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Our Daughters And Adolescence

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Our Daughters and Adolescence | Sheikh Salman al-Oadah|

 

 

Our Daughters and Adolescence

Sheikh Salman al-Oadah

 

A man walks into the living room and finds his daughter sitting there lost in thought, staring off into space. She might not even be aware that he has entered the room. He laments that she no longer confides in him her secrets like she used to.

 

What has happened?

 

She has entered into a stage in her life known as adolescence, with all the physical and psychological changes that it brings with it, as it takes her forward into adulthood.

 

Puberty might be one of the most important events in a person's life. It heralds the entry into a whole new era; where a boy faces the prospects of becoming a man and a girl faces the prospects of becoming a woman and – as her body becomes capable of bearing children – those of motherhood as well.

 

Puberty is a revolution in the body led by the endocrine gland that witnesses a sudden increase of activity at this time. Girls usually start puberty between the ages of eleven and fifteen years. In some tropical climates, it can start even earlier.

 

During this time, visible changes take place in a girl's body. She grows taller and she takes on the traits of womanhood in her voice, her body, her hair. She begins to menstruate. In fact, menstruation is equally regarded by both legal and medical scholars as the most important sign of maturity.

 

It s an auspicious occasion for a young girl, and she should celebrate it as such. She has entered into the age of discretion, of adulthood, of responsibility. Allah says: “We caused it to grow into another creation, so blessed be Allah, the best of the creators.†[ Sûrah al-Mu'minûn : 14]

 

It should be viewed as a beautiful time of life, full of positives, of promise, and joy, a time or rebirth, of renewal, where a girl can see within herself the signs of Allah's creative power in action, just like when He creates the caterpillar and then recreates it as a lovely butterfly, darting among the flowers, a joy to behold.

 

Mothers and educators alike often exhibit a reluctance to speak about this topic with their young girls. Some schoolteachers are so shy to teach the class about menstruation, that they allow their students to be absent on that day, letting their students know just how uncomfortable they feel about the subject.

 

When `Â'ishah had her menstrual period during the pilgrimage to Mecca while she was involved in the pilgrimage rites, she cried. She told the Prophet (peace be upon him) that she had her period. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to her: “This is a matter that Allah has decreed for the daughters of Adam.â€

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So there is nothing about this subject that warrants any shame or discomfort. Indeed, `Â'isha praised the women of Madinah, saying: “How good are the women of the Ansâr, for they do not allow embarrassment to prevent them from acquiring knowledge of their religion.â€

 

It is Allah's wisdom in how He created us. He says:

 

“O mankind! What has beguiled you from your Lord, the Gracious one, Who created you, then fashioned you, then proportioned you? Into whatever form He pleased He put you together.†[ Sûrah al-Infitâr : 6-8]

 

“And indeed We have created the human being in the best of forms.†[ Sûrah al-Tîn : 4]

 

Allah has created everything in the best way. Puberty and menstruation are part of what Allah has created and has decreed for His servants.

 

Serious problems can arise on account of dealing with menstruation as if it were something shameful and failing to discuss with our young women. It leads many women to have misconceptions about Islamic Law, many of which are absolutely baseless:

 

* Some women believe that they are not allowed to use perfume, change their clothes, wash their hair, or dress up while they are on their menstrual cycle.

* Some women believe that it is unlawful for a menstruating woman to contract a marriage.

 

Feelings of shame about menstruation can lead to violations of Islamic Law:

 

* There are women who continue to offer their formal prayers while menstruating out of either ignorance or embarrassment, though it is a matter of consensus in Islamic Law that a menstruating woman neither offers formal prayers nor fasts.

* Many women perform their tawâf during pilgrimage while menstruating and then ask what they are supposed to do about it. On occasion, it has been heard that the girl's feelings of shame before her father, brother, or other family member is what caused her to perform tawâf while in that state.

* A high school teacher once said: “I prayed with the girls for an entire month, without even a single pupil ever missing any of her prayers.†It is impossible to imagine that not a single girl in an entire high school class had her period during that month. They just prayed out of feelings of shame.

