Umar Stambuli – Cii News | 16 Shabaan 1436/04 June 2015
Premarital sex was considered a moral issue which was taboo in many cultures and considered a sin by a number of religions, long ago. However it has become more widely accepted, especially in Western nations.
Muslim youths growing up in secular states have been ensnared in this vice, some overcoming it whilst others falling victims. With the increasing number of Hollywood movies explicitly showing sexual scenes, a lot of Muslims teenagers have been found on the wrong side.
A research conducted by Pew Research Centre indicate that people in predominantly Muslim nations overwhelmingly agree that engaging in sex before marriage is unacceptable, with nine-in-ten or more in Indonesia, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian territories, Turkey and Egypt believing this.
The study further concludes that, people in Western Europe are more accepting. Roughly 10% or fewer in Germany, France, and Spain say premarital sex is morally unacceptable. Generally, older people are more critical of premarital sex.
Premarital sex and Islam
Islamically, pre-marital sex is absolutely forbidden, no matter whether it is with a girl-friend, boyfriend or a prostitute. However questions on whether to engage in sexual encounters before nuptials are somehow still widespread.
“I am a 19 year old Muslim girl and I am in a relationship with a 21 year old Muslim boy. We are not married, but have a physical relation. I knew it was not right, but I did not know the magnitude of this wrong,” asked a young lady on muslim.com.
Going through online Islamic portals, it is not unlikely encountering queries related to sexual subjects emanating from a younger generation of Muslims.
“I am a Muslim girl who has been in a relationship with a non-Muslim guy for over a year. I and my boyfriend really love each other but because of our cultural and religious differences we do not want to get married. We are considering having sex but I want to understand the repercussions (other than hellfire) of premarital sex,” this was another question posted on reddit.com.
A third year student at the University of Johannesburg, Mohammed Ntatho Makhuse, told Cii News that promiscuity among youths was so common that it is now regarded as normal.
He said seeing school children kissing at school no longer comes with repercussions as it is an in thing.
“It’s happening at a regular basis and the context is that when we see others in college are doing it perhaps they are married or something but many are doing it and if someone is wearing Islamic dressing then it reflects a bad picture on Islam,” he said.
He explained that peer pressure was the biggest culprit in forcing many in formative ages to participate in premarital sexual activities. He said it was shocking that Muslim students at varsity are undertaking some shameful acts overtly.
“The other day I was passing by and happened to see Muslims exchanging condoms in a public place, it really shocked me greatly,” he declared.
“As Muslims we have attributes of having adhered to the teachings, when I saw that a part of me was shaken”.
Keeping up with the trends
A marriage counsellor who spoke to Cii News said kids who come from conservative family background have joined the crusade of trying to keep up with trends after being exposed to a new environment.
“I think the reality is it happening more and more frequently as you are also getting a lot of young people who coming out from quitter areas. This is the reality in as much the people might not want to acknowledge it,” said Aneesa Moosa, a social worker with Islamic Careline.
Moosa said parents should create a balanced environment for their children so that they can differentiate between the genuine and uncouth environs. She said parents should engage their kids and have a heart to heart talk about sex.
“It stems from the way we have been socialised and have to think it’s (talking about sex) [respectably at home] is a taboo topic, so as adults we are not comfortable of talking about it. It’s something in an area that shouldn’t get there,” she added.
The conformist attitude developed by some Muslim parents who choose not to discuss sex related subjects has been cited as a contributing factor for sexual engagements by teens before marriage. A Harare based cleric, Sheikh Shuaib Asali said the topic has to be discussed because it is linked to an essential issue in Islam.
“One of the objectives of Islam is the preservation of lineage and a person’s honour. This can only be done if people are married in a lawful manner and bare legitimate children. Thus, premarital sex threatens this objective because it leads to illegitimate children and teenage pregnancies or pregnancy outside wedlock,” he said.
Sheikh Asali cautioned young Muslims to observe Islamic injunctions when interacting with the opposite gender saying this will avoid contravening the Shariah hence preserving moral fibre in Islam