Hot on the heels of Justice Minister Mustafa Ramid alienating tourists to Morocco with his crass statement that, “People from all over the world come and spend a lot of time sinning and being away from God,” Imam Abdelbari Zemzami, from Casablanca, has dipped his toe in the confused world of sexual mores by issuing a fatwa (a religious edict) saying that adult women who are divorced, widows, or women who have never had sexual relations with a man and have lost all hope that they ever will, are allowed to relieve their sexual frustrations with an assortment of root vegetables or kitchen implements.
|Imam Abdelbari Zemzami|
“A woman can get much benefit from these vegetables and other elongated objects,” said the cleric, and went on to list an assortment of vegetables, pestles and bottles.
Sheikh Zamzami is undeniably famous, if not infamous as well, for being well-versed in Islamic fatwas, especially those touching on taboo issues, such as sex, masturbation, sex positions, and sex education at large. Yet, according to an opinion piece in Morocco World News, the solutions he suggests that will allay one’s sexual and emotional repression haven’t lived up to Moroccans’ expectations in that they are exaggerated and preposterous.
Omar Bihmidine, writing in Morocco World News is scathing. As usual, similar to previous fatwas, the latest one has sparked an outcry amongst Moroccans, especially among conservative ones. As a response to the outcry, Zamzami elaborated on the issue, adding that he is ready at any time to argue the controversy and that he is all ears to any proofs from the Quran and Sunna if the public dare to come up with them and disprove his fatwa.
However, by perusing the sheikh’s fatwa, we can’t help inferring that he himself didn’t base his fatwa on tangible proofs from the same sources. The so-called proofs he supported his statements with were merely in the form of alleged quoting some late anonymous savants in the past who too issued the same fatwa, and also in the form of likening hunger and thirst to women’s sexual desires. That is, no hadith and Qurantic verse were exemplified and made notice of.
The Imam, an expert in Islamic jurisprudence, added that it was better for women to use these methods to relieve the pressure of sexual needs than to ‘fall into sin’, by which, one assumes, he means by taking a lover outside of marriage, strictly forbidden by Islamic law. As an Alem, an Islamic Scholar Zemzami, is empowered to produce Islamic rulings that can easily be considered an obligation on the Muslim community in Morocco.
Zemzami is also a supporter of sex shops and sex toys, and said that the reason a 23-year old man was jailed in Morocco recently for trying to sell sex toys on the internet, was that he didn’t have the correct papers, and that in fact the sale of this type of products isn’t prohibited in the country. This Imam of the Suni Maliki sect, raised eyebrows last year when he issued a fatwa saying it was okay for a man to have sexual relations with the corpse of his wife, as they would be reunited in paradise.
In the current state of tension in Morocco after the recent death of a 16-year-old rape-victim Amina El Filali , Imam Zemzami’s comments will continue to stir the barrel of confusion regarding sexual matters that is current in the country.