head-in-the-sand.JPGAlso, see this: The Secret Life of Husbands (Sex & the Muslim Ummah) & Pornography Addiction Among Muslims (Stories & Tips)

“Blessed are the women of the Helpers. Their modesty did not stand in the way of their seeking knowledge about their religion” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Let me qualify the title a bit: The role of sex education among Muslims… taboo subject? Yes, mostly. But let's answer the following questions in order to separate culture from Islam in this regard:

  • Is it really an “Islamic-taboo” as opposed to desi-taboo or arab-taboo, etc., etc.? Is it something even shameful to discuss?
  • Was the discussion of sexual intimacy a taboo among early Muslims, including and foremost the Prophet (S)?
  • Is it a subject that Muslims need to know about?
  • Has that importance changed with time?
  • Does where Muslims reside have an affect on the importance of this topic?

Before we move on, let me give you some of my own background:

  • I was raised in a “Muslim” country, in a segregated school (all the way through high-school), when the information technology was still in its infancy: no e-mail, no internet, etc.
  • Despite my relatively “shielded” upbringing, I was still exposed to “sex ed.”
  • The problem is that my “sex ed.” came from cousins, friends and other assorted relatives.
  • Up until my early teens, I had no idea what girls went through in their puberty, and for that matter did not really appreciate or understand my own 'adolescence' (though our sister Mouse has effectively “killed” this concept).
    • So, when female members of my household would not pray, I would impress upon them that there was absolutely NO excuse for them not to pray. Only to find out much later of course, that many females in our desi culture would actually pretend to pray in order to avoid the embarrassment of their menstruation, from ignorant (in such matters) relatives like myself.
    • I actually “discovered' this concept of periods while reading the Book of Taharah in Sahih Muslim. No, I was not “religious” growing up. It was just that my father had somehow received these books, and I somehow took an interest in reading them.
  • What I learned from my 'own' channels about sex was not what I would want my kids to have learned. In addition to being sometimes grossly inaccurate (spoken in a rush of excitement by my similar-aged cousin), these learnings were also highly sexually loaded. So, it wasn't just an understanding of how things work, what to look for as you grow into puberty, other natural physical changes which all of us go through… rather, it was all hush-hush, gathered in secret discussions; the natural reaction to such secrets was a perverted sense of sex and its role in life.

So, to the first question, is sexual education or related matters really taboo when it comes to Islam as opposed to desi-taboo or arab-taboo, etc., etc.?

In fact it is not; rather sexual education, when taught in a 'matter of fact' way, with information and not excitement, was something that was discussed by the Prophet (S), and alhamdulilah for that! (otherwise we would be all lost in this matter). Let's see some examples then from the Messenger (S)'s rich traditions:

It was narrated from Zaynab the daughter of Umm Salamah that Umm Salamah said: “Umm Sulaym came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said, 'O Messenger of Allah, Allah is not too shy to tell us the truth. Does a woman have to do ghusl if she has a wet dream?' The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: 'Yes, if she sees water (a discharge).' Umm Salamah covered her face and said, 'O Messenger of Allah, can a woman have an erotic dream?' He said, 'Yes, may your hands be rubbed with dust. How else would her child resemble her?'”

Note who is asking… a woman, who was not the Prophet's wife either. Note also that the Prophet did not scorn at her nor did he exhibit any “abnormal” reactions (otherwise that would be likely mentioned in the hadith just as it describes Umm Salamah's reaction). What does this tell us? What it tells me at least is that in order for Islam to be the”natural” religion, it has to take into account natural human issues. So, the Prophet (S) knew that having wet dreams was something natural- for men and for women. So, his reaction was that of a straight-face, normal answer to a normal question. This also addresses the second part of the question, that there was no shame that the Prophet (S) felt in answering a rather private question from a Muslimah. Now tell me, my dear brothers & sisters, if Umm Sulaym hadn't asked, how many of our women today would be wondering about this very same question? And in a similar vein regarding wet dreams, as many of our young brothers and sisters may have similar questions:

It was narrated that 'Aa'ishah said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was asked about a man who notices some wetness but does not remember having a wet dream. He said, “He should do ghusl.” He was asked about a man who thinks that he had an erotic dream but does not see any wetness. He said, “He does not have to do ghusl.” Umm Salamah said, “O Messenger of Allah, does a woman have to do ghusl if she sees something like that?” He said, “Yes, women are the twin halves of men.”

Back to our questions then:

  • Is it a subject that Muslims need to know about?
  • Has that importance changed with time?
  • Does where Muslims reside have an affect on the importance of this topic?

Let me try to wrap up the three questions with my 2-cents answer on the topic, though I must remind myself and everyone else that I am not an authority in this matter or any other Islamic matter: I find the question actually quite incredulous and rather naive. It is not a question of whether Muslims need to know about this subject, rather it is a question of HOW they will find out about it.

The day and age we live in has indeed affected this discussion. Perhaps in the 'old times', with the lack of television and ESPECIALLY the internet, it may have been possible to shield the knowledge of these 'things' until the time of marriage. But, even then, there are many things that occur before marriage, like the stages of puberty that kids find awfully hard to deal with as it is, especially when they have no clue about what is going on with their bodies! That was THEN. It would be an incredibly amazing feat if any parents were able to shield their children completely from the information highway that is feeding most kids these days, in ways that the parents probably wouldn't approve. So, in today's climate, all parents should ASSUME that their children will indeed find out about sex.

Of course, it gets worse if the children are living in the West and going to public schools. And I say that with some hesitation. Because knowing what goes on in Pakistan and other “Muslim” countries, I think I could be safely challenged on this assumption and I would be hard-pressed to justify it. Regardless, if it isn't worse, it is equally bad. Islamic schools may provide some semblance of 'safe environment', but again having known some serious acts of impropreitery in Islamic schools, I must say that this is one safety net I would not completely trust.

So, what's the bottom-line? For me, it is that that Muslim children do indeed need to know about sex, because they will find out one way or the other. Furthermore, time and place does indeed make a difference and both indeed favor this discussion, not discourage it.

Consider this from a pscyhologist:

“If you tell kids about sex, they'll do it. If you tell them about VD, they'll go out and get it. Incredible as may seem, most oppositions to sex education in this country are based on the assumption that knowledge is harmful. But research in this area reveals that ignorance and unresolved curiosity, not knowledge, are harmful. Our failure to tell children what they want and need to know is one reason we have the highest rates of out-of-wedlock teens pregnancy and abortion of any highly developed country in the world.” – from What Kids Need to Know, Psychology Today, October 1986, by Dr. Sol Gordon, Professor Emeritus, Syracuse University, and an expert on sex education.

Thank you Professor Gordon, but as Muslims we already know or should know that Islam promotes knowledge, that the assumption that “knowledge is harmful” opposes basic Islamic tenets in all matters of religion and life.

What the Professor stated next about teen pregnancy and teen sex in general, may occur to many Muslims as only occuring with the “others”. Yet, this is a failing of the understanding of the situation of Muslims in the West. I don't have any statistics, but I can tell you that I won't be surprised if many Muslim kids are doing it. In fact, I remember many years ago when one of my friends (in what I considered the age of 'jahiliya'!) boasted about getting “it” at one of the ISNA conferences, where his dad was one of the big speakers. And he was not lying, because he had no reason to. Why I had to point to such a jaw-dropping example is to show that these incidents are occurring in what one would consider an “Islamic environment” and by those, who are part of deeply religious families. The point is a wake-up call for Muslim parents: WAKE UP.

Would this ISNA-trip sidebar have been avoided if the highly-cultural parents of this friend of mine had engaged in an open and serious discussion about sex with their son? Maybe, maybe not. But, at least, I can say quite confidently that it would not have hurt and that possibly this kid, raised in a Muslim country and suddenly dropped in the middle of the American “dream”, would have been a bit more reserved his testeronal outburst.

Let me also start wrapping up this discussion by saying that due to my own cultural reservedness, I am quite uncomfortable myself regarding this topic, and even more so at the prospect of having a chat with my son in due time. I will leave my daughter to my wife, though I wonder if there is some way to break at least some of the ice between all family members, at least in terms of issues of puberty. Like this Egyptian/American (i.e. an Egyptian woman married to a Caucasian American convert decades ago) family that I know, where the women of the household are quite comfortable in mentioning the “status” of their periods among their brothers and father.

Before I move on to a few discussion points that parents should consider engaging their children in, I'd like to open the floor to hear your perspectives– for my sake and for the sake of many other parents (present and future) who may be reading this.

  • Do you agree or disagree with my conclusions here?
  • Are there cultural differences such that this shyness or reservedness about sexual issues does not reflect your situation?
  • Do you feel that this subject needs to be talked about at a different level, not at the blog level? And why?
  • Do you find this discussion beneficial?
  • Mention your preferences and points of benefit regarding the right age for such a discussion?

