Talking to Our Children About Gender and LGBT A Conversation on Practical Tips for Muslim Parents
Channel: Yasir Qadhi
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I said I'm on a coma rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh wabarakatuh Alhamdulillah wa Salatu was Salam o Allah Mala Nebia Baroda. So brothers and sisters, we are doing something very unique. I've never done something like this before. But I thought that, given what is happening, and the reality of the social changes taking place, I thought that one of the most useful things that inshallah my channel could be doing is to bring up people who are going to be able to contribute in a very, very practical manner about issues that are facing us on a daily basis. And today, we're going to tackle a subject that I personally and my two guests and most of us have been struggling with. And that is
how to raise our children upon Islamic o'clock and morality, given the reality of the
sexual fascia to be brutally a one tear around us, how do we protect our children, given the changes that are taking place? Oh, Allah has blessed to have four children. Two of them, were actually now you know, adults, post teenagers and two of them are teenagers now, and my guests as well have children that are a different ages. So what I thought I do is we're going to bring together a group of people and talk very frankly, about not only our expenses, but really how we would advise ourselves and all of us here to better the Islamic environment environment of our children. And to make sure that the shallow to other they absorb the values of Islam. So I'd like to welcome First
and foremost, Dr. Sharif tably. Dr. C. photokey, is a professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Brandeis University. And he has a bachelor's from Georgetown and an MA PhD from big deal at McGill University, and a point of interest that a lot of people don't know, we both started doing our PhDs on the exact same topic without realizing it until we were both kind of in the middle of it. And that is it. Ben told me his famous book that it's out of the talent, nothing. And so we did our PhDs around the same time on the exact same topic. But of course, you know, we have different ways of doing a bit mashallah great. And his dissertation is published and Hamdulillah. So, Dr. Sharif,
pleasure to have you, on my show you want to call it are my channel Hamdulillah. Hungary, thank you for having me. And actually, we finished and defended the same semester, spring 2013. So exactly, so part of the small world that hamdulillah Al Hamdulillah. Of course, I also have started moving evade, start moving is a Muslim public intellectual, and a writer who focuses on how traditional Islamic frames of thinking intersect with the modern world over the past few years at him that allows that will be in has a concentrated a lot on talking about the issue of LGBT and Muslim interpretation and Muslim understanding of this very, very volatile and difficult subject. He has
published a number of pieces, both in academic journals, and also online and given them a number of lectures that have proven to resonate very strongly with our Muslim community. And I would like to say, once upon a time, I considered him my student, but that's not fair anymore, because he is interested in his own right. And so maybe 1520 years ago, we've been okay to say that, you know, start moving was a student of mine, but now I benefit from him. Subhanallah so much, so it's not fair to call him a student anymore is started moving in his own right, so does that call ahead, moving for agreeing to come? Dogma head for having
the honor is all mine hamdulillah Xochimilco, so what we're going to do is actually,
each one of us might share a few points, I thought, a few minutes about how we ourselves have tried to grapple with this, because in the end of the day, you know, a lot of people think that just because, you know, perhaps you might have some knowledge that somehow your own family or your, you know, children become immune to the world around us. I'll be very blunt. And I know my two guests are going to agree, it doesn't matter who you are, if you're living in this land, and you're living in this society, you know, your children are going to face the exact same thing as everybody else. And we are struggling, you know, as parents, like every other parent is struggling, and sometimes we
get it right and sometimes we get it wrong, and all of us are in this together. So it's very important to not put any one of us on a pedestal and think that just because Allah has blessed, you know, maybe somebody to have a little bit of knowledge here and there automatically. This means that everybody surrounding them becomes immune. On the contrary, you know, honestly, as a parent, this has been what on a personal level really this
history has been one of the most difficult struggles that I've had to do how best to, you know, teach my children, the proper mannerisms and o'clock, without alienating them from the teachings of Islam and introducing them and hamdullah to mainstream values in a manner that is healthy in a manner that is of hamdulillah any positive for them, as I said, at home that I have, you know, four children, two of them are in their 20s Now, and to do that, and two of them are in their teenage years. So I have two boys and two girls, so I'm literally half down the middle here. And when I speak like this, again, please don't think that, you know, there's the implicit stuff for Allah
claimed that all of our children's are angels, and innocent, and we've done the best job, no, we're all struggling. We're all human. And we're just trying to help one another in this regard. So I want to share with you some of the things that I feel in my own experiences have been beneficial in this regard. And I want to begin by pointing out that, again, in my humble opinion, parents have to think long term, and not to be reactive when things happen when the child is 13, or 15, or 17. On the contrary, we need to realize that countering the moral bankruptcy of our time, is probably the biggest challenge of parents, you know, I'm honestly not worried about our children, absorbing other
religions and being convinced by other religions. And that's really, it's not even a battle I'm worried about. But what has always been of concern to me is our children observe, sorry, our children absorb values that are antithetical to our faith, our children start flirting with ideologies that are completely at odds with our religion. And of course, you know, in particular sexual mores o'clock higher, you know, how we interact with the opposite gender, how we view the entire notion of sexuality, we're surrounded by fascia and filth, and pornography in children's cartoons have so much in it that goes against our faith antithetical to our values. So I begin by
stating, rather than being a reactive when something happens, we have to be proactive, we have to start thinking long term. If you are not married, my dear brother or sister, then you begin your journey by choosing the right spouse, you begin your journey of tarbiyah of your children. By choosing the right spouse, you have to start early. If you're already married, but don't you have don't have children, then speak with your spouse about you know how you think you're gonna counter these realities. And I would begin by stating that Allah knows best after Imana Taqwa after lots of dua, after lots of you know, spiritual guidance, the number one practical step that you can
undertake to instill in your children, Islamic understandings of morality, of hire of gender of sexuality, the number one step is the family environment, and the gender roles and the interaction between the husband and wife. I know this might sound a bit strange to some of you. But I'm a firm believer that when the child observes the father and mother, the Muslim, you know, husband and wife, interacting with one another, based upon the values of our Sharia, when, and I'll be very honest here, when a man acts like a Muslim role model male, and a woman acts like a Muslim role model female, and the husband acts like an Islamic husband, like the Prophet SAW Saddam, and the wife acts
like the mothers, you know, our mothers and tries to embody the values of our Sharia. Personally, I believe that this is the number one practical mechanism to instill in your child, what they said that kowtow into the man is not like the woman, we firmly believe that there are two genders. And we firmly believe that these two genders are separate and distinct, and they do have identities and they do have roles that are different from one another. If the child doesn't see this in their own household, if the mother and father are not acting in accordance with these teachings, then, you know, subhanAllah, don't be surprised if later on, they don't understand the distinction between the
male and the female. And again, on a very personal anecdote, one of my children, a very young age came to me, you know, having seen something that you know, on their
friends, I don't know what it was, and you know, asking this question about, you know, why can't there be two mommies? Why can't there be two daddies, you know, and I remember vividly, I literally, this was the example I used, I said, Well, don't you see, you know, Mama and Baba, how different they are? And don't you like that, you know, Mama does this and this, and Baba does this and that, don't you see that? You know, it's nice for a household to have this type of, you know, basically, I didn't use the word gender disparity, but you get the point that, don't you see that gender roles, I should say a different gender roles. And I explained in the context of our household, that what is
it that could occur? And I felt that it was effective, you know, mechanism to explain that we don't have this notion of gender fluidity that you know, Jen
The roles are in fact something that ALLAH SubhanA wa Tada has blessed us with. So point number one in this regard is make sure your own family household is a beautiful role model. You as parents have to be examples, your house has to be a house of love, a house of supports a house of a sunnah following the prophetic model. Point number two, I would also say and I only have two or three points. Inshallah, point number two I would also say is that one of the things that I feel is extremely important is that you instill strong family bonds you you you incorporate in your life time for your children, you literally take trips with them, spend time with them worship together,
