Moral Teachings of Islam 16 – Sexual Morality

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Jamal Badawi

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In the name of God the benevolent the Merciful, the creator Sustainer of the universe, peace and blessings upon his servant and messenger Muhammad forever amin, I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except the one true God. And I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger and slave servant of God. I greet you all the viewers of the Islamic focus program with the universal greetings of peace. The greetings that have been used by all of the profits from Abraham through the prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them all. Assalamu Aleikum which means peace be unto you. I'm your host, Ahmed Rashid. Today we have our 16th program in our series on the moral

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teachings of Islam. More specifically, we'll be doing our second program on dealing with the safeguarding of honor in Islam. I have joining me on the program as usual, Dr. Jamal Badawi of St. Mary's University of Jamal assalamu, alaikum Ronnie.

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As I just mentioned, we started our first program and this new, well, new topic dealing with the safeguarding of honor in Islam. I wonder if perhaps you could just very quickly before we go into this program, go back and highlight the main points that we touched on. Last week when we began this new topic, certainly, five basic points we started with last time. First of all, we discussed the protection of honor or safeguarding the owner as one of the five basic objectives of Islamic law, the others being protection of face, body, mind and prophecy. So this is one of the five major objectives. And we said that this particular topic refers more specifically to the safeguarding of

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sexual morality and Islamic Society. Second point,

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we indicated that Islam regards as a measure of mortal sin, the pursuit of sexual satisfaction, with any partners other outside the boundaries of recognized marriage, they can match.

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The third was a discussion of some of the objections and reservations some people may have against following such clear cuts, divine command, some who say that we are in the space age, how could you follow all the ideas and traditions about sex. And we responded to this, that the Muslim is not simply following tradition or ideas of any human being, but he follows a divine law coming directly from God for the benefit of all.

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The other reservation that people say that people change, and how come we have a permanent moral law. In response to this, we said that there is a difference between people changing innocence have more education, technology, or whatever perception, and between the change in the basic human nature and human nature does not change and it's basics. From time to time. And the basic moral laws deal with this rather than with education and technology. It is largely with this basic human nature.

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The third is the fact that some people say that the teachings of Islam are too strict with respect to sex, and that's Puritan a Puritanism. And we said that again, there's a difference between purity in terms of innocence from

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sin, and chastity, for example, as a virtue on one hand, and between Puritanism, which is a philosophy that had some kind of excess or extreme in matters of religion and sexual morality, which was common in the 16th and 17th century. And he said that Islam does not accept any excesses one way or the other. So it's different. It's irrelevant, to use the term Puritanism to describe the Islamic social morality. The fourth point was an elaboration of what we meant by healthy, balanced, wholesome and realistic approach of Islam to human sexuality. By saying that, on one hand, the Quran, the last scripture of God does not condemn sex in itself, but regarded as a blessing in fact,

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that God has provided to perpetuate human life. So there is no condemnation or hunger, or feeling that sex in itself is dirty or bad. It's a blessing, on the other hand, is time is quite strict also in a sense of permitting the fulfillment of that sexual urge only within the boundaries of marriage considering as a measure of moral sin, the

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permission of adultery, fornication or any other form of,

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of sexual perversion, and also providing a social atmosphere Finally, which provides encouragement and an environment where people are really encouraged to live a wholesome and virtuous life.

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Now, you mentioned that Islam regards his major mortal sins, adultery, fornication and other kinds of sexual perversions. How are sexual perversions defined within the scope of Islamic law, when it is defined that any pursuit of let's say sexual partners for the purpose of sexual satisfaction other than one's own legitimately wet spouse? Well, I hope you don't mind if I become more clear on this, just to make sure that, you know, we get things straight.

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This does not only refer to adultery and fornication, that is the heterogeneous sexual relationship between male and female who are not legally led with or illicit type of male female relationship. It does also include other types of perversions, such as what you hear all these fashions these days about so called group sex swapping, the group is also an essence of having a family with common wives and husbands and children becoming the children of the entire family.

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This includes also sodomy giving more viable title usually as homosexuality, whether it is something that applies to males or females, or there are other things that I would not wish to bring to the table. I think many people not even the use of animals sometimes is practice, which is really regarded on as a kind of bringing down this whole sum of sex in itself to a lower level of

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perversion, rather than seeking the illegitimate and wholesome method of satisfaction. Let me give you an example. So that you don't think that I'm just talking about this as personal opinion, the Quran itself, the Word of God

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gives an example of some of these provisions in the past and I'm sure anyone who's religious, whether he's a Jew or Christian, he's familiar with the story of you know, gamorrean, Southern sodomy. The Quran also mentioned something about that,

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talking about profit loot, when he addressed his people, and it says we also sent loot. He said to his people, do you commit lewdness such as no people in creation ever committed before you?

