Social Morality and Goal

Dure: The book [Maps for Lost Lovers by Nadeem Aslam] convinced me that physical intimacy is beautiful.
Me: It's a beautiful discovery.
Dure: Why are we always taught that it's shameful and lame?
Me: It's the morality we live in and are exposed to: sex is beastly and immoral. A shameful act to be kept hidden and not talked about. It's stupid and outrageous considering how much harm it does.
Dure: Why is it that the Western way of doing things always turns out better? Do you think there is a truth to the 'success of Western propaganda in Pakistani youth' theory, or are their systems and ideas really better in every regard?
Me: I think they are better. At least more humane. But everything comes with a price. Sexual liberation has its own problems. Suppressing sexuality is an effective but very cruel method of preventing that. Unfortunately, that's the approach our society took.
Dure: Individuality, then, is the solution, not structures. Right?
Me: If individual well-being is the goal, then yes.
Dure: Is that your goal?
Me: Yes, it is.

Comments

Dur-e-Aziz Amna said…
Aaaa! I have an exclusive tag now.
I be honored. :)
Anonymous said…
"Dure: Why is it that the Western way of doing things always turns out better?" :-S

It never turns out better. *_*
Dur-e-Aziz Amna said…
It's a long debate. There was a specific issue being discussed, with a specific mood, and a specific background. :)
Butters said…
I'm going to offend 90% of the people in the world and say this:

Physical intimacy is actually not beautiful, and is in fact beastly. The reason behind this is complicated to explain, but comes from the fact that the desire for sex and the act itself involve the indulgence of lower animal desires which have an overall degrading effect on a person's vitality and consciousness.

What is beautiful is emotional intimacy, and the more this is separated from sexuality, the better. Physical intimacy is only good insofar as it is only an expression of emotional intimacy, as in the contact between loving parents and children.

Those who have been anti-sex, especially in the Christian monastic tradition, have had good reason for doing so. Their mistake was becoming fanatical and extreme, but the insight that lies behind all of this is in fact entirely correct and worthy.

There is another point, and that is that physical intimacy between members of the opposite sex (and sometimes the same sex) is highly problematic from a political and existential point of view (especially for women). For more on this, I would recommend reading the work of Sheila Jeffreys, especially regarding the so-called 'sexual revolution'. I would also recommend looking into issues with the porn industry, e.g. in the documentary 'The Price of Pleasure' (a very disturbing and triggering documentary, I should warn).

In this particular regard the Western way of doing things is not all that great, although it is a million times better than the repressive Muslim way of doing things (e.g. in Pakistan).

Now as for individuality: that, of course, is brilliant. The West is overall better largely because it has realized the value of individuality.
Butters said…
A little addendum to my previous comment:

What is even more beautiful than emotional intimacy is spiritual union, which happens with God but can also happen between souls, especially souls that have joined in a spiritual path. The desire for sex ultimately comes from the desire for this union: it is a corrupt and futile attempt to realize it.
Anonymous said…
I have not the book itself in question. I just read the preface on Amazon. My comments are as follows:-
1. The problem is that Pakistani Soceity at large is hypocritical. We cover our related women with layers while any other woman is legitimate eye candy.
2. The other problem is misconstruing Islam. Islam is not a "religion". It is not something that the human nature was not familiar with. It was there since Adam and has remained the same in its fundamental principles.
3. Love is a human emotion perfectly recognised by Islam. The only recommendation is that lovers formalise it in the form of marriage as soon as possible. A Hadith from the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him advises lovers to get married as soon as feasible.
4. Allah is not a Stern Being. All emotions are His Craetion and He Guides the way to realise these desires, hunger, love, sex, success and so on.
5. Physical intimacy being labelled beastly is again I think, mis preception of the concept. If sex is learned from tabloids, porn, indian movies (pushto movies :-)) , of course the concept will be disfigured.
The Quran clearly relates the conception of human from bodily fluids. It is our immaturity of theological thought and demonisation of concept by the lay clergy that has defiled it.
Ideally the human relation, it being an expression of love , recognised rather Ordained by Allah can be introduced to any child crossing puberty through the Quranic Verses.
6. Uses physical intimacy as a media tool and in porn has disfigured it , degraded women to sexual objects and labelled men as sex obsessed freaks.
7. A Hadtih says that A believer wears his shame when leaving the house and relaxes when he is within the house. This shame is not merely the physical avoidance of staring. Rather it is the result of appropriate moral upbringing which leads us to inherently respect women regardless of their garments and covering, and later our spouses,
8. Finally East or West, or anywhere. it is an intrinsic desire (Again Created by Allah) marry and fall in love or vice versa. There are cultural effects of course but the principle is the same.
Anonymous said…
P.S:- this anonymous For the post above is different from the 22 November anonymous.
Anonymous said…
@ anynonymous of 25th november post:

