Islam and Sex May 31st 2014

Let’s talk about SEX

The prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) never shied away from educating his followers about sex, so why do we?

In our latest campaign, we’ve been discussing the issue of grooming gangs and women’s rights among the British-Pakistani community. It’s clear they’ve got a lot to say and want to talk about sex and relationships. They strongly believe parents and Imams should lead on these culturally sensitive issues and they’re certainly not wrong.

Currently there’s an epic disconnect in the way parents relate to their children. A great deal of parents like to believe and express how dutiful and pious their children are. In reality nothing could be further from the truth. Hardly a surprise when women are thought of as second-class citizens and sex is a taboo subject not to be mentioned or talked about in front of parents and elders.

That’s not to say some probably are good Muslims, but how many times have you met a British-Pakistanis who lead double lives by regularly deceiving their parents about their whereabouts and their activities outside of the home? On the face of it, the issue seems quite trivial but when you consider the poor attitude towards women and the phenomena of grooming gangs, we’re dealing with a grave problem.

Culture over religion

As I mentioned above sex and the position of women are culturally sensitive issues not Islamically sensitive. Yes, Islam teaches us to be chaste, modest and encourages us to lower our gazes but it doesn’t stop us from being inquisitive even when it comes to sex and women.

The sahabas both male and female enquired about sex and the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) never hesitated to answer. After all, it was he himself who taught his followers that their wives had a right over them when it came to sexual gratification. He further forbade men from setting on their wives like animals when it came to sex. He encouraged the full participation of women in public life. His wives and daughters were community activists; in particular, his wives were his closest and trusted advisors.

The Pakistani community have not embraced the true values and teachings of Islam; instead, culture and family tradition prevail. The lack of respect of women is a feature of male chauvinism inherent in the culture.

Time to act

The Imams are in a responsible and strong position to use their mosques to teach the essence of Islam and the beauty of its wisdom. However, some mosques are part of the problem rather than solution and that applies to parents too. While a lot of excellent and progressive initiatives are taking place in mosques in others women are not even allowed to enter a mosque!

If parents and Imams don’t start communicating with the younger generation, we’re heading for deeper problems.

The sex and relationship education children receive in schools is secular, which encourages, and rightly so to be cautious and use contraception. However, sex is forbidden before marriage as are pre-marital relations. Parents constantly dictate the don’ts but fail to explain why Islam teaches us to refrain sex and relationships before marriage. Islam encourages the sacred the union of a man and woman to safeguard their dignity and honour.

Alarmingly, the media, in particular music videos, grossly sexualise women. These videos are heavily influencing the younger generation to believe women are nothing but objects of desire.

Islam doesn’t sexualise women it empowers them by encouraging to dress modestly and seek knowledge so they are respected for their brains not bodily endowments.

In order to break the taboo it’s important that the younger generation be educated about sex and women through Islam and the place to start is with the mosques.

Sara Yasmin Anwar

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