having Salah on a daily basis with your children, talking to them about this dunya not necessarily religious lectures, just having a strong bond with our children. Again, it'll instill in them the notion of the nuclear family, the notion of having a strong understanding of what it means to be a father, mother, a brother, or sister or a son or daughter. So one of the problems that we have in this part of the world is that all too often, we don't spend enough time with our children. And I mean, I'm also guilty of this, may Allah forgive me, and because of all that, but could you try your best at hamdulillah and small things, and again, I'll be very personal here. One thing that I still
practice to this day is that at least one of the prayers you know, when I'm home, you know, I'll force you know, because there's still forcing, calling and yelling, I'll force all of us to come together. And we will literally pray GEMA together, and sometimes afterwards, sit down and talk and joke and laugh and get an update. Again, these small things of just forming a family bond. I believe these are subconscious ways of instilling in our children, the reality of family, because we do have to counter this ideology of men and women being the same or gender roles being the same, or genders being fluid, or same sex or whatnot. And one of the ways to do this, once again, is to show in your
own lives, the reality of what it means to be a Muslim. Another way to do this Allah who are them is through the live the Sierra and the lives of the sahaba. Role models give them stories of what the prophets did what the Prophet Muhammad SAW said him did give them stories of what the Sahaba yet and our mothers did, and automatically will instill in them the realities of again, how society works, how men and women interact with one another. And the final point I mentioned, because you do have to pass it on to others to give some practical advice. The final point I'll mention is that once again, I believe it is very, very important that we begin from an early age, not just on the tarbiyah,
because I'm talking about today, all of my points, by the way, were meant to fortify the fitrah. I should have said this explicitly. All of these points are meant to fortify the fitrah. And the fitrah is the innate disposition that Allah azza wa jal has created us upon. If the fitrah is strong, automatically, the children will know right from wrong, and they're going to know men and women are different. They're going to know the realities of gender interactions and the roles that genders play. So these types of things of having a strong family spending time together, worshiping together, you know, being a good role model family will instill in them and fortify the fitrah final
point I'll mention, do not trivialize the importance of dua to Allah subhanho wa Taala do not trivialize this, you know, there's half a dozen do as in the Quran, about righteous progeny, robbing a hablan as wodgina with react in a Kurata union right was literally feed reality so many do as in the Quran, that you want righteous children make my children you know of the Saudi Hain don't trivialize this, make it your constant dua, frankly, and I say speak as a parent to all the other parents out there. What is more important in your lives than having good children Wallahi Of what use is all you know the wealth and whatnot if your children don't turn out to be, you know, a
righteous and good so constantly make dua to Allah subhana wa Tada, constantly. Turn to Allah, the Mocha label Kulu to give Saba to your children, even our father Ibrahim alayhis salam when he's building the Kaaba, one of the doctrines he makes is, Oh Allah make me and my children of those who established the salah, Jonnie, it's ingrained in him. He wants to make his children righteous. So last point I mentioned, of course, is just a summary of so many other points is that do not trivialize the spiritual aspect between you and your Lord. We are living in a time where the evil is considered pure and the purest, considered evil. We're living in a time where no matter how pious
you try to be in your personal life, your children cannot be protected from the evil around them. And they're going to see things that you could not even have imagined growing up social media, the pressures around us even if you don't have a television Subhanallah it's only a matter of time before your children come across stuff that is mind boggling for anybody of a previous generation, and they're going to see
All of this stuff, there is no complete isolation or bubble, but Allah has tested us and if he has tested us, then he's given us the tools to pass the test. So this is in a nutshell, some of the points that I'd like to make in this regard and I'd like to then pass it over to my dear friend and brother, Dr. Schiff. If you want to also add some points and inshallah then we'll go on to start moving. Okay, great. Mr. Medina Rahman Al Rahim o salat wa salam, ala Rasulillah Ashraf al Anbiya. It was more serene, earlier Sufi women to be on BSN and either Yama, Deen, those are all very excellent points. MashAllah very practical. I really appreciate it. There's a lot. And so what I'm
going to do, I'm going to talk about, I have also a couple of points that I'd like to share 456 points, and they're going to be a little bit more conceptual. And then after that, we'll go into some more practical advice with sediment being and then we're going to do sort of a question and answer a lot of frequently asked questions that come up. So the whole program will be, I think, a good mix of theoretical concerns conceptual as well as practical. And if we attack things from both angles, inshallah we'll be able to find a good solution. So I would like to say my first point, which I think is is known to all Muslims, but you know, it's worth making explicit, again, is that
the very most important thing, and this builds on what Schiff has just said, is to instill a strong faith and love of Allah subhanaw taala in the heart of our children and love for His Messenger, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, and we should try to do that in ways that are meaningful to children, not just telling them, okay, I mean, first of all, belief and all those instincts is instinctive. It comes from the fitrah. We know this, you know, there's even current day cognitive science of religion that backs that up, that human beings are naturally believers in God, they naturally look around and interpret the world around them as having been created purposefully by a Creator. And so
we have to, we have to, to, I mean, I don't say instill because it's already in there, a lot of creates us with that fitrah but we have to nourish that. And we have to nurture it because we live in an environment which is basically like acid, it operates like acid on the fitrah and it burns this natural disposition towards belief that every human being is born with. And so just you know, when we speak to our children about Allah subhanaw taala, we speak to them about the greatness of Allah, the beauty of Allah and Allah Jamila and your Sybil Jamal, right. We don't stress this enough probably for our children, Allah's mercy, Allah's wisdom, Allah's justice, Allah's compassion. And
you know, there's so many beautiful verses in the Quran in minchah Illa, you said, this will be handy when I cannot have own at home, there is nothing that exists except that it sings the praises of Allah subhanaw taala except you mankind do not understand or discern there has to be out there glorification. This is so beautiful children love stories, children love animals. There are so when my kids were young, we had you know, Christmas Haiwan for the poor. And for example, you know, stories of animals that come in the poor and the dog of the US have the calf, the Hood Hood bird that comes to Sudan, or at least and I'm, you know, this is a great way for children in their hearts
to connect with the stories of the past and also the Stories of the Prophets, right. And the story of our profits on the line, he was said that we we want our children to love the profit. Well, he loved children. And there are so many beautiful anecdotes from the Sierra about his love for children about his concern for children, his regard for them, his way of interacting with them. So I think the first thing you know, as a person, whether young person or older person, in whose heart is implanted and anchored a deep love of Allah subhanaw taala and His Messenger sallallahu alayhi wa sallam will not be very bothered at least on a conceptual or Eman level by many of these Shubo hat
or doubts or fitness that are around us. Now, that doesn't mean that, you know, we can't be tempted by sin and by temptation and shall however, of course we are all liable to that. And also it does not mean that we don't have to learn how to navigate the world around us. But in terms of them being shaken in their belief, because they cannot accept an Islamic teaching on something or they don't understand how it could be right or just this would probably this does not tend to come up for people who have a very, very strong
love of Allah in connection with Allah in their heart. And I'm not saying if you have doubts or questions about something that means you're weak of faith, it's normal to question but I'm just saying it's less likely to shake a person at their core, if they have that, you know, an order within with CA Lanphier sama Allah right, the one who is believed in Allah has shunned false deities, including the deities of our culture, the false idols of our own ideas, our own moralities our own paradigms and ideologies, right and grasped onto the rope of Allah, that person has grasp onto the firmest handhold, which does not break as we know from the Quran. So that's number one. So
number two is the love of number one, the love of Allah and His Messenger Salallahu Alaihe Salam. Number two is that we have to instill in them a strong Aqeedah and of course, this means first and foremost the basic Arpita that we know from Hadith Jibreel belief in Allah, His messengers, His books, His angels, the day of judgment and the power of the Divine decree the good and the bad of it. But in addition to that, there are certain points of Aqeedah that I think in every age, every age has its own challenges, and every age requires at certain point
about Peter be stressed more and more deliberately than perhaps in other agents. And I think one of those points of al Qaeda, that has to be stressed is this idea that, that Allah and His Messenger alone, have the right to legislate, and the right to determine what is right and wrong, that human beings, every human society, every time in place has its own very parochial, very relative notions of what's right and wrong. You can look today across societies, you can look in the past, you know, as text in this country, in North America, with children, child sacrifice, and all of these crazy things. And then you can look, even in our own culture, how you had institutionalized racism in sort
