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atha
03-17-2007, 07:35 PM
Assalam-u-Alaikum

I picked it up from one of the newsletters I receive. Thought of sharing it just for the young people out there.

Take care
assalam-u-Alaikum

bismi-lLah wa-lhamdu li-lLah wa-shshalatu wa-ssalamu 'ala rasuli-lLah
wa 'ala alihi wa ashhabihi wa ma-wwalah,
amma ba'd, assalamu 'alaikum wa rahmatu-lLahi wa barakatuH.

well........ .....i pray that this meets you all in the best of health
and in strong ieman insya Allah, and i thought i'd share an article
below with you all.
may Allah azza wa jalla allow us all to be able to perform the
fardl/obiligatory and the sunnah in the hope that as means for us to
gain closeness to Him - may He also pardon us of our shortcomings and
accept our deeds, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem to
us, amien.

wa bi-lLahi-ttaufiq wa-lhidayah, subhanaka-lLahumma wa bihamdiKa
asyhadu alla Ilaha illa Anta, astaghfiruKa wa atubu ilaiK.
wassalamu 'alaikum

Young Muslims' Guide to Sex Education
Mar 17, '07 5:57 PM
by Elan for group muslim

Young Muslims' Guide to Sex Education

By Altaf Husain Social Worker — USA

Growing up, coming of age: an Islamic website using code language to
talk about human sexuality? Coming of age indeed! You know what those
words mean. Yes, when you have stopped giggling shyly, let's get
started talking about human sexuality. You are probably wondering why
Youth 4 the Future at IslamOnline. net would want to present this
topic. Well, let's face it: It is impossible to escape talk about sex
and sexuality these days. Even the supposedly most age appropriate
movies, television shows, video games, and novels — those
intended for a teenage audience — consist of themes such as
fornication, adultery, and homosexuality.

So rather than pretending that Muslims do not care about those topics
or that Muslims are not supposed to talk about them, Youth 4 the Future
wants to tackle the topic to help you navigate your teenage years in a
healthy manner. And I am the big brother assigned the challenging task
of talking to you about it, to spare you the awkwardness of having to
send your own questions to the Cyber Counseling section. You should
still address the Counseling section of course because, in the limited
length of this essay, we are not going to cover all there is to know.

Non-Islamic Approach to Human Sexuality

In many parts of the world, especially in days gone by or in religious
communities, the approach was to treat sexuality with disdain, often as
something "dirty," not to be talked about and not even to be thought
of. There were strict guidelines about how men and women were to
interact. In fact, the prevailing thinking was that intimacy between
husbands and wives was to be "tolerated" for the sake of procreating
but definitely not to be enjoyed. Even for husbands and wives, there
was always an overabundance of guilt associated with seeking sexual
pleasure, and it was almost unthinkable for a woman to speak about or
express her desire for such pleasure, even with her husband.

Children who were coming of age were supposed to just come to an
intuitive understanding about their sexuality even though they could
make absolutely no sense of the physiological changes they were
experiencing. Even today, rather regrettably and despite Islamic
teachings to the contrary, discussions of sex and sexuality are still
taboo and Muslim children are still navigating this difficult terrain
on their own or resorting to information outlets which are less than
wholesome and in some instances are outright forbidden in Islam.

In for a Surprise

Unless you have been blessed to have been taught how Islamic teachings
view human sexuality and sexual intimacy, you are like the majority of
Muslim youth whose knowledge about such topics has been acquired
second- or third-hand and is most likely totally culturally biased. You
might have already attempted to discuss or deal with such topics with
your parents only to find that their responses were incomplete or did
not make sense.
They were most likely giving you responses they had heard from their
parents, which their parents in turn had heard from their parents, and
so on. For the most part, we find that our etiquette of discussing sex
and sexuality is often based on superstition and culture rather than on
religion. It is important therefore that you put aside what you think
you know so far because you are in for a real surprise.

