The first panel is from a large (pewter?) figurine given to Lucette and I on the occasion of our 25th wedding anniversary. The middle panel, with portions blurred out to keep it PG, is from the Khajuraho Group of Monuments of India. The third panel is from a photograph I purchased called Night Minarets of Istanbul.
Before she died, my wife of 38 years wanted me to know that she had always loved me and would never stop loving me. Sometimes I had my doubts, not because of her actions, but because of mine. She knew that I would need that assurance more than ever after she was gone. It is that reassurance that has given me the courage to talk to you about a religion in a very personal way.
In a recent posting on my website (Falling for Uzza - Part II), I wrote that I owed you, but particularly my wife’s friends, an explanation as to why, when I told her a young African working girl was crashing at my apartment in Montréal, all she said was she would like to meet her. My explanation took on a life of its own and that is how I found myself writing, during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, a book about love, sex and Islam.
The dozen or so adult situation stories in PART I—some of which may bring more than a smile to your face—are not gratuitous. Despite the purposeful nature of my disclosures, I found it difficult writing about some close encounters.
I particularly hated admitting to being intimate with someone other than my Lucette. However, I am sure she will forgive my telling the world, if marrying sex and scriptures gives non-Muslims a better understanding of the latter; and perhaps convince Muslims contemplating a mass murder/suicide because they believe what they have been told about “it” being better in the Hereafter that it isn't, and not to be in such a hurry to get there only to be disappointed.
Except where a request has been received not to—or for the security of the person—actual names (first names only) are used. As unlikely as it is, if you recognize yourself in a character, I hope you will be flattered, not upset, that I still remember our time together after all these years.
PART II - Real Women vs. Houris uses the experiences revealed in PART I to make a head-to-head comparison of sex in the here-and-now with sex in the Hereafter with Allah’s vaunted houris.
April 19, 2020
The Broken Condom
Anne: Part 1
Anne: Part 2
Anne whispered what I came to accept was a contrived, “I love you.” I think, for her as well as myself, that love, real or imagined, added to the sexual experience. I could not bring myself to tell her I loved her back, though I liked her lot, as a person and as a lover. If I had said I loved her, it would have meant I cared for her more than I cared for my Lucette, and that was simply not the case. Nonetheless, when she asked me to move in with her, I said I would talk it over with Lucette—as silly as that sounds.
That obviously took her aback. “What do you mean you want talk it over with your wife?” she said. “You tell her you’re leaving, pack your bags, and come over to my place. You don’t drag this sort of thing out!”
Talking about things that mattered is what my Lucette and I did all the time. When I brought up the idea of leaving her, she said: “It’s Anne, isn’t it?” Before I had a chance to answer, in the forthright and confident manner that I admired, she added: “She is not the woman for you. I am!”
She would grant me a divorce only after we had gone to a marriage counsellor and been told that our marriage could not be saved. I said my mind was made up.
“In that case,” she replied, “I will see a counsellor by myself.”
She may have been playing for time, hoping that I would come to my senses…which I did, but it was a close thing. During what turned out to be a short affair—as affairs go, I assume—I had never spent the night with Anne. I always went home to my Lucette.
It was another late night at work and with nothing for her to do, I asked Anne to wait for me at the bar across the street. When I arrived, she was having a drink with the barman and another guy. She got straight to the point. I would either spent the night with her or she would spend the night with these guys, pointing at each grinning face in turn. Lucette was right. She was not the one for me.
My Lucette was already in bed when I got home. It was not that late, but since the day I had told her of my intention to leave her for another woman, she had started going to bed earlier and earlier.
I sat on the floor. She allowed me to take her hand while I apologized for what I had put her through. She admitted that the counselling had ended some time ago, and that the last piece of advice from the counsellor had been that I wasn’t worth it, to divorce me and get on with her life.
I also didn’t think I was worthy at the time, but I am glad my Lucette did.
“But what if it happens again?”
A line had been crossed. The only guarantee I could give her was that I would never leave her. I would always be there for her when she needed me. She would have to leave me.
