Sex & the Ummah: Innocence Lost

girlsgonemild.jpgWalk into the toy store, and you’ll find “baby” dolls dressed in clothing reminiscent of prostitutes’ outfits. Walk into the clothing store, and prepubescent girls are already being introduced to tank tops, mini skirts, and items of clothing that were once reserved for mature women.

But hey, this is nothing new. It’s been around for a while… and I think that many of us – including myself! – have become somewhat desensitized to this. There are times that we’ll remember how bad it is, but what usually happens is that we cluck over it for a bit and then get distracted by the many other problems we’re facing.

Now, however, I’d like to take the time to address this issue from a couple different angles – both a psychosocial and religious point of view.

In Wendy Shalit’s book “Girls Gone Mild,” she discusses the culture of hypersexualization: how it’s being promoted, through both media and consumerism, how it’s permeated society, and how it has so dangerously affected our lives and mentalities. This article (hat-tip to Nasim Choudhury) makes similar points – the psychosocial ramifications of hypersexualized culture are already evident and recognized even by non-Muslims.

Awareness of sexuality is occurring at a much earlier age today, and almost always with a confused or warped understanding of it. Girls and boys are both growing up insensitively exposed to sights and concepts about the human body that were once discovered at a much slower rate that accommodated their level of mental and emotional maturity.

It doesn’t exist only amongst non-Muslims. Even Muslims are infected with the disease of hypersexualization, and its effects are far-reaching. Girls who wear hijaab still obsess over their weight and their image and try to look older than they are… without the maturity or understanding of what ‘older’ really means.

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In addition to general psychological and social effects of hypersexualization, as Muslims there is another dimension that makes the issue even more important for us to be aware of.

The concept of hayaa’ – of modesty and shyness – is one that we Muslims should all be aware of, and prize highly, and do our best to cultivate within ourselves. There are many different kinds of hayaa’, but in this context we’ll deal specifically with modesty relating to our bodies.

In Islam, we have something which we call the ‘awra: the part of our bodies that we try to keep covered as much as possible. In general, although of course it differs with women in respect to the hijaab and so on, the ‘awra can be described as what is between the navel and the knees.

Sheikh Hisham al-Awadhi mentions in his series about Children Around the Messenger that sex education and awareness is supposed to begin at an early age for Muslim children – starting with the understanding that there are certain times and places that they cannot enter without permission. Hopefully this is something that Muslim parents are implementing with their children… but then there’s another kind of sex education that must be addressed. That is, teaching our children how to have respect and modesty regarding their own body, and others.’

It’s not enough to just give kids “the birds and the bees” talk and to make girls start wearing hijaab – indeed, I find that there are far too many girls out there who wear hijaab without even fully understanding the many wisdoms behind it, including that of respect, modesty, and self-esteem. Rather, we have to cultivate within them an understanding that whatever they see outside, whatever they hear from others about their bodies and self-image, there is something far more important to keep in mind: to have taqwa not just in matters of “dos” and “don’ts” but also about our attitude towards our bodies.

Respect your body and have self-confidence. Know that first of all, we don’t cover our bodies because we’re ashamed of it – rather, we’re proud of it and respect it. Allah created us in the best of ways, with body parts that both look good (well… mostly!) and perform neccessary functions. However, just ‘cuz we look good doesn’t mean that we should be showing it off to the whole world! (BTW, this goes for men also – please, no Speedos! Those don’t even look good.)

I think it’s of especial importance to get this message across to young girls: hijaabi or not, most girls have issues with their self-esteem and self-image, especially in this society where so much emphasis is placed on making oneself physically attractive. In addition to making them realize that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, we can’t forget that it’s human nature to want to be beautiful – in the same series, Hesham al-Awadhi reminds parents to make their daughters feel good by complimenting her on her beauty inside the house. Notice when she’s wearing a new outfit, tell her how the colour looks great with her eyes, how lovely she is, etc. In this way, by knowing that others – who are allowed to see her beauty(i.e. her mahaarim) – think she’s beautiful, there’ll be less of a need for her to desire others’ approval of her attractiveness.

Respect others’ bodies. Whether it’s a kaafir or a Muslim, a man or a woman, covered or naked… have respect and shyness for their bodies. Don’t look at what’s not permissable to look at; don’t behave in a manner that’s contrary to the entire concept of hayaa’. Lower your gaze and have good manners. Far too often have I seen hijaabi girls giggling over a model, actor, or even a brother at a community function; similarly, stories about men ogling hijaabis or drooling over non-Muslim women disgust me because that’s NOT how a Muslim is supposed to act at any time, towards anyone.

Just as girls need a bit of help with the first point, I think parents need to spend more time teaching boys about the second. Part of chivalry is to have respect for women and treat them decently no matter how they’re dressed – to truly lower the gaze and behave as the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) did towards women. It needs to start when they’re young, and reinforced as preteens and young teens, so that it will stick with them as adult men who have to deal with women in many different kinds of situations. An example of this are my brothers – although they’re only 12 and 13, they feel shy whenever they pass by a woman (or a picture of a woman) who is indecently dressed. They’ll make a point of averting their gaze, but still treat whoever it is with respect by speaking politely. Sadly, there aren’t many kids like that these days – may Allah them and keep them strong upon Islam, ameen!

Another problem that I know many parents struggle with is trying to teach their kids that the pictures of half-naked men and women on advertisements, billboards, TV, etc. are not acceptable Islamically. I believe that this issue is related to the point above: having respect for other people’s bodies. A somewhat uncomfortable question that younger kids might bring up (usually at most inopportune moments!) is something along the lines of, “Mama, why is that lady not wearing any clothes?” or “Baba, why is that man in his underwear?”

This is when, instead of cringing or hissing at them to be quiet or ignoring them, you explain to them about how there are many people who don’t protect their bodies the way we do. Insha’Allah, if you handle it the right way – open, matter-of-factly, but pressing the concept of hayaa’ – your children will grow up knowing that while the human body isn’t something to be ashamed of, it IS something to be cared for, protected, and respected.

