How To Speak To Your Child About Families & Marriage Before the School Does!
A Note: as Muslims we respect people’s human rights and the right to live peacefully without fear of attack or discrimination. However, we do not affirm beliefs, values or behaviours that go against our religion and that have been forbidden to us by our Creator. We have the right to practice our religion, which entails holding our religious views. Under the 2010 Equality Act, religion is a protected characteristic and we should not be discriminated against on such grounds, including having our religious beliefs criticized or silenced.
Allah (swt) tells us in the Qur’an how the first two human beings He Created were the Prophet Adam (as) and his wife, Hawa (as). The first two humans to inhabit the Earth were one man and one woman, they had children and from them, the rest of humanity ensued.
In the Qur’an Allah (swt) also informs us that: And of everything We have created pairs, that you may remember” (51:47).
By reflecting on His Signs, we can see how many things have been created with a complementary pair from the sun and the moon, the night and the day, to the positive and negative poles of a magnet! Although Allah is Al Ahad, the One, we also see the complementarity of pairings in His Beautiful Names: He is Al Qaabid and Al Baasit, He Is the One Who Contracts and the One Who Expands. He is also Ar Raafi, the Elevator and Al Mudhill, the Abaser.
Allah Created everything in perfect balance and this is likewise reflected in His Creation of humanity. Like all of Allah’s Signs, men and women were created in harmony with each other, “And We created you in pairs” [78:8], with many similarities but also distinct differences.
The concept of a male and female and their coming together in marriage to have a family is simple, logical, beautiful and sacred. However, we are living in times where this divine concept and bedrock of society is under attack. What we know to be true is being deliberately manipulated and altered by a secular ideology that is diametrically opposed to a religious worldview. Even more concerning is that these views that go against our faith are now being taught in schools to children from the age of four, if not younger.
We need to speak to our children first and instil in them our faith viewpoints and teachings, otherwise they will become confused, affected, even corrupted by these anti-religious narratives.
This article aims to address a specific topic, how to talk to your child about marriage before they are exposed to the secular narratives regarding marriage and same-sex relationships at school. It aims to provide a starting point for you to speak with your young child (early primary years) about our Islamic position on this topic. Even if your child does not attend school, they will absorb similar messages which are prevalent everywhere in society so you can adapt the below to suit your situation.
Suggestions of things you can say are provided, but it is preferable to put them into your own words in a way that feels natural for you and appropriate for you and your child. Ask your child questions along the way to help them think and make sure they understand. Do your best to also answer your child’s questions as they arise, so that it becomes more of an interactive discussion rather than a lecture!
Main Points to Cover
〉Allah Created Us and Knows What is Best for Us
〉Allah Created Us in Pairs
〉The Islamic Position on Marriage
〉Some People Have Different Beliefs About Marriage
〉We Treat All People With Kindness
〉We Don’t Accept Beliefs/Behaviours That Are Against Our Religion
〉We Follow Allah’s Guidance & Obey Him
Allah Created Us & Provided Guidance
Discuss how Allah (swt) is Merciful and Compassionate and created everything with a purpose and in balance. He Knows what makes us happy and what is the best for us in this life and in the Next Life.
Out of His Love for us He provided us with guidance through the Qur’an and teachings from the Prophetic Family, so that we can do the right thing and become the best people and best society that we can be, to please Him and to be rewarded with Paradise InShaAllah.
Allah (swt) Created Us in Pairs
Discuss with your child how Allah Created things in pairs such as the sun and moon, night and day, heat and cold. Get your child to also think of some opposites or pairs. You can also draw on the story of the Prophet Nuh (as) and how Allah (swt) instructed him to take a male and female of each animal into the Ark so that they reproduce and not become extinct.
Explain how Allah (swt) Created Adam (as) and Hawa (as) and united them in marriage so they could provide comfort and companionship to each other and have children.
Reinforce the fact that Allah (swt) Created men and women/mummies and daddies to complement each other. Explain that we have similarities to each other but also differences. Maybe ask your child to name some of the differences they have noticed!
Marriage in Islam is Between a Man and a Woman
Explain to your child that marriage is a good thing and is the way of the Prophet (saws). It is something that we should all aim for when we are old enough.
Allah Tells us that marriage is only allowed between a man and woman. When a man and woman get married it pleases Allah. Once they are married, if Allah Wills, they will be blessed with children.