That I would always be there to look after her, if she needed looking after, she took for granted; I think I proved that during the more than eight years she struggled with the twin afflictions of lung cancer and kansasii that would eventually compel her to reluctantly leave me forever. Her respirologist, in a final report on my Lucette’s condition, noted what he considered extraordinary devotion on the part of a spouse. It wasn’t. It was her due and a promise kept.
After the episode with Anne, my Lucette was obviously doubtful that I still loved her more than anything or anyone else in the world—at least, until the broken condom incident.
Anne didn’t come into work the next day. She called just before lunch and asked if I would come over. She met me at the door dressed in some sort of swimsuit with frills. I didn’t care to come in and told her it was over. She said she was sorry about the night before, and turned around, asking me to follow. The bottom backside of what I took to be a one-piece swimsuit was nothing more than a piece of crinkly fabric, slightly wider than a G-string, stretched between two squarish, kissing buttocks. It reminded me of the behind that Cybil Shepherd bared in The Last Picture Show which I saw when I was much younger.
She started walking up the stairs that led to her bedroom, those attractive buns moving to the rhythm of her slow climb, as if begging me to follow. I did.
When I got there, she was already sprawled across the bed, resting on her elbows and facing me with legs spread apart and bent at the knees. There was no mistaking that nearly irresistible come-hither look. I stopped looking at her face when she surprised me with another feature of her outfit: she reached down and released a couple of snaps holding the V of fabric covering what Allah and Muhammad referred to as her “private parts.”
I looked down at an exquisite patch of curly hair that pointed like the tip of an arrow to a place that looked none the worse for wear despite Anne’s reputation for being nice. Even when there was no time for foreplay, Anne just oozed lubrication. I knew I could easily slide in there, a prelude to a no-“holes”-barred last session, and none would be the wiser. But that would have been disrespectful of my Lucette and taking advantage of a person I also had feelings for, whether she minded or not.
Anne inviting me to enter her private domain that way would fit with the stereotype Allah and His spokesman have of women: that they are addicted to sex, and left to their own devices, would open their legs for every Tom, Dick and Harry, and even attempt to rape a man who would rebuff their advances, then claim they were the victim.
In Joseph, son of Jacob’s story in the Koran, Allah explains why women who complain of rape are usually lying, and how you can tell, using the example of the wife of the Egyptian who bought Joseph. She would attempt to seduce the reluctant Joseph after being told by her husband to make his stay an honourable one.
12:21 And the Egyptian who bought him said to his wife: “Make his stay honourable; perhaps he will profit us or we may take him for a son.” Thus We established Joseph in the land and taught him the interpretation of dreams. Allah has control over His Affairs though most people do not know.
12:22 When he was fully grown, We gave him judgement and knowledge, and thus We reward the beneficent.
12:23 And the woman, in whose house he was, sought to seduce him. She closed the doors firmly and said: “Come.” He said: “Allah forbid. It is my Lord who gave me a good abode. Surely, the wrongdoers do not prosper.”
12:24 Certainly she made for him and he would have made for her if it were not for a sign from his Lord. And that was to divert him from evil and indecency. He was indeed one of Our sincere servants.
A woman can also be expected to lie about sexual assault, for example falsely accusing a man of attempted rape when, in reality, she was the aggressor.
12:25 They raced to the door, and she ripped his shirt from behind. When they met her husband at the door, she said: “What is the penalty of one who intended evil for your wife except imprisonment or severe punishment?”
Exceptionally, when relating this encounter, Allah concedes that men can, in rare instances, be the aggressors. How you can tell?
12:26 He (Joseph) said: “She sought to seduce me.” And a member of her household bore witness: “If his shirt was torn from the front, then she is telling the truth and he is a liar.
12:27 “But if his shirt is torn from behind, then she lies and he is one of the truthful.”
While admitting that men are, on occasion, forceful in the pursuit of intimacy, Allah makes another generalization about women: that they are skilled in the art of deception. Notice the plural, “you women,” in verse 12:28:
12:28 When he (the husband) saw that his shirt was torn from behind, he said: “This is part of your guile, you women. Your guile is indeed very great.”
This perfidious behaviour and their destructive, insatiable urge is why women must be kept under close supervision—under lock and key, if necessary.
