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Why is sex outside of marriage wrong in Islam?

Why is sex outside of marriage wrong in Islam?


I have a question that has been puzzling me for quite some time now. But first, your tumblr name is the most original thing i’ve seen in a while. honestly, i will be telling all my arabic friends about it tomorrow. so the question, is it completely impermissible for a girl to have sex with her boyfriend outside a marriage despite the possibility that the girl has been engaged in relations with her boyfriend for a year, and has what she believes is security? thank you in advance!

Salaam alykum,

Thank you very much, sometimes people misunderstand my tumblr name, and think that, I secretly want to corrupt Muslims, which I don’t understand.

Let me be clear, it is impermissible for anyone to have sex with anyone outside of the confines of marriage.

When I say that, people think I am backward, or that I am somehow in denial of “modernity.” The more insulting responses I have received, run along the lines of “Oh, I thought you’d rationalize pre-marital sex.” I’m not sure what that means, but, I’m a little tired of that assumption.

The reason why I say that it is impermissible, goes beyond the obvious Qur’anic injunction that you are only allowed to have sex within the context of marriage, and please, I’m actually asking, please do not respond to this post by citing The Qur’an, I know what it says, believe me.

The question is “why?”

People always give personal examples for things that they want. When they want to justify their use of marijuana, they say things like “Oh, but, I’m not harming anyone, so why is it impermissible?” And so on, and so forth.

Therein lies the problem, because we constantly believe, quite wrongly, that our individual actions, even within the “privacy” of our own home, do not effect society.

Again, people give me their personal stories, “my girlfriend and I, we love each other, and so, I don’t see what the problem is, give me a good reason why we shouldn’t have sex before marriage?”

The short answer is: watch Teen Mom.

The issue is, we live in such a fundamentally selfish society, that we engage in actions without regard for the effect of our choices upon others within our society. This issue is not simply one that plagues the “non-religious,” but increasingly, and worryingly, those who claim to be devout.

I look at sex as a right, not as some sort of privilege, and I seriously question whether someone who is sixteen has the mental maturity to actually understand what they are doing. A sixteen-year-old, 50 years ago had the maturity of a 40-year-old today, and to me, that’s sad. We pretend that children are adults and that adults are children.

There is a complex and vast literature that highlights how this infantilism of adults, and this “adultification” of children is motivated by commercial interests. I am inclined to agree with this opinion, and I think there is a tremendous amount of evidence to illustrate this point. I mean, when a 25-year-old Rachel McAdams is cast to play a high school teenage girl, that is but a simple example to illustrate the problematic expectations and parameters in which our society fosters a sense of development of the individual.

So what’s the point? We do not give any real responsibility to our children and teenagers, and yet, at the same time, pretend that they have some sense of “adulthood” because they “turn 18” or that they are in college. College, in my opinion, has become nothing more than a glorified summer camp, because of the conditioning of the students who enter into college as a time to be “free from adults,” rather than a time to actually be one.

So when a couple has sex outside of marriage, the issue is that they are not having sex outside of marriage, I’m side-stepping the emotional aspect of someone (either male or female) of being compromised or feeling cheapened by having sex without the dedication of the other partner (because, apparently, that isn’t the issue in your scenario); my issue is that, I feel that sex outside of marriage is done without a conscious acknowledgement of the consequences of one’s actions.

What happens if the girl gets pregnant? Is she ready to be a mother? Is he ready to be a father? Are they ready to raise a child? You see, the second this happens, they no longer matter. There is an innocent soul that has been created within the context of their irresponsibility, and by being unprepared for parenthood, they are no longer just harming themselves, their future, but they are creating the space for a innocent soul to be raised within a context of confusion, uncertainty, and immaturity.

Malcolm X made the distinction between being a father, and having a child. You see, we have denigrated the role of parents and parenthood. We have made being a parent just about having a child, and forgot that it’s about taking care of that child. The word “father” only means that you’re taking care of your children, it doesn’t mean that you are having babies, anyone can have babies, having a baby doesn’t make you a father; anyone can go out and find a woman, it’s very different to be able to take care of that woman: it’s called responsibility.

I realize that I am addressing this from a man’s perspective, but that is the only perspective that I can speak from. I do not suppose to speak for women.

Even when you factor in methods of contraception, and let us not even touch over how a woman would feel should she have to get an abortion (another thing I cannot speak to), this responsibility goes to a far greater level than having an accidental pregnancy. I think it is abundantly clear the tremendous societal impact of children being raised with only one parent, and while I have overwhelming respect for single-parents, I can only imagine that being raised with two parents would be preferable. I am honestly scared to see the social costs towards the generation of children that emerging now from the rampant amount of teenage mothers that are emerging within society.