of very overt and ugly forms just several decades ago, and now most people say, well, that's totally wrong, how could rational people have encoded such laws, and then in the sexual realm to which is closer to the topic of LGBT, in the 1960s, you couldn't even say the word pregnant on public television. And then you have a sexual revolution. And then all sorts of pornography are made, you know, legal overnight, including in certain European countries, very secular liberal ones, including child pornography throughout the 1970s was actually illegal in some European countries, you could rape children on camera and sell it for profit was perfectly fine. And you can find footage on
YouTube into the 90s in places like France, where celebrities come on to talk shows like the equivalent of Oprah, and they just talk openly about their sexual relations with boys. I mean, young kids boys like less than them totally fine, totally open not a problem today, even in Western culture would be aghast at that how could that be? And literally just 30 years ago, this was you know, no problem, right. So so. So human, conceptions of right and wrong, and even social are widely held conceptions of right and wrong, are basically worthless. They're completely flimsy, when you look at it from that angle. And so we have to drill this into our children's heads. This is a very
fundamental point of Aqeedah. A las Panatela says in the Quran, when Matt Kennedy moved meaning Well, Mr. Minuten, either called Allahu wa rasuluh Imran, and yeah, Cornella Halmahera tomb in MDN, that it is not free believing man or woman, if Allah his Messenger has to create an affair, to have or have decreed something to have any choice in their affair. Right. And so Alana is in His Messenger alone, are the ones who legislate and we determine right and wrong in light of revelation that is the only objective standard for right and wrong. And let's see that, you know, that's one of the main points of even having a religion and holding on to it is that it provides us with a
transcendental fixed standard of right and wrong, that conforms to the reality as Allah has created it and legislated it. And in light of which we should judge any other claim to morality, any other claim of right or wrong, whether it be in our society or any other society. And so this is something that is very critical. Again, in other times in places, this would be taught as part of the al Qaeda, but it would also be much more probably embedded in cultures, maybe traditional Muslim cultures. But we live in a culture, which is diametrically opposed to this where the divine commandments, absolutely nothing, where people are becoming more more secular as time goes on in the
system as a whole in the culture as a whole. It's very secular, and where you have all of these false notions that you know, I'm autonomous, I can just make up my own morality, I can just do what I want, I can dispose of my own body and my own self and my own sexuality, you know, to get into the topic of today, as I please, all of this is false. We know this to be false. from just the nature of things, we are not God, we are creatures, and God is God and we are His servants. And so, we also have to to let our youth know that in addition to the salah commands, and we obey semiannual autonomy, this is the call of this as a response of the believer we hear and we obey at the same
time Allah this is my third point, we have to teach them that Allah is not just some irrational tyrant who is just commanding and prohibiting based on random irrational taboos that we have to kind of follow out of pure, you know, tabloid, he could do this if you wanted to. But Allah is also wise, he's just he's merciful. And he has given us reason he's given us aka he has given us a fitrah. And with our reason with our fitrah, we can discern Allah's wisdom and His mercy in his creation and in his legislation. And so we have to drive to our children home, the point that Allah, everything Allah has decreed everything he has forbidden, everything He has commanded, is full of mercy is full
of wisdom it's full of is full of justice. Sometimes we can see that sometimes it's very clearly discernible other times it might lie a little bit hidden beneath the surface, and we have to search a bit. And sometimes we can't actually tell what the wisdom behind a particular legislation is. But we know because Allah is wise and just and merciful, that all of his legislation without exception is wise and merciful. And just so this is just on a high level. And then my point number four, and I already sort of touched on this, is that, you know, we as human beings are utterly lost without divine guidance.
as I, as I said before, people, you know, people's notions of what's right and wrong is so fickle. And so, you know, changing the polyp all the time, you know, literally, especially today, I mean, every couple of years, you have entirely new things that were considered unthinkable just a little while ago, that become all of a sudden the norm.
I gave some examples of that before. And so we have to also not just preach these things for our children, but show them so that they understand, give them examples, like the ones I gave before, right? And then ask them, Where do you get your morality from? And how should we just trust what society around us is saying, even if everyone's saying it in unison with one voice? Well, people have said very, very devilish and very obviously wrong and evil things unanimously with one voice in the past. So what guarantees us that's not what what is happening also today with certain things around us, or law Reanima we're into law to alimony along those in you know, not, and also we read
several verses in the Quran was the young Allahumma shaytaan Ramallah one, that, that Satan shaitan, right, who's an evil, he's evil, obviously, he beautifies people's Ill, Ill deeds to them their fellow deeds and makes them look fair. So just the fact that we might, personally in subjectively think that something looks good or seems good or seems better or society does, it means absolutely nothing. And again, we need to drive this point home to our children in ways that are very practical and very tangible, so that they can actually understand them for themselves and not just take it as a point of Arpita that's been drilled into their head. But it's something that they can actually
taste it that result of these realities.
I'll probably stop because I've been going on for a long time. But very quickly, my fifth point, when we get on to the question of LGBT in particular, which is an issue of sexual behavior and sexual morality, we also cannot treat this in isolation, we have to first deal with in lay a good foundation and framework and Schiff has pointed this out of gender, in our tradition, in our religion of sexuality in general, what is it for what is the family for what are the male and the female for, right, and it is within this larger context of a broader notion of gender, of family of reproduction of a purpose, a natural purpose, for sexuality, of the complementarity of the male and
female, on the level of psychology on the level of gender roles in the family and outside the family. And also on the role of the in terms of the body and the complementarity of the body. Right, once all of this is in place. And then the question of LGBT comes up specifically, now you have a framework in the back room where you can say, Uh huh, okay, let's take this issue and place it in this larger framework. And if I, as a child have a strong understanding of what a male and a female are, and what sexuality and reproduction are all about what a family is all about, then when you bring up a notion, the notion of same sex relationship, or same sex marriage, or something that's
going to strike me as intuitively odd or something's off about it, because it doesn't fit in this larger paradigm. But if we don't build that framework, and all our children know, is, I'm autonomous, and, you know, my sexuality is my identity, and so on and so forth. And it's all about love is love, and equality and all of these things, and that's their framework, then they're going to have a great deal of time, a great deal of difficulty understanding and appreciating and accepting the Islamic paradigm and having peace in their hearts with it. And then the last point is that, you know, we should not was related to the one I just said, we should not start on these
issues with a list of do's and don'ts, right? But but rather give them a positive vision of what our view of things like gender, sexuality, family, and so on and so forth are as Muslims are is what our positive view is as Muslims, and then thereafter say, okay, in order to, to preserve and protect these fundamental human interests in these fundamental human institutions, like the family or law in his justice, wisdom and mercy has prohibited certain things and prescribed other things and legislated things in certain ways. I'll stop there, I went on probably too long. That's a very sort of high level overview of conceptual and I think after that we can get into inshallah more practical
issues, and have it all to come together. So I'll pass it over in China to certain well being in China.
Okay, this one on a human anatomy, or Salatu was Salam. Ala MBO. And what I said here, Muhammad Ali Salam wa, ala alihi wa sahbihi Ultramarine. I'll keep my comments brief. I think what I'll do for for my introduction is maybe reflect on both of your comments a little bit. And Jeff has said I thought made an interesting point where he said for his own children, he's not as concerned by other fates. And I was actually remembering when I was growing up. If you were a religious, young Muslim, most of the material that was out there was Muslim apologetics responding to Christianity. So you had these VHS cassettes of the dot, Rahim Allah, and you'd have these debates, and we were just
eating these things up. I mean, we just watched him again.
It's Jimmy Swaggart, and this person needs strage. And you'd have these lengthy, lengthy debates that you'd sit through and the crowd would be responding. And as a young, eager Muslim, you start mastering a lot of those a lot of those arguments that he's deploying, you know, Jamal Badawi Have you been holla, many of his debates were quite quite popular at the time, because there was a serious sense of, hey, we have to be able to defend ourselves in the face of a dominant Christian society. And for most of us today, that seems very strange insofar as most of us don't really worry about our kids growing up and believing that Eastside Islam is the Son of God. Now, I mean, that
that belief isn't real material threat.
