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Chapter 1

Faith, Spirituality, and Love in the Oasis Garden

Chapter 1 Faith, Spirituality, and Love in the Oasis Garden A husband and wife, whether newly

A husband and wife, whether newly married or committed for decades, need their bond to be firmly established and continually renewed. Like a garden which grows by constant watering and pruning, a healthy relationship balances flexibility with strength, fluidity with solidity.

What this book aims to nurture are lasting relationships based on trust, honesty, respect, joy, friendship, open communication, and fun. Like any relationship you will go through highs and lows in your journey. What worked at one time or place may not later, and constant feedback and open communication between partners are critical. You are about to explore, so begin with an open mind. Welcome to The Veiled Garden.

We are here to share with you ideas that may spark your collective imagination for romance and passion. While we have done extensive research that rests on the shoulders of giants, what sets The Veiled Garden apart from its predecessors is the use of boundaries of faith as a means for curiosity and adventure.

Instead of something restrictive, faith is the springboard for discovering what love and sex mean to you. The most basic tenets for getting the most out of this book: read, adapt, and enjoy.

Of all the different faiths in the world, in contemporary culture there is little sexual education and exploration material published and available to Muslims. For other faiths, there are ancient texts like the Hindu Kama Sutra or Buddhist Tantric sex.


The Veiled Garden

The Veiled Garden There are also more contemporary titles for Christians such as the recent Sexperiment:

There are also more contemporary titles for Christians such as the recent Sexperiment: Seven Days to Lasting Intimacy with Your Spouse. Although Muslims do have The Perfumed Garden, written in 15th century, it garners little attention and does not address the needs of contemporary couples. In writing this book, we hope to offer fresh insights that will enliven your search and achievement of love. Most traditional cultures have a singular and static view on intimate relations, particularly if it involves the position or the place. Although these strictures may seem the only path to great sex and intimacy, there are so many other possibilities for variety. This book explores what can be further explored for whatever stage of life, whether you’re about to get married and worried about your wedding night or you’re a mature couple who are bored with routine sex.

Initially, the target audience for this book was purely Muslim. However, when we considered the breadth of advice and suggestions included in our book, we realized that the project was applicable to many other couples that are struggling to keep the romance and faith in their marriage alive.


The criteria by which we decided what to include or exclude is based on Islamic

The criteria by which we decided what to include or exclude is based on Islamic tenants. But if something is not explicitly forbidden in our faith, it is permissible. In some cases, acts may be permissible but not preferred. Fortunately, as there are only a few things that are forbidden, the world of possibility is very expansive! This is the domain in which we work: as long as sex is between a married man and woman, you may undertake any action with the intention to improve the bond between husband and wife. From this foundation, we felt The Veiled Garden opens up to a much broader audience.

Our concern with the media and its portrayal of relationships and marriage was another impetus for writing this book. We live in a world which is desensitized to the objectification of sex. Sex is both an object to be attained and a means to sell the body. Due to the saturation of media, even the most intimate acts have gone from the private to the public sphere. This environment creates images of meaningless desire and pleasure, which are false and harmful. We want couples


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to ground their relationships in reality and to take ownership of what they do in their daily lives.

To begin, strong health and a good sense of self-esteem are two foundational components for improving your sex life. You must feel good about your body and likewise an overall appreciation of your spouse. Being accepting of yourself and your spouse is a fundamental building block. This includes talking about expectations before any physical acts occur. Just like any relationship (prior to marriage), one must sufficiently work on his or her self before they enter into a partnership.

Secondly, great sex builds over the lifetime of marriage, not just a great weekend. Therefore, we would like to set some early ground rules. Sex should be a mutually enjoyable experience. Any time both of you are not enjoying an experience, stop, flag it, and discuss other options. Next, give selflessly and find out your partner’s needs and try to fulfill those over your own. You may even read this book together or individually and then discuss. Sex is a very personal and intimate act. Just like a cookbook, not all recipes appeal to all individuals. This is a book intended for sharing ideas. You can take, adapt, or ignore anything from it. Your sex life is yours. We are neither here to advocate certain experiences, nor direct you to them. Your combined creativity and God’s mercy will give you the greatest pleasure.

Whereas doctors, psychotherapists, and those from professional backgrounds write many other romance guides, we fall into no such camp. We are not scholars, nor are we sex therapists or physicians. Nevertheless,


we are out to share goodness. We have been happily married for many years, and yes, practicing Muslims. Like other faith-based and cultural communities, we come from conservative backgrounds. We learned most things about marriage and sex through trial and error. There was no one to guide us. This book is not entirely based on our sex lives. Instead we are inspiring the goodness that we have experienced in a framework that we believe is moral and gives couples pleasure, and where ideas for creativity enhance relationships. We firmly believe that sex is not dirty, but a divine pleasure given by God for us to enjoy and explore.

