Islam covers all aspects of life, including sexual knowledge. It lays the regulations that govern this aspect of life in a clear and comprehensive way. It draws the general framework for sexuality in human life and states what is lawful and what is prohibited in this concern.
So there is nothing wrong with the idea of furnishing students with knowledge of the sexual aspect of life. However, it is permissible on the condition that the kind of information imparted must be adapted for the age and educational stage of the students. It should be away from anything erotic and should not tend to arouse sexual desires. It must be presented in an educational and objective manner, and include an explanation of the moral side of the matter and relevant Islamic Fiqh. This is better than getting such knowledge from mass media that presents sex in a vulgar way that lacks legal and moral observation.
The natural phenomena of sex and reproduction in human life should be tackled from the educational side, disregarding anything that is likely to arouse sexual desires, especially that the world witnesses great moral degeneration that affect the youth in particular.
In this concern, moreover, Sheikh Muhammad Husain Fadl Allah, the well-known Shi`ite jurist from Lebanon, states:
“Sex is a natural biological phenomenon in human life, and Islam is explicit about many aspects of human sexuality. It is affected by both the spiritual and cultural interests of man. The Glorious Qur’an talks about many sexual aspects of human life in a special and elevated style. Also books of Islamic Fiqh expose several topics promoting sexual awareness, including discussion of menstruation, rules of sexual intercourse, janabah (major ritual impurity), and rules related to the punishment for committing adultery or fornication, and sexual deviation. All these rulings are dealt with in the books of Islamic Fiqh in a moral and scientific manner.
Hence, it is obvious that education about matters related to sex is acceptable. Muslim jurists were keen on disseminating such useful knowledge as a form of religious knowledge for people to be aware of all aspects of their life. That is, the matter in theory is good.
We know that the Muslim nation has undergone different cultural developments through the ages via contact with peoples of different religious interests. This caused Muslims to think of the sexual aspect of human life as something wrong. Then the matter developed to the degree that sexuality has become considered not only wrong but also disgraceful and socially rejected. People are not allowed to deal with sexual topics and this wrapped the sexual aspect of human life in vagueness.
Step by step, the Eastern society has grown so conservative concerning human sexuality, that handling it is now considered a vulgar violation of traditions. It is even thought that tackling sexual issues is like a call for moral degeneration and social deterioration. This makes the idea of developing sex education curricula so difficult to apply in our Eastern society, especially in the primary and secondary stages. Moreover, some religious scholars see that sex education entices adolescents to try sexual experiences practically; it may arouse their curiosity to explore sexual relations among themselves. This may be true in non-Muslim societies where sexual deviation of adolescents has reached extremity. In such countries young boys and girls openly engage in sexual relationships and girls become pregnant without marriage.
This stresses that proper sex education is essential, because sex has spread among people through satellite TV, video tapes, and vulgar books and magazines. Such ways impart vulgar knowledge that disregards the moral and religious aspects of the matter. Therefore, they excite the feelings of the adolescents and overwhelm them with confusion and worry. This drives them to explore in a non-scientifi
c way, having no prior knowledge on the whole matter. So, the young may unconsciously be misled through vulgar movies and other mass media to know about the sexual side of human life in a wrong way, more than adults may know.
Therefore, sex education can be taught in a way that informs young people about sexuality in scientific and moral terms. More than this, the age and educational stage of students must be taken into consideration. Also, educational specialists in this field must pay attention to the prevailing social traditions. Then the scientific sexual knowledge grows wider with the growth of the students and their advance through educational stages.
This needs great efforts and educational experiences for those who would be charged to teach sex at schools. The course of sex education may start by explaining anatomy of human body, referring to all organs of human body, in males and females alike. Students should know the function of each one of those organs; that is to enable young people to grow up with a healthy self-image. Islamic Fiqh discusses the changes one’s body experiences during puberty to give people accurate understanding of the beginning of liability to legal obligations.
Then rules of sexual intercourse and reproduction must be postponed to a more advanced stage of education. It may start by teaching biology and the topics related to reproduction in plant and animal lives, and gradually tackling human life. This must happen within a moral atmosphere and the teacher must explain what is legally acceptable and what is rejected in this concern.
The students may be allowed to see some didactic movies that display scientific aspects of reproduction in plants and animals. However, great care should be given to the material presented to the students not to arouse their desires, especially in the Eastern societies that surround sexual life with great walls that attract young people to climb them and see what is hidden. Excessive conservatism in this case may have a negative reaction.
In conclusion, we see that Islam does not prevent people from seeking knowledge in different aspects of life, including the sexual one, but in a moral and religious way that does not lead to temptation or indulgence in the haram (unlawful).”