But now they're, they're internalizing an entirely different set of ideas. And those ideas in some ways are considerably more complicated, because many people don't see the way in which they are adjusting people's identities, their sensibilities, their values, and convictions on the sly. And there are so many avenues for them to receive that type of external Dawa. In a sense, devices, social media, all of this stuff is always on. And there's almost an inescapability to a doctor city have talked about it as a type of acid that's eroding their fitrah. Even how we conceive of certain things, right? When we talk about pornography, and you just look at television today, even everyday
television today, is so pornographic by yesterday's standards,
even concepts, concepts that you see deployed popularly in media, even seemingly innocent media, this notion of discovering yourself, or finding your own truth, many shows, even shows that are designed for children run on the theme of a child that is that has to reject his or her parents. And there's this notion of the stubborn, stubborn, unreasonable parent, right? That that's a really difficult thing, right? That that's the common media that they are surrounded with, and when that's the media that they're receiving, and those are the messages that they're receiving, the idea of submitting to a higher authority is really anathema to all of that. So we have our work cut out for
us, we really do. And I think one of the challenges that we have as an amine as Muslims is that we have a very strong notion of hierarchy, which is a good thing to wear naturally modest people. I can tell you, I've been speaking about LGBT for years. Last December, I did a program in Houston. And I realized in the program that it was my first time speaking about this topic, in a masjid, in a masala. And I was very uncomfortable, like it was I couldn't shake it. I mean, it just wasn't something that came naturally to me. And it's actually taken me a few months at events, to get more accustomed to even being upfront about the topic and candid.
In addition to that I used to age gate, this topic, right? Say, look, you know, you have to be over 15, you have to be over 18. Now, what I'm noticing is children 910 11 years old, coming to me, who have already had classes on topics like this.
And so this is this is an urgent issue that we're having to address at very, very young ages. And everything doctor should have everything should have her saying, our thing is very important when we talk about how can we instill our own values? How can we enforce our own beliefs in our children so that they can come up and succeed in the midst of all of this and so inshallah we get into, hopefully, sort of a q&a portion here. We'll get into some discrete specifics. But But I thought, what I do is maybe reflect on this and just add a little bit of components or a few components that I think are just things that I've run into myself, and just reflection so with that job, I'll hand
things back to Jeff
Zucker, Moloch. Mashallah, really nice, practical advice, and also theoretical from the both of you. You know, I was some of you so I was like literally laughing out loud when you mentioned our era and Ahmed Deedat and whatnot. Allah bless me to meet him a number of times. And there's no question that after Allah azza wa jal, the first catalyst that I had as a 1112 year old, you know, was watching the earth and Jimmy Swaggart and that back there, and you're absolutely right, the notions back then were so different, that the fears the concerns were so different than they are now. SubhanAllah. And I wanted to I wanted to before I get into the q&a and whatnot. I was wondering if any of you would
feel comfortable opening up about because I want our audience to relate to us and make them understand we're all in this together. Are you any of you wanting to give personal generic anecdotes your own lives in your own families and how, you know, this is affecting and you're trying your best to to, you know, to push back and I gave
One myself with one of my kids, you know, I mean, I'm 13 years old, and my kids all went to Islamic school, by the way, all of them. And I've Hamdulillah we try our best to maintain, you know, some type of of, you know, bubble with social media, we can't be 100%, but at the age of 13, and one of them comes in and you know, this is my own child, like, you know, Baba, why would Allah mind if, you know, two mommies love each other? Literally, you know, why would Allah mind this? And I'm just like, in Islamic school? Where are you getting this from? I mean, I didn't want to get to that, because I don't want to, you know, I have to be careful here. But it's just it was so difficult for
me to, to even begin that conversation like, where are you getting these notions? What do you do about this type of stuff. And like I said, I was able to use our own Alhamdulillah family dynamics to make a very strong point in the show, I hope as well, in this regard. I'm just in order for us to humanize all of us, are you willing to help with any specific tactics in your own life? Any of you want to do that? Yeah, I mean, I can offer some, my children are quite young. I mean, my eldest is eight, I have a five, almost six year old and I have a two year old so that it's really an issue that both the five going on six, and the eight year old, have already brought up. And I say that
they brought that up, even though we do a pretty decent job of sheltering them in a lot of ways. You know, they're homeschooled, their main circles that they're around are Muslims. We, we filter and monitor quite aggressively the type of material and media that they're exposed to. And yet, even then, even then, it's just something that they run into. And they've apparently run into it enough where questions have come up, not not sort of as complex as yours, but still, right? You know, books, for instance, that are children's books that seem very, very innocent, and you bring it home. And, you know, my daughter had this incident where she read a book, and I believe it was a book
about penguins. One of the penguins had two moms in the book. And, yeah, and she asked my wife about it. And you know, she was very young at the time.
And I think at that time, we appealed to, we sort of escaped the issue by talking about polygamy and Islam, and about how you can have more than one wife and like, almost like a, like a Muslim, Penguin household and all that, and so much she knows about polygamy and Islam, you know, but, you know, it's come up again, right, since then. And it's the type of issue where you've just had to say, look, there's some families where, you know,
they're doing things that are displeasing to Allah, right. And you're, it's just really tough not to run into it. We, when we just recently, I mean, we were at Target, and we went to shop. And when we walked in, there was a huge, just massive pride display. And just rainbow colored clothes and rainbow colored toys, and just everything rainbow. And that's just, we're just going to pick up some groceries, right.
And so even if you try very hard and deliberately and intentionally to shelter your children at young ages, they're going to get exposed to this. And so I think, to the extent that you can, you should try to vet the material that they're being exposed to. But as Dr. City have said, you're going to have to have age appropriate conversations with them. And you're going to have to let them know that we're in a society where many people around us are disobeyed disobeying Allah subhanaw, taala, that they're living lives that are displeasing to Him. And that just because many of them are doing that, and they think it's okay, doesn't make it, okay. Alright, and that type of message for
young people, you have to keep it simple. But I think it's the type of thing that can resonate, especially when you have a good social structure around them when you have a good household around them. When you have good social unit and friends and extended friends. And a good community, they can help build that up as well, where they're not in isolation, they're not being taught something sort of in their home in a way that completely alienates them, but in a way that, you know, that they're sort of a normal part of a broader social unit, to which they feel belonging. And so I'd say just as sort of a practical matter, the family, obviously, your Muslim community, having a good
Muslim social circle, and then doing a decent job trying to trying to vet the things that they come across. I think that's about the best that they can do. And then, you know, layering into that age appropriate messaging, as they get older, where you get, you know, a bit more explicit along the way. Zach Calacatta should if you want to add anything to that, yeah, I was just gonna add, I think those are great points. Michela and I was gonna say also when you when you tell your children that that people in this society live in ways or do things that are not pleasing to Allah, this is one of them, right? I mean, same sex behavior relationship, that's one of them, but there's plenty others
as well. So part of is you know, you can sort of downplay although it's everywhere, you know, we can also just say, look, alcohol is everywhere, people drink constantly. That's wrong. We don't do it. You know, people have Zina constantly all around. That's wrong. That's haram. We don't do it. People, you know, XY and Z. And this is one more thing that we kind of add on to that. So it can kind of diffuse a little bit
The tension rather than looking at this as a completely, you know, unique issue sui generis, we can just sort of, you know, put it in line with all of the other things that people around us do that we don't do. Because we're Muslims and try to diffuse some of the internal tension that our children might feel, as to why does Islam not allow for this particular thing, now becomes more of an issue. And we can get to this a little bit later, because it's presented in the modern, in the contemporary environment, as in issue not of behavior, like the other things I mentioned, but rather one of identity. And this really changes the conversation, you know, substantially, and also, you know,
gives us a whole different minefield that we need to navigate. And so I don't want to get into that right now. But I did want to say the point about, you know, telling them that these are things that are not pleasing to Allah that other people do that we don't, I think, again, we can, you know, compare that to other other things and put them all in line. And maybe that would make sense, you know, or help our children digested a little bit better. I was also going to say,
actually, I lost my next point. So I'll just stop there. Okay, no worries. So what are the things I think let's talk about this, the three of us here, because I get asked this a lot by parents, you know, we I mean, we all know that we're going to have to change our tactics with our children. My parents, obviously, you know, totally different generation, there is no question that the entire issues of sexuality morality, who are never ever, ever brought up and mentioned, this is back in the 70s and 80s. Right. So okay, different typical maternal.
