We Need To Teach Our Children Moral Sexual Education

Parents need to initiate the conversation so that eventually you can dictate the narrative…

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Parents need to initiate the conversation so that eventually you can dictate the narrative…

As we bid farewell to the month of Ramadan, it’s easy to just revert back to our old ways. But I would urge you to share the vast ocean of goodness that you’ve gained during this month with your children by instilling in them a solid foundation in Islamic values.

Values such as generosity, empathising with the poor, asserting restraint and modesty, to mention a few, are all realised through the month of Ramadan and, as such, can be taught to our children. However, from amongst the aforementioned values, I would like to focus on modesty as our beloved Prophet, peace be upon him, has said:

“Every religion has a distinctive quality, and a distinct quality of Islam is modesty.” (Ibn Majah)

From the perspective of tarbiyah (or development) of children, instructions, and examples are an absolute essential. Although a child is born on the fitrah (Adamic nature), the child is moulded and nurtured by primarily the parents, but also those who educate the child.

Our beloved Prophet, peace be upon him, said:

“Every child is born in a state of fitrah, then his parents make him into a Jew or a Christian or a Magian.”

The reason why I added the “but also those who educate the child” as well, even though there is no mention of this in the hadith is that teachers essentially replace parents in so much as teaching, managing behaviours, and setting boundaries for the child.

But what if the teachers do not hold moral values that correspond with Islamic values? What if your child is taught that modesty is frowned upon in this culture? Or it’s not cool?

Well, this is a reality in our children’s schools when the topic of sex education is brought up. We live in a secularised society, where religious values are not recognised for their excellence. Individualism and indulgence are what’s on offer and it’s time we Muslims woke up to this reality.

When the topic of sex education is brought up, often Muslim parents rush to identify how we can opt out our child from the class knowing full well that what the child will be exposed to is completely un-Islamic.

However, as soon as break time kicks in, every child in that sex education class will be talking about that class, some in shock from the obscenity, others joking from all those naughty words they heard. Nonetheless, your child will have fully caught up with everything they missed before school ends the same day.

So my question to you is, how do you intend on preserving your child’s modesty if you have to compete with an ungodly sex education system and a society that promotes sexual promiscuity?

The Qur’an has the answer and it’s the best method. Allah uses the example of Luqman, peace be upon him, and his son as an example of how you should do tarbiyah of your child.

“And certainly We gave wisdom to Luqman, saying: Be grateful to Allah. And whoever is grateful, he is on!y grateful for his own soul; and whoever is ungrateful, then surely Allah is Self-sufficient, Praised.
And when Luqman said to his son while he admonished him: O my son! do not associate aught with Allah; most surely polytheism is a grievous iniquity.
And We have enjoined man in respect of his parents– his mother bears him with faintings upon faintings and his weaning takes two years– saying: Be grateful to Me and to both your parents; to Me is the eventual coming.
And if they contend with you that you should associate with Me what you have no knowledge of, do not obey them, and keep company with them in this world kindly, and follow the way of him who turns to Me, then to Me is your return, then will I inform you of what you did–
O my son! surely if it is the very weight of the grain of a mustard-seed, even though it is in (the heart of) rock, or (high above) in the heaven or (deep down) in the earth, Allah will bring it (to light); surely Allah is Knower of subtleties, Aware;
O my son! keep up prayer and enjoin the good and forbid the evil, and bear patiently that which befalls you; surely these acts require courage;
And do not turn your face away from people in contempt, nor go about in the land exulting overmuch; surely Allah does not love any self-conceited boaster;
And pursue the right course in your going about and lower your voice; surely the most hateful of voices is braying of the asses.”
[The Holy Quran, Surah 31, Verses 12-19]

In these verses, Allah makes clear that Luqman possessed wisdom, knowing right from wrong, and was therefore very deliberate in his instructions to his son. Prophet Luqman, does not stand by a “do as I say, not as I do” methodology. Luqman didn’t treat any unholy topic as a taboo. Rather, he makes it very clear that Allah is Latif (Subtle) and Khabeer (All-Aware) and then tells his son to enjoin good and forbid evil.

So when it comes to maths, science, languages, etc. — let the teachers teach. They know best in these subjects. But when it comes to sex education, as the parent, you are responsible for the morality of your child, so you teach it.

Now I know some of you are thinking — WHAT! How can I teach my child about the birds and the bees? Where do I even start?

Age-appropriate content is absolutely necessary and if you are lucky enough to have children not yet introduced to the subject of sex education, then I would strongly suggest you initiate the conversation so that eventually you can dictate the conversation.

As for you who have slightly older children who may have already been exposed to the confusions of postmodernity, I would encourage you to spend time talking to your child (not just about sex ed), taking more of an interest in their education as a whole and nurture a strong relationship based on mutual trust.

Only then will you be able to provide some guidance on morality and specifically sex education that will inculcate modesty. Eventually, that modesty will seep through into your child’s behaviours and actions which reflect a more God-conscious individual.

The end goal of such efforts is that your child becomes responsible with his/her body knowing full well that he/she will be accountable one day (Judgment Day). And just as important is your child’s awareness of an alternative to the promiscuous experiment of secularisation.

In conclusion, you wouldn’t allow your child to drink poison. It could kill your child. So why would you allow your child to learn sex education in a way that would poison his/her soul? As an Ummah, we need to wake up to the reality that the world has never been so sexualised. Therefore, we must prepare our youth with the appropriate tools and education to navigate such problems.