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For you practice your lusts on men in preference to women that's in preference for legitimate twice. You are indeed a people transgressing the unbound. And his people give no answers. But this they said, drive them out of the city, that sloth and his you know, believe those who believe in Him, drive them out of your city. These are, indeed men who want to be clean and pure.

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But we say

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we say him and his family are saved actually to be saved him and his family except his wife. She was of those who lagged behind, not necessarily by looking back, but more or looking back being hesitant to follow the straight path of God. And we ran down on them a shower of brimstone, then see what was the end of those who indulged in sin and crime. So it was mentioned in the Quran as sin and crime and give this terrible description of the very severe punishment that was inflicted. I think, like I said before, this is something familiar to any person who still uphold the moral values, as it appears in the Scripture, whether you talk about Old Testament or New Testament, the Quran is no

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different in that particular respect. So all these are regarded as perversions, regardless of the form.

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But let's move on to talk for a moment about some specific measures which

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Islam provides to safeguard sexual morality. And I'm wondering if perhaps I can get you to comment, first of all, on both the safeguards on on the social left on the social level measures on the society as a whole as an individual, right? That's right. Yes. Well, first of all, it is important to emphasize that Islam when it is with any problem, whether it's a problem of sex, economy, politics, whatever, it tries to approach the problem from its roots solve the problem from roots rather than dealing with the outside superficial symptoms of the problem.

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This is unlike the common notion that some people may have about Islam or others when they think that Islam depends just on the law, Penal Law punishment as the way to enforce this

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For example, we have already indicated in the previous program, that even though Islam requires this high moral standards, it is very difficult for an individual, no matter how courageous and strong he or she may be, to be able to practice this is the whole atmosphere, the whole pressure of society is pushing the person away from his or her moral ideas, we're not saying it's impossible, because it becomes doubly difficult. So it's very essential to provide this kind of atmosphere in society that would provide Kant or pressure for good rather than pressure for evil. It follows from this that it is important not only to motivate the individual to upgrade him and give him the various

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motives and urges to practice virtue, but to encourage society to encourage him. So when Islam calls for fighting, immorality, and in decency, and society

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this call includes a number of things to be more specific, first, to fight pornography, and nudity, which in fact, reflect the kind of cheap exploitation of human sexuality in order to make a fast buck.

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This includes, among other things, newspapers, magazines, and when I say magazines, I'm not just talking about skin magazines, so called, but even the so called other respectable, quote, unquote, magazines are not free from many indecent pictures and photographs that are not really appropriate from the standpoint of Islamic morality.

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because it provides for stimulation of this urge for sex and whatever direction it may go. It includes films and movies, which of course, everybody's familiar with the extent that it has descended to, of course, you can tell from the big lines in front of movie houses, when you have an x rated movie, it's a matter of exploiting people's human instincts to make as much money as as possible. But first of all, I am sure this does not apply to the station. But there are also other films that appears in TV programs which invade people in their own privacy of their own homes in their own living rooms, a method that many people now have been raising question as to whether this

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is appropriate. Unless of course, those who possess TV sets have some kind of control and self restraint as to what use we're programmed to be seen what others to avoid.

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Another aspect is that in order to deal with the problem, again, from the roots of it, we find that Islam try to deal with the problem of prostitution, for example, not as some people think, by just punishment, but rather by trying to remove the reasons for this unfortunate and dehumanizing type of of activity. I'm sure most of those who are unfortunate to be in that kind of business if you want. I'm not doing that really out of choice, but because of certain injustices economically and socially in society that may provide this kind of

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avenue for them.

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To deal with that problem, he has to get into the process of education, motivation, religious appeal, removal of injustices economically and socially. And then at that time, perhaps people will be more receptive to to be more wholesome in their attitudes. But on the whole, just to conclude the

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specific question, you're asking that the overall approach, in a truly Islamic Society, not a society that claims to be authentic, that the society that really follows the scripture of God, is to try to avoid anything that results in spreading evil and corruption in society. Indeed, the Quran gives a warning, again, is those who want to spread this evil for whatever motives whether it's their own lusts and joy or whether it's for like I said before, making a fast buck. For example, in chapters 24 verse 19, in the Quran, it says, Those who love to see scandal, officially published broadcasts, among the believers will have a grievous penalty in this life and in the Hereafter. God

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knows and you know not

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so there's a big warning there's of anyone trying for his own benefit to spread corruption in society. And as you mentioned, last program, even

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businesspeople are not totally free from this, because some are simply using the woman's body simply for advertisement, which from the point of view of many women, I've read about that some women themselves, non Muslim women even are referring to that as exploitation of the human body.