As I was looking up 'talking points' with children, I found many sites that offered this. However, there were obviously some “Islamic issues” with them, like we shouldn't be talking about the dangers of teen pregnancy, rather we should be talking about the sin of what gets girls to that point, etc. So here's my list of 10 issues to discuss, which has been modified from other lists out there:

  1. Get to know your children. It's hard to talk about sex with someone whom you never really talk to. If you start early and have ongoing conversations with your children, talking about sexuality will be a much easier conversation.
  2. Be clear about Islamic sexual values and attitudes. Talking to your children about these issues will be more successful when you're clear about how you feel about them and you have KNOWLEDGE about these issues. You are the strongest influence in your child's life. So learn YOURSELF first, then share these Islamic values with them. They need to know that our submission to Allah does not allow us to be indifferent or unaccepting of His Rules.
  3. Initiate the conversations with children, at the level that they can understand. Forget about “The Talk”. Kids need more than a one-time lecture- they need to develop values, morals and beliefs. Be on the look-out for “teachable moments”. You could consider using a hadith or a verse that will open up the opportunity to discuss, such as the ones aforementioned.
  4. Create an open environment. Children should feel okay about talking to their parent about their “inner secrets”. Daughter/mother and son/father relationships need to be especially nurtured. Also listen, listen and listen. Let them talk. Even if they say something horrible, let them finish saying it. If they don't say it to you, it doesn't mean they did not do it or are not thinking about it. Better that you know about it than not.
  5. It's not just the birds and the bees. Don't limit your conversations to just sex. Talk to them about male and female reproductive systems when appropriate.
  6. Reassure your child that not everyone is having sex. Teenagers often believe that all their friends are having sex or overestimate the percentage of their peers who are sexually experienced. This is especially important if your children are going to public school, because peer pressure can be extremely difficult. [side-note: consider Islamic schools if only for this reason!]
  7. Puberty and signs of puberty: Girls need to know about periods. Boys need to know about wet-dreams, the “impure” hair locations, etc. since the dawn of puberty is less explicit for them. They need to understand that there is nothing to be shy about but it is important to recognize the signs, because puberty will herald them into the age where the record of deeds begins.
  8. Talk about masturbation. Because sex is something that we have to train our children not to get even get close to, they may be tempted by the “lesser” evil of masturbation. So, teach them about why its wrong. There are some opinions that allow this act under special circumstances but be discerning as to when to disseminate this info. Consider solutions mentioned in the hadith:
    • Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood said, “We were with the Prophet while we were young and had no wealth whatsoever. So Allah's Messenger said, “O young people! Whoever among you can marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty (i.e. his private parts from committing illegal sexual intercourse etc.), and whoever is not able to marry, should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power” [Bukhari:5066]. The hadeeth orders men who are not able to marry to fast despite the hardship encountered in doing so, and not to masturbate despite the ease with which it can be done. The forbiddence of masturbation applies equally to women.
  9. Talk about hygeinic issues relating to what they will face pretty soon after puberty: purification after menses, wet-dreams, as it relates to pubic/under-arm hair, etc.
  10. Do NOT let your kids sleep together on the same bed once they reach the age of ten.
    • “Enjoin your children to perform salah… and let them sleep in separate beds.” (al-Hakim and Abu Dawud)

So, these are what I would consider the “hypothetical though mostly practical” list… but I am really interested in hearing what you have to say about this, especially interesting experiences and practical techniques. Also, feel free to mention other articles/websites, etc., but actually read them before referring/recommending them to ensure they are “Sunnah-sound”. Perhaps we can compile a good list of such articles later on, within this discussion.

In Part II, I'll discuss sex education for adults… don't think they need it? Check that picture on the top again, take your head out of the sand!

The floor is open for your comments, bring them on!

Good information available here:

99 Responses

  1. abu ameerah

    “…boasted about getting “it” at one of the ISNA conferences, where his dad was one of the big speakers.”

    LOOOOOOL !!!

    ISNA is awesome in it’s own pathetic sort of way. : )

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  2. Musa Maguire

    Amad Bhai,

    Usually it’s us converts who come up with these scandalous posts! Shame on you!

    Actually, it’s really important to talk about this, and blogs are as good a place as any. I read the graduate dissertation of an Egyptian sister who was writing about the use of euphemisms in hadith.

    “euphemism = the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant;” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

    There are many examples of the Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, and his companions–male and female–discussing these matters. An example I remember was a woman who came to Prophet and said that her new husband had a “loose garment” and she wanted to marry her old husband again. They Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, said that the man would have to “taste her honey” first and vice versa. (This is from memory, so for someone who knows better, feel free to correct me).

    This shows at least two things: 1) these issues were discussed in fairly open and frank detail, and 2) there was still a strong sense of shyness and modesty in the use of subtle terminiology.

    There is a story I often tell that relates to this: I was riding in a car (in Houston) with three other brothers, two married, and two unmarried. The unmarried brothers asked us if marriage made it easier to deal with the fitna of college co-eds. I thought, “a little easier…maybe,” but the other married brother (born and raised in Pakistan and the Emirates) said something quite interesting. He felt that marriage made it MORE difficult because then you “know things.” What shocked me was the realization that I “knew things” back in middle school once the first Playboy turned up in gym class. That brother maintained a level of innocence into his adulthood that was virtually impossible for me.

    And keep in mind, my middle school / high school experience was also the “old days”. Pornography is probably 100 times more accessible (maybe more) than it was back then. It has been totally normalized in youth culture. And if you click on the wrong link, or open the wrong email, pornography comes to you.

    And it is not about East and West. This is global problem now. Actually, when I was in Egypt, it was fairly obvious that many young people were “getting it” while most of their parents were totally oblivious. I often wondered if those kids had ever heard about contraception, STDs, or any of the other things I learned back in health class. Or did they just watch sexualized media and pornography and blindly imitate? That is a truly scary thought.

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  3. Amad

    Good thoughts akhi Musa…

    We should add some points that Abu Ameerah made on this blog regarding teaching the kids about the dangers, sin and abnormality of homosexuality; that it is not an option faor Muslims, so that even if they are a little “feminine”, it does not mean gay!

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  4. Umm Layth

    as-Salaamu `alaykum Brother Amad.

    I would have emailed you, but after Abu ameerah decided to laugh at the filth that some muslims commit, I decided to post it here.

    I know that when trying to educate Muslims on a topic we can mention examples to warn them and make them aware. However, details shouldn’t be mentioned that would give away who the person may be. You gave too much detail there. Secondly, as your sister, I can tell you that I already knew this. I already know Muslims are falling into fisq and fasad. I think most of us know that. So does it really serve purpose to mention that story? In the opinion of this miskeenah, after listening to some points mentioned in some lectures by a respected scholar, I don’t think so.

    Maybe it could have just stayed general. You may disagree and that’s fine. But it just bothered me. I’ve done it many times. In fact, I do it a lot, but again, some things we already know and a simple reminder if needed can be sufficient in these cases. Other than that, I find this discussion one that is needed. I would like to share some thoughts, but later on insha’Allaah. Jazaaka Allaahu khairan.

    Also, no Muslim should find such things funny. wa iyaadhu billaah

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  5. Moiez

    I think muslims in the west should just come up with a good way for young muslims to get married. I have a few ideas but its farfetched and a little embarrassing because I am a young muslim myself

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  6. AnonyMouse

    Moiez:
    My dad came up with a system that he calls the “Date A Spouse” system that he’s employed several times. Basically, a Muslim guy and girl who were at one time girlfriend/boyfriend learnt that their relationship was haraam; so instead they got married (despite quite a bit of opposition from their parents). What my dad did was do the nikaah for them, and while they were still in high school they each kept living at their own parents’ place until such time as suitable arrangements were made (financially so they could live together on their own).

    Al-Hamdulillah, it worked!

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  7. Abu Mus'ab

    I think your post really captures the essence of the problem.

    Even now, when I’m in my twenties and married. Topics related to sex are taboo with my parents. Honestly I think its childish. To talk about this subject in a mature way (As you rightly pointed out in your post) is really the best thing to do.

    Learning about sex from cousins etc not only makes the subject sound murky, it can also result in a lot of misinformation.

    I think another good way to deal with this is to find a good Islamic book, that deals with this subject, for your children to read. Then you can have a Q and A session afterwards and the book does most of the explaining. It helps to get children in the habit of reading and then discussing what they’ve read with parents. This way, sex Ed will be ‘just another topic’ of discussion and not the ‘Whoa! my mom/dad just talked about sex’

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  8. brnaeem

    FWIW, I was never exposed to any formal Islamic sex ed while growing up in the US in the 80′s. My father stressed basic Islamic principles and never once talked about details of sex. AL-, it worked out for the best as I never messed around.

    Why broach the subject if the child (even as a young adult) shows no sexual tendencies?

    I think it all depends on the child. I most agree with your point on ‘knowing your children’. If you see the child leaning towards early sexuality, the approach must be different than with a child who shows no inclination whatsoever.

    I understand that this is the age of the Internet, but are we giving up on struggling to maintain the age of Innocence, especially for our children?

    Is it too much to expect that we raise children who exhibit innocence such as Musa’s married friend (from Pak/UAE)?

    I understand Amad’s noble intent with this post, but the approach reeks too much of 8th grade sex-ed where kids end up learning to put condoms on bananas.

    Why are we accepting the sexual paradigm of the West instead of creating our own?

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  9. Amad

    Umm Layth, ASA…
    Are you referring your comments to me because really I am a bit confused?

    You mean to say what I mentioned is enough to give the person away? I would say to you that that is quite impossible… because this was like more than a decade away, and I barely mentioned anything about him or his background. If you or anyone else knows who I am talking about, by all means, e-mail me and shock me.

    I would like to add that when I mentioned ISNA, it wasn’t to stereotype it or that these things only happen there. In fact, if anyone reads my post carefully, what I stated was that even in an Islamic conference, these things happen, where one wouldn’t expect it. So, of course the kids that don’t leave an Islamic conference as an opportunity for their desires, then imagine what these same kids are doing in non-Islamic environments, such as public schools, at friends’ parties, etc.

    Finally, examples and stories, when not stating the person’s identity and where it is pretty much impossible to figure it out (like the story I mentioned) are indeed very useful if they are for the sake of illustrating problems. Again, my example mentioned two aspects of the person: from a religious family at a religious event. THAT is important information to warn people that don’t be naive to believe that just because these two things are occurring, you are safe. In fact, stories have been used to illustrate points by scholars all the time. They make more impact than mere hypothetical situations and general allusions.

    Finally, I do agree that sometimes these sad stories are used for what I call “tabloid blogging” and I intend to address that issue in a future post. Such “tabloid blogging” is devoid of any benefit and any purpose (and none is stated or recommended in the post itself) except to attract traffic. On the other hand, my post here has an exact purpose and benefit that has been stated explicitly and stories help illustrate the point.

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  10. oldschool

    It is ironic that you open the books of fiqh and ahadeeth, and one of the first chapters is about taharah, which explicitly talks about sex related issues….while in my culture particularly, it is a big no no. Funny thing is they portray as if it is Islam that does not want you to talk about it.

    With the TV and all the sexually enticing media here in the West, I think it is essential to talk to the kids once parents feel that they are about to hit puberty. By the time kids reach 5th or 6th grade, they learn it anyways. Why learn it the wrong way? I feel that zina (its sin and hadd), homosexuality (its sin and hadd), modesty and covering awrah, and all the issues surounding sex-related topic should be taught carefully as well.

