THE ISLAMIC VIEW OF
LOVE ,SEX AND MARRIAGE
How may we teach sex education to our youth?
I do not limit
the issue to any particular range; we may need books to explain a
particular idea, as we must also tell the people of the injunctions
of the Shariah on the issues of sex so that they may know their
responsibilities in the area according to the Shariah.
I began an
attempt to answer question directed to me, and I spoke candidly on
some sex issues which affect the community. Sex education is like
any other subject; we have to teach it but with a functional
approach, regardless of whether it is through books or school
programs, conversations at home, or general debate.
Sex is something
that affects the body of a person and how he deals with his
impulses. It is normal that one should know all this. What we view
as socially forbidden may be a result of traditional baggage.
Therefore, confronting custom means that we must substitute it by
wisdom to avoid creating more negative aspects than those we are
trying to rid ourselves of.
ISLAM ADOPTS SEX EDUCATION
What are the parameters of this education? Is there a specific age
at which we can begin instruction?
Islam has opened
the door to sex education for all Muslims with respect to the sexual
relations which the Quran discusses somewhat candidly. Indeed, on
the subject of marriage, the Quranic terminology employs linguistic
forms which suggest more sexual than contractual connotations, as in
its use of the term "nikah".
Indeed, if we
want to study the noble Sunna, we find that there are hadiths on
sexual issues which pertain to relations, legal rulings, and
ancillary topics. In more than one hadith, sexual organs are so
candidly and naturally covered that one can only infer that the
milieu of the (prophetic) message saw nothing immoral in the topic.
We may find some
hadiths which deal with the conversation between the Prophet(p.) and
someone who came to confess to having committed adultery (zina). We
see that the last question directed to the perpetrator concerning
the sex act used a term which people today may shy away from
In this manner,
we find related hadith issues pertaining to women in menstruation,
pre-menstruation, the post-partum period, as well as matters
pertaining to the state of man after sexual relationship
When we study
the books of the jurists and the chapters that relate to sex, we see
that there are clear, candid discussions on the specifics of sex,
regardless of whether they pertain to sexual organs, the sex act, or
some related issue.
We also find
that the earlier scholars discussed sex in their books through rare
stories, witticisms, and jokes transmitted in a manner that may be
considered immoral by the present society. We find that some old
books written by pious, ascetic, pure scholars consist of chapters
that describe methods which are not conventional and familiar in the
sex act. Their justification was that they felt books such as theses
might make the spouses learn sexual conduct, whereby they would
comply their own natural desires as well as those of their spouses,
and would therefore need not satisfy those desires outside of the
that Islam adopts sex education by virtue of its relationship to the
Shariah rulings _ the commendable, the obligatory, or the forbidden
-which relate to this aspect of the life of the human being. When we
study this issue, however, we focus on it in the light of the
principle that this discussion is not within the sphere of the
forbidden but that of the lawful.
The evolution of
cultural and social mores may have helped cultivate negative
attitudes towards sex education or some specific aspect of it. This
is especially true if the circumstances surrounding these mores, in
the reflection of the youth or children, lead to negative results:
it will cause subconscious reactions in the child or youth, leading
him to stray from Islamic guidelines.
perspective, the subject has to be studied in much detail and
caution before its thematic associations could be known relating to
the personality of the human being seeking such instruction or the
factors that influence this life. What I would like to stress is
that sex education did not begin with contemporary developments.
Islam did so earlier on every issue so far discussed
THE MANDATORY STEPS IN SEX EDUCATION
On the issues of
instructing the coming generation in this regard, steps must be
drawn up for this in terms of the methods, issues, and milieus, so
that the emphasis remains on the education technique, with no
element from the old concepts. This means give emphasis to the child
or youth that his sex organ is not something odd, but that it is
quite natural; it does not imply strangeness, deficiency or any such
thing. Rather, there are Shariah laws which call for the covering of
this organ, and for using it within a specific scope of activity, as
directed by God- who has spoken about other organs in relation to
forbidden matters, such as not eating or that, not looking… etc.
the issue calls first for an appropriate setting, and it is
imperative that we structure this setting, because many social mores
rate sex education as a work or subject that is immoral. If we can
undertake this, we will be able to instruct the coming generation in
sex education through a functional, objective approach, going all
the way to subjects like childbirth, where the fetus comes from…etc.
We must be straightforward, but with an approach structured on
gradually divulged details in this area.