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It leads to other serious problems as well:

 

* A young girl might hide the fact that she is menstruating from her family, causing her to suffer serious hardships and psychological discomfort.

* A young girl can suffer from a serious psychological complex when she first experiences her period at a young age and tells her mother about it, only to have her mother turn around and shout at her: “How can you have your period now! You are still too young!†…As if the girl had a choice about when it was going to happen.

* In a girls' school, a sixth grader stands outside the lavatory crying. Her teacher hurries her back to class. The poor girl enters the classroom, the tears running down her face, and her school uniform starts to become more and more soiled. The teacher, at this point, gets irritated at her and treats her in a rude manner. She forgets that it is her job to show the girl support and teach her what she needs to know.

* Menstruation can be an extremely frightening experience for a girl who does not understand what is going on. She does not know what is causing her to bleed so much and so suddenly. (A girl from my family told me that she thought she has been inflicted with some internal wound because of a fight she had recently had with her older sister.) The bleeding does not stop. She can wait in the bathroom for hours, poring water over herself, but the blood keeps coming. She can remain in this state of fear and confusion for the remainer of her first menstrual cycle.

 

"Understanding of these matters is extremely important in Islam. A girl needs to know her rights and responsibilities. She needs to understand that she has now attained the age of maturity and in Islam, the pen of accountability has begun to write in her account. She needs to know how to offer her prayers, fast, perform the pilgrimage, how to handle the Qur'ân, and many other rulings.

 

Reading the Qur'ân will help her maintain calm and inner tranquility and overcome the tension and worry that she is feeling. The strongest legal opinion on the issue of a menstruating woman reading the Qur'ân is that she is permitted to do so without touching the book. This is the view of the Mâlikî school of though as well as the opinion of Ibn Taymiyah.

 

It is imperative that she understands what is going on for the sake of her health as well. She needs to know how to eat and what medications she is allowed to take. She has to learn how to live with her monthly period which affects her body as well as her mental and emotional state.

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Historically, it was the Jews who exhibited an aversion to menstruation and to menstruating women. They used to say that when a woman is menstruating, no man may sit next to her; and that no one may sit in her company, or partake of food with her. For this reason, when the Companions came in contact with the Jews, they asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) about these things. He replied: “Do with them everything except sexual intercourse.†He permitted them to interact with their wives in any manner, to joke with them, and to show them affection and kindness.

 

When one of the Prophet's wives was on her period, he would have her tie a cloth around her waist and then he would sleep in the same bed with her. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to relax in `Âishah's room with her while she was on her period and read the Qur'ân.

 

We can see just how important proper understanding of this matter is, both religiously and medically.

 

The physical changes in a young woman's body when she attains puberty are accompanied by changes in her psychology and her personality.

 

She begins to feel a strong desire to assert her own identity. She may do so by affiliating herself with some scholar, society, or some other group of people outside of her family circle. She may also exhibit rebelliousness. At this time, she may also start showing an interest in boys and may wish to enter into relationships with them, either directly or indirectly.

 

By acting in this way, the adolescent girl is trying to send her mother the following message: I am a woman now. I am an individual. I am no longer that little baby that you used to have to treat like a child.

 

Here lies the real danger.

 

This message can easily be expressed in a very wrong way. A young girl can find herself very seriously mistaken and her mistake needs be rectified immediately. Thoughtlessness, newness, inexperience – the blank page that has been the girl's life up to this point – makes an adolescent girl, usually a middle-school girl, very gullible. She readily believes what others tell her.

 

An adolescent girl's heightened emotions and sensitivities as well as her natural attraction to the opposite sex, can lead her astray if she is not carefully supervised. Many of the behaviors that are exhibited by young girls at this age do not necessarily represent a moral upbringing as they are often not intended for their own sake. They are more often outward symptoms of her adolescent troubles. For this reason, girls at this age are in need of the following:

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First, they need their parents and teachers to be good role models. At this age, they are especially sensitive to picking up on anything negative, like people not practicing what they preach.

