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Why Sex-Ed Should Be Given at Home and not in Public Schools

Recently AltMuslimah published an article on “how to best teach American Muslim youth about sexuality”, written by Nadiah Mohajir, director of programs for the HEART Women & Girls Project. The article was in response to Part V of my Parenting series that dealt with sexual education at public schools.

Those who are familiar with my works are quite aware that I have a deep belief in communication between parents and children. I have always emphasized that parents need to empower themselves with the tools necessary to teach their children about all sorts of topics, but especially one that is so sensitive and a cause of so many adulthood problems— sex.

So, let me begin this article by explicitly stating two important points:

  1. Muslims can no longer keep their heads in the sand regarding sex. I have been consistent about this position in my articles, from discussion of sexual molestation of Muslim children, to my series on parenting. Part of not keeping heads in the sand is for Muslim parents to also understand the nature of sexual education at school.
  2. I strongly oppose exposing our children to “secular”, “religion-neutral”, “exploratory” sexual education at schools, but at the same time vehemently insist that such education be done at home by parents, or other “religion-enhanced” format.  You have to REPLACE, not simply discard the education.
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This article will of course speak to point two, as Nadiah unfortunately not only flatly disregarded all the facts presented in my previous article, but also made quite a few below-the-belt jabs, like claiming that “[a]dditionally, as illustrated so effectively by Umm Reem, many Muslims fear that open discussion on sexuality inevitable leads to promiscuity”.

Nadiah should have known (with proper research) that the last thing that I am interested in is closing discussions on sexuality. For Nadiah to conclude that my objection to sex education at school implies that the discussion should be totally closed, is not only disingenuous but also unacceptable coming from a community leader in Muslim affairs. We have to hold our community leaders to a higher standard, one that respects differences of opinions without subjecting others to unsubstantiated personal attacks.

Let’s review Nadiah’s main contentions:

I [Umm Reem] contend that sex education curricula in the US are based on three organizations

What I said in fact was that, “it is primarily based on PPF, AYF and SEICUS”. And this can be confirmed with some basic research.  This is an important distinction because it leaves room open for some schools to NOT follow the curricula of these three organizations, and thus possible explaining Nadiah’s own experiences.

It is equally important that we agree that these organizations SIECUS, PPF and AYF are some of the leading and influential Sex-Education Organizations in America, not just minor players.

Some facts about the leading sex education organizations in America:

While it is true that there is no “concrete” curriculum for sex education in USA per se, and that it can vary from school to school, one cannot deny the fact there are ideologies/beliefs promoted by influential organizations that are dedicated and funded by the government funds to educate and train professionals to deliver and design sexual education. Let’s take a moment to review three of the main sex education organizations again:

Sex Information & Education Council of United States (SIECUS)

According to Janice Irvine, the author of “Talk about Sex: the Battles over Sex Education in the US” this organization has been “the pioneer of Comprehensive Sex Education”, and according to Dr. Grossmam, “it has been the nation’s flagship sex education organization for nearly 50 years”[i].

This group has “trained hundreds of thousands of educators, worked with thousands of policymakers, appeared in the leading print and broadcast media outlets, and led the effort to advance sexual and reproductive health on 6 continents.”[ii]

It receives federal funding through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Adolescent and School Health.”

Planned Parenthood Federation (PPF)

Planned Parenthood is proud of its vital role in providing young people with honest sexuality and relationship information in classrooms and online to help reduce our nation’s alarmingly high rates of teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Nearly 1.2 million youths and adults participate in Planned Parenthood educational programs every year.”

According to 2007-2008 annual report, PPF’s “operating and other funds” totaled $1.038 billion, with over a third of that sum, $349.6 million coming from government grants and contracts.[iii]

Advocates for Youth (AFY):

Designed the popular “Life Planning Education”. Advocates for Youth works to educate Members of Congress, State Legislators and local elected officials on a variety of issues that impact the sexual and reproductive health of young people.  Advocates believes that the time has come for a new approach to adolescent sexual and reproductive health that includes dismantling failed abstinence-only programs, implementing comprehensive sex education programs, addressing the impact of HIV/AIDS on youth, providing confidential access to birth control and removing the unnecessary age restriction on emergency contraception.  They also support federal legislation that addresses discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Why am I pointing out these sex education organizations?

Nadiah took great umbrage to my claim that sexual education contributes towards the increased promiscuity. Again, I cannot emphasize enough that despite Nadiah’s unfortunate generalizations, I am not referring to “education” in itself. I am referring to the certain type of education organized by leading aforementioned institutes that can lead increased promiscuity. One should not be afraid of teaching children about sex, but rather one needs to be afraid of what type sex education the children receive.

Since most reasonable people will agree that “wrong education” will lead to “wrong ideas” (doesn’t take a rocket science to make the logical link!), we need to first see what type of education are these major sex-ed organizations promoting and teaching.

