Book Review: A Taste of Honey

Official Title: A Taste of Honey – Sexuality and Erotology in Islam

Author: Habeeb Akande

Book Length: 333

Publisher: Rabaah Publishers

Style/Summary: A Taste of Honey explains and showcases the importance of sexual enlightenment in Islam. The title of the book was actually derived from a hadith narrated by A’ishah (R.A.) and it can be found in the first chapter. The book commences with an introduction that focuses on the sharia and sexuality, differences between erotology and sexology, decline of erotology and other matters. It is divided into two main parts and the first part deals with issues such as modesty and prudery, sexual desire in both men and women, beauty, fidelity & infidelity and many more underlying issues of sexual ethics in Islam. The second part delves into much deeper matters such as the art of lovemaking itself, spiritual & psychological benefits of sexual intercourse, desirable traits in men and women, various love-making positions and much more.

Many individuals, both Muslim and non-Muslim, have been drawn into this false narrative about Islam being a religion that is practiced by sexually oppressed people as there is no room for honest discussions about sex and related issues. The book essentially tries to dismiss this notion by drawing from the work of early Islamic scholars, stories from individuals around the Prophet (S.A.W), the Quran, contemporary research findings, and hadith narrations. It reminds us that our predecessors lived a full life; sexually, socially, and spiritually. The lives of the early Muslims show that a sexual act, within the bounds of marriage of course, is in fact an act of worship and they revelled in the joy that the pleasure of Allah could be gotten by seeking pleasure with their spouses.

downloadMy favourite part(s) of the book happen to be the opening quote and the conclusion. The conclusion talks about the superiority of the love of Allah by his creatures over all types of love. The author reminds us that while seeking sexual love and pleasure with our partners is essential, love for the creator should be paramount in the heart of every Muslim and this love should be unconditional. The opening is a beautiful quote by Jalal ad-Din As-Suyuti: “This is my faith as well as my ancestors’ and the profession of my father before me – the faith of the lovers and the religion of the beloved”.

Speaking on research however, I found it strange that the author used certain hadith that are considered weak. Even though he stated in the footnotes that the chains of transmission of such narrations were weak, I find that it can still be confusing to the reader such that one is armed with knowledge that is not generally accepted or is straight up wrong. Also, the paperback I purchased had a couple of typographical errors. Hopefully, this is something that the publisher would fix in later editions.

I recommend this book for young people, married or single, and really anyone who is interested in learning about the place of sexuality and sexual enlightenment in Islam. The author also should be applauded for his research efforts as the book definitely touched a lot of areas that other books on Islam and sex skip over.

Overall, A Taste of Honey was a great, informative read and it was definitely worth every minute for me.

Rating: 4/5.