Understanding Problems of Sexuality & Society
And she, in whose house he was, asked of him an evil act. She bolted the doors and said: Come! He said: I seek refuge in Allah! Lo! he is my lord, who hath treated me honorably. Lo! wrong-doers never prosper.
She verily desired him, and he would have desired her if it had not been that he saw the argument of his Lord. Thus it was, that We might ward off from him evil and lewdness. Lo! he was of Our chosen slaves.
(Surah Yusuf, Verses 23-24)
Problems related to sexuality are one of the biggest problems faced by society, whether Islamic or otherwise. Whether our young men and teenagers are sitting in front of the computer or mixing with the opposite gender in manner that is inappropriate. The above quote indicates that even Prophet Yusuf (pbuh), a Messenger of Allah, he too had those basic urges and desire. When we leave our children at the mercy of these desires, we would do well to remember that.
The Islamic State would need to address this major problem of sexual desire, in line with the guidance of the Quran and Hadith. Women covering themselves appropriately is an often discussed topic in the mass media, yet the issues are far deeper and more vital.
The human physiology is no different from the natural world's animal kingdom. Our basic physical configuration, with bones, muscles, tissues, blood, nervous system, etc is not unique in this planet. We too need to eat, sleep and drink, like all other creatures on God's Earth. Should sex then be held to a different standard? There is no reason to believe so. When a horse, a camel, a dog or cattle comes of age, they are not restricted by man-made laws on when and if they can copulate. Man should not impose upon himself standards of when his own kind can come of age. These are set by Allah, and relate to the natural biological process of menstrual cycles for women, and the awareness of sex for men.
This was no different than what was practiced before industrialization took place and the complexity of the world required ever increasing amount of training and schooling, and the needs of labor and controlling population growth caused the employment of an ever increasing age limit for the coming of age of Man's children. But what has been the adverse side effects of this? For when you change the variables in any equation, the changes can have wide ranging effects on the results.
The first impact has been a fixation on sex, prizing it as one of the central concepts in society. The laws of Economics dictate that when supply is restricted, demand does not go down, but the value society attaches to the item increases. Thus are our teenage children and young adults disproportionately focus on sexuality above all else. It is perhaps the issue that is most in their minds and central to many of their other wants and aspirations.
In addition to this unnatural and artificial imposition of law, society bombards these young adults with all forms of obscenities and shamelessness. As a result, man today is centrally focused on sex, and is led around the world like a donkey is led, with a carrot dangled in front of him.
The second impact is that of fornication and masturbation. When an essential and natural element is restricted unnaturally by the laws and norms of an artificial society such that sexuality is repressed from anywhere between a decade or two decades after the initialization of our natural inclinations, man will develop pathologies to channel his natural urges.
Masturbation attempts to simulate the basic mechanism of a natural sexual release, but does not have the necessary level of stimuli to recreate the experience completely. As a result, other aids become prevalent, psychological and visual such as pornography. But the worst impact is perhaps that the mind takes over part of the stimulus function. This brings the mind to seek fantasies and, since the stimuli can never be as good as the real thing, man consequently compensates by making those fantasies ever more extreme. This results in sexual perversion.
This impact is possibly key in understanding the ever increasing number of gays and sexually perverted individuals. Thus are the most natural and innocent of feelings turned into the most grotesque and hideous elements in man.
One possible study that could be conducted would be to look at the level of perversion as measured by the number of gays and other perverted individuals, and to measure this against the average age of the initiation of actual sexual intercourse. A longitudinal study or a cross-societal study would involve seeing how changes in the latter effect the former.
Suppression of sexuality is perhaps understandable from Christianity's perspective, where the concept of the Original Sin play a central doctrinal role. It is less understandable for us Muslims, where Islam can be considered to have encouraged marriage at a young age, and elevated marriage to an essential and integral part of being a Muslim.
So then, what is the solution? How can we get to a point where men and women can have sexual relations within marriage from an early age without restrictions from society, economics and the legal system? We can change laws, but to change norms is far more difficult. Only through an understanding of how Islam attaches importance to marriage, and does not attempt to artificially restrict the age of participants, can people begin to change their norms.
But the problem of economics remains, particularly combined with norms; a young couple is expected to live independently, or to have room within the larger family. Many parts of the Muslim world require massive financial expenditures to get married. Somehow, the Islamic state would need to delink economic and cultural expectations from marriage, allowing young individuals sexual freedom within marriage as a practical and acceptable option.
Agism within matrimony is also a major source of friction and barriers to marriage. The Prophet (pbuh) married Aisha, a woman much younger than him. He also married Khadija, a woman much older than him. Yet age has become a major taboo in society as concerns marriage. In an age when Muslims are struggling to get married, and today's society has imposed major obstacles for young people to fulfill a major and essential human need, we do not need to burden ourselves further with agism. We must be willing to marry our young women to older men, as much as to young men, and our young men to older women, as much as to young women.
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