What better way to do so than to go to the horse’s mouth! One has to simply visit the websites of sex-education organizations and the sites that these organizations endorse (endorse=agree) to appreciate that “wrong education” is putting it quite mild!  One could ask “why not check with schools”, and my response would be that it is far more accurate to review the vision of the organization providing school materials than to visit the schools. For example, if we were interested in finding out what schools following a certain methodology of teaching math were doing, we would start with the developers and disseminators of that methodology of teaching in order to fully appreciate the style.

These sex-education organizations aforementioned may not be directly teaching their materials in classrooms of course, but one has to only click on their referrals to see what they would want taught. Let’s review just ONE website recommended by our sex education organizations for our pre/teens’s health related questions and queries:

GoAskAlice: University of Columbia’s “health” QA service. It has very good information about HIV, STDs, diet, depression, drugs etc. but at the same time, at a click of a button, children can view information about phone sex, oral or anal sex, erotic techniques, trios, how to be more intimate and make it more pleasurable, how to buy vibrator, porn magazines DISCREETLY, and also information for UNDER 18 how to get contraceptives WITHOUT parents’ knowledge. I have repeatedly encouraged the parents to visit their sites (linked in my original article) themselves, because I can’t cut and paste all info!

Tell me, while these sites are recommended (GoAskAlice is one of many) to pre/teens for any questions about their “health” or “health-related issues” or “sexuality”, pre/teens will inevitably visit it (esp. those who have no communication with their parents). Once these kids get on these “highly recommended” sites by those that they trust (sex-ed educators), is it hard not to expect them to also read extremely sensual, erotic and licentious information. Consequently, will they not get aroused and will they not want to experience and experiment what they read, in other words will it not increase promiscuity?

Sometimes we let demands for empirical data get in the way of pure common sense and normal logic.

It is no doubt true that we are living in a hyper-sexualized society. TV, movies, magazines, books contribute towards the increased promiscuity but so do these sex education organizations.

Nadiah further claims that I :

carelessly proclaims that American public school sexual education programs are responsible for the high STI rate, claiming the “sex education industry is dedicated to promot[ing] radical, social ideologies that value unconditional sexual freedom above any health, science, or parental authority. The aim is to encourage promiscuity experimentation and unrestricted sexual behavior.” As a public health professional trained to appreciate the importance of empirical data, I ask Umm Reem for any evidence supporting such an outrageous claim.

First of all, I never claimed that sex education in of itself is responsible for sexually transmitted infections (STI). I hope Nadiah would care to share where I stated this cause and effect relationship.

Secondly, my “careless” (partly imagined by Nadiah) proclamations comes from a board certified, adolescent & adult psychiatrist’s intensive research on sex education in US, whose experience and education far outweighs. Dr. Grossman states, “There groups [SIECUS, PPF, AFY] claim to provide “comprehensive access” to “accurate” sex education. Take a look, though, at their curricula, their guides for teachers and parents, and-most disturbing- the websites to which they direct your kids: you’ll see how young people are infused with a grotesque exaggeration of the place of sexuality. Promiscuity, experimentation, and fringe behaviors are encouraged. For them, these are personal choices, and judgments are prohibited. At all ages, sexual freedom is a “right”, an issue of social justice. In short, they are dedicated to promoting radical social ideologies, not preventing diseases.”[iv]

To illustrate why “sexy” sexual education could lead to increased promiscuity, let’s take the example of a parent who teaches her child about eating healthy and keeps him from gaining weight, buys him the membership to the gym, and educates him about all the harms against obesity BUT at the same time she keeps cooking unhealthy food, keeps baking cakes, keeps buying junk food and leaving it around him, then will she not share the blame if her child keeps giving into his temptation of “delicious” food and keep gaining weight?

Sex education organizations are doing very well in educating our children about STDs, STIs, contraceptives, and even providing condoms. But, in the schools, they also teach about sex-acts other than copulation and promote licentious, sensual and extremely provocative information & techniques on their websites. In addition, they offer free contraceptives and teach our children HOW to get them DISCREETLY without parental knowledge!

In other words: Eat healthy, watch your diet, but we would like to show you some pictures of delicious cakes and deserts, and you can find out the recipes on our websites, and in case you need we will provide you with numbers how to order ingredients free and discreetly!

Yes, with promiscuous message sex education organizations are promoting, frequency of promiscuous activity will increase, and this would suggest that they take responsibility of increased STIs.

Can health-based information mixed with promiscuous messages protect children?

  • Will the pre/teens be in their “senses” to use condoms/contraceptives when the time comes to try out all those great ideas on GoAskAlice and other recommended sites by sex-ed organizations?
  • How effective are the condoms/contraceptives?

