Conversations with a Pregnant Wife, Part 3: What’s in a Name?
By Yasser Aboudouma
Writer, Civil Engineer – Egypt
Husbands, you have reached the final stage of the pregnancy marathon! The last three months of pregnancy can be called the months of mass destruction. The pregnant wife will be fond of knowing the baby’s gender; you too, of course. She will start shopping for the baby. She will have emotional “alterations” — in some cases, depression!
Month Seven (Boy/Girl)
Sure, the doctor can tell the baby’s gender. It is common in Egypt that most families dream that the first baby is a boy, which means your wife will dream of that too
Wife: That doctor is really weird. She is telling us “may be a boy, may be a girl.” What does she mean that the baby can be a girl? I want a baby boy, and all my friends and family are prepared for that. If we had gone to a male doctor from the beginning, he would have told us, easily, whether the baby is a girl or a boy.
Wife: Huh! I need to think about baby girl names. What you do think? Layla, Dalia, or Du`aa’? or let’s call her after my close friend. You know, I want her name to be unique — something that combines Arab, Egyptian, Western, Islamic, and Pharaonic cultures all in one name!
Husband: (teasing her) Don’t worry about the name. we’ll give her the name “Saffron.” I’ll complete all the official paperwork before you leave the operation room after delivery.
Wife: WHAT? Saf … what? No, please. Let me choose her name. I want to name her after my mom, your mom, or your sister — just don’t choose that name.
Of course, the name choice argument will give you some power to control her mood, but remember, don’t use it too much ; otherwise, you will find yourself flying out of the window!
Month Eight (Clothes)
Various researches describe this month in different ways, but they all agree that the pregnant woman wants to buy the entire world for her baby. She will feel jealous if she knows or hears about other mothers buying something for their babies, and she will do her best to buy the same or better. You as a husband have to accept that and get prepared to spend your savings on it. Husbands, never ever dream of saying “no” or complaining if she asks for baby shopping.
Wife: My colleague came to work with her baby today, and the baby wore a very sweet, pretty outfit that made her look like a princess. In the evening, I’ll go shopping.
Husband: OK! We can shop at the weekend.
Wife: Thank you, honey. I knew you would agree, so today I bought fancy brand-name clothes for her from that famous store. Our daughter must get the best!
Husband: I thought we were going to do the shopping together.
Wife: Don’t worry. There’s still a lot to buy. Hey, see this is a shampoo for the baby when she sleeps and that shampoo is for when she wakes up. These are diapers from the US, and this is a brush for her hair.
Husband: WHAT? Shampoo for what? How do you know that the baby wants to sleep or not to and how to decide ahead of time which shampoo to use? You might bathe her with shampoo used for waking up and then she will want to sleep… oh yes, then you’ll wake her up quickly and give her a shower with the right shampoo?
Who told you that the baby will be born with hair; as I understand it, a lot of babies are born without any hair, so that hairbrush is useless. In addition, why did you buy diapers made in the US? What’s wrong with the ones made in Egypt? It’s just a diaper, not a fancy thing!
Wife: Arrrgh! Don’t worry, babies know the right shampoo! She’ll sense which is the correct one and then act accordingly; that’s what’s written on the bottle. And I got the US-made diapers because I want my daughter to feel unique. Anyway, I bought three towels for the baby, one to use after shower, the second to dry her as the first one will be wet, and the third to cover her the second we are sure she is properly dried. Also, I got her hair clips, skin cream — one for night and the other for the morning, three pair of shoes, socks, underwear, and four dresses.
Husband: Are you sure you’re shopping for a baby, not a girl who is getting ready for marriage?! By the way, did you buy her a make-up box? There’s something especially for babies. You have to run to buy it now, and don’t forget the baby’s teeth brush, too!
Wife: Oh my God! You’re right, I really forgot that. I’ll arrange with my mom and sister to go out with me to complete my shopping.
Wife: By the way, you have to be more careful; my close friend told me that anger and nervousness are not good for pregnancy. Today at the meeting, all my colleagues were perfectly behaved; once any one just thought about arguing with me, I told them that I was in the eighth month and the baby would be delivered prematurely if I argue! There were no arguments, and the meeting ended in 10 minutes!
Husband: I think you’ll get fired soon.
Days pass slowly, and the pregnant wife returns home with many things she bought from different stores. The husband gets used to seeing his wife sitting on the floor and spreading all the baby’s stuff around her to check, kiss, hug them and find out what is missing!
Husbands, congratulations! You’re in the ninth month. You have waited eight months to reach that final month. You controlled your temper throughout, you worked and helped with the housework, And you are tired; you deserve some relaxation.
The pregnant wife knows that the time of her being spoiled will end; finally, she will be responsible for a baby, so she will start acting as poorly, trying to show you that she is weak and powerless. Do understand that she is worried about delivering her baby — it is her first time, and she knows virtually nothing about giving birth. So you will have to –be, even more, patient!
Wife: Honey, I feel sorry for you! The past eight months have been very hard for you. I rarely cooked and you stopped eating dinner, while your breakfast was just a cake; you lost 20 kg. I have to cook today. I’ll make a surprise for you. I’ll boil some eggs and prepare white cheese, but would you please prepare the salad for us?!
Husband: … .
Wife: Do you think I’ll deliver the baby naturally or will there be a C-section? You know, most of my pregnant friends had a cesarean. Maybe my doctor will deliver it naturally as she is a female doctor.
Husband: Ah yep, but the doctor’s gender doesn’t affect the type of delivery.
Wife: Anyway, I prepared two suite cases for the baby and me.
A natural phenomenon: All pregnant women become nice and kind to their husbands just a few days before giving birth. So be careful, because that kindness will turn to hell if you were at work while she starts labor.
Wife: OHHH, HELP! Mom, Father, Brother, Sister, Uncles, Aunts, United Nations, Egyptian people, the Universe, … any one! Help me, I’m in pain! The baby!