    I have talked to one of my close friends about this issue before who’s from Pakistan. We both ended up concluding that it would have been better if someone had taught us, especially the Islamic rulings regarding taharah. It was difficult to find rulings in bits and pieces.

    Sorry to go on a tangent but has anyone watched this soundvision video on the topic: http://soundvision.com/Shop/pview.asp?Item=110-180
    any reviews?

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  11. Abu Bakr

    I think the best place to start is for someone to compile a book that covers the basics of Tahara and other issues that are important relevant to young kids as they approach puberty.

    That sort of thing should be required reading. Actually, in a sense, it is, as it is Fard Ayn for a Muslim to know the rulings of those matters of his religion that will affect him directly.

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  12. abu ameerah

    @ Umm Layth…

    “…but after Abu ameerah decided to laugh at the filth that some muslims commit…”

    –Talk about missing the point. The article made valid points – regardless if I laughed or not – and I think that as Muslim parents we should discuss these issues with our children in an open and honest matter.

    –Also, I hate what goes on at ISNA (aka FITNA) and I find it just as offensive as the next guy…but sometimes…what goes on at organizations like ISNA is so bad — that one can’t help but laugh.

    –Also the sin of fornication or whatever is not funny…and I didn’t find that funny. The sin is despised of course. What is peculiar and somewhat funny, however, is that organizations like ISNA create an environment that is conducive to the “committing” of such sin, if you will.

    And Allah (Azza wa’Jall) knows best…

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  13. Umm Reem

    “Only to find out much later of course, that many females in our desi culture would actually pretend to pray in order to avoid the embarrassment of their menstruation, from ignorant (in such matters) relatives like myself.”

    Unfortunately, this is quite common among desis (Arabs seem to be more understanding about this). This is really an abuse of the concept of being ‘shy’ to force girls to “pretend pray” or wake up for sahoor when they don’t have to fast and on top of that “pretend fast” as well!

    I learned a couple years go that to “pretend pray” while menstruating is actually forbidden. In fact, there is some harsh hanafee opinions against such an action.

    I was talking to Sr. Henaa Gamal about this and she made something wise that if we don’t tell our sons about menstruation then how would they know what their mothers and sisters suffer through. There is nothing wrong in telling them so that they can take extra care of their sisters and mother, and so later will be more considerate towards their wives when they get married!

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  14. Amad

    ASA
    Abu Bakr’s point is excellent:

    I think the best place to start is for someone to compile a book that covers the basics of Tahara and other issues that are important relevant to young kids as they approach puberty.

    Wouldn’t this be a wonderful project for someone with religious and some general background to come up with an ABC of sex ed. specifically for Muslim kids, perhaps different books for different age levels? As I said, I don’t have the answers to when and how, and I hope through these conversations around this post, we can help each other.

    Br. Naeem, you mentioned:

    I understand Amad’s noble intent with this post, but the approach reeks too much of 8th grade sex-ed where kids end up learning to put condoms on bananas.

    Brother, you also mentioned the “innocence” factor and why mess with it by imparting sex ed. There are many problems, IMHO, with this approach:

    (1) How do you know the kids are innocent of the knowledge? Do you think my parents knew what I knew? Unless you are watching your kids 24/7, watching what they see on TV (if you have one), watching what they do on the internet, listening to their conversations with their friends, etc., etc., how do you really know? Innocent looks can be quite deceiving!

    (2) You also imply that sexual knowledge is somehow against the concept of “innocence”. That is precisely where I disagree with you, and what the general purpose of my post was. Intimate relations are natural. Puberty, which introduces children into adulthood, esp. in terms of their reproductive organs, is also 100% natural. Why do we have to make these topics something anti-innocent? Couldn’t our daughters know about their impending periods, or boys about impending wet-dreams, as they get closer to puberty. without subverting their innocence? Couldn’t the children, at the right ages, know, in general, about different aspects of sexual behavior so that they do not find these concepts so “exciting” when learned in the “hush-hush” conversations from their friends? Instead, they could tell their friends, “we KNOW, and this is what my dad/mother told me”, so that it isn’t sexually loaded.

    As for the quote about the banana-condom thing, obviously that is taking things to extremes. I mentioned in my post that we do not need to go by Western sexual paradigms, but instead we need to go by Sunnah sexual paradigms and impress upon children the right values. So, it won’t be teaching them about putting on a condom, but instead teaching them the importance of keeping the gaze lowered and protecting their private parts. So, when they do get exposed to the condom-banana exercise somewhere, they can get up and leave by telling the teacher: “teacher, we stop much earlier!”

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  15. Mujahideen Ryder

    Man if you think young Muslims in America got it bad. In Saudia, guys throw numbers at elderly women. My mother-in-law got some numbers!

    Ridiculous! At least in America they have respect of the muslimahs.

    I think the whole Muslim world needs Sex Ed more than the Muslims in America.

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  16. AnonyMouse

    For our Islamic centre, my dad devised a program called “Welcome To Adulthood.”
    It was first done as part of a summer weekend camp for boys between the ages of around 11+ (I think), and what he did was give them a thorough Islamic education on the subject.
    Not only did he discuss puberty issues, tahaarah, etc. but he also went on to talk about the responsibilities and duties that come along with becoming a man. It was done in an open manner, yet not in the crude and vulgar way that’s so common elsewhere (amongst our peers in school or wherever).

    We had a similar program for girls, wherein we had my mom and another knowledgeable sister to talk frankly and openly about these issues. What was also done was that we had the girls ask us questions – it was surprising how much misinformation they had on the subject!

    It’s being done on a regular basis (around once a year) for all the newbies who weren’t old enough/ weren’t around the previous year, and even for those who attended previously it’s a good revision/follow up and an opportunity to learn more. The good thing is that it’s a way for parents who are too shy to talk to their own kids about it, to be able to have their kids learn this stuff anyway from a correct Islamic viewpoint that deals with the many different aspects of growing up – not just the physical (although the physical is what is most expounded upon).

    Personally, I learnt about all this during personal perusings of our Islamic centre’s library – simply Fiqh us-Sunnah, Sahih Muslim/Bukhari, and others taught me a lot so that I DIDN’T have to sit through a moritifying talk with my mom!

    BTW, I agree with the need for books to help kids/teens learn about these important changes and what they mean. There are a couple (one of them which I remember reading is, “O My Child, You Have Become An Adult” – but I personally thought it sucked), but we need more for different age/maturity levels.

    Perhaps one of our in-house sheikhs could see if they have the time to cobble something like this together! :D

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  17. laila

    ‘O Messenger of Allaah, can a woman have an erotic dream?’ He said, ‘Yes, may your hands be rubbed with dust. How else would her child resemble her?’”

    What does this mean?

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  18. Amad

    ASA Mouse… what an awesome thing that your parents are doing in the Masjid. I wonder if something similar has been done in any other Masajids/Centers across America or even the rest of the world?

    Though, I still question how much can parents leave it up to “others” (Imams, etc.) for this education. I mean access is one thing… its just so important to have that open channel of communication. I am not speaking out of experience with regards to this… this is just what I think should be the case.

    MR: Saudi is not unique in sexual perversity among the youth. The big thing in Pakistan a few years ago among young guys was not to hook up a young girl, but the challenge was to find an “auntie”… and swinging and other disgusting activities are in full-swell over in that area. I agree that it is not only-in-America thing, that is why I mentioned in my post that I will be hard-pressed to justify this as a problem only in the non-Muslim lands… we wonder why our Ummah is struggling then? May Allah help us all.

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  19. AnonyMouse

    “Though, I still question how much can parents leave it up to “others” (Imams, etc.) for this education. I mean access is one thing… its just so important to have that open channel of communication.”

    I know what you mean… yet something we found out was that often, sometimes even the parents don’t know all the neccessary things, or have misconceptions/ misinformation on the topic. That’s why my parents have also had separate halaqas, on the same subject, only for adults – because a lot of them don’t know what they should.

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  20. Umm Layth

    as-Salaamu `alaykum

    Brother Amad, I have no idea who you speak of, alhamdulillaah. may Allaah forgive them and us, aameen. It was just my own personal opinion and preference that it was better not to mention it because it is something that we already know.

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  21. brnaeem

    Amad and others, thanks for your thoughts. Very interesting discussion. I must honestly say that I am indeed grappling with this issue. Having two young children has me worried, what with all the hyper-sexuality so prominent around us, even here in Riyadh.

    Amad I agree that sexual knowledge is not contrary to the principle of innocence, but with one caveat – for those who are prepared to learn it. Why are we so keen on thrusting this knowledge of intimacy onto young adults who are not mentally and barely physically prepared for marriage? Of course you are not proposing that we divorce the two issues (sex ed and marriage), but that indeed is the paradigm that we are using.

    We are teaching sex ed not to couples preparing for marriage, but to high schoolers who clearly have a *teenage* mentality.

    I feel that sex ed must be initiated within the context of marriage and its various responsibilities. So why introduce the topic when that is clearly not on the mind of the audience?

    Is my head in the sand? I honestly can’t say. As I said, I am struggling with this issue (and discussions like these help clear the sand from my eyes and ears).

    In this day and age when marriage is delayed to such a later date, years after puberty (while in the ‘traditional’ culture, there was a much smaller gap), I guess we are forced to teach our youth the do’s and don’ts in order to preserve their chastity. But must that always be the case?

    The model I would like to see Muslims propagating is one of early marriage. I honestly believe that our beloved Prophet (saw) would go in that direction as opposed to the band-aid approach of Islamicizing western sex-ed. Allahu’Alam

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  22. Moiez

    mouse: That is a good idea. For the youth that have a boy/girlfriend and mashallah your parents sound amazing, I had to say it.

    But not all parents like the idea of marrying at such a young age. Makes the youth seem impatient and out of control, what can we do we have zina coming from everydirection, tv, radio, other youth, movies, billboards, magazines, the list goes on and on and the haraam is easier than the halal.