That Anne liked sex is obvious. It’s a natural urge that, in my opinion, women find easier to control than men. Allah perhaps—His spokesman almost definitely—may have been projecting their own insecurities when they urged women to cover up, and tasked their fathers and later their husbands to make sure they did. This is not to protect them from themselves, but from the weakness of men unable to control their lusting for females who exhibit even the most innocuous part of their anatomy, with Muhammad the poster boy for such men.
Allah, it is clear, was extremely attentive to His spokesperson’s sexual needs. This is evident, for example, in a revealed truth (immutable fact communicated to a mortal by a god) where he lays out, in some detail, all the females Muhammad can have sex with—not applicable to any other Muslim—which included “believing women” who threw themselves at him because of his exalted position. I interpret the phrase “who gives herself freely to the Prophet” in the following revelation as allowing Muhammad to break one of Allah’s most strict prohibitions: sex outside of marriage.
33:50 O Prophet, we have made lawful, for you, your wives, whose dowry you have paid, what your right hand owns (slave-girls) out of the spoils of war that Allah gave you, the daughters of your paternal uncles, the daughters of your paternal aunts, the daughters of your maternal uncles, the daughters of your maternal aunts who emigrated with you, and any believing woman who gives herself freely to the Prophet, if the Prophet desires to marry her, granted exclusively to you, but not the believers. We know what We have prescribed for them, regarding their wives and what their right hands own, so that you may not be at fault. Allah is All-Forgiving, Merciful.
Muhammad's outspoken child-bride Aisha told her husband how she felt about Allah's readiness to indulge him in everything sexual. This included something as mundane as granting her husband—in the most sacred of scriptural text, of all things—the right to reschedule a wife’s turn in his coitus rotation, or even denying a spouse the pleasure of his company for as long as he wished.
33:51 You may defer any of them you wish, and take in any of them that you wish or any that you may have cut off. So you are not liable to reproach. For thus it is more likely that they will be delighted and will not grieve, but be content with what you have given each one of them. Allah knows what is within your hearts; and Allah is All-Knowing, Clement.
I used to look down upon those ladies who had given themselves to Allah's Apostle and I used to say, "Can a lady give herself (to a man)?" But when Allah revealed: "You (O Muhammad) can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives), and you may receive any of them whom you will; and there is no blame on you if you invite one whose turn you have set aside (temporarily).' (33:51) I said (to the Prophet), "I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires."
Why would a god, in a book meant to be a moral guide for mankind until Judgement Day, and which He claims to have written before the beginning of time, spend so much ink on the sex life of just one man? If that sex life was to be held up as an example to the faithful, then perhaps it would have its place in such as book; as an exception to Allah’s rules for the ordinary believer, however, it invites disbelief!
Allah’s most pathetic pandering to His spokesperson’s all-consuming lust would prove particularly detrimental to both the physical and emotional wellbeing of orphans.
Muhammad was already married to six women, not counting concubines and slave-girls, who could, depending on the circumstances, satisfy any sexual yearning, when he walked in on his daughter-in-law Zaynab when she was almost naked. He just had to have her.
During the time of ignorance (before Islam on the Arabian Peninsula), men adopted orphaned boys who then became part of the adopted father’s lineage and were considered de facto progeny, e.g., a legitimate heir. Because laws and traditions at this time did not distinguish between an adopted or natural-born son, the taboo against marrying your natural son's wife extended to adopted descendants.
A legal way had to be found for Muhammad to marry his daughter-in-law, who also just happened to be his cousin. The Law-Maker was only too happy to oblige His greatest and last spokesperson by changing the status of adopted sons, from sons to “brothers in religion”, Revelation 33:5.
33:4 Allah did not create two hearts within the breast of any man; and He did not make your wives, whom you compare to your mothers’ backs; and He did not make your [adopted] sons your sons in fact. That is your own claim, by your words of mouth. Allah speaks the truth and He guides to the Right Path.
33:5 Assign them to their own fathers. That is more equitable in the sight of Allah; but if you do not know their real fathers, then they are your brothers in religion, your adopted fellow Muslims. You are not at fault if you err therein; but only in what your hearts intend. Allah is ever All-Forgiving, All-Merciful.