The “neurobiology of decision-making”[v] indicates that when we make choices, we rely on at least 12 different brain regions. These areas include cognitive and affective circuits, meaning decisions are based on both thought and emotions.

PCF is the “thinking” brain, Amygdala is the “feeling” brain. These are parallel systems and evolve with time. Emotional system is present early in life where as cognitive system develops with age and time. “It has been suggested that because the emotional system is more mature than the cognitive one in teens, it sometimes contributes more to decision-making, resulting in less-than-optimal choices.”[vi]

“HOT” and “COLD” conditions: “Dr. Laurence Steinber, an expert in adolescent psychology, draws a distinction between “cool” and “hot” conditions, referring to the intensity or level of emotion at the time a decision is made. To summarize his research, under “cool” conditions a teen might appear to have excellent “executive function” in making a choice and logical thinking. In a hypothetical dilemma, he might resolve: being sexually active is a big decision, I’ll talk it all over with my “partner”, dicuss STDs and contraceptives, use condoms.

Place the same boy in an unexpected situation, an unsupervised party with a cute and willing girl, other friends making out around him; functional MRI says that under “hot” conditions he is more likely to rely on his “Amygdala”, to be shortsighted, emotion-driven, and susceptible to coercion and peer pressure.[vii]

It is not lack of information, but lack of judgment:  “In real life, his strong emotions and drives can “hijack” his ability for self-control and smart decision.”[viii]

Effectiveness of Condoms:

When a panel of 28 experts was asked in 2001, “what is the scientific evidence on the effectiveness of latex male condom-use to prevent STD transmission during vaginal intercourse?” the answer was, and still is, “IT DEPENDS!”[ix] There is a lot more research available on this subject. Due to restricted space, I would encourage readers to search on their own.

Undermining Parental Authority

I posted a prime example of “unconditional sexual freedom above parental authority”, the case in California’s Elementary School, where a survey of extreme sexual nature was passed out without parental discretion. Parents were denied the right to object.

To that, Nadiah responded, “There are ethical implications to collecting data from minors, which is why respectable research with publishable data are subject to Institutional Review Boards. Unfortunately, it sounds like these researchers did not go through the IRB – had they gone through – they would have been required to have parental consent before administering the survey.”

Based on the response, Nadiah has obviously missed the main point. It is not about respectable research or data collection, it is about undermining PARENTAL authority. According to the judge in the California case, “public schools have the right to administer sex instruction to any children, at any time and in any manner, notwithstanding the objections of their parents.”

In Massachusetts, one school passing out condoms to even elementary students, “Under the policy, any student requesting a condom from a school nurse must first receive counseling, which includes information on abstinence. The policy does not require the school to contact parents.”

Another example is the Sex-Ed controversy in Helena Montana, where parents are fighting the sex-ed curriculum, “The document covers everything from nutrition to injury prevention, but the section titled “Human Sexuality” is drawing the most concern. It lays out sex education topics for each grade, K through 12. In the first grade, children would be taught that human beings can love people of the same gender; in second grade, kids are taught not to make fun of people by calling them “gay” or “queer.”

By fifth grade, they are taught there are several types of intercourse, and by the sixth grade, the draft document states that students should, “Understand that sexual intercourse includes but is not limited to vaginal, oral, or anal penetration; using the penis, fingers, tongue or objects.”

Yet, another example from a sites endorsed by our sex education organizations, a question was asked by a young girl:

“My boyfriend and I are thinking of having sex. Can I get the pill without my mom knowing?

Answer: Generally, yes. There is no law that requires a parent’s permission for the pill…A good place to start is a place that receives money from…they can’t tell your mom if you got the pill. You can find a [clinic] near you through [website provided]…

(I am not providing the website link as some parents complained on the previous article regarding links to what most of us would consider promiscuous information, but to others is “education”)

They also teach children how to order porn magazines, masturbation tools etc. discreetly, without parental knowledge.

To conclude: I don’t believe proper sex education will be a contributing factor towards increased promiscuity but “wrong” sex education in present form, as incorporated by the major sex-ed organizations will. And that can be well seen on the official & award winning websites. I encourage the parents to please browse through them.

Young minds are especially vulnerable; in addition they are surrounded by an environment (TV, magazines, books) with increased sexuality. Moreover, when they are exposed to information that is being taught by sex education organizations, we don’t need an empirical data to come to logical conclusion that when youth reads encouraging statements about “exploring their sexuality”, along with the techniques how-to, it will contribute towards increased promiscuity?

My main point, throughout the series, is to encourage parents to become the sex educators and be the primary source of information. Not only parents can offer vulgar-free, pure and beneficial information to their children, but they also live with their children and can be approached at any time (unlike a health profession), will best watch and observe, in real life, the situation and the difficulty of the child, and will offer the most sincere advice. Not to mention how much it will help open communication and strengthens the bond of parent-child relationship.

