Islamic sexual jurisprudence  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Sexuality in Islam is largely described by the holy book (the Qur'an), the sayings of Mohammed (hadith), and the rulings of religious leaders' (fatwa) as being confined to marital relationships between men and women. While most traditions discourage celibacy, all encourage strict chastity and modesty with regards to any relationships across gender lines, holding forth that intimacy as perceived within Islam -- encompassing a swathe of life more broad than strictly sex—is largely to be reserved for marriage. This sensitivity to gender difference and modesty (hijab) outside of marriage can be seen in current prominent aspects of Islam—interpretations of Islamic dress and degrees of gender segregation, for example.

While prohibitions against adulterous relationships are strong, permissible sexual relationships are described in Islamic sources as great wells of love and closeness for the couple involved. Specific occasions—most notably daytime fasting and menstruation—are times forbidden for intercourse, though not for other ways of touching and being close to one another. Issues such as masturbation, abortion and homosexuality are also strictly forbidden; contraceptive use is permitted for birth control.

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