Friday, December 9, 2011

Islam & the Concept of Friendship

Islam & the Concept of Friendship




Author Unknown

1. Befriending
and liking them. Allaah says interpretation of the meaning):You
will not find any people who believe in Allaah and the Last Day,
making friendship with those who oppose Allaah and His Messenger;
[al-Mujaadilah 58:22]

2. Inclining
towards them, relying upon them and taking them as a support. Allaah
says interpretation of the meaning): And incline not towards those
who do wrong, lest the Fire should touch you[Hood 11:113]

3. Helping and
supporting them against the Muslims. Allaah says (interpretation
of the meaning): The believers, men and women, are awliya (helpers,
supporters, friends, protectors) of one another [al-Tawbah 9:71].

He also says
of the kuffaar that they are but awliya(helpers, supporters, friends,
protectors) to one another [al-Maaidah 5:51]. And He says(interpretation
of the meaning): And if any amongst you takes them as awliya, then
surely he is one of them. [al-Maaidah 5:51].

4. Bringing
their laws and rules to the Muslim countries. Allaah says(interpretation
of the meaning): Do they then seek the judgement of the Days of
Ignorance? [al-Maaidah 5:50]

5. Taking them
as friends in general terms, taking them as helpers and supporters,
and throwing in ones lot with them. Allaah forbids all this, as
He says (interpretation of the meaning): O you who believe! Take
not the Jews and the Christians as awliya (friends, protectors,
helpers, etc.), they are but awliya to one another [al-Maaidah 5:51].

6. Compromising
with them and being nice to them at the expense of ones religion.
Allaah says(interpretation of the meaning): They wish that you should
compromise (in religion out of courtesy) with them, so that they
(too) would compromise with you. [al-Qalam 68:9]. This includes
sitting with them and entering upon them at the time when they are
making fun of the Signs of Allaah. Allaah says (interpretation of
the meaning): And it has already been revealed to you in the Book
that when you hear the Verses of Allaah being denied and mocked
at, then sit not with them, until they engage in a talk other than
that; (but if you stayed with them), certainly in that case you
would be like them [al-Nisa 4:140]

7. Trusting
them and taking them as advisors and consultants instead of the
believers. Allaah says(interpretation of the meaning): O you who
believe! Take not as (your) bitaanah (advisors, consultants, protectors,
helpers, friends, etc.)those outside your religion (pagans, Jews,
Christians, and hypocrites) since they will not fail to do their
best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has
already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal
is far worse. Indeed We have made clear to you the aayaat (proofs,
evidence, verses), if you understand. Lo! You are the ones who love
them but they love you not, and you believe in all the Scriptures
[i.e., you believe in the Tawraat and the Injeel, while they disbelieve
in your Book (the Quraan)]. And when they meet you, they say, We
believe. But when they are alone, they bite the tips of their fingers
at you in rage. Say: Perish in your rage. Certainly Allaah knows
what is in the breasts (all the secrets). If a good befalls you,
it grieves them, but some evil overtakes you, they rejoice at it
[Aal Imran 3:118-120].




Shaykh Badrud-Deen
al-Ghazzee (d.984H) [1]

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The Mindless Dating Game: Happiness or Heartbreak


Article taken From

The article below deals with one of the major problems faced by the Muslim Youth today, in particular, those raised in the west. The author gives us an insight into the harsh reality of these “love relationships” that the western culture teaches our youth, coating them with sweet pictures of two hearts loving each other on first sight, and after little ups and downs, finally end up marrying each other and have a happy ending. Where as the reality is indeed far away from it as the sister brilliantly demonstrates.

Many unmarried people these days search for “love” in a series of premarital relationships, which far from yielding happiness, lead to nothing but spiritual degeneration, loss of self-respect, heartache and misery.

When the average girl reaches the age of ten or eleven, she - sometimes with the knowledge of her parents, sometimes without their knowledge - becomes engrossed in and obsessed with the teen romance novel: a blonde, blue-eyed girl, with a perfect size 10 figure, falls in love with the football hero of the school, a few complications on the way (nothing major, of course), but things end happily ever after. In these novels, girl and boy might hold hands, or there might even be a kiss, thrown in somewhere along the line.

By the time the impressionable reader of these novels reaches her teens, she is sick of these story lines... and is searching for more. And is most cases, “more” is usually available right there in her home, tucked away at the bottom of her mother’s cupboard, in the form of adult romance novels.

The holding hands, and the kissing has now made way for much more, as details of pre-marital passion, and the fulfilment thereof are graphically spelt out on these pages. The reader is told what the “perfect body” is supposed to look like, the notion that sexual intercourse before marriage is sweet and romantic seeps through these pages... the feelings of degradation, and the many possible consequences thereof are conveniently left out.

A fairy tale is a fairy tale, we tell ourselves, a book is a book...they have no implications on real life. Surely our daughters understand and accept this...

But we are deluding ourselves. These same “harmless” fairytales and books, have a detrimental effect on the thinking, lifestyles and attitudes of our children. The first “crush”/infatuation our daughters experience in relation to members of the opposite sex, is often linked to false perceptions about “dating,” perceptions to which a wide variety of factors contribute. And one of the main factors painting a sugar and candy image of pre-marital romances, are these shallow bits of reading material that our daughters are exposed to.

It is no strange co-incidence that girls grow up believing that a boyfriend is the key to happiness...after all they have barely started walking, when the stories of the poor ill-treated Cinderella, saved only by a dashing prince, and the beautiful Snow White woken up by a prince, and the doomed Rapunzel, saved from the tower by a dashing hero, are told to them.

When they read romance novels, this theory is further reinforced - for, in the classic teen romance novel, the girl without a boyfriend, or “sweet sixteen and never been kissed” is the poor laughing stock who doesn’t have a date to the prom. And on the pages of a typical adult romance novel, the heroine is always a successful, beautiful career woman, but, she feels, that "something” is lacking in her life... and that “something” is naturally a man.

It is improbable that the average teenager, would just read these books, and that there would be no impact on her mind. It is usually exactly the opposite: she wishes she was the person on the pages of the book, and transfers her fantasies to her real life. She might see someone at school, who is popular, and good-looking [i.e. the football hero], and so begins her first painful crush, which is accompanied of course, by sending him anonymous ‘Valentine’s Day' cards, or calling him and playing songs over the phone. Shaitaan has set his trap, and the temptation to sin heightens, and each time the temptation is given in to, the girl becomes more daring. By the time the boy asks her out, her nafs has gotten the better of her, and her head is so filled with the notions of how sweet holding hands before that first kiss must be, she cannot resist.

And so begins a “relationship.” But this has all the ingredients that a classic romance novel does not....for those candy-coated pages do not tell you about the heartbreak, the tears, the mood swings and the countless negative aspects that are the central to these relationships. Nor do not tell you about the degradation and the loss of self-respect with which people, especially women, emerge after these relationships.

For there is no peace, no tranquillity in such relationships. The daily cycle, the moods, everything about the individual is affected. There is a certain sort of darkness, a restlessness which fills the heart, and this restlessness affects the rest of the family too. For it is now that all the arguments with the parents start: “Why can’t I go out tonight? All my friends are going!”

And there are the mood swings and the fluctuating eating habits. If the phone doesn’t ring, then it’s a case of “I don’t feel like eating.” Then there is dishonesty... unable to tell her parents where she really wants to go, she makes the excuse of having to go to the library to study for tomorrow’s test.

