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)
Muslim society today is being decimated with problems related to. Whether our young men and teenagers are sitting in front of the computer or mixing with the opposite gender in a manner that is inappropriate, these are major issues that define the lives of our children and parents are largely oblivious to them. The above quote indicates that even Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him), a Messenger of Allah, had those basic urges and desires. When we leave our children at the mercy of these desires, believing them to be examples of excellence,we would do well to remember Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him).
In Pakistan, homosexuality in the North West has grown to the extent that truck drivers feel pride in taking along a young and good looking boy along with them, and to display them sitting next to them in the truck. Gays and other perversions are rampant throughout most major Muslim metropolises. In Bangladesh, Qaris have been heard to petrol madrassahs at night with a stick, for the children go into each other’s beds and fornicate. Imams, mullahs and other religion-based office holders are being caught at regular intervals sexually abusing children. Sexual problems litter the Muslim world from one corner to the other, whether in madrassas or elsewhere in Muslim society.
In Malaysia, a sizeable part of the populace have embraced what they call “third gender”, neither male nor female. Incest and rape within the family is also widespread there, to the extent that national statistics related to incest is being considered publicly for censorship. Yet, the “ulema” prattle on and on about “eeman”, “akhlaq”, “aqeedah” and any other of their standard “solutions”, oblivious to the social causes of these problems. He who lives in an ivory tower cannot solve society’s problems. To be a true momin, you must know Islam, but also the world around you, and know how to apply the former to the latter.
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 artificial standards of when his kind can come of age. These rules 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. As the complexity of the world required ever increasing amount of training and schooling, and the needs of labor and economics caused the employment of an ever increasing age limit. 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 element increases. 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, our teenage children and young adults are today disproportionately focused on sex, even perhaps above everything else in their lives. It is perhaps the issue that is most in their minds and central to many of their other wants and aspirations.
The gel on their hair, the car that they drive, the latest item in fashion, the clothes, being successful in sports and even down to the job that they can get all become subservient to their sexual desire. 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. It is this that they then worship.
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 deal, man consequently compensates by making those fantasies ever more extreme. This results in sexual perversion.
This impact is fundamental in understanding the ever increasing number of gays and sexually perverted individuals. The most natural and innocent of feelings have been turned into the most grotesque and hideous elements in man.
Further research can validate or reject this hypothesis. One possible study may 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 may involve seeing how changes in the latter affect 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 household. 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.
In the Prophet's Medina, great stress and effort was put to ensure everyone could get married. Today, when the masjid has been taken over by simple minded theologians with a no-it-all attitude, the function has been replaced by mindless and endless qutbas of little relevance and no follow up actions.
Muslim men and women have been separated to an artificial extent, and far beyond what was the norm at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him). For instance, women would stand in the back of masjids, with men in the front and children between. This would allow a certain level of interaction that is now eliminated with women being placed in a separate room. This was how it was at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Khalifa-e-Rashidun. Who are we do change the original?
All that is newly introduced into the faith are innovations
All innovations are deviation
All deviation is going astray
And all going astray is in the Fire.
It is not without meaning that the most homosexual part of Pakistan is the NWFP, which is also the strictest and most gender segregated part of Pakistani society. This is one place where the “ulema” are directly and clearly leading our people to the Fire.
Muhammad Akram Nadwi in Muhaddithat describes how Muslim women were active in study circles and gives examples of Muslim women who taught both women and men at the masjid of in Medina, both during the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) time and later. In Damascus, Basra and Cairo women scholars taught at madrasas and important masjids. We must ask why that was changed.
If the masjid is to again be the center of political and social revival, women cannot be dis-enfranchised by putting them in a separate box at a remote part of the masjid. They have to be returned to the masjid proper, as was the case when an old woman questioned Khalifa Umar as to why he received more cloth than the others.
Ageism 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.
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. In fact, reversing ageism may partially reduce the economic barriers to marriage. This is the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and is the solution to this day to drastically reduce our social burdens.