relationship; Does Islam permits this relationship?
My very dear young Muslim brothers and sisters I have something of extreme importance to talk to you about. I want to tell you some things about boy-girl relationships, sex, and marriage. I know these are very personal and delicate matters for discussion, but given how essential they are to your life, to the whole Muslim Ummah, and to the future of Islam as our way of life these are matters we must discuss. In Islam it has been made very clear as to what is acceptable and what is not acceptable between males and females who are not married to each other, so if all was going well in this critical area of life I wouldn’t need to say anything; but, all is not going well. Please know what I am going to say to you I say only because I love Islam and I care so very much about the future safety, happiness, and success in the lives of all of you although we may have never met.
From what I have been reading, from what parents have been telling me, and from what has been confirmed in discussions with many young Muslim brothers and sisters from countries all across the world it has become clear that more and more young Muslims are not following the guidelines for relationships between boys and girls so clearly set out in Islam. What Islam says is right is easy to remember because we are told that before marriage there is to be virtually no contact at all between males and females. In today’s world, while still a minority, an increasing number of young Muslims are having relationships with members of the opposite sex that are clearly outside the limits set by Islam. These relationships beyond the limits of Islam range from seemingly innocent friendships, to boyfriend-girlfriend relationships, all the way to the complete sexual relationship that has been made right by Allah only for those who are married to each other.
Do you think Allah has said there should be virtually no relationship at all between unmarried males and females because He doesn’t want you to have fun? No, Allah has set the rules for right relationships between males and females because He knows for sure what is best for you as an individual and what is best for His Ummah. Allah wants you to have a good time and enjoy the wonderful pleasures of male-female relationships, including the sexual relationship, but He knows you can only experience the greatest joy, and suffer no harm, if you keep your relationships, particularly the sexual relationship, within the necessary guidelines of the right way of life He has given us.
Tough choice for Young Muslims
As you read this message I ask you to keep an open mind until you evaluate everything I have to say. In all parts of our lives we must be sure that what we get is worth what we have to pay. In something so tempting as sexual pleasure there are few who objectively weigh the full costs against those brief moments of gratification. By ‘sexual pleasure’ I mean all the aspects, including the emotional aspect, that lead up to the full expression of the sexual relationship. Allah has placed within both males and females an extremely strong desire to pair off as couples and eventually experience the full sexual relationship. So the feelings of desire for a close relationship with a member of the opposite sex you might be having are entirely natural as it is Allah’s Will that you feel those desires so strongly.
When we look at animal behaviour we see that animals take their sexual pleasure whenever and wherever they can. This is how Allah ensures the continued survival of their species. Never forget that human beings are not animals, so although we have bodies quite similar to animal bodies, and basic needs quite similar to the needs of animals, we relate to our bodies and our needs as beings who have had a God consciousness breathed into us by Allah when we were still in our mother’s womb. This special spiritual nature provides us with many wonderful benefits, but it also presents us with some very serious responsibilities.
These benefits and responsibilities show up quite clearly in relation to the desire for sexual pleasure placed within us by Allah. The benefit is that human beings can experience a level of sustained deep emotional bonding and sexual pleasure far beyond the ability of any animal, but the responsibility is to direct our sexual desires only in the manner set out as the right way of life for us by Allah. Sexual pleasure is only to be experienced between a man and woman married to each other; sometimes this is for the purpose of bringing new human spiritual beings into the world and sometimes it is to allow the ecstasy and the intimacy of the sexual relationship to bond the married man and woman together so strongly as a family, who will be able to raise a new generation of good and right Muslim children within that family, that they become invulnerable to the forces of evil that might attempt to tear the family unit apart.
Most young Muslims in the world today have been heavily influenced by a highly sexualized society around them which says, “Look at the many Western teens or non-Muslim teens in Islamic nations who know no rules except to experience as much pleasure as possible, and who don’t worry about the consequences.”
It would be virtually impossible as a young Muslim teen to see the many hundreds of times when unmarried teens are portrayed as boyfriends and girlfriends enjoying the pleasures of sex in movies, songs, and stories from the entertainment of the Western world without having the thought cross your mind something like, “Hey, that looks like fun, if they are doing it why shouldn’t I do it too.” Well, I would like to make sure you know what comes along with what has been called “free sex,” because it turns out that sex isn’t free after all, and the cost is going to probably be much more than you would be willing to pay – if you knew what the true cost was.
What’s the cost of adultery?