No doubt, we're gonna have to change the tactics, we're gonna have to bring it up with our children in a very, you know, blunt manner. I get asked this all the time. And I was struggling with this as well, when my children were young, younger, obviously, now, they're all old, I can talk to them very explicitly. But at what age do you begin, you know, bringing up these topics? Let's talk about this. What do you guys say about this?
I can start that. I guess it really depends, right. So,
you know, I think one of the things parents need to be aware of is what
local and domestic policies are in their states. There are seven states now that have statewide programs that enforce LGBT curriculum and teachings and public schools. So if your kids are going to be exposed to this at kindergarten, then you're going to have to start at five you really are because they're going to run into it in a health class or a history class. And those classes are going to take place in a way where you're not being notified, these aren't opt out courses. And that's ideally not an age where you want to start having this conversation. But you know, you don't really have a choice if your kids are going to be in public school. Because if you're not talking to
them about this, others are. And so you need to prepare them for what they're going to run into. And so I'd say that that's that's probably an age that many Muslims are going to have to start this conversation at, again, in a way that's age appropriate that prepares them for what they're going to run into. And what's really complicated is that, especially the kindergarten teachings are focused more so on the gender topic. So they get the gender Redman and the transgender discourse, which in itself can be a lot more complicated to try to distill down to kids. In some ways, it's easier, but in some ways, it's much, much more complicated. And so I think I think you have to be prepared,
there are a lot of good resources out there, thankfully, that parents can avail themselves of, and this is one of those areas, areas where broadly, especially on areas of social morality, I think we can take from good Christian resources as well that are out there. There are some good resources that are available, you know, can you mention one or two? If so, there's one website that I think is pretty good, the Catholic Women's Forum, put it together called person and identity thing, it's person on identity a.com. That's a really good one. When it comes to kids books, I found that the Mormons actually do a pretty decent job with a lot of kids books. And so if you will look into some
of the material that they've put together for kids on topics like this, it's usually not too heavily theological. It's not like they're quoting the Bible and the Book of Mormon and all that. They're just talking about mothers and fathers and some basic morals around that. And I don't think Muslims are going to find anything terribly offensive in those books. With Muslims, we just don't have as much of that material yet. Right. We're sort of behind. We do have books for kids out there. But usually, you know, we'll have books about the prophets or different sort of Islamic topics. Less so on this up till now. And before I hand it over to Dr. Sharif, you know, you raised a very good
point, and I think I have to be a little bit blunt to your
parents. If you're able to, then no doubt Islamic schools really are. I can't say for the end, but I mean, it's one of the best mechanisms to protect your children at this age. I understand well, like I understand that most Islamic schools are subpar when it comes to certain academic factors. And I'll be brutally honest here when I was living in a different city
I faced the same issue for my eldest son, it was, you know that there was a new Islamic school, but I at least got him through middle school. So, you know, kindergarten, primary Middle School, and then I had to, you know, move him out at a high school. And even then I chose a private Christian boys only. And you know, that has its issues. But it was a Christian boys. Oh, man, it was an arm and a leg. But it was for me, it was worth it. And I mean, I know it's not possible for every parent. I know. It's not possible financially. I know. It's not possible logistically, some communities don't have Islamic schools. But if you're able to, then you know, as a Muslim parents
and other Muslim parents, please try your best to prioritize, because it's a very tender age, you don't want your child at the age of five, having to read a book, a children's nursery book, where they're going to be introduced to two moms or two dads or gender fluidity or a stop for Allah. We've seen online and I don't understand why I don't understand drag queens coming to kindergartens, I don't understand how is this allowed? How is this possible? We can't afford to open this door. So sincere request, look into Islamic schools and try your best at least during the formative years to keep them in Islamic school. But yes, it's about raising a raising up as early and being as well,
context specific, there is no magic age five or six. Rather, it varies from family to place to to circumstance. And obviously, in certain situations, you might have to make the age younger than others wanted to add something moving. Yeah, I'll just add a couple of additional resources. So there's a website called Common Sense Media, which is pretty good. It gives you a rundown of major issues in books and movies and television shows. It's not perfect, it doesn't catch everything. But it's a decent website to look at. I always tell parents has a rule of thumb with books, check the publication date, usually, if a book has been published before the year 2000. It's less political
and ideological in that way. It may have other issues, but you know, issues like dating and stuff like that, that you need to vet. But again, just lesser issues by default. Because those books were written in an era that weren't as intensely politicized as ours, I tend to think the same way about TV shows as well. So you know, the good thing is, it's not like TV just started yesterday, there's, there's one many more sort of Islamic programs for kids that are decent and pretty well published, and just good shows. In addition to that, I think you can go in and tap into some of those older programs.
You know, you can look at, you know, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, or, you know, Reading Rainbow, some of those books, or some of those shows that are still out there and available that you may have to buy.
And you know, that number of episodes, large, lengthy collections. But again, they just offer a comparatively better media environment than a lot of shows today, where no Spongebob, even Sesame Street, all of these shows now are introducing nonconforming characters, and characters that have different sexual identities in very strange and bizarre ways. And, you know, you just, you just don't want your kid to have their daily consumption of media to be something like that. So. So Dr. Schiff, I have a question for you, as well. And again, this has been asked to me a number of times, you know, children 567, generally, they're not even aware of sex and intimacy, yet, they are clearly
being exposed to
gender identity to same sex couples and marriages, how do you even bring up the topic of, you know, male, male, you know, parents are female, female, like, you know, to moms, or even, you know, trans fluid gender, when they don't even understand intimacy and sex, you know, the culture is bringing up aspects that perhaps too complicated for a five, six year old to understand so many thoughts about that? Yeah, that's a great question. It also picks up on one of the points I was going to add to what we've been said is that, you know, he said, for example, once your kids are exposed to this, say, if it's in kindergarten, then you have to be prepared to discuss this at the age of five. And
that's when they're brought up, you know, for example, the topic of a same sex couple, or you know, a Heather and her two mommies, or whatever it is. But I think even before that, we have to do groundwork by we know, that our children, we know what they're going to face, right, a few years down the road. So I think we have to be extra deliberate, much more deliberate than we would have been just, you know, 1020 years ago, about instilling them very early on what is a family, we can't take that for granted anymore, you know, and when they're even three, and you're reading them a book, a family is a mommy and a daddy, and you kind of stress, you know, a mommy and a daddy like,
right, and it goes back to what you were saying your opening comments if you asked her that, you know, a mother is not the same as a father, right? Boys and girls are not the same. They said they could, okay. And you just you know, you really try to instill these kinds of things. It's in a positive way. Again, 20 years ago, we wouldn't have had to do this because it was just taken for granted by society at large. But now we know what we're doing.
The advanced work we're trying to plant seeds. Because we know that a couple of years down the road, they're gonna come to us with a question. Well, what's wrong with having two mommies? And then you say, Well, wait a minute, don't you remember all of these books, we've read all these things we've talked about, you know, you've really instilled it in their minds, when it comes to like actual sexuality, reproduction, and so forth. Again, we unfortunately don't have really the luxury of waiting to too long. Of course, we have to teach teach, we have to speak to our kids at their level. We don't want to be too explicit. But you know, we can at least tell kids right? Well, how does you
know babies come about from from mommies and daddies. Right? When mommy got pregnant with, you know, brother, half murderous sister faulty, or whatever, you know, we don't have to tell them the mechanics of it. You can say, you know, women only get pregnant, you know, from men like mommies get pregnant from that is that's the way Allah created us. And that's why He created us together. And when someone says they have two mommies, you say they don't actually have two mommies, because, you know, they can't have two mommies, you need a mommy and a daddy to even have the child to begin with. They call it two mommies, but that's not really what a mommy is right? Mommy is this and you
can't have a mommy without a daddy. Right? And that's absolutely true. And you're not really getting very explicit. And then when they say, Yeah, but they say they have two mommies, you say, Yeah, well, they say that, but that's not actually the case. And we know, it's not the cases. I mean, the second woman is not the mother. If the first one is, I mean, maybe she's not either. Maybe they both adopted, and I know adoptive families. I mean, you know, they're as if their mothers and fathers but according to the *tier, they're not right. I mean, it's it's natural lineage.