We do not discuss the emotional toll that having pre-marital sex has upon individuals, the residue that it leaves on people. They will wonder “was so and so better?” Or “did he get an STD from that girl?” Or “they probably liked that other person’s body more than mine.” And so on and so forth.

Watch an episode of Sex and the City. The show literally fascinates me. Honestly, it does. Here you have four women, who are professionals, and supposedly strong women, but they treat their relationships like 14-year-old girls. They rationalize themselves in a way that makes no sense: a ferocious pursuit of marriage, with a conscious acceptance and constant bartering of their self-respect. Their world revolves around men. Literally. It is one of the most degrading things I have ever seen, and that women can look at that and see empowerment, makes no sense to me.

Granted, I am not a woman, and perhaps I do not understand what defines female empowerment. This could be very true, but, as a man, and as the “other half” of relationships, I have an opinion. I do not see how we are fostering stronger, more confident individuals (regardless of gender) through this process of “tasting” other human beings, by lying to them about who we are, and simply gradually letting them into our worlds, before we decide we’ve had enough and seek out something better.

What is so funny to me is that we are so ready to compromise our physical well-being, opening ourselves to the possibility of STDs and pregnancy… We are willing to compromise that level of intimacy, way waybefore we could even consider telling the same person our deepest fears.

The honest truth is, a woman with self-respect is what is most attractive to a man. What is most attractive to women, I don’t supposed to know, so please do not take this as me enforcing a double-standard, because if you’ve read anything I’ve written, it is that I do not accept or endorse double standards (except in my fantasies about making my future children [insha Allah] do mindless chores out of my laziness, but that’s a different matter)

The point of me bringing up movies and cultural issues is that I firmly believe that there is a joke being played on women. What do I mean? That what is being passed off as “empowering” women, is really just the exploitation of those “empowering” tools towards objectifying and degrading women, so that women can become simplistic “emotional” and “sexual” creatures that are not partners with men, but rather, “challenges” to be conquered. I do not think that this framework is a healthy one for fostering sustainable relationships or for constructing families; how secure can anyone feel in this context?

Of course, your scenario is predicated on “security.” How secure could someone be without marriage? You see, marriage, in the Islamic sense, is not God and angels fluttering down to hug you as you go off into married land. Marriage in the Islamic sense is contracts. It’s not romantic. It’s about rights and responsibilities, it’s about expectations, and it’s about the protection of a woman. The conception of marriage in Islam is extremely conscious of protecting the woman’s well-being, and of the children.

I watch these romantic comedies, and I am baffled, literally baffled, at why a man and woman are together, when they are fully aware that there is no future. This continues into real life, where people start dating, while acknowledging that there is no future, whether that’s some Muslim guy dating the “American”  girl in college, or a Korean-American girl who could never bring home her Irish boyfriend, yet they continue, holding onto each other, so that they can have someone to avert some pain from temporary loneliness now, while paying for it with  heart-break and far greater pain later. I’m not saying couples from different backgrounds can’t work, not at all, but people who know they don’t want to make those sorts of relationships work, still enter into them.

If your boyfriend wanted to give you security, he’d marry you. I’m not saying that your worth is dependent upon whether a man wants to marry you or not, I’m saying that the only man worthy of you is one who wants to get married. That is security.

I’m genuinely sorry, I do not mean to be insensitive, but, I just don’t understand why women don’t realize how much power they have. You set the rules. I promise you, you really do. If you don’t want to do something, then don’t do it. Oh, he’s going to leave you because you won’t have sex with him? So, why would you want to depend on him for other things? Honestly.

There are multiple reasons as to why someone shouldn’t have sex with their “significant other,” without marriage. There are so many different reasons, and I believe that I have highlighted them throughout this response.

We continuously look at things that The Qur’an says not to do as “infringements” upon our “freedom.” The problem is not with The Qur’an, but in how we are teaching The Qur’an to young Muslims today, and how we look at it ourselves. The Qur’an does not tell the believer to not do something for funzies; there is a tangible benefit towards you for not doing that. Whether that is alcohol, gambling, or pre-marital sex, these things have consequences, and we need to recognize them, and to realize that while Sheikh Abu Weekend Fiqh Conference might simply call things “Haram” and “Bid’ah,” The Qur’an doesn’t do that, and provides reasons why you shouldn’t do something.

The truth is, however, that everything in The Qur’an, and I do mean everything benefits the individual. Irrespective of whether someone is Muslim or not, if you follow The Qur’an, you will benefit.

Again, I’m sorry if I have come off as insensitive or abrasive, that is the last thing I’d ever want to do. I just feel very strongly about these issues, and I hope that young Muslims realize the tangible benefits of avoiding certain behaviors, rather than being concerned over whether they look like a prude or a loser because they won’t cross physical boundaries or drink alcohol.

Insha Allah, I hope I answered your question, and if you or anyone else, has a question on this, or any other topic, please do not hesitate to ask me.

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