Boreal

Little Mosque on the Prairie

The Barrier

A Missed Opportunity To Talk About Sex

One of the most encouraging comment I have received about information you find on my website was from a woman who is involved in helping battered women. It was about how, after reading Pain, Pleasure and Prejudice's - The Perfect Wife, she now understood better the cause of the violence experienced by many of the women who sought her organization's protection.

In episode two, the Little Mosque missed a wonderful opportunity to inform its audience about battered spouses, and to alert women who are victims of scripture-inspired domestic violence that in Canada, they don’t have to put up with it.

The writers could have used the running gag in episode two about the contractor’s wife denying her husband sex until the barrier in the mosque separating men and women is removed to much better use, without hurting the comedic element of this clichéd device.

In a traditional Muslim household a women cannot refuse her husband’s request for intimacy.

Allah:

2:223 Your women are a tillage for you. So get to your tillage whenever you like. Do good for yourselves, fear Allah and know that you shall meet Him. And give good news to the believers.

The Prophet:

“if a husband invites his wife to have intimate relations with him, but the wife rejects him and he becomes angry all night long – for this his wife will be cursed by an angel until morning.”*

Being cursed by an angel is not a trivial matter, and the woman or girl cursed by an unsympathetic cupid will have to answer to Allah and risks spending an eternity on fire in His Hell. Better a beating.

4:34 Men are in charge of women, because Allah has made some of them excel the others, and because they spend some of their wealth. Hence righteous women are obedient, guarding the unseen which Allah has guarded. And those of them that you fear might rebel, admonish them and abandon them in their beds and beat them. Should they obey you, do not seek a way of harming them; for Allah is Sublime and Great!

Let’s return to the scene where Sarah Hamoudi refuses to allow her husband Yasir into their bedroom.

Yasir: You can not refuse me sex. Allah forbids you.

Sarah: Allah forbids! Why don’t we let the new imam decide.

Just think of a short hilarious scene where the sexual responsibilities of the modern Muslim couple is made clear to the old married couple by a somewhat embarrassed, celibate young imam.

Yasir could have quoted the Koran and the Prophet as to why his wife can not refuse him sex, and what he is entitled to do under the circumstances i.e. beat her, with the Imam character Amaar Rashid explaining why Yasir is wrong … if he is wrong.

He could have quoted from the Prophet's last sermon, his Farewell Khutba, during which he tells husbands to be kind to their wives because they are like prisoners in their houses and are not very smart.

Treat the women kindly, for verily, they are like prisoners in your house and are incapable of looking after themselves...

Translation by Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah [1908-2002]

This technique of having actors and non-actors make outrageous declarations as if it was the normal thing to say has Saudi viewers of Tash Ma Tash (loosely translated as “You get it or you don’t”) in stitches. Tash Ma Tash, which is broadcast on Saudi television, ridicules religious extremists by having them say the sort of things you might find in verses of the Koran and sayings of the Prophet as if there were meant to be taken literally.

Too bad the writers of Little Mosque are not as forthright as the Saudi, and that is saying a lot.

Bernard Payeur, January 20, 2007

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* “With reference to this hadith, the majority of Islamic teachers say that it is sahih (proper, correct and valid) … Bukhari [famous Sunni Islamic scholar and collector of hadiths] places this hadith in Al-jami al-Shahih in chapter 86, hadith number 5193. But within the Bukhari narrative, he does not express the sentence ‘the husband becomes angry all night long’. While in other hadith narratives this sentence is considered the most important clause.” Rahima Online, Centre for Education on Islam and Women’s Rights Issues.