Coming of Age

Although there is no exact date, time, or year when puberty is supposed
to occur, both boys and girls usually get a major introduction to
adulthood through, among many other things, the changes they experience
in their voices, physical growth such as getting taller, and
experiencing nocturnal emissions known more commonly as wet dreams. In
Islamic teachings, once a person reaches the age of puberty, they
become mukallaf (accountable for compulsory duties and answerable to
God). Below is an excerpt from Abdul Wahid Hamid's book Islam the
Natural Way:

This means that you come under the obligation to discharge all the
duties and fulfill all the rights of an adult. To keep yourself
physically clean is an obligation, to work is an obligation, to refrain
from lying or the consumption of alcohol is an obligation; there are no
less than the obligations of maintaining honor and chastity and
performing prayer. (26)

Islamic teachings guide you through this time of intense and ongoing
changes. But if no one discusses these changes with you, it can be
scary and embarrassing to have your sleep interrupted when you
experience a "wet dream" for the first time. You do not know what
happened, why it happened to you, if others ever experience this, and
how you are supposed to clean yourself up afterwards! Growing up, you
might have talked to your parents about your dreams — you know,
those dreams about how you scored an awesome goal in soccer, or how you
grew up to be a firefighter, and so on. Imagine trying to talk to your
parents about your first "wet dream." No! Why not? Too shy? Too
embarrassed?
Can you believe that as the religion of Islam was being revealed, the
people of Arabia literally turned to Prophet Muhammad (peace and
blessings be upon him) for EVERYTHING, literally everything. A beloved
wife of Prophet Muhammad, Umm Salama, tells of an instance when Umm
Sulaim, Abu Talha's wife, came to speak to Prophet Muhammad. Umm Sulaim
is reported by Umm Salama to have said, "O Allah's Messenger! Verily
Allah is not shy of (telling you) the truth. Is it necessary for a
woman to take a bath after she has a wet dream (nocturnal sexual
discharge)?" Allah's Messenger replied, "Yes, if she notices a
discharge" (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book 5, Hadith 280).

Can you believe she asked that question in the first place and then to,
of all people, the Prophet? Wouldn't you have just wanted to disappear
if you were sitting there and someone asked such a question? If you
reread the hadith, however, you will notice that there was a certain
etiquette to asking this type of question, and the critical factor is
that there is a purpose to asking the question: to learn how to deal
with a particular situation so that we can be sure we are behaving in a
manner acceptable and pleasing to Allah Almighty. For example, it is
unacceptable to discuss such sensitive topics if one is doing so to
pass time and is driven by a motivation other than to learn. And of
course Allah knows what is in our hearts.

The Qur'an similarly presents such issues in a frank though dignified
manner, such as the verses which address the menstrual cycle, commonly
referred to as a woman's period. People at the time of the Prophet
wanted to be sure whether women were required to pray during their
menses and what type of cleaning, if any, the women would have to do in
order to resume praying at the end of their periods. We read in the
Qur'an a reference to Prophet Muhammad who was asked a question by the
Companions about the menses:

[They ask you concerning women's courses. Say they are harmful and a
pollution, so keep away from women on their courses, and do not
approach them until they are clean. But when they have purified
themselves, you may approach them in any manner, time, or place
ordained for you by Allah, for Allah loves those who turn to Him
constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and
clean.](Al-Baqarah 2:222)

Dating, Masturbation, and Homosexuality

Allah Almighty created us and knows our strengths and weaknesses. He
has given us guidance and a teacher to be sure that we live our life in
a manner that is acceptable and pleasing to Him. In His infinite
wisdom, He endowed us with the ability to procreate through sexual
intimacy after marriage, characterizing sexual relations as natural and
guilt-free. Through procreation, we not only ensure the continuation of
the human race but also fulfill our sexual desires with our spouses.