Innocence is an endangered species. Instead of ignoring the repercussions of the situation, complaining about it, and not doing anything about it, we have to be proactive in dealing with it. Recognize how it affects our children, and take the necessary measures to address it in an Islamic and psychologically healthy manner.

May Allah protect us all from the fitnah, fasaad, and faahishah that is all around us, ameen!

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75 responses to “Sex & the Ummah: Innocence Lost”

  1. islam blog says:

    Jazakallah for a very well written post. It is sad that there is so much out there that we simply cannot control nor prevent children from seeing.

    It’s going to get to them sooner or later. Thinking in advance how you’re going to deal with these situations helps.

    Another idea is to gift a book that deals with the subject of sex in Islam. It can go a long way in putting things in perspective.

  2. N.Y says:

    Assalaamu Alaikum

    Many of the points the artile highlights is spot on. Where I live you can come across many young girls who were the hijaab (as in cover their hair), but the other aspects of hijaab in term of behaiver and covering are overlooked . From my understanding this is hugely down to the fact that they are not fully aware of the reasons and logic of hijaab -as the article highlights.

    However, the onus lies everyone to act as positive role models for our younger brothers and sisters, and to show that the modesty doesn’t inhibit the individual, and that in fact the modesty is a very charming characteristic.

  3. UmA says:

    Here’s a handy book that I just borrowed from the library the other day, it’s suitable for young teens.

    It’s called

    All Made Up: A Girl’s Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty

    http://www.audreybrashich.com/

  4. Dawud Israel says:

    Its a weird thing to be honest. Wherever you go you find out that Muslims are among the most promiscuous. In the past it was around the words, harem, concubine, azl–today it’s bellydancing, Bollywood, sex slavery, Lebanese pop singers…man the list goes on. If you go to big cities in North America–you’ll find Muslim males and females are among the highest ‘attendees’ in clubs among other places…(when a sister told their non-Muslim friend she was Muslim, the non-Musilm remark, “Oh Muslim peoples love to go to the club!”) And even in terms of dress–more and more Muslims dress for the clubbing lifestyle.

    And that’s all in terms of the not-so-practicing Muslims. And the practicing Muslims is super anxious to get married and this is all they ever talk about. Women in general have very low esteem (it’s why they dress nasty right?), but sisters, seem to have an even lower self esteem. A woman’s strength is her beauty and since Muslims are modest–she is not complimented on it, she sinks lower and lower emotionally. What I have noticed is a sister’s self-image is proportional to the number of proposals or suitors that have come her way. And this makes no sense to me because some sisters are like super beautiful (hey it’s the truth!) but when someone remarks on this, they think this person is lying!

    My concern is this: Muslims have focused SO MUCH on SEX and getting married, and got so frustrated over it that it has hindered their relationship with Allah SWT. In other words, Islam is like a means for this person to get sexual active and that’s just about it. Sounds weird but I think others will know what I’m talking about.

    My own personal thoughts is that when a person has Allah and His overwhelming love surrounding you ever–and they keep a good positive opinion of Allah SWT–that no matter what this person will be happy.

    OK sorry I got a little carried away there :P

  5. Peaches says:

    Yes! Yes all of those words are music to my ears!When I was a kid, as young as 8, my mother taught me about sex and would also learn about again, the biological aspects of it at age 9 with my school. Back then sex education wasn’t considered taboo. As a matter of factly, it was part of our school requirement.

    When I look about those crazy days of high school I just laugh at my picture and ask why did we do it? The A-symmetrical haircuts( the lopsided fades and high tops if you’re a guy), the key in my earring( pre Janet Jackson days) loud, the loud make up and those loud reflective clothes( would have been good for nighttime). My nephews and younger relatives laugh at my pictures, but hey, that was the 80’s we were stylin’ back then. Now I’m older ,I’m a far conservative dresser as I wear pants and some long stylish skirts.

    Why did we do it? just like you said, it was all about attention. For me, it wasn’t just about attention from the guys, but just attention in general. Everybody was going on the fashion bandwagon and I liked what they were wearing so I got on it. Far as some of the dangerous lifestyles, that is a whole different story. With my nephews, they love the baggy/saggy pants fashion and I hate it.
    It’s tacky( but then again my mom could have said the same about me) and from what I ‘ve learned, it originated from the prisoners when they wanted to have sex with other inmates. Would some of these boys be proud of that?

    I was thinking about a neighbor of mine. Her and her husband has been married to each other for 31 years. In her heydays, some men would have considered to be a hottie. In very recent times , she has developed breast cancer and has lost her hair to chemotherapy. Through their trying times, I have wondered what her husband thought about her now that she’s older, and have lost her hair?

    While I cannot look at people and tell the status of their marriage, I’ve never known the husband to be mean to her. He’s always a cordial gentleman and a real ( seemingly) family man and it is apparent that he’s accepting of his wife no matter what. It is through them that I’ve learn the idea of what real attraction should be.

    On the streets I see young women( and unbelievably once in a while an older woman) dress in provocative clothes. They want attention, but here is the thing about them wanting it: They may attract the wrong element. Not only may they attract some kind of psyho, but they may attract a man who will only just see her for only her looks and if they lose it, they may lose the guy in the process.

    There is nothing wrong with a woman( or man) being that way, but I just wouldn’t want to be with a man who only sees me as his personal showpiece. People are so much more than good looks. Good marriages are based on mutual desires for commitment, communication, respect and understanding the concept of being married. As it has been said ,beauty fades, but personalities lasts for an eternity. To pretend that everybody wouldn’t want to have the total package in their spouses would be a lie, but it I much would rather have the good man with the so-so looks than the irresponsible pretty boy with no prospects( or girl if you’re a guy). I’ve seen many instances where some of these people would get heartbroken over and over, but continue to keep these people just to say I got a “model” on my shoulder.

  6. mummyjaan says:

    Very well-written post, Anonymouse.

  7. Aboo Uthmaan says:

    Not sure if the image in the post is suitable for an Islamic blog?!

  8. AnonyMouse says:

    The image is of the cover of the book by Wendy Shalit that I mentioned, and which helped me write this article.

  9. khawla says:

    I honestly think Barbie dolls are fitnah to young girls!!!

