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Islamic Literature: Recipe for Rejuvenation as per 'the Perfumed Garden'

MG is an air warrior and a global traveler well as an amateur astrologer who loves to visit and explore new places.



'The Perfumed Garden' by Sheikh Nefazawi is one of the great books on erotic art. It is written in Arabic and one wonders how it saw the light of the day in a puritan Muslim world. The Perfumed Garden; intersperses the entire book with tales of erotica that are sure to titillate the reader. The book's antiquity is not in doubt and was probably written in or around the 12-13th century. It was written at the request of the Bey of Algiers and rivals the Indian Kama sutra of Vatsyayana. Both books were translated by Sir Richard Burton who had mastered both Sanskrit and Arabic. The world is indebted to him for bringing the Perfumed Garden to the attention of the world.

According to the introduction of Colville's English translation, Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Nafzawi probably wrote The Perfumed Garden sometime during the fifteenth century. There is some controversy about its origin date. Sheikh Nefzawi, full name Abu Abdullah Muhammad ben Umar Nafzawi, was born among the Berber Nefzawa tribe in the south of present-day Tunisia. He compiled the book at the request of the Hafsidr ruler of Tunis.

The reputation acquired by this work in the Arab world is similar to that of the Arabian Nights.

The Perfumed Garden is composed of an introduction followed by 21 chapters. Neither the first French translator nor Sir Richard Burton (who translated the text from the French version) gives the 21st chapter. In these two translations, the book is about 100-page long.

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Foods for Rejuvenation

The Book gives sane advice on how to rejuvenate one's intimate life and prowess. There is an entire chapter devoted to foods that help in rejuvenation. The book's recipes are obviously adapted to local Arab lands and the foods available there. All in all, this is sane advice and can do a lot of good. Firstly, as we are all aware, the camel is often called the ship of the desert; this would find mention in the book by Nefazawi.

The sheik recommends drinking warm camel milk in the morning and at night. A glass of warm camel milk is supposed to tone up the system. A surprise, I find that camels milk is now being marketed by Amazon also and I suppose anyone can buy it.

Along with the camel's milk, the writer recommends eating seedless high-quality grapes and dates. Dates are found aplenty in the desert lands and grapes are also grown around an oasis. The sheik also recommends the eating of eggs fried in pure butter and garnished with almonds and other dry fruits. These should form part of a standard meal.

Another peculiarity is the eating of oysters. However, he does not attach greater importance to this food. Thus one can see that the Sheikh recommends a sober and healthy diet. It stands to reason that all these foods will be easily digested with vigorous camel rides in the desert.

Many tales in the Perfumed Garden bring out the value of these foods, which are peculiar to Arabic lands. The book for long was under wraps and read only by a few elites in the Muslim world, but Sir Richard Burton spent years translating this monumental work and we must thank him for his endeavor. It is due to him that this treasure house of knowledge is available to mankind.

Last word

It is a mystery how this book on the art of love has survived all these hundreds of years. The book has many other interesting aspects but I think this diet will catch the attention of the readers. I have never tried this diet, so I cannot vouchsafe for it but my Arab camel man in Dubai, where I spent a few years was vociferous that this diet was exceedingly good and acted as an aphrodisiac. Those in the mood may try it. I will like to add that this diet is not just for the man but can be taken by an energetic woman also and I'm sure she will benefit a lot, though The Perfumed Garden doesn't mention this.


MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on July 17, 2021:

Thank you Aslamji, so nice you commented and gave your opinion. I am sure some of our American friends will try this food.

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