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”.