Great yaar... :)

P.S:- Im the one of the 22nd november post...
Awais Aftab said…
@ the two anonymous commentators

You two could easily use a Pseudonym, you know.
Awais Aftab said…
@ anynonymous of 25th november post:

Interesting apologist views, but I don't buy it.

The concept of "romantic love" doesn't even exist in Islam, and it cannot even exist in practice if a fully functional Islamic society is set-up. Islam would only accept a relationship after it has been legalized by "marriage". In Islam, there is no recognized "pre-marital" love relationship.

I am highly against the view that marriage is the only permissible way for lovers to be together, and that all non-marital physical love is a sin that should be punished severely. So, yes, in Islam sex is beastly and immoral, unless it happens in the context of marriage. I accept no such constraints on love. All physical intimacy that results from emotional intimacy is beautiful for me, irrespective of what the marital status is.
Anonymous said…
@ awais aftab
Well, I disagree with u in thz.. The thing is that even if v leave our religion aside still it is immoral to involve in a sexual relation just mere in the name of love.. Wat for?? Just to satisfy the lust and the desire of the body. This is totally not love.. In real n clean context, love means a pure n a clean relationship, to care for each other, to like each other for wat the other person is n lust is excluded in all thz...
Offcrz where there will b love n the two people talk to each other n have an illegal relationship.. Even if they dont have any physical relation but just thz that they talk, then one day there will surely come lust to.. Thats y, in pure Islamic way, if a boy loves a girl, they dont have the liberty to talk with each other, rather the boy shld ask from her parents n get her in a legal way. After getting in a legal relation, love her as much as u like...
Otherwise first talking thing happens, then those desires arise n then the lust so it becms quite disturbing...
If two people get into a relation, wat if the boy is just using the girl?? Ofrcz the girl doesnt knw that so if she will consider any such relation wrong, she will not come into the spells ov the boy n will remain saved..
If suppose such thing happens n thn the boy tells her that she was only being used. Wat will become of girl? Just mental problms n all thz that her life gets destroyd n her family members stop trusting her...
Suppose if she also goes thru thz thing with hard tyms n gets anothr person in future as her husband... Do u think she did justice with her man by having a relation b4 with another guy?? No, she actually deceived him.. N ofcrz no one will like to knw thz thing from his girl that once she was into a relation...
Anonymous said…
Suppose even if she gets forgiven, then do u think that her legal man will ever b able to totally forget abt it... No, he will always feel bad no matter wat... N thz will lead to all that disturbing environment at home...
Just to get saved from thz long destruction, a person shld not comit such a sin at the first place n get into legal relation first... One has to love na, tu after marriage love each other infinitely but wats the point of loving b4 marriage?? Is there anything even like love??
N if one is really to love, then y not God, who even dserves to b loved the most... Wats the importance of loving a person from the oposite sex, whn one knws that even that person is given to him by God, so y not loving God even more thn ever who gave him someone whom he can love...
N moreover I dont knw its a verse or hadith but it is something that "Whn a male n a female are together alone, shatan makes their third."
N wherevr will b the devil, no happening at that tym will turn out to b gud... N moreover thats y even whn a female goes to a male doctor, some third person is supposed to b there to avoid any wrong thing n to b on the safer side...

