Book Review: Closer Than a Garment: Marital Intimacy According to the Pure Sunnah (Revised Edition)

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It is the reviewer’s opinion that every married Muslim couple should have a copy of this book.

 

Indeed, every Muslim couple about to enter marriage should read this book. It discusses marital intimacy according to the Sunnah in a clear, concise and comprehensive way that is easy to understand.

 

The book’s chapters look into the Islamic etiquette of intimacy, prohibited acts of intimacy, ritual bath, the ‘awrah, zina, perversions and aberrations, and birth control. It is important, for example, to supplicate to Allah before intercourse to ask Him to keep Satan away. Some of the prohibited acts of intimacy include anal intercourse and intercourse during menses. While, according to the book, there is no ‘awrah for a woman in front of her husband and vice versa, “reasonable measures of modesty and good manners should be exercised”.

 
As for zina, the writer explains that there are several levels, including that of looking –
 

“Among those who fall under this threat is anyone who helps produce or propagate nakedness and indecency in any form or by any means. This includes newspapers, magazines, television, films, theatres…”.

 

Exposing intimate secrets is also a form of minor zina. The major sin of zina can only be proven in three ways: the guilty person’s clear and absolute confession, or pregnancy, or testimony of four witnesses who have all seen the occurrence, including the actual insertion. To accuse a believer of zina without such proof is itself a sin that “deserves punishment in both lives”.

 

Islam, says the writer, encourages Muslims to have as many children as possible in order to increase the size and power of the Muslim Ummah, which in turn increases the number of people worshipping Allah and striving to establish His Din. Birth control is prohibited if the reasons are non-Islamic, such as fearing poverty or wanting to live a quiet life without children. The use of natural methods in birth control, e.g. early withdrawal, is permissible but disapproved. Abortion is prohibited regardless of the age of the embryo, unless continuing the pregnancy would most likely cause the mother’s death.

 

There is also an informative appendix on human sexuality, which describes human sexual characteristics, human sexual development, the physiology of sex and sexual dysfunctions.

 

This book is the second of four books in a series on ‘The Muslim Family’, which deals with various aspects of marriage and family life. The first, The Quest for Love and Mercy, looks into the regulations for marriage and weddings in Islam, while the third book, The Fragile Vessels, delves into the rights and obligations between spouses in Islam. The final book in the series, Our Precious Sprouts, explains Islamic regulations for newborns.

 

The first three books can be purchased as a boxed set, making it a wonderful wedding gift.

Author: Zuraidah Omar

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