    What is wrong with the parents that they are not teaching young children the Adhkar of morning and evening; the du’aa of dressing and undressing; and when looking in the mirror. There are many lessons to draw from.

  10. AbuAbdAllah says:

    bismillah. jazak Allah khayr for taking the time not just to bring up this problem but to offer effective solutions. may Allah increase the barakat of your efforts.

    there is no doubt in my heart that when Muslims make a real effort to live with hayaa, and to encourage it in others, then they have made a real contribution to their communities, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.

  11. Abs says:

    The other day, my youngest sibling played a tape of the Casper cartoon. There was a mermaid in the episode whom Casper had to stop and stare at.
    What does that teach us? As children, we are shown how normal it is for us fantasize about the opposite sex.
    Of course we’re that lustful, we’ve been like this even before hitting puberty!

  12. True Virtues says:

    Jazakallahu Khair for a tremendously beneficial article. I’m not a parent, but I really think that the main thing parents aren’t teaching their kids these days is the basics: Our relationship with Allah swt and how we fulfill that relationship by obeying Him.

  13. True Virtues says:

    And his Messenger.

    lol.

  14. Imtiaz says:

    SPLENDID ARTICLE, i was just thinking about these things not more than a few days ago when I saw one of these “oogling” incidents… jazzak Allah Khair,

  15. Islamify.com says:

    Sex & the Ummah: Innocence Lost…

    Just trying to be a Muslim in this sex-crazed world!…

  16. UmmZaynab says:

    as-salaamu `alaykum

    Jazaakumu l-laahu khayran for this thoughtful post.

    We don’t just need to teach kids “about sex” but we need to radically change the way we view sexuality. “Hypersexualization” is just the beginning of the problem. It’s not just that “sex” is everywhere, more importantly it’s that the sexuality of pop culture all around the world is one of selfishness and exploitation. This is not what sex/sexuality is or should be. Please see the thoughts I wrote on this issue a few years ago:

    http://islamicparenting.blogspot.com/2005/07/sexuality.html

  17. Alhumdulillah great advice.. if only we implement it now..

    http://www.musliminamerica.org

  18. Mr GQ says:

    If my daughter walks around showing her body off, I’m going to beat her – hard.

  19. Assalam Aalykum,

    excellent post/advice anonymouse.

  20. mcpagal says:

    Salaam,. good points mA! Esp regarding teaching males… I know a lot of parents focus a lot of energy ensuring their daughters stay right, but don’t even think of educating sons.

    Mr GQ… I’m sure she’ll learn a lot that way.

  21. khawla says:

    Assalamu’alaykum
    Parents need to educate their kids while they are still on their lap. That their bodies are only Amanah from Allah ta’ala. Our bodies are going to be witnesses for, or against us on the Day when there are no parents, brothers, sisters or peers to help. When they are teenager, it will be harder to mould. They will hate their parents more no matter how hard the beatings going to be and you will end up in jail.
    A scholar Sulayman Ibn Mahraan said: “If the people become corrupt, they will have the worst leaders”.
    I am beginning to understand that leaders can be the parents at home first. These young girls are going to be our future mothers and they are going to raise corrupt youngsters to be corrupt generation.
    My advice to parents: teach your boys and girls to dress modestly from a very young age, as young as toddlers to protect their Haya. If you wait until they attain puberty, their Haya would’ve already been lost to the so called harmless Disney movies or even gone to Bollywood.
    Sheikh Waleed Bassouni recently said: “Invest in your daughters, invest in your daughters, they are the future mothers of our Ummah”

  22. MEEE says:

    Well GQ … we hope to Allah that it never comes to it and she will be a believing muslimah who has taqwa.

  23. Meena says:

    “If my daughter walks around showing her body off, I’m going to beat her – hard.”

    reply:
    “Well GQ … we hope to Allah that it never comes to it and she will be a believing muslimah who has taqwa.”

    Are you guys for real? These two comments are a complete disrespect to women. Please delete them. Does anyone else find them as offensive as me?

  24. Pakistani says:

    Salam,
    Meena, no.
    If a child is not responding to critical verbal instructions then…this is the way, you cant let ur child harm themselves, or can you?….

    >>Girls who wear hijaab still obsess over their weight and their image and try to look older than they are

    Well being overweight is not just a fahion issue but also a health problem, and should be fussed over and taken care of.

  25. UmmZaynab says:

    I found it offensive and short-sighted, yes. I find Mr. GQ’s blog to be offensive too.

    First and foremost, if you have a daughter who not only does not care to practice the hayaa’ of our deen but is so opposed to it that “hitting” her “hard”, was the only way you felt you could “force” her to do it, then YOU have not done your job as a parent from day one, plain and simple. The number one way to ensure that your daughter will run away from you and disparage our deen, the deen that you claim to profess, is to neglect raising her with reason and sensitivity and then, seeing her not doing what you want, to raise her in an environment of fear and brutality. That makes children run AWAY, not towards you.

    While it may have been “okay” to hit or beat your child in the past, that was in the days when children could not so easily run away from, move away from and completely detach from their parents. Parents were *everything* for the children, including their livelihoods. Sons would take the jobs of their fathers, daughters needed their mothers to teach them how to live and their fathers to get them married. Even if a parent was abusive, a child could not so easily detach from them, let alone if a child was raised by sincere and good parents who of course can always make mistakes. Yet in today’s world, anyone is a plane ride away from living a completely different life from that of their parents and the forces in the world that detach a child from his/her parents are stronger than the forces that hold them to their parents.

    Read “Hold On To Your Kids” by Gordon Neufield and see what I’m talking about. He believes that chidlren are becoming “peer-attached” and “peer-oriented” rather than attached to their families. They value the views of the outside world more than the views of their families precisely because the way the culture is these days, it doesn’t reinforce respect and attachment for the parents. In the old days, it did… you disobey your parents and the whole world was against you–not so anymore. (Note that even in times when respecting parents was part of the culture, our Beloved Messenger Salla l-laahu `alayhi wa sallam, did NOT hit his kids or family members or servants or any inanimate object or anything else except in a war situation.) Neufield’s belief is that we should not discipline our children with methods that sever the attachment between parent and child because the rest of the world already wants to do that. If you “hit” or “beat” or use whatever other kind of forceful, attachment-cutting discipline on your children you are essentially throwing them to the lions who are more than happy to take them.