P.S:- Im the anonymous of the 22nd november post...
Awais Aftab said…
@ Anonymous of 22nd

The thing is that even if v leave our religion aside still it is immoral to involve in a sexual relation just mere in the name of love.. Wat for?? Just to satisfy the lust and the desire of the body. This is totally not love...

And you think it is not immoral to marry just to satisfy your lust? In fact, that is what most people are doing anyway. If you say in response to this that in marriage, at least the man has some responsibility to the woman, then what you are essentially saying is that the woman should trade receiving social safety to satisfying sexual lust of her husband. Bravo, what a beautiful relationship.

Love expresses itself in various ways. Physical intimacy and sexual relations are one of those ways of expressions.

You assume or believe that it is impossible to have a genuine relationship of love (care, trust, respect, intimacy...) while having non-marital physical relationships. It is this assumption or belief that I do not agree with, and this is where our disagreement lies. I believe it is possible. I know it is possible.

The situation you have described has many factors: the society's perception of relationships, the status of girls in the society, the way marriages are arranged, etc etc. What you are addressing is an issue of practical safety. Should a girl agree to a physical non-marital relationship in a society where this could essentially destroy her life? Of course, such circumstances would warrant great caution in relationships. But the presence of these social circumstances is in no way a proof of the distorted morality it upholds. In fact, to counter your point, there are circles of traditional society where a girl's life would be ruined even if she had a completely non-physical love relationship with a boy. Would that prove that even non-marital non-physical love is a sin? No, it doesn't.
Dur-e-Aziz Amna said…
@ Anonymous 26/11 8.30:
"Whn a male n a female are together alone, shatan makes their third."

Lulz. Naughtay, waila Saytan.

@ Awais:
Your comment earned you a status on my FB. You = Makes so much sense, it's insane.
Anonymous said…
"And you think it is not immoral to marry just to satisfy your lust?"

Well, I don’t knw wat point u have in thz sentence.. :-S
Cz marry automatically means a legal relationship… If two people get married, means that offcrz there will b a physical relation n offcrz marriage isn’t a child’s play that people marry n satisfy the lust n then leave each other.. Marriage cant b for lust.. cz if one really wants to satisfy the lust, that can b done by using any1… Rather marriage, they will offcrz prefer to go to a person who will b ready to do that all even without marriage,i.e: illegal.. Y doing so hard work of marring??
That means if one will marry, then it cant b offcrz for the lust only… One truly loves the other or have thz thing in mind that one has to spend his whole life with the other person… Rest physical relation, dat is part of life whch one will have with whoever one gets in life… n I don’t think so that this is wat most people r doing… Told u marriage is not a child’s play… N well, yeah some xamples myt b there bt in decent families, its not one of the ways…

"Bravo, wat a beautiful relationship.."
Yes. It is.. Cz marriage is this that husband provides social safety n protection to women n children n women takes care of her husband’s property.. She is her husband’s property too in that sense n so she is obligatory to protect herslf from wrong doings with other men…
Actually u have taken me wrong.. I do believe maslf that love xists n yeah, it does xists… But the definition of love needs to b corrected. Love doesn’t have to b thz that the two people talk on phone late nights n spend nights with each other… Rather love, wat in Islam is, Love for God n similarly hate for God… True love takes people near to God, not away from Him… If two people r truly in love, they will pray more to God for making them knw each other rather spending tym on phone n havng illegal relationships.… They will rather not talk to each other to make God happy bcz they knw that to have a gud life after getting together, they have to make Him happy. They will just tell each other abt their feelings once to let each other knw that they want to b together… Either boy or girl.. N then will stop ryt there.. N at the ryt tym, boy can talk to girl’s parents....
Anonymous said…
"Should a girl agree to a physical non-marital relationship in a society where this could essentially destroy her life? Of course, such circumstances would warrant great caution in relationships."
If u even take the xample of western society where as u want to say that there r no restrictions.. Wat u say, has it all turned out better?? There babies r born without father.. no1 to take care of thm… Wats the fault of them that they have to suffer in it that not even mother is accepting n not even father… n those parents too illegally involved… Who takes the responsibility of those kids?? N even if NGO’s etc r there then do u think they still will b able to match the way parents love n care???
Even if the girl’s life isn’t destroyed n even if v forget abt the society too for the tym being… Suppose no1 is concernd abt the girl that wat she does… Then do u think it will b all fine still?? Wat abt those sexual diseases?? Even if with one person, do u think it is not dirty at all that she has a physical relation with a person who is no one for her???
"Would that prove that even non-marital non-physical love is a sin? No, it doesn't."
Well, in Islam yeah, such a love is not a sin if the boy talks to the girl’s parents n have her in a legal way… Every1 has to get married, n well if not an unknown person n a known girl, thn all fine… but the process to get her is the same too, to have the other person by parents consent… n well, parents also cant force their kids for anything n in educated families if they come across such things then yeah, girls life isn’t ruined… but I don’t say in the favor of those uneducated people who keep on treating girls like animals… They do wrong… But if two people do thz in a legal way, in Islam too, one doesn’t deserve any punishment…

