Special Issue "Marriage, Intimacy, Gender and Islam in Southeast Asia"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2021) | Viewed by 16295

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Maznah Mohamad
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Malay Studies, National University of Singapore, Singapore 119260, Singapore
Interests: Islamic bureacucracy; family; marriage and gender in Islam; women and politics; Malay-Nusantara global connectivities

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Religions addresses the question of marriage, intimacy, gender, and Islam in Southeast Asia. Research papers concerning Muslim Southeast Asia or national states cohering within the sphere of maritime and Island Southeast Asia are especially welcomed. A wide-ranging set of themes fall under this rubric. Among others, research papers that cover the following topics are welcomed for submission: marital rules and laws, marital dissolution,  sexual rights and obligations,  polygamy, celibacy, same-sex relations, inter-religious marriage, marriage education, marital violence, Islamic rules of intimacy including Islamic sexual practices, techniques, and prohibitions. This spectrum of topics can inform readers on the role and influence of religious representation, dogma, rules, scripture, texts, and bureaucracy in the marriage institution in the past as well as in the present. A common thread that should underlie paper submissions is the questioning of notions of gender, as this relates to power, inequality, negotiation, and agency, within marriage, sexual, and intimate unions. This collection of papers aims to engage readers by presenting important research findings on how religious systems, religious symbols, and religious narratives have shaped gender relations within marriage and sexuality cultures.

Questions informing the papers can include the following:  Have the meanings of marriage in Islam remained fixed or are they fluid? How does one measure and interpret gender equality or inequality in Islamic marriage and sexual relations? To what extent do practices such as polygamy, celibacy, same-sex relations, and inter-religious marriage enhance or disrupt the notion of a religious community and state? Does "Islamic marriage" constitute the core and distinct identity of being a Muslim? Are there specific rules and techniques of intimacy within an Islamic union? How do new public society spheres create alternative or a third space for the multiple expressions of intimate unions within the bounds of Islamic faith and spirituality? What, if any, are the types of resistance to the dominant patterns of marriage in the Islamic world? This Special Issue invites contributions along the above research questions within various disciplines, from sociology to history, to cultural studies, to demography.

Dr. Maznah Mohamad
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • marriage
  • intimacy
  • gender
  • Islam in Southeast Asia

Published Papers (7 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Editorial