    So if you were to present the deen as such an off-putting thing that you DID have a daughter who went around showing off her body, hitting her hard would only send her deeper into that culture and farther away from you and your values.

  26. Mr GQ says:

    Oh Lord…

    What if offensive about my blog? Is being blunt and saying it like it is, offensive?

    What is so disprectful about beating your child?

    In fact, I find it offensive and disrespectful that you find it disrepsectful/offensive to beat your child or anyone who disobeys YOUR CREATOR, Allah Subhanawata’la.

    If your daughter goes out in a bikini, what are you going to do? ‘Here kiddo, heres a gift card to Victoria’s Secret to make your man happy. Hopefully he will marry you.’

    Yeah right. I would smack her.

    I can’t imagine ‘Omar ibn alKhattab giving girls hugs and flowers for this behavior.

    But we are in the year 2008 and the era of Oprah. Can’t beat that.

  27. AnonyMouse says:

    Please see UmmZaynab’s second paragraph… the point she’s trying to make is that if you’re a good parent in the first place, your child would be someone who wouldn’t even dream of going out in a bikini. Which kinda makes it a moot point.

  28. Mr GQ says:

    Please show me where I have said anything about being a good parent. Of course it is assumed that the child is given ‘good’ parenting.

    I guess using the logic above, Allah Subhanawata’la shouldn’t have told the men to hit the wife (yes I mean lightly tap) if need be. I mean, it shouldn’t have to come to that. Was it a mistake made by Allah and RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam?

  29. AnonyMouse says:

    *Sighs*
    You said you’d beat your kid if she walked around showing off her body. Others pointed out that good parenting would be prevention. None of us said that we’d accept our own children doing such a thing, or treat it lightly.
    I think your initial statement just struck a lot of people the wrong way… and I think you should refrain from insinuating that we treat the Laws of Allah flippantly or that we think Allah and His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) “made a mistake.”

  30. Mr GQ says:

    Then I guess I can’t help it when people like things to be sugar coated. People want to be politically correct.

    Why should I refrain from using their very own logic in everything? Why pick and choose?

  31. UmmZaynab says:

    You know, I don’t normally do this commenting thing, but the fact that there was at least one supportive follow-up comment to your nonsense makes me believe that somebody needs to set you people straight. Clearly you either did not read or understand what I wrote. It’s not “sugar coating” it’s reality, and it’s the more difficult reality, not the “give ’em a smack and they’ll fall in line” mentality that supposes that demanding instand obedience, acquired by force if necessary, is the quick and easy way to deal with complex problems. Smacking is lazy parenting.

    If you had a teenaged or adult daughter who, hypothetically, wore a bikini, what exactly would be the beneficial effect of beating her up? Especially considering the fact that any person who goes to such extremes as bikini-wearing is more than likely so uneducated and/or turned off from the deen in all respects that wearing a bikini is only the least of her problems because there is imaan missing from the heart that needs to be nurtured before any action can take place. And especially considering if they are so far gone already that talking to the person and attempting to convince them of the correct path first has not worked. You think force is going to work? Ha!

    If she’s a teenager, she’ll either rebel outright, run away and/or call child protective services and find plenty of willing shelters or she’ll become sullen and resentful, sneak around even, and bide her time and then outright rebel as an adult. As an adult she can do whatever she wants away from you by herself because in almost every country in the world now (yes including allegedly “Muslim” countries) a woman can leave her family and go off and live on her own and have nothing to do with her family whatsoever. In both cases the outcome will be the same: a reaction against whatever it is you’re trying to force her to do, rebellion against you and the deen itself, and a lost child.

    Your aim should be bring a wayward person BACK to the deen, not drive them further away from it. Your aim should be to raise a person who is a believer, not just an obeyer. Your aim should not be to punish but to re-educate. You cannot teach or influence one with whom you have no attachment or connection. Especially with girls, if she hates you, she will tune out everything you say. Leave the ultimate punishment, if appropriate, to the One who will punish on the Day of Judgment. This is not “oprah” as you attempt to disparage me, this is honest to God reality and the teaching method of the Prophet Salla l-laahu `alayhi wa sallam.

    Spearking of sugar-coating, you must live in a dreamworld if you think that beating up a kid in this day and age will result in a kid who hangs their head in shame, says “Yes Father, I have strayed, help me correct myself, I’m at your mercy”. It’s a fantasy world where you imagine yourself to be the righteous one so intent on defending the Shari`ah that you’re willing to do it with violence, and then you’re the hero. It’s a fantasy world where you think you have the ultimate power over your child when in fact it is He who Created you and them who has the ultimate power. It is kibr and delusion.

    Of course, it is my observation that people with your kind of attitude also don’t know how to parent intelligently in these times and are at a higher risk for having rebellious children in the first place. I’ve seen it with my own eyes, how children are pushed away from the deen by harshness, then move out and leave both the family and Islam altogether. “It’s the rules, you have to do it my way or else I’ll beat you up and/or disown you” kind of parenting does nothing to prepare children to be dynamic believers whose faith (and that of their descendants) can withstand any test thrown before them in the real world. When you’re dead and gone and not there to “smack” people anymore, how strong will the faith of one who was raised with “I do it because I’m afraid my dad will beat me up if I don’t”?

    Wake up!

  32. Mr GQ says:

    You sound like Rush Limbaugh when you say, ‘You people.’ It shows your condescending attitude. But that is beside the point. Good luck with attempting to set people like me straight. I actually have a field day with people that possess your attitude.

    First of all, as you may have missed (or ignored) above, I mentioned that it is assumed the child has received ‘good’ parenting. Of course it would be foolish to beat the hell out of someone without telling them the difference between what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’

    Now, if I had a teenaged or adult daughter that dressed scantily, beating her would drive home the point that her kind of behavior will not be tolerated. What do you expect people to do if their daughter dresses like a prostitute? Give her a cookie and say don’t do it next time? You must be out of your mind to say that.
    You tried to drive home the point ever since she was young and she still went ahead and dressed like Anna Nicole Smith. Time for a whipping.

