Iblis (Satan) refused to participate in the ceremonial prostration towards Adam (PBUH) and was thus cursed by Allah (SWT) and banished from the comfortable abode of Jannah.
Humiliated and dejected, Iblis hatched a plan of revenge against Adam (PBUH) and Hawwa, luring them to the forbidden tree.
After repeated waswasa (evil whispers), it worked. Our parents ate from the tree, and their clothes from Jannah were pulled away.
They were humiliated (and removed to earth), and that was what Iblis had wanted.
Until today, the same Iblis ran amuck, pulling off the clothes of the Children of Adam, well knowing that nudity, lewdness, and promiscuity undermine the decency of human beings.
And while we look around us, we see that society at large has consumed Iblis’waswasa (evil whispers), including the ummah of Muhammad (PBUH).
While Muslims culturally shy away from sex education, the resounding reminder from the Qur’an of the origins of our existence and the environment that we live in today forces us to speak to the youth about sex in the context of Shari’ah.
This is not only to have them abstain from the same, but knowledge and open communication inevitably curb sex crimes against the youth, and predominantly against women / teenage girls.
What should parents do?
In this hyper-sexualized world, acknowledging just a handful of realities will help uphold the decency of Muslim teens as they navigate through the bizarre teenage phase of undulating hormones and changes in their bodies.
Acknowledge that youth are exposed to far more sexual activity than we realize.
“But that’s haram!” is a common response from panic-stricken parents when they realize that their children are exposed to a lot more sex—and sex outside the sanctity of marriage.
While they may not be engaged in the deed, children asking about dating, promiscuity, homosexuality, and pornography tend to incite the “Shuushhh! We don’t talk about that!” was the gut response from parents.
While not belittling the haram, this type of reaction often brings more harm than good when dealing with curiosity and sex education in general.
Shunning inquisitiveness only pushes teens to look for answers from “other parents”, peers, older teenagers in the neighborhood, or Google.
Instead, Muslim parents need to calmly take a step back and acknowledge that teenagers are heavily imbued in a hyper-sexualized environment.
If they constantly see a dichotomy between their parents’ values and what they perceive as the norm—and the former is the one freaking out—they will easily be pushed into the normalcy of sexual activity that is haram.
This is the time to open lines of communication with them, to discuss their concerns as a matter of fact, and to explain everything in context (of the Quran and Sunnah), without panicking too much.
Honor versus shame
Acknowledge that building a positive body image is very difficult.
The irony of being Muslim is that our dress code (of covering more) is often associated with shame, by Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
However, it is contemporary culture that insinuates shame by perpetuating the perfect body image through advertising and media.
So, acknowledge that due to this overwhelming influence of having to define physical beauty, it can become very stressful for Muslim youth to really be confident of themselves and not succumb to sexual validation and peer pressure.
If there is one thing that can change this perception, it is the importance of dressing modestly.
Clothes in Islam are associated with honor and respect and are part of building a positive body image.
In fact, Iblis’ (Satan’s) plan to ambush humans from the front, back, right, and left left one avenue open for guidance: the route from above. And Allah ta’ala tells the children of Adam in His eloquence that clothes come from above.
This beautiful reminder plays an important role in how we perceive our clothes as gifts from Allah (SWT).
Understanding this will help Muslim teens understand that a positive body image does not have to do with dressing more scantily or exposing more.
What greater honor of a positive body image can one cultivate through beautifying oneself through dressing presentably?
The Qur’an makes apparel one of the halal means of enjoying this world (and clothes do not have to be expensive to look nice).
Honor and modesty go hand in hand with loving one’s self, and that is the best body image one can cultivate, after understanding Allah’s definition of beauty—inward and outward.
Besides, dressing well, eating well, and exercising help build confidence in the physical appearance.Pages: 1 2