The ending of each relationship is most often marked by a long periods of torture, in which the girl has to “get over” the boy. Everyday life becomes a misery...her marks drop, daily moods start to depend on the current state of her relationship with the boy and many girls, totally misled by Shaitaan, even make dua for a “reconciliation.” During this period the girl is ravaged by guilt, because deep down in her heart, she is aware that what she has done is haraam, and she also feels guilty about lying to her parents. If there was a physical aspect to her relationship, then these feelings of guilt are deeply accentuated and coupled with a total loss of self-respect.

In the worst possible scenario, which frequently happens, the girl, in an effort to improve her “self image,” may turn to various other habits such as smoking, clubbing, drinking and drugs, or she may embark on a series of flings just to make herself feel “special” again.

In short, the “relationships” so sweetly portrayed in romance novels, which speak only of chocolates, flowers and happiness, end right there: on the pages of the novel. In real life, such relationships lead to nothing but unhappiness and heartache. For how can there be any real happiness in a “love” inspired by Shaitaan? This type of “love,” far from being pure and sacred, falls into the category of fornication.

Regarding fornication, Allah Ta’ala says in the Holy Qur’aan:

“The woman and man guilty of adultery of 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: And let a party of the Believers witness their punishment.” [Surah An-Nur: 2]

How can there be any long term happiness in a sin for which the punishment prescribed is so severe? However, while keeping in mind the above injunction, we should also not despair of the Mercy of Allah Ta’ala... for we cannot even comprehend the vastness of Allah's Mercy.

We need to realise and to tell ourselves that there is only temporary satisfaction of the nafs in a pre-marital relationship, and we need to terminate any such relationship which we might be involved in, and sincerely make taubah (repentance) to Allah. As difficult as it might be to end such relationships, once we realise and acknowledge to ourselves that the novels to which we are exposed to from such an early age are totally based on a kafir (disbelieving) way of life, which appears to be very appealing from the outside, but which bears no contentment and no real happiness, it will Insha'Allah, be easy to do so.

In addition to painting a rosy picture of dating, these books also create a very wrong concept of what the ideal partner should be like. It is obvious that since they are kafir publications, there is no stress on piety, good akhlaaq, honesty and all the other qualities people should be searching for in a potential marriage partner. Instead these books promote superficial thinking, with all their emphasis on good looks, perfect 10 figures, star football players, flashy cars, etc.

Parents should closely monitor the reading material which their children bring home and should teach their children about the beauty of nikaah (marriage). We should realise, that while it is natural to be embarrassed to discuss such aspects of Islam with them, it is infinitely better for them that we impart the correct knowledge of an Islamic way of life to them, than to allow them to acquire the totally wrong concept of love from books, television, movies, and their friends and environment.

It should be explained to each teenager that the pre-marital relationships, the engagements, etc to which we attach such a great deal of importance in this world have nothing but a negative bearing on our lives in the aakhirah (hereafter). It should be time and time again instilled into their minds that pre-marital relationships are a sin, while nikaah is an ibaadah (worship).

Allah Ta’ala has created men and women with natural desires, and He has created nikaah as an institution in which these desires maybe fulfilled. A nikaah in which both, husband and wife are striving to fulfill their obligations to Allah Ta’ala, such a nikaah will be filled with the mutual respect, love and inevitably, the contentment, which we hopelessly search for in pre-marital relationships. Within the sacred context of a nikaah, in which both parties are obedient to Allah Ta’ala, and adhere to His Commandments, there can be no room for the loss of respect, feelings of degradation, etc. which goes hand-in-hand with “going out” with or “dating” someone.

We should always bear in mind that should we die in the company of a boyfriend or a girlfriend or even a fiancé, we will be leaving this world having spent our last few moments of this life in the company of a non-Mahram, and perhaps in the commission of a sin against Allah and against ourselves.

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Mission Possible: Teen Da'wah

Mission Possible: Teen Da'wah

Some parental strategies and techniques for success in presenting da'wah to their children.                              

Do you get the feeling that every Islamic oriented discussion with your teens is falling on deaf ears lately? If so, you're not alone, but it may not be as bad as you think. Many children feel an exaggerated sense of independence when they reach adolescence.

As a result, they may feel they no longer need their parent's intervention or advice; perhaps feeling their parents are old-fashioned or out to touch. Sound familiar? For us, as parents, to get our point across, it all comes down to simply this: technique. You may feel as if you are taking one step forward and two steps back, but it's possible that you just need to overhaul your method and revise your strategy.

Timing is Everything

It's true. Timing can really make all the difference. If you try talking to your teens in the midst of them running out the door to go to a friend's house, chances are they will absorb less than 5% of what you just said. Their focus at that point in time is getting where they want to go, as fast as humanly possible.

Picking the right time to talk about Islam is really an essential part of making da'wah (call to Islam) to them. We all have to think back and consider how our state of mind was when we were a teen. Try to remember the type of things that really made you stop and pay attention. Try to think of someone who really made an impact on you, someone you really listened to, what was their technique - what did they do that made a difference?

As ironic as it may sound, the dreaded family outing can be a great time for da'wah. While, for the most part, many teens would rather be doing almost anything other than spending a few days isolated with their parents and siblings, an outing may be just the thing you need. Free from distractions of school, friends, computers and phone is where you'll get the most time to spotlight and highlight Islam.

By simply taking a trip to the local wildlife reservation or nature area can be a wonderful opportunity to point out the fascinating miracles of Allah (SWT). A change of scenery in beautiful surroundings usually has a positive impact on everyone in the family, giving everyone a chance to stop and smell the rose, figuratively and literally speaking.

Finally, Ramadan is a prime time to give da'wah to your teens. It is a time when everyone in the family is more focused on Islam. Between fasting and the Taraweeh Salah (night prayer), it softens our hearts and gives us all time to reflect. Ramadan is an ideal time to get your teen involved at the local Masjid and with the Muslim community.

Search out and find projects for them to do, and tasks to accomplish. Although some teens may be uninterested at first, but by the time Ramadan is over there's a good chance that they will be thankful for the time they spent working for the sake of Allah (SWT) and will remember it for years to come.

Smart Strategies

Keep it Short and Sweet - Children young and old have short attention spans and easily be distracted. The less time you spend talking, the more effective your point will be.

Make it Relate - Use examples they can relate to in their daily life. Point out situations as they arise and how they relate to Islam. Don't miss an opportunity to point out blessings, miracles and lessons. It is easier to understand and remember things that are directly related to one's own personal experiences or something that they have noticed in themselves.

Start and End on a High Note - Be positive in your approach. Many times we all get overly critical or nit-picky with our kids. It's really easy to do without even realizing it. It is truly important for them to know that we love them and are proud of them.

And it is crucial that we take the time to point out the good things that they do, as well as the bad. For example, if they carry out a good deed, relate it to Islam and point it out. Explain the importance, rather, the magnitude of their actions and the rewards they will receive for those good deeds. In addition, focus on the rewards in Islam equally as much as the punishments.

Draw attention to the halal (lawful) equally as much as the haram (prohibition). Often, we concentrate on the negative much more and sometimes leave the positive as an afterthought or leave it out altogether.

Fresh Ideas

Family Outings - Do some research before the next outing and have your kids look up the miracles in the Holy Qur'an that deal with nature (bees and plants etc.). Then on your outing, have a scavenger hunt to search for those miracles.

Ramadan - This year, instead of staying at home every evening, go to Masjid and serve Iftar (breakfast) to others. Seek out the needy Muslims in your surrounding area and help your teens assemble food baskets, drive them around and let them distribute it to the needy Muslims themselves.

Community - Having your teen directly involved in activities is one of the most effective methods of da'wah. Get your teen to help organize the next convention or seminar at your local Masjid. A group of teens can visit the sick and elderly Muslims in the community. Teens can even organize a weekend camping event with their friends, a few parents and someone knowledgeable in the community to give short talks between activities.