Demoting adopted sons to “brothers in religion” made their wives, upon divorce, eligible to be taken in marriage by the adoptive father.
33:37 And [remember] when you said to him whom Allah favoured and you favoured: (this is addressed to Zayd regarding his wife Zaynab) “Hold on to your wife and fear Allah”, while you concealed within yourself what Allah would reveal and feared other men, whereas Allah had a better right to be feared by you. Then, when Zayd had satisfied his desire for her, We gave her to you in marriage; so that the believers should not be at fault, regarding the wives of their adopted sons, once they have satisfied their desire for them. For Allah’s Command must be accomplished.
Leave it to Allah to come up with an excuse for Zaid wanting to divorce Zaynab which neatly encapsulates His view of women as commodities. It has nothing to do with Zaid wanting to please his father-in-law and most powerful Arab ever, but because he “had satisfied his desire for her”, which left God free to give her to His cherished spokesman so that he, in turn, could quench his craving for his irresistible cousin.
After Zaid prudently divorced Zaynab, Muhammad was free to marry the object of his lust, Allah having relegated her former husband to no more than an acquaintance for whom His spokesman provided room and board.
Orphaned boys were almost unknown in the Arab world until Allah changed their status so that His spokesman could marry his adopted son's wife. The revelation changing the relationship between adopted sons and their surrogate parents—allowing Muhammad to add his former daughter-in-law to his collection of wives, concubines and slave-girls—resulted in an untold number of children in the Islamic world from that day onward with no living person to call father.
God may have regretted creating orphans, where before there were only sons, so that His spokesman could satisfy his lust for his cousin and daughter-in-law, to send more than a handful of revelations about looking after their welfare.
Muhammad’s adopted son, now brother-in-religion, would die in one of the innumerable bloody, pitiless battles waged to convert the people of the Peninsula and beyond. God's spokesman ordered that the women mourning Zaid's passing a little too loudly be silenced, but that proved impossible.
When the news of the martyrdom of Zaid bin Haritha, Ja'far and 'Abdullah bin Rawaha came, the Prophet sat down looking sad, and I was looking through the chink of the door. A man came and said, "O Allah's Apostle! The women of Ja'far," and then he mentioned their crying.
The Prophet (p.b.u.h) ordered him to stop them from crying. The man went and came back and said, "I tried to stop them but they disobeyed."
The Prophet (p.b.u.h) ordered him for the second time to forbid them. He went again and came back and said, "They did not listen to me, (or "us": the sub-narrator Muhammad bin Haushab is in doubt as to which is right)."
'Aisha added: The Prophet said, "Put dust in their mouths."
I said (to that man), "May Allah stick your nose in the dust (i.e. humiliate you). By Allah, you could not (stop the women from crying) to fulfill the order, besides you did not relieve Allah's Apostle from fatigue."
Anne, brazenly inviting me to enjoy her private parts, should have, according to our in-and-out-of-this-world dynamic duo, caused me to experience a Pavlovian-like reaction, an uncontrollable urge to dive right in, then and there, and jump her bones. Instead, I repeated that it was over, and went back to work.
Wanting to experience the closeness, the physical intimacy that only intercourse makes possible—let alone the desire to procreate—is an urge that both sexes use to influence the other. Anne’s provocative display of what Allah and His spokesperson consider is for her husband’s eyes only was obviously meant to influence my behaviour toward her, perhaps by reminding me what I would be missing if I broke up with her over what had transpired the day before.
It didn’t work, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with her sending such a clear and unambiguous, not to say memorable, message.
Anne was on probation. The next day when she was supposed to rejoin the team, there was no Anne. Dennis, the public servant to whom I reported, said that he had kicked her off the team because she was a disruptive influence (she wasn’t). Why now? I don’t know.
Being on probation, she risked losing her job. A heated argument with Dennis ensued and we almost came to blows. If it was about the affair, I was just as responsible, if not more, and it was none of his business. I quit in protest.
Before I could make it out the door, I was intercepted by Dennis’ boss inviting me into his office. He knew I was worried about Anne losing her job. He assured me that, before that happened, he would find her a better one elsewhere, as long as I did not quit. He was true to his word.