    You must be really naive or don’t care to use your mind to think that force won’t work. I know of many cases/examples where force has worked. Yes, force was used as a last resort after all else failed.
    Look at the teens of today (including the kuffar). Even the adult kuffar I have discussed this with say the same thing – ‘When I was a kid, I would get my butt kicked not only at school, but when I came home and I’m glad it happened. Otherwise I wouldn’t be who I am today. Look at the youth of today – out of control and disrespectful. They get away with everything.’

    But oh no, I will call the police on you if you hit my child. What nonsense. Seems like the women of today need some parenting as well. Sickening.

    I am so glad my parents kept me in place/check physically. They never beat the crap out of me, but I knew if I did something wrong, it was coming to me. Had I not gotten that treatment, I’d probably have 10-15 kids from each race out of wedlock. But oh my god, how dare we use force in this society. That’s inhumane. Probably more inhumane than a Chinese dipping a live chicken in boiling oil, right?

    I have also seen kids who never got beaten. Those very same kids went ahead and got drunk and attempted to make babies. But its okay because beating them would have driven them away from Islam. LOL!

    You really need to snap out of it. Quit reading those magazines or watching those stupid shows that teach ’10 ways to raise great kids’ crap. Don’t try to be politically correct. Beat kids if they need it.

    No wonder we have young skanks. Parents aren’t even parents anymore.

  33. mcpagal says:

    Speaking as a hijab-wearing islam-loving Muslimah whose parents never beat her (me?), your attitude to parenting is probably more of a way of challenging your kids to step out of line than anything else. If a parent does their job properly and instills love as well as fear of Allah in their kids, and leads by example to teach them prayer, fasting, modesty and everything else – then yeah, that works. Although beating kids up for doing something wrong can work too, you’re just teaching them to follow Islam out of fear of their parent rather than out of love of the deen. You might succeed by your standards, but you’re also to blame if, later down the line and out of your control, your kids proceed to go wild.

    Also, interesting that you only mentioned beating up your daughter for hypothetically wearing a bikini. If your (hypothetical) son was to ogle pictures of women in bikinis (as a for example) would you beat him too, for disrespecting women, or is that not worth considering? strange

  34. Muslimah1 says:

    Assalam alaikum mashaAllah very good post mashaAllah. Some of the comments are quite annoying unfortunatly, mister Dawud israel are yu jew or what???i am confused to exactly what you are trying to say doesnt make any sense and NO WAY do muslim women have low self-esteem and need to be complimented to feel go about themselves blablabla what u’r on about??!!!You lost the plot mate, Muslim women are the most beautiful in and out,confident,srong self aware women that exist on the face of the hearth, and the fact that we cover from head to toe actually denotes that, it shows completly that when we go out we DONT need no compliment from tom,john and harry since we dont give a monkey what people think of us sine the only thing that’s important for us is pleasing ALLAH subhna wa ta’Allah so go away with ur silly psychotherapy ,50p philosophy. Now to the sisters attacking the brother who said he would smack his daughter if she goes out in a bikini, yes brother you are right and i would smack mine too if she did that!!!i seriously hope that she will never and that Allah will always protect her and guide her but to all the sisters who thinks that “love” and kindness and all of that will suffice only Allah guides whom he will our job is to give affection and love to our children yes and to apply Islam at home and outside BUT do not think you are above any calamity befalling you and belittle the brother for saying that he would smack his daughter. we are not westerners (well i am not) and we do not follow the philosophys of the kuffars, which by the way changes every other week,hitting is allowed in Islam and even a HUSBAND is allowed to hit,or smack his wife too, and dont bring me that all miswak thing blablabla he can tap his wife or wives if he judge that anyother form or reprimand hasnt worked. I have heard so many stories and seen so many muslim girls and boys who comes from good practising families who have gone astrays.Their parents told them done everything Islamic sent them muslims schools,only had muslims friends sent the children to good practising environment but yet the children go astray……Do not become arrogant with others and think your parenting skills are so good that you dont need to smack your chlidren, all children are different and the only thing that bring them back to the straight path is unfortunatly that, we are ALL different….And now if you think that you can seat down and reson with a girl who wants to go out dressed immodestly you have another thing comming you are seriously desillusioning yourselves….do you think this fifthy environment we live in doesnt not affect the children????time to wake up and come out of lala land really the bisounours years are over!!!!

  35. Mr GQ says:

    Finally! Someone spoke with sense. Masha’Allah.

    Good job Muslimah1. Said it like it is.

  36. mcpagal says:

    Good job Muslimah1. Said it like it is.

    Yes; with little sense, punctuation or proper grammar.

  37. Mr GQ says:

    Of course.

    Usually when people have nothing to say about the content, they tend to pick apart other things.

    Carry on…

  38. mcpagal says:

    Mr GQ myself and others already commented on your comments, there’s no point in going round in circles now is there? To summarise: if your daughter ends up walking about the streets in a bikini [who does that, seriously? Do we really have to jump to extremes?], then either something was wrong with your parenting, and beating her more will just drive her away from Islam more; or you’ve brought her up right and will be able to reason with her. Maybe if you teach your kids ‘do X, Y, Z for these reasons, but mostly to please Allah’ rather than ‘do X, Y, Z or I’ll beat you and you’ll burn in jahannam’ in the first place?

    Anyway, I thought I’d add something new to the conversation.

    Grammar and punctuation aren’t just for show, they’re a courtesy to the reader. Solid blocks of text are hard to read – even if there is a point in there somewhere, it’s pretty much lost due to volume. And using caps lock generally comes across as rude.

    Muslimah1: NO WAY do muslim women have low self-esteem and need to be complimented to feel go about themselves blablabla what u’r on about??!!!You lost the plot mate, Muslim women are the most beautiful in and out,confident,srong self aware women that exist on the face of the hearth, and the fact that we cover from head to toe actually denotes that, it shows completly that when we go out we DONT need no compliment from tom,john and harry since we dont give a monkey what people think of us sine the only thing that’s important for us is pleasing ALLAH subhna wa ta’Allah so go away with ur silly psychotherapy ,50p philosophy.

