Tantamount to Disbelief — A

Tantamount to Disbelief — A reader of Arab News asks, with more than merely academic interest, whether anal sex is indeed forbidden(scroll down) by Islam.

The author of the peculiar theological advice column (also touching on whether to punish a teenage girl who prays during her period) finishes his reply by writing:

Besides, several Hadiths confirm this in very clear terms. A man came to the Prophet and asked him whether it was permissible to have sex with his wife from behind. The Prophet answered in the affirmative. As the man was on his way out, the Prophet called him back and said: “Consider what I have said: from behind, but in the front.” I suppose nothing could be clearer than this. In another Hadith, the Prophet mentions ten sinful actions that are tantamount to disbelief. One of these is “anal sexual intercourse with women.” I suppose no expression of prohibition could be stronger than describing an action as tantamount to disbelief.

Now, I’m fascinated by the fact that the Prophet had a considered, undoubtedly God-endorsed, opinion on the propriety of doggy style versus backdoor. I grew up in a church that relies on ongoing prophesy, but the messages that came through the God-phone were always so general. Prophet Wallace B. Smith thankfully never had anything to say about how to get busy. Probably you could rank religions from best to worst in terms of the invasive specificity of their moral commands. (Taoism rules!) Anyway, its always good to be reminded of the stupidity and credulousness of which we humans are capable when in a religious mode. And I would encourage everyone to express their disbelief explicitly, or, if you wish, through actions merely tantamount to disbelief.

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center