So I think that we can, and then as they get older, you know, mommy and daddy, I think when I was very young, maybe six or seven, I don't know how old I was, but it was told that, you know, yeah, you know, like Daddy, like implant something and mommy or something, you know, you kind of like, slowly take it up. I remember a chef that I used to study with many years ago, was saying, you know, he grew up in a traditional environment and learn FIP he said, by the time I was like, 10, or 11, you know, I learned all of the basic epileptic FIP. And you go into the system that you go into also, and you go into Hyatt and all of this stuff. And he said, it was never a shock to me, or never
a taboo thing, because I just learned that as part of, and I know, in very traditional places, also, like Mauritania, you have, you know, it's very casual. So you have people giving * lessons, and all these kids are running around, and nothing's really censored. And they're going through the Babbitt, taharah and all of this. So, at the same time, I think maybe we don't have to be overly like protective, right? We don't want to be too graphic and explicit, but I think if it's if the context is right, maybe we can be afford to speak a little bit more forthrightly than might be conventional in many Muslim cultures, you know,
so that I'm just throwing that out there. I mean, that's just my own opinion. It's very encoded. And, you know, please feel free to disagree with that. Uh, you know, I think the main thing is that there is no mathematical equation that we can tell you guys about, this is what you do gut instinct, and, you know, following some common sense and
erring on the side of caution. I mean, as long as the child is capable of understanding, it's best that they hear it within Islamic context, then outside, I think the next topic, and we'll have, we only have around five or six minutes left, I think the next topic I think we really need to address is practical advice about access to social media. And I'm going to begin by a little bit of my stuff, and then you don't hand it over to all of you guys as well. One of the things that I think is very, very important. And I know it's difficult for parents to do is to not give your teenager access to a private computer, put a computer in the public, you know, space or room, and perhaps
even put a curfew on it that by 10 o'clock or whatever, you finish your homework, right? It changes the dynamics when they have to go to a room where everybody is there, and they know that it's going to be used, and people can walk in and whatnot. It is so dangerous to hand a 14 year old, you know, a private terminal with unlimited and unfettered access. I don't think that that is a wise thing to do. And personally, I thank Allah that I grew up in the 80s. There were no such things that I don't know if I could be who I am. Same person if I had been exposed to what these kids are exposed to, by the way. funny anecdote like I don't assess five years ago, six years ago, people were saying you
have to sign on to this new thing called tick tock whatever, right? To be a chef and give some photos whatnot. You know, I signed in for a week. And to me it was always a biller, bordering on soft child pornography I'll be very blunt here. I just couldn't believe this is allowed. I just could not believe that this type of stuff and fat hush says I can't do this I just deleted so no way I'm going to do this. But the realization that this is what teenagers are doing constantly, all children are exposed to this. rubella I probate my children from having any tick tock I wanted to their apps. I mean, you know, they don't go as obviously when you're past the age of 1920 What can I
do now? I mean, um, that they're now at a different age, but two main points. Number one again, personally, I need advice or whatever. No private computers, you know, for teenagers should be a public
Number two, look, it's all about your children, especially when they're young. There's gotta be some monitoring that you do, there's got to be, you know, are you allowed to Facebook account with parental control or not. And, you know, um, if your child does have, you know, Facebook with the child setting or whatever, make sure you're at it as a friend, or whatever it might be, you have to be involved in a gentle tug via not, you know, micromanaging, because at the end of the day, look, you're gonna have to let them grow up. And if you're, you know, too controlling or protective, that might backfire, but at the same time, and you ease up as the years go on, I mean, you're not going
to control the 19 year old the way you would, you know, an 11 year old, but during this interim, there's gotta be some control. So these are the two main things I would like to say and then hand it over to the two of you practical advice about teenagers and social media. So who wants to go first? Yeah, I'll start. I think a person has to be very intentional about when they introduce technologies. Technically, it's really difficult to overstate the addictiveness of devices, on people in general, especially on young people. Nicholas Carr has a recent book, relatively recent book, the shallows where he talks about the cognitive impact of technological exposure on people and
just what it does to their brains neurologically. I remember a few years ago, I was at an Asana conference. And I was sitting next to a family that had a young child. And they had given that young child I think it was an iPad, so that the kid would just be preoccupied during the lecture that was being given because they wanted to pay attention to the lecture and the kid perhaps gets antsy or would have gotten antsy without the device. And I still remember that at some point in the lecture, I saw the kid and the device was frozen, it had actually frozen. And yet, the kid was still fixated on the device.
Even though it wasn't even working and functioning, he was still just fixated on it. And engrossed in this device, which shows just how powerful the pull is, with these devices. So I think a person has to ask him or herself with with your children, what age do I want to expose them? And then for what purposes? Do I want to expose them to it? Is it because I want them to be able to, you know, do word processing and do research papers and write okay, I can do that in a deliberate way, then I want them to be able to research, okay, let me figure out how I can expose them to sort of productive researching online without, you know, exposing them to everything else that's out there.
If I want him to be socially connected, how can I do that, again, try to be very tried to have identifiable objectives, to professor's point in a place that's public, and try to hold off as much as possible the device addiction, because I think once that gets going, it's almost impossible to pull back. And so those would be just general pieces of advice about really thinking things through technologically. And in many respects, trying to hold off, because what happens, especially for young children, you know, technology has a way of just completely killing their imagination. And it's so tragic to see, you know, just just what happens to a kid who just becomes dependent on
technology for entertainment, and for passing time. So so because a specific question will be in and also, if you want to chime in, I went ahead. So my kids are not much older, that we're talking about 15 years ago is different, obviously. But now I've heard there are specific monitoring apps that you can install, Christians have done a good job of, you know, putting some type of software, you know, mobian, or Sharif, if you know, like specific practice, you recommend for parents, you know, to download a particular software that's best for this, for this type of stuff. You know, there are a number of them, like net nanny is the one that comes to my mind, but there are others as well. And
some of them are very sophisticated, you can have, you know, one accounts, like the parents would have an account and they could access, the history and the activity on all sorts of household devices that are connected to that account. So phones, computers, whatever, it'll block certain sites, and if certain sites are accessed, or you know, kind of make it through the filter, the parents can be notified. You can also set up times for your children, like they're allowed to have X number of hours, minutes or hours per day. And then it'll just close down. And once those minutes have been used up, or you can specify times, like from one to three, and then from six to eight or
whatever. And then after that it shuts down. So I think these things can be useful. And the other thing I was gonna say also with what we were saying, obviously, you know, you can, it's very difficult to control your children's access just because of the you know, dynamics and they feel deprived and so forth. But the thing is like, they have friends, right, so even if they don't have a device their friends do and so they can still get access, not as frequently as if it were at home, but they can still get access to their friends. And so I think that's also why it's important for Muslims as much as possible to be deliberate about building substantially large social networks for
least and for their kids, because if you have six or eight or 10, Muslim families that are all basically on the same page, when it comes to these kinds of things, they can all adopt similar policies, so that if your kid doesn't have a cell phone at the age of 13, neither do any of his or her, you know, immediate friends that they're playing with all the time at the masjid or, you know, other functions or whatever. And that would probably make it easier for the child to not feel as isolated, or that their parents are extra strict compared to everyone else, and make it more viable to kind of have those types of standards. And honestly, if I were running an Islamic school, which
I'm not, I would, I would, you know, try to like enforce if I could, some type of commitment by families, like, you know, if you want to enroll your kid at this school, you need to actually sign up to a particular set of principles, dealing with technology, because if your kid is online all day with no, with no limits whatsoever, they're going to come they're going to bring garbage into the Islamic school the next day, either with their phone or just what they've seen. And they're going to be talking about in spreading the filth. So I think maybe we should think more communally about this also, in try to think in blocks and in groups of families or institutions. You know, again, you come
to the Sunday school, you need to make a commitment as a family to a particular lifestyle, not just a vague commitment to like Islamic tarbiyah. But it has to be cashed out in specific terms. When it comes to things like technology, I think that's quite important. Jay, let's move on to I know, time is, you know, have I asked the readers or their listeners indulgence, but we need to discuss some very important issues before we wrap up. So allow me a little bit of extension.