    My answer make dua ask Allah for help and start fasting and working out at the same time.

    Abu bakr: That is an excellent idea. After that keep in touch with them, talk to them at night because people are more likley to disclose secrets and inner feelings at night.
    bring examples from everyday experiences and tie it into deen just like the Prophet(S).

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  23. Naeem's Blog

    Trackback: Sexual Education…

    I would like to direct you all to this very interesting article which includes some thought-provoking comments. Here’s what I’m currently thinking about it……

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  24. Mujahideen Ryder

    Honestly, Sex Ed in high school is pretty good. Since I went to a very conservative jewish populated high school in new york, homosexuality was forbidden. They also talked about safe sex and what not.

    I think the best thing to do is for the parents is simply say, whatever you learned in sex ed in high school u must also know that pre-marital sex is haram.

    I think for guys it’s much easy to learn then sisters.

    Sisters….uh I hope our mothers are open to discuss things with there daughters.

    What’s also sad is you can learn Sex Ed from the many hip hop songs that people listen to. Which is mad haram but ppl do learn stuff. AstagfirAllah!

    Maybe Amad, you should make a YouTube video about this. It will benefit the whole entire ummah in the world. Since Google says the Muslim countries like to search for sex more than any other countries then your video might be watched a lot.

    Allah knows best.

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  25. Anon.

    The Amad guide to sex ed. I can imagine it already:

    FoB voice: ‘when a man loves a woman very much…’

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  26. Amad

    MR: LOL/Anon @ making a youtube video… I’ll be a bumbling FOB version of Baba Ali… I think I’ll stick to writing, its easier and spell-checks and thesaurus are always available!

    MR, seriously, what do they teach in high-school about sex ed. that you think would apply to Muslim kids as well? I mean is the message mostly assuming that kids are doing it, so let’s not even talk about abstinence, or is there a big abstinence factor?

    As for early marriage, I think most religious youth want that. In fact the biggest talk among MSA kids is marriage… somehow parents find that to be the problem instead of appreciating that the kids are asking for marriage i.e. they are avoiding other means to satisfy themselves. Parents still think they are living in the ‘old days’ where the fitnah was not as much as it is now.

    But practically speaking, most parents are not willing to get their children married at young ages until they are ready to mentally and financially support the spouses. So, what do we do about this gap? How do we keep the kids focused out of sex? I really think that if they have a solid foundation in treating sex as something natural and not something so excitable… perhaps there is then hope to remain safe from it. Wallahualam.. its a tough one.

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  27. doobiedoo

    Sex ed in highschools and middleschools gets a very bad rap in my opinion. Having actually experienced both, I would just like to clarify that I have never met anyone in my entire life who has ever learned how to put condoms on bananas in American public schools. What happened when I was in school was they just split up the boys from the girls into different groups (girls with a female teacher, guys with a male teacher)and we had to watch a video and the teacher talked. And no, it was not showing people having sex for your information :)

    About the gay issue, at one point in my middle school the school board decided to include information about homosexuality during the classes, but parents protested and said that should be something that gets taught at home, not in school and so the school board relented and that was the end of that matter.

    As to the whole abstinence matter, I really have never cared how that gets taught in public schools. If people really want to have sex they are going to do so regardless of how much abstinence stuff gets shoved at them. I believe in promoting both abstinence and safe sex education in public schools but think that if parents care that much about the issue they can teach their child about abstinence at home or send them to religous private schools

    Overall, your article was very good Amad btw :)

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  28. Moiez

    Thank You! Amad pinned the tail on the donkey, How do we get parents to say ok lets get the youth married and help out a bit for the financial question, I mean they are willing to pay for college, games, cars for the new 16 or 18 year old driver, get tickets for the family and go back to the homeland. But when it comes to marriage, “ummm how are you gonna support your spouse, just wait another 2 to 3 years you’ll be ok” the guys end up getting into other things and they stop complaining about getting married so the parents are happy about that but when their kids come to them saying “we wanna protect ourselves help us, we get the long 3 hour arguement/lecture. where you look down, nod and walk away. Thats the reality of it . So how do we deal with it?

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  29. Amad

    Thanks doobiedoo…

    As Muslims, we do care about teaching abstinence. We are less worried about the medical issues related to unsafe sex (LESS, though still worrisome) than we are worried about the moral and Islamic implications of premarital sex. The hereafter consequences weigh more heavily than the earthly consequences. So, if you can stop the kids from engaging in sex, you don’t really have to worry about how they do it then, do you?

    Talking to kids about abstinence and then at the same time talking to them about safe-sex is classic double-talk. Two different messages that young minds will understand to mean a choice and hence, a permission. It is similar to talking to them about the dangers of homosexuality and then adding “oh by the way, if you do decide to engage in it with a man, make sure to wear a condom!” Homosexuality is bad, and pre-marital straight sex is bad. Both are indeed “VERY” bad on the scale of Islamic morality. On one front, we tell the kids that Allah has forbidden this, on the straight-side, we remind the kids that they will have the opportunity to do it in a halal way.

    Interestingly, it has been mentioned that one of the benefits of giving kuniyas to young children, like abu xyz or umm xyz is to make these children feel a sense of fatherhood/motherhood, and that they will have the opportunity to live up to these kuniyas by staying good, getting married and pro-creating. I should add, though, that as Muslims, we believe that pro-creation is major benefit of marriage, but not the only reason for it.

    In a beautiful verse of the Quran, with so many comprehensive meanings: “They are your garments and you are their garments” (2:187).

    Can the smart readers come up with the many meanings of what this verse is implying?

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  30. AnonyMouse

    Moiez: I know what you mean… the only thing I can think of is for the Imam/Sheikh to sit down and talk TO THE PARENTS about it. My dad’s had to do that a lot, on behalf of kids (well, not kids… but you know what I mean) who couldn’t convince their parents. The parents aren’t always convinced, mind you, but sometimes it does help to have someone in a position of authority try to help them understand what’s going on w/ the youth and persuading them to do what’s best for the kids (i.e. letting them get married).

    Of course, there are some parents who simply won’t be swayed…

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  31. SisterBasmah

    “Reassure your child that not everyone is having sex. Teenagers often believe that all their friends are having sex or overestimate the percentage of their peers who are sexually experienced. This is especially important if your children are going to public school, because peer pressure can be extremely difficult. [side-note: consider Islamic schools if only for this reason!]”

    I have to disagree with that part, just the end of it.

    Just because one sends his/her kids to an Islamic school does not mean they will be more protected from committing these sins. I’ve heard SEVERAL stories about Muslim kids in Islamic schools having sex or doing “lesser” acts (so they don’t technically lose their virginity).

    Parents who send their kids to Islamic schools usually get blinded by this fantasy, a mirage of protection, that now they will grow up to be good little Muslim boys and girls. They forget that puberty hits kids no matter where they are (public or Islamic school) or who they are (“good” Muslim or “bad” Muslim). And being in an Islamic school doesn’t mean they’ll be surrounded by the best angels either. I know Muslims who went to school with worst Muslims than the non-Muslims I went to school with.

    It’s like saying the hafidh with the beard or the young muhajabah (who even wears ‘abayas) will never indulge into these thoughts or acts. They’re still human!

    And surely Allah knows best.

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  32. Amad

    asa Sr. Basmah, I see where you are going but there is a fallacy in your argument.

    There is no doubt that bad things happen in an Islamic schools, just like bad things happen right in front of the Ka’ba in Makkah. We all know that. But in general, the “bad things” are more of a minor happening than being the norm. I think you will find it hard to justify that Islamic schools are as bad as public schools. That is grossly unfair and misjudgment of the great work that Islamic schools stand for, and by virtue of that unfair upon the teachers, administrators and all the people working hard to make it happen for Muslims.

    As for your example, again, does it mean that because muhajabas or bearded folks do bad things that we shouldn’t encourage hijabs or beards? I don’t think you are implying that but your analogy seems to be suggesting this.

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  33. Anon.

    Amad: sorry about the FoB thing- I meant it as a joke.

    So…when should we expect that video?

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  34. Amad

    Amad: sorry about the FoB thing- I meant it as a joke.

    But I wasn’t joking when I replied:

    I’ll be a bumbling FOB version of Baba Ali… I think I’ll stick to writing

    Why don’t you do it? Consider it as your new challenge to help the Ummah!

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  35. SisterBasmah

    Wa’alaikumusalaam

    “I think you will find it hard to justify that Islamic schools are as bad as public schools. That is grossly unfair and misjudgment of the great work that Islamic schools stand for, and by virtue of that unfair upon the teachers, administrators and all the people working hard to make it happen for Muslims.”

    No, that’s fine, I’m not suggesting that Islamic schools are as bad as public schools. I’m saying they can be. There is that area of downfall still in existence. I’m saying it being an Islamic school does not necessarily offer a protection, because one student or another will break into the sin. I do agree, that it can probably be more avoided if they go to an Islamic school, but no one should think the Islamic school is the sole answer to this problem.

    “As for your example, again, does it mean that because muhajabas or bearded folks do bad things that we shouldn’t encourage hijabs or beards? I don’t think you are implying that but your analogy seems to be suggesting this.”

    It means that a beard or covering does not protect a boy or girl, respectively, from sin. Just as a clean-shaven boy or a girl who does not cover cannot be assumed to be left out in the open for sin either. That’s all.

    The concluding point is that these things need to be accepted by the heart of each and every individual child, and if a parent can do that, then insha’Allah it won’t even matter what school the child goes to or how they look like on the outside. After that, everything else becomes a precaution. The real issue is getting through to the child and never assuming that anything else can protect him/her except Allah and then that child’s own conscience.

    WAllahu’alam.

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  36. Moiez

    Mouse: Actually the thing with my parents is they are afraid of what others will say, and they want of course someone who knows our language, so i am at the point where its possible but who is going to accept a youth to take in their daughter?

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  37. AnonyMouse

    Hmmmmm, good question… well, I guess the only thing you *can* do is keep looking! You never know, you might come across someone who thinks the way you do and whose parents don’t mind her ending up with a penniless student (or whatever you are)… ;)

    May Allah make your matters easy, ameen.

