Skirmishes with Desire

His phone rang just before dawn. A warm, soft female voice emerged through the tiny speaker: “Hassan, is that you?” What an irrelevant question, he thought; at this point in my life, this part of the day I am whoever you want me to be.

They clicked.

“So who do you look like”, she asked, “are you tall or short, maybe strong?” Her voice melts through him. He quickly undresses, and lies naked on the bed. Tiny vibrations spread through the nether regions of his body.

But what are we to do with the elephant in the room he asked her; what are we to do with prohibition, with right and wrong? We must accept desire, she says, no doubt while fondling her body. But we must not ever – he thinks in ancitipation of her subconscious thoughts – admit to ourselves that what we are doing is purely to fulfil desire.

“You masturbate”, she asks in a surprised tone, “that is Haram”. She is rescued. Desire is dangerous, she intimates, and what would be more effective at eliminating this danger than a proud, certain shout: Haram! And in an ironic turn, they are no longer in the midst of desire, but debating the religious evidence against masturbation.

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