Wife: (addressing her husband) Honey, I’m in pain, tell that doctor to give me any painkiller. I can’t handle it any more. I feel weak. Promise me if anything happens to me, never ever get married again! Don’t give our baby a stepmother. Please, promise me!
Husband: You’ll be fine, and everything will be OK. It happens to all women; you’re not the first one. Just a few minutes from now, and you’ll hold in your arms a sweet baby girl.
Wife: Did you bring a video camera with you? Don’t take any shots from my left-hand side; my right side is more photogenic! Choose good angles for the shots, I want to look pretty in the video. Take shots while I’m not screaming and before my face appears in the video screen, just tell me to smile.
Husband: We’re recording the birth of our baby, not making a movie! You’ll be in the operation room, and you won’t care about anything of that sort.
Wife: Labor hurts. I’m crazy and stupid; I don’t want to get pregnant again. This is the first and last time. If anyone had told me about that pain, I would’ve never thought about marriage.
A big scream from the pregnant woman calls for the baby to come out and get introduced into this world to join the mother’s community.
Wife: Honey, what is the gender of the baby?
Husband: What? The baby is a girl. We knew that a long time ago.
Wife: Yipeeee… I thought the doctor would change her mind. Is she pretty?
He: (Teasing her) Who, the doctor? Yes, very.
Wife: No, silly! I mean the baby.
Husband: Oh! yes, she’s very, very pretty.
Wife: OK, next time we’ll have a baby boy. Now tell them I want to hold her.
Husband: (in amazement) Next time? You just said … You were … What happened? Women! Women! Women!
Husbands, don’t worry. Pregnant women are all like that — in a state of confusion and amazement. And they will continue to be like that until the last second of their lives. Congratulations!
Yasser Aboudouma is an Egyptian-Canadian who lives between Cairo and Ontario. He holds a B.Sc. in engineering and a diploma in project management. He is interested in issues of social and cultural differences.
In Vitro Fertilization in Islam
Ruling on in vitro fertilization, or egg donation, in Islam
Reprinted from IslamOnline.net
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear questioner, thank you very much for having confidence in us, and we hope our efforts, which are purely for Allah’s Sake, meet your expectations.
In the first place, we would like to stress that in vitro fertilization is permissible as long as the semen and ovum are from a husband and wife who are legally married and the fertilization takes place during their marriage, not after divorce or the death of the husband.
Responding to the question, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, former President of the Islamic Society of North America, states the following:
“In vitro fertilization is a new biomedical method to help couples who are otherwise not able to have a child through normal husband/wife relationship.
Modern Muslim jurists did research on this method and in the light of the Shari`ah principles have given their opinions. In the following, I am going to give a summary of their modern ijtihad on this subject.
First of all let me explain briefly what is in vitro fertilization. It is a biomedical method that is generally used when, due to some obstruction, the sperm of the husband cannot reach the ovum. In this case the ovum is removed from her ovary at the time of ovulation.
This ovum is then exposed to the husband’s sperm in vitro in the hope that it will be fertilized. The fertilized ovum is then maintained in a test tube and at a later stage when it becomes an embryo it is deposited in the woman’s uterus. Thus, a woman who would otherwise not be able to conceive a baby is able to have a normal pregnancy and the couple enjoys the child.
Based on the principle that the Shari`ah came to protect and preserve the lineage or nasab of the people and thus it is haram to marry a woman during her `iddah or to have an intercourse with a woman who is carrying another person’s pregnancy, the Muslim jurists have allowed the use of in vitro fertilization only between legally married couples during their marriage.
Thus in vitro fertilization is permissible as long as the semen and ovum are from the couple who are legally married and the fertilization takes place during their marriage, not after divorce or the death of the husband.
A divorced woman is not allowed to receive the fertilized ovum (embryo) from her ex-husband. Similarly, a widow is not allowed to take it after the death of her husband. Surrogacy, i.e., giving the embryo to another woman to carry on the pregnancy in her womb is also not permissible in Islam. It also not permissible for a Muslim woman to act as a surrogate mother.”
Divorce While Pregnant?
My husband divorced me while I was pregnant. Then before I gave birth to my child he came back and said that we are not divorced since pregnant women can’t be divorced. So I would like to know am I really divorced or not? My husband and I love each other very much and now we have a baby son. Please do reply to me as soon as possible.
Praise be to Allaah.
Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked whether a woman may be divorced by talaaq when she is pregnant. He said:
This is an idea which is common among some people. Some of the people think that a pregnant woman cannot be divorced by talaaq. I do not know where they get this idea from, for it has no basis in the words of the scholars. Rather the view of all the scholars is that a pregnant woman can be divorced by talaaq. There is consensus on this point among the scholars, and there is no dispute. Talaaq according to the Sunnah means that a woman may be divorced in two cases:
1 – She may be divorced when she is pregnant; this is a Sunnah divorce and is not bid’ah.
2 – She should be taahir (pure, i.e., not menstruating) and her husband should not have touched her (i.e., had intercourse with her), i.e., she should have become taahir following menstruation or nifaas (post-natal bleeding) and before he has intercourse with her. Talaaq in this case is in accordance with the Sunnah.
Fataawa al-Talaaq by Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 1/45-46
So long as he took her back during the ‘iddah, then she is still his wife, because the ‘iddah of a woman who is pregnant ends when she gives birth, and her husband took her back before she gave birth. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And for those who are pregnant (whether they are divorced or their husbands are dead), their ‘Iddah (prescribed period) is until they lay down their burden.”
This is the ‘iddah of the pregnant woman whether she is divorced or widowed. The husband should count this as one talaaq. And Allaah knows best.
Source: Islam Q&A
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
Rights of Children Born Out of Wedlock
Name of Mufti: Group of Muftis
Topic: Rights of Children Born out of Wedlock
Name of Questioner: A Muslim from USA
Question: Dear scholars, As-Salamu `alaykum. I am a Muslim male convert from USA. I have two children from before I accepted Islam and they were both born out of wedlock in an unlawful relationship before I met my wife.