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  38. brnaeem

    Salaam to all,

    Help me understand this. Are we suggesting that the solution to tackling the sex issue with our youth is to confront the issue head on with proper education (as is currently practiced by most Euro-Americans) and add to the mix our own Islamic admonition of ‘stay away from pre-marital sex since its haram’??

    I think most would agree that is not going to work. So what then *are* we proposing is the proper Islamic solution? You all know my opinion. I’m curious to hear yours.

    I see that Moiez has picked up where I left off (early marriages), but I also believe that this change in the mindset will not happen overnight. Are there other better solutions?

    Or am I beating a dead horse?

    WA-
    Naeem

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  39. Mujahideen Ryder

    Amad: Sex ed made me desire a super religious virgin sister after learning about STDs. I think Imams, Parents and High School MSAs should have special events/forums for discussion that complement the sex ed classes in high school.

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  40. brnaeem

    AA- Mouse,

    I am also curious to know more about the program held by your parents. Do you feel that the program helped dissuade the participants from flirting with pre-marital sex? What sort of metrics were used to gauge its success/failure?

    MR, what do you suggest be discussed in these complementary classes held by Masjids and MSA’s?

    Do you beleive that anything presented in such a forum would help to calm the hormones and neutralize the urges?

    WA-
    Naeem

    WA-
    Naeem

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  41. Anon.

    “Do you beleive that anything presented in such a forum would help to calm the hormones and neutralize the urges?”

    I hear camphor works well.

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  42. Amad

    Br. Naeem, you said:

    Are we suggesting that the solution to tackling the sex issue with our youth is to confront the issue head on with proper education (as is currently practiced by most Euro-Americans) and add to the mix our own Islamic admonition of ’stay away from pre-marital sex since its haram’??

    I am suggesting that we do tackle the sex issue head-on. I haven’t quite proposed a solution, except some tips and suggestions and a request for discussion, which we are doing. We need a different sex ed. system from Euro-Americans, one that focuses on educating the kids about issues related to sex and I include Islamic hygiene, puberty, marriage, etc. Devise an Islamic schooling system that can be used to engage kids in either a home environment by parents or at Islamic schools or both.

    I think most would agree that is not going to work.

    I guess you asked the question and then answered it yourself :) I don’t know who the “most” are, but at least on this forum, most folks seem to think that there is a need for this type of education. MR is even going as far as saying that what is taught at school is not bad and needs to be complemented with Islamic thought. So, I ask MR again, what is it that is taught in public schools? And how? Can you expound more?

    Anon… camphor, huh? That’s the first I heard of that!

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  43. Anon.

    “Anon… camphor, huh? That’s the first I heard of that!”

    Apparently the Syrian govt used to put it in the tea they served their soldiers. That’s just a story, though, so take it with a pinch of salt.

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  44. AnonyMouse

    Br. Naeem – I’m leaving in a short while for the long weekend, so can’t respond in detail. Insha’Allah as soon as I come back I’ll answer you…

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  45. Moiez

    mouse: I’m not penniless, I have money and a job but (you know what I mean).

    Here is a suggestion what if we start putting early marriage in peoples mind, make it sound easier and better at least the future generation which we started talking about will benefit, make programs for that once the the chain starts it wont end because it will be passed down from that generation to the next. Its a slow process but arnt most of them besides slow and steady wins the race right?

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  46. Moiez

    To start it off I mean there are probably hunders of muslim families out there that dont mind early marriage, make a website called oh I dont know
    “protecturselffromfitnahbymarryingearly.com”
    Have these families exchange info, they can chat and see if it works out.
    Then the shy families who are scared of what other people say will come out of the shadows and join, then when people begin to see some of these marriages actually happen and work out, they may actually do it too.
    Then it will begin to become normal among the muslims and later generation wont have to suffer the torture.

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  47. brnaeem

    AA- Br. Amad, my point was that I’m not convinced that promoting the western model of sex-ed sprinkled with some verses and ahadith will bring about an ideal solution.

    After all, I believe Muslims in the west have tried this for the past 20 years with unfavorable results. We need to change things around. Trying the wrong key over and over again will not open the door.

    Has the western model help curb teen promiscuity? Not at all. So what makes us think that our approach will bring about anything different? I’m really trying to understand your line of thought, but I seem to be missing something. :-(

    Listen, I’m definitely NOT denying the need for this type of education. I just feel that by itself, it will do nothing to stem the tide. We are arming our children with spoons and forks against an army with tanks and guns.

    WA-
    Naeem

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  48. abu ameerah

    Judging by the lengthy comments…it seems that Sex/Sex Ed really inspires us intellectually!

    : )

    If we really want to protect Muslim youth from the pitfalls of the larger society in which they live — we should require that our Masajid/Muslim Community Centers/whatever invite speakers (of whatever ethno-religious stripe) who are AIDS/HIV infected to a FULL-FORCE open lecture to our youth.

    The lecture should obviously be moderated. *I think AMAD would be an excellent choice as moderator for such an event.* And the lecture could be seperate for Brothers and Sisters.

    That’ll teach ‘em for looking at haraam stuff online!

    “But…Betaa…YOU’LL GET AIDS” !!!!

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  49. Amad

    I was talking to Sh. Yasir about some of these issues and he was telling me that he finds it safer to send his child to public school here than to send him to public school in Madinah. I had heard about this many times before but it sort of reminded me how perverse the situation has become in some of our “Muslim countries”. When you open the world of sex to them through cable and internet, while you close the channels outside, then the hollowness inside is unbelievable. When people get turned on by just looking at feet, and other perversity, like MR mentioned. Its just not happening in Saudi, its happening in many of our Muslim countries.

    So, perhaps I misspoke when I said that we need sex ed. more here in the West than the East. Rather, since everyone is Muslim around you in the East, it is harder to point out that “Muslims don’t do so and so” because well, everyone is Muslim.

    Br. Naeem, since you are in Saudi (right?), what do you say of this situation and how are you planning to protect your family from the wrath of the perversity there?

    By the way, Tariq had written about similar issues here

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  50. Amad

    Akhi Abu Ameerah, jak for making me aid to the the guy with AIDs. But I wouldn’t be enough paid to sit on the stage.

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  51. brnaeem

    AA- Amad,

    How am I planning to protect my children from the perversity? Very good question. Here in Riyadh, there is an enormous underlying sexual tension that permeates. The key word being underlying. Its not in your face. Not yet and I don’t see that changing in the foreseeable future, Allahu’Alam.

    The perversity that Sh Yasir refers to is clearly available, but it takes an effort to access it. I find that effort nonexistent in the west. I’m not sure why he would prefer his kid in a US public school than in a Madina school?

    If he’s talking only about the school, then I can understand, but I can’t separate the school from the society in which it exists. That’s why I find it considerably safer in raising kids here.

    Will it be a cakewalk? Of course not. That isn’t the nature of this world. There are temptations all over. My job is to equip them with taqwa (thank you Abu Bakr!), ‘ilm, and the least hostile environment for their spiritual development.

    Finally, I feel there needs to be a whole separate post on the varying concepts of sex and sex ed in Muslim countries and the West. I hear too often that things are degrading ‘back home’ and ‘its getting crazy everywhere’ – as a justification to continue exposing our children to the fitna of the west. I strongly disagree, but that’s for another post.

    Amad, willing to open that can of worms? :-)

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  52. Amad

    Br. Naeem, why don’t you start us off and we can likely cross-link or cross-post it here…

    I still have to write the hard-part, Part II on adults and sex ed.!

    w/s

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  53. dawud

    as for the hadith on resemblance of the child, there was a hadith ( http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/003.smt.html#003.0608 )

    Book 003, Number 0608:
    Anas b. Malik reported that Umm Sulaim narrated it that she asked the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) about a woman who sees in a dream what a man sees (sexual dream). The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon bi m) said: In case a woman sees that, she must take a bath. Umm Sulaim said: I was bashful on account of that and said: Does it happen? Upon this the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Yes (it does happen), otherwise how can (a child) resemble her? Man’s discharge (i. e. sperm) is thick and white and the discharge of woman is thin and yellow; so the resemblance comes from the one whose genes prevail or dominate.

    ___________________________________

    the implicit statement, according to ulema, is that the one whose orgasm predominates (or is first) will affect the appearance of the child most… wa Allahu alim

    lived in Saudi, taught in Jeddah and was warned against teaching even in Makkah, where I would have been teaching a girls class…

    friends of mine relate what Ust. Yasir warns against, that they saw homosexual practice rampant in public schools growing up, and I myself saw kids trading porn, little kids (as young as 7 or 8) going to the washroom together – and pulled apart by other teachers, and accessing computer porn online, despite the safeguards on the system – and where would kids find webpages like that from, apart from their elder siblings?

    The point is not that Saudis are worse, as friends told me that up until the 60s there was no such strangeness, and boys and girls would play with each other in the streets into puberty without fitna, but that starting with the global media and access to porn and corruption (fasad from oil wealth, etc), the status of “namus” (“sexual honor”) of the Arabs has declined severely. This is a concern for all of us, as the Prophet said that “the Arabs are the cradle of Islam, if they are good, Islam is good and if they are corrupted, Islam will be corrupted”

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  54. MuslimObserver

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    this is my first time posting on this blog and i am probably the least knowledgeable of all of you so forgive me in advance.

    I think that we have to look at everything as means and goals. What is our final goal in this life? What are the means to it? Now i can already imagine everyone yelling out “they are teenagers…. what do they care about goals?!!” Trust me they will divulge as much as you give them. If I as the father of my son or daughter am able to instill in their minds the final goal as being jannah and that marriage, sex, careers, family relations, and ibaadah are the means to that goal… then i have done them a great favor.

    I don’t think we are curing the sickness but instead treating the symptoms. The sickness is not sex or immodesty or not knowing about the menstrual cycle. The sickness is that I as a youth sometimes forget that Allah azza wa jal is watching me. That no one ever told me as a child that i was responsible for my actions. That Allah azza wa jal is Al-Sami’ or Al-Baseer. That everything i ever did ever since i hit puberty was being recorded. That SEX and MARRIAGE is not EVERYTHING. That the GIRL i so dearly love and want to marry is NOT the end of the world. That tonight my chances of dying and answering to my lord are much better than me marrying some girl of my dreams or to even aoudhubillah falling into zina with some ugly undesireable woman.