I know what you are thinking: That's so far away. What about my sexual
desires now, while I am still young, unmarried, and having all these
desires? You will experience sexual desires no doubt. In fact, Prophet
Muhammad particularly addressed the stage of life when young, unmarried
people have intense sexual desires but cannot satisfy them because
doing so without being married would mean committing the sin of
fornication. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad was a patient teacher, and
the young men and women among the Companions often sat in his company
trying to learn from him and to apply in their lives everything they
learned from him. Once when some young, unmarried men were in the
company of the Prophet, he said to them, according to the narration of
Abdullah ibn Mas`ud,

O young men, those among you who can support a wife should marry, for
it restrains eyes [from casting evil glances] and preserves one from
immorality; but he who cannot afford it [marriage] should fast, for it
[fasting] is a means of controlling sexual desire. (Sahih Muslim, Book
8, Hadith 3233)

Even though one might be experiencing sexual desires, which are normal
and natural, experimenting through dating or attempting to satisfy
those desires before marriage in other ways is a sin. Allah Almighty
warns us: [Nor come nigh to adultery: For it is a shameful [deed] and
an evil, opening the road (to other evils).](Al- Israa' 17:32)

Although the word used in the translation is "adultery," the verse in
Arabic refers to zina, which includes fornication or premarital
relations.
Among the changes young people experience as they come of age is the
intensity and frequency with which thoughts of a sexual nature occur.
Not all young people will experience this, but for those who do so, the
experience can be overwhelming, embarrassing, and confusing, and it can
end up leaving them guilt ridden.
For young people who have not already been introduced to Islamic
teachings regarding fornication and homosexuality, there is often the
danger of their wanting to explore or experiment with their sexuality
without realizing the consequences of their actions. Some young people
become caught in a trap of viewing outright pornography or certain
movies which present sexual themes or explicit sexual content. They
justify their actions by saying that at least they are not acting on
their desires. However, this behavior is not acceptable in Islam and
should be avoided, by fasting if necessary, so as to control one's
desire as recommended by Prophet Muhammad.
In addition, there are other young people who have been misled by their
peers or through various media outlets into believing that they need to
explore their sexuality through dating, masturbation, and through
acting upon their homosexual or lesbian desires. Islamic scholars agree
that masturbation is frowned upon in Islam but a minority of such
scholars allow for the possibility that a young person might turn to
masturbation infrequently if only to avoid engaging in outright sin
through fornication. The obviously much more preferable course of
action is to fast and to exercise self-restraint. But still, there is
no disagreement among Islamic scholars on the prohibition of engaging
in fornication and homosexuality.

A very insightful story about fornication is narrated to us by Abdullah
ibn `Umar who literally grew up in the company of Prophet Muhammad.
According to this hadith, three men were on a journey and spent the
night in a cave only to find that a big rock had rolled down the
mountain and blocked the entrance. They convinced one another that the
only way to move the rock would be to seek the help of Allah through
narrating the most righteous deed that each of them had conducted for
the sake of Allah alone. Among the stories recounted in the hadith is
the experience of one of the three men who was tempted to commit
fornication with his cousin but restrained himself from doing so. We
present this portion of the hadith:
The second man said, "O Allah! I had a cousin who was the dearest of
all people to me and I wanted to have sexual relations with her but she
refused. Later she had a hard time in a famine year and she came to me;
I gave her one-hundred- and-twenty dinars on the condition that she
would not resist my desire, and she agreed. When I was about to fulfill
my desire, she said, 'It is illegal for you to outrage my chastity
except in legitimate marriage.' So I thought it a sin to have sexual
intercourse with her and left her though she was the dearest of all
people to me, and I also left the gold I had given her. O Allah! If I
did that for Your sake only, please relieve us from the present
calamity." So the rock shifted a little more but still they could not
get out of there. The Prophet added, "Then the third man said [his
story] … So that rock shifted completely and they got out
walking." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book 36, Hadith 472)
For those young people who might be struggling with confusing thoughts
about their own sexuality and wondering about homosexuality, we refer
to a series of articles which appeared on IslamOnline. net under the
broad title Homosexuality in a Changing World: Are We Being
Misinformed? [2]. Even if you think you are attracted to a person of
the same gender, fear Allah and turn to Him constantly, seeking His
guidance and His assistance in exercising self-restraint. Allah
Almighty will not punish us for thoughts upon which we do not act, but
we are sure to incur His wrath and punishment for acting upon our
sexual desires outside of marriage. Some people at the time of the
Prophet engaged in homosexual behavior and Allah Almighty forbade
homosexuality as an abomination for all time to come:
[For you practice your lusts on men in preference to women: You are
indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds] (Al-A`raf 7:81)
[And unto Lot we gave judgment and knowledge, and We delivered him from
the community that did abominations. Lo! They were folk of evil, lewd.]
(Al-Anbiyaa' 21:74)
What is important overall is that you understand that coming of age,
thinking about sex, experiencing sexual desires, and feeling sexual
passion are all blessings from Allah which carry a heavy burden of
responsibility and are a trust from Allah. It is not permissible in
Islam for us to violate that trust, to be irresponsible with these
blessings, and to risk incurring Allah's displeasure.