Since accepting Islam I gained custodial rights over them but not custody. They live with me and my wife who also have two children and of course I care for and maintain them. I call them son (6) and daughter (5) and they call me father. My wife calls them step-son and daughter and they call her step-mother.
I have learned that in Islam, children of zina are not ascribed to the father and that there is no parent/child rights between them. They are considered orphans and there is no term as step-parent. Having said all of this back ground info., my question is what are the relations between us according to Shari`ah? Should I allow them to know they are orphans? If their birth mother wants them back though she refuses acceptance of Islam should I allow them to leave my home to live with her? If I am not considered their father than what is our duty to them and them to us? Jazakum Allah khayran.
Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear brother in Islam, we commend your pursuit of knowledge and your keenness to seek what is lawful and avoid what is not. We earnestly implore Allah to bless your efforts in this honorable way.
First of all, it is to be stated that adultery and producing a child out of wedlock is indeed an enormous sin in Islam. However, a non-Muslim who embraces Islam should be assured of the promise of the Messenger of Allah who said,“Islam wipes out all of one’s past sins.” In other words, on becoming a Muslim every single sin you had committed in the past, no matter how enormous and ugly they were, will be blotted out, and thus once again you will become like a new born baby, and hence free of all sins. Furthermore, Allah’s infinite compassion is such that while, upon embracing Islam, you are absolved of all of your past sins, you carry over to Islam all of the good deeds you ever happened to do in the past: It is indeed a double mercy.
Secondly, as for the child born out of wedlock, like every other child, he or she is born sinless; it does not carry the stigma of the sin of the father or mother or both. A basic principle in Islamic justice is that no one bears the blame for another’s fault. A child born as a result of an illegitimate relationship suffers no adverse discrimination on account of his parents’ sin.
Responding to the question in point,Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former President of the Islamic Society of North America, states:
“The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said that Islam removes the sins of the past. Since you accepted Islam, Inshaa’Allah you will receive the forgiveness for your past sins.
Since you acknowledge that those children are yours, you are their father and they are your children. They are not orphans as long as you are alive. If you want to take care of them, then you should do that, but if their mother wants them, that is acceptable.
Most importantly, try to raise them as Muslims. Because this thing happened before Islam, these children will inherit from you if they are Muslims, but if they do not accept Islam, then they will not have the rights of inheritance from you. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said that a Muslim doesn’t inherit from a non-Muslim and a non-Muslim doesn’t inherit from a Muslim. However, you are allowed to give them a share from your will, which should not be more than 1/3 of your assets.”
In this respect, the prominent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Muhammad Iqbal Nadvi, Imam of Calgary Mosque, Alberta, Canada, and Former Professor at King Saud University, Riyad, Saudi Arabia, adds:
“The children born out of wedlock deserve all the care they need as children; thus you should provide them with all the requirements and elements to make them succeed in this life.
They are not responsible for the past deeds of their parents. However, the attribution of the child’s name to the father is based on the acceptance of the father. If he approves of it, then he/she can be named after him.”
Hugging People of the Opposite Sex
Name of Mufti: Ahmad Kutty
Topic: Hugging the Opposite Sex
Name of Questioner: Jewan from the Netherlands
Question: Dear scholars, As-Salamu `alaykum. I am a teenager living in the west. I want to know whether things such as hugging fall under the sin of adultery or are they considered major sins. Jazakum Allah khayran.
Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear questioner, we would like to thank you for the great confidence you place in us, and we implore Allah Almighty to help us serve His cause and render our work for His Sake.
Islam has taken a firm and decisive stance againstzina(fornication or adultery). Allah, the Almighty, commands in explicit and unequivocal words: “And come not near unto adultery. Lo! it is an abomination and an evil way.“ (Al-Israa’ 17: 32)
Thus, Islam not only prohibits zina, but also closes all the avenues and means leading to it. This is achieved by prohibiting every step and means leading to stimulating desires, opening ways for illicit sexual relations between men and women, and promoting indecency and obscenity.
In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
Your question shows your eagerness to know Islam’s position on a practice that is so prevalent among the youth today. You should know that, as a young man striving to hold on firmly to your religion, you belong to those who have been given glad tidings by the Messenger of Allah. Once you recognize Allah’s laws for what they are, namely, compassionate devices to save us from the wickedness inherent in our souls and not as burdensome laws, you would be much better prepared to follow them most scrupulously.
The laws of Allah are based on His infinite Mercy and Compassion. They take into account human weaknesses and failings. They are intended to save the largest number of people. These laws recognize the fact that humans are not always governed by their reason and rational mind; rather they are ruled by emotions and personal desire for instant gratifications. Were such emotions and feelings given a free rein, they would cause incalculable destruction to individuals and societies. So Almighty Allah, out of His sheer Compassion and mercy towards us, has prescribed laws that are intended to protect us against our nature.
So instead of merely telling us don’t fornicate, Allah tells us don’t go near fornication, for all humans, given their rational mind, will recognize the fact that fornication entails serious consequences for individuals and societies. No person in his sane, rational mind would think of committing that, but humans cannot control themselves once they are aroused or trapped in a situation where their emotional aspect dominates.
Therefore, Allah has set certain clear boundaries and limits for interaction between males and females. These include prohibition of all sorts of indiscriminate mingling and mixing between them, including hugging, kissing, touching, and flirting, etc. These things are forbidden not because everyone engaging in them will be committing adultery, but because they can all become leads, means, and preliminaries of fornication. Once allowed, they can become a slippery slope. How many have become victims of such activities?
So by trusting in Allah and surrendering to His will, you will enjoy true peace and tranquility. You will protect yourself against the pernicious tendencies of your own soul, and you will belong in the company of those who were given glad tidings by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him):
“One of the seven categories of people who shall be accorded the protection in the shade of Allah (on the day of horror and terror) will be a person who brushed off the advances of a lady of status and beauty saying, ‘I fear Allah.’”
Excerpted, with slight modifications, from:www.islam.ca
Are Ultrasound Scans Allowed in Islam?
