Why and when did politely and respectfully interacting with the opposite sex become something sexualized in our community?
Instead of teaching young people from childhood how to interact in respectful, professional, brotherly/sisterly ways, we make them insecure and rebuke them when they make mistakes.
Our community gets upset when we see things we think are unacceptable for the mosque. But some of those same young folks are sexually active outside of marriage and running porn and other addictions because they were never trained on how to responsibly deal with their natural desires or with inter-gender relationships.
Instead of developing their spiritual muscles, we cut their arms off and expect them to swim across an ocean and make it across not just alive, but victorious!
It’s little wonder why many young men and women have issues when they get married and have no idea how to honour one another in conversation, in intimacy, in emotional support and in their development as a couple. We have no concept of healthy modelling in our community.
Shouldn’t we hold ourselves accountable, as a community, for this AND for the fact that we’re experiencing a serious marriage crisis? At what point does supporting complete segregation seem to have more benefit than harm?
The Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) society didn’t live polarized lives. There was no physical wall separating the men and women in the Prophet’s mosque, just as there were no ideological walls stopping them from working together with purpose, with respect, for the good. They embodied this verse:
“The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give zakah and obey God and His Messenger. Those – God will have mercy upon them. Indeed, God is Exalted in Might and Wise.” (Qur’an 9:71)
God ties His mercy to us- men and women- working together for good!
Perhaps instead of isolation, shame and restraint, we need to be teaching how to embody professional, responsible, respectful, honourable interaction.