Nazar ila'l-murd

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The meditation known in Arabic as Naẓar ila'l-murd (Arabic: النظر إلى المرد‎), "contemplation of the beardless" is a Sufi practice of spiritual realization.

Peter Lamborn Wilson claims this as the use of "imaginal yoga" to transmute erotic desire into spiritual consciousness.[1]

Richard Francis Burton's translation of The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night (commonly called The Arabian Nights in English) included collections of stories that were often sexual in content and were considered pornography at the time of publication. In particular, the Terminal Essay in volume 10 of the Nights contained a 14,000 word essay entitled "Pederasty" (Volume 10, section IV, D) in which Burton speculated and opined that male homosexuality was prevalent in an area of the southern latitudes named by him the "Sotadic zone".[2] Rumors about Burton's own sexuality were already circulating and were further incited by this work.


Conservative Islamic theologians condemned the custom of contemplating the beauty of boys. Their suspicions may have been justified,[original research?] as some dervishes boasted of enjoying far more than "glances", or even kisses. Nazar was denounced as rank heresy by such as Ibn Taymiyya (1263–1328), who complained, "They kiss a slave boy and claim to have seen God!"[3]

The real danger to conventional religion, as Peter Lamborn Wilson asserts, was not so much the mixing of sodomy with worship, but "the claim that human beings can realize themselves in love more perfectly than in religious practices."[4] Despite opposition from the clerics, the practice has survived in Islamic countries until only recent years, according to Murray and Roscoe in their work on Islamic homosexualities.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Peter Lamborn Wilson, "CONTEMPLATION OF THE UNBEARDED: The Rubaiyyat of Awhadoddin Kermani" in Paidika V.3-4 p.13 (1995): "Love imagery in Persian Sufi poetry usually flows from this mystical, symbolic appreciation of love's spiritual power. In some works, however, the imagery refers also to specific practices, code named 'naẓar ila'l-murd' or 'contemplation of the unbearded,' namely, the unbearded boy."
  2. ^ Pagan Press (1982–2012). "Sir Richard Francis Burton Explorer of the Sotadic Zone". Pagan Press. Pagan Press. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  3. ^ "Needless to say, although the poets of the Witness Game followed the letter of the Shariʿa and its sexual code, their dangerous game of Sublimation was condemned as rank heresy by such as Ibn Taymiyya, who complained, `They kiss a slave boy and claim to have seen God!' However orthodox (or not) the sufis might have been in their private lives, their poetry has given much aid and comfort to `real heretics' like the Ismailis, who would of course take quite literally such lines as Iraqi's: Forget the Kaaba: The vintner's gates are open!" Peter Lamborn Wilson, THE ANTI-CALIPH: Ibn 'Arabi, Inner Wisdom, and the Heretic Tradition [1]
  4. ^ Wilson (1995), op.cit, p.21
  5. ^ Stephen O. Murray and Will Roscoe, Islamic Homosexualities; New York University Press, 1997; p.111