    Again many of you might argue with me and it’s fine because like i said before i am probably the least knowledgeable of all of you. One thing i do know is that my son or daughter insha’Allah will not need sex ed and they will not have to wait till 25 to get married. I will tell my son or daughter that you are the child of a man that never committed zina. That you are the child of a man that kept his lord in mind. That brought you in this world because he wanted jannah and because he wanted jannah for you as well. That if you too love the akhirah as much as I do and if you too realize what favors your Lord has bestowed upon you and if you too remember that you were conceived to achieve jannahtul firdau al ‘alaa then you shall attain it insha’Allah.

    if i have offended anyone please forgive me. If i have benefited anyone it is from Allah and know that you have benefited me more.

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    • MatureM

      Greetings All,

      I would just like to say Thank You to MuslimObserver for writing his thoughts in 2007 not knowing that in 2010 it would speak to my heart.

      I am Christian, adult, and have all the sex-ed as any mature adult would have by now but I was about to make the biggest mistake of my life this weekend. Thanks be to God Almighty because I stumbled upon this article/site. I read all the comments but was particularly touched by comment made by MuslimObserver.

      I echo your words my brother. I lost track of the goal which all believers aim for and hold true to their faith. To live a pure, chaste life and to present your body as a living sacrifice unto God. Especially when you are single/unmarried. Pre-marital sex is wrong in any language or religion.

      Thank you for reminding me of what is important to us who believe. Today I renewed my commitment to God.

      When you put God as your goal everything else falls into place.

      Peace be with you always.

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      • Amad

        MatureM,
        thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

        I think there is a higher reason that you found an answer on a Muslim site. Allah (God) works in mysterious ways… perhaps you stumbled here for something bigger, better.

        I urge you to ponder over this thought. You can email us or comment here if you have start looking into Islam and have questions. I hope you will, because your expressed purity in this one matter is something all Muslims aspire for, but purity goes well beyond it.

        thanks.

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  55. AnonyMouse

    MuslimObserver, masha’Allah, I agree with you 100%.

    Sex ed. won’t stop Muslim teens from going out and having sex; having taqwa is what WILL. Being aware that Allah is watching us at all times, that He is fully aware of everything in our hearts and minds and souls… THAT is what’ll stop us from doing the haraam.
    If we have a firm grounding in our taqwa and rememberance of Allah, the other things will come along relatively easy.

    May Allah reward you, brother, for that most excellent reminder; and may He make your children (and the rest of us) as strong as you in emaan, ameen!

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  56. AnonyMouse

    Br. Naeem, I’m back from camp so now I can answer your last comment to me.

    “I am also curious to know more about the program held by your parents. Do you feel that the program helped dissuade the participants from flirting with pre-marital sex? What sort of metrics were used to gauge its success/failure?”

    The thing about the program is that it’s still in its beginning stages (we’ve only done it for the last couple years) and we haven’t really had any follow-up programs to it. It was mostly just a starting point for the kids on learning about puberty and just briefly delving into why we need to stay away from the opposite gender.
    Because these kids were/are mostly in their preteens/early teens, we didn’t go much into issues of sexuality aside from explaining why it’s haraam and stuff (although one program speaker did get into some harsh detail w/ the girls by telling them that all teen guys want is to get into their pants with no strings attached)… we don’t know what sort of effect it’s had on the kids, so I really can’t say whether it was a success or a failure (in terms of whether it prevented the kids from going out and having sex or even just flirting).
    However, considering how young the kids are (and I know most of them personally), I really don’t think that they’ve gone and committed that kind of haraam. Of course, only Allah knows the reality of the situation.

    Since we moved to a new city last year, we’re still in the process of establishing things in our new community (which is TINY). However, what we’ve managed to do so far is extremely encouraging, al-Hamdulillaah; and we’re planning on doing a lot more with the parents and youth in terms of general Islamic education as well as focus on “sensitive/tough” topics such as sexuality, dealing with the fitnah here in the West, etc.

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  57. Moiez

    Wasn’t it during the time of Umar(RA) being the khalifa that he made the rule that a man can not stay for jihad more than 4 months because of a sister that recited some poetry on how much she wanted a man in her arms and it was only fear of Allah that was keeping her behind from committing the sin.

    This was either a Sahabi or an Atabieni(sorry for the spelling mistake) but if it was tough for her how tough is it for us to have fear of Allah. They lived in an Islamic state where the haraam was hard. Personally I think Taqwa is part of the two wings of the bird but you have think logically too nowadays and I am very sorry to say this but taqwa wont cut it. For some it will for a while, some even shorter than that. But being introduced to such a thing at the age of like 8 and waiting till about 20-25 and depending on Taqwa in a society where people bairly have is quite an optomistic one.

    Muslimobs: I agree with you probably more than I agree with the sex ed thing, but we have to give the bird the other wing to be able to fly.

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  58. brnaeem

    Br. Yasir’s link brings another layer of complexity, which is the vacuity of morals in general western society highlighted by the parents in the PBS story.

    I agree with Yasir’s suggestion that the actions of that group of youth is probably NOT the norm. But I’m not worried so much about what is out there and what is the norm, but in the final analysis of the PBS documentary – that the absence of strong parental presence was the prime engine behind the misguided actions of the youth.

    How are we as Muslim parents in the 21st century fulfilling our parenting roles and responsibilities? Are we going down that road of 80-hour work weeks and TV-filled homes? This is MUCH more than sex-ed. This about being a parent.

    Amad, is this what part 2 will be about?

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  59. Ummaziza

    ***For Mothers!***

    As salaamu alaiykum:

    Thank you Br. Amad for starting this topic, I would like to add my advice here if I may.

    We have the absolute responsibility to teach our children their religion, no one disputes this. In my opinion, it is impossible to fully educate them about their religion without talking to them about critical issues that are not the responsibility of the television, friends, internet or billboards.

    If we don’t teach them the right way, the Shaitan will teach them the wrong way (may Allah protect us and them)!

    Here are some things to consider when debating about whether to teach your child about menstruation and sex:

    -With the amount of exposure to nudity and sexual content we all get these days, it is important for mothers (especially) to teach their daughters how to handle things. To have them know about their bodies and not be afraid of the changes that occur. They must also not think of themselves as purely sexual objects, yet fully understand their “power” as women and how to use that in the proper context to get rewards and not curses from Allah. Chances are, the man she marries will have a tremendous amount of exposure and knowledge (with expectations and fantasies) that she will be totally incapable of handling (or satisfying). Gone are the days when a little lipstick was enough to keep a husband’s gaze restrained to his wife!

    -The average nine year old has questions about where babies come from, why Mom beautifies herself for her husband, why some of her friends have started “sitting outside of the masjid”…etc.

    -It is impossible for the child to be prepared for salat and clean without knowledge of menstruation…to tell them “the day it becomes necessary” is very unfair and overwhelming I feel

    - Lesbianism and “same-sex sexual play” amongst young people is very rampant EVERYWHERE nowadays (I say that without reservation), if the child knows the biological purpose of the “tickly feelings” they may experience while in the company of others, they will, inshaAllah, not get caught up in haram play to explore the feeling more or get confused about why it occurs

    -Once children are comfortable coming to you to talk about their issues (because you opened the lines of communication), it will help strengthen your relationship and life-long bond inshaAllah.

    -It is very necessary to educate boys and girls about what to do if an adult (or older child) tries to touch them inappropriately. Child sexual abuse is a problem all around the world and has been for ages, and while we may feel comfortable having our young child around “uncle” or “sister” so and so, it is easy to forget that it occurs. Warning your child about what is not okay for someone to do or say to them is very necessary.

    ================================
    Here is the timeline I suggest for girls:

    -Age Ten
    Taharah and Menstruation (when salat is required and puberty may begin)

    -At Menstruation -or- Once You See Her “Taking a Second Look”
    .Sex (when she can actually become pregnant and may have hormonal urges)
    .Modesty (the angels have begun to write)

    -Before Marriage
    .How to please her husband

    ===============================
    Here is how to get started.

    By Age Nine-For Girls

    1. Purchase a book for yourself on puberty and reproduction, read it (don’t give it to your child of course) to brush up on the science behind things and the proper terminology (the last thing you want to do is give things “cutesy” names that might add undue curiosity).

    2. Purchase a book on tahara and do the same thing.

    3. Make isthikara about approaching your child.

    4. Plan to sit down with your child at regular intervals to have “hygiene talks” (you know the breadth and depth of what you will discuss but the child doesn’t have to). You can tell them you will have such talks on Sunday mornings…and that this is also the time they can come to you with follow-up questions.

    5. “Hygiene Lessons” format – explain the following in detail:

    a. Wudu

    b. Proper way to clean after using the bathroom

    c. Changes that will come soon…
    -pubic hair (tell how and when to remove)
    -menses (emphasize how to clean after)
    -hormones (need for deodorant, how to handle mood-swings, “tickly feelings” etc.)

    d. Why the changes in your body must occur…
    -female anatomy (eggs, uterus)
    ***here (if her menses has not started) just state that Allah puts the baby in the married woman’s tummy when He wants her to have a child***

    e. ghusl
    -state only the reasons the unmarried person would need to (i.e. Friday, after menses) leave janaaba for later

    f. siwak (need for good dental hygiene)
    -please dont forget to teach them to brush the tongue (number one cause for bad breath)

    6. Do hygiene checks ever so often with rewards for her when she does things properly

    7. Watch your child to see how this information is being processed, so that you will know how to proceed later.

    8. Be prepared to answer questions but don’t be afraid to say “We’ll talk about that in a couple of months”.

    Later, once she reaches puberty you can begin with review of female anatomy, move to male anatomy, overview of genetics and dna.

    Hopefully, the coming years/months will be easy for you to handle and make the “talks” progressively intense depending on the child’s maturity and curiosity level.

