By K. A. Musa
Children from an early age are curious about their body. It is not uncommon for a boy and girl toddlers to look at each other and wonder why their body parts differ and especially common when putty training or changing the diapers.
At what age is ‘sex’ education essential? This is dependent on the parents but the best method is to make the education age dependent. What a child of 2 years old will understand will be different to a child of 12 years old. What is not advisable is to ignore such questions raised by the child. We live in a time where a child of 8 years old knows a lot more than the parents might want to admit to themselves. Like adults children are exposed to the media where provocative images are visible, they have access to the internet and if unsupervised can be used inappropriately. Take control and education your child on this issue instead of relying on others.
You might (and can) take your child out of ‘sex & relationship’ lessons at school but you cannot remove or protect them from outside influences such as friends and media. Children need to be taught this within an Islamic framework of halal relationship within marriage. If a child asks a question in an inappropriate time, you are shocked and have no answer then do not ignore the question by pretending not to have heard. You can postpone answering at that time but make sure that the child is aware of this and an answer will be provided later.
You know your child and if you have a ‘hot’ child that is ready for marriage then assist in finding him/her an appropriate spouse. Recently I attended a wedding where the bride was young (18 years old) but she is still studying. Marriage at such an age does not mean that ones life is over. When your son or daughter is ready then facilitate marriage as this will prevent zina (fornication).
Children should be taught to seek permission before entering their parents’ room to avoid unnecessary embarrassment(1).
Children should be trained to lower their gaze(2) but we should be ‘normal’ Muslim and not hypocritical when out and about performing our daily routines. We can not walk about with our eyes closed and the first look is permissible(3).
The messenger of Allah (peace & blessing of Allah be upon him) taught us to separate our children in beds when they reach the age of 7(3).
Talking about ‘sex’ education within an Islamic context need not be a cultural taboo. It is advisable for the parents to be the teachers instead of delegating to others. You need to be aware of the physical and mental changes that your child is going through. Stick to the facts, make it age appropriate and always have an open communication and encourage your children to talk to you when they have questions. You will not be with your children at all times but be their friends and especially when teenagers as if they are able to talk to you then you will be able to guard them against Fitnah (trials and tribulation) in sha Allah.
Alkauthar Institute Weekend Course – Parenting Matters, The art of raising Righteous Children’. Taught by Sheikh Alaa Elsayed.
1Qur’an: 24:58-59 (Surat An-Nur / Light)
2Qur’an: 24:31 (Surat An-Nur / Light)
3 The Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “O Ali, do not follow a glance with another, for you will be forgiven for the first, but not for the second.” (Tirmidhi 2701).
Sex & Relationship Education in State School: Hotline: 07883 027 067.
Alkauthar Institute Weekend Course – The Divine Protection. The Fiqh & Power of the Daily Supplications. Taught by Sheikh Hacene Chebbani.