“Blessed are the women of the Ansar (the citizens of Madina). Shyness did not stand in their way seeking knowledge about their religion.” (Sahih Bukhari)
This topic is never really easy to approach as everyone has varying opinions as we all walk through life differently and come from different backgrounds. I live in the West and this has been an ongoing issue for a few years now and I have flip-flopped between opinions, but now think I am confident in a standing. Alhamdulillah.
We live in a global society that is extremely over-sexualized. The television, films, sporting events, video games and music our kids, from the time they are born, are exposed to everyday are highly toxic and contaminate them no matter what.
If you just take Indian films for example, they demean and sexualize women; they promote heinous violence and push the secular agenda so far down our throats we have no choice but to swallow. The breakdown of society results from this kind of Dajjalic programming and our kids have questions because of it. They are individuals with rights just like you and me and they deserve answers. They deserve this information to come from a place of Islam not secular culture, but what choice do we have when we refuse to acknowledge this?
And it is He who created the heavens and earth in truth. And the day He says, “Be,” and it is, His word is the truth. And His is the dominion [on] the Day the Horn is blown. [He is] Knower of the unseen and the witnessed; and He is the Wise, the Acquainted. (The Noble Quran 6:73)
“Fear Allah and treat your children [small or grown] fairly (with equal justice).”
(Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Not only do our kids question religion, but also their own sexuality as well as the sexuality of people around them. When our girls get their menses or boys that first wet dream at earlier and earlier ages (some studies have shown this could be because of our diets and certain vaccines, but thats a discussion for a different time, Insha’Allah) many of us treat it like the plague scaring them more so and prefer not to give the details of what it means, how to be hygienic, or illustrate what is happening to their bodies. When they are not given the answers they need (i.e. the “This is Haram and that is the way it is, end of discussion” copout that so many of us prefer under uncomfortable questioning), they become confused and go to their friends for advice.
Danger! Danger! Now you have Jennifer and Fatima talking about sex, hormones raging and access to internet, mobile phones and boys in public and private (let’s not be naive), no parent in sight…see where I am going with this? Not worried? You have boys right? Well, replace the girls with boys, it’s all the same pressure.
Although we may feel like it may not be their place to say, this type of regulation that the government is suggesting is a need of the time. They are not just taking shots in the dark. They have studied the behaviors of children, statistics and come up with this curriculum to address the issues at hand. For the younger kids, I don’t believe in getting into nitty-gritty details, but touching on anatomy, cyber bullying, responsible Internet use and sexual abuse may not be a bad idea. Our society is creating many sick and perverted sociopathic monsters that feed off of the things that they see in creepy media programs and even video games, which stimulate them and lead them to lose control. They are predators and know exactly how to manipulate young trusting minds into thinking that what they propose is normal, natural and pleasurable. Our kids better be armed and know the realities of these acts, most women in the West don’t report rape as adults, how do we expect kids to speak up when they are frightened and confused?
And know that your properties and your children are but a trial and that Allah has with Him a great reward. (The Holy Quran 8:28)
You cannot even watch Islamic videos on YouTube these days without seeing something that is offensive to the senses. Our kids are exposed to this disgusting media that is seducing them into growing up too fast without teaching them the risks or harms of these acts. Who will teach them? With statistics rising daily of pregnancy at earlier and earlier stages, bullying, teen suicide, STDs, dropout rates, delinquency, rape and questionable hygienic practices I believe, as parents across the world, we are doing a pretty questionable job, so if the schools have to deal with the blowback of these issues and want to take action, are they wrong? If most parents are not handling it, how can the government deal with this genuine concern? Obviously, I acknowledge that these are not people of God and will not be teaching from that perspective, but look around, we are choosing to live in a secular society where our kids are taught secular values. As sad a truth as it may seem, it is reality and this will be handled no differently. So perhaps we should handle it.
We may think we are fine and our kids are all right, but we don’t know what’s happening when we are not around. These are not atheistic problems, Muslims are struggling with this as well, especially our girls. I have been through this system and let me tell you it’s not easy being a kid, especially a Muslim kid in this all encompassing Global village. I am a product of this curriculum (which actually hasn’t changed too much when you compare the old one with the new proposed one, just enhanced to include technological advancement and sexual preference) and let me be the first to tell you that I have seen it help kids who were being sexually abused wake up to the reality of what was happening to them right in front of my eyes, right in the middle of health class. I will never forget the look on that child’s face for as long as I live.