I received this question on the IslamicAnswers.com website and I am reprinting the question and my answer here:
I am four months pregnant and soon i will have my second scan.
Is it haraam to ask what’s in my tummy?
And if it’s not haram plz could i have a hadeeth or ayaa in da quran?
Dear sister Marya, As-salamu alaykum wa rahmatullah,
Getting an ultrasound scan is not haram. I have never seen any ruling by any scholar that it is forbidden, but I have read many opinions that say it’s acceptable.
I was actually surprised that this is even an issue.
In fact it’s a good idea to determine if the fetus is suffering from any health problems, as doctors nowadays may be able to treat such problems even before the child is born.
It’s also very helpful to know the position of the baby in the womb, as a baby that is positioned incorrectly could endanger itself and the mother at delivery. Historically, many women have died from such problems.
My experience with my daughter
When my daughter Salma was in her mother’s womb, an ultrasound scan showed us two potentially serious problems. The first was that the baby was breach (turned the wrong way). The second was that the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. The doctor said that ordinarily with a breach baby he might try to turn it manually, but in my daughter’s case such a maneuver might tighten the cord around her neck and choke her. He recommended a cesarean section, and he said that we should not delay.
So we agreed, and Alhamdulillah my daughter is a healthy, lovely girl. If we had not performed the scan, we would not have known about the cord, and we might have lost the baby and endangered her mother as well.
Sometimes Muslims worry that an ultrasound might be haram because it might be taken as probing into Al-Ghayb or the unseen things that only Allah knows about. Here is an opinion on that subject:
Dr. Hatem al-Haj , associate professor of Fiqh at Shari`ah Academy of America and Islamic University of Minnesota, stated:
There are two different types of the unseen, absolute and relative. The absolute unseen belongs only to Almighty Allah, such as knowledge of the future that He did not disclose to any of His creation. While the relative unseen is like what is taking place in a different country at this time, but we do not know. It is part of the unseen because of our limited capacities and lack of encompassing knowledge, but it is not part of the absolute unseen.
The sex of the fetus in the womb is part of the relative knowledge of the unseen that is kept from some of Almighty Allah’s creation and disclosed to others. It is not in the latter stages of absolute knowledge of the unseen that belongs only to Him.
The reason why the question is asked – I think – and some Muslims may hesitate about this issue, is the following verse:
Almighty Allah says, (Verily, Allah! With Him (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs. No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allah is All Knower, All Aware (of things).) (Luqman 31: 34)
That which is in the wombs here does not apply to the sex of the fetus, even though the sex may be at some earlier stage of the knowledge of the absolute unseen. It refers to everything about this creature and its future.
The proof of this is that we were told that there is an angel who knows the sex of the fetus. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
“After the nutfah [drop (of semen)] is in the womb for forty or forty five nights, the angel enters and says: My Lord, will he be good or evil? Both will be written. Then he says, My Lord, would he be male or female? Both will be written. In addition, his deeds, actions, death and livelihood will be recorded. Then his document of destiny is rolled and there shall be no addition to it or subtraction from it.” (Muslim)
Since the angel knows the sex, it is not part of the absolute knowledge of the unseen from which all creatures are barred. Based on this, the earlier scholars did not reprimand physicians who attempted, through their rather primitive means, to guess the sex of a fetus.
Given the above, there is no harm in trying to know the sex of the baby before its birth through fetal ultrasound.
Mufti Ebrahim Desai has also answered a question on this subject:
How does one reconcile what a scan shows (of a baby in the mother’s womb, its sex, etc.) with the Qur’aanic verse that says that Allah Ta’ala Knows what is in the wombs?
The verse of the Quran in reference is “And Allah knows what is in the wombs.” There are two key words in this verse, Ya’lamu which means that Allah knows. The other key word is Arhaam which means wombs. The knowledge of Allah is absolute in every sense. Absolute knowledge is without any medium or source. That is the case with the knowledge of Allah. He does not require any means or source for His knowledge as knowledge is His attribute. The information on scanning machines is not knowledge as that is through a source, the machine. At most it is a reflection of that which is in the womb.
Secondly, the knowledge of Allah is error-proof. He knows exactly what is the gender of the child. There can be no mistake about that. Errors in scan machines are well known and common.
Thirdly, the knowledge of Allah about what is in the wombs is not confined to the gender of the child. It is far beyond that. Allah knows everything about the child, every blood cell, every blood vessel, every tissue, every bone, the marrow in the bone, the life span, the feature and conduct of the child. Allah even knows what the child will do and whether the child will be a successful slave of Allah or not. Surely, no machine, rather all the machines of the world, cannot detect an iota of all this.
The second key word in the verse in Arhaam which means wombs. Allah claims to know all that which is in the wombs. A scan machine may scan one woman at a time. Allah knows at once everything of every womb of every woman that came in the past that is present and that which will come in the future. Can there be any such machine. Subhanallah, the knowledge of Allah is supreme and greatest. Allahu Akbar. Allah is the greatest.
and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
A Warning About an Ugly Practice:
I should mention that some parents in certain countries sometimes perform an ultrasound scan in order to find out the sex (the gender) of the baby, and if it is a girl they might abort her. This is absolutely haram.
Shaykh Faraz Rabbani says about this:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
1. It is in itself permitted to find out the gender of the baby; there is nothing, in itself, to deem it prohibited or disliked.
2. If, however, it is linked with ignorant ideas of gender preference, it would be disliked, and haram when this would lead to unlawful abortion.
And Allah alone gives success.
Sex and Our Muslim Youth
Sex and the Muslim Youth – What Parents Need to Know
By Dr Ahmed Adam
Medical Physician, Counselor, and Writer — S. Africa
The topic of sex has universal appeal. Sex is portrayed daily in various forms-directly or indirectly-in newspapers, magazines, cinemas, and in conversations between people. The topic of sex conjures images of promiscuity, lewdness, adultery, fornication, pornography, teenage pregnancies, pedophilia, gays, sexually transmitted diseases, contraceptives, abortions, and HIV/AIDS.
