Sabtu, Oktober 09, 2010

Sex education: An Islamic perspective

After the mid 1960s, when adolescent sexuality went completely out of control in the United States, the next development was pederasty. As these developments became more commonplace, the US government instituted a "sex education" curriculum for preschool children through its "Head Start" programme in the 1980s. "Head Start" was originally supposed to provide childcare services for working parents, combined with more efficient academic preparation for elementary school. And so American children were exposed to ideas of sodomy, homosexuality, bisexuality, sex with strangers and masturbation well before the age of formal schooling.

The government claimed that its sex curriculum was intended as a protection for the children, so they would understand the dangers they would face. And parents went right along with this explanation. If any argument against "sex education" in schools is needed, perhaps these observations will serve. In a multi-cultural society, such as ours, nothing can be said in school about sex other than the mechanics, since the spiritual understanding is not shared. And then we end up with this concept of "safe sex", that is to say, sex with condoms that are supposed to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, when for Muslims any sex outside marriage puts our lives in mortal danger in the hereafter.

But this is a value that we are discouraged from teaching publicly, since it falls within the domain of the religious scholars, who can never agree how to manage sexually sinful behaviour. We don't even know what to tell our children in our own families, much less by means of school curriculums written by strangers who may or may not share our values and ethics. Is it right to even broach the subject of sexual perversity to the pure minds of our children? There is only one "sex education" for Muslims. This education must be based on the sexual union of man and wife as a totally holy function, one which must be publicly endorsed by the entire community. Without that endorsement (which we call akad nikah), unmarried sex remains an animal function that can only produce children with animal souls.

Young couples, unable to restrain their God-given hormones until some postponed date of graduation from college or even "getting a job", sleep together until they become pregnant, and then marry. Indonesians call this "MBA" or "marriage by accident". If the spiritual status of the parents has any bearing at all upon the nature of the human soul that is attracted to the child when they conceive, then it would seem "MBA" carries quite a risk of having problem children who are disobedient and disrespectful.

We cannot prove that children of unwed parents are deficient in the arts and values of civilised life. After all, Leonardo da Vinci was one such child. Yet it is a consideration held by many religious scholars that the key element in producing offspring of good character lies in the spiritual state of the parents at the time of conception. Unless this principle lies at the very heart of "sex education", the whole enterprise of solving social problems by teaching sex in public schools totally collapses.

We parents had better wake up and learn how to safeguard our children's virtue with or without the advantages of higher education and women's rights to work. We had better take the responsibility which is ours, and ours alone, to educate our children in the ways and meanings of sex between husband and wife.

By: Azril Mohd Amin