Our kids should know what is a violation, what is not ok and where to go for help if they feel they cannot turn to anyone. Please just think about some of the innocent kids we left back home in the Madrasas and schools where they are subjected to this abuse by adults who should be trusted and protect them, who are considered people of God. Many a time it is because they don’t know it’s wrong, they are frightened, they don’t know who to turn to, they are threatened or in their innocence it just feels good that they don’t report it or speak up. When it could be adults who are most often the monsters, should we not give our kids the weapon of knowledge?
Our kids are not as ignorant to sexuality as we may believe. They are constantly dealing with mixed signals and these lead to dishonesty and instances like Razia wearing her hijab to school in front of the parental units and taking it off as soon as she gets to school, because she just. Doesn’t. Get. It. They are left exposed all the time and probably know a lot more than they let on in fear of being judged or ostracized. This needs to stop. A dialogue needs to begin.
The Prophet (SAW) said: “There is no shyness in matters of religion”.
We turn on the Disney channel and walk away thinking it’s safe, but Shaytan is babysitting. Even the most innocent appearing media these days is injected with this exact purpose, they want our kids to be easily manipulated Godless drones and they are coming after them hard. We have to come back harder.
Our kids need to understand that everything in this life has a consequence, in this world and the Hereafter. Those topless photos a girl takes innocently after being persuaded by some delinquent are not going away, EVER, but we refuse to believe our kids could fall into this trap. Astaghfirullah. It is happening at earlier and earlier ages. We are not with them 24/7 and without knowing the risks, they will remain exposed and ignorant, being led by a libido that is tough to control when they are easily swayed.
Not only all this, but Islam itself is very open to sexuality and questions about it. There is no age limit to that. The Prophet (SAW) has many Hadith related to sexual intercourse, puberty, hygiene, wet dreams, menses and permissibility rulings. We have a wealth of knowledge that should be readily available, but we are too traumatized by the idea of speaking about it. It concerns me. Really. If we pull our kids out of these classes, then we should be prepared to impart some wisdom on our own. Perhaps taking a look at the Sex Ed curriculum, discussing the subjects at hand and putting the Islamic perspective on them.
Indeed, the worst of living creatures in the sight of Allah are the deaf and dumb who do not use reason. (The Noble Quran 8:22)
We have to face the fact that if we were doing a stellar job then more and more kids wouldn’t be falling out of the folds of faith and suffer sexual confusion. Their tiny little bodies are exposed to things that make them react and in many cases their bodies betray them again and again, let’s be real here. It’s a reality and we need to wake up to the needs of the time. We don’t live in a time where we are just dealing with basic seven-channel cable and Pong like when we were kids. We cannot judge this time with those standards. If we stop watching these films, television shows, sexualized sporting events, listening to music and playing mindless video games most of these problems will not need to be addressed. They will go back to being a rare and shocking occurrence. Then we can say that, “look these issues don’t exist and we don’t need this”, but unfortunately that is not the world we live and love in.
When we cancelled our cable and stopped watching non-Islamic films our Muslim friends thought we were cruel and depriving our kids, so that should tell you something right there. This is a huge problem in our Muslim community. We would rather discuss films, television and music than the Quran and Sunnah, Astaghfirullah. When we are speaking about Islam to someone and their eyes go dead, we should be devastated, because we have a major issue as an Ummah. How are our children going to carry the weight of a faith that they don’t understand, because they are protected from certain aspects that we deem too heavy for them (don’t even get me started on death and Jahannum). We bring about these unspeakable issues ourselves and then blame society or the West. We are the head of our households and we control that domain. They copy us, learn from us and we confuse them when we say one thing and then do another. This has more to do with what is happening at home than at school.
So when the Qur’an is recited, then listen to it and pay attention that you may receive mercy. And remember your Lord within yourself in humility and in fear without being apparent in speech – in the mornings and the evenings. And do not be among the heedless. (The Noble Quran 7:204-205)
If we don’t want to take the necessary steps to make sure our kids aren’t as exposed (we can’t get to everything, but we can control what’s under our roof) then we should prepare to have these discussions. Not tout that they are too young, because you better believe they know something. We talk to our kids who don’t have free access to all that stuff at home (believe me all we do is talk since we are free of that mainstream stuff) and they know a plethora of little shockers with the little exposure they have, so we are all in this together.