I pray that may Allah reward Sr. Nadiah for all the effort and good work she is contributing towards our youth.

Further reading/listening: Here is an excellent lecture on the subject.

[i] Grossmna, Miriam MD, “You Are Teaching My Child What”, who is teaching your children, pg. 19

[ii] (SIECUS Leadership & Staff)

[iii] Grossman, Miriam MD, “You Are Teaching MY Child What, who is teaching your children, pg. 19

[iv] Grossman, Miriam MD, “You Are Teaching MY Child What, pg. 4

[v] Monique Ernst and Martin P. Paulus, “Neurobiology of Decision Making: A Selective Review from a

[vi] Adriana Galvan et al, “Earlier Development of the Accumbens Relative to Orbitofrontal Cortex Might Underlie rist-Taking Behavior in Adolescents,” Journal of Neuroscience 26, no. 25 (2006): 6885-92

[vii] K. Kersting, “Brain research advance help elucidate teen behavior,” Monitor on Psychology (July/August 2004): 80: John Merriman, “Linking Risk-Taking Behavior and Peer Influence in Adolescents,” NeuroPsychiatry Review 9, no.1 (2008).

[viii] Ronald e. Dahl, “Adolescent Brain Development; A Period of Vulnerabilities and Opportunities,” Annals of the New Yourk Academy of Science 1021 (2004)

[ix] Miriam, Gorssman MD, “You Are Teaching My Child What, pg. 85


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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Saba Syed (aka Umm Reem) is the author of International award winning novel, "An Acquaintance."Saba has a BA degree in Islamic Studies. She studied Arabic Language & Literature at Qatar University and at Cairo Institute in Egypt. She also received her Ijaazah in Quranic Hafs recitation in Egypt from Shaikh Muhammad al-Hamazawi.She had been actively involved with Islamic community since 1995 through her MSA, and then as a founding member of TDC, and other community organizations. in 2002, she organized and hosted the very first "Musim Women's Conference" in Houston, TX. Since then, she's been passionately working towards empowering Muslim women through the correct and untainted teachings of Islam.She is a pastoral counselor for marriage & family, women and youth issues. She has hosted several Islamic lectures and weekly halaqas in different communities all over U.S and overseas, also hosted special workshops regarding parenting, Islamic sex-ed, female sexuality, and marital intimacy.



  1. Avatar

    Agieb Bilal

    June 7, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    Es Salaamu Alaykum,
    Having been an Islamic school principal and having to deal with this issue, I have found “Sex Roles in Muslim Families” by Dr. Mahmud Abu Saud to be the most authoritative and comprehensive discourse on the subject. Each Muslim family should at least be exposed to this, as it is easily downloadable. Respectfully yours in Al Islam, Agieb Bilal

  2. Avatar


    June 7, 2011 at 6:35 PM

    The more knowledge a growing brain acquires, the better. Learning things that are true is never bad. The only thing anyone should ever fear is learning things that are false. Everyone only has one body, and must learn how to care for it. Not all parents communicate with their children about sex. The author said so herself. Without sex education in school, such children would be completely ignorant, or would only learn from others who are themselves ignorant. Ignorance equals vulnerability, and the propensity to have to learn things the hard way, sometimes too late. Sex is a dangerous thing about which to be ignorant. It is a school’s job to teach knowledge and skills, not morality. If a parent is concerned about how sex education might affect his/her child’s morality, the parent has the opportunity to supplement and explain (to filter) the knowledge the child learned in school.

  3. Umm Reem

    Umm Reem

    June 7, 2011 at 10:11 PM


    I said all parents must start communicating with their children. Parenting is a job and it is not an easy one for sure. It comes with certain responsibilities and training one’s children is one of them. Sex-ed is part of that training. Parents don’t have to go through the pain of filtering out the immoral stuff rather they should be the first ones to instill the correct and valuable morals before anyone else does.

    A good school should teach morality too!

  4. Avatar

    Murad Abdul Hakeem

    June 8, 2011 at 12:43 AM

    I like brother shoaibs post about “Dont ask dont tell” I think this applies to me. I feel like an outsider in a majority straight masjid. I try to battle my nafs, but the best of the beef gets to me. I think we should have sex education for same sex mates. Even though its not permissible by most scholars, we should still have the tools necessary to make a judgment in a kufr duna kufr situation. Please elaborate on this subject.

  5. Avatar

    Iftikhar Ahmad

    June 8, 2011 at 6:37 AM

    The sexualisation of children by the government, Dept of Education, ‘pregnancy advice centres’, social workers, school nurses, media aimed at teen girls, contraceptive industry lobbyists, fashion industry and the welfare state to name just a few, is a crime against humanity.