    Sister, it’s interesting that you elected yourself as spokeswoman for the entire female Muslim population. Frankly, it sometimes seems that Muslimahs need to chant platitudes like ‘hijab is the most beautiful dress of all!’, ‘we cover because we’re precious, like pearls and diamonds!’ to convince themselves more than anything else.

    And if you go to an all-girls party where the muhajabahs de-hijab, you’ll see that, like any cross section of women, there’ll be women there who are confident and others who lack self esteem. Saying that Muslimahs are the most gorgeous on the face of the fireplace is ignoring the issues – why do some Muslim girls feel the need to wear hijab with tight fitting clothes? Why do some jilbabis agonise over the fit of their gowns? Why do some Muslims lack hayaa?

  39. SaqibSaab says:

    Good post, mashaAllah.

    On a side note, the Prophet (SAW) was reported to have never hit children. We gots to follow that Sunnah, straight up :) .

  40. Siraaj says:

    Besides being kids, does anyone here actually have kids?

    Siraaj

  41. Mr GQ says:

    It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

    “Teach your children to pray when they are seven years old, and smack them if they do not do so when they are ten, and separate them in their beds.”

    Narrated by Abu Dawood, 495; classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 5868

  42. Mr GQ says:

    Now I hope some people don’t come and accuse RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam of being a bad parent.

  43. ibnabeeomar says:

    i wouldnt accuse him of being a bad parent, but i would

    a) question your use of the word “smack” as the translation

    and

    b) ask you if the prophet (saw) ever actually did “smack” any kids?

    moreover, that hadith indicates permission to “smack” for not praying, what about if the wrong done by the child is less than not praying?

  44. Mr GQ says:

    1. Its not about the word ‘smack.’ Point is, it is referring to something involving physical contact intended to punish.

    2. You’re missing the point. All throughout the comments, almost everyone has been against any sort of physical punishment.

  45. ibnabeeomar says:

    mr gq – how do you know it means physical contact intended to punish?? Is this an understanding that you got from the scholars’ explanation of this hadith in light of other texts that could apply to this situation?

    also would you agree with this statement: Although the Sunnah has given an allowance for it, the default situation which is the example of the sunnah is that of not hitting the child?

    also, you didn’t respond to my question about to what extent the permissibility of hitting applies to wrongdoing less than not praying?

  46. ibnabeeomar says:

    i will add that my understanding of the permissibility to hit is hitting that is NOT intended to hurt, it is more of a slap on the wrist – ie something that does not cause any physical harm but is rather a last resort type of thing to kind of get attention – but Allahu Alam i might be incorrect.

    just keep this in mind – the position you are advocating, while i agree you’re trying to ‘prevent one extreme’ you are making it sound like you are treading dangerously close to the extreme of abuse.

  47. justme says:

    This just shows how brain washed our people are by the West. Do you have to analyze every single argument with the microscope of West? All that is ‘right’ according to west is good and anything that does not satisfy west is despicable? Has West achieved the supreme state where everything that comes out of it is sublime and ought to be obeyed without questioning?

    West… the so called most civilized of today have not even learned the simple hygienic concepts like how to urinate and ettiquettes of washroom. They take shower with their own urine while urinating standing. What more do you need?

    Physical punishment is a valid course of action under certain circumstances. God himself has ordered physical punishments for certain sins in the holy Quran.

    Now, after ‘good’ parenting if your daughter still goes out half-naked and you do not beat her…. few years down the road she fornicates…. now please dont tell me the punishment for the fornication ordered by God in the holy Quran is inhumane….

  48. Mr GQ says:

    Okay, let me rephrase – it is intended to discipline.

    As for your statement, “also, you didn’t respond to my question about to what extent the permissibility of hitting applies to wrongdoing less than not praying?”

    Allahu Alim – ask a scholar.

    I find it interesting how people are against hitting a child. It is becoming a taboo. No wonder we have little brats.

    So how soon till we see Muslim versions of Hugh Hefner, Paris Hilton and Anna Nicole Smith?

  49. AnonyMouse says:

    I think there’s a difference between a smack, and a beating. God knows my brothers and I have recieved our fair share of discipline! (And still do.)
    I’m not against smacking (as in, a light slap that’s enough to drive the point home); but I AM against heavy physical contact (punching, whipping, beating hard, etc).

    MrGQ, in the beginning you said that you would beat your daughter HARD. That’s what most people are upset about. Now you’re trying to conflate normal discipline (i.e. a slap) with a severe beating?

  50. They take shower with their own urine while urinating standing.

    If I’m not mistaken, I recall there being some narration(s) that mentions that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, once (or at least once) urinated while standing.

    While urinating while sitting may be an encouraged sunnah, I don’t think there’s anything in our texts that forbids (i.e., makes it haram) to urinate while standing.

  51. Mr GQ says:

    I’d be lying if I said I would NOT hit my daughter HARD if she were to leave the house in a tank top and a mini skirt.

    For those who would give a ‘slap on the wrist’ for the same behavior – I’m at a loss of words.

  52. ibnabeeomar says:

    Mr GQ – if your daughter leaves the house in a tank top and a miniskirt it means you did something wrong in your parenting bringing her up. its an issue that goes far deeper than any beating would be able to fix. further, since you admitted you dont know the permissibility of hitting her for something less than not praying, you should first consult a scholar about this before proclaiming giving her a beat down.

    lastly – another point that seems to go ignored is that the Prophet (saw) did NOT hit any kids despite giving the allowance to “hit” them if they did not pray. i think those kids came out just fine.

    honestly, it sounds like you do not have kids of your own. parenting does not start and stop at beating your child.

  53. Mr GQ says:

    Before you put words in my mouth, please show me where I admitted not knowing the permissibility of hitting her for something less than not praying. You should first know what you’re responding to before you respond.

    Your following statement, “if your daughter leaves the house in a tank top and a miniskirt it means you did something wrong in your parenting bringing her up. its an issue that goes far deeper than any beating would be able to fix.” does not make sense.

