A Review of the Tales in the Book 'The Perfumed Garden': Arabic Erotica
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A Review of the Tales in the Book 'The Perfumed Garden': Arabic Erotica

The Perfumed Garden is a book that emphasizes the sexual nature of the Human mind. The book written by Sheikh Nefzawi gives good sexual advice and at the same time illustrates the Sheikhs ideas through a series of tales that are interspersed throughout the book. The tales are erotic and one is hard put to explain how so licentious a book has come from a Muslim area.

The Perfumed Garden is a book that goes against the mainstream thought of modern Islam as practiced in countries like Saudi Arabia. The book is the antithesis of the Wahabbi concept in Islam which is puritan and rigid. The Wahabbi concept enforces a code of conduct that denies women their basic rights. The Perfumed Garden strikes at the roots of this concept by emphasizing the sexual nature of the Human mind. The book written by Sheikh Nefzawi gives relevant sexual advice and at the same time illustrates the Sheikhs ideas through a series of tales that are interspersed throughout the book.  The tales are erotic and one is hard put to explain how so licentious a book has come from an area that is home to an extremely rigid and iconoclast religion that denies the sexual nature of a human relationship.

The Sheikh's Imagination

Whatever hard line Muslims might say the Perfumed garden is a book that is erotic in the extreme. The purpose of these stories which can be read independently of the other chapters of the Perfumed Garden is to stimulate the reader and open a world of sexual pleasure.

The Sheikh was a man with a great and imaginative mind. His description of the sex act is the work of a genius. The Sheikh writes  that  during a sexual act when the organ disappears into the vulva, the testicles are frightened . The vulva who has devoured  the brother announces that it will ensure that their brother is killed. The testicles are even more frightened, but after a lapse of time when their brother emerges out they find him very weak, yet he is happy and his brothers the testicles are surprised.

The Tales in the Perfumed Garden

The Perfumed Garden is replete with a number of erotic tales. Some of the tales will be more than a match for modern erotic fiction recognized as great literature like Night in a Moorish Harem and Venus in India.

One the tales concerns the Jester Bauloul. This man loved the beautiful princess Hamdouna and he forever was making plans to seduce the princess.  As per the Sheikh the Jester was successful and the game of sexual love was furthered by a Robe which Bauloul owned and the Princess desired. Balaoul readily consented to part with the robe and as a recompense seduced the lovely Hamdouna. The Sheikh recounts how the Jester was able to copulate with the princess not once but 3 times and each time he was a man of greater vigor and the princess was eminently satisfied. The moral of the story is that a man must satisfy his beloved to get to her inner feelings of love.

The Sheikh relates another story of a beautiful woman named Fadehat. Such was her beauty that a neighbor Joida fell in love with her and made a one point plan to possess the lovely Fadehat. The Sheikh goes on to say that fortune favors the brave and the lover decided on a direct course of action. He approached the lovely Fadehat and showed himself to the lady. The sight appeared like a gift from the Gods and the lady was so smitten by the visual that the lover could have Fadehat 27 times. The Sheikh relates as a moral that a direct approach with suitable performance is more than likely to win the love of a woman than writing endless poems and verses.

The Sheikh in another story also relates how a woman who claimed to be a prophetess forgot all about being a prophet after she had partaken of the elixir of life. There is also a tale of a man pockmarked and hideous yet was loved by a beautiful and lovely woman. This was due to his immense power and sexual stamina.

The Sheikh makes a worthy point which is very much relevant even today. He brings out the stark fact that a man’s prowess in bed is the ultimate peak on the path of winning the love of a woman. This is accepted now and for the Sheik to have stated it in a puritan atmosphere deserves our adulation.

 We can also spare a thought for the translator Sir Richard Burton who brought the book from obscurity to the limelight at the fag end of the 19th century.

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