Editorial - No Taboo in Islam

By Sajid Iqbal

I was co-presenting a late night discussion show on my local Radio in the month of Ramadan this year, which I have been doing for quite a few years now. The topic was marriage, which is one of the most popular shows every year… I dunno why! However, every year, a small section of the listeners remind me of one massive ignorance and fault our Muslims communities have across the UK.

It’s the fear and ignorance of discussing issues which make us uncomfortable even though we know they are real, they exist and they affect all of us! But we moan and fuss and complain that certain issues should not be discussed, highlighted and talked about openly.

In this case, listeners were embarrassed and disgusted that Muslims were openly discussing marriage and sexual matters on the radio after midnight in the presence of a qualified scholar. Shock! Horror!

Now let me make it clear: There is no taboo in Islam. No topic or issue is a taboo, or is 'wrong' or 'shameful' when you are dealing with adults, especially when you have learned and qualified people monitoring the debate or discussion.

No-one should be embarrassed to discuss anything which concerns the Muslim community; at home with your parents, at mosques, with your scholars and leaders, at uni's, on media platforms and so on. Of course time, locality, audience and other crucial factors need to be taken into consideration.

Some in the Muslim communities want to hide and brush under the carpet hardcore issues that face you and me. Whether it’s forced marriages, etiquettes of sex in Islam, homosexuality, honour killings, drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, and many other issues - they exist, they happen, they affect our Muslim community.

Firstly, we HAVE to be big enough to recognise these are issues that affect us and then secondly, we HAVE to discuss them, tackle them and educate our community about them. We can’t bury our heads in the sand and expect everything to be hunky dory!

Bringing real issues to the forefront and making them a talking point is a challenge we must face today.

If WE don't talk about issues like sex, drugs n rock n roll, dodgy cultural practices or drug and alcohol abuse openly in the light of the Quran and Sunnah with qualified people - then who will? Who will you and I, our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters turn to? Let me guess: Shaykh Google? Our mates? The TV, movies or rap stars? If so, then know one thing for sure; the answers will most definitely not be according to Islam.

If you read and study the life of the Prophet (pbuh) and read the books of Ahadith you will know that there is no taboo in Islam. The Prophet (pbuh) openly discussed all issues with his companions in public and in private.

From contraception to sexual etiquettes, from forced marriages to drug abuse – the Prophet (pbuh) has openly discussed it and it is recorded in authentic books of Hadith such as Bukhari and Muslim and many others.

The Prophet (pbuh) and the Sahaba knew there was no taboo in Islam. That is why they openly discussed and highlighted issues that affected them. Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim along with other great Scholars of Hadith collected all kinds of Ahadith concerning sexual matters, marriage, drug and alcohol abuse and so on, for the Ummah to read and learn about because they also knew there was no taboo in Islam. The Prophet (pbuh) said,

"Blessed are the women of the Ansar (citizens of Madinah), shyness did not stand in their way for seeking knowledge about their religion." [Bukhari & Muslim]

So let me ask you: Who knows better? The Prophet (pbuh), his companions, great Imams like Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim or me, you and any other Tom, Dick and Harry today? You see Islam is a Deen - a complete way of life which deals with each and every aspect of life. Islam doesn't just cover religious matters.

It doesn't just bang on about worship and prayers. Oh No! What affects you in your everyday life is covered in Islam and you need to know what Islam says about it.

So individuals, parents and especially scholars need to raise, discuss and highlight all issues that concern us on every platform available. Imams and mosques should be courageous enough to bring the hardcore issues that concern us all in their Friday sermons and regular speeches and lessons.

Mosque khutbah's cover mainly Eid debates, issues where there is a difference of opinion on Fiqh issues (i.e. leather socks, size of the beard, hijab, raising hands in dua) and/or Milad and other Aqida debates.

However, whilst our Muslim Youth are getting pregnant, having undercover abortions, running away from home, having pre-marital relationships, getting involved in dodgy issues - Imams hardly EVER acknowledge this publicly in their sermons. The likes of you and I need to realise there is no taboo in Islam, and then raise all issues that concern us with our parents and scholars, as the Prophet (pbuh) stated:

“There is no shyness in matters of religion”.



Thank you for such an eloquently put message.

It's true the holy Prophet (SAW) knew better than the whole lot of us today and the Ahadith do tell us about things that affected the human race. Islam is indeed a complete way of life and it is here to help us, guide us and deepen our awareness at a spiritual level - it is not just conformed to 'go to mosque etc'.

One does need to be open up to listen to the message from the holy Messenger (SAW. This may seem an odd thing to say but many of us value the misdemeanours of our culture more than our religion and often get the two mixed up.

I would say that an important point was made regarding having a scholar or learned person around to help us understand. However, they are sometimes few and far between or unfortunately one raises an eyebrow at some of the so called learned are saying. I suppose what I am trying to say is if we don't know about a particular topic that is affecting our community be it marriage, risq, drugs or anything else, it is OUR DUTY to find out. In this day and age the holy Quran is translated in many languages and one can find numerous Ahadith online. To me this tells us that we have no excuses to not search for the truth or the code of conduct in any aspect of life. Regarding the word taboo, I think that we need to discuss things with certain ettiquettes and be sensitive towards others, but that does not mean we don't discuss things. Only by looking at ourselves with regard to the Quran and Sunnah will we really be able to strive towards our true nature.

Jazakallah Kheir for reading. I make dua that we are all rightly guided in every aspect of our lives.

This is a good article, it covers all the main areas which do need to be highlighted such as honour killing, abortion and sex out of marriage.

Your own soul is nourished when you are kind; it is destroyed when you are cruel.