This Mission is Yours

Each of us stops and wonders how the children we raise will turn out as adults. Often we're perplexed which way is best to relay the message of Islam in a manner that will bring successful results. We want to prevent our children from having to learn things the hard way, and shield them from the harmful situations of this life.

More importantly, we're striving to protect them from the Hellfire and make their path easier to Jannah (paradise). This is why we teach them, it is why we want them to listen and understand.

One of the most difficult missions for any parent is to get their children to really listen, understand and heed their advice. It is not an easy mission, as Allah (SWT) tells us: "And know that your possessions and your children are but a trial, and that surely with Allah is a Mighty Reward." (Holy Qur'an 8: 28)

We are, InshaAllah, all attempting to fulfill our goal as parents and Muslims in one of our most trying tests in this life. The more effective methods we use to impart the importance of Islam to our children in their daily lives, the more likely they will be to be among those who enter Jannah and make Du'a (supplication) for us when we are gone.

[From: Al Jumu'ah Vol. 13 Issue 7]

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Adolescence: Turmoil or Transition

Adolescence: Turmoil or Transition

By Dr. Aisha Hamdan

The stage of adolescence is often seen as a time of turmoil and distress for both the teenagers and their parents. Parents worry about what kind of friends their teen will have, whether or not they will do well in school and decide to pursue their education further, and how much "control" they will have over their teen's decisions. Greater fears include problems with drugs or alcohol, trouble with the legal system, premarital relationships, and suicide. In addition to all of these issues, Muslim parents would be concerned about whether or not their adolescent will wear the hijab, perform salah correctly and on time, fast during the month of Ramadhan, avoid contact with members of the opposite gender, respect his/her parents and other adults. Dealing with all of these worries can be less stressful if a parent knows what to expect as their child enters this phase of development.

Adolescence is generally considered to begin around the age of 12 or 13 and end at 18 or 19. It is a period of transition between childhood and adulthood that is not at all universal. In many cultures and societies there is no such phase of development since marriage and the its associated responsibilities occur at an early age. Adolescence is present in other societies due to social, economic, and cultural factors that produce a gap between the ability to reproduce biologically and the societal expectations for reproduction. As Muslims, we need to contemplate the validity of this stage since we understand that accountability (Takleef) for our thoughts and actions begins at puberty (Buloogh). This means that even though we may not be an "adult" socially, we are considered to be one spiritually. Obviously this should bring up all kinds of red flags and warnings for parents as they realize that the task of parenting is mostly complete by the age of 12 or 13, depending on when a child reaches puberty. At that time, the youth will be completely responsible to Allah for all that he/she does. This does not mean that being a parent ends at that time, but it does highlight the significance of those early years and the crucial role that parents play. We need to build a solid foundation so that our children will make appropriate choices when the time comes.

For those who are in a society where adolescence is regarded as a distinct developmental phase, it is beneficial to understand some of its general characteristics. The perception that this time in life is one of turmoil and distress is related to the commonly held belief that parent-adolescent conflict is inevitable and that the difficulty will continue until the adolescent leaves home. Although this does occur in some families, it should not be considered the norm. Disagreements will obviously arise as the adolescent begins to assert his/her need for independence and control, which is accompanied by expanding cognitive ability and an emerging self-identity. Parents should respect their teenager's choices and foster his/her sense of responsibility, as long as the choices are not contrary to the principles of Islam. Youth should also be taught the fundamental Islamic value of being obedient and respectful to parents at an early age so that when correction is necessary it will be readily accepted. The use of these two strategies should be effective in preventing any serious parent-adolescent conflict from occurring. A positive note is that research has shown that although adolescents and their parents may differ about details of everyday life, they generally agree on issues related to basic values. This is another red flag to signify that we should be aware of the values that we are teaching our youth.

Socially, there is a reorganization during adolescence as more time is spent with peers, adult guidance is reduced and becomes more indirect, and participation in large social groups becomes important. The peer group becomes more influential and various forms of peer pressure may operate. Another positive note is that adolescents are more likely to go along with peer pressure that is prosocial than with pressure to misbehave. The peer group is also an important source of information, encouragement, and social connectedness as the person begins to learn his/her way around in the world. As Muslim parents, we should obviously be concerned about the type of information and encouragement that our youths receive and, by extension, the type of friends that they have. We should encourage them to form friendships and relationships with those who hold the same Islamic values that we are attempting to convey. Children who have developed a love for Islam will naturally follow in this path.

Adolescence can be a splendid time of life for both parents and youth as the transition occurs from childhood into adulthood. If the seeds of Islam have been planted from the beginning and watered and nurtured along the way, a beautiful, flowering plant will unfold. There should then be little worry about the many concerns that may appear during this time. Contrary to the belief that this is a time of conflict between parent and adolescent, it can actually be one of mutual growth, love, and respect. The parent-child relationship will change at this time as independence and accountability develop, but the new bond that occurs can be rewarding and fulfilling for both. May Allah, subhana wa ta'ala, help us to be exemplary parents and assist us in raising righteous children.

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What Every Teenager Needs to Know

What Every Teenager Needs to Know

Alia Amer

in this society, sex, and sexuality are openly displayed for all
to see. In this climate of free sex and loose moral standards, it
becomes imperative for Muslim parents to be proactive in the sexual
education of their children. Now, although for many of us, the thought
of telling our children the whys, how's, and where's of the proper
sexual behaviour between a man and woman, might make us cringe,
when we think of the alternative, we'll see that we have no choice.
Sexual education is a phrase that is taboo for many Muslims. Part
of the reason for this misunderstanding, is that people who encourage
fornication and sexual deviations, are often the ones who teach
sexual education in this society.

can a Muslim parent then not worry when schools and mass media portray
fornication as sexual freedom, and homosexuality as an acceptable
'sexual orientation'? But does this mean that Muslim parents and
educators should choose that their children have no sexual education
at all? The answer is no! Children will always receive some kind
of sexual education, and even if you isolate them, they will still
get it from other children! The correct attitude should be to give
our children the right sexual education, one that is derived from
the Qur'an and the Sunnah. It is therefore the obligation of every
parent to be prepared to carry out this task, and to be able to
do so in the best manner. This article will, insha'Allah, present
some guidance that may make the chore less stressful for all parties

Different Stages Of Sexual Education

a child goes through different developmental stages, his sexual
education should too be planned in stages, and each lesson should
be appropriate to the age of the child. Although children's maturity
vary greatly at any given age, there are four main stages that most
children go through:

Years the Age of Discernment

this age, the child should know the etiquette of entering the parents'
room, and the rules concerning looking at others.

Years Adolescence

this age, the child should learn how to avoid sexual arousal, and
should be protected from it.

Years Puberty

the child should know the etiquette of sexual intercourse, if he
or she is ready to get married in the near future.

& Above Youth

unmarried young men and women should learn sexual abstinence, and
the dangers of adultery and fornication (zina).

Age Of Discernment

most homes, young children move about quite freely, and often take
for granted that they can enter wherever they want. However, there
are limitations for older children, who at certain times should
ask their parents' permission before entering their bedroom.

