Male sexual quirks among the Ottomans

In the days of the Ottoman Empire, pederasty-like relationships were common between pre-pubescent boys and bearded older men. Though today it seems homoerotic, the relationship had a deeper meaning according to the mystic Sufis and their search for God

Until the modern era, there was no word for sodomy in Arabic or Persian. Nor is there any prohibition of it in the Quran. Some make reference to the destruction of the town identified as Sodom of the Old Testament (which is supposed to be the origin of the word sodomy) in the Quran, Surah 15: 73-77 as if it were the source. But it is quite clear that the city was destroyed because its inhabitants refused to offer hospitality to strangers.

Where does the prohibition against sodomy come from? The reference is to some hadith, the sayings and acts of the Prophet Muhammad, which the Sunni interpretation of Islam uses to provide a legal basis for legal matters not covered in the Quran.

A recent article by Elyse Semerdjian that dealt with cases brought before the shariah court in Aleppo over a period of 359 years when it was under Ottoman control has turned up four, but only one concerning sodomy against a young man and his mother.

The youngster is supposed to have brought men known to be involved in sodomy to his home to the anger of the people of his neighborhood. The two were expelled from their community, a customary punishment for prostitution that had become noticeable enough to disturb the neighbors. Sodomites, on the other hand, were not punished…

  • SDMatt

    In contrast, the attitude to homosexuality is more liberal among the Arabs than it was in the West until the “gay liberation” movement of the last few years. The taboo on homosexuality is not so strong as it was in America in the 1950’s when this study was carried out, and “the active homosexual role in particular is thought of by the Arab students as compatible with virile masculinity.” In this respect, the Arab attitude coincides with that of the Turks, among whom the performance of the active homosexual act is considered as an assertion of one’s aggressive masculine superiority, while the acceptance of the role of the passive homosexual is considered extremely degrading and shameful because it casts the man or youth into a submissive, feminine role.

    In most parts of the Arab world, homosexual activity or any indication of homosexual leanings, as with all other expressions of sexuality, is never given any publicity. These are private affairs and remain in private, especially since homosexual relations are forbidden in the Koran (26:165-166). Popular opinion, however, takes no stand against them, and despite the warnings of the Muslim schools of jurisprudence, the practice seems to be common to this day. Only in outlying areas, such as the Siwa Oasis in the Western Desert of Egypt, has homosexuality come out into the open with the shaykhs and the well-to-do men lending their sons to each other.

    It is interesting that even in a place like Siwa where homosexuality is the rule and practiced completely in the open, the passive partner in the relationship is derided as a woman. An informant said: “There is not one man in Siwa; they are all women,” and explained, “Don’t you see, if a man has done it when a boy, he has played the woman; and when he does it when a man, he is still playing the woman.” That is to say, even where it is a generally practiced custom, it is felt degrading for a man to play the female role.

    – The Arab Mind (Raphael Patai)

    • Linda1000

      The segregation of the sexes in muslim cultures promotes homosexuality for both men and women. The social convention of males and females not being allowed to associate with each other (unless married) outside of immediate family contributes to incest in some cases.

    • Frau Katze

      I hear it’s like that in prisons too.

  • Exile1981

    Ok then explin the tossing of gays from buildings? Or is it that sodomy between men was bad but not when it involved children… which seems to be open season according to Mo.

    • Linda1000

      They (IS) just like kill’in so any excuse will do.

  • bob e

    good good

  • Just a thought
  • DMB
  • Bert_1

    “But it is quite clear that the city was destroyed because its inhabitants refused to offer hospitality to strangers.”

    Really? There a lot of very learned people who would disagree quite emphatically with that statement.