    Islam has so much wisdom that once you’ve laid this foundation, everything else will fit together amazingly well inshaAllah.

    May Allah help us make the right decisions for raising our children and giving them the proper knowledge of their purpose and of their responsibilities toward Allah (swt). Ameen

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  60. Amad

    ASA, Sr. Ummaziza, that is very good advice/methodology. With a daughter right at the cusp of being 10, I think this is some really important advice.

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  61. Sister Basmah

    Assalaamu’alaikum

    By the way, is TDC going to do a lecture on any of this stuff this year? We should include it in the MSA conference. Do you know if anyone’s suggested anything like this? If they haven’t, maybe you can?

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  62. muslimmatters.org » Coming of Age Traditions

    [...]   It seems that was also the case with many others – it happened, and while there were often misunderstandings and misconceptions in regards to the issue, there never seemed to be any major “excitement” involved. Mostly it tended to be the cause of a great deal of confusion, misunderstanding, misconceptions, and general ignorance (as mentioned in Amad’s post here). [...]

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  63. Sanjida

    Asalaamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullahe wa Barakatuh.

    I chanced upon your blog while browsing the internet. I hope you don’t mind if I post this article in my own blog. I will of course state the source of where I got it and put you as reference, insha’Allah. It’s a great article that deals with one of the major issues in desi families where it seems as if the culture is more important than Islam.

    Masha’Allah. Jazhak Allah khair

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  64. Sanjida

    I would also like to copy-paste the response from sister Ummaziza and post it in my own blog. That is excellent advice masha’Allah. I hope you don’t mind. Of course, I would state the source and paste your website for people to check here for future references, insha’Allah.

    Jazhak Allah khair

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  65. Amad

    Sr. Sanjida, of course we don’t mind. We appreciate it in fact… the more information of benefit we can spread around, the more reward for all of us.

    jazakillahkhair

    wasaalam

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  66. Ashley

    Why are Muslims always assuming that ALL
    girls in the West are having sex, sex, sex.

    I am a Christian, and all of my sisters did not
    have premarital sex. The problem is, you only ever hear about those that don’t. It is a personal decision, and it is something that we
    believe in as LDS. However, we are humans and are weak, and we believe in forgiveness.
    Muslims seem to be all full of hate. I am glad
    that my God is one of mercy, love, compassion and forgiveness. I plan to stay a virgin until I get married, which is in December.

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  67. Moiez

    Ashley: first of all Im happy that you are still chaste, for being in a society where un-chastity is advertised and promoted it is quite an honor. So Congradulations and I praise you much for your accomplishment, but please you can say what you want to the muslims because there may be a group of them which are full of hate as there is among Christians, Jews, ect. But do not compare and Slander God for the God is the same and in the Quran it is mentioned in every single chapter several times that God is most forgiving most merciful. The difference is the certain attributes about him depicted in the religious texts. So be careful because these red zones cause much disunity among human beings. This is a blog where we give our ideas and opinions and show respect at the same time.

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  68. AnonyMouse

    Ashley – welcome to MuslimMatters, and congrats on your upcoming wedding! :)

    “Why are Muslims always assuming that ALL
    girls in the West are having sex, sex, sex.”

    No, we don’t assume that *all* girls in the West are having sex – but we DO know that the number of girls engaging in premarital sex is constantly rising, and so we’re seeking to find a way to protect our own kids (girls AND boys) from getting sucked into it.
    I know it’s not just a Muslim thing, too – in the newspapers, there are often articles about churches and synagogues expressing similar concerns and trying to find a way to protect their younger members as well.

    “I am glad that my God is one of mercy, love, compassion and forgiveness. ”

    My God and your God are the same – the Only One worthy of worship, ar-Rahmaan (the Compassionate), as-Salaam (the Source of Peace), al-Ghaffaar (the Most Forgiving), al-Ghafoor (the All-Forgiving), al-Kareem (the Generous)… He has many names, all of them beautiful and exquisite, and He is truly great beyond comprehension!
    :)

    http://www.jannah.org/articles/names.html

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  69. Umm Layth

    There is no assumption Ashley. Statistics in my state alone state that 80-90 percent of high school students come out of high school non-virgins. It’s a reality. It isn’t about us hating because many of us have come from this culture. But all this stems from ignorance, lack of certain belief in God alone.

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  70. Sanjida

    Asalaamu ‘Alaykum wa Rahmatullahe wa Barakatuh, bros and sis!

    You know, this is a typical error and I fell into the trap too before. Quoting:

    “My God and your God are the same” End quote.

    Take careful heed of the meaning of Surah Al- Kafiroon:

    1 Say “O Al-Kafiroon (disbelievers)!
    2 “I worship not that which you worship,
    3 “Nor will you worship that which I worship.
    4 “And I shall not worship that which you are worshipping.
    5 “Nor will you worship that which I worship.
    6 “To you be your religion, and to me my religion.”

    (Say: “O disbelievers!”) includes every disbeliever on the face of the earth, however, this statement is particularly directed towards the disbelievers of the Quraysh. It has been said that in their ignorance they invited the Messenger of Allah to worship their idols for a year and they would (in turn) worship his God for a year. Therefore, Allah revealed this Surah.

    Hence, the disavowal is from all of what they are involved. For certainly the worshipper must have a god whom he worships and set acts of worship that he follows to get to him. So the Messenger and his followers worship Allah according to what He has legislated.

    This is why the statement of Islam is “There is no God worthy of being worshipped except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” This means that there is no (true) object of worship except Allah and there is no path to Him (i.e., way of worshipping Him) other than that which the Messenger came with.

    So, to sum it all up, their god is not our God, but our God is our Lord Allah and the Lord of everyone else.

    That’s the only point I wanted to make clear here. Certainly we should respect each other and we should be tolerant of other beliefs and respect people for the right to believe in what they believe in. It was one of the many teachings of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

    And as I said, I also fell into that trap before. I used to think that everybody’s gods were the one and the same except that the people and their religions put different attributes to him. Astaghfirullah!

    And may Allah forgive me if I’m wrong. Ameen. Allahu Alam.

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  71. AnonyMouse

    Sis Sanjida:

    I appreciate what you said, and may Allah forgive me also if what I said was wrong, but what I meant was that Allah is the Lord of us all… Ashley said that we have two different gods, when the truth is that Allah is her Rabb and is ours as well.

    Certainly, the way she believes in Allah and worships Him is incorrect (which is why they’re kuffaar), but again, Allah is God of us all.

    (BTW, if I’ve totally messed up here, may Allah forgive me… and Amad, maybe you should remove that line from my other comment?)

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  72. sequoia

    Ashley,
    I believe it is a broad and unfair generalization to label Muslims full of hate. Are there Muslims full of hate? Yes. Are there members of every religion, country, culture also full of hate? Yes.
    The members of this community engage in issues and topics which they and many others finding interesting or worthy of discussion. But no one on this board claims to speak for the Muslim religion (for better or for worse). Yet, if you would spend more time here…i believe the last thing you would feel is hate.

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  73. .

    029.046
    YUSUFALI: And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, “We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our Allah and your Allah is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam).”
    PICKTHAL: And argue not with the People of the Scripture unless it be in (a way) that is better, save with such of them as do wrong; and say: We believe in that which hath been revealed unto us and revealed unto you; our Allah and your Allah is One, and unto Him we surrender.
    SHAKIR: And do not dispute with the followers of the Book except by what is best, except those of them who act unjustly, and say: We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our Allah and your Allah is One, and to Him do we submit.

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  74. syed saboor

    One thing, I will agree with is that Muslims do need more sex education. Especially because many Muslims have a distorted view about what sex is, considering how many Muslims have been influenced by the West. Often I come across articles and questions on Islamic webpages about Muslims who engage in homosexual and lesbian behavior, and Muslims who ask stupid questions on whether having sex with two wives at the same time is permissible. The problem is Muslims don’t know what is halal and haram in regards to human sexuality from the Islamic perspective and this leads them to engage in zina and same-sex deviance as well pornography addiction. There are excellent books on this subject and Muslims need to read them and educate themselves about these issues or else we will end up as corrupted as most people in the West are.

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  75. Sunnahfollower

    As salaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah

    Alhamdulillah, that Allah has still kept scholars alive who are firm upon the Deen of Allah and in its implementation and teaching it to others. The scholars who take from the Book and the Sunnah upon the understanding of the first three generations of Islaam.

    Stated the Imaam of Ahlus Sunnah, Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Hanbal (d.241H) – rahimahullah, “All praise is for Allah, who in every age and interval between the Prophets, raises up a group from the People of Knowledge, who call the misguided to guidance and patiently bear ill-treatment and harm. With the Book of Allah, they give life to the dead, and by the Light of Allah, they give sight to the blind. How many a person killed by Iblees have they revived. How many people astray and wandering have they guided. How beautiful their effects have been upon the people, and how vile people have been towards them. They expel from the Book of Allah the alterations of those going beyond bounds, the false claims of the liars and the false intrepretations of the ignorant ones – those who uphold the banner of innovation and let loose the trials and discords, who differ about the Book, oppose the Book and agree to oppose the Book. Those who speak about Allah and His Book without knowledge, argue about what is ambiguous in the Book, and deceive the ignorant with such ambiguities. We seek refuge in Allah from the trials of the misguided ones.” Taken from ar-Radd ‘alal Jahmiyyah waz-Zanaadiqah (p. 2) of Imaam Ahmad

    I would encourage myself first and foremost and then all of you brothers and sisters, especially those who are already married and close to getting married that you benefit yourself by gaining the knowledge from the scholars who are well known for their correct ‘aqeedah and manhaj (methodology). For many individuals have been taken on by the common people here in the West as scholars when they cannot even be considered students of knowledge.

    And this topic, of raising the family for Muslims in the West is a topic that has not been left out by the scholars of the Sunnah. For this reason, I would encourage all of you that you gain benefit by listening to these highly beneficial lectures every Sunday (3pm EST) on the topic of “Guidelines for Raising Muslim Families in the West.”

