Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
According to an August 22 report, a female Afghan refugee to India just “revealed that the Taliban has sex with dead bodies.” While discussing how the terrorist group thrives on raping women, she asserted that “They rape dead bodies too. They don’t care whether the person is dead or alive… Can you imagine this?”
The report continues: “The practice of having sex with corpses is called necrophilia. She revealed that Taliban either picked up [dead?] women or shot them. Muskan revealed that a woman was picked up by the Taliban only yesterday.”
What to make of this macabre revelation? No doubt, many will point to it as “proof” that the Taliban’s Islam was, as the apologists of Islam had long claimed, always skin deep—a veneer to legitimize their otherwise illegitimate and corrupt rule. After all, if they were “students [of Islam]”—the very definition of taliban—they more than the average Afghan would know that Islam forbids such a disgusting practice. Right?
Alas, the opposite is true. Just as pedophilia with boys (Afghanistan’s bacha bazi or “dancing boys”) has Islamic backing, so too does necrophilia, by way of Muslim scriptures, commentaries, and fatwas (Islamic decrees).
It begins, as usual, with the prophet of Islam: Muhammad. According to a bizarre hadith (a recorded tradition concerning his sayings and doings) that exists in six of Islam’s classical reference texts (including the important Kanz al-‘Umal and al-Hujja fi Biyan al-Mahujja), Muhammad once took off his shirt, placed it on a dead woman, and then descended into her grave to “lay with her.”
As they hurled dirt atop the corpse and Muhammad, the grave diggers exclaimed, “O Prophet, we see you doing a thing you never did with anyone else,” to which he responded: “I dressed her in my shirt so that she may be dressed in heavenly robes, and I lay with her in her grave so that the pressures of the grave [also known as Islam’s torments of the grave] may be alleviated from her.”
One can interpret this, and there certainly is no reason to insist that Muhammad was actually copulating with the corpse. There are, however, some hurdles:
First, the two Arabic words (ataja‘ ma‘ha اضطجع معها) which I translate above as “lay with her,” are also used in Arabic to mean “intercourse.” This is similar to the English idiom, “to lay with her,” which can literally mean nothing more than laying down with a woman, but often is an indirect reference to sex. More than a few Muslim clerics have made this linguistic observation.
Second, Sunni Islam’s four orthodox schools of jurisprudence (or madhahib al- fiqh)—namely, al-Hanafi, al-Hanbali, al-Maliki, and al-Shafi‘i—implicitly permit necrophilia. None of them actually addresses it on its own; rather, they give it a nod whenever it comes up in the context of other topics. Thus, in the section on adultery, the Maliki teaching is that “If a husband enters his dead wife—any which way, from front or behind—there is no penalty for him” (Sharh Mukhtasar al-Khalil fi al-fiqh al-Maliki).
Similarly, Shafi‘i rulings on ablution point out that it is unnecessary to rewash the body of the dead—male or female adds the Hanbali madhhab—after penetrating it, though the penis of the penetrator does require washing.
Regardless of all the above, it is not for the non-Muslim—certainly not for me—to tell Muslims what their texts are really saying and teaching. That is the job of their ulema: scholars and clerics devoted to learning the deep truths of Islam. Thus, the real question remains: do modern day ulema permit necrophilia?
The lamentable answer is yes. For instance, in 2011 a leading Moroccan cleric and founding member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Sheikh Abdul Bari Zamzami, issued a fatwa permitting the Muslim husband to copulate with his dead wife. He prefaced his decree by saying that, although he does not necessarily approve of this act, it is not for him to ban what Islam permits. As proof, he cited the aforementioned rulings of Islam’s schools of jurisprudence.
Soon thereafter, in April 2012, when the Muslim Brotherhood held the presidency of Egypt, news that Islamist Egyptian parliamentarians were trying to pass a law legalizing necrophilia appeared. Although Al Ahram, Egypt’s most reputable paper reported the story, it was quickly dismissed as a hoax in Western media (which often happens whenever Islam makes the news in ways that do not comport with Western sensibilities). As one journalist argued, “This ugly rumor and hoax, thought to originate in a fatwa by [the aforementioned] sheikh Zamzami, a noted Moroccan cleric, should be doubted for the simple reason that no Egyptian Islamist sheikh, or any other Imam, has ever been reported to approve of necrophilia.”
If that was true in 2012, it wasn’t in 2017, when necrophilia was yet again mentioned and legitimized, this time by Sheikh Sabri Abdul Raeuf, a professor at Egypt’s Al Azhar—the Islamic world’s most prestigious university (which Pope Francis considers an ally). During a televised show in Egypt, the Sheikh/professor was asked if it is permissible for a husband to penetrate his wife after death. He replied, “It is not favorable in Islam; however Islamic law considers it as halal”—that is, permissible, not a crime or sin deserving of punishment in the here or hereafter (unlike, for example, the heinous crime of apostasy, leaving Islam).
A subsequent Youm7 Arabic report titled (in translation) “The Books of al-Shafi‘i, al-Hanbali, and al-Hanafi Reveal that Sex with a Dead Wife is Not Adultery,” verified the Al Azhar professor’s claims.
Nor, it should be noted, is necrophilia limited to crazy terrorists lurking halfway around the world. In the UK, late one night in 2019, a Muslim man, Kasim Khuram, broke into a funeral home, opened several coffins, and, having made his “selections,” proceeded to yank out and “rape” two female corpses. When police arrested him, Khuram explained his actions by laughingly saying, “Every hole is a goal.”
At any rate, after the expenditure of two decades’ worth of American blood and treasure, here is yet another, especially disgusting, reminder of who the Biden administration has left in charge of Afghanistan.