We have to realize that this is knocking on our doors; pornography is a huge Muslim world problem. The poor misguided women in those videos are human beings and someone’s sisters and mothers and daughters, men and women should be indoctrinated at an early age to think of this before they tune in to that disgusting subjugation. These taboo subjects need to be addressed and perhaps before standing against it we should ask why it’s needed? Why do the schools, who spend so much time with these kids, feel this need? We can take it as an opportunity to have a conversation that perhaps we may have found to be too uncomfortable to start.
In reality, I just find it so painful that we even have to have this discussion. We try our hardest to make things better here for our kids, it’s the reason why, in many cases, we left our homes to come here. But I beg to ask why all this effort, protest and heartache for a nation that is not a Muslim nation? While the Kuffar continue to benefit from our intellect, religious ethics, education and hard work, our countries suffer from lack of knowledge, lack of dialogue, lack of infrastructure, laziness and basic human cruelty. Why all this effort for this country, when we left ours behind? A painful truth I ask myself everyday.
In the end, this is not where we belong, this is not our Dar-us-Salam as illustrated in the Quran in Surah Anfal (must read, very motivating, Alhamdulillah), this is a place where we will have to deal with these unavoidable issues on a daily basis even when doing something as innocent as going to the mall to buy a pair of pants. Subhan’Allah. May Allah guide us and make it easier on us to migrate to a Muslim land where we can live under the rulings of the Quran and Sunnah, where our kids can be free to play and be children without our concern of what they see, hear and learn, Ameen.
But those who have believed and emigrated and fought in the cause of Allah and those who gave shelter and aided – it is they who are the believers, truly. For them is forgiveness and noble provision. (The Noble Quran 8:74)
We cannot escape it here, so even if we decide to pull our kids out of these classes (I will be pulling my kids out of certain parts, Insha’Allah) which I believe, with concern, in some cases do teach kids to accept things that are deemed impure in our faith, I request for all Muslims especially the Mothers, to have this conversation about Islam, the body, gender equality and sexual preference, abstinence and outside influences. Don’t let this pass and please don’t think that it can’t happen to you or your kids. It can, it happens everyday and it is heartbreaking. Astaghfirullah.
Muslims are people of intellect. We should not even need the Kuffar to bring this up as it is a problem they themselves created with their bogus censorship and rating systems. We should have had this epiphany the first time we heard the nasty lyrics of some pop song or tuned into one of these preteen hedonistic programs. We had our most beloved Scholars (RA) [i.e. Imam Shafi’ee (RA) and Imam Hambal (RA)] studying the Tafseer of Quran from age eight on, we had H. Aishah (RA) who studied with the Prophet (SAW) from an early age to his (SAW) death when she was eighteen. The Quran is very candid on sexuality, homosexuality, menses, gender equality, etc. We believe our kids can’t handle it, but if taught properly and age appropriately, they will handle it. They already know about it, look around at all the stimulation. You can’t stand at the bus stop without being bombarded by inappropriate images and signs at every turn. We need to learn our Islam so we can teach them and answer their questions. Allah knows us better than ourselves and we must trust in Him.
We really should talk about whatever our kids are exposed to whether they ask or not, because that half nude Victoria Secret poster at the Mall, that One Direction song about “gettin’ some”, that kissing and “romance” illustrated in Frozen is not going away. It’s getting worse and worse everyday. At this point, we should be more concerned about the media and useless mainstream education our kids are learning which take them further away from faith towards atheism on a daily basis. Everything should be about getting closer to Allah and avoiding things that create distance, even when it comes to education.
Putting our personal fears aside, we must arm ourselves as well as our kids with knowledge of all things and have such an open relationship with them that they do not feel shy about broaching any subject, Insha’Allah.
I pray for Allah to protect our children no matter where they are and to give us the strength to help them understand this Dajjalic time, I pray that we can do justice to this faith of Islam, that we can honour our Prophet Muhammad (SAW) through our actions and be worthy of calling ourselves slaves of Allah, the Most Merciful, Ameen.
Allah knows us better than ourselves and we have no choice but to trust in Him.
Please check out the links below for some resources on how to broach these subjects, our children’s education system and media exposure. Jazak’Allahu Khayran.
The Children Around the Prophet (SAW) series – Dr. Hesham Al-Awadi