I want to mention a case that happened to me actually, during COVID
mother called up the masjid very, very desperate, I need to see to share whatnot. You know, she came with masks and everything we had the social distancing, immigrant family father was not there. They had migrated visa, what not 13 year old boy comes out, as you know, basically gate and the school counselor had told the boy that he is gay. And that, you know, he should be proud of his identity. And that, you know, if his culture or religion or whatever, I don't think she said the word religion, whatever, that there's gonna be pushback, but he has to be himself as unique and whatnot. And honestly, it was a struggle for me and helped me I'm not trained in this right, she wants to
come into me, I told her to go to a therapist, what not, the problem is, even therapists are not allowed to say certain things, but I'm not trained in this regard. And it was difficult for me to convey to a 13 year old, who's come out, and is now certain that their orientation is different than, you know, their, their their fitrah and whatnot. So again, thoughts on this, I mean, what do you what do we any practical advice? I mean, obviously, in my case, anyway, I did what I could and you know, generic and Quran and you know, how Allah created us and whatnot. And I also, by the way, told the mother that he needs a mentor figure because she did not have any circumstances beyond
their control. But I said, put him into the youth program as well. And there's got to be a again, I mean, I'm not a psychotherapist. But if there's no father figure, fatherly figure, older mentor figure, I think maybe it might be easier to go down this route. Allah knows best. I'm not a psychotherapist in this regard. But from the both of you, what do you say when a child comes out or not just a child, the child's friend, child comes to you and says, My friend has told me that he or she or she, or whatever it is it or whatever? Thoughts on this?
Yeah, so that raises a very, very critical, I think, aspect of this whole entire conversation, which, you know, is this whole idea that in the contemporary paradigm in the West, right, sexuality, in general, and homosexuality in particular is not just a question of feelings. It's not just a question even of behavior or actions, but it has become a question of identity. And I think this is what makes this conversation so fraught. And I think if we don't understand this, we're going to completely sort of miss the ball on what's going on around us. So when someone comes out as gay, whether it's, you know, your child's friend at school, or even your child, him or herself, you know,
what does it mean to come out as gay? I mean, they're normally saying, Okay, I feel certain things, they're not just telling you, they feel certain things. They're telling you, this is who I am, like, this is fundamentally the core of my identity. And because it is presented that way, this basically makes for a direct collision with religion. Because we know in Islam, of course, certain actions are prohibited, right? It's prohibited to have sexual behavior or sexual relationships outside of a, you know, legally bound contract, you know, man and woman bound by, you know, the Islamically valid legal contract. And so that includes all types of same sex behavior relationships, and so we have a
moral discourse in Islam about particular actions. And when you go and say, Okay, well, you know, we're just saying these actions are wrong. That person feels okay, you're, you're, you're rejecting me as a person, you're rejecting my entire identity. Now compare this with something like Zina, which is obviously very closely related. It's also a sexual transgression.
So, in this day and age, if you say, Okay, we're against Zina as a Muslim community, people might think, okay, you're kind of old fashioned or odd or that's crazy, or What planet are you from, but they're not going to turn around and say, You're, you're evil, and you're discriminatory. And you're erasing someone and you're not, you know, conferring dignity upon them and so forth. Because they understand Zina to be in action, right, you either do it or you don't do it, but it's not something you are something you do. And people, it's hard for modern Western people, particularly to grasp this. But even in the West itself, until, you know, late 19th, early 20th century, there was no such
concept as a sexual identity, people did not identify themselves as gay or even straight, you know, you were just there were men or women, some men and some women had sexual relations with other people, their same gender, again, was something you did, it was not something anyone was even the people involved, right, did not see themselves as being this particular thing. And this continues to be the case in many non western societies, including in many Muslim countries, where people might, you know, for various reasons, engage in same sex behavior, of course, that's haram, but they they understand that something that they're doing, it's not something that they fundamentally are in when
it shifts the conversation radically. And so I think when someone comes out, especially a young person, you know, we have to in our minds, we have to be aware of the, of the contingent nature of this entire idea of a sexual identity, right, we tend to take it as something natural, something transhistorical, something just obvious, but that's only because it is such a dominant cultural scripts, particularly in the West. And because you know, of course, Western culture continues to be dominant, and even more more dominant through social media and so forth. The paradigm is being generalized and spread now throughout the world. And there's a lot of, you know, there's at least
some evidence that Muslims are being impacted by the Western sexual paradigm, even in Muslim countries, through the media and so forth. So I think the first thing we have to do is just in our minds, you know, what has happened is that there are desires, and then there are actions that flow from those desires. And then there's an identity that's built on the desires and the actions. And that is what someone's says, I'm coming out as gay, this is what I feel inside. And this is now who I am. So you either accept my feelings and actions that flow from them, or, and therefore accept me as a person, or you're rejecting me as a person. And we have to break that down. Because again, if
we accept that paradigm, then just throw the shooting out the window, I mean, you're just, it's going to make no moral sense whatsoever, because it's going to look like, you know, the shutdown is discriminating against, you know, a class of people. And that's exactly what you know, a lot of the modern discourse will, will, will say, right religions and so forth, or even having a negative moral opinion on same sex act is basically discriminatory, hateful, bigoted, and all of that in and of itself. Now, I do want to say, so I think we have to understand that this is this is a constructed paradigm, this notion of a sexual identity is a social construct, it's not something that's just
natural, it should not be taken for granted. And if it, if it was constructed, it can be deconstructed. And that's exactly what we should do as muslims, we should try to deconstruct the very paradigm itself. Having said that, and once you do that, you tell your child or whatever, okay, you're feeling these things, we can deal with that. And we can't get into all the details of that. But we can have a discussion about what you're feeling on the inside and why and how, if they haven't chosen those feelings, which in general, people don't, they're not sinful just for having those feelings. It's something they experience and they're often very confused about, how do I deal
with this, especially if they're concerned about reconciling themselves with their faith and with Allah subhanaw taala. So we can have a conversation about what you're feeling and why and how to deal with that. Right? And then we can have a conversation about actions which is a separate thing. But in either case, right? This is not your identity. This is not who you are, who are you? You are an Abdullah or an M. Atala, you are a, a servant or slave of Allah, male or female, you are a member of the Muslim ummah, you are part of our family, you're part of this wider community, right? Your identity is your your humanity, it's your religion, right? It's your gender, male or female, it's
all of these other things, but but basing your identity on your sexuality, this is a cultural script. Right? And so we have to, I think, be very aware of that as a community and not speak in terms of reinforce sexual identity paradigms because it's very poisonous and it's very toxic. As I said, it makes mincemeat of the shutting out discourse on morality. And number two, it traps the person him or herself, right because if I feel this is my identity, now you're setting me up for a maximum conflict with the religion because the religion doesn't accept these acts. And if I'm see myself as defined by them, okay, what places there for me in Islam, and many people end up leaving
Islam because they say there's no place in it for me, or they want to reform it so that there is a place for them. But what people never realize is okay, you can reform the religion which is not we're not allowed to do that, right.