First, what are the benefits? Well, you might get a relationship with member of the opposite sex that could take away some of the personal loneliness so common in today’s world; you might get to be seen by your peers (if they don’t know better) as someone who is modern and cool; you might feel you are breaking out of restrictions imposed on you by a religion and culture that you didn’t choose for yourself; you might feel not left out if many others around you are doing the same thing; it might make you feel better about yourself knowing someone ‘really’ likes you; and, of course there is the obvious fun and physical pleasure that naturally comes from experiencing the various aspects of the intimate and sexual relationship.
Some of those benefits result in the fulfilment of natural human desires, even if done wrongfully; but, some of those so-called benefits have been conditioned into your thinking against your will by the wrongful influences of the secular materialist society that exists outside the Muslim Ummah. If you ever find yourself experiencing envy of the ‘freedom’ and the lifestyle of the American teens as portrayed in the media please ask yourself this question and answer it honestly.
“Who do you think is better equipped to make decisions about what is a right way to live, the average American teen who has never even heard of Allah and Islam, or you who are a Muslim teen who has been Blessed with the opportunity to at least know of Allah’s existence and to understand a little bit about the Islam. He gave us as the right way of life? If you don’t know that you are much better qualified than the average godless, pleasure seeking American teen to know right from wrong then you had better start using that wonderful brain Allah put in your head a little better.
What’s the cost of intimacy?
Now let me list some of the costs of those early intimate and sometimes sexual relationships experienced before you are married and it all becomes lawful to you. The list might seem a bit long, but that’s because the costs are many. Be honest in your judgment as you read of these costs and see if I am being fair and truthful with you in all that I say. I will be presenting the costs of relationships that have gone as far as full sexual behaviour, but even if you haven’t gone that far, which I pray you haven’t, many of these costs must be paid for the relationship whether there was sex or not. These costs are not being presented in any particular order I am just trying to make sure I don’t miss any costs because I do not want you, my very dear young Muslim brothers and sisters, to have to suffer the consequences of paying so much more in the future than you ever expected to pay for taking some forbidden but temporary pleasure now.
We will start with one of the really ugly costs, disease. Promiscuity (sleeping around) can lead to a wide range of very nasty diseases. The effects of these diseases can go from simple pain and discomfort, to disfigurement, to other lifelong diseases such as cancer, to the inability to have children, and even to painful lingering death. For example, did you know that females who have slept with three or more people over a lifetime are 15 times more likely to get cervical cancer than those who didn’t? Weigh these facts highly as you make decisions about relationships before marriage.
Another cost is divorce. In Islam it is expected a married couple will stay married forever and enjoy their family life till they die. This is the way Allah wants it to be for our greatest happiness. The reality is that couples who engage in sex before marriage are many times more likely to divorce.
This is a sad cost, adultery. The more relationships you have before marriage, the more likely you are to commit adultery after marriage, and so is the person you marry. No good marriage can tolerate adultery, adultery is certain to cause great unhappiness to the married couple and to destroy the good family life necessary for the development of a right society. But, isn’t it logical that if you don’t follow the rules about having sex before marriage that you are not very likely to follow the rules about having sex after marriage.
Many young Muslim girls never expected such things as unwed motherhood, unwanted children, and abortion to enter their lives, but those terrible things do sometimes happen when you have wrong relationships; they happen much more often than anyone wants to admit. Unwed pregnancy, how would you like to tell your parents about this one? Even worse, you would be bringing a child into the world and this child may be very unwanted, are you going to be able to care for this child and the sacred soul Allah has placed within that child? Or what about an abortion, not only is that likely to be committing a great sin, but you would be killing a new human being growing within you. Does it make you feel sad to think about this? It makes me sad.
Here are some depressing statistics about suicide. Sexually active boys are more than twice as likely to have depression and almost ten times more likely to attempt suicide than boys who wait until marriage. Teenage girls who have premarital sex are three times more likely to have depression than girls who aren’t sexually active. Also, teenage girls who are sexually active are about three times more likely to attempt suicide than those who aren’t sexually active. See what I mean about being depressing?
You could end up being a (well I won’t say that word), let’s just say you could end up being very promiscuous. What did you expect? The decision to have sex the first time is probably the hardest, but once you have done it I’m sure it must get easier to do the second time, and third, and forth, and so on until you are no longer counting. Oh please don’t get to that point. By the way, know for sure what I am saying here applies to boys just as much as to girls. Islam is about equality and boys and girls are most definitely equally responsible to keep themselves away from wrong relationships and pure for marriage.
