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Thursday, May 28, 2015


by Luisa A. Igloria

After claiming that a man would meet his masturbating hand “pregnant in the afterlife” and “asking for its rights,” a Muslim televangelist has set Turkish social media aflame. Self-styled televangelist Mücahid Cihad Han . . . claimed that Islam strictly prohibits masturbation as a “haram” (forbidden) act. “Moreover, one hadith states that those who have sexual intercourse with their hands will find their hands pregnant in the afterlife, complaining against them to God over its rights,” he said, referring to what he claimed to be a saying of Prophet Muhammad. . . . “Istimna,” the Arabic term for masturbation that Han also referred to, is a controversial issue in Islam, as there have been varying opinions on its permissibility throughout history. The Quran has no clear reference to masturbation and the authenticity of many hadiths is questionable. —Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey), May 25, 2015. Image source: MemeCenter

Your hands will be pregnant in the afterlife,
warns the televangelist to men who masturbate,
which makes me put my coffee cup down in alarm and stare hard

at my own hands. What about women? What happens to women's hands?
I mean, not necessarily from masturbating, but from all the things
our hands ​so frequently and ​lovingly do? I know a carver who couldn't stop

touching​ ​any surface of wood he happened across: flotsam on the beach,
the rails​ ​along a ship's boarding ramp on which his fingers could have lingered
for hours if not for the porter's brusque Come on, hurry it up will ya?​ 

I know a weaver who'll smooth and finger each tensile fiber on ​her loom,​ ​
each shuttle's pass setting off ​hundreds of indistinct vibrations that give
​the resulting garment its patterns of flushed color and shade.

If indeed hands could get pregnant in this or in ​the afterlife,
would that provide relief for women who have up to now borne
the brunt of each sexual​ ​aftermath, ​9 months housing a growing body

until it's really time​ ​to ​count out the rent? Think of ​the ​revisions
we'd have to make​ ​in the histories of our science and art, ​including
fashion---​ ​buttoned elbow-length gloves back in style, the idiom peek-

a-boo once more in circulation; artists commissioned to paint
fig leaves like giant Band-Aids over the hands of both Adam and Eve​,
in a garden cordoned off with signs saying Absolutely do not touch.

Luisa A. Igloria’s most recent publication credits include Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (Utah State University Press, 2014) and Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, 2014).