It took a few weeks during which time Anne would have nothing more to do with me, avoiding me like the proverbial plague. The last time I saw her at work, I was having a cigarette (I quit smoking a long time ago) in a place I used to go to be alone with my thoughts. She came by to say thank you. She would shortly be taking a new position in another building and had just found out that by quitting my job—if only for a few minutes, as it turned out—I had saved hers.
With Anne, I had not yet learned to separate sex from love. When I was having sex, I was making love. This meant falling in love to a certain degree with whom I was doing it with even if I did not admit it. That would have to change if I was going to keep my promise to Lucette. It would change, thanks, in part, to the young woman who got me interested in reading the Koran and to whom Remembering Uzza is dedicated.
I don’t remember her name, but since Jasmine comes to mind, that is what I will call her. With Jasmine, I was to spend the most enigmatic night of my life.
Jasmine was a young stripper working the day shift at a strip club around the corner from Thursdays. I barely recognized her when she walked into the bar. It was the first time I’d seen her there. She sat on the stool next to me and bought herself a drink. Being from Toronto, she didn’t speak much French, but she knew I spoke English when she spotted me.
Jasmine skin was a dark brown, not black. She had the curves but not the robust physique of Mary. Mary braided her hair, Jasmine hair was all curls, a lot like Little Orphan Annie; black curls, like a halo, surrounded an angelic face, making her look almost too young to be buying a drink, let alone stripping for a living. I later found out she was returning to Toronto the next day. Her mood was somewhat sullen.
It was early in the evening and she was still nursing whatever she ordered when she turned to me and said, “I’m tired of this. Can we just go over to your place and watch television?” This is what we did.
She did not sit at one end of the couch but toward the middle, so I did the same after turning on the television and getting us each a beer. We both put our feet up on the coffee table and looked at each other. She smiled. I put an arm around her shoulders and gently drew her in. That sullen mood slowly disappeared as we talked about I don’t remember what, ignoring what was on TV. It was inevitable...
(If I have the courage, look for the full, seriously unsettling excerpt on, or before, July 1)
Josée and Roberta
Chantal lost her mother to breast cancer when she was in her teens, perhaps earlier. I think Lucette reminded her of her mother, and Chantal reminded my Lucette of the daughter she never had. She got to know Lucette while working for me part-time in the two years I continued as a consultant after returning to Ottawa from Montréal. Most of that time, I worked out of my home office with Chantal helping out.
Lucette and Chantal enjoyed each other’s company and it showed. When Lucette would open the front door and announce her arrival with a joyous, “I’m home,” Chantal would bounce down the stairs, shouting, “Lucette’s home, Lucette’s home,” greeting her before she had a chance to close the door behind her.
Chantal would often help Lucette with dinner and then stay for part of the evening. Yes, this is the same Chantal that you have already met. Chantal thought her father would make a better husband for my Lucette and “maybe we should introduce them,” as I obviously did not deserve the woman who absolutely adored me. She was unable to suppress an expression of disbelief when she said this. I adored Lucette too, though I didn’t yet realize just how much.
I must admit to fantasizing about being the married man Chantal had been seeing the last few months that she worked for me. Who wouldn’t? I don’t think Chantal realized the effect she had on me when she stood next to me in shorts or tight jeans that drew attention to her nice round bum, as I focused on explaining the work that had to be done that day.
The view was even more inspiring when she curled up in the fetal position on the office couch to take a nap. Not that I minded the distraction. What I did not care for was her prattling on about who was enjoying what her straining white shorts dug into and contoured while she slept. It was enough having to resist offering to scrub her back when she jumped in the shower before running to meet her adulterer (yes, I am aware of the irony) for a nooner.
I asked her repeatedly not to talk about her sex life with that man. In a Muslim country, she could have been stoned to death for having illegal intercourse. In Muhammad’s time it was a sure thing, especially if he was the judge. The married man Chantal was having sex with, a lawyer no less, could have easily talked his way out of a death sentence as God’s spokesman always looked for ways to spare stoning the adulterer, but not the adulteress.