Yet somehow, despite the fact that “everyone” is influenced by this topic, it seems that most parents find this topic somewhat “delicate” to discuss with their children. Children of today seem to be maturing at a faster rate than a generation ago and often ask intelligent questions of their parents.
Some parents do their level best to satisfy their children’s natural curiosity.
Other parents simply don’t know how to handle their fast-growing kids and often assume that the less said about the subject of sex, the better. In some homes the word “sex” is taboo, and children are often reprimanded for asking innocent questions. Parents assume that children will grow up and “they will learn,” or that the school or friends are “responsible” for sharing this knowledge.
The reality is that parents who have this view are overlooking a major and significant source of correct information regarding this topic -themselves! Our children have the right to be given an unbiased view of sex, based on the Qur’an and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
The Western media are very powerful, and often the main driver is money rather than values based on sound moral principles and with their roots in religion. This essay deals with this topic in an objective manner to throw some light on this issue and thereby, perhaps, give some confused teenagers a clearer perspective of the choices that they can make.
I am not a moralist or a mawlana. I do not intend to be judgmental of any individual, group, or society, but simply give my opinion on this topic from an Islamic point of view. Any errors are my own and I seek the forgiveness of Allah Most High for any errors contained in this article.
Studies have shown that the average teenager and preteen receive their sex education from the following sources in order of priority:
1- Friends, who may then share pornographic magazines, books, and Internet
2- TV and movies, which then lead to magazines and newspapers, or school (video or discussions of video), parents (through discussion of TV and movies)
Parents fail to realize that everyone is teaching their children about sex except them. Everyone is telling your children about sex, so how sure are you that this information is based on the guidelines laid down in Islam?
Sex is a fashionable industry that changes like the flavor of the month. Sex is a topic that advertisers and marketers use very effectively to sell their products. Unfortunately, the sources of information available to the preteen are often biased. Illusions are created that everyone is having sex … in these modern times, anything goes … you only live once, so make the most of it, and it is “cool” to chew a particular brand of chewing gum or smoke a particular brand of cigarette because that will make you rich and successful and ensure that you can attract the perfect partner. In fact, the reality is far removed from the illusion that is fed to the senses of our unsuspecting youth.
With aggressive and sustained marketing, society comes to accept abnormal activities as normal. Ten years ago, what was considered abnormal, unthinkable, abhorrent, immoral, and shameful, is today considered fashionable, normal, and modern. A typical example is that after watching a few episodes of any prime-time soap opera on TV, one gets the impression that adultery is acceptable and normal; premarital sex fashionable, and that deceit, trickery, lying, and manipulation are essential to get your man or woman, no matter what the cost or the hurt that others suffer in the process.
Furthermore, the printed and visual media create the impression that marriage is old fashioned, live-in relationships and cohabitation are in vogue, and being gay is fashionable. Homosexuality, bestiality, and escort clubs (prostitution) are all normal. We have reached a stage (through effective marketing) where certain individuals in society justify everything by their right to freedom of expression. If this is really freedom, then why do we see so many examples of the following scenarios:
1- Young adults are being infected with the HIV virus at an alarming rate. South Africa has one of the fastest growing number of infected people in the world; HIV/AIDS has reached epidemic proportions in this country. The age group that is mainly targeted is teenagers and young adults.
2- A devout mother, loyal to her husband, suddenly develops a sexually transmitted disease (such as syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes, or even HIV/AIDS); how did this happen? STDs have reached epidemic proportions in America, where 40 million people are infected with some form of STD.
3- Teenage pregnancy is on the increase; girls as young as 11 are getting pregnant-a child is pregnant with a child. Many teenagers are having abortions, which leads to emotional, physical, and mental side effects.
4- Girls as young as 10-12 are having unprotected sex, with devastating consequences. When questioned, these young children say, “No one told me that it is wrong.”
5- Wonderful homes break up and end in divorce because the husband (or wife) was having an adulterous relationship; the main victims in this scenario are the children.
6- Females as young as 2 and as old as 80 are being raped.
7- Homosexuality is on the increase; acts of sodomy that were once considered an abomination against humanity, are now considered normal to the extent that gay marriages are being allowed in some parts of the world.
8- More and more relationships end up in hurt, depression, unhappiness, conflict, and regret.
The above examples show that the issue of sexual liberation has in fact enslaved the very people that it attempts to free. The sexual liberators are being enslaved in the chains of disease, depression, divorce, dissatisfaction, double standards, deceit, and discontent. Individuals, organizations, and governments are actively searching for solutions to halt this tide of immorality and its associated truckload of problems.
Recent research has shown that two-thirds of the schools in America are now promoting the idea of “no sex before marriage” and that “safe sex” is not the use of condoms, but safe sex is “no sex before marriage,” and only one sex partner for life (no adultery). Furthermore, many states in the US are promoting the idea of having pride in remaining a virgin until marriage, and many students are signing certificates vowing their commitment to this new “fashion” of abstinence.
How long will this last? Will we once again undergo a new sexual revolution? The answer to this dilemma and to all dilemmas facing any society where the fabric of society is under threat from immorality, alcoholism, drugs, gambling, crime, dishonesty, and materialism can be found in the Qur’an, which has been sent for all humanity. Its principles have a universal application for all times. It was the task of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) to give a practical implementation of the universal message of the Qur’an so that anyone who follows the perfect example of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) will be on the straight path.
The Islamic View of These Problems
Adultery means to have sex with a person who is not your legally married partner; there are two types of adultery:
1- A married person who has sex with an unmarried person
2- A married person who has sex with another married person
Would you like adultery for your mother, wife, sister, or daughter? If not, then why perpetuate it or condone it? There are several verses in the Qur’an and many authentic hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), which give clear guidance on the choices that we can make.
[Say: the things that my Lord hath indeed forbidden are: shameful deeds, whether open or secret;….] (Al-A`raf 7:33)
[Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).] (Al-Israa’ 17:32)
1- Marriage is a sacred relationship between a husband and wife. When either spouse has a sexual relationship outside this relationship, this is usually done secretly; thus there is breakdown of trust in the relationship.