Jump to: Research

Editorial
Introduction to the Special Issue “Marriage, Intimacy, Gender and Islam in Southeast Asia”
Religions 2021, 12(7), 539; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12070539 - 16 Jul 2021
Viewed by 909
Abstract
The topic of gender and Islam in Southeast Asia has been much studied [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marriage, Intimacy, Gender and Islam in Southeast Asia)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Article
Skills for “Marriage of a Lifetime”: An Examination of Muslim Marriage Preparation Handbooks in Singapore, 1974 to 2018
Religions 2021, 12(7), 473; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12070473 - 25 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 847
Abstract
High divorce rates in Muslim marriages continue to be a concern for Malay community leaders and policy makers in Singapore. Since 1969, Malay community organisations here have offered marriage preparation courses to reduce the incidence of divorce. Today, a range of such pre-marriage [...] Read more.
High divorce rates in Muslim marriages continue to be a concern for Malay community leaders and policy makers in Singapore. Since 1969, Malay community organisations here have offered marriage preparation courses to reduce the incidence of divorce. Today, a range of such pre-marriage courses continue to be provided by the Ministry of Social and Family Development, Muslim organisations and private educational groups that are involved in marriage counselling and consultation. In this article, I examine the handbooks that have accompanied courses sponsored by the Ministry. Their content spells out the skills needed to realise a “marriage of a lifetime”. Whilst prescriptions have responded to societal changes, a closer scrutiny of instructions in these manuals unfolds notions of the ‘ideal’ Muslim husband and wife that continue to stress men as providers and women as primary caregivers. Prioritising communication skills of the individual, as these manuals do, does little to change household gender inequalities in the long run. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marriage, Intimacy, Gender and Islam in Southeast Asia)
Article
Sex Manuals in Malay Manuscripts as Another Transcript of Gender Relations
Religions 2021, 12(5), 368; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12050368 - 20 May 2021
Viewed by 9117
Abstract
This article interprets the narratives of sex manuals produced within the Malay-Indonesian archipelago before the coming of Western colonialism and the dawn of postcolonial Islamic resurgence. In the collection of Malaysian libraries and museums, these manuscripts are largely classified as Kitab Jimak and [...] Read more.
This article interprets the narratives of sex manuals produced within the Malay-Indonesian archipelago before the coming of Western colonialism and the dawn of postcolonial Islamic resurgence. In the collection of Malaysian libraries and museums, these manuscripts are largely classified as Kitab Jimak and Kitab Tib. They are all written in the Malay language with indigenous references, though the contents are likely derived from a common genre of texts transmitted from an early Arab-Islamic world and circulated within the region before the coming of European colonialism. The corpora of sexual knowledge in these texts emphasises the valorisation of sexual pleasure in conjugal relationships. Through an extensive list of prescriptions—from sexual techniques to diet, food taboos, medicine, pharmacopoeia, mantras, charms, and astrological knowledge—a near-sacral sexual experience is aspired. Couples are guided in their attainment of pleasure (nikmat) through the adherence of Islamic ethics (akhlak), rules (hukum), and etiquette (tertib). The fulfilment of women’s desire in the process is central in these observances. Nevertheless, despite placing much emphasis on mutual pleasure, these texts also contain ambiguous and paradoxical pronouncements on the position of women, wavering from veneration to misogyny. The article also highlights how intertextual studies of similar texts throughout the Islamic world can be a new focus of studies on the early history of gender and sexuality in Islam. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marriage, Intimacy, Gender and Islam in Southeast Asia)
Article
Redha tu Ikhlas”: The Social–Textual Significance of Islamic Virtue in Malay Forced Marriage Narratives
Religions 2021, 12(5), 310; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12050310 - 28 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 702
Abstract
What accounts for the endurance of forced marriage (kahwin paksa) narratives in Malaysian public culture? How does one explain the ways popular fascination with forced marriage relate to assumptions about heteronormative institutions and practices? In a society where most who enter [...] Read more.
What accounts for the endurance of forced marriage (kahwin paksa) narratives in Malaysian public culture? How does one explain the ways popular fascination with forced marriage relate to assumptions about heteronormative institutions and practices? In a society where most who enter into marriages do so based on individual choice, the enduring popularity of forced marriage as a melodramatic trope in fictional love stories suggests an ambivalence about modernity and egalitarianism. This ambivalence is further excavated by illuminating the intertextual engagement by readers, publishers and booksellers of Malay romantic fiction with a mediated discourse on intimacy and cultural practices. This article finds that forced marriage in the intimate publics of Malay romance is delivered as a kind of melodramatic mode, a storytelling strategy to solve practical problems of experience. Intertextual narratives of pain and struggle cast light on ‘redha’ (submission to God’s will) and ‘sabar’ (patience), emotional virtues that are mobilised during personal hardship and the challenge of maintaining successful marital relations. I argue that ‘redha’ and ‘sabar’ serve as important linchpins for the reproduction of heteronormative institutions and wifely obedience (taat). This article also demonstrates the ways texts are interwoven in the narratives about gender roles, intimacy, and marital success (or lack thereof) and how they relate to the modes of romantic melodrama. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marriage, Intimacy, Gender and Islam in Southeast Asia)
