Q. Are Muslim students allowed to sit in Sex Education lessons? What does Islam say about Sex Education in general?
Answer by Shaykh Salim Ghiza
In the Name of Allah, The Most Beneficent and Merciful.
Sex education is a very important part of life and all Muslims who are of marriageable age must learn what is permissible with their partners and what isn’t. However, the purpose of sex education in schools in the UK is not about teaching children how to refrain from sex until they are married but they teach them how to practice safe sex. As sex before marriage is not permissible in Islam this sort of education to the children is also not permissible and therefore Haram.
The main purpose of today’s sex education classes is to try and reduce teenage pregnancies and therefore the emphasis is on how to enjoy sex without getting pregnant and this is obviously not what Muslim children should be learning.
The main content in today’s school sex education lessons which deem it impermissible for Muslims are:
- Promotion of sex before marriage and the condoning of such acts.
- Showing videos of nudity, exposing bodies of men and women which is impermissible in Islam.
- Mixed classes of young men and women discussing such issues together, therefore no shame barrier between the sexes at such a vital and most dangerous crucial stage of their lives.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said:
“Modesty is a part of faith.” [Sahih al-Bukhari & Sahih Muslim]
The issue of nudity and watching someone else have sex is very clear in Islam. It is without doubt prohibited. The Prophet sallallahu alalyhi wasallam said:
“A man should not look at the concealed parts of another man, and a women should not look at the concealed parts of another women.” [Tirmidhi]
Therefore with the above issues it is evident that Muslim parents should not allow their children to partake in such lessons. When parents cannot boycott lessons then they would have to allow the children to sit in the lessons but the parents should speak to the Mosques and ask them to counteract the teaching in schools by teaching the children the Islamic perspective on such issues.
Sending your child to Islamic schools is an option but the topic of sex education may be made compulsory in faith schools so still may not be avoided.
However, the problem will not disappear unless adequate and alternative Halal actions are taken where the government would be satisfied that enough is done by the Muslim communities to educate their youth.
The alternative to the above is for classes of sex education to be held in the Madrassa system whereby boys and girls are separated and the same gender teachers teach the youth (above the age of puberty) the following aspects;
- Reasons why sex is forbidden before marriage.
- Consequences in the world and the hereafter if fornication is committed before marriage.
- What is permissible and what is not between husband and wife.
If this is done then not only will the Muslims be addressing the topics which are concerning the government and society but we will also genuinely educate our youth on aspects that are absolutely vital to their future lives, without them seeing the need to go elsewhere.
Mosques and Madrassas need to get a grip with the challenges of modern days and begin to teach sex education lessons due to the wrong teachings at schools.
When something wrong is being taught one should try and avoid it, but if this is not possible then the right aspect of it has to be taught. One cannot just ignore it and allow schools to continue teaching wrong as this would mean that as a society we have allowed the wrong to be taught and not responded with the correct answers.
This would be an act of sin and all people responsible from parents to teachers to Mosque committee members and Imams would be sinful. Most Mosques and Madrassas at present do not teach sex education at present but once sex education classes at faith schools become obligatory they will have to react.