By anonymous of 22nd November post…
Anonymous said…
@ dure
Isi kaam k liye hi tu waila hai... Aur koi kaam ho bhi kia sakta hai?? :)

By 22nd November anonymous...
Awais Aftab said…
@ Anonymous

You have no where addressed our central cause of disagreement. I believe that it is possible to have a genuine relationship of love while having non-marital physical relationships. And you have said nothing which directly attacks or refutes this statement. All the social side-effects of a physical non-marital relationship withstanding (which i even acknowledged in the post, and which I will address on some other occasion, and which you seem to have a very exaggerated notion of), my case still stands.

Of course, you have elaborated your Islamic theory of Love very well. I am sure there are many who will agree with you. I, unfortunately, am not one of them. I am not a big fan of Islam anyway.
Awais Aftab said…
@ Dure

You are too kind :)
Anonymous said…
@ awais aftab
"You have no where addressed our central cause of disagreement.
I believe that it is possible to have a genuine relationship of love while having non-marital physical relationships."

Well, wat i meant to say was that I believe in the first part of ur sentence,i.e, I believe that it is possible to have a genuine relationship of love bt I disagree after that, i.e, while having non-marital physical relationships.

"And you have said nothing which directly attacks or refutes this statement. All the social side-effects of a physical non-marital relationship withstanding."

I think in all these posts wat i mean to say is that non-marital physical relationship is illegal. Even if not from religious side, in the moral principles n rules, it is illegal, no matter wat.
Even if its really a common thing in western society n they dont consider much ogligations from the religious side, still they consider it wrong somewhere themslves. Offcrz when something is illegal which is done, it will only have negative side effects.. No child will like to hear from his parents that it was all done b4 marriage.

Not even Islam, any religion doesnt allow thz.. n even in moral ethics, it is not allowed.
A thing which is wrong is wrong, no matter wat.. Whether someone accepts or not... Anyways if u believe in thz thn upto u...
Awais Aftab said…
@ Anonymous

I think in all these posts wat i mean to say is that non-marital physical relationship is illegal. Even if not from religious side, in the moral principles n rules, it is illegal, no matter wat.

You are right that it is immoral from religious point of view. But I would disagree when you say that non-marital relationship is immoral even otherwise. Marriage itself is a social institution. How much moral importance a society gives to marriage varies from society to society. You are wrong when you think that Westerners consider non-marital relationships immoral even among themselves. Nothing could be far from truth. The very fact that Westerners do not view non-marital relationship as immoral goes against your view that non-marital relationships are universally wrong.

To be able to prove that non-marital relationships are universally immoral even in a secular ethics, you need to be able to have
a) a philosophical theory of universal secular ethics
b) the criteria of determining whether something is 'moral' or 'immoral' based on that theory
c) showing how non-marital relationships are immoral using those criteria.

I can assure you that there is nothing in the already recognized secular theories of normative ethics (such as Utilitarianism, Kantian Ethics, Virtue ethics, etc) that would show that non-marital physical relationships are immoral.
So unless you have a brilliant new ethical theory of your own, I don't think you can go much ahead in that direction.