The following are two cases of illegal intercourse adjudicated by Muhammad which illustrate this fact. The first involves a woman pregnant with another man’s child:
Malik related to me from Yaqub ibn Zayd ibn Talha from his father Zayd ibn Talha that Abdullah ibn Abi Mulayka informed him that a woman came to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and informed him that she had committed adultery and was pregnant.
The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to her, "Go away until you give birth."
When she had given birth, she came to him.
The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to her, "Go away until you have suckled and weaned the baby."
When she had weaned the baby, she came to him. He said, "Go and entrust the baby to someone."
She entrusted the baby to someone and then came to him. He gave the order and she was stoned.
Malik's Muwatta 126.96.36.199
God’s mouthpiece was not as quick to condemn a man who confessed to committing illegal intercourse to be stoned.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
A man from Bani Aslam came to Allah's Apostle while he was in the mosque and called (the Prophet) saying, "O Allah's Apostle! I have committed illegal sexual intercourse."
On that the Prophet turned his face from him to the other side, whereupon the man moved to the side towards which the Prophet had turned his face, and said, "O Allah's Apostle! I have committed illegal sexual intercourse."
The Prophet turned his face (from him) to the other side whereupon the man moved to the side towards which the Prophet had turned his face, and repeated his statement.
The Prophet turned his face (from him) to the other side again. The man moved again (and repeated his statement) for the fourth time. So when the man had given witness four times against himself, the Prophet called him and said, "Are you insane?"
He replied, "No." The Prophet then said (to his companions), "Go and stone him to death."
The man was a married one. Jabir bin 'Abdullah Al-Ansari said: I was one of those who stoned him. We stoned him at the Musalla (the praying area outside a mosque) in Medina. When the stones hit him with their sharp edges, he fled, but we caught him at Al-Harra and stoned him till he died.
In fact, in another account of the same event, it is clear that while he has no qualms about sentencing a female to be stoned, sentencing a man to the same fate leaves him somewhat moved.
The chagrin that Muhammad experiences in having to sentence a man to be stoned to death is very much evident in his demand that the people who said he had died like a dog eat from the decaying corpse of an ass. In addition, while stoning does not purify a woman who has committed adultery, it seems to have that effect on a man guilty of the same offence. She is going to Hell, and he, to Paradise.
A man of the tribe of Aslam came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and testified four times against himself that he had had illicit intercourse with a woman, while all the time the Prophet (peace be upon him) was turning away from him. Then when he confessed a fifth time, he turned round and asked: Did you have intercourse with her?
He replied: Yes.
He asked: Have you done it so that your sexual organ penetrated hers?
He replied: Yes.
He asked: Have you done it like a collyrium stick when enclosed in its case and a rope in a well?
He replied: Yes.
He asked: Do you know what fornication is?
He replied: Yes. I have done with her unlawfully what a man may lawfully do with his wife.
He then asked: What do you want from what you have said?
He said: I want you to purify me. So he gave orders regarding him and he was stoned to death. Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) heard one of his companions saying to another: Look at this man whose fault was concealed by Allah but who would not leave the matter alone, so that he was stoned like a dog.
He said nothing to them but walked on for a time till he came to the corpse of an ass with its legs in the air. He asked: Where are so and so?
They said: Here we are, Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him)!
He said: Go down and eat some of this ass's corpse.
They replied: Apostle of Allah! Who can eat any of this?
He said: The dishonour you have just shown to your brother is more serious than eating some of it. By Him in Whose hand my soul is, he is now among the rivers of Paradise and plunging into them.
Abu Dawud 38.4414
If it was a woman accused of illegal intercourse, God’s spokesman might not even bother hearing her side of the story before ordering that she be stoned.
Narrated Zaid bin Khalid and Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "O Unais! Go to the wife of this (man) and if she confesses (that she has committed illegal sexual intercourse), then stone her to death."
Returning to Chantal, Lucette and me; it was a sunny summer morning, Lucette was away at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake with a girlfriend, a yearly tradition, when Chantal showed up for work.
She went on and on about spending the weekend with a married man on his boat. She was happy and I couldn’t take it anymore. I spoiled it for her, for me and for my Lucette: I fired her then and there, telling her to leave, and that was that. Like with Diane there was no turning back, which may have been my way of avoiding falling any harder for Chantal and risk hurting my Lucette again.