This article reflects on the role of nonmodern literatures in modern debates about love, sex, and Islam. It briefly examines fundamental nonmodern discourses on love and sex to demonstrate their challenge to portrayals of love and sex by orthodox religious authorities and others today as divinely connected to the idealized institution of marriage. It analyzes two works from the Maghreb to show their divergence from limited modern views: Ṭawq al-ḥamāma, Ibn Ḥazm al-Andalusī’s eleventh-century love treatise, and Nuzhat al-albāb fīmā lā yūjad fī kitāb, the Tunisian Aḥmad ibn Yūsuf al-Tīfāshī’s thirteenth-century erotic book. The article provides historical grounding to this critical cluster on modern Islamic Africa and complicates the values often attributed to love and sex as moral, natural, and eternal.


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pp. 12-25
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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