The concept of the body is of special importance in Islamic and Arab societies. Much of daily interaction between peoples in these societies is related to the strict Islamic division of the universe into different spaces; the "feminine" and "masculine", the "pure" and the "polluted", the "private" and "public". This classification affects social, cultural and sexual behaviour. Consequently, the body becomes a tool used to communicate attitudes, desires, doubts and intimacy, but also to define social discourse and mores. The author explores the concept of the body in two phases: firstly, the different meanings and images related to the body in Islam and how these permeate religious practices and social attitudes among people. Secondly, the numerous ways the body communicates messages, attitudes and feelings through unspoken language.
Fuad I. Khuri was a leading anthropologist of the Middle East and a distinguished Lebanese writer and academic. He wrote extensively in English and Arabic on various aspects of Arab culture and society. Fuad I. Khuri died in 2003.