In Islam, there is no such thing as a girlfriend-boyfriend relationship. You are either married or you are not. This is what we have to ingrain into our children at the early stage. We should not wait for them to come to us when they are teenagers to ask about girlfriend-boyfriend relationship. At this late stage, even if we forbid them to have such a relationship, how certain are we that they will obey us if they are smitten by someone? Hence, it is important that we teach our children that the only time a girl or boy can have a relationship with a non-mehram is when they are married! Furthermore, if a girl or boy enters into a girlfriend-boyfriend relationship then he/she is entering into a pre-marital relationship.
At the teenage level, we should not be shy to teach them the severity of pre-marital relationship. We need to make them understand that that pre-marital relationships are like the extra-marital relationships, or what is commonly known as adultery or ‘an affair’.
It ruins the community by corrupting the people. It unleashes desires that, once allowed free-reign, will destroy families. We can quote to them the examples of illegitimate and abandoned children, broken homes, abortions, sexual diseases – the list goes on.
We should also point out to them the punishment for sexual relationships outside of marriage: Ibn Masoud (r.a.a) related that Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) said, “The blood of a Muslim may not be legally split other than in one of three instances: the married person who commits adultery, a life for a life, and one who forsakes his religion and abandons the community.” [Bukhari and Muslim].
In other words, the married person who commits adultery is to be killed by stoning to death [Muslim].
But what about the unmarried person who has sexual relationships? Rest assured that this person will not go unpunished – he or she is to be caned or whipped one hundred times [Muslim].
Even in the Hereafter, the punishment is severe: the Prophet (s.a.w) saw adulterers, men and women, in a baking oven in Hellfire [Bukhari].
At this stage your teenage child may say that girlfriend-boyfriend relationships need not go as far as the sexual act; that they can control themselves and simply enjoy each others company. To counter this, you say that it is a fact when a girl and a boy are alone together, their sexual desires awaken and before they know it, they will be doing things that are not permissible .
The reason for this is because Shaytaan will be the third person with them [Ahmad] and he will whisper and tempt them with the forbidden. This is why Islam shuns all avenues leading to corruption of the mind, body and soul.
Below are more points on how to help your child, at an early age, to be chaste so that when he/she is older, he/she can avoid getting into a girlfriend-boyfriend relationship. First, you must talk and explain to them these things when they are young, then when they are older, you make sure that it is put into practice.
You must teach him or her to:
1. Not to freely mix with the opposite sex.
2. Not to look at the opposite sex. This is done by lowering or averting their eyes as Allah tells us: “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and to protect their private parts. That is purer for them. Verily Allah is All-Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and protect their private parts…” [24:30-31]
Furthermore, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) said, “…do not let a second look follow the first. The first look is allowed to you but not the second.” [Ahmad, Abu Dawood, at-Tirmidhi]. What this means is that the first look is by accident. If this happens then do not take a second look. Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) also said that the eyes also commit adultery by looking at someone with lust. [Bukhari]
3. For girls, teach them not to make their voices seductive or sweet in front of non-mehram. This is done by lowering the voice and not flirting. As Allah tells the wives of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) “…do not be too pleasant of speech, lest one in whose heart there is a disease should feel desire for you…” [33:32]
4. Last but not least, teach them to wear appropriate clothing so as not to draw attention to themselves. That is, girls should wear Hijabs and loose clothing while boys should also wear loose clothing, not the tight jeans/pants. It is sad that, often, parents allow their children to wear the so called fashion clothing which, in most cases, do not meet the requirement of acceptable Islamic dress code. What is even sadder is to see Muslim mothers covering themselves properly walking with their uncovered teenage daughters and sons.
It is important that we start teaching our children the need to feel modesty, especially around the opposite sex.
If we instill this into them at an early age then, InshaAllah, whenever they are near the vicinity of the opposite sex, they will feel shy and, therefore, will not act inappropriately.
It is also important that we keep the communication channels open with our children so that we can talk and explain to them things, and they can ask us questions, without any party feeling embarrassed. Then, when they are older, and with help from us, they will begin to understand why it is that there cannot be a thing called ‘the girlfriend-boyfriend relationship’