I’ve spent the last week posting some fairly grim news from Iraq and I hope we’ll keep the debate going that has started in the previous two postings.
But time out to look on the brighter side… at least for a few minutes.
You know that Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Husaini Sistani? Our principal moderate ally? The good as opposed to the evil Mullah on whom we have seemingly banked the whole future of a Democratic Iraq? Turns out our Brother has got one helluva rocking web site that I’ve been alerted to by Carl Bromley of Nation Books.
Not that it’s in five languages, with scrolling art, photos of holy sites, drop down menus on “Ideological Questions” and “Islamic Law,” but it seems that when the Grand Ayatollah isn’t consumed by the task of building the future Iraqi nation, he’s available for interactive online counseling on hundreds of subjects from anal and oral sex to how much to tax a camel and if it’s OK or not to levy interest on “non-believers” (of course it is!).
No, I’m not smart enough to make this up. Send a question, any question into Ayatollah Sistani and you will get back a personalized answer that bears the official seal of his holy office.
Don’t get too jacked up about this as the Ayatollah frowns on any self-abuse excluding, of course, beating your chest or scalp with chains.
Here are some of the pearls I have gleaned from the Q & A page on Brother Sistani’s website:
ON MASTURBATION: Question: When I am unable to do Muta’h (temporary marriage), am I allowed to masturbate?
Answer: Masturbation is not permissible under any circumstances.
ON ANAL INTERCOURSE:
Question: My question is, what does the holy book Quran and prophet Mohammad (pbuh) say about anal sex even if the wife agrees to experience this with her husband?
Answer: As deduced from narration anal sex is permissible; but it is strongly undesirable. Permission is bound to wife’s agreement and consent to anal sex. If she is not consenting, it would be impermissible.
ON ORAL SEX:
Question: I am really sorry that I have to ask this type of Question. But Since I grew up in a western country; I rally don't much about our religion. And I can't ask this Question to my parents due to subject matter. Brother my question is, can we have an oral sex before or after the sexual intercourse or can we have oral sex at all? Is it haram?
Answer: Oral sex act is permissible with the consent of both husband and wife provided that no liquid gets into the mouth.
If you think that’s hard, just think how complicated it’s going to be to properly suckle a child after the handover of sovereignty:
The child's mother is the best person to suckle a child. It is better that she does not claim any award from her husband for suckling the child, although it is good that he should reward her for that. However, if the mother demands more payment for suckling than a wet-nurse, her husband can entrust the child to the wet-nurse.
It is recommended that the wet-nurse, whose services are obtained for a child, should be Shia Ithna-Asheri, sane, chaste, and good looking; and it is Makrooh for a wet-nurse to be a non-Shia Ithna-Asheri or ugly, ill-humoured or illegitimate. It is also Makrooh to entrust the child to a wet-nurse who has given birth to an illegitimate child.
Confused as I am? Not to worry. The Ayatollah has a direct email address, firstname.lastname@example.org . He readily invites all your questions -- mundane and otherworldly.
If you send him a query, as I hope you will, please be kind enough to post a copy here so we can all read it! It’s important to know what our key allies are thinking.
In the meantime, keep your hands where we can see them.
P.S. I was reluctant to click on the button the Ayatollah had placed for questions regarding "Sea Animals." Sheep, maybe, but sheepshead bass? After much trepidation, I capitulated to my curiousity and clicked anyway. How relieved I was to read this exchange:
Question: Caspian sturgeon should be counted as fish with scales or without scales?
Answer: If it does not have scales, it is and the caviar taken from it would be haram also.