Divine matrimony

A couple of years back at the height of my Sufic Muslim-hugger phase, I would have argued that the true meaning behind Prophetic narrations on the choice of “spouses” (for example, the advice that a spouse should be selected based on the desirable trait of affection towards a parent) to be a cross, the cross of the logos. The real marriage is one between Inseminatory Cosmic Prophecy married to Receptive Divine Feminine Text. And “affection for parents” is the way in which the relationship mirrors (one of bestowal and reception, breathing in and out) the transcendent primordial twin eyes of Allah: Chochma/Father/Wisdom and Binah/Mother/Understanding.

But now I must concede — this guy represents the true intent behind Islamic marriage guidance counselling: it’s “merely” about providing material and emotional stability and being a descent person, within the tribal habitus of Islam. There is a particular sense in which Islamic Divinity is implicated within Islamic marriage, of course: but the implication follows via adherence to particular modes of comportment towards God — a remembrance of God, even in the Muslim’s emotional state of marriage. Not mirroring God, remembering God. For example, the sheikh in the video speaks of jealousy/protectiveness as a desirable trait in a husband, because it will reinforce the Divine injunctions relating to modesty and chastity of the woman.

Not, importantly, because God is a jealous God and man mirrors God in jealousy (where “jealousy” is interpreted to mean condensation of the vapour of Love), as I would have claimed before.

The video is the epitome of the piety movement. It’s all about embodied modes of being, embodied modes of relating to God, in every action, even in the very emotions felt by the Muslim.

Here, God is the end goal for the desirable (constrained) forms of love, action, emotion. Whereas I prefer to say that God and his constraints are the (crystallized) byproduct of the overwhelming sea of love, the fire of action. God is an emotion (externalized).


2 thoughts on “Divine matrimony

  1. I laughed my ass off as I watched this video – that which I believe to be something to be avoided completely – the controlling weak man who is jealous, who gathers his sense of self from this type of emotion, this one is incapable of love or loving. Who would want such a weak man for a husband?

    1. It is a funny video – I’m sure most intelligent Muslims would take it humorously, but also with a degree of affection toward the sheikh’s stance, and an acceptance in principle for what he says.

      The point is one of failure to communicate between embodied languages: actual bio-linguistic incompatibility. The stuff about jealousy is a great case in point. “Jealousy” is not precisely what he’s talking about – he uses an Arabic word with a particular connotation, one that is very culturally specific. Its a kind of protectiveness – and a kind of honour – that derives from the history of the Arab people, and includes the most important Arab (Muhammed) and what his god instructed him (as the Quran says – “in Arabic tounge”).

      This kind of “jealousy” is easily misread by us with a western enlightenment (or post-Enlightenment) perspective … Just because the word itself (including its cultural implementation) is not translatable.

      It’s like Eskimos having a hundred words for snow – Arabic (and so Islam, whose language must be Arabic) has subtle shades of “jealousy” and “love” – that are meaningless to us.

      All we can do is either 1) become fully colonised by the Arabic bio-language (takes centuries) or 2) project a positive or negative reading of that bio-language (a fetish, a garment/hijab artificially tailored to cover the naked untranslatable truth) or 3) make an ethnographic observation (what I’m trying to do in this reply).

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