the word skin, the tender skin. Then why the choice of the wording to describe the act so romantically? It is a holy signal to remind the husbands and the wives that the relationship is not the meeting of two organs but it is the touching. Skin to skin, every part of the body meets its counterpart naturally, and the intercourse becomes a natural consequence of a general and comprehensive meeting between two bodies, between two spouses.
Give of Yourself
Then comes the finale, the miraculous verse and all the verses of the Qur’an are the work of miracle. To clarify everything we have been saying so far, it is the divine order to play, to cuddle, to do everything within your power to come close to each other. One has to strive to exhibit oneself in the best possible way; the purpose is to leave a fine impression on the soul. It is the basic element in all human relations. It is a beautiful Qur’anic epic depicting a befitting act in a most glorifying way, the ultimate act of love between two human beings who care for each other, and, for just a few moments, melt into each other.