Allah says,

you who believe! Let your slaves and the children among you who
have not come to the age of puberty ask your permission (before
they come to your presence), on three occasions: before morning
prayer (salatul Fajr), and when you put off your clothes for the
noon rest, and after the late-night prayer (salatul Isha). These
three times are of privacy for you, outside these times, there is
no sin on you or on them to move about, attending to each other.
Thus Allah makes clear the Signs to you. And Allah is All-Knowing,

[Qur'an 24:58]

is then preferable that when the child is old enough to discern
between right and wrong, and easily understands and follows directions
(usually around age seven), that he should ask permission before
entering. This is especially emphasized at the times when the parents
are usually undressed, i.e., from the time after Isha prayer to
the Fajr prayer, and during an afternoon nap. There is no doubt
that this teaches the children to be decent, and aids to protect
them from unintentionally stumbling upon scenes that may prove shocking
to them. When the child reaches puberty, he should be taught to
ask permission before entering at all times, as Allah says,

when the children among you come to puberty, then let them also
ask for permission, as those senior to them (in age). Thus Allah
makes clear His Signs for you. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise."

[Qur'an 24:59]

and reinforcing these lessons over time can gradually integrate
decency and modesty integrated into the child's character.

the Other Sex

Etiquette's of lowering The Gaze

of the hardest lessons for us raised in the West to unlearn, is
this notion of eye contact. Although most of us were taught from
childhood that it is impolite to stare, we were also taught to look
at someone when they were speaking to us, there was no such thing
as lowering the gaze. The evidence of this is seen everyday, as
men and women openly ogle and drool all over each other in the streets.
This is why it is so pressing for us to make sure that Muslim children
become aware of what is lawful for him or her to look at and what
is not.

is more pressing in the case of children who live here in a non-Muslim
society, where they are constantly exposed to indecent scenes of
both men and women, in the streets, on television, in magazines,
on billboards, etc.

the eye is the window to the soul, and a lustful look can lead to
feelings of desire, which can lead to thoughts of fornication.

is why looking at the opposite sex is regulated by the Islamic Shari'ah,
where the rules depend on whether they are mahram (plural maharim)
or not. This refers to women with whom a man has a specified degree
of relationship that precludes marriage.

Of Looking

Looking at Mahram Women

A man
is allowed to look at women who are his mahram, but only at what
is usually exposed of their bodies for the necessity of working
inside the house, such as the head, the hands, the feet, and the
neck. For Allah says,

say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and
guard their private parts, that they should not display their beauty
and ornaments except what ordinarily appear thereof. That they should
draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty
except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers,
their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, or their brothers'
sons, or their sisters' sons."

[Qur'an 24:31]

one should not look at what is usually covered such as the knees,
the breasts, the armpits, etc. This means that the woman should
be decently clothed while in the presence of her mahram relatives.

looking at Non-mahram women

is forbidden for a man to look at women who are strangers to him
(i.e., who are outside the mahram relationship). He should lower
his gaze as Allah orders him,

the believing men to lower their gaze, and protect their private

This is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they

[Qur'an 24:30]

boys (and even younger ones) that can distinguish between a beautiful
woman and a less beautiful one, and can appreciate women's physical
attributes, should be taught to lower their gaze. This protects
them from getting their sexual desires aroused. It is sad to hear
people saying that there is no harm in an innocent look, especially
in the case of teenagers, with the idea that this may somewhat extinguish
their sexual desire. On the contrary, a lustful look may lead to
a greater sin, as the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said,
"It is written on the son of Adam his lot of zina (fornication/adultery),
that will inevitably afflict him. The zina of the eyes is looking,
the zina of the ears is hearing, the zina of the tongue is talking,
the zina of the hand is assaulting, and the zina of the foot is
walking; the heart desires and wishes, and the genitals affirm or
deny." (Bukhari and Muslim)

fact, lowering the gaze is a good deed for which a Muslim is rewarded.
The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said, "No Muslim
whose eyesight falls inadvertently on the beauties of a woman and
then he lowers his gaze, but Allah will credit for him a worship
he will appreciate its sweetness in his heart." (Ahmad, at-Tabarani)
While the first inadvertent look causes no sin on him, the young
man should be taught not to follow it by another, as the Prophet,
sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said to Ali Ibn Abi Talib, "O
Ali! Do not let the second look follow the first. The first look
is allowed to you but not the second." (Tirmithi, Ahmad and
Abu Dawud)

looking at other men and women looking at other women

both men and women walk about practically in a state of undress,
therefore it is more important now more than ever, for Muslim children
to be taught to lower their gaze and this applies to both men and
women. A man is not allowed to look at another man's awrah, i.e.
the area between his navel and his knees (these two parts included),
as the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said, "A man should
not look at the awrah of another man nor a woman of a woman, nor
should a man go under one cloth with another man, nor a woman with
another woman." (Muslim) He also said to a man he saw uncovering
his thigh, "Cover your thigh, for the thigh is awrah."

is clear from this that a man should always cover himself from the
navel to the knees in the presence of others, and should not uncover
his awrah while swimming or playing sports games, or while taking
showers in the presence of others. It is highly recommended to teach
boys to cover themselves down to the knees at a young age (around
seven) so that they grow up with this habit.

rule applies equally to Muslim women looking at other women, whether
these are Muslims or disbelievers. Many of us however, feel no shame
at sitting and browsing through a Victoria's Secret Catalogue, or
through the pages of a swimsuit or fitness magazine, where the women
are practically naked, doing so either out of indifference or ignorance.
It is regrettable to see a Muslim woman allowing herself to look
at non-believing women who are barely clothed, believing that this
is allowed. Girls should be taught to lower their gaze when they
see such scenes, and should learn to cover their awrah at all times,
when they are in presence of other women, Muslim or otherwise. The
awrah of the woman with respect to other Muslim women is the same
as the awrah of the man, i. e., from the knees to the navel.

looking at teenage boys

in general, men are allowed to look during usual activities at teenage
boys whose beards have not yet grown in, they are forbidden to look
at them if there is a fear of temptation, especially in the case
of handsome boys. Looking then becomes unlawful, because this may
lead to sexual desire and sexual deviation.

Looking at Men

A woman
is allowed to look at men while they are walking on the street,
for the purpose of buying in the market, or other lawful activities,
provided that they are properly clothed, with their awrah completely

Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, allowed Aisha to look at the
Abyssinians playing with their spears in the courtyard of his masjid,
while she was hiding behind him.

are not allowed to look closely at a man, however, or to have a
lustful or provocative look, or to look deliberately at them when
they happen to be in the same setting (such as on a bus, or in a

reason for this rule being somewhat more relaxed for women is that
usually they are not the ones who initiate a relationship, due to
their nature, and that men are usually more daring.

at a Small Child's Awrah

is a consensus among the scholars that children who are four years
old or younger have no awrah, meaning that there is no harm in looking
at their naked bodies. The awrah of children over four years is
the genitals and the buttocks. When the child's consciousness of
sex has developed, or when evidence of sexual urge is noticed in
him/her, the awrah limit becomes the same as that of adults and
should be treated as such. However it is better to accustom the
child to being always properly clothed.

the rules of prohibition of looking become void in cases of necessity
such as in administering first aid or medical treatment or during
a trial testimony as the judge requests. Other exceptions are looking
at one's spouse, and a man looking at a woman for the prospect of
marrying her. These two exceptions will be discussed later.

A child
who is raised in the context of these divine rules of lowering the
gaze will no doubt acquire a distinguished Islamic personality,
and a noble social character. Indeed, there is no better way to
teach the child these manners, than for us the parents to lead the
way and set the proper example for them to follow.