Every child has a mummy and a daddy, although in some cases not all children may live with or even know either one or both parents.
Families Can Look Different
Explain that at school, children may (will) be taught that families all look different and that some families have two mummies or two daddies. Explain that it is correct that families are all different but it is important to remember and make sure to do what Allah (swt) Tells us to do.
In Islam we are told that a family needs a mummy and a daddy and that only a man and woman can get married. As Muslims, it is not allowed for a mummy and a mummy to get married or for a daddy and daddy to get married.
Remember Allah Created Us so He Knows what is best for us and what is best for children.
We Follow What Allah (swt) Says
Not everyone wants to do what Allah (swt) says or even knows what Allah (swt) has told them to do, so they do what they want instead. But as Muslims we know this will displease Allah.
If you want you can mention the story of Prophet Lut (as) but with younger children focus on how the people did not listen to Allah (swt), they did what they wanted and the consequences of this. It is up to you to judge whether you consider it age appropriate for your child or want to refer to the behaviour of the people (men choosing men instead of women etc) or not.
Explain that whilst we should be kind to all people regardless, and that we can see families are all different, for us as a Muslim family following our Islamic teachings, we do not agree that it is right or ok for two mummies or two daddies to get married.
We follow the Islamic path of our Creator which is that families have a mummy and daddy and a man can only marry a woman, and a woman can only marry a man.
If Others Tell You Something Different
Your teacher and other children may try to tell you otherwise, they may show you story books about animals or children having two mummies or two daddies and say it is a good thing. There are different reasons why they believe this – some people do not know what Allah wants them to do; many people prefer to do what they want to do, some people hold different beliefs and some people may be confused.
Either way for us as a Muslim family we do not agree and it is not ok for us to have two mummies or two daddies because Allah (swt) Says so and only He Knows what is best for us.
What You Can Do If This Happens
You can explain to your child that if their teacher or other children talk to them about this at school or get them to read stories like this (explain there may also be special assemblies, guest speakers, rainbow activities etc), then make sure they tell you or their dad/mum etc when they get home.
It will be important to reassure your child that they can come to you with anything, for example you could say:
If you ever feel confused or upset by anything you are told at school then just tell us when you get home. We love you and you can tell us anything and we will listen and help you.
Just remember if you ever feel confused about this or anything, Allah has given us clear guidance so we just need to find out what He Has told us to.
” This is My path that is straightforward. So, follow it, and do not follow the (other) ways, lest they should make you deviate from His way. This is what He has enjoined upon you, so that you may be God-fearing.” (Qur’an 6:153)
A Quranic Response
Due to the political climate in which we are living, and until a person fully understands the complexities and different aspects of this topic, and importantly has been prepared in how to face the often vicious consequences of speaking against the ‘Affirming Same-Sex Narrative’, it may be advisable to tell your children not to engage in this debate at school.
You can explain that if they do speak about their faith views on this matter it is possible that they may be told off, told they are being unkind etc. Explain to your child that they have done nothing wrong and were brave but we live in a time where people do not always want to hear the truth. And that when we speak about our beliefs we can sometimes be bullied as a result so we have to decide whether it is wise or not to speak out.
When speaking to children, especially young children (although this equally applies to older children too) you can advise them that if they are asked to comment on the matter of two mummies/two daddies etc, then to simply take and adapt their response from Surah Kafirun “For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.” (109:6).
You can discuss and practice what your child could say, for example, “I have my family and my beliefs and other people have their families and their beliefs. I practice what I believe and you practice what you believe and I do not wish to speak about it any further”.
A Final Note … Do Your Duty to Allah (swt) and to Your Child
It is essential that as Muslims and parents, we do not shy away from teaching our children the clear Islamic position on marriage and what is forbidden to us regarding relationships. We have the right to state our religious beliefs and should not feel bullied or intimidated into accepting what is clearly forbidden by God.
Islam encourages us towards righteous behaviour and excellent morals as personified in our beloved Prophet (saws) who had the best of characters. Disagreeing with someone else’s belief or practice when it is against our faith, and doing so politely and calmly, does not mean that we are intolerant or homophobic.
It is important to speak our truth but with adab and wisdom and to teach our children to do the same InShaAllah.