    It is also gross hypocrisy for the police to prosecute paedophiles when the government is overseeing boy scouts being given condoms from the age 11 and girls of the same age being told it is OK to have sex if they use ‘protection’. Boys and girls at age 11 are not allowed to marry but they can have sex and produce children. Every parent is worried about his child being indoctrinated into the idea that gay and sexual promiscuity is “normal” modes of behaviour. At the same time, all parents have the right to control their children and it is their Duty to control them.

    It is an eye opening for the Muslim parents who keep on sending their children to state schools with non-Muslim monolingual teachers. Bilingual Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers a s role models during their developmental periods. Muslim teachers are in a better position to teach sex education to teenagers according to Islamic perspectives. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school. State funded Muslim schools are crucial for social cohesion, religious and cultural harmony. They are preparing children and young people to face the challenges of life in modern Britain and to also contribute in a positive way to wider society. Muslim children will develop self-confidence and self-esteem. According to TES, pupils make more progress at Muslim secondary schools than anyother type of schools. They are promoting tolerance and support the spiritual, moral, social, linguistic and cultural development of pupils.

  6. Avatar

    umm Salih

    June 8, 2011 at 9:06 AM

    salam alaikum ,

    i agree with umm Reem . Sex- education isnt something to be discussed with children in public.
    frequent use of the word sex itself takes away a portion of the ‘haya”and innocence from our children…imagine what a detailed knowledge on it can do.

    parents would know how and when to educate their kids about it / whether they even needed to be educated about it.
    when a child is taught how not to approach the path of lewdness and immorality , the need for explicit sex education for young children does not arise.

  7. Avatar


    June 8, 2011 at 10:27 AM

    As-Salamu Aleykum and thank you for the articles.

    I agree that parents should be primary educators when it comes to sex education. However, I fear that Umm Reem’s articles outlining the “horrors of public sex education” may in fact have the opposite intended effect. It might have been better if Umm Reem had focused more on the Islamic importance of parents giving their children comprehensive sex education rather than what seemed to be grossly overblown caricatures of what is presented in schools. I am from a community that has no such kind of scandalous public sex education as you described and fear these articles might influence otherwise responsible Muslim parents to keep their children hidden from the “birds and the bees” rather than confront these questions head-on. I feel as though many will come away from these articles with a stronger urge to keep their children out of public sex ed classes than to teach them about sexuality themselves. It’s always easier to make a reactive move than a proactive one, after all, especially with such salacious caricatures involved.

  8. Avatar


    June 8, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    Assalaamu alaykum,

    I think Nadia will think trice before initiating another pro-liberal faux-shock melodrama (on any given topic) after reading this article. JazakAllah khair.


    • Avatar

      N Kal

      June 10, 2011 at 2:51 PM


      There was nothing melodramatic about Nadiah’s article. She was totally within her right to critique Ms. Reem’s original article, which basically relied on the theory that sex-education in public schools is detrimental to a Muslim child’s development. Ms. Reem also made broad generalizations, like “Far from the Islamic perspective as possible, children are told that it is perfectly fine if they want to “experience” sexual enjoyment, which is after all a natural human instinct, as long as they are “protected”.” Furthermore, there are numerous studies that link abstinence-only sex-education with higher rates of STIs and teen pregnancies. Although I support the contention that parents should take a front seat in educating their children about a topic as touchy as human sexuality, the snarky tone of this article does not sit well.

      • Avatar


        June 10, 2011 at 4:52 PM


        Of course she was melodramatic; melodramatic in that hideous how-dare-you-oppose-the-liberal-consesus-you-backward-retard way. If this article was snarky, it had every bit right to be so. Umm Reem didn’t offer any “broad generalizations”; she offered concrete examples for what she was warning everyone against. And she wasn’t promoting abstinence-only sex-education; from an Islamic point of view, the best prevention against illicit sex is marriage, and a rather early one; hardly an abstinence-based approach. If Muslims did have an abstinence-based approach, the research you cite could not be applied to it since those approaches weren’t being studied there. Also, Islamic rules regarding abstinence have some unique characteristics not found among other religious groups that favor it (such as orders pertaining to avoiding contact, lowering the gaze, fasting, etc.) that should guarantee better results if any type of abstinence-based program would be implemented among Muslims.

  9. Avatar


    June 8, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    Does anyone have any info on how the sahaabah ( may Allaah be pleased with them all) dealt with such issues?