Is Considered Mahram?

woman, with whom a man has a relationship (of blood or foster) that
precludes marriage, is considered a mahram to him. Mahram women
include his mother, grandmother, daughter, granddaughter, sister,
aunt, grandaunt, niece, grandniece, his father's wife, his wife's
daughter, his mother-in-law, his foster mother (the one who breastfed
him), foster sisters, and any foster relatives that are similar
to the above mentioned blood relatives. For the Prophet, sallallahu
alayhe wa sallam, said, "What is forbidden by reason of kinship
is forbidden by reason of suckling." (Bukhari)

are considered maharim because Allah mentions them in the Holy Qur'an,

marry not women whom your fathers married, except what has already
passed; indeed it was shameful and most hateful, and an evil way.
Forbidden to you (for marriage) are: your mothers, your daughters,
your sisters, your brother's daughters, your sister's daughters,
your foster mother who breasted you, your foster milk suckling sisters,
your wives' mothers, your stepdaughters under your guardianship,
born of your wives to whom you have gone in -but there is no sin
on you if you have not done so (to marry their daughters), the wives
of your sons who spring from your loins, and two sisters in wedlock
at the same time, except for what has already passed; verily Allah
is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." [Quran 4:22-23]

the man's female relatives mentioned in these two verses are considered
his maharim, because it is unlawful (haram) for him to marry them,
except the wife's sister mentioned last, who is not a mahram because
he can marry her if he divorces his wife, or if she dies. Reciprocally,
if a woman is a mahram to a man, such her brother, her father, her
uncle, etc. then he is a mahram to her. One of the hardest things
for my family to adjust to is the fact that I can't be alone or
get undressed in front of some of my male relatives. To them, it's
just Patrick or Mike or Kari, what's the harm? They do not understand
that some relatives are not considered maharim who fall under the
category of strangers, and are, therefore, legal for marriage under
the Islamic Shari'ah.

Two habits that are commonly practiced in some Muslim communities
and societies, which are unlawful, and Muslims should be warned
against are:

with non-Mahram

is always eager to tempt people and to make them fall into what
is unlawful, and for this reason Allah warns us saying,

you who believe! Follow not the footsteps of Satan. And whosoever
follows the footsteps of Satan, then verily he commands what is
indecent and wrong."

[Qur'an 24:21]

of the Satan's means to tempt people into sin, is privacy with non-mahram
women, for this reason the Shar'iah has prohibited it. The Prophet,
sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said, "A man does not meet privately
with a woman without the Satan being the third (present)."
(Tirmithi) Ibn Umar narrated that the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe
wa sallam, also said, "From now on a man must not drop in on
a non-mahram woman unless accompanied by one or two men." (Muslim)
Therefore, a man is not allowed to be alone with a stranger-woman
in a house or a room, or in a car, even if that woman is his sister-in-law
or his maid, or his patient [in the case of a physician] etc. Many
people are very lax concerning this rule, thinking they have confidence
in controlling themselves or confidence in the other party, but
this leads to fornication or to its preambles, and causes the increase
of illegitimate children.

the hands of non-mahram

traditions of certain societies have prevailed over Allah's Shari'ah
concerning this matter. Their wrong habits have overcome the rule
of religion so much so that when one presents the rule of the Shari'ah
to them, he is accused of being backward. Shaking the hand of one's
female cousins, or one's uncles' wives has become as easy as falling
off a log in our societies, but if people considered seriously the
dangers of this matter in the Shari'ah, they would not do it. The
Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said, "It is better for
one of you to be pierced by an iron needle in the head than to touch
the hand of a woman that is not allowed to him." (Tabarani)

sin is considered a fornication of the hand, as the Prophet, sallallahu
alayhe wa sallam, said, "The eyes fornicate, and the hands
fornicate, and the feet fornicate, and the intimate parts fornicate."
(Ahmad) Is there a person purer than Muhammad, sallallahu alayhe
wa sallam? And in spite of that he said, "I do not shake women's
hands." (Ahmad) He also said, "I do not touch women's
hands." (Tabarani) Aisha, radhiallahu anha, said, "No
by Allah, the Prophet's hand never touched a woman's hand, he used
to accept their pledge of allegiance by [hearing their] words only."
(Muslim) Men who threaten to divorce their pious wives if they refuse
to shake their brothers' hands should fear Allah. It should also
be known that wearing a glove or wrapping the hand with a cloth
while shaking hands is not allowed either.


is widely recognized that adolescence is the most dangerous and
tumultuous period in the life of an individual. If the child passes
this period safely, it is hoped that he will have a happy and successful
life later. For this reason, Islam prescribes on every parent whose
child approaches adolescence to guard him against anything that
might arouse his sexual desire, and this should begin when the child
is around ten.

of Children inside the Home

parents should supervise their children by making sure that they
behave in an Islamic way and are aware of the Islamic rules that
protect them from sexual arousal. These rules are summarized as

the boy is ten years or older, he should not enter a place where
women are gathered, especially if they are wearing their beautiful
attires and have adorned themselves with makeup and jewellery. The
Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said, "Beware of entering
[places] where women are!" (Bukhari and Muslim)

ten years and older should not share the same bed even if they are
of the same sex, as the Prophet advised, saying, "Enjoin your
children to perform salah when they are seven, and spank them for
it when they are ten, and let them sleep in separate beds."
(al-Hakim and Abu Dawud)

boys and girls should at this age be familiar with the etiquette
of looking at the opposite sex, and apply its rules.

child must be supervised as to what he watches on television. Better
yet, television should be avoided altogether. Nobody in his right
mind can deny the overwhelming presence of sex in all television
programs, including cartoons, news and documentaries. Bringing a
television set into one's house is like bringing a fox into the
chicken coop. There is no excuse for the Muslim parent to let his
child watch such debasing programs, which the disbelievers themselves
criticize.' The child who knows that the Shariah enjoins him to
lower his gaze will realize that it is almost impossible to watch
television and at the same time observe that divine order of lowering
one's gaze, and that watching television will undoubtedly arouse
his desire to commit sins.

child should be supervised concerning the materials he reads, such
as books and magazines. Moreover the books the child gets from,
or that are assigned to him by non-Islamic schools should be closely
monitored. Parents should not hesitate to enter the child's room
- after asking permission - in order to make sure that he does not
turn it into a hiding place for forbidden materials.

by the age of ten, the child should not be allowed to befriend anyone
from the opposite sex, whether a relative or a neighbour, not even
for studying or competing. It is a dangerous slip that might lead
the child to fornication.

of Children Outside of the Home

children leaving home are like soldiers going to the battlefield,
they should be armed to ward off the dangers awaiting them outside.
Although too numerous to cite, here are a few:

dangers of the cinema and theatre, which base their products almost
entirely on sex, for their belief is that 'sex sells'.

danger of women's clothing where the woman's dress is ever shrinking
in length.

dangers of the brothels, and prostitutes are obvious. Needless to
say that these are diseases that have become a fixture in almost
all societies, and hence the child should at any price be protected
from them.

dangers of indecent pictures intended to sharpen the sexual appetite,
and which are exposed everywhere in the streets.

dangers of befriending other children who might have a bad influence
on the child. The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, warned against
befriending bad people, saying, "A man is of the same faith
as his bosom friend, so make sure whom you take as a bosom friend."
(Ibn Hibban)

dangers of intermingling the two sexes. It may appear that the mixing
of young boys and girls in school presents no harm, but in fact
the child becomes so accustomed to being mixed with the opposite
sex that later the idea of segregating himself from the opposite
sex becomes strange to him.