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Now you're talking in common about the

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invasion of the homes and so on. What what I'm interested in your response to those who claim that society has no business, interfering in the matters of sex. And so even if society would attempt to do that, to the standards of sexual morality are themselves in dispute? How would you respond? And

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what would you respond to somebody like it says, The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation, so to speak? Okay. Well, if you mean by the state has no business in the bedrooms of people, then, as a Muslim, I would agree with that, if you're referring to restraint of spying on people in their own homes, or just adopt the approach of witch hunt, you know, trying just to discover people's faults, even if it's not something that's publicized, or really become commercialized, or something of that sort. So in that sense, Islam never said that you keep on spying on people spying is prohibited also in Islam. So in that sense, there's no difference. But if it's meant by that,

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that society has no right, to provide for certain controls, to protect the moral fiber of society, to protect and prevent the decay of the family and society at large, then I beg to differ with that,

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to differ with this, because after all, when we talk about personal freedom, personal freedom, in any political or social theory is after all restricted by the extent to which that freedom, infringes on the freedom of somebody else, or destroy or threaten to destroy the society at large. Nobody questions, the right of society, to take measures to prevent air pollution. You cannot poison the air that is buried by someone else and you get controls on burning of coal or whatever. Nobody question the right. Nor does anybody question the right of the state to take measures to control water pollution. You cannot throw anything in the lakes and cause mercury poisoning kill the fish

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and affect human beings also eating that fish you had a great deal about that. Nobody questioned

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if air pollution

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and water pollution are legitimate, dangers, society that justifies controls on them. Why not also get society?

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by mutual agreement? Of course, it's not by somebody, a dictator imposing the right to take measures to control moral pollution. Why are we so much emphasizing the physical type of pollution, air and water and so on? Why not take the more important aspects of pollution that threatens to destroy society, much more than water pollution, or air pollution?

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It is the materialistic society or materialistic civilization, I should say, this is not the one society materialistic civilization or philosophy that is predominant today that always divert our attention everything to material, money, property, physical things. But the fundamental source of the strength of any nation or community, our society or the world at large, or more pollution, is not really looked at with as much apprehension or with a fraction of the apprehension to this. But when these measures are taken, I'm talking even now

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from the socio political ground, even aside from religious aspect. But when those measures to limit and control model pollution, as they call it,

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are based in themselves not on any human ideas or biased interpretation, but rather on clear and explicit expression and descriptions, that's divine command, then that, again, gives it more authority and gives it more justification. Especially if people are believers, and they do accept God to direct their lives and to lead them in the in the right path.

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We could turn our attention now away from the broader societal situation and look at the situation of the individual.

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I'd be interested in getting your comment on in terms of the

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responsibility that rests with the individuals to sort of protect himself. I think, at some point in time, you were mentioned the responsibility that to avoid lusty locks

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at members of the opposite sex.

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Could you perhaps comment a little bit further on this

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Explain what are the limits of this kind of situation? Is it looking at members of the opposite sex? forbidden per se? Or just what is the what is never looked at?

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That's it actually, some people have strange ideas. I'm glad that you raised this question because it clarifies some of those stereotypes.

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That's how I get you direct both from the Quran and from the saying of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. For example, in the Quran, in chapters 24, verse 30, and 31. I just read a portion of that,

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say that say all Muhammad to the believing men, that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty. I'll comment a little later about what lower in case means if you have the original Arabic text, to lower their gaze that's at other persons of the opposite sex, and guard their modesty or chastity that will make for greater purity for them. And God is well acquainted with all that you do, that they do. And then the following verse, and say to the believing women, that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty or chastity. And then it goes on getting some regulation also as to how, under what conditions they can display their beauty and ornament and where they are

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not supposed to.

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So the original Arabic term of the question relating to the guests, lowering the case, uses the term in Arabic men. It doesn't say Yahoo Apsara home that's close their eyes or anything that means that they should never look at all It simply say lower. If you translate it literally have their gaze part, which means that looking in itself, an innocent, casual look, that's not really staring or gazing or trying to think Lastly, about the person from the other sex in itself is not, is not condemned. But the gazing is the one. In fact, the Quran is word in chapter 31. For example, verse 19, quoting Locke, man was a wise man, advising his son and he says what would mean Celtic, he says

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lower of your voice. He didn't say, Well, that sounds like he didn't say, keep silent. But rather than suddenly speak, but don't exceed the limit, Don't raise your voice, unnecessarily. So again, don't guess or said unnecessarily.

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In the saying of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. He indicated very clearly, that the what is forbidden really is the lusty Look, a look that is likely to arise sexual feeling, and may gradually lead the person even to commit adultery or fornication, if there is no control. And if things keep developing from one stage to the, to the other, of course, outside of looking between spouses, for legally, wed spouses when they can look Lastly, as they want, there's no restriction. I mean, the whole idea is to satisfy oneself fully within the clean and wholesome dance of marriage, but to be really quiet, reserved, as far as other people and the rights of other people and spouses of

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somebody else.