2- The guilty party may contract a sexually transmitted disease, which can then be transmitted to the innocent victim.
3- The victim is usually the female. She has two options, either stay and ignore what the father of her children is doing, or ask for a divorce. If the woman does not have a source of income, she either has to return to her parents and thus be a burden on them, or eke out a living and thus raise her children in poverty.
4- Children are the innocent victims in divorce. They bear the brunt of the constant fights between their parents and grow up with emotional and psychological scars.
Fornication (zina) means to have sex with anyone while not yet married; there are two types of fornication:
1- An unmarried person who has sex with another unmarried person.
2- An unmarried person who has sex with a married person; in this case, it is fornication for the unmarried person but adultery for the married person.
Those who invoke not, with Allah, any other god, nor slay such life as God has made sacred, except for just cause, nor commit fornication; and any that does this (not only) meets punishment (but) the Penalty on the Day of Judgment will be doubled to him, and he will dwell therein in ignominy. (Al-Furqan 25:68-69)
In this verse, the sin of fornication is given its seriousness by being ranked as follows:
- The first major sin is associating partners with Allah Most High.
- The second major sin is murder.
- The third major sin is fornication.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “When a man commits fornication, faith departs from him and there is something like a canvas roof over his head; and when he quits that action, faith returns to him.” (Abu Dawud #4673).
The Prophet said, “The one who commits illegal sexual intercourse is not a believer at the time of committing illegal sexual intercourse, and a thief is not a believer at the time of committing theft, and a drinker of alcoholic drink is not a believer at the time of drinking. Yet, (the gate of) repentance is open thereafter.” (Al-Bukhari 8, 801).
Furthermore, the punishment is described in the following verse: The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication-flog each of them with a hundred stripes: let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day. (An-Nur 24:2).
Furthermore, if the girl becomes pregnant as a consequence of this premarital or extramarital act, then the child is not considered a legal heir according to the following hadith:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “If a man commits fornication with a free woman or a slave woman, the child is the product of fornication, and neither does he inherit nor may anyone inherit from him.” (At-Tirmidhi #3054).
Marriage is the public proclamation that gives legal, physical, and spiritual license to have sex with your partner.
Let those who find not the wherewithal for marriage keep themselves chaste until Allah gives them means out of His Grace. (An-Nur 24:33)
For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s Praise-for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and a great reward. (Al-Ahzab 33:35)
Muslim males and females are enjoined to marry. There are various guidelines pertaining to selecting a suitable partner in life. This choice cannot be left to chance. However, if anyone does not have the means to marry, this dilemma does not entitle anyone to fornicate; rather he or she is enjoined to remain chaste and to patiently persevere and seek help from Allah Most High. To guard your chastity is a test from Allah Most High and requires a lot of discipline and willpower. However, those individuals who succeed in avoiding fornication and adultery, [for them has Allah Most High prepared forgiveness and a great reward.] Furthermore, according to the following verses, there are clear instructions for those people who commit fornication and then decide to marry:
Let no man guilty of adultery or fornication marry any but a woman similarly guilty, or an unbeliever: nor let any but such a man or an unbeliever marry such a woman: to the believers such a thing is forbidden. (An-Nur 24:3)
(Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book, revealed before your time, when you give them their due dowers, and desire chastity, not lewdness, nor secret intrigues. (Al-Ma’idah 5:5)
These verses emphasize the need and pursuit of sexual purity both before marriage and within marriage, and give guidelines as to the selection of a partner. Sex counselors and psychologists now confirm the wisdom behind these verses. A person who has multiple partners is always comparing the spouse’s performance to that of other partners. If an “experienced” boy marries a virgin wife, he may be unhappy with her inexperience and may expect (and sometimes demand) more. This can lead to a very fragile relationship, which is bound to flounder. Unfortunately, some men have a double standard wherein they feel free to have sex with multiple partners before marriage, but insist that their wife must be a virgin.
Sex and Hygiene
Islam places a very high emphasis on hygiene and cleanliness. This requirement, together with sexual purity both before marriage and during marriage, tremendously minimizes the risks of diseases associated with the sexual organs. The need and emphasis on cleanliness is highlighted in the following:
O ye who believe! when ye prepare for prayer wash your faces and your hands (and arms) to the elbows; rub your heads (with water); and (wash) your feet to the ankles. If ye are in a state of ceremonial impurity, bathe your whole body. (Al-Ma’idah 5:6)
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “When anyone sits between the four parts of her body and exerts himself (has intercourse), bathing becomes obligatory (for both).” (Muslim)
Prostitution is forbidden in Islam as indicated in the following hadith:
A slave girl of some Ansari came and said, “My master forces me to commit fornication.” Thereupon, the following verse was revealed: But force not your maids to prostitution. (Abu Dawud #2304).
It is a very sad reflection on our society that some people are forced into prostitution due to circumstances that may be beyond their control. The most wicked and severe form of prostitution is that of child prostitution, enforced either by their parents (very rarely, but most abhorrently), caregivers, or swindlers. Furthermore, studies have shown that there is a very high correlation between prostitution and drugs. Drug dealers usually prey on unsuspecting teenagers at shopping malls, cinemas, and schools, by offering them free drugs. The unsuspecting teenagers become addicted and involuntarily become “customers for life” to these drug dealers. The teenagers then resort to begging, stealing, and prostituting to service this habit.
Teenagers should be on the alert for pimps and drug dealers-nothing in life comes for free, there is always a catch. Be alert. Furthermore, be very alert to the dangers presented by pedophiles who derive a perverted sense of pleasure in abusing young children.
Willpower and Discipline
Adultery and fornication do not happen automatically. The mind plays an important role in the whole scenario. Everyone is constantly bombarded with visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli that are processed in the mind. These messages can either be controlled or uncontrolled. If teenagers have low self-esteem and want to be accepted, they will give in to temptation. On the other hand, teenagers who are firm in their faith in Allah Most High and who have positive self-esteem, use their willpower to control temptation and channel it into another form of energy.
Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Allah Most High has written for the son of Adam his inevitable share of adultery, whether he is aware of it or not: The adultery of the eye is looking (at something which is sinful to look at), and the adultery of the tongue is to utter (what it is unlawful to utter), and the inner-self wishes and longs for (adultery) and the private parts turn that into reality or refrain from submitting to the temptation” (Al-Bukhari 8, 609).
Prevalence of Illegal Sex
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “From among the portents of the hour is that (open) illegal sexual intercourse will prevail, and men will decrease in number while women will increase” (Al-Bukhari 8, 800A).
This hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) very accurately describes our current state of affairs. San Francisco and Sydney are famous for their “gay liberation” celebrations. Nudist colonies, escort agencies, pornography, teenage pregnancies, and adultery are so common that people seem to be fighting a losing battle against this tidal wave of immorality and have come to accept all of these activities as the “modern generation.”
Furthermore, with each generation, the level and availability of lewdness is increasing; for example, pornography is available in our homes on TV and the Internet, thus affecting the mindset of our children from an early age. Homosexuality is gaining support throughout many parts of the world. Some advocates of the gay movement are claiming that they are born gay. This is a ruse to cover their shameful behavior. Homosexuality is a lifestyle choice. Allah Most High created everything in pairs, male and female. Anyone who goes against this plan will be answerable to Allah Most High.
The above verses from the Qur’an and various hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) clearly indicate that both fornication and adultery are forbidden in Islam; furthermore, the long-term harm of these acts far outweigh and short-term momentary gratification.
In simple terms, the Islamic requirement is as follows:
1- Boys and girls should not have sex before they are married
2- Sex is only permissible between legally married partners
3- Within the arena of the marriage contract, sex is a sacred, private, and personal act between the married couple only; this means that the husband and wife should guard their “bedroom secrets” from all prying ears and eyes.
4- Neither of the partners is allowed to have sex with anyone else. This means that neither the husband nor the wife can indulge in the un-Islamic practices of wife swapping parties, visiting prostitutes, or having sex with another married or single person.
5- If the husband is legally married to more than one wife (up to a maximum of four) then he is legally allowed to have sex with all four wives provided that he treats all of them equally.
6- When in doubt about anything, use the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to give clarity on any matter.
Role of Parents
Our children are faced daily with images from TV, movies, videos, Internet, newspapers, magazines, books, and friends about the “sexual revolution.” Their young minds are being brainwashed with ideas that morals, modesty, and values are old-fashioned. If we do not tell our children about the facts of life and what is acceptable moral behavior from a cultural, and, more importantly, from an Islamic viewpoint, then we should share the blame with our children if they become ensnared in the vices of sex, drugs, teenage pregnancy, prostitution, alcohol, and gambling. The methodology should be as follows:
Advice to a Preteen Daughter
Your body is now undergoing various changes that will prepare you to be a woman. With these changes comes the responsibility that you will one day be a mother. Your body will undergo various changes in the size of your breasts, face, height, weight, as well as the onset of a flow of menstrual blood on a regular basis every month-this is nothing to be scared of, it is Allah Most High’s miracle, where your womb is made ready every month to receive an egg for fertilization.
These changes are coming much earlier in this generation compared to a few decades ago. Children are maturing much faster than we can ever imagine. In previous generations, young girls started menstruating from the age of 13 years; today, girls as young as 9 years are beginning to menstruate. This means that if you have sex at this age, you can become pregnant. If you become pregnant at this age, your life will be shattered and the whole course of your life will be changed. Your dreams, goals, and wishes to pursue a career may have to be postponed or abandoned forever.
You must be happy with your own body. Your body will undergo various hormonal changes, which will lead to emotional changes and mood fluctuations as well as pimples. This is a time for conflict with everyone, and parents have to restrain themselves and discuss issues with love and understanding. The main word of caution for you is to avoid peer pressure from your friends, who will encourage you to start experimenting with kissing and sex. Some teenagers can make very hurtful remarks and may make you feel very isolated if you do not participate. Don’t listen to them. You must have enough confidence in yourself that you are following the commands laid down by Allah Most High and you should simply say “No, I am not interested.” It will be a decision that you will never regret.
Particularly avoid the older boys and men. They will shower you with gifts, flowers, and false proclamations of love, but they are simply throwing out a net to get you into bed so that you lose your virginity. They will then dump you and go to the next unsuspecting girl. You will have lost various personal things in the process:
1. You will have lost your virginity.
2. You will have contravened the Qur’anic injunction not to commit fornication (zina).
3. You may well have gained an unwanted pregnancy (many girls still have the mistaken myth that they cannot fall pregnant after their first sexual encounter.)
4. You may have gained a sexually transmitted disease (including HIV/AIDS). There are no cures for some sexual diseases: herpes and genital warts, for example. Some diseases, if not properly treated, can lead to infertility and you will not be able to have children. Or they lead to an increased incidence of cancer of the cervix (entrance to the womb).
Advice to a Preteen Son
Your body is undergoing various changes that will prepare you to enter adulthood so that one day you can be a father. You will notice changes in your voice; you may develop acne and hair on various parts of your body. Nocturnal emission is common at this age, as well as mood swings. Your natural body odors will increase, so it is important for you to bathe regularly and pay special attention to personal hygiene. Your body will be growing rapidly and you will need to eat a lot, exercise a lot, and sleep a lot to allow your body to gain maximum physical benefits.
You will be encouraged or ridiculed by some of your friends to have sex with a girl. You should be confident in your abilities as a freethinking individual to make your own choices based on the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). You should treat all girls and women with respect, kindness, and courtesy-not as a commodity that can be used, abused, and thrown aside.
You will see advertisements on TV and in newspapers and magazines that in order to avoid HIV/AIDS, you should use a condom. Remember that this is not what Islam teaches us. Islam says safe sex is “no sex before marriage.” Indulge in all activities that will develop your mind, body, and spirit within the framework of Islam. These are wonderful years that you are going through, free of responsibility (except the homework!). Try to be the best “you” you can be.