So you only did it because you were totally sure you were going to marry him or her, so why wait. Or you playing a dirty trick to force him to marry you when you are pregnant; too bad, statistics show people who have sex with each other before marriage usually, don’t end up marrying each other.
Some people believe that you have to have lots of practice to get good at sex and if you are not already good at sex before you marry you will have a second rate love life when married. Well, contrary to that popular belief, studies show those who do choose to wait for sex until marriage are not doomed to a second-class sex life at all. Instead they usually have significantly higher levels of sexual satisfaction and marital contentment. I guess nothing is so romantic and erotic as having a marriage partner who has never experienced those most intimate moments with anyone but you. Seems reasonable to me!
Some people say sex isn’t really a big deal; people just make a big deal about it. They would say that having a ‘wrong’ sexual relationship isn’t a very wrong thing to do, if wrong at all it is just a tiny wrong. Well personally I trust the word of Allah not the opinion of some teen boy or girl with highly active hormones affecting their judgment. This is what Allah has to say about fornication (the technically correct name for illegal sexual intercourse).
“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.”
In this verse from the Qur’an, the sin of fornication is given its seriousness by being ranked as follows: the most major sin of all is associating partners with Allah Most High (shirk); the second most major sin is murder; and the third most major sin is fornication. And if you are interested in what Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had to say about fornication we have this, “The one who commits illegal sexual intercourse is not a believer at the time of committing illegal sexual intercourse.” I would say wrong sexual intercourse is not some small wrong, but is actually a very, very major wrong. Don’t forget, the crime of zina (illegal sexual intercourse) is one of the very few offences that Allah has considered so important that He has prescribed a specific punishment, in this case it was, and still is, one hundred strokes of the cane.
Then there are those who want to say sex can’t be wrong because it is so much fun, and anything that is as much fun as sex couldn’t possibly be wrong. Well, I have to say that fun is most definitely not a good measure of what is right or wrong. Do you think that shaitan (Satan) is going to try to lead you away from the path of goodness and right by offering only things you don’t like? No, of course he is going to make going against the Will of Allah seem like fun. Shaitan tries to prevent people from knowing and accepting Allah’s truth and gaining eternity in Paradise by distracting them with sin that is fun. For those who are Muslim, he will attempt to turn them away from Allah. One method shaitan uses quite successfully is to make people feel unworthy because of the sin they committed to have fun. Once you feel unworthy of Allah it is much easier to turn away from Him.
There are still others who want to claim sex can’t be wrong because it is natural (and of course sex is natural, but for humans only when done rightly, which means in the beautiful marriage relationship). To prove that all sex is natural, they give examples of wild animals, like monkeys, who have all kinds of sex all over the place with no inhibitions. They attempt to degrade human beings to the level of wild animals, and then justify their deeds by finding examples of free sexual behaviour in the animal world. They are, in the Qur’anic expression, “like cattle, nay they are more astray; they are the heedless ones.” (Al A’araf 7: 179).One of the purposes of Islam is to establish that we are not animals, and to put us on the right path so that we will not behave like animals. This certainly weakens the “all sex is natural because animals do it” argument. And, wouldn’t you rather act like a God-centered, spiritual human being than an animal? I know I would.
Sometimes young Muslims, who sincerely do not intend to stray from the right path as far as having a sexual relationship, justify their boyfriend/girlfriend relationships by this noble intention of abstinence. Unfortunately studies have shown that the more time a couple spends alone together, the more likely they are to wind up in bed! And that is true even if they begin with the firmest intention of abstinence. Best not to believe you can resist temptation if you are given too much opportunity.
Do you think you can be involved in a wrong boy and girl relationship, particularly if it includes sex, and keep being a good Muslim? Can you pray and fast with sincerity and carry on an unlawful sexual relationship? I think that might not be possible. Going against the Will of Allah in a matter so important as sex means that you will be more likely to go against the Will of Allah in other matters also, possibly eventually leaving Islam. How terrible for your life, how terrible for the whole Muslim Ummah, we could possibly lose the benefits of Islam for the whole world just because some could not wait for the pleasures of sex until it is made right for them after marriage. What a huge price to pay.
Then of course there is the price you could end up paying for eternity. What if on Judgment Day the price you must pay for your wrong relationships and unlawful sexual behaviour is that you are sent to Hellfire instead of to Paradise? Some young Muslims give little thought to Judgment Day, but we know Judgment Day is certain and everything will happen exactly the way we have been told by Allah through revelation. Consider how you would feel then. It would indeed be an awesome mistake to not take this possibility with all the necessary seriousness.
To be continue..Does intimacy and relationship between husband and wife develop before marriage?.