Intimacy is such a broad topic, such that it is described as 3 very different things: 1) close familiarity or friendship, 2) a cosy and private relaxed atmosphere or 3) sexual intercourse.

The definitions themselves set the scene. You have the relationship, you have the scenario and you have the consequence. However it’s not as simple as that, and for Muslims nowadays, talking about intimacy is definitely not as simple as whipping out dictionary definitions.

So, why are we talking about intimacy?

Are you slightly cringing at the thought of talking about this to people? Are you squeamish at the thought of ever talking about intimacy to your parents, or your siblings? Is this something that ever comes in conversation with friends without blushing?

Yes, that’s why.

We’ve decided to talk about intimacy because although there are those among us who do take the middle path, more often than not, we are either channelled into thinking that the opposite sex is “haram” or there are those who totally disregard the concept of hijab in behaviour and conduct – we’ll exploring why this is throughout the month.

So, is intimacy only those 3 definitions and how does this affect your mental health?

Without having this free dialogue with our elders or having open spaces to discuss these issues within our communities, we are leaving the younger generation to learn from sources that are not Islamically appropriate. For example, in schools where sex education is taught, they are most likely not given what Islam says about puberty or relationships. Of course, having this conversation with your parents is beyond imagination so you rely on movies, books, observing peer relationships and worse, pornography. This can become confusing, sometimes overwhelming; it can affect self – esteem due to comparison to “sexual health icons” or other relationships, it can have a similar effect on confidence and ability to communicate with the opposite sex. Viewing pornography repeatedly could easily lead to an addiction including masturbation which is forbidden in Islam, and this can add to the confusion, guilt, shame and anxiety you may be feeling. Research has also been conducted where moderate levels of depression have been found in those who view porn 3-5 times a week. It has been suggested that the lack of a partner in single people is what fuels the need to watch porn, thus acting as company (Skinner, 2011).

We’re sure that there is someone who is reading this that can relate to the above, and that’s okay. We’re not here to judge, nor label or diagnose but what we are here to do is to say that feelings of intimacy are a natural desire that we have been blessed with from Allah. They have important functions for the livelihood of this ummah, but there are boundaries in this balanced religion. Allah would not prohibit something without giving us good reason, or ways to control ourselves, and to help with this – is by talking about it. We are the ummah of Muhammed (pbuh) whose companions would have no shame in talking about wet dreams, or ask about periods, but it’s sad to say that we could not emulate such conduct. Our communities continue to ignore that much of the crises that Muslims, especially the youth are experiencing is rooted in sexual health and inadequate education of it. This is simply another part of our deen which is our responsibility to be versed on, and of course, in order to equip those around us with the right knowledge and tools to tackle these issues themselves and younger generations.

To kick start the conversation, we want to know what you think is important to discuss when talking about sexual health / Intimacy?

Meanha Begum

Meanha Begum

Meanha Begum is currently studying a degree in Islamic Psychology where she has been given the blessing to explore her passions, Islam and Psychology. She relishes in the insight of an Islamic perspective to incorporate into psychology, to help those who have never been given a chance that every devout muslim, and non muslim deserves. Which is why she considers Inspirited Minds to be a huge blessing in her life. She has been brought up in a heavy western environment, where Islam was once far from her reach, but through trials and tribulations, she has managed to come out stronger and closer to Allah than ever before. It's simply her experiences, ideas, and open nature that pushes her towards wanting to help others out of their vulnerable places, through their journey, and into happiness, with tranquil souls.

12 Comments

  • Idris kirtsides says:

    I think it’s very important to talk about sex with your partner or wife , to understand each others fantasies etc

    • Meanha says:

      A’slaamualaykum Idris, JazakAllah Khair for the comment. You’re right, this is important, however marital intimacy is slightly different to what is being discussed at the moment and it is in a much more acceptable environment. Please continue reading!

  • Kashif Amin says:

    I think the most important things to remember when discussing this topic from an Islamic perspective, is to use sensitivity and wisdom, underpinned with Taqwa.

    Firstly, ensuring the discussion is mindful of the limits prescribed by Allah ‘Azza wa Jal. So much of the material available on this topic online requires a good deal of scrutiny in terms of it’s compatibility with the Sharia and adherence to the Sunnah. The majority of it, if not outright haram, is nonetheless devoid of any spiritual or emotional benefit for either the husband or wife.