Is the Best Strategy

the face of all these dangers, supervision outside the house becomes
impossible, and in fact may not even be a good strategy, considering
the more mature personality of the child at this age. A more positive
attitude is to help him regulate his own sexual desire, and correct
himself. Some of the ways in which this can be done include:

and enlightening the child about the dangers outside the home. The
child should realize that these diseases of the society are not
part of his Islamic heritage. Some of them are the result of foreign
ideologies and philosophies, ranging from the Freudian theories
which base everything on sex; to the Marxist and Communist theories
which deny the existence of the Creator and make man his own god;
to the Hippies and the sexual revolution, etc. The child should
be educated about his own Islamic heritage and should know that
Islam preaches decency and chastity, and that what the child sees
in the streets is the result of the deviation from the true religion,

should constantly caution the child about the dangerous consequences
of fornication. No sinful act has greater repercussion on the person's
life, and the society as a whole, than the act of fornication. Parents
should explicitly caution their child about these dangers as soon
as they sense that he or she is mature enough to understand them.
Some of these harmful consequences include:

  • 1
    - Repercussion on the child's health: Many children and young
    men are unaware that sexual promiscuity leads to many sexually
    transmitted diseases. One such disease is AIDS, a deadly disease
    that has become the plague of sexually promiscuous societies.
    One single sexual act may ruin the child's health forever. This
    danger alone is an incentive strong enough to caution the child
    against the sin of fornication and any path that leads to it.
  • 2
    - Repercussion on the society: Any society in which sexual rules
    are relaxed suffers from many illnesses such as a high number
    of unwed mothers, children born out of wedlock, a high number
    of rapists, and finally the gradual destruction of the nuclear
  • 3
    - Repercussion on the economy: No doubt that the wave of fatherless
    children resulting from the plague of fornication, constitutes
    an economic burden on the society. On the other hand, a man who
    commits such acts acquires a sense of irresponsibility, which
    will no doubt reflect on his work, and on the society as a whole.
  • 4
    - Repercussion on the Hereafter: It is very important that the
    child should fear Allah's Punishment if he commits this abominable
    sin. Allah says,

those who invoke not with Allah any other god, nor kill such life
as Allah has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal
sexual intercourse; and whoever does this shall receive the punishment.
The torment will be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection, and
he will abide therein in disgrace."

[Qur'an 25:68-69]

the child to his religious roots. Parents should teach their children
Islamic culture and history. The child should also know the norms
within a Muslim community and the way social activities (gatherings,
sports, hobbies, etc.) are per formed according to the Islamic Shari'ah.
Parents should encourage -even insist- that the child chooses his
friends from the company of well-behaved Muslim children.


is the most turbulent and confusing period in a person's life both
physically and emotionally. Things begin to happen to your body
that you don't understand and you begin to experience feelings and
emotions that were before this, alien to you. All of this can cause
drastic mood swings, and behavioural changes in children that parents
must be aware of. It is also a time, when the lines of communication
between parent and child need to be wide open. As parents we need
to listen, be empathetic to their situation and explain what all
these changes mean in regards to their lives and their religion.

a child reaches puberty, he becomes fully accountable for his deeds
in the Sight of Allah.

parents of the adolescent boy should inform him that the first time
he ejaculates, he becomes accountable for his actions in front of
Allah, and he should perform the acts of worship in the same way
that adult Muslims do.

a girl is about nine years old, her parents should inform her that
the first time she sees blood (menstruation), she becomes accountable
for her acts and that the acts of worship prescribed for Muslim
women are also prescribed for her.

the child reaches puberty, there are certain rules that the parents
should explain to him or her, which include:

the child has a sexual dream, he does not have to take a bath (ghusl)
unless he sees or feels wetness on his clothes or bed sheets due
to sperm ejaculation. In the case of a girl, vaginal discharge,
the type of viscous discharge that commonly occurs after a woman
has had an orgasm, should be noticed before it is necessary to take
a bath. Such was the answer of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa
sallam, to Khawlah Bint Hakeem, who asked him if a woman should
make ghusl when she has a sexual dream. He said, "No ghusl
on her unless she has a discharge, similarly there is no ghusl on
the man unless he ejaculates." (Ahmad and Nasa'i)

the child wakes up and sees or feels wetness due to sexual discharge,
he/she should perform ghusl even if he/she did not remember having
any dream.

the boy ejaculates due to sexual arousal, whether voluntary or involuntary,
he should perform ghusl. The same rule applies to the girl if she
had an orgasm or vaginal discharge.

men and young women who are about to get married should know that
during sexual intercourse, as soon as penetration occurs they both
should perform ghusl whether there was discharge or not. The Prophet,
sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said, "When he sits between her
arms and legs, and the two organs touch, and his organ disappears
(in hers), there should be ghusl, whether he ejaculated or not."

the girl does not see anymore blood at the end of her menses, she
should perform ghusl. The married woman should know that after childbirth
she should make ghusl as soon as the bleeding stops. The next step
is obviously to teach the child how to perform ghusl and the Sunan
acts of ghusl. He or she should know the acts that are unlawful
to him or her while in a state of sexual impurity. These include:

menstruation, or after birth bleeding, a woman is forbidden to pray,
fast, hold the Qur'an, enter a mosque unless passing through it,
make tawaf (i.e., circumambulate the Ka'bah), or have sexual intercourse.
For Allah says,

ask you about menstruation, say: it is a harmful thing,

therefore keep away from women during menses and go not unto them
until they are clean."

[Qur'an 2:222]

and women who are in a state of sexual impurity (janabah) are prohibited
from reading the Qur'an or touching it before making ghusl. For
the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said, "The menstruating
woman and the one in a state of sexual impurity must not read anything
from the Qur'an." (Tirmidhi). They are also forbidden to pray,
enter the mosque, or make tawaf.

child should learn to inspect his clothes and keep them clean from
sperm (or vaginal discharge), or in fact, any liquids discharge
from the sexual organs.

Staying Chaste

young people, especially young men are under constant pressure to
conform to the norms of the larger society, and to express his manhood
through loose sexual behaviour. To be a virgin in this day and age
is looked upon as a sexual deviancy, while promiscuity and sexual
perversions are looked at as normal. Muslim youth should always
be guarded against such thinking, and steps should be taken to guard
their chastity until marriage becomes a viable option. But what
should young men do, if they wish to get married but cannot afford
it? Allah says concerning them,

let those who find not the financial means for marriage keep themselves
chaste until

Allah enriches them of His Bounty." [Qur'an 24:33]

means are offered to Muslim youths to help them to preserve their
chastity. Some have been discussed earlier, such as lowering the
gaze, keeping away from anything that induces arousal, seeking the
company of righteous people and fearing the punishment of Allah.
Some other ways are:

one's idle time with physical and intellectual activities, so that
one does not engage in sexual fantasies that arouses the desire.
Physical activity is also a good way to expend extra energy, and
also to relieve pressure.

voluntary fasting, as fasting decreases the sexual drive, and brings
one closer to Allah. The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said,
"Those who cannot (marry) should fast, for it is a means of
cooling sexual passion." (Bukhari)

of all, unmarried people should strengthen the religious deterrent
within themselves. One good way is to remember the many verses in
the Qur'an warning against zina. Also, they can consider the story
of Yusuf, who is the perfect example of the chaste man,

she, in whose house he was, sought to seduce him, she closed the
doors and said,

'Come on, O you.' He said, 'Allah forbid!"

[Qur'an 12:23]

Are Wrong

of the consensus of the larger society, homosexuality is not a sexual
norm, or alternative. Islam considers homosexuality as a sexual
deviation leading to a perverted act which goes against the natural
order Allah intended for mankind. It is a corruption of the man's
sexuality and a crime against the opposite sex. Therefore, the Islamic
Shari'ah strictly prohibits the practice of this perverted act,
which is mentioned in many places in the Holy Qur'an.

story of Prophet Lot's people, who were addicted to this practice,
is the best example. Prophet Lot, alayhes salam, said to his people,

you do sodomy with men, and rob the wayfarer! And practice all wickedness
in your meetings."

