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Abstract

This article examines the sexual ethics in three works by Jalāl al-Dīn al-Suyūṭī on marital sex (nikāḥ) and gender norms: Al-Wishāḥ fī fawāʾid al-nikāḥ, Shaqāʾiq al-utrunj fī raqāʾiq al-ghunj, and Nuzhat al-mutaʾammil wa-murshid al-mutaʾahhil. Wishāḥ is al-Suyūṭī’s main contribution to the genre of Arabic-Islamic sex manuals, a genre that originated in the fourth/tenth century in Baghdad, and was influenced by translations of Greek, Persian, and Indian medicine and erotology. In Wishāḥ, al-Suyūṭī attempts to reconcile the earliest erotological tradition with the Islamic sciences, something he does more consistently than his predecessors. The result is an extensive investigation of the sexual pleasures permitted for Muslims—particularly men, but also, to a certain degree, women. Women’s sexual behavior and obligations are treated by al-Suyūṭī in Shaqāʾiq al-utrunj and Nuzhat al-mutaʾammil, which rely partly on the same sources as Wishāḥ.

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