  10. Avatar


    June 8, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    Umm Reem I completely agree that children should be taught sexual education at home, not at school. The example you gave about what 5th graders are taught is just too much information for a child that young to comprehend. There are different stages of knowledge, and children should not be given information unless they are mentally ready to accept it. Otherwise, it just causes confusion and more questions. During my time working in a public high school, I was SHOCKED to see the type of sexual education that is given to children. The school that I worked in outsourced their sexual education classes to an organization that promotes safe sex. In my opinion, they not only promote it, but encourage it. The one class I observed had the teachers demonstrate how to properly put on protection on live replicas of male and female genitalia. They also recommended and advocated products that increase sexual pleasure. Personally, I thought it was way too much information for the class of 9th grade students. Most of the boys constantly made jokes and laughed throughout the presentation (showing their immaturity and discomfort with the subject), and most of the girls kept their heads down and refused to look up for some of the more vulgar demonstrations. This proves that children (even non-Muslim children) have an innate sense of haya and modesty that does not need to be corrupted by organizations that have other agendas. I completely support PARENTS giving sexual education instruction. This way, they can control what information and how much information their children are given, based on their age and maturity level.

  11. Avatar


    June 8, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    but if your child is going to have sex, despite all the teachings you have given him/her at home about not having sex, would you prefer that he/she is ignorant or knowledgeable about STDs, pregnancy, etc.? And are you the parent sure that you are knowledgeable enough on this subject to instruct your child, and confident enough to teach that which the child will be embarrassed to hear?

    • Avatar

      Yusuf Patel

      June 9, 2011 at 4:53 AM

      The only way to be safe from STIs is be intimite with one person who has also followed the same philosophy, thereby proving marriage is the safest option in terms of health. Condoms do not protect against all STIs and are not even fully effective to protect against pregnancy. As young girls have an immature cervix they are more susceptible to STIs. I do not buy the claims that it is inevitable for young people to engage in early sexual experimentation, research suggests that strong family, a values based upbringing and religious adherence are powerful factors in warding off early sexual experimentation. We do not believe young people are bound to take drugs so we should facilitate this for them, why should we be fatalistic when it comes to discussing sexual experimentation in the young.

      The point Umm Reem makes is important, parents raise children, not schools. If we believe parents are no longer parenting should we drive home their responsibility to do so or do we expect schools to take over this responsibility?

  12. Avatar

    Yusuf Patel

    June 9, 2011 at 7:45 AM


    By the way I forgot to say JazakAllahu khairan to Umm Reem for her article and her efforts to challenge dangerous ideas about comprehensive sex education and also to change the thinking of Muslim parents about their role in dissemintaing value-laden sex education to their children.



    • Umm Reem

      Umm Reem

      June 15, 2011 at 11:57 PM

      wa alaikum assalam, wa iyyaka br. yusuf. Looking forward to your feedback at the conclusion of the series inshaAllah.

      • Avatar


        November 29, 2012 at 5:41 PM

        Jazakalah khayr from me too sister. I love you for the sake of Allah. There are a lot of people who benefit from your efforts. All your hard work in compling this series has truly paid off because you are teaching people like me (mother of 4year old child) how to deal with this issue in the future are are my teacher and I hope to meet you 1 day inshalah, to thank you personally.

  13. Avatar

    Cartoon M

    June 10, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    This is definitely a touchy subject. But I think the main point is to have parents speak with their children about sex and explain the wisdom behind the Islamic guidelines on it, before they hear it from their friends and sex ed classes. And although this article is about sex ed in schools, that’s really not the main problem. Kids will probably learn about it from their friends before they even take a sex ed class.

  14. Avatar


    June 15, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    Sister Umm Reem is doing a great job with boldly going out there and discussing this all important issue in our rapidly globalized society. However I really feel like this article and a few previous ones continue to preach a utopia that we all wished was true–that parents need to have a good communicative relationship with their children.

    I agree with a couple of the respondants in that instead of talking about how we believe parents should have a close relationship with their kids (which again i will repeat is extremely important and believe myself is something all parents and kids desire) sister umm reem should stress heavily on the islamic important of sex education between parents and kids instead of demonizing public schools and their sex ed programs.

    The cases represented about those programs within the sex education sphere is something that is something very rare because its highly unheard of to be incorporated in within the american public education system. Being someone raised solely in public schooling and all my family and friends as well (and i get around!) that we all turned out quite alright.

    The reason I say that is because our parents obviously were and continue to be very insecure and shy over the topic of sex and growing up in that environment it was awkward for us as kids to even discuss a crush with them let alone sex! so when we got that sex education from our schools it was easier for us to learn and ask questions and actually helped the relationship with our parents.

    Again sister Umm Reem is taking initiative on this topic mashaAllah and I commend her on that but I am getting strong tones of talking down on public schooling and repeating this utopian society of all parents teaching kids about sexual education. We need to realize thats not happening any time soon–even ever. That being said educating parents on how its important islamically to have sex discussions to help avoid endangering our children into falling into risky behaviors and living an unislamic way of life. Not only should parents have open discussion about sex ed i think its good for those children to also be educated in the public schools sex ed so that their faith and sense of wisdom since their parents have taught them about sex and are open to questions and clarifications as well.

    Just my two cents :)

    • Avatar


      June 16, 2011 at 5:13 PM

      Melaika, your insight, reason, open-mindedness, fairness, honesty, practicality and wisdom are a breath of fresh air and a beacon of hope. Thank you for your contribution and enlightenment.