    Seriously, don’t people think for themselves??

    Just because a girl goes out in a tank top and a mini skirt means that by default, she did not get the proper parenting? I personally know people who went astray while their siblings (older and younger) were upon the Sunnah.

    But of course, it must be a miracle because by default the parenting must’ve sucked.

  54. How to raise righteous children

    http://islamqa.com/index.php?ref=10016&ln=eng

    Hitting children for purposes of discipline and threatening to punish one’s wife
    http://islamqa.com/index.php?ref=3347&ln=eng

    Is it haraam to urinate standing up?

    Please remember it is not permissible to strike the face of a child or any other person
    http://islamqa.com/index.php?ref=20652&ln=eng

    Nasir, I think everyone knows of Islamqa’s fatwa service. So, just provide the appropriate link next time inshallah. And in general we are not enamored with cut and paste fatwas because sometimes situations can differ from place to place -MM

  55. With the exceptions of ibnabeeomar and Aboo Uthmaan (as I know both personally), I wonder just how many of those commenting have children of their own.

  56. AnonyMouse says:

    GQ:
    please show me where I admitted not knowing the permissibility of hitting her for something less than not praying.
    See your comment @ 12:59

    Just because a girl goes out in a tank top and a mini skirt means that by default, she did not get the proper parenting?
    It means that she has serious issues which will not be resolved by a beating.
    My father is one of the counsellors of the Muslim Youth Helpline and he deals with this kind of thing ALL the time – religious families with kids who go astray and do crazy things. Never has beating a child ever helped the situation; rather, it causes it to deteriorate and sadly my dad is the one whom they end up calling after the kid has been taken by social services and placed in a foster home.

  57. anon says:

    “religious families with kids who go astray and do crazy things. Never has beating a child ever helped the situation; rather, it causes it to deteriorate”

    Soooo true.
    My grandfather used to beat my mother for “religious” types of offenses and what not. and now that she is an adult she has stated that they never worked. They only made her more angry and more defiant of his authority. Her main goal was to not cry while he was doing it. Once she started living on her own as an adult he actually apologized to her for the beatings and stated that he should not have done that and if he had known better he would have sought out a different venue for punishment/education. Hind site is 20/20 i guess.

    And GQ I’ve briefly browsed the comments on this thread. It doesn’t seem like anyone here is against smacking or something like that. But you’re the one who mentioned BEATING and doing it HARD. For some reason, now you’re having a big issue with that and acting like people here are completely against corporal punishment. What people here seem to be against are hard beatings which are completely different from what you seem to be suggesting. I’ve yet to understand what kind of parent in this day and age would actually even have the ability to beat their child hard. I most certainly would not have the stomach for it.

    And GQ the reason why you “are at a loss for words” is because you have no children and really have no idea what the heck you’re actually talking about.

  58. Mr GQ says:

    Anonymous – I looked at the comment @ 12:59. Either I am blind or people dont know what the meaning of ‘Allahu Alim’ is.

    You said: “It means that she has serious issues which will not be resolved by a beating.
    My father is one of the counsellors of the Muslim Youth Helpline and he deals with this kind of thing ALL the time – religious families with kids who go astray and do crazy things. Never has beating a child ever helped the situation; rather, it causes it to deteriorate and sadly my dad is the one whom they end up calling after the kid has been taken by social services and placed in a foster home.”

    How many people has he seen? I ask because I am not a counsellor, yet have seen quite of few people who got the beating of their lives which set them straight. Masha’Allah they are doing quite well now.

    Anon

    You said:

    “And GQ I’ve briefly browsed the comments on this thread. It doesn’t seem like anyone here is against smacking or something like that. But you’re the one who mentioned BEATING and doing it HARD. For some reason, now you’re having a big issue with that and acting like people here are completely against corporal punishment. What people here seem to be against are hard beatings which are completely different from what you seem to be suggesting. I’ve yet to understand what kind of parent in this day and age would actually even have the ability to beat their child hard. I most certainly would not have the stomach for it.

    And GQ the reason why you “are at a loss for words” is because you have no children and really have no idea what the heck you’re actually talking about.”

    Yes I do not have kids – at least not that I know of. However, my father does. All I can say is I am so glad I got a good old-fashioned butt whooping while I was growing. Guess what? It has brought me closer to the deen.

    You know what else? I know of parents where they have given their kids good Islamic education and taught them right from wrong and well they are pretty much walking male whores now. And before anyone here accuses me of slandering, know that they proudly admit what they do.

    But I must be on crack to think that beating solves anything. Silly me.

    I’m having fun with this now.

  59. AnonyMouse says:

    Either I am blind or people dont know what the meaning of ‘Allahu Alim’ is
    Giving an open-ended answer like that implies that you don’t/ didn’t know. Are we to blame for you not saying straight up, “Yah, I know/ believe in the permissibality of beating in the case of other than a child not praying?”

    How many people has he seen?
    10 years worth of counselling and working with the Muslim community throughout North America is a lot of people. And never has a beating worked in fixing people up. You don’t suddenly change your mind about your behaviour because you got whooped (incidentally, I felt the sting of my mother’s slipper today); you change your mind and your behaviour because you sincerely believe in your heart the error of your ways.

  60. khawla says:

    Sister AnonyMouse, I think this talk of beating women and children should be in a separate topic under “torture”. Your topic has been hijacked by “CIAs” who think torturing others would serve the purpose of securing the “homeland”.

  61. Mr GQ says:

    Anonymous:

    Then it isn’t my fault people love to make assumptions. I never admitted that I am unable to answer it. So for anyone to believe I am saying ‘I dont know’ has been pretty much owned by comprehension.

    Then maybe your father hasn’t seen all types of cases. I certainly will take physical concrete evidence over some one else’s words. I have seen beatings work – many times.

    Beatings can very well make you realize that you were in the wrong.

  62. BintAbdillah says:

    MrGQ.. I think a lot of people are confused about your comment about beating HARD, we see so many cause of your children abused with all sorts of objects (wires, hangers etc) I don’t agree with that.

