In this counseling answer:
•You have to be able to explain that to your daughter so that this discussion does not become a matter of your being strict or old-fashioned; dating is not permissible for all of eternity.
•Help her to understand and appreciate the larger context of the relationship between men and women according to Islamic teachings and guidelines.
•Help her to value the dignity that Islam accords her as a woman and to understand why engaging in premarital relationships strips her of her modesty, her dignity, and, indeed, her chastity. Be gentle with your daughter and be assured that once she internalizes the Islamic outlook, she will not engage in such behaviors.
Thank you for the question that you have sent to us regarding your 13-year-old daughter. Please take note of the following suggestions and guidelines:
1- The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“Faith (belief) consists of more than sixty branches (that is, parts) and haya’ (self-respect, modesty, bashfulness, scruples, etc.) is a part of faith.” (Al-Bukhari 1: 8)
2- In another narration, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“Every deen (religion) has an innate character. The character of Islam is modesty.” (narrated in Al-Muwatta 47.9)
3- In another narration, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“Indecency disfigures everything and modesty (haya’) enhances the charm of everything.” (narrated by Anas ibn Malik, At-Tirmidhi #1741).
4- It is clear from the above narrations by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that modesty, decency, and respect are fundamental and basic characteristics of Islam. This applies to both boys and girls as well as to adult men and women. This requirement is so important that even adult women cannot associate or travel without a mahram[in some cases].
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5- The reason for these guidelines is that in any intermingling of the sexes, especially in private, Satan makes the whisperings between the boy and girl that can lead to indecency; Satan makes them think that what they are doing is nice and enjoyable because other kids are also dating and intermingling; in this way, Satan makes our deeds look alluring to us as we are warned in the Qur’an:
(The Evil One made their deeds alluring to them, and kept them back from the Path, though they were gifted with Intelligence and Skill.) (Al -`Ankabut 29:38)
It is unfortunate that many people, both young and old, forget that what they think is secret is not actually secret, for Allah Most High knows all secrets:
( Know they not that Allah doth know their secret (thoughts) and their secret counsels, and that Allah knoweth well all things unseen?) (At-Tawbah 9:78)
6- Furthermore, Allah Most High forbids shameful deeds, as explained in the following verse:
(Allah commands justice, the doing of good ,and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you that you may receive admonition) (An-Nahl 16:90)
7- In view of the above guidelines regarding the strict observance of modesty, the way forward would be as follows:
*Have a discussion with your daughter regarding her request to date boys.
*Discuss with her the changes regarding her transformation into womanhood. She will experience a lot of confusion and excitement at the same time. She will also be tempted to copy her friends, some of whom may not be Muslim or who may have loose morals.
*Discuss with her that life is about the choices that we make. Allah Most High has given us an intellect and a conscience to choose between right and wrong. Unfortunately, many children (and some adults) do not take the time to think or reflect on what is good or bad; they just jump at the first thing that comes to their mind and then regret later.
*She is at the age when an innocent dating can possibly lead to kissing, fondling, and promiscuous behavior, with the likelihood that she will become pregnant or contract HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted disease. There are many children who have, unfortunately, fallen victim to this. Hence the warning that this type of indecent behavior from a young age opens up the doors to other evils.
*Please also discuss with her why she went out with other boys secretly without notifying you. The fact that she did this behind your back indicates that she knows that what she is doing is wrong.
*Communication is very important; the time to talk to your child is now. Don’t wait until it is too late. Many parents make the mistake of avoiding these topics and hope that the problem will simply go away. Unfortunately, when the girl comes home pregnant, then everyone wants to talk and shout but then it is too late.
*Perhaps you can give her a concession whereby she can invite her friends into your house so that you can keep an eye on what is going on. However, the best advice is sound proper education on morals and decency from a young age with an emphasis on basic principles of Islam.
*Please note that it does not help to argue with your child or discipline and punish her. Because if you do that, she can always find better ways to do things behind your back.
*Your main goal should be to talk to your daughter as a friend, with respect and concern and love and compassion. She is no longer a child and she will hopefully understand, in sha’ Allah, that you are saying things that are for her own benefit in the long term
Salams and regards.
From Counselor Abdullah abdur Rahman:
Thank you for writing to us. Here are some thoughts for your consideration.
First, dating is not permissible in Islam. You have to be able to explain that to your daughter so that this discussion does not become a matter of your being strict or old-fashioned; dating is not permissible for all of eternity.
Help her to understand and appreciate the larger context of the relationship between men and women according to Islamic teachings and guidelines.
Help her to value the dignity that Islam accords her as a woman and to understand why engaging in premarital relationships strips her of her modesty, her dignity, and, indeed, her chastity. Be gentle with your daughter and be assured that once she internalizes the Islamic outlook, she will not engage in such behaviors.
Second, you are saying that there were a few instances of your daughter “sneaking off with a different boy,” and that seems to us to be a major problem that should be addressed immediately. Your daughter has somehow come to believe that she can actually leave your home, or “sneak out” without fear of consequence.
Impress upon her the violation of trust that takes place when she “sneaks out” of the home to go anywhere and with anyone, let alone boys! Where did she get this idea? When did this start? What did you do to address that behavior? Did you address it? Was the father involved? Those are critical questions and the answers to which will actually help you to grasp the reality that you are confronted with in raising this particular daughter.
Finally, you should talk to her father for advice, but more so, you should tell him frankly that you are not going to raise these children alone. We are not sure what you mean when you say the father is “not around.” Are you divorced? Is he working and living in another town? Another country? Where is he? Help him to understand the severe consequences of his daughter’s behavior. Make sure he steps in and establishes trust and a clear channel of communication with his children.
And as for the boy who asked you to let him date your daughter, tell him point-blank to never ever come near your daughter. If you know his parents, talk to them about his behavior.
Make lots of du`aa’ for your daughter. Allah knows best that you are dealing with major challenges, but, in sha’ Allah, with you and your husband’s effort and Allah’s guidance, you will succeed with your daughter. And Allah knows best.
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