 

A good example is a teacher who lectures her class on how they should not let themselves get immersed in music or become attached to it. While she is lecturing, a cell phone rings, and the ring tone is one of the popular melodies known to everybody in the class. The teacher reaches into her handbag, takes out her phone, and answers the call…

 

The second thing that they need is a close friendly relationship with their mothers. A mother should not simply impose everything that she wants on her daughter. Rather, she should guide her and show her the way. She should not relate to her daughter in the same way that she used to when her daughter was a small child. This applies whether she is dealing with her daughter's schooling, her dress, her daily schedule, her friends, her relationships, or even her mistakes – and she is likely to make mistakes at this age.

 

A mother must show extra caution and sensitivity in how she treats her daughter. She should try to convince her rather than try to impose her will upon her. Her daughter should not hear the words: “You are still a child…you are still small.â€

 

The third thing that adolescent girls need is recognition. They need to be treated as individuals in their own right whose achievements and good points are noticed. They need to be shown respect for who they are. Their personal concerns need to be respected as well.

 

Fourthly, they need intelligent and attentive supervision. This is especially true whenever a change is seen in the girl's personality; for instance if she goes from being strict in her religious practice to being lax, or if the type of people she keeps as friends changes, or if she suddenly becomes addicted to the telephone, or if she starts spending long hours alone in her room.

 

An adolescent girl's friends and her dealings with others can bring about a lot of undesirable consequences if her parents are careless and inattentive.

 

Fifthly, an adolescent girl's mistakes need to be handled with wisdom and propriety. She does not need to be subjected to degradation, protracted scolding, and extreme harshness. An adolescent girl may fall into one of a number of serious mistakes.

 

For instance, she might take up smoking. This is a global problem. A recent study has shown that girls around the world are using more tobacco products than ever before. The study was an international effort in which fifty countries took part, and which had over one million adolescent girls as its subject. The conclusion reached was that roughly twenty percent of adolescent boys and four percent of adolescent girls smoke cigarettes. The study also established a positive link between cigarettes and drug abuse.

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Often, a girl does not take up smoking for its own sake. She might be trying to rebel against the standards of her family and assert her individuality, or she might be trying to emulate someone else.

 

One young woman – an eighteen-year-old student at a college of pharmacy – spoke about her own adolescent experience and admitted how she had always felt the urge to be free, to “break the chains†that her family imposed upon her. She wanted to be able to go out of the house without her parents' permission and she did not want to be told when she had to come home.

 

Looking back upon her recent past, she said: “I now realize that my desire for unbridled freedom was crazy. A young girl at that stage in her life – or a young boy for that matter – does not know what is beneficial and what is harmful. She does not know how to behave, though she might have a heartfelt, untamable desire to discover the world around her without having to heed anyone's advice or be subject to their supervision.â€

 

However, this young woman managed to survive her adolescent years unharmed. As for the young woman's mother, she had this to say: “We did not have an atmosphere of coercion or domination in our home. Our family decisions were based on mutual consultation, even remodeling the house, choosing schools, where to go during the summer, the household budget, and how to deal with our neighbors were decisions in which we would let our daughters participate. We would listen to their views.â€

 

Consultation gives an adolescent girl a sense of her importance. It gives her a chance to develop her reasoning skills and teaches her skills like how to take future consequences into consideration when making decisions and how to prioritize. Her participation in family decision-making is an important part of her education.

 

Allah says to His Messenger: “And by the mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon their faults, seek forgiveness for them, and consult them in affairs.†[ Sûrah Âl `Imrân : 159]

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Parents can draw two valuable lessons from this verse of the Qur'ân:

 

1. Gentleness and kindness – not harshness, violence, and severity – are the best ways deal with our daughters, especially during their adolescent years.

 

2. Our daughters should be consulted, and not only in the matters that concern them personally, but in the family's general decisions.