What you can show is that non-marital physical relationships can lead to so-and-so problems in so-and-so social context, but then that would also require a critique of the so-and-so social context and the respective so-and-so social morality.
Furthermore, the morality of something cannot simply be judged by the problems it would lead to. I can list dozens of problems that can arise from a strict social insistence of marriage. But would that be a proof that marriage is immoral? No.

My point is: your case stands only as long as you stick to Islam. Beyond that, you don't have much of a chance.

I think I have said enough, so this is probably my last comment on this discussion.
Anonymous said…
From Anonymous of 25th @ Aftab,

As you have already pointed out that you have posted your last comment, so you are under no obligation to reply. Little bit busy with the kids and family, therefore took some time, and any way your arguments deserve some thinking.

Apologists comments no. Believe me , not.

I have been on both sides of the divide. I have lived in Pakistan and I have lived in the UK both before and after marriage.
If the Quran is taken at its face value, i.e., looking at the orders it contains, then it does not make much reading. That is the problem of our lay clergy, compounded by a near starved intellectual soceity.

I hope that you will agree on the following:-

A live educated nation uses it principles to develop and expand and apply them to new fields.

A dead nation( Like ours) takes those principles and turns into laws without learning how to use them, thus the current state.The means become the ends.

I used to think that philosophy and religion were not a good mix. Then I went through Sophie's world by chance. Philosophers have been asking the same questions that the Quran has been replying to.

I have realsied that the Quran is a summary. To understand what and why it says what It says, it is important to study the evolution of human soceity. For e,g. the change of essential polygamy in all cultures to monogamous life as present. The study of this evolution , including all the sociological, economical factors helps us to understand the opinion of the Quran.

This can be confidently stated about any field that the Quran comments on.

Our mistake is that we have taken the laws as end .

The purpose of these laws was to serve as principles. And principles need to be studied philosophically to realise their potential.

Marriage itself is no garuntaur of emotional security. I have seen enough of my decnts friends been given a cold exit by their spouses.

Love again is a Blessing from God. Believe me. I have learnt this after marriage. The media has perverted our concept of love. Love may be instantaneous yes, or it may be gradual, as one partner learns to grow the others personality in their own soul. So if the other person does something wrong, one suffers as much if not more pain than anger. It can be acquired.

The Quran is an Alive book. It challenges to those who dare to take up the challenge to Question. We have total freedom to ignore all established concepts and put forth our questions. There is no binding on us to follow any specific scholar.


But question it in sincerity. Be ready to admit defeat . For in admitting defeat we risk losing our individuality.( or the ego might take a knock :-) )

Yes, it is possible to love without physical demands. There is nothing against it.

When the word marriage is used, two people who decide to come together give birth to marriage. " Marriage" is the ritualistic name given to such relations. This mutual love in turn generates the desire to promote that love by having children who thrive in that love. Believe me, it is my personal experience And I cannot Thank God enough for it.
I f humans beings were decent enough not to mess in other peoples lives, that probably the need for " Declaration of Marriage" would not exist. But obviously they are not decent enough.

Single kids, even from divorced parents ( seen it) grow up missing something. Free sex. Post people who have gnoe through it find it to be a hollow experience. ( After the heat of youth has cooled off a little) . Both men and women jump into each other's beds hoping that the other will hand around. Does not happen.

Cheers.
Anonymous said…
@ awais aftab
“You are wrong when you think that Westerners consider non-marital relationships immoral even among themselves.”
Well, iv studied England law… n there r many a laws abt it there that non-marital sex is illegal.. Well, like sodomy n etc… category involves too… n well, ur thing can b justified in a way k two people r unmarried n do all that.. bt only with one person n if it does not come out like that then it becms prostitution… which is wat really happens… N I didn’t say it considering it in the law even.. bt I personally knw some families over there which consider it wrong even they don’t believe in religion… N well, they can accept a non-marital physical relation with only one person n that too if they r fully planned for marring bt they don’t really like thz way to have physical relation with every1 just mere in the name of love.. I think thz clears u now that even if it is not Islam, still the decent families over there consider such thing wrong who really have some moral values...

@ anonymous of 25th November post:
Im impressed… U really have strong n true opinions abt things..