What should Muslim parents do regarding teaching their small children about the dangers of sexual molestation? What is the Islamic ruling on discussing these things with our children?
Sheikh `Abd al-Rahmân al-Jal`ûd, professor at King Sa`ûd University
It should be well-known to all of us that Islam is a comprehensive and complete religion that covers all aspects of life. It provides for us what is good for us.
This matter, though it is a delicate one, relates to the upbringing of our children. Teaching our children how to protect themselves from those who would do them harm has become increasingly important for many reasons:
1. The general weakness of morals and the lack of religious consciousness
2. The increased accessibility to media that incite lust and deviant behavior
3. The increased interconnectedness of the world and the rapid spread of news and information
4. The busy modern lifestyle that keeps parents and children apart for a considerable amount of time, which increases the chances for the children to be victimized.
For these reasons as well as many others, there has been an increase in cases of child molestation. It will require a wide range of solutions to prevent this. There is no simple solution to this problem. However, certainly one of these solutions is to teach our children to be more aware and more vigilant and to be able to recognize when someone wishes to do them harm.
Since you ask about the Islamic ruling on teaching our children about these dangers – which is a question of child rearing – we would say that the default ruling in Islamic Law is the ruling of permissibility unless specific evidence is found in the Law to prohibit it. There is certainly nothing in Islamic Law to prohibit parents from teaching children what they need to know to be safe. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was very concerned about children and their welfare.
In this matter, which is highly sensitive, parents need to assess their circumstances. All children are not the same. Their environments are not the same. They are not all subject to the same dangers.
A child who is very small and who is with one of his parents at all times is not in the same situation as a child who is a bit older, whose parents are working, and who has a driver take him to school. Parents need to consider what approach is in their particular child’s best interests.
A child who is very young and who might not understand things very well, and who is constantly under parental supervision, does not need to be exposed to concepts that will do him more harm than good – that might cause fear or lead to deviant behavior.
Parents need to use their good judgment and weigh the pros and cons of teaching their children about these things. They need to determine when and how to broach these sensitive topics with their children. Our purpose is to protect their children from harm. Sometimes, trying to avoid one danger, we might fall into another.
And Allah knows best.
Source: Islam Today
-- Al Arabiya Digital