    There’s a huge difference between my younger siblings and I, my mother does not lay a hand on them as she did with the rest of us. I think there comes a time a parent just gets tired of smacking them so that they behave.

    My father wasn’t really a fan of beating maybe its cause he had all girls Allahu Alim but he was more of talk it out.

    Beatings sometimes don’t serve a purpose I think it depends on the child, some kids will just sit there and take it give them an hour to recover and there they go again back to what they were doing.

    You have to sympthizes with mothers, i dont think you can truly understand how hard it is to raise a child, espically when you get those super-active ones that do the opposite of everything you tell them.

    I think fathers need to play a bigger role within their household and they need to communicate what goes on in the household but most importantly communicate with their children.

    You usally the girls walkign arounf in tank tops and mini skirts, dont communicate with their parents, they see the signs of where they child is headed and choose to ignore it, until she wakes out the door with tank top and mini skirt. They think a beating will solve the problem..it won’t

    Not every single child is the same especially when you have more then one kid; you see that what worked for one child will not necessarily work for the other.

    Honestly I don’t think its respect that you have for your parents when they beat you but fear and who wants to *fear* their parents.

  63. AnonyMouse says:

    Then it isn’t my fault people love to make assumptions.
    It’s not about people loving to make assumptions. It’s about communication skills and you failing to make yourself clear.

    Beatings can very well make you realize that you were in the wrong.
    I strongly disagree.

    But enough of this… clearly no one is going to be changing their minds here and this discussion is pointless.
    SubhanakAllahumma wa biHamdikh, ashHadu alLaa ilaaha illa Anta, astaghfiruka wa atoobu ilayk.

  64. Amad says:

    This article covers it all:

    Beautiful advice on parenting.

    I think we are going in circles with GQ. If this isn’t enough for you bro, then lets agree to disagree.

  65. khawla says:

    “Beatings can very well make you realize that you were in the wrong.”

    Mr GQ, may be you need a beating for yourself so you realize that you were in the wrong?

  66. Mr GQ says:

    Yes, I think we’re going in circles.

    I believe that both are good – talking it out and beating. Others believe beating is not only bad, but wrong.

    So I guess lets end it here, Insha’Allah.

    Oh and Khawla, I think I do need a beating. It is a good training for me.

  67. Salaam alaykum Mr. GQ,

    I guess what this all comes down to is this – is there evidence that the way to correct children is through a severe beating? Or, stated a different way, is there evidence that severe beatings of openly sinful children is allowed?

    I say this because each party has provided anecdotal evidence for their opinions, both you and others. It may be that beating has worked well for you and others, but that is not a proof in and of itself. I know of women who convert to Islam because they date Muslim men, and while some do so for the man, others eventually do believe in Islam. The same happens with nonMuslim men dating Muslim women at times. We can’t now advocate dating as a technique for daw’ah because it demonstrates a success rate.

    This is a common mistake that others make – they see something bad, it does some good, so they then support this as good, and believe the best thing is to continue forward with it – it worked for me, it worked for some, it can possibly work for you too.

    So, my point in all this – if something which is haraam produces some good, this doesn’t mean we can start using it as a primary means to now bring about good – so, my question to you, is there evidence from the Qur’aan and / or Sunnah which stipulates that the severe beating of an openly sinning child is allowed? If there is, then political correctness be damned, we should accept it as a viable technique, but if not, then we ought to re-consider this technique in light of the Sunnah, and not anecdotal evidence alone, insha’Allah.

    Wallaahu A’lam. May all our children be strong, practicing Muslim leaders that continue to raise the flag of Islam ’round the world.

    Siraaj

  68. Mr GQ says:

    Walaikumassalaam Warahmtuallah Siraaj,

    I guess my response to this will only result in going around circles once again.

    However, to keep it direct and short, I just want to say that if there is clear evidence stating that a person should not be beaten hard (or harshly), I will admit I am wrong and take whatever is correct.

    By the way, when I say ‘beaten hard,’ I do not mean beating with a baseball bat.

    So once again, If there is daleel to show I am wrong, I’m all for it. Please show me as I may very well be in the wrong.

  69. Ihatecheaters says:

    Speaking of smacking, I feel like smacking all married men and women who appear Islamic from their talk but flirt with each other on the internet. I especially feel like smacking unmarried women who flirt with married men and vice versa.

    • x says:

      here here! ..and its not just those who “appear islamic from their talk” they even dress in the full garb, covering faces, long robes men and women, they know each other from islamic establishments or organisations…and where does all the islam go? married,unmarried, young or old, shy or quiet, well known as respected or the quiet shy ones…all at it these days…peoples outward appearnces and images do not indicate the level of morals they have and it is a sigh of the end…
      “in the last times men will come forth who fraudulentlyuse religion for worldly ends and wear sheepskinsin public to display their meekness. Their tongues wil be sweeter than sugar but their hearts will be the hearts of wolves”
      Allah is watching, so if someone has cheated on you…He will deal with it dont worry

  70. Ed Abd Al-Ghafur says:

    For those struggling with a pornography addiction, there is a support group (Muslim Accountability Circle) thats just been started at http://www.no-porn.com. Click on the forum boards, and then click on accountability circle. It’s completely anonymous. This might very well be the first of its kind for Muslims on the internet.

  71. Mr GQ says:

    Ihatecheaters –

    Sounds like you speaking from (a bitter) experience.

  72. Ihatecheaters says:

    Well…I’m not married. So no I’m not talking from full experience but my views do have a basis. The thought of my future husband potentially engaging in such things scares me, no it kills me! I HATE it when men and women flirt, needlessly joke and just talk for the heck of it! If people do such things outside of marriage, which people do, then there wouldn’t be a lot of loveliness left in a marital relationship. I think such things contribute to marital destruction. i don’t know what I would do if ALLAH FORBID i get stuck in such a relationship. May Allah protect.

    It feels good to say such things in public. If Alllah wills, someone will read my comments and take heed.

  73. […] Innocence Lost Quite a good read for Muslims of modern times; I found this on another site: Sex & the Ummah: Innocence Lost | MuslimMatters.org If you’re not bothered reading, then I’ve picked out three paragraphs that interested me and made […]

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