Question: Does Islam allow for a pure and honest relationship of a boy with a girl? How far is sex education is correct from an Islamic perspective?
Answer: As-salamu `alaykum. In sha Allah you are in good health and spirits. Your concerns highlight some of the most frequently asked questions amongst adolescents who are traditionally taught to keep away from the opposite sex for fear of uncalled-for desires. While this logical reasoning is sound, some cultures take this to the extreme and allow for no communication whatsoever between the two sexes. This in itself creates confusion, shyness and unnecessary inhibitions in later life when one meets prospective spouses.
Indeed, a person may be rejected because of their lack of communication skills, which may not necessarily be a personality trait, but just the result of too much social inhibition. Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood stated that, “We should accept that what is forbidden in Islam is seeking privacy with someone of the opposite sex without a third party present…. What we need is first to recognize that there is nothing at all wrong with young people meeting in situations where intimacy cannot occur because of witnesses; and secondly to create occasions in which they can meet safely in halal (permitted by Allah) ways, so that they CAN get to know each other.”
Here are some circumstances where you can be halal friends, as long as there is no encouragement to meet in private: Many students have committee meetings, colleagues have meetings, and so do administrators for example, and they are conducted in a mixed setting, where everyone is in full view of each other. It is only when there are two people of the opposite sex in an enclosed space for a period of time, that Satan becomes the third person, whose primary role is to encourage fitnah (temptation). In reference to sex education, I am referring here in terms of general sexuality: understanding your bodily organs, menstrual cycles, puberty, family planning, when it is allowed to have sex (i.e. marriage), self-control of urges, reproduction, etc.
Sex education should start in the home with your parents educating you first, before the school system does (especially if it is an un-Islamic school). However, the sex education communicated to children MUST be age-appropriate.
If sex education is left to peers and schools in the West, it is usual that the information given is not within Islamic principles Any other physical forms of information that relate to marital relations should be left until the person seeks to get married. They should be well prepared for this and should not shy away from searching for Islamically appropriate information on this issue. A huge problem in our Muslim communities today is that we have made sex a dirty word. We have made the topic taboo, even in appropriate manners and circles.
Sex in Islam is a healthy act, an act of worship, or `ibadah, if practiced within marriage. If we keep silent on the importance of sex education, we begin to view sex as something badas the Catholics do. They prohibit sex for pleasure and view it only as a means for procreation. Islam, on the other hand, takes a balanced view, and encourages sex for both pleasure and procreation.
Note: 1. Sex is a natural instinct and inclination in man and it is to be controlled in adolescence and then nurtured in marriage.
2. Sex education should come in stages, depending on ones physical and cognitive development. Peace be upon you.
Source: Islam Q&A