[Qur'an 29:29]

he said to them,

"Of all the creatures of the world, will you approach males,
and leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your wives?
Nay, you are a trespassing people!"

[Qur'an 26:165-166]

their answer to Prophet Lot, alayhessalam, was,

us the Wrath of Allah if you are telling us the Truth."

[Qur'an 29:29]

so Allah gave them the punishment they deserved,

We rained on them a rain of torment. And how evil was the rain of
those who had been warned."

[Qur'an 26:173]

of the danger, and the atrocity of this crime, Allah has punished
the people who committed it by four kinds of punishments. No people
have been punished by all four combined before: He blinded their
eyes, He turned the town of Sodom upside down, He rained on them
stones of baked clay piled up, and He sent against them a sayhah
[a torment and an awful cry].

as a person who has a sexual urge should not satisfy it by committing
zina, a person who has this perverted thought should not act upon
it. In order to maintain the purity of the Muslim society, most
Muslim scholars have ruled that the punishment for this act should
be the same as for zina (i.e., one hundred whiplashes for the man
who has never married and death by stoning for the married man).
Some have even ruled that the punishment of both partners in sodomy
is execution by the sword, if they committed the act by their own
choice and agreement. For Ibn Abbas narrated that the Prophet, sallallahu
alayhe wa sallam, said, "Whomever you found committing the
crime of Lot's people [i.e., sodomy], then kill both partners."
(Ahmad) The unprecedented plagues and the many dangerous diseases
that have appeared in our time such as the fatal AIDS disease, and
which are the result of this immoral crime, show the wisdom of inflicting
such strong punishment for this sin.

About Masturbation?

one's chastity also includes staying away from masturbation. Sexual
arousal may drive a person to masturbation. Such a person should
know, however, that the majority of the scholars consider this practice
unlawful. This ruling is based on the Words of Allah Who says,

who guard their private parts except from their spouses or those
whom their right hands possess, for them, they are free from blame.
But those who crave something beyond that, are transgressors."

[Qur'an 23:5-7]

one who masturbates is considered be among 'those who crave something
beyond that' specified in the verse.

A Muslim
should therefore resist this temptation by avoiding anything that
leads to sexual arousal. The Prophet's advice to the Muslim youth
is to seek help through frequent fasting, for it strengthens the
fear of Allah, teaches self control, and cools one's desire.

Ready for Marriage

the misguided thinking of some 'people of the book', sexual urge
and desire is neither a sinful thing, nor does abstaining from expressing
it in a lawful manner, lead to a higher level of spiritual awareness.
Allah created sexual urge in mankind, as it is the means by which
the procreation and continuity of humanity is ensured. Allah says,

Allah has given you wives of your own kind, and has given you, from
your wives, sons and grandsons."

[Qur'an 16:72]

is indeed a strong driving force in the human being, which demands
fulfilment. Islam recognizes this urge and never denies it, but
regulates it through the institution of marriage. Just as Islam
strictly forbids sex outside marriage, and all means leading to
it, it also prohibits celibacy. The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa
sallam, said, "Young men, those of you who can support a wife
should marry, for it keeps you from looking at women and preserves
your chastity. " (Bukhari)

A young
man who is physically and financially capable to marry should be
encouraged to do so as early as possible. The parents of a young
woman who is ready for marriage should let her marry as soon as
an acceptable man proposes to her.

is not enough to tell our children about the dangers of fornication;
we should make it a point to explain to them the many benefits of
marriage. By denying them one set of behaviors, it then becomes
necessary to offer them legal and acceptable alternatives. Besides
being a lawful way of satisfying one's sexual urge, marriage is
considered a form of worship, and the sexual act itself is a good
deed for which the Muslim receives a reward. The Prophet, sallallahu
alayhe wa sallam, said, "And in the sexual act (with your spouses)
there is a charity (you will be rewarded for)." He was then
asked, "A man satisfies his urge and gets reward for it?"
He said, "Do you see if he satisfied it in an unlawful way,
would he not get a punishment?" They said, "Yes."
And then he said, "Similarly if he did it in a lawful way,
he would be rewarded for it!" (Muslim) Through marriage, men
and women can find tranquillity and peace with each other. Allah

among His Signs is that He created for you wives from among yourselves,
that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put between
you affection and mercy."

[Qur'an 30:21]

ensures the growth and spread of the Muslim Ummah. It splits the
responsibilities of raising the child between the parents, and tightens
the bond between the generations.

young people become aware of the many benefits of marriage, they
will no doubt look forward to it. The tremendous task of choosing
a spouse for the young man or woman lies more on the shoulders of
their parents, who should know about the Islamic way of choosing
a spouse for their child, and also should inform the child about
the etiquette of betrothal.

next responsibility is to inform the would-be-groom and bride about
what is lawful and unlawful, liked and disliked for them to do on
their wedding night and beyond.

for Spouse Selection

choosing spouses for their children, many Muslim parents nowadays,
look for physical beauty and economical prowess, and disregard requiring
them to have good Islamic character. The proper choice of an appropriate
spouse for one's offspring ensures a good foundation for the family
they will establish. For this reason Islam pays great attention
to the way one chooses a spouse. In choosing a bride for their son,
the parents should take into consideration his preferences regarding
her physical beauty and character, but most importantly they should
seek a Muslim woman of high moral and religious standards. The Prophet,
sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said, "A woman is normally sought
as a wife for her wealth, her beauty, her nobility, or her Deen
(religiousness), so choose a religious woman and you will prosper."

the girl's father should not postpone nor refuse to marry his daughter
to a man who proposes to her, if he is of sound religion, character
and of equal status. The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said,
"When someone with whose religion and character you are satisfied,
asks to marry your daughter, agree to his request. If you do not
do so, there will be corruption and great evil on earth." (Tirmithi)

engaging in the search for a bride, the young man and his parents
should avoid certain things:

is unlawful for a Muslim to marry a woman who is a mahram to him.
Also, he should not propose to a woman who is actually married;
a woman who is in her iddah (the waiting period of the divorced
or widowed woman); a woman whom another Muslim man has already asked
in marriage -unless she has already refused the first or if he permits
him-; a disbeliever, with the exception of Jewish or Christian women;
or a prostitute (unless she has sincerely repented from it). It
is also unlawful for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man.

are also steps a girl's father should take before agreeing to the
man's proposal. The father should at least:

make sure that the man who is asking to marry his daughter is of
sound religion, and is capable of supporting her.

seek his daughter's consent before accepting the offer of the proposing
man. The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said, "A woman
who has been previously married has more right concerning her person
than her guardian, and a virgin's consent must be asked about herself,
her consent being her silence." (Bukhari and Muslim)

Of Engagement

is permissible prior to proposal that the man sees the woman he
intends to marry. Jabir Ibn Abdullah, radhiallahu anhu said concerning
his wife, "(Before marrying her) I used to hide behind a tree
to see her." The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said,
"When one of you intends to marry a woman if he is able to
look at what would induce him to marry her he should do so."
(Abu Dawud)

are, however, rules concerning seeing the woman, that they both
should respect:

man's intention of marriage should be sincere. He should not seek
to meet the woman until he is satisfied about her other attributes
such as her Deen, morality, and character, in such a way that he
is inclined to marry her, and looking at her is for him the last
step toward this decision.

should first send a woman from his family whom he trusts, to see
the girl and describe her to him.

girl's father should not allow the man proposing to her to look
at her unless he is completely satisfied with him.

girl's father should not hide from the proposing man any defects
he knows about his daughter.

man is allowed to see only the face and the hands of the woman he
intends to marry. If he wants specific information about her physical
appearance, he may send one of his mahram women to inquire about
it, and describe it to him. There is no sin on him to look intently
at her to confirm his desire to marry her.

does not have to ask her permission to look at her, it is rather
better that he does it without her knowledge if he can. This way,
if for any reason, he changes his mind this will not hurt her feelings.

after the man and the woman accept each other for marriage and thus
are engaged, they should remember that they are still considered
strangers (non-mahram) to each other and that what is unlawful to
the non-mahram is unlawful to them. This especially pertains to:
looking at each other, being alone together, and going out together.
Their relation to each other changes only after the marriage contract
is executed.