Allah Most High has given mankind free will. We all have to make choices in life. However, life offers us a whole banquet of choices and delicacies that sometimes lead to a state of utter confusion or paralysis.
- What is the right decision?
- Whom should I please?
- What is fashionable?
- Will my decision open me to ridicule?
An undecided person is always a victim of circumstance, a pawn in the hands of the fashion trendsetters. The ones at peace are those individuals who use the Qur’an and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) as the compass to set the right course and to differentiate right from wrong.
There is much good in this wonderful world; however, there are many temptations. Temptations are present as a test for all of us. Ultimately, we are the decision-makers. We can only make informed decisions based on knowledge. Many governments are now firmly advocating the policies of virginity, no sex before marriage, no adultery, and so on, in a desperate attempt to re-kindle the value systems of prior generations.
The beauty of Islam is that the instructions and guidelines contained in the Qur’an are valid forever and are immune to the vicissitudes of the latest trend. Allah Most High created us. It therefore follows that He knows what is best for us. I do hope that this brief discussion has thrown some light on this very vast topic. I also hope that the current generation of teens and preteens who are often faced with difficult choices will have a clearer foundation on which to base their decisions.
Finally, a new generation of preteens is developing. It is our collective responsibility, as a community and a nation, to give clear guidelines to our youth. Our youth is our future and our destiny. May Allah Most High, Most Gracious, worthy of all praise, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, guide us, and our youth to a path that is straight.
Dr Ahmed Adam is a medical doctor by profession. He has four university degrees in the fields of science and medicine.
Zawaj.com prints articles that express a diversity of opinions, from liberal to conservative. However, all articles express the viewpoint of the author, and are not necessarily endorsed by Zawaj.com.
Muslim Dating? – Part 1
Organica is the personal blog of an Egyptian-American Muslim sister who calls herself, “A crazy Egyptian Muslim American girl with too many labels to count” The post below is one of her most popular and most commented-on.
Muslim Dating: The Reality of our Ummah – Part 1
When people ask “do Muslims date?” A big chunk of Muslims will quickly respond with a “Hell No!” Because remember that Hadeeth about Shaytaan being the third? Ya, so of course Muslims don’t date, commit adultery or drink alcohol or have gay sex or break any other Quranic tenet. Muslims are perfect angels with no faults.
But if you’ve lived among a large Muslim population, befriended Muslims or visited a Muslim majority country, you will learn that things are not very different than what we see here (in America) among the mainstream culture. Muslims indulge in all of these acts, but the only difference is all is done in secrecy, in a hush-hush secret alternative reality where it’s better to sweep your shame under the carpet than dreadfully advertise your sins.
One doesn’t need to travel to the Middle East to witness the phenomenon. Take a short trip to the beautiful city of Toronto and its neighboring suburbs where a Muslim majority is present in the high school scene. You will find the percentages of Muslim individuals involved in dating, sex, drinking, drugs, etc is high, which is no different than a school with a Judeo-Christian majority.
If you’ve ever visited fatwa sites like Islam QA or Islamonline cyber counseling/fatwa section you will learn that our Muslim youth aren’t living a sin-free life. I remember a young man once wrote the site asking for advice about his ‘problem.’ You see this young man, an aspiring Sheikh, was attracted to men and he didn’t know how to keep his faith and battle his desires. Another girl wrote asking what to do with a man she loves and is on the verge of committing adultery with him because her practicing beautiful Muslim family won’t allow her to marry him.
Young men and women write daily to these outlets asking for a solution. They grew up hearing that it’s haraam to do this and that, yet an alternative was never presented. And when their sins are revealed they are shunned from the community, especially if female.
I know a number of pious and well regarded youth in my community who live double lives. A simple facebook or myspace check will tell you all. It’s very sad that everyone around them, including their young fellow Muslim friends, are aware of this double life but the parents are in the dark. I don’t pity the parents because they CHOOSE not to understand their children. Parents assume their child would never be like so and so’s bad child. But I got news for them, THEY DO and sometimes they are worse!
Some religious scholars will advise youth to fast or play sports. But in the day and age we live in , is that really enough? Has it been effective thus far? I don’t think so.
I think it’s time for the Muslim Ummah collectively to stop turning a blind eye and face REALITY. Obviously their previous ‘plan’ hasn’t worked. Our Ummah collectively aren’t becoming more Godly but they are turning away from their religion all together. The way we deal with our children needs to change NOW.
First action item on the list: Change parental attitudes and priorities.
Failed Marriage Proposals and Unrealistic Expectations
Marriage is something I have had the intention to do for a while, probably since I was about sixteen or so. I will admit that it was partly to do with seeing two of my friends get married in close proximity to each other. It was strange being seventeen and seeing that happen, especially as one friend was a year younger than me. I am actually happy that I didn’t get married as a teenager. I wasn’t immature or anything, but I do think you need some life experience in order to fully understand what you are getting yourself into. I am now almost twenty two, this is just how it has happened for me. I now feel I am more ready than ever, so I hope the right man comes along soon!
Obviously none of my proposals have worked out so far, which is why I am still unmarried.
Looking for lost members of my family
The Story of my Search
I am currently looking for some long-lost members of my family. I hope by putting word out online, I can inshallah find them. The first one is Kevin, my uncle on my mother’s side. He was born to my grandmother, Irene Wayne Dunn, when she was young and unmarried, and was pressured into giving him up for adoption. She got to visit him for awhile after the birth, and Kevin knew who his real mother was, for a short time anyway. This is all I know about him so far. He will be at least a few years older than my mother, who was born in Wallsend, 1963.
The Mysterious Visit
Kevin actually visited Irene once. When she was living in Clermiston, Edinburgh. He turned up at her apartment (flat) building once, a neighbour answered and informed him that Irene was out at that time. Kevin said he would return, but he never did.