But no one ever thinks that this very paradigm itself can actually be questioned if you want to reform something reformed the sexual identity paradigm
Do you want to question something questioned that paradigm, because it's really getting people into a bind. The last thing I'll say on this before I start, is that, you know, when we're dealing with someone, whether it's our own children, or people in our community, or our children's friends or something, you know, realize that people have grown up in the modern age, particularly in the West, they've never heard anything other than this paradigm. So it's big news to them when you even tell them, Okay, that paradigm itself is something constructed, and it's not necessary. And it's one thing to say it to someone, right? It's very hard. I know that I've given talks about this before
I've gone on and on for an hour about it. And then the end, after that a kid will raise his hand and say, oh, so what does Islam say about being gay? And I say, didn't you understand? Like, there's no such thing as being gay. Like, we have words for actions, we're not words for sexual identities, it's just not even an Islamic category to begin with. So it's hard for people to understand this, even conceptually, because they've just, you know, their entire lives, this is all they've heard. But beyond that, even if you do get it conceptually, if you've come to see yourself in that way, especially if you have same sex attractions or desires, right, it can be very difficult to sort of
just think yourself out of that paradigm, because it requires that you regard yourself in a completely new way. So we also have to be patient with people, right, we have to realize that people are grappling with a lot of issues, especially if they do have same sex attractions or gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder. And we have to meet people where they are, we have to give them the proper resources. We have amazing resources on our community. Now, many of them have been produced by homestead movies, Mashallah. There's also a phenomenal podcast, which I know you know, about also shared yesterday, with Brother Rashid Johnson, it's called the way beyond the rainbow 88
episodes, there's no other faith community who has anything similar, I mean, Christians have produced a lot of good work on on, you know, sexual orientation, and so forth, and same sex attractions. But no community has a podcast, I mean, people like to listen these days, it's in, you know, it's really a game changer. I think, for our community, it's a, it's an incredibly vast resource, you can go there to find all of the resource research, you know, about the origins of same sex attractions, all of the scientific and psychological, you know, evidence, what it says what it doesn't say, what speculative what's not, you know, and then all, like, many episodes for people,
Muslims who are dealing with these issues personally, and who want to live a life true to Allah and Islam. And then there are many episodes also for parents, for spouses, for friends, for family members, for Imams for counselors, for school, you know, principals and guidance counselors, and so on and so forth, in many of our scholars, and she'll have been invited on the podcast as guests. And they're also Muslims who deal with same sex attractions have invited on his guests, there's a sister who left the same sex marriage to come back to Allah subhanaw, taala. And many very moving stories, and it's really a just a goldmine resource. And so I just like to say that so that people, really,
we can only cover so much in a short, you know, episode. But really, you can go on maybe, you know, eight episodes, the average length is like an hour and a half. So you have like, 150 hours of listening material, there are transcripts available that you can also just click on and print out. And so really, in the many topics covered are actually of general benefit for Muslims, even who don't have same sex attraction or gender identity issues, because there are topics, episodes about pornography, porn, addiction, masturbation, and all of these things, which unfortunately, very common, you know, problems addictive, you know, PLM PMO, they call it right, and other types of
things. And so it really is a valuable resource that I think, you know, if you have any questions whatsoever about this issue, including pronouns at work, and how to deal with environment, you know, pressure in the workplace, and even politically and so forth. It's really a one stop shop. So all 100 And may I just out over here, that parents and community leaders, you know, don't feel embarrassed to ask and to find out more, these are very difficult issues to navigate and laws keep on changing. I, somebody told me yesterday, I'm trying to verify this. So I'm not going to state or whatnot, that in one particular state, a Muslim parent was basically trial was taken away from the
from a young teenager, because they were trying to, you know, not allow him to express his quote, unquote, identity, right. So the state got involved. I'm trying to find out if this was true or not, because this is terrifying if this actually happened here in America, but somebody told me that they know this family that the child quote, unquote, came out. And because the family did not approve other agencies were able to involved and take the child away. My point is that the laws keep on changing. Find out what's going on in your area and district and get help from people that are aware get help from psychiatrists, from therapists from people that are able to help you in this regard,
ask around Don't be embarrassed and shy. We're all in this together. And you know, our children collectively are our response.
stability. You know, Charles, if we can start wrapping up, we'll be in history. If you want to give some concluding comments, are we? Is that good for now? Yeah, I was just gonna add a few few short things really quick to the question that you raised. I think really quickly, one thing that I would bring up is just what you and I think Dr. Schiff brought up is the importance of positive social surroundings, right. And so in many situations that I have encountered, where children have come out of the closet, right to their families, or have told them that they believe themselves to be gender atypical, it has often sort of the genesis, the seed of that has typically been friends,
account counselor, a teacher, it's been, it's been elders in school who have encouraged this. And what quickly happens very quickly happens is you get a very polarized setting of conflict, where you have the parents on the one hand, who are trying to discourage this, against this kid, and all of the kids friends, and extended social network, and sometimes even extended relatives and others who are encouraging this. And that can be really difficult to navigate for parents, because you do feel like you're alone. In the mind of the child, you are the bad guy, you're unreasonable, you're backwards, you're hateful, and they have this huge support structure behind them. And technology
obviously contributes to that a lot, because a major part of their support was support structure. Sometimes it's online, it's Tumblr, its online communities, it's forums, being intentional and deliberate about what they're being exposed to. And obviously, putting them in spaces where they're less likely to run into this is so important, I can tell you that there are families that I've met, where gender identity issues have come up sometimes for seemingly innocent gender atypical interests, right, you have a boy that's, you know, less interested in sports has other interests. And suddenly, you know, that that sort of idea has been floated by him, teachers encourage it, other
students encourage it. And suddenly, the family is in a situation where they go through a year or more of being in a total state of misery means just miserable in the household. This is the single issue that is the only topic that is being spoken about at the dinner table. It's a constant point of stress, all of the siblings are depressed and going through a collective trauma. It's just a really difficult thing. And it can snowball so fast, so fast. And so I cannot overstate the importance of something like what she had asked him said, Think as seriously as possible as you can about Islamic schools, homeschooling, alternative schooling, and putting them in strong social
circles with other Muslim families that share your values. And then which as you said, I didn't find that unreasonable at all. In fact, it accords with a lot of what the reparative therapy network people like Joseph Nicolosi and others have suggested that sometimes these issues can be helped by providing positive context where people can find a comfort with their own gender. Right. And so, young boy, having him in a brother's youth group, with good male role models in those spaces can actually be very fulfilling and rewarding. And it can be a place where they can find wholeness and likewise for sisters and young girls, right. So I think these types of things are important. But
yeah, I just wanted to sort of return to that and just stress that given some of the experiences that I've come across your shoulder doctor, should you have any concluding comments in Charlotte anything else in your mind?
No, I think that about wraps it up, I'm gonna do that hamdulillah inshallah movie, No, child, any, any other.
So from my side, I think this was a fruitful conversation. I hope that inshallah was of benefit to all of us. And I think what the main takeaway really is that, you know, we are all in this together, we are all trying to figure out the best way nothing is foolproof, I mean, subhanAllah I give this I give this example in my head but so many times the Prophet no Holly has Salam can anybody accuse him of being a bad father a bad role model still his son ends up the way that his son as according to the Quranic story, you know, there's nothing there is no foolproof mechanism but we try we try we try we make dua have lots of love, you know, do whatever we can, and the rest we leave to Allah
subhana wa Tada. I really believe this is the biggest battle of our era when it comes to our children. This issue of morality, of sexuality of fascia, and overall the concept of liberalism overall than NFC NFC. I think this is the biggest battle that we're facing as parents and SubhanAllah. If Allah azza wa jal has tested us in our generation, this means he's also given us the tools to overcome it. Now you can be full of innocent Illawarra. But the point is, and with this, I conclude, parents, we have to be actively engaged in the lives of our children. While Allah He you do not have the luxury to just sit back and do nothing. You have to be engaged
even before you have children, even if you're not married, be engaged from before you're married about how we're going to be thinking about this, choose your partner based upon the fact your partner is going to be your potential, you know, the father of your sister, the father of your children, if your brother, the mother of your children, you have to think of this even before you get married. And when you're married, and you don't have kids talk from beforehand, once the children are born, even before they're 510 20 years old, start thinking about how we're going to make sure they they're raised in a good Islamic environment. And as usual, we always begin with
ourselves right? Before you preach to your child, make sure your craft and your mannerisms are in accordance with the Sharia. And when it comes to this topic, make sure your household is a household embodied upon the values of the Quran and upon the Sunnah of the Prophet sallallahu it he was setting them so with this, you know, Inshallah, we're going to come to the conclusion and may I ask our two guests, would you be willing to commit the time we'll discuss, but commit to another conversation about maybe the LGBTQ issues in the workplace and corporate life? Would you be willing to come back and have a discussion about the adults we talked about the kids about that for a future
talk? Sure, yeah.
Insha Allah Al Hamdulillah with that, you know, Zack McLaughlin, I really appreciate the fact that both of you are very busy, very productive individuals. I really, I feel honored that you've agreed to come and talk together and I hope each other was of benefit. I hope all of you also inshallah benefited make dua for all of us will make dua for you and your children are Banat, in dunya herself, after it has been now we ask Allah azza wa jal to protect all of us and our children and make them of those who established asada and who paid this gap and who first the month of Ramadan and who carry the legacy of the Kadima for many, many, many generations to come to Xochimilco head
until next time, subhanAllah homebirth Handicar shadowline and the sisters of verruca what will be like once again, just Aquila, to our guests for Santa Monica Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh.
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