    With regards to sensitivity, it’s about knowing and appreciating the disposition of the audience who is being addressed. Talking to a group of brothers would be a very different kind of discussion, when compared to talking to a teenage girl (e.g. your own daughter). The person with whom you’re discussing may or may not be fully prepared (either physically, emotionally or in terms or maturity) for the content of the discussion, especially with regards to sexual intimacy.

    As for the wisdom, that would be in understanding exactly what it is you’re trying to convey and how the listener will benefit from it. Knowing what needs to be said and how to say it is key. I have heard an excellent lecture with regards to this topic (in the Urdu language), which was very frank and to the point. I found it hugely informative, direct and most importantly, grounded in authentic knowledge from the Qur’an and Sunnah. The speaker began by stating the fact, that the Deen of Allah ‘Azza wa Jal has not neglected any aspect of the human experience – and sexual intimacy is no exception.

  • Hafsa Ali says:

    I think its important to educate teenagers about sex. however, they would still go n have unprotected sex which is unlawful in islam.

    Even if they dont learn about sex education at school, they will know from friends…

    • Idris kirtsides says:

      Very true, kids will learn through their peers.

    • Kashif Amin says:

      Agreed. It’s also important to make them feel like they CAN talk about it with parents, and they will not be ostracised for doing so. First and foremost of course, parents need to educate themselves about sexual intimacy in the context of Islam, so that they provide teenagers with the right perspective and remove any misconceptions/distortions they may have picked up from their peers.

    • Meanha says:

      JazakAllah Khair for your comment Hafsa. Absolutely, the youth is perhaps the most important right now, but if started younger, that age range would not need to be targeted exclusively. Peers are important for that age group, which is why when they are confident in their own knowledge and beliefs they can either educate them or not be willing to compromise their faith. Thanks for your valid input!

  • a muslim alhamdullah says:

    salam alaikom,
    as to the previous comments….which are all so true and important…may I add that may be an underlying problem to the matter is also the way we segregate our youths, despite in the day of the beloved alaih salam, there was no barrier between men and women in the mosque,…..nowadays we are made to think and feel it is a shame to talk to opposite gender, especially our youth, there fore proper guide lines needed to see how we can deal with such issues needed as well as the educational tarbayah aspect too
    jzaki Allah kul khair sister meanha for such an important topic

    • Meanha says:

      Wa’alaikumaslaam! Jazakamullahu Khairan for your great comment, and you’re absolutely right! May Allah allow us to emulate the Prophet pbuh and his companions, Ameen!

      • a muslim alhamdullah says:

        Allahoma ameen. Always a pleasure to read your articles sister Meanha and the rest of Inspirited MInded team…in sha Allah you all had a Mubarak Christmas :) sorry bad joke…either way all the best to you all in the coming days weeks and months and for the ummah too..barak Allah feekom

  • Sulli Gee says:

    Aoa. When I became Psycho Therapist years ago, this subject was one of the most interesting part of my studies. Mostly because I know, that sex is a big part of us, and our creator created us with a urge in our sexuality towards getting a satisfaction…. unfortunately our societies do not have this subject as a priority…. in my surveys back then, i could see the pattern of partners not be informed about how to get a better understanding for eachother under the sexual act. Mostly because sexuality is equal to something shamefull and “unclean”. This is very normal in families who immigrated from ex. Pakistan. In Denmark most of the immigrants came in the 1960-80, and most of them are from villages. their children followed their parents wishes and got married with their spouses from Pakistan as well, and most of them from villages. In some of these relations, we could see, that primeraly the male partner did not focused on the whole intercourse, but mostly on his own satisfaction, as the female doesnt had the knowledge that she could be satisfied as well. This is not something unusual even among the westerns, but some women can get a depression if they dont get the orgasm ( the depression used to be called the female hysteria), just like with men. This knowledge of stimuli and sexual satisfaction is a subject we do have knowledge about in Islam, unfortunately we dont talk about it… I hope our next generations couples gets awareness about it and can get a more fulfilled partnership in the future…. BTW i am sorry for my english, hope it is understandable

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