An afghan in English is a rug for warmth. This law that is being talked about in Afghanistan is seen as an affront to women's rights over their own bodies. (for some recent comment see here and here.) Of course this is true - and it is my conclusion as well as my bias after but a short lifetime. But what if there is love between a man and a woman? Would woman exercise such power over her husband's body?
What! A woman has power over her husband's body - no way! you say.
If you know me, you know I am searching for words to find a positive aspect to this disempowerment of women - for from the Afghan male's point of view, this is a power which he acknowledges but does not want the woman to exercise. Who would put himself under such a power! Who would allow his own desire for pleasure to require such a law? Who would then admit it publicly!
Now the positive aspect is this. The law recognizes the woman's power. The negative aspect is the attempt to legislate the relinquishment of such power. It makes the Islamic law a laughing stock in the world. Who needs cartoons?
What is the equivalent 'Christian' law? What is the law of love that is universal? That each should give to the other pleasure, not that any should take pleasure for him or herself. Hear the word of the Spirit who takes a body for himself:
The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband:Is it too hard for you to read this? It is an old translation of an older text from about 57 AD. If it is too hard to read, try the Greek, or perhaps you think you can understand the all-Merciful in only your own terms. Whoever cannot submit to abstinence for 4 days has never known submission even for 1 day. Whoever submits to the power of another in the marriage bed does not take but receives what can only be given in love. Love cannot be legislated.
and likewise also
the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
Defraud ye not one the other, except with consent for a time [not 4 days],
that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer;
and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
But I speak this by permission, not of commandment.
For I would that all men were even as I myself.
But every man hath his proper gift of God,
one after this manner, and another after that.
This Satan - just translate as accuser and play the role yourself. How easy it is for things to deflect us from the way of love: jealousy - our own inner accusations of another, or quilt - no that's an Afghan - guilt, I mean - our own inner accusations of self.
For man - frequently read 'one' lest you read male into Paul's writing. Note how he does not give commandment - he knew that human impossibility. That God gives commandment to love is the ultimate invitation. Note also that abstinence is for fasting and prayer. You really should ask why - and refuse to give an answer till the Bridegroom shows you. Then you will begin to learn that never again should you demand pleasure for yourself. The rationale will be that you have learned your meeting place with the Most High.
For those who know the mercy seat that is the place of the death of Christ Jesus, you will know also why it is that Rabbi Akiva said - "had the Torah not been given, the Song would have been sufficient for our teaching."
Of course where there is no love, what can one expect except violence and rape? No warmth or comfort is possible in such a place. If you only read the latest books, you really are missing out.