We have done a lot of research on the subject and reviewed many of the popular (and less mainstream) publications in libraries and bookstores. We strategically apply Islamic principles which have commonality with other faiths and do not include those things that are forbidden. To supplement your reading, there are some excellent books that compliment ours, and we have included those in our reference. Unfortunately, the vast majority use photographs or life-like portraits which we feel are nothing but pornography masquerading as a guide.

We have gone out of our way to use illustrations, which use the most minimal detail that get the point across. Why bother with illustrations? Isn’t that pornographic and sinful? We struggled with this issue, but there are several reasons why they are required. We live in a visual world: reading is on the decline, and people prefer to get their information from visual media. No matter how much you describe something such as


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sexual positions, it is easier to understand them through illustration.

By using these minimal illustrations (and we are our own fiercest critics), we are trying to prevent people from turning to the books and films that contain pornographic images. There are degrees of error, and if by using a book like this prevents a couple from resorting to or referring to something that will be harmful in the long term, we feel humbled and justified. Due to the sensitive nature of this text, most scholars we contacted did not respond. However, when checking with an Islamic scholar if it is okay to use illustrations for education, the definitive answer was yes as long the intention is for education. Our intentions are pure. This is for education and we hope you will enhance your marital relationships in the areas of sex and intimacy.

Some people with very conservative backgrounds may struggle seeing the subjects of Islam and sex together. Islam, however, is a comprehensive code of life. This includes how to deal with the most intimate of relations between husband and wife. The sexual union between husband and wife is more than seeking a relief from the urge of desire. Indeed, the Prophet taught that it is a charitable act. He said to his companions, enumerating examples of charitable deeds: "And when the one of you makes love (has lawful sex with spouse) it is a reward-able charity.” In fact, there are many Islamic guidelines about sexual relations only with your spouse. According to the Prophet, part of the marriage contract is to provide one another with sexual fulfillment. A man must not satisfy himself without also meeting his


spouse’s needs. Specifically, a husband should put the needs of his wife first and try to fulfill hers over his own. Naturally both husband and wife should try to satisfy each others’ needs, too. We will spend a considerable amount of time covering this later. The basic concept is that satisfying sexual desire legitimately with spouse is an act of charity. Sex is more than a physical act; it is a spiritual act also. This includes foreplay, which may begin with kisses and kind words, and can cover every part of the body through eye contact, expressions of love, and touching. While we explore the physical act, including sexual positions and tips, we conjointly explore the spiritual territory of lovemaking.

The script of romance, passion and sex, all of which are physical and emotional acts, is given to us by God. Any designer knows the limits of his creation and we should look to that as a starting point. The rest is your creative endeavor within those bounds.


We believe that this book will have its critics, especially conservative Muslims who believe what we are doing is a sin and that we are destined to hell. From our perspective, the Muslim faith is about enjoying the good and forbidding the evil. It is our sincere goal that couples learn through proper channels. We want couples to live out their desires and fantasies within the framework of their marriage as opposed to turning to pornography or adultery, which destroys marriages and families.


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Muslims in the United States, Europe, and in those countries where Muslims are the majority are not immune to the social ills of society. One survey found that many Muslim states are the top places where people seek access to sex-related websites. Although some of the keywords seem rather suspect, whether they are first or tenth, it is an issue. One sin leads to another. Pornography can and does break marriages by creating unrealistic expectations. Adulterous relations through prostitution or otherwise are significant in what are deemed to be “religious countries.” You can close your eyes and ears and pretend that this is not going on, but it is a reality.

To our critics, we can only express that if your only contributions to the community are to criticize and condemn, then perhaps the issues you have are born from an internal struggle. Our conscious is clean and we pray that not only Muslims, but also people of all faiths may benefit from this book. Our intentions are pure, and we believe there is greater benefit in having a book like this as opposed to people ending up with random (and questionable) information from the Internet. If we have made any transgressions then we ask our creator for forgiveness. All Praise is due to God and Peace and Blessings on his Last Prophet, Muhammad. (Peace be Upon Him.)

*In terms of our own faith, God is used to refer to the Arabic Allah (meaning the one and only God). Out of respect, references to Prophets names have an implied Peace Be Upon Him, and for his companions and family, May God be pleased with them or


Radiullah Anha (RA). Readers are welcome to insert their own religious figures in place of these, or simply use the principles and put aside the names given.