By Aneeqa Du Plessis
The Wives of Paradise Foundation seminar series which focuses on spirituality through intimacy hosted the fourth, and final part of their workshop at the Tshisimani centre in Mowbray at the weekend. The lectures broached a variety of topics such as ‘how to enhance sexual relations within marriage’, ‘physical health and sexuality’ and ‘sex as a form of worship’. The male-only seminar saw a variety of learned men take to the floor to discuss these relevant topics within marriage. The topic ‘sex as a form of worship’ was led by Sheikh Zakariyah Philander.
Sheikh Philander started off his lecture by quoting a verse of the Quran where Allah SWT says that everything that is obedience can be viewed as worship.
Allah has created mankind and jinn solely to worship Him. [51:56]
Although worship can come in several forms, one of them being marital relations between man and wife, this act should not only been seen as an act of worship but also that it brings the couple closer to Allah. Many Muslims have a view that sexual relations is nothing but a physical act, however, Sheikh Philander dispelled that thought.
“Sex is a sacred act,” said Sheikh Philander.
Sheikh Philander continues by saying that it will remain sacred no matter how, and in which way the act is performed, as long as it is done within the boundaries that Allah makes it permissible.
Subsequently, he reminded the gentlemen in the congregation that sex within Islam has always been a frank discussion -whether it be in the scriptures, amongst the prophets, or the companions.
“In the book of Nikah, marriage has two meanings, it is the binding of the contract and the binding of the bodies. You have to have both in order to have a complete marriage,” said Sheikh Philander.
The only time that Islam views sex as a taboo act is when it warned believers to stay clear from pre-marital sex [17:32]. Although, Sheikh Philander stated that once the verse is dissected it is not the sexual act that is the misdemeanour, but rather the mindset that it entails.
“It is the framework of licentiousness when people feel they can do what they want…where there is pleasure without responsibility.”
“Sex is entrenched, it is Sunnah [The way of the prophet]. Is there a sacred dimension to it? Yes! The Prophet did it,” Sheikh Philander said matter-of-factly.
The two key take-aways from the lecture were:
The approach that Islam has to sex is that it is completely open.
There should be no conflict between spirituality and sex.
The launch of the Wives of Paradise seminar series was conducted in a four-part seminar format, with three of them dedicated to women. The purpose of the foundation is to create an awareness that physical intimacy is an act of worship.
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