Sex and the Shari’a
But instead what caught my attention was the worst mistake in the piece, finding it ironic that even sex manuals could be found in bookstores. This was really an unfortunate Western bias that can be used to show well the positions concerning sex and law in the Muslim tradition.
Generally speaking, traditionalists in Islam, as in Christianity, consider it a matter of utmost importance to regulate who you are allowed to sleep with. Under shari’a, the limitation is to unmarried slave women (for men only), and to spouses, though within Shi’ism there are also temporary marriages, so it would include a spouse under a temporay marriage. Beyond this, to engage in sex is to commit a crime, the crime of zina punishable by lashing or stoning (if with a nonmarried woman, then lashing, if married stoning). Homosexuality is generally a capital crime under the discretionary crimes known as the tazir. I guess it could be thought of as a form of zina as well. That’s not to say that all of the above is criminal law in most Muslim countries, but that clerics would certainly argue it should be. They would point to high evidentiary standards, but the point remains–they do think it is justifiable to punish, severely, for the crime of sex beyond particular boundaries.