    For more info, please visit:

    Guidelines for Raising Muslim Families in the West

    Barak Allahu feekum wa jazakumullahu khair

    wassalamu ‘alaykum

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  76. Amad

    “Sunnahfollower” and your point is?

    What you posted is the typical cut and paste message, patronizing and a bit condescending. And who are the scholars of Sunnah now in your opinion? Allamah Hazat Mawlana Rabee Madhkhalee and about 10 that agree with him? Please, bro, it would be nice if you start respecting the people of knowledge that RESIDE in the West, who are in TOUCH with the West, and who UNDERSTAND the problems facing Muslim families in the West. Everything doesn’t have to flow from the mouth of the scholars in the East in order to be beneficial and applicable. In fact, in many cases, applying blanket rulings and opinion from scholars residing in the East, to the Muslims in the West, is counter-productive and inapplicable.

    You talk about common people falling for the “scholar-pretenders” in the West. Rather, I would contend that many common people have been trapped in near cultish cells that claim to follow the Sunnah, but are actually blindly following a few individuals.

    I am sorry if I sound harsh, but your comment rubbed me off in the wrong way.

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  77. Umm Ismael

    Asslam u alaikum wr wb
    A very important topic indeed for muslims living all over the world (be it east or west). Isn’t it possible to put this forth to scholars and get a comprehensive opinion in this regard.
    I just have a suggestion: While I agree to the fact that early marriages might offer a solution , please have a broader perspective in view. Marriage does not (in most communities and cultures) imply union between man and wife but that between two families( the word “sihrun” used in the Quran for in laws). Would a 16 year old be able to deftly handle the inticacies that lie in handling family systems? At the time of our grandmothers , girls did indeed get married very young but at the same time, because of the correct upbrining prevalent in societies at the time, they were mentally mature enough to handle family matters. Things are rarely ideal for women at the time of marriage. It is indeed the female who ends up sacrificing a lot (though not always). The boy who gets married at 18 / 20 needs to know how to mantain a balance between wife and mother etc. If a curriculum dealing with sexual awareness in muslims is developed and early marriages are promoted, then in my humble opinion (keeping reality checks in mind), these things should be part and parcel of such a curriculum.
    And ALLAH Knows Best. Asslam u alaikum wr wb

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  78. mpescatori

    Hello, and
    Greetings to you all.

    My name is Maurizio, “Moris Abu Lorens” I am writing from Italy.
    As you will correctly assume from my name and my country of origin, I am not Muslim and I am not Arabic.

    So, you will ask yourselves, why am I posting to this page ? I need your help.

    I am preparing a short dissertation on “Cultural Awareness”.
    Being European and Christian, my Tutor expected a dissertation in the style
    “we are different but we should still be tolerant with each other”.

    After some research, I came to my own conclusions and decided a different approach:
    “We are 95% alike, the 5% difference should be valued as our uniqueness; we should appreciate and love each other for the 95% that makes us so similar, and respect the 5% that makes us unique”.

    So, my dissertation is focused on the 95% that Christians and Muslims (and Jews) have in common with each other.

    I have been researchnig , but have found a number of small difficulties and would like to address them, if anybody is willing to shed a little light and help me with them.

    1) Puberty and Adolescence: in both Judaism and Christianity (or should I say in both Judaic and European traditions) once a boy or girl reach 13 years of age (+/- a few months) there is a cerimony, very ancient I believe, where they undergo a final religious preparation and welcomed into the “adult world”. For boys, it was when they were acknowledged to be old enough to work, train as soldiers and become apprentices of a skill, in order to become fully fledged adults and have their place in society; for girls, it was when they were acknowledged to be old enough to start training as housemaids, working in their own homes or in the home of others, learning “how to look after the house”, and the skills of domestic administration.
    Mind you, as I said, it is a tradition that dates back thousands of years and has been sent down scores of generations.
    => I would like to know if there is a similar tradition in the Muslim world, be it limited to Persian Shi’a, Mashriq, Maghreb, or to secular traditions in Algeria,Syria, Egypt, Pakistan…

    2) I have noticed that many “invocations” are trasncribed directly from Arabic; this makes it extremely difficult for anybody who is not fluent in Arabic as it is next to impossible to understand the invocation; BUT as the invocation is generally in thanks, or a blessing, or the arabic word for a principle which exists in all languages… why not use English?

    I do not want to create the impression that I am disrespectful, I simply want to say that sometimes I find myself doing some very fancy guessing exercises in order to understand what the person really wanted to say…

    My parting comment is a word of encouragement and of sympathy to Ashley.
    I married at the age of 30, my wife was 26, and guess what? No premarital sex.
    HUH ? What ? A European girl etc.etc.etc. ?
    Please allow me to provide a short explanation.
    There is so much more in common between a Mashriqi family, and an Italian, or Spanish, or Greek family, than there is between said “Mediterranean” families and … Scandinavians, or other Northern Europeans in general.

    You may find it surprising, but if you think about it… an Algerian father will find it easier to take his family to France than to Pakistan or Tanzania, and Tunisians, Egyptians and Lebanese find themselves much more at home in Italy than in Denmarks or Belgium.

    The reason is history; the Mediterranean is not just a sea dividing the shores, but a common means of communication and exchange of cultures; the Alps have separated peoples for time immemorial.

    Thank you for bearing with my long post. I apologize for a few typing errors.

    Maurizio – Rome, Italy

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  79. arez

    “internet are for porn”.
    god are not hamrfull, but u do. blame the human not god. u create war,internet,and porno. dont live with passion,but have faith in god. know him best.. before u discuss about god. even inside a sin there a profit reward.

    human are weak and Allah SWT is the only great.he the only one no other god exist beside him. Jesus kill by jews. and he just a human. Jesus still alive he in heaven,when solomon come he came down.to save Ummah from down.

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    • mpescatori

      Hello Arez, thank you for your interesting reply.

      I am sorry but I do not understand the meaning of your words.

      I don’t understand why you claim “internet is for porno”…
      I have read the 1001 Nights, there is much more sex and adultery there than in any other book I’ve read, and I have read quite a lot…

      Yes, there IS pornography on the internet, but surely you’ve found better sites to visit ?

      I don’t understand why you must pull Jesus and the Jews into this… or Solomon, who was a Jewish king…
      …I asked for help into a dissertation I am preparing on “multiculturality” or “Cultural Awareness”.

      If you read my query for help, I stated :
      We are 95% alike, the 5% difference should be valued as our uniqueness; we should appreciate and love each other for the 95% that makes us so similar, and respect the 5% that makes us unique“.

      I am sure that a Saudi going to Indonesia would have more than a few problems with food, language, customs etc., regardless they share the same religion.

      So… what should a Mashriqi or a Maghrebi expect when visiting Italy or Spain ? Or Sweden ?
      What should an Italian or Spanish expect when visiting Morocco, Egypt, or Lebanon, or Iran ?
      Did you know that, if living in Europe or some places in the Mashriq (Lebanon, for example, but also France, or the USA), “the good Muslim Father” will send his daughters to a school of Catholic nuns, in order to insure they get the best education while still staying separate from the boys? My own wife is witness to this.

      If you, or anybody else on this Forum, is willing to help me, I will be extremely grateful.

      If not … I will work alone.

      Peace be with you.

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  80. Hala

    My mum talked about these things to us not as a one off random lecture because then we would be like
    “erm huh? whats mum saying?” and i have older sisters, its easy to explain these things to your kids atleast between a mother and a daughter for example we would hear that “so and so got pregnant and her parents were called” and then we’d end up on a coversation about why abortion is haram and the islamic punishments for zina and youll just see that its not tempting to be pregnant and alone and to be beaten with a stick before youll be forgiven for your sin which is like not worth it, and then your parents would be shamed and youll never get a husband (sound tempting yet?), i come from a somali and arab background although i never pretended to fast (thats too much man), i did sometimes just disapear when everyone else was praying , because it felt embarasing infront of my dad, the writer mentioned that he knew a family who talked about their “period status” openly infront of their bros and dad, lol what a brave person i didnt do that but it wasnt the most taboo subject in the world and id mention it if i had to like once i was play fighting with my bro but i didnt want him 2 hit me back near my stomach because itd hurt alot because of my menses and id just tell him “dont do it im on ….” etc and hed just be like ok. its a fact of life get used to it get over it, because wallah when you dont tell your kids about it, theyll read it in the magazines find it to be the most fascinating thing in the world and might do it, i think its a good idea to tell kids about the islamic punishments of these things they are highly off putting like id never steal becaus eimagine getin your hand cut off whatever you stole wouldnt be worth it now would it?
    etc
    salaamz
    hala

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  81. Nuun

    Assalaam alaikum,
    I dont know if you are still accepting comments, but I stumbled upon this post when researching ways to talk to my son about the birds and the bees. His school has decided to introduce this subject (he is in year 4) and I would rather he heard it from his parents first. Alhamdulillah as his mum I’ve always had a close relationship with him and we have honest and frank conversations frequently. I have already mentioned puberty and the emotional and physical changes to him, but am holding off on more detailed discussions because I want to introduce this topic from an islamic point of view, using relevant quranic verses and ahadith. Do you know of any books i can use and even go through with him?
    Additionally, my two cents on your article: firstly, the painful reality is that we cannot shield our kids from what is out there. But what we can do is develop their internal ‘police’, so that they can shield themselves even when we are not around. By focusing on their spiritual development and their taqwa, and having an honest relationship with them, we can help them to discern between right and wrong, and have the confidence to reject the wrong despite the peer pressure.
    Secondly, I completely disagree that it is lack of knowledge that leads to sexual experimentation; kids in the West get plenty of knowledge in school and home, and then go out and put that knowledge into practice. There needs to be a balance, after all Islam is the middle way. Rather than keeping them in the dark, or exposing them to all the info, the information should be delivered in stages, depending on their ages and maturity level. They should be taught only what they need to know and not go into excess detail that makes them hungry to experience it all first-hand.
    Finally, haya is the cornerstone of our faith, and that includes haya between brothers and sisters, daughters and fathers and so on. It is nothing to boast about that certain people are able to discuss their menstrual cycle with their family members of the opposite sex. That is not the relationship i would like to have with my father or brother.

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