(Arab. Dschinsiyya, Turk. Cinsellik)
Sexuality describes the interest, longing and attraction that man and woman feel for one another. There are biological and emotional sides to human sexuality. One of the functions of sexuality among human beings, as among other living beings, is to ensure the continuation of one’s own species through procreation. Sexuality also has a variety of additional functions and effects in addition to this. For couples, it is a source of love, security, calm, harmony and happiness. Accordingly, it is written in the Qur’an: ‘And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy.’ (30:21; 7:189). This is why marriage is suggested to all men and women; indeed, the Qur’an places society under an obligation to provide assistance to marriageable men and women who out of financial considerations have not entered into marriage, so that they can marry (24:32). On several occasions, also the Prophet Muhammad described marriage and the sexuality practiced within a marriage as a type of religious practice (ibadah) (cf. Muslim). Islam does not approve of the avoidance of marriage in favour of sexual abstinence, and in contrast to some religions and faith traditions it does not consider this to be a sign of piety. According to the Qur’an, there will be sexuality in Paradise as well (2:25; 52:20). Because sexuality not only is an integral part of the human personality but also influences the development of the social environment as well, from the very beginning it has been the object of religious, moral, and philosophical observations and political and legal arrangements; it has developed into a cultural phenomenon. In terms of sexuality, Islam concerns itself less with what is permitted than with what is prohibited. Strictly speaking, this means that, in Islam, extramarital sexual activity and forms of relationship are viewed as prohibited. Where sexuality is concerned, then, the general ethical rule, that anything that is not expressly prohibited is permitted, does not apply. Sexual activities or relationships are considered permissible or rightful only between two persons of the opposite gender and within the framework of marriage. In the Qur’an, extramarital sexual intercourse (zina) as well as activities leading thereto are described as inimical to human honour and ethics, and as shameful and hideous (6:151; 17:32). Self-denial, i.e. the act of refraining from any and all extramarital sexual activity or forms of relationship, is considered a fundamental characteristic of Islamic ethics. In the view of Islam, a sex life free from sin is possible only within the framework of marriage. Accordingly, in Islam, apart from the no longer customary practice of sexual relations within the scope of slavery and the judicial decisions in this connection, legitimate sexuality is confined to marriage. In Islam, sexuality is significant not just in view of procreation but as a psychological and physical need as well.