Article
Shall We Dance? Defining Sexuality and Controlling the Body in Contemporary Indonesia
Religions 2021, 12(4), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040264 - 09 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1584
Abstract
This article examines how Indonesia, the world’s third-largest democracy, came to define sexuality for its general population once intimacy was brought into the public sphere. However, its Islamic version had predominantly been based on interpretations pushed by politically hardline Islamist groups. The influence [...] Read more.
This article examines how Indonesia, the world’s third-largest democracy, came to define sexuality for its general population once intimacy was brought into the public sphere. However, its Islamic version had predominantly been based on interpretations pushed by politically hardline Islamist groups. The influence of this lobby (to be referred to as belonging to the stream of ‘conservative Islam’) grew steadily after the downfall of the Suharto regime in 1998 and culminated in the passage of an antipornography law ten years later. Focusing on the definitions of sexuality and pornography forwarded by these groups, this article analyses their limitations as well as the power contestations behind the passage of the antipornography legislation. It argues that such narrow interpretations of sexuality have had a marked impact on the nation, in particular the curtailment of its popular culture and creative industry. This has resulted in the arbitrary persecution and banning of cultural products considered to violate Islamic morality and propriety. The condemnation of dangdut singer Inul Daratista, and her ‘drill dance’, is one of many examples of such suppression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marriage, Intimacy, Gender and Islam in Southeast Asia)
Article
Transcripts of Gender, Intimacy, and Islam in Southeast Asia: The “Outrageous” Texts of Raja Ali Haji and Khatijah Terung
Religions 2021, 12(3), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12030219 - 21 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1130
Abstract
It is generally perceived that Malays—who are predominantly Muslims—are comparable with the notion of politeness, aligned with moral axioms, and behave in ways copiously guided by religion. Casual sex and other forms of sexual “deviance” are typically attributed to foreign influences, most popularly, [...] Read more.
It is generally perceived that Malays—who are predominantly Muslims—are comparable with the notion of politeness, aligned with moral axioms, and behave in ways copiously guided by religion. Casual sex and other forms of sexual “deviance” are typically attributed to foreign influences, most popularly, Westernisation. New social trends among this community, such as the emphasis on male dominance, changing prescriptions about the functions and expectations of sex, receptiveness towards the body and emotion, exposure to sex education, and openness to sexual discourse are often attributed to the “immoral” West. Yet, forms of sexual behaviours depicted in the writings of notable Malay religious and literary personages reveal surprising insights into the Malay-Muslim milieu of 19th-century Riau. A variety of sexual practices and relations are expressed through these writings. This article adopts a historical-sociological framework to examine the “artisan tools” of textual materials as in the Kitab Pengetahuan Bahasa (Book of Linguistic Knowledge) by Raja Ali Haji and Perhimpunan Gunawan bagi Laki-Laki dan Perempuan (A Compendium of Charms for Men and Women) by Khatijah Terung. The “outrageous” sexual depictions in these texts are discussed and analysed, in part to debunk the idea of a “sexual revolution” or “sexual licentiousness” as emanating from an external culture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marriage, Intimacy, Gender and Islam in Southeast Asia)
Article
Transcripts of Unfulfillment: A Study of Sexual Dysfunction and Dissatisfaction among Malay-Muslim Women in Malaysia
Religions 2021, 12(3), 205; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12030205 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 993
Abstract
The prevalence of female sexual dysfunction (FSD), or in everyday notion, sexual dissatisfaction, among Malay women remains high, denoting that there are several influences shaping their experience of sex within marriage. This qualitative study identified the perceived effects of social factors in the [...] Read more.
The prevalence of female sexual dysfunction (FSD), or in everyday notion, sexual dissatisfaction, among Malay women remains high, denoting that there are several influences shaping their experience of sex within marriage. This qualitative study identified the perceived effects of social factors in the development of sexual dysfunction among Malay women. Engaging a phenomenological framework, 26 in-depth face-to-face interviews were conducted among married women from Peninsular Malaysia, based on their self-reporting of FSD symptoms. All sessions were audio-recorded and the data were transcribed verbatim and managed in the ATLAS.ti software before being analysed. The three themes that emerged—‘sex is taboo and culturally unacceptable’, ‘self-ignorance about sex’, and ‘lack of husband’s role in mutual sexual enjoyment’—suggest some influence of Islamic teachings and cultural conduct, as in Adat, on sexuality in society. However, a lack of knowledge and nonadherence to positive values and teachings around sexual satisfaction between men and women, as espoused through the Islamic religion, have affected woman’s sexual functions and coupling relationship even more significantly. The results of this qualitative study show that a formal, culturally sensitive, and comprehensive sex education programme incorporating both medical and Islamic knowledge may work to effectively reduce FSD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marriage, Intimacy, Gender and Islam in Southeast Asia)
Back to TopTop