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The other thing also that the Prophet indicated to explain, and he said, that

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are implied that many parts of the body can commit adultery, the hands, the ears, and the eyes, and he says, The adultery of the eyes is the lock, which means really, the lock with COVID you know, desire, sexual desire in the other person.

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So this if you take that and this was reported in Bulgaria, which is a very, very authentic source of,

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of Islamic jurisprudence, based on the saying of Prophet Mohammed.

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So in that sense, then it's the look that really stimulates much of that feeling.

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Well, now, what about

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the casual look where a person is not deliberately staring deliberately staring or is not deliberately lustful?

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rapper way of saying it, especially in society, like North American Saudi, like we have here, where, you know, you know, there's brains and mingling of the sexes and so on. How should a Muslim conduct himself under conditions like the experience here, for example, in Nova Scotia, where they have relatively free mixing Riley of both sexes? What the The question is not very new in itself, because even in any society where there's even less intermingling of the sexes, still there are opportunities and chances where you know people might see each other? And the answer was given by the prophet peace be upon him. For example, in several a collection of hobbies, including or saying

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of the Prophet, including a Buddha with intimacy.

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It was the purchase for example, the prophet peace be upon him was asked, How about another article Fujairah which means a look that comes all of a sudden you just walk in somebody's past in front of you or something of that sort. And he said, this riff Masaryk, which means it's in your face, you don't have to keep staring and it's something came

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There's no sin on you, because you didn't deliberately try to have any nasty look. In another occasion he was advising his cousin, Ali, may Allah be pleased with him. And he said, Ali, do not follow the first look with a second look. Because the first look is for you, that means you're not blamed for the first look. But the second look is not for you. But of course, provided that the first look is not staring for 15 minutes and this alright, that's number one. And then I send my face. And the second what's really meant is that a casual look in itself without lust involved, is not permitted. But the second look, when you really start

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examining the beauty of the body and have any feeling that's not regarded as

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permissible in Islamic

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Semitic situation and a common law principle here where they say the dog is entitled to the first bite in Islam, you're not entitled.

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But sometimes, we encounter Muslims who hold the view that in order to avoid any temptation in this kind of matter is better to have a complete and total separation among the two sexes. Is this a requirement in Islam? Well, I should say first, that those who say that should be praised first for their multiple and noble motives. I mean, there is no question about that. But their intention really, is to provide a virtuous atmosphere, a wholesome atmosphere where there is a minimum degree of temptation.

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So I'm not questioning their motives at all.

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But it appears to me that at times, some people, including Muslim themselves may go to some excesses, which are not really consistent with Islamic law at all, it goes beyond what is minimally required, of course, to have precautions, fine, but to say that these precautions, or additional precautions are minimum in themselves, is another question to be tackled. Now, to be sure, I'm not saying at all, or implying in any form, that Islam encourages unneeded, unrestricted, unrestrained intermingling of the sexes.

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That is particularly true in settings where there might be or there is likely to be an encouragement, or a threat, if you're if you went to the sexual morality of individuals and society involved. An example of this, and I'm sure, many non Muslim audience, those who uphold the moral teaching, as it appears in whatever they believe in the Bible, for example, or New Testament, definitely are not too happy about what goes on in high school. I'm not talking only about the level of education, but also the kind of illicit relationship that goes on. When in a case like that, if it's possible to avoid and to have, let's say, girls, schools and boys cold, there is no reason why

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this temptation should be imposed on young people. Of course, some people might think that's strange, but indeed, there are lots of positive results of this. And even in Western society, we still have

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may discourage like embryo Academy in this area, for example, which is largely

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girls school.

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But on the other hand, Islam

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does not say that a woman can never be in a place where there there are men. This is not a correct notion, to my humble understanding, provided that the basic Islamic standards of behavior, modesty and dress are observed in this type of setting. I'll give you an editor evidence of this, even in the days of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, nobody can claim that he was more strict or more worried about sexual morality than he did. in his lifetime. Women, for example, came to the mosques, the places of worship, they participated in prayers. They participated in educational function, but still they that was within the proper Islamic attire, where they were seated in a separate corner to

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avoid unnecessary intermingling. But they did ask questions, they did participate in the discussion, they were very active, there was no record of petitions, physical or otherwise, to separate men and women. So the problem to conclude, is not the problem of having men and women in the same place, but what context what objective and what type of behavior and etiquette is observed to maintain mutual respect between both sexes, and regarding each each other as a human rather than as a sex object. We'll have to leave it at that. Our time for today is gone. The one invite you back next week when we'll continue with further discussions on this topic of production of honor and Islam. Thank you

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for watching. Peace beyond you. Assalamu alaikum