By Khaled El-Rouayheb
Attitudes towards homosexuality within the pre-modern Arab-Islamic global are mostly depicted as schizophrenic—visible and tolerated on one hand, prohibited by way of Islam at the different. Khaled El-Rouayheb argues that this obvious paradox relies at the anachronistic assumption that homosexuality is a undying, self-evident truth to which a selected tradition reacts with some extent of tolerance or intolerance. Drawing on poetry, biographical literature, drugs, dream interpretation, and Islamic texts, he exhibits that the tradition of the interval lacked the idea that of homosexuality. “Meticulously researched, lucidly written, nuanced, and brilliantly conceived, [the ebook] forthrightly takes on advanced concerns surrounding the tradition of same-sex eroticism that existed within the Arabic-speaking lands of the early sleek Ottoman Empire. . . . an incredible e-book by way of a good scholar.”—Journal of Religion “Rectifies many . . . prejudices and misinterpretations in a masterly fashion.”—Bulletin of the varsity of Oriental and African Studies (20050617)
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Additional resources for Before Homosexuality in the Arab-Islamic World, 1500-1800
You are even more exalted, whose neck puts the gazelle to shame. , 1698-99 CE). ” 14 It is difficult to believe that Shābrāwi was openly committing a cardinal sin in composing such poetry. Of course, a religious scholar may sometimes fail to live up to the principles he preaches. Yet in such cases one would expect some discretion, not a public flaunting of the transgression. It is much more likely that Shābrāwi simply did not believe that what he was doing fell into the same category as the sodomy that was so strictly prohibited by Islamic law.
The textual evidence that I consider was almost invariably written in urban centers such as Cairo, Damascus, Aleppo, Mosul, Baghdad, Mecca, and Medina. By textual evidence I mean primarily Arabic literary sources such as chronicles, biographical dictionaries, belletristic works in verse and prose, and Islamic mystical and legal works. This will inevitably imply a bias toward the attitudes and values of the learned male elite, by whom and for whom such works were written. One obviously cannot assume that such values and attitudes can without further ado be thought to apply to other social groups.
16 According to an anonymous and tongue-in-cheek couplet cited in both a late seventeenth-century Egyptian and a late eighteenth-century Damascene text:The lover of beardless boys is known among people as a lūṭī, and the lover of young women is called a fornicator zānī] . 17 The Egyptian scholar and poet Ahmad al-Khafājī (d. 18 In a love poem, the Iraqi scholar ʿAbd al-Bāqī alʿUmarī (d. ”19 The image of “the people of Lot” in the Islamic tradition was, to be sure, not entirely uniform. In commenting on the just-quoted verse of ʿAbd al-Bāqī al-ʿUmarī, the Iraqi scholar Muhammad Amīn al-ʿUmarī (d.
Before Homosexuality in the Arab-Islamic World, 1500-1800 by Khaled El-Rouayheb