      • Avatar


        June 17, 2011 at 12:03 PM

        such praises are meant for people like sis umm reem and those of muslimmatters :) but jazakAllah khair, it means a lot !

  15. Umm Reem

    Umm Reem

    June 16, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    Sr Melaika,
    I agree with you and if you read Part 6-8 of my articles (9 will be published next week inshaAllah) I have discussed exactly what you mentioned in your comment: Islamic version of sex-ed, specifically how and what to say to the kids! :)

    • Avatar


      June 17, 2011 at 11:59 AM

      I realized that after reading all your articles and mashaAllah they’re great. My only objection is the continuous bashing if you will on public schoolings approach to sex ed. Morality, as you said, needs to be taught by parents from the cradle. and when parents instill that morality throughout the child’s life, the ‘fear’ so to speak of whats being taught in public schools on a secular basis isn’t something to be worried about if that moral ground is properly established using the islamic methods you’ve listed and will list in future articles.

      I’m 20 years old and so my public education on everything including sex ed was in the past decade or less. So my defense of what I’ve learned and benefitted from is fresh and recent :) I went through middle school with many girls who were pregnant in grade 7 and 8 who had NOT taken the sex ed courses. My classmates whom I am still friendly with continue to be abstinent and haven’t gotten pregnant. That in and of itself speaks volumes to me.

      Keep up the good work sis :)

  16. Avatar


    July 5, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    Oh my God. What is the need for sex ed. Children learn as they grow up. Did your parents give you sex ed?

    • Avatar


      July 8, 2011 at 10:32 PM

      no they didnt and i think it is a big irresponsibility on their path… we are now in an age where everything is outsourced including child upbringing…. we have a saying in western Nigeria, if you don’t teach your child at home, (s)he will be thought outside… so who thought you about sex? your peers (who are as/more confused as you are), the media, the school… whoever it was i’m very sure the last thing they said was the islamic perspective and morality… little wonder pornography and zina is eating out at the fabric of our ummah…

      by the way can you teach what you dont know? many parents are even more ignorant than their kids in the matters of faith…

  17. Avatar

    Iftikhar Ahmad

    July 5, 2011 at 6:15 PM


    The introduction of sex education in British schools does not seem to have had a dramatic impacxt on teenage pregnancies.

    This is sickening. It’s no wonder Great Britain is in such a bad shape. Ten years old British girls are haveing babies out of wedlock. They are not allowed to get married but are allowed to have babies.

    Teenage pregnancy rate in Great Britain is the highest in western Europe. It is a civilised country and Yemen is a backward country because it allowes young girls to get married.

    Indiscipline, incivility, binge drinking, drug addiction, gun and knife crimes, teenage pregnancies and abortion are part and parcel of British schooling. These are the reasons why Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.

    There are hundreds of state and church schools where Muslim children are in majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be opted out as Muslim Academies.

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What Repentance Can Teach You About Success

When losing weight, one piece of advice you’ll hear often is the following – if you fall off your eating plan one day, pick yourself back up and think of the next day as a fresh start.

Annoying, isn’t it?

You’ll hear this advice from people who have “made it” – they’ve lost a lot of weight, their lives have changed, and they’ll tell you to stick through it, and you’ll be like, yeah, I have, I tried, and I keep failing. I keep trying, I can’t sustain the motivation, I have life factors, I have stuff going on that makes this difficult.

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And you’re right.

You don’t have millions of dollars, a dedicated personal trainer and chef, the free time and lack of commitments others do, the lack of sleep, the injuries, or personal life circumstances that advantage others, nor do they have those that disadvantage you.

That’s not the point.

When you make a mistake, if you run through the process of regret, repentance, and retrying to do the right thing, Allah (swt) is pleased with you. And if you keep failing, repenting, and trying again, and again, and again, until you die, Allah keeps forgiving you.

The process of both recognizing your weakness, of getting out of denial, and humbling yourself and not thinking yourself so high and mighty has its own sobering effect. Not only does it help you in dealing with that atom’s weight of arrogance you don’t want to meet Allah (swt) with on the Day of Judgment, it helps make you a better human being, a more compassionate one, a more empathetic one, when calling others away from mistakes.

I’m not perfect, and you’re not perfect. Perfection is only for Allah (swt). But we’re trying. And the process of recognizing your weakness and at least attempting to rectify it means that maybe you’ll sin a little less, maybe you’ll still not invent excuses for mistakes and you’ll teach others, “Hey man, I know this is a sin, I know this is wrong, I hope you can do better than me.” And maybe they do change, and you’re both better for it.