Night & Beyond

men and women alike look forward to no other day with more anticipation,
than their wedding day. And perhaps no night can cause more joy,
fear and anxiety than their wedding night. There is, however, ways
described by the Prophet of Allah, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam,
to help make the wedding night as pleasant as the wedding day. There
are desirable acts that the couple are encouraged to do on their
wedding night, as well as prohibited acts, which they should avoid.


is a desirable Sunnah that the groom puts his hands on the bride's
head and pray for her. The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam,
taught us to say, "O Allah, I ask You her goodness, and the
goodness of the inborn dispositions which You have given her, and
I solicit Your protection from her evil, and the evil of the inborn
dispositions which You have given her." (Abu Dawud and Ibn
Majah) The groom can make this supplication aloud or silently.

is also desirable that they make two raka'at of voluntary salah
together then invoke whatever supplication asking from Allah what
they wish for themselves. The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam,
said, "Verily, affection is from Allah and repugnance is from
Satan who wants you to hate what Allah has allowed to you. So when
your wife comes to you, ask her to make two raka'at with you and
then say, 'O Allah, bless my wife for me, and bless me for her.
O Allah, unite between us in good, and if You separate us, separate
us in good." (Abu Shaybah)

groom is encouraged to please his bride and treat her with kindness.
It is a sunnah that he presents to her something to drink or to
eat. Asmaa bint Yazeed, radhiallahu anha, said, "I adorned
Aisha, radhiallahu anha, for her wedding night, and the Prophet,
sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, came to her side and brought a big
cup of milk from which he drank and then presented it to her, but
she blushed and lowered her head." (Ahmad)

is permissible that they take off all their clothes and be completely
naked but it is better for them to be under a common sheet, for
the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said, "Verily Allah
is modest and discreet and He likes modesty and discretion."
(Ahmad, At-Tirmithi and Abu Dawud)

couple is encouraged to engage in foreplay before having intercourse.
The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said, "One of you
should not fall upon his wife like the way an animal does, let there
be a messenger between them." He was asked, "And what
is the messenger?" He replied, "Kissing and talking."
(Ad-Daylami) This indicates that the man should seek to satisfy
his wife's desires as she satisfies his.

starting intercourse, it is a sunnah to make the following supplication,
"In the name of Allah. O Allah, keep Satan away from us, and
keep Shaytan away from (the offspring) that which You grant us."

are free to have intercourse in any position they wish, as Allah

wives are as a tilth unto you, so approach your tilth when or how
you wish."

[Qur'an 2:223]

are free to have intercourse any time they wish, but moderation
is advised and sexual activity should not become an obsession as
it may take over other activities of life. Having intercourse on
the night before Friday is desirable as the Prophet said, "Whoever
makes ghusl on Friday to clean himself from janabah (i.e., after
having intercourse), then left for salah, it is as if he offered
a camel in sacrifice." (Bukhari)

intercourse, it is desirable that they take a bath (ghusl) before
going to sleep. If this presents a hardship on them they should
perform ablution (wudhu) and can postpone ghusl until before Fajr
salah. If they want to have intercourse a second time, it is desirable
that the man performs wudhu first. For the Prophet said, "If
one of you had intercourse with his wife and then wants to come
to her again, it is better for him to perform wudhu, for it gives
him vigor to come again." (Muslim)

Acts the Couple Must Avoid

is unlawful for them to speak about (or otherwise mention) anything
that happened between them in intimacy. The Prophet, sallallahu
alayhe wa sallam, said, "Among those who will be in the worst
position in Allah's sight on the Day of Resurrection is the man
who has intercourse with his wife, and she with him, and then he
spreads her secret." (Muslim)

is strictly unlawful for the couple to engage in sodomy, as the
Prophet said, "Cursed is the one who comes to his wife in her
anus." (Ahmad and Abu Dawud)

A man
asked Ibn Abbas, radhiallahu anhu, about one engaging in sodomy
with his wife, and Ibn Abbas said, "This man is asking me about
kufr." The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam has even said,
"Whoever has intercourse [with his wife] during her menses,
or commits sodomy with her, or comes to a diviner, then he disbelieved
in what was revealed to Muhammad." (Tirmithi)

spite of the fact that some pious women who are on the innate nature,
and refuse to comply, their husbands threaten to divorce them if
they do not obey them.

men lie to their wives who are shy to ask the religious scholars
about this matter. Concerning this act, they may tell them that
it is allowed, and might even present them a 'proof' from the Qur'an
where Allah says,

wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth when and how you

[Qur'an 2:223]

the sunnah of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, clarifies
what is mentioned in the Qur'an, when he stated that the man is
allowed to approach his wife in any manner as long as it is in the
place of conception (i.e., the vagina). Among the causes of this
crime is to enter the pure marital life with filthy habits of forbidden
perverted acts inherited from the times of jahilyiah, or with a
memory full of pornographic scenes from movies that some had watched
and had not repented to Allah for them. It is well known that this
act is forbidden, even when both parties agree on it.

is forbidden for the husband to have intercourse with his wife during
her menstruation and childbirth bleeding, as Allah says, "They
ask you concerning menstruation. Say, that is a harmful thing, therefore
keep away from women during menses and go not unto them till they
are clean." [2:222] Therefore the husband is not allowed to
have intercourse with his wife until she purifies herself by taking
ghusl after her menstruation stops, because Allah ta'ala says, "And
when they have purified themselves, then go in unto them as Allah
has ordained for you..." [2:222] The seriousness of this sin
is such that that the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, compared
it to disbelief.

a person commits this sin out of ignorance of the rule of Shari'ah,
then there is no blame on him, but if he committed it intentionally
while he knew of the rule, then he should atone for it. The atonement
is either one Dinar or half a Dinar. Some scholars say the man is
free to choose between either sum of money. Other scholars say he
should pay one Dinar if he had intercourse during the first days
of menstruation when the bleeding was heavy, and one half Dinar
if it was in the last days of menstruation when the bleeding was
lighter, or before she took a bath [ghusl]. The value of one Dinar
is the value of 4.25 grams of gold, which he should give to charity.

woman should not voluntarily fast before asking permission from
her husband, as this deprives him from having intercourse with her.
This of course excludes the obligatory fasting such as Ramadhan,
or when she has to make up for the days she did not fast during

wife should not refuse to satisfy her husband's sexual need without
any legitimate excuse. Abu Hurairah, radhiallahu anhu, narrated
that the Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said, "When the
man invites his wife to his bed, but she refuses, and so he spends
the night being angry at her, then the angels will curse her until
the next morning." (Bukhari) Therefore, the wife should hasten
to answer her husband's call, complying to the words of the Prophet,
sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, "When the man invites his wife
to his bed she should satisfy him even if she were on the camel's
saddle." (Sahihul-Jami') On the other hand, the husband must
take into consideration his wife's disposition if she falls sick
or is pregnant, or is in grief, so that their relation remains in
harmony and to avoid any discord.

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