The nature of these things may incite some children
to experiment, just as we observe that some of them who watch films
of television are quick to put them into practice, and may be hurt
as a result. There are also those who read books on sex, or watch
erotic films, who may attempt to carry out what they see, living the
experience in a twisted form, at a moment when the person's inner
impulses combined with the outer surroundings are so influenced that
they push him to experiment with whatever he learns. At the same
time, however, I stress that the present mode of instruction
affecting every house, through television, newspapers, disseminate
sexual information in a way that allows youths and children to know
much more about sex than their parents.
may be all the more urgently needed nowadays because it is given to
teenagers by way of films and cheap books, with no controls or
limits. It may, therefore, be necessary for the specialists to
rescue the present generation from all the distorted information on
TH RESPONDIBLITIES OF HOME AND SCHOOL
Which is better, teaching sex education in the family or at school?
We are not able
to delineate the issue so clearly that we can classify it to within
a particular scope, for children may need one type of teaching
within the home, when they ask about childbirth, become conscious of
their private parts, find siblings who are anatomically different.
In this case, father and mothers may certainly teach the children in
a well-balanced manner, giving the child correct but comprehensible
We also need the
school, for the systematic education of schools is necessary,
especially since some school subjects relate to health, the study of
animals and their reproduction, etc. The children are taught
subjects they need to know, and through these they receive detailed
explanations on subjects relating to the body.
THE SEXUAL ATMOSPHERE
A problem which
we face is that, as a result of western culture, the general social
environment has become quite sex conscious. The issue of sex has
become one of absolute right. If Eastern cultures did not possess
some discipline or restraint, this perverse cultural conditioning
could transform the Eastern outlook from an Islamic reality into
something more akin to what people are in the West.
you initiate sex education without strict prudence in this
atmosphere, you could easily pervert sex education. What I say is
not dependent on the type of prudence known in present-day society,
but rather that of ensuring a strong foundation when providing sex
education, so that it may not lead to corruption in practice.
THE CONCEPT OF DEFICIENCY
The concept of
deficiency is the same as its lexical meaning: a flaw in the
character, body, or conduct, which may cause a moral or ethical
deviation. Fornication by a youth is considered by the family to be
a deficiency; the public exposure of one's private parts is
considered a deficiency- in view of the Sharaiah prohibition of both
actions. This prohibition makes them deficient with respect of
religion and flawed with respect of social norms.
does not see that a person should suffer the faults of others, and I
do not participate in the deficiency of one of my deviant relatives,
even if he is closely related. This is because Islam avers that:
"No bearer of burden shall bear the burden of
targeting the entire family for the sexual transgression of a woman
is indeed a jahili concept, not an Islamic one, Islam charges the
woman or the man who has fornicated, and determines that their moral
depravity is something specific to them, not to the members of their
two families or any person who may be socially connected to them.
There are those
who say that sexual deviation or perversity does not stem from any
error in sex education or lack thereof, but rather results from the
sexual repression prevalent in our society.
I do not say
that sax education is the cause of deviancy whenever it is connected
to such practice. I say that it may open the avenues to deviation,
by people who have no previous experience in this area.
SEX ISSUES AS EDUCATIONAL ISSUES
What is the method for explaining these issues to our sons and
daughters? To what length should we go when discussing these issue
There issues are
exactly like the other educational issues which need to be explained
to children. There may not be need nor a conductive atmosphere to
offer a detailed analysis to a child; we may explain childbirth
exactly as we do planting or the incubation of an egg.
With respect to
the foregoing questions, I have indicated that society strongly
rejects these methods, even though they may be evident. It is
absolutely necessary that we educate society in this respect, and
introduce the matter as a general societal perspective, providing
fathers and mothers with the proper methods of sex education which
they may give their inquisitive children.
What about a special program for sex education in schools?
I support that,
but it is normal that every subject should be examined for its
positive and negative influences on the students to whom it is
taught, and what these can lead to in society at large.
What is the ruling on watching sex films and other pornographic
The Shariah and
the ethical principle prohibit looking a the private parts of
another person. This fundamentally applies equally to looking at
private parts in pictures or films. The reason is that the negative
aspects of the latter are almosts this as the main criterion in the
legal rulings (Fatawa); instead specific circumstances dictate the
For there is a
condition which afflicts some people to the point where looking at
such films may save the marriage. As in the case of frigidity,
impotence, or similar dysfunction in either spouse, and looking a
such films may offer a cure. Viewing these films and pictures beyond
these circumstances, however, may lead to spiritual dissolution, to
the point where the viewer becomes obsessed with the ideas of the
film and acting them out necessitating a prohibition-despite the
situation which warrant a certain amount of license, as in the first