Natural, Enjoyable, and Worthy of Reward

After being chaste throughout your unmarried life, here's what you have
to look forward to: According to Islamic teachings, sexual intimacy
with your spouse is not only considered natural and guilt-free but also
is meant to be enjoyable by both husband and wife, and sexual relations
between spouses are worthy of reward! What's that? Never heard of such
a thing? Shocked that this is what Islam teaches, right? Well, get over
the shock and start to appreciate what these teachings have to do with
your life.
It happened that on one occasion Prophet Muhammad helped his
Companions, as narrated to us by Abu Dhar Al-Ghifari, to understand
that one did not have to be rich only in wealth in order to give
sadaqah (charity) and earn reward from Allah Almighty. The Companions
were concerned that the rich among them were taking all of the reward
by praying, fasting, and giving charity out of their surplus wealth.
The Prophet reminded his Companions that a man or woman who chooses
righteous conduct over sinful conduct is worthy of being rewarded by
Allah. And one example of righteous conduct the Prophet specifically
mentioned was the fulfilling of sexual passion with one's spouse
instead of having an extramarital affair, that is, committing adultery.
The complete hadith is reported in Sahih Muslim as follows:

Abu Dhar reported: Some of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah
said to him, "Messenger of Allah, the rich have taken away [all the]
reward: They observe prayer as we do, they keep the fasts as we keep,
and they give sadaqah out of their surplus riches." Upon this, the
Prophet said, "Has Allah not prescribed for you [a course] and if you
follow Him you can [also] give sadaqah? In every declaration of the
glorification of Allah (e.g., saying "Exalted is Allah"), there is a
sadaqah, every Takbir (i.e., saying "Allah is Greatest") is a sadaqah,
every praise of Him (saying al-hamdu lillah) is a sadaqah, every
declaration that He is One (la illaha illa Allah) is a sadaqah,
enjoining good is a sadaqah, forbidding of that which is evil is a
sadaqah, and in man's sexual intercourse (with his wife) there is a
sadaqah."

They (the Companions) said, "Messenger of Allah, is there reward for
him who satisfies his sexual passion among us?" He said, "Tell me, if
he were to devote it to something forbidden, would it not be a sin on
his part? Similarly, if he were to devote it to something lawful, he
should have a reward." (Sahih Muslim, Book 5, Hadith 2198)

Final Thoughts

Whether you are just reaching puberty or have come of age sometime ago,
you should be reminded by this article that all of us need to be
conscious of our sexuality and strive ceaselessly to remain chaste.
Although common notions of adolescence encourage you to explore and to
experiment with your sexuality, there is nothing within Islamic
teachings that even remotely tolerates premarital sexual relations of
any kind. It is important that you know what is allowable and that you
ask trustworthy scholars should you have any questions. The goal should
be for you to have a healthy, normal adolescence while striving to
remain chaste throughout.

References

1. Hamid, Abdul Wahid. Islam the Natural Way. London: Muslim
Educational and Literary Services, 1996.

2. El-Awady, Nadia. "Homosexuality in a Changing World: Are We Being
Misinformed? " IslamOnline. net. 17 Feb. 2003. Last accessed on 10 Feb.
2007.

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