Maybe in trying and failing again and again, what you end up doing is coming a little bit closer to success, and that process of trying and failing is the teacher you needed to get you out of your weakness and to then help others do likewise. Maybe that learning process serves you in succeeding elsewhere down the road in other treacherous turns and trials of life.

Whether it’s in losing weight, fixing broken relationships, pulling away from a heavy nafs addiction (eg pornography), don’t ever put yourself mentally in a position where “you’ve lost” and “you may as well give up” because “there’s no hope for me”. Don’t identify yourself by your failures.

So then, what is the point?

The point isn’t that you hit your goal perfectly. The point is that give your best, even with the little that you have, and that is good enough for you and for all of us. Ask Allah (swt) to help you better yourself, and in these 10 Days of Dhul-Hijjah, increase in your du’a, cry to Him for help, in whatever area of life it is you’re trying to improve.

And whatever you fail at, don’t fall off for weeks on end. Acknowledge your mistake, own it completely and take full responsibility. Try to figure out where you went wrong in your process, get help from others if you need to. Forgive yourself, and don’t resign yourself to an identity based on your mistakes.

Never get tired of failing, getting knocked down, and picking yourself back up and trying to do and be better again.

It’s always a brand new day tomorrow.

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30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 19: My Mercy Encompasses All Things

Now that we have learnt about when the angels surround us, let’s now talk about how Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy encompasses all things.

We say بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ  (bismillah Ar-Rahman ar-Raheem) a lot, right? It means ‘in the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate.’ 

We say it when we pray, before we eat, and we’re encouraged to say it before we begin any new task. But do we really understand what rahma (mercy) means? 

Question: What do you think rahma means?

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Do you know that the word rahma comes from the root word, رحم (rahim), which means womb? 

Question: Who can tell me what a womb is?

That’s right. A baby is usually in their mommy’s womb for 40 weeks. The baby gets all the nourishment it requires; the temperature in the womb is perfect, the nutrients are always administered, it is safe and warm. All the baby has to do is grow, and alhamdulillah all its needs are being met. 

Question: How do you think the womb relates to Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy?

Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy is constantly surrounding us like a safety net. That doesn’t mean that we’ll never experience any pain, but Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is constantly showing us mercy with every breath we take. Even blinking is a mercy from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) that we don’t even have to think about. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) even has more mercy for us than a mother has for her own child! 

One day the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was walking with a group of his companions, and they passed by a woman who was frantically looking for her child. She would take any child to her breast and try to feed him/her. Then the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said to the companions: “Do you think that this lady can throw her son in the fire?” We replied, “No, if she has the power not to throw it (in the fire).” The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) then said, “Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is more merciful to His slaves than this lady to her son.”

And guess what? There’s even more mercy in the hereafter than we’re experiencing right now. 

Salman al-Farisi reported: The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Verily, on the day Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) created the heavens and earth, He created one hundred parts of mercy. Each part can fill what is between heaven and earth. He made one part of mercy for the earth, from it a mother has compassion for her child, animals and birds have compassion for each other. On the Day of Resurrection, He will perfect this mercy.” [Sahih Muslim]

99 parts of mercy on the Day of Judgment! That is one reason why it’s so important to have a good opinion of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)! Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) even tells us in Surat Al-A’raaf:

وَرَحْمَتِي وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ ۚ

“My mercy encompasses all things” (Surat Al-A’raaf; 156]

And you all, my dears, are all encompassed by Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy, alhamdulillah. 


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30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 18: When the Angels Surround Us

Now that we have learnt about Hajar raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) and her sa’i, let’s now talk about when the angels surround us.

Do you know that every time we sit together and remember Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), we are not alone in our meeting? We have very special visitors, and these visitors love to hear us praising Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)and thanking Him. 

Question: Who can tell me who these visitors are?

Yes! They are angels! Can anyone name some angels for me?

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We have Angel Jibril 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) who has delivered every message to every Prophet since the beginning of time. We also have our angels on our left and right who write down our deeds.

Question: Does anyone know the name of the angel that is in control of the weather? 

His name is Angel Mikai’l. 

There are so many gifts that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) grants us when we gather together and remember him. Four things happen every single time! I want you to pay close attention to this hadith, because I’m going to ask you what those four things are after I read it. 

Are you ready?

‏لا يقعد قوم يذكرون الله عز وجل إلا حفتهم الملائكة، وغشيتهم الرحمة ونزلت عليهم السكينة، وذكرهم الله فيمن عنده‏

The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “When a group of people assemble for the remembrance of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), the angels surround them (with their wings), (Allah’s) mercy envelops them, tranquility descends upon them, and Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) makes a mention of them before those who are near Him.”

Question: Can you believe that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) makes mention of your name when you make mention of His? What do you think it means when “tranquility descends upon us?” Do you feel how calm your heart is? 

That is a gift from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and He tells us that our hearts find rest in His remembrance:

أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ

“…Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured” [Surah Ar-Ra’d; 28] 


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