 

From my own personal experience, and from comparing what I have seen in the many families that I have come in contact with, I have seen clearly that families that enjoy peace and tranquility, and that employ kindness in their relationships with they children, their children turn out to be more upright, more dutiful, and less likely to go astray. By contrast, families that maintain an atmosphere of harshness and severity, that try to impose their will on their children, their children find ways to escape and secretly do all sorts of things behind parents' backs.

 

Assalamu aliakaum

 

I couldn't find one for sons/guys aswell.

Edited by Luffy

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:D

 

That's a long article and I'm sorry to say that it difficult to read the way it's set out. Any chance of a summary in your own words?

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Assalamu alaiakum

 

Not at this time...

Edited by Luffy

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Assalamu alaikaum

 

I thought of that before but I was told people don't click the links.

 

Girl in my primary school had hers in the middle of class and they evacuated the classroom, big commotion etc. I mean this was in the UK, you'd think they'd be sublte about it.

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:D

 

interesting article. I dont understand why a girl would hide it from her own mother. :D I think as long as parents are supportive during this stage, and very patient then :D she should be able to just accept what has been happening since the first woman existed.

 

:D

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asalaamu alaykum

 

well if people aren't going to click the link, they most likely aren't going to read pages of an article, Allahu "you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.gawaher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/glossary/glossary_a001.html#alim"]Alim[/url]

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:D

 

Actually...just posting a link doesn't really attract people to read it. :D

 

Anyways, on the topic, interesting thread. Jazakallah khair for sharing.

 

I also was wondering the same thing sis desertdweller... :D But I guess some mothers aren't supportive and helpful. :D

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:D

 

So, where is the article for boys? I feel a little left out.

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:D

 

JazakumAllahi Kairan....that was long but worth the read :D

 

Sister desertdweller and mm_ca04 I was thinking the same thing but maybe the girl had no idea of what was happening to her, hence felt shy/embarrassed to tell her mother. Allahu "http://gawaher/glossary/glossary_a001.html#alim"]Alim[/url]

 

Salam

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:D ,

I know some girls which couldn´t speak to their mothers about their menses, it was always treated as something dirty and something the girs had to be ashamed of :D .

 

Is there any possiblety to get this whole article in arabic ? :D

 

 

wa alaikum salam

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:w:

 

Sister rayan76, I think there is an arabic section in the website the brother provided..not sure if you will find the exact article but worth the try :D

 

Salam

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:D

 

it was always treated as something dirty and something the girs had to be ashamed of

 

thats a bad way to look at it. as for girls who dont tell their mothers out of fear, i think we can avoid this dilemma by teaching girls about it before they reach that stage in life.

 

So, where is the article for boys? I feel a little left out.

 

:D no comment

 

:D

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:D

I read 1 and half posts of that article ( sorry its just to long)

but omg I have to say I TOTALLY AGREE! I have never really been shy to discuss anything like that with my mother or any other girl.

 

I know in libya though, it seems the boys dont know anything about it and probably never learn until they are married (and even then)

 

(as you all probably know a women is not to pray during menstruation ) so when that times comes, they cant even answer (i cant pray right now) to their fathers and brothers, instead, they just make excuses like "I already prayed"

 

I was discussing this with my cousins aunts before and she said the exact same thing they quoted in that article "you should be ashamed and shy about it"

 

its not like Im going around dicussing or chatting about it with any guys...

 

but I definitely dont think it is something that anyone should be ASHAMED OF! I MEAN SERIOUSLY! this is a natural thing from Allah!!!!

 

:D I will raise my daughter to feel comfortable about talking about anything to me.

 

...sorry for going on and on...I actually have alot to say on this topic, but I dont think that is a good idea right here.

 

Allahu alam

 

:D

 

oh yea... and I just remembered, I know when my one cousin started, her mother was just to shy and sad to talk to her daughter about it... so she told her nothing... but then asked another cousin to talk about it with her daughter

 